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First time thread starter is healthy but not better. I think I need help?

cwcad's picture
Posts: 117
Joined: Nov 2009

Hello everyone!!

First time thread starter on this forum. In February of 07 I was diagnosed with stage IV base of the tongue cancer. All treatment were successful. Seven weeks of radiation and four weeks of chemo. The whole radical nine yards. Everyone who has tongue cancer knows what I am talking about.

It has been almost three years and all is well as far as the cancer is concerned. Thank God!! I had been reading the discussion board threads an came upon a thread about the mask that most everyone is required to wear during treatment. It is hard for me to even think about that time of my life. What is even harder is for me to think, to do, or to be. I am lost in this healthy body and do not know what to do. I have every reason to be happy, healthy, and productive since recovery. Yet almost two years since completion of treatments I am lost in a sea of doubt about my ability to concentrate and do any physical activity that requires a duration of more than a few minutes.

Food is easily digested but there isn't any enjoyment to food as it once was. I find that taste is most likely the reason because nothing tastes bad but nothing tastes all that good either. I have lots of ideas to do things but somehow when it comes time to do it I find something else to not do. I never thought of my self as lazy but I am fast becoming a believer that my latent lazy tendencies are showing through. I despise myself for even thinking it but I don't do anything about it.

I know what to do..."Get Over It" whatever "It" is. Yet all that seems to do is make it even harder for me to do it. I have lost a lot of weight during this all. I started at 340, went down to 180 after six months and now am about 195. I feel listless, displaced, and lost all the while surrounded by good family, friends, and home. I know I am feeling sorry for myself. Yet even as I know... I continue downward in a spiral of confusion and apathy. My doctors all say to not worry about it. All things will work out. I don't think it is working out.

This journey was marked the first day that I was diagnosed in February of 07. I was getting ready to go to work in Alaska in a construction camp. I told the doctor. He was a colonel in the Army and he said, "Well you can go...you won't come back." I took a big gulp. Then next thing he said was, "Are you ready to embark in the fight of your life?" I immediately said, Yes." But I know now it had little conviction. Now that I am cancer free I seem to have just enough energy to complain but not enough to get off the pity pot.

Is there anyone out there that can relate or am I really crazy/lazy?

carolinagirl67's picture
Posts: 153
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi there,

You are not lazy or crazy. Sounds like depression and you have no control over that. I would suggest to find a good therapist quickly. You may need some meds too. Do not discount how you feel and don't blame yourself. You have been throug hell and survived. That is a huge accomplishment. Sometimes we just need some professional help to get over the hump. Your body is not the same and so many things have changed for you but you can find happiness. I would definitely seek help ASAP. So you can get back to living! Congrats on your health and beating cancer. Take the next step.

Good Luck,

cwcad's picture
Posts: 117
Joined: Nov 2009

Since finding this site I have read quite a few posts. the post gave me the courage(i guess you can call it courage..?)to post and discuss this. My wife thinks I am obsessing over my "new normal" I guess I won't be bringing that up to her again. Didn't have much time for my whining I guess? She just stated to me minutes ago that I needed to get over it. It is whining..of that I am sure. Problem is... knowing what it is and doing something about it seems to be diametrically opposed. The more I know about what to do the less I want to do anything about the problem. So she is correct. I am angry about that. It should make me want to show her. All I feel like is quiting. I am tired. I am typing so I am fighting but I want to quit.

One thing I have learned through all of my travails with this cancer is that there are a lot worse things than dying. I don't want to die. but I am not afraid of it either as I was prior to cancer.

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

If you have read 'quite a few posts' on this board, then perhaps the following will be repetitive to you, but I will say it nonetheless.

To begin with, I am not a medical professional, but I firmly believe that being advised you have cancer is tantamount to being given a death sentence for the great majority of us, even many medical professionals, those not specifically involved in cancer treatment. This is because we have been educated to believe this, not purporsefully, perhaps, but this is our perception nonetheless.

And so, I do not think it is beyond reason that some, if not many, who are subject to a cancer diagnosis suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. At the very least, as donna (carolinagirl) indicates, and as any number of studies have illustrated, cancer and its treatments may lead some into depression, some mild and brief, others more severe and persistent.

I have long insisted that any cancer team should include more than 'just' the surgeons, oncologists, radiation therapists, dieiticians and social workers, but also PSCHYOLOGICAL specialists.

I think donna has made a fairly accurate preliminary assessment of what your problem is, cwcad (given that we can only go by what you tell us): you should strongly