Depression After Sugery

Trent Member Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Skin Cancer #1
Anyone else having a hard time after surgery?

I am 26, I had Malignant Melanoma removed from my left cheek in March of this year. The first surgery lasted over 7 hours. I had a parotidectomy, and a neck dissection to remove lymph nodes. I have partial nerve degradation on that side. Anyone else had a similar procedure? Did your nerve control ever come back? i know it can take over a year for everything to heal. It has affected my daily life. At times I feel as though it gets the best of me. I have a 12.5 inch scar on my face/neck and I cannot let go of the image of myself after I got out of surgery with tubes and everything connected. IT was the most painful experience I have ever dealt with. I feel like when I interact with people it is always something I have to explain and have a tolerance toward explaining.

I seem to have developed a fear/phobia of being out in the sun. I find at times I am depressed and not "with it" meaning im somewhere physically but mentally checked out. My friends will force me to get out and do things, but I find myself resistant. I get to the point where I feel like I am going to die. That I am going to have to deal with this again in the near future and should just say 'screw it' and disregard my fears and carpe diem whatever is left. I have sought help with therapy and all they want to do is medicate me and send me on my way.

Similar thoughts/problems that anyone else is going/gone through? Was there anything in particular that has helped you move on? Or is it one of those things, just give it time.


  • ColleenE
    ColleenE Member Posts: 1
    Depression after surgery.
    Hey Trent,

    This is my first time posting so bare with me. I am 39 years old and had a Melamona diagnosis on May 14th this year. I had a wide local excicision on June 5th. A horrible scar that I could not even look at without crying hysterically. Went to follow-up and found out that mole was deeper than they thought 1.07mm and now we needed a wider margin and lymphnode biopsy. Second surgey on July 10th. Recovery was longer off my feet for 10 days and swelling and numbness. At followup Surgeon tells me lymphnode had one positive cell and needed to be sent out to confirm. More waiting. 2 weeks later reports come back as negative I guess. My emotions have been all over the place and anxiety and blood pressure have been a issue as well. Depression I have had for a long time but this takes me back to some bad days. I don't have energy, I don't want to work, I should feel so happy about a good diagnosis but I can't help feeling something is being overlooked. I am trying to give it time I know what I need to do but getting myself to do it is the challenge.

    Don't feel weird about your scar it is always for me a conversation starter to tell people about Melanoma and if just one person gets checked out by their doctor because of my story then that's great.

    I wish you the best and pray for you.
    DC_WYTE Member Posts: 8
    Hi Trent, I got diagnosed in April '09. They never found my Primary. Even though I had been going to a dermatologist for about 4 yrs, after removing a suspicious mole. It was negative. But I have tons of moles and they wanted to keep tabs on me. Well, 4 years later I got a lump in my neck, along with the onset of the most terrible of flu symptoms I ever had. After two weeks the flu was gone but I was left with the lump. A surgeon said it has to come out (he was positive it was Lymphoma) but it turned out to be Melanoma. I wasn't sure what that ment, or how serious it was. After a few weeks of reserch, it hit me. It's serious.
    I had to wait a month to see a Melanoma specialist who didn't have much to offer me. He then referred me to a guy at University of Chicago who told me I should really have a full dissection of the left neck. I waited a week but decided to do it. I was nervous as hell.
    My surgery went well, they warned me that I might have nerve damage but they seem to have been spared. Other than numbness from the tip of my ear to my adams apple. The first couple of days of recovery were rough, but after a week and a few days I feel pretty good.
    I think the first thing you should do is get rid of that picture, and other ones you might have. Or at least put them far away. I would be haunted too if I looked at that every day.
    Oh yeah, by the way, they did find another positive lymphnode. One out of 17.
    I am 42, I am married but only for 6 years. I have two girls 4 & 5. I do get scared some times, but I've been fotunate enough to overcome most depression. I have Faith. In GOD and in myself. What I've found to be helpful also is to talk to people who also have Melanoma or any cancer. I have a guy's group at a wellness center on Wed. nights. A church or hosp. in your area may have one. I admit if I were diagnosed at as young of age as you I would probably be more depressed. But hey think of this you have more strenghth and time to beat this thing.
    Also in these groups, some people are not very well off. This can be depressing or it can give you gratitude that you are not as bad off. I think we can beat this thing. And if you do to you will be much better off. And don't worry about the scar, its only a scar and will fade after a while. DAVE
  • Treasure_Map
    Treasure_Map Member Posts: 1
    Depression after Surgery
    Trent, it gets better. I had almost the same surgery as you five years ago. I have a huge question mark scar on my left cheek also. It starts to the left of my left eye, winds over to my nose, follows a little "swish" down to my chin, makes a Zorro "Z" around my chin (this is supposed to make it look more "natural"), then down under my chin. When I came home from the hospital, my then five year old called me "Mrs. Gross." It was very difficult going out in public and I had no idea why people didn't just scream when they looked at me. I'm here to tell you that the scar fades. I have a wierd wrinkle around my mouth, and hey, I'm no fox, but it is fine. No one asks anymore and I definitely don't get any more focused long stares. Hey, I don't know if this will help you or not, but after my surgery, my kids and I played a game whenever anyone asked me what happenned to me. We started with the letter "A" and moved on through the alphabet. The first time someone asked me what happenned to my face, I replied that an Alligator Attacked me. The next time it was a Bear. A Cat Clawed me. .....I was in a Humvee accident.... you get the idea. We went from dreading the question to actually looking forward to it. We would howl with laughter, and never did we feel as if we had to tell the truth. Hey, if people were stupid and rude enough to ask, then they were worthy of whatever story I could dream up. Good luck, Trent. I know you will grow from this experience and some day revisit this site in hopes of helping someone else. I will be thinking of you.
  • yalleh
    yalleh Member Posts: 36
    Keep up the good fight
    I too have had trouble but it was post treatment not surgery.

    I always try to look on the bright side so I just told myself that the scares made me look more macho and that all the moles removed off my back look like bullet holes. So my friends joke that I should be a rapper.

    Anyway with depression and such I talk to my doctors about it and I am on a trial (yes they are medicating me) to hopefully help me out. Sometimes all the chemo can get your bodies chemicals unbalanced so medicine helps to right some of the wrongs created trying to keep you alive. Another thing I do is just take it one day at a time... I start off by appreciating that I got to see the sun rise another day and then I walk the dog. She has been great for me. She always lives in the moment and no matter how bad the day is she just loves it when I come home and this is very uplifting.

    I'm not a doctor nor a psychologist but I can say if they want to medicate you maybe its for a reason (like mine was with all the chemo, surgeries, raditation causing an imbalance). Now as for going out with your friends... if you dont want to go out just dont go (you may not be ready for it), but please realize your friends are trying to help you and may not know any other way to help. Again I'm not an expert but what helped me was to sit my friends and family down and told them the situation how I might act and what I want from them. Sometimes I wanted to jsut go off and be on my own and they did not understand this however they respected my wishes. Please let them know what they could do to help you and let them know.... but first figure out what it is you need from them or want from them ... then just ask I'm almost possible they will jump at the opportunity to help you.

    Hope this helps
  • bri777
    bri777 Member Posts: 10
    If you looked that

    If you looked that good after your surgery you have to be a good looking man. You should have seen me after my surgery! I went through two neck dissections two years ago and I dealt with depression. I was on interferon which deals hard with the chemicals in the brain. I have a very strong faith in God and He has brought me through this. If you can’t shake this consider an anti depressant. I have to take one, in low doses, to give me a little boost. Your body may not be producing the proper chemicals right now to keep your moods steady. I take lexapro and it doesn’t do anything weird it just keeps a little bounce in my step so to speak.
    You don’t need to explain your scar to anyone. If it is brought up it does give you the opportunity to warn people of the suns damaging properties. You will slowly get over the though that everyone is looking at you. I finally did. You have a hope and future so please don’t let this limit your life and your experiences. You have wonderful life and a lot to look forward to. Scar…what scar? The last time someone asked me I told them I was in a New York brawl and they should have seen the other guy! Please try to realize you are a wonderful person and you have much to give to society. Try to keep things light and learn to laugh at yourself. Without you being out there someone may not receive the encouragement that only you can give them.

  • happydad
    happydad Member Posts: 16
    Depression after surgery

    I had two surgeries on my head. Not the same as your experience, but still quite noticable. It always surprised me that when I went back to work with bandages on my head and neck, people acted like they didn't even see it. Only one person ever asked what happened. Before I started the Interferon, the oncologist started me on a very low dose of Celexa. I wasn't excited about that, but I think it must be helping. My kids asked my wife if I was on something because I seemed pretty mellow. I always thought I was mellow!

    The other things that have sustained my are my faith in God and recognizing the wonderful blessing I do enjoy. Last week my wife gave me a "Glad" notebook. The idea is to write in the notebook things that make me glad. When I feel discouraged I can then read my notebook and be reminded of the many things that make me glad. My first entries included being glad that I can wake up in the morning, see the sunshine, kiss my wife, and hear the rain falling.

    Every day is a challenge, but it is worth it. Live life and enjoy it in spite of the challenges.
  • HarleyTink
    HarleyTink Member Posts: 3
    Hey there Trent
    Hey I have just had the same recent surgery

    First of all I have been poked over 20 times(blood drawn,5IV's,16-18shots to the head).Been through two ct scans,chest x-ray,MRI,Pet scan.They had to have me lay down on a bed and take pictures of my for about three hours and it was so uncomfortable because I had to lay completely still.And probably the worst surgery I'll ever have to go through in my lifetime.I had a brain tumor removed and staples put in from the temple of my head down through the side of my scalp area; ending at my neck which had a big incision in it,also.And I hear the news.I'm going to have another surgery.

    I am nineteen year old female.Healthy and young such as yourself.I am goin to have the same scars on my neck.Just waiting for it to heal up after my stitches were taken out just a few days ago.I have been in your shoes.I woke up and I had three drains and Iv hooked up on me.After they were removed I still felt like they were there.My face is poofy and I don't want to go out in public because I am anxious.My Fiance and friends tell me that it's going to be just fine.But I have the same fears as you.Will it come back again? Why is this happening to me? Maybe I should just give up.But we cant just give up.We have to keep fighting.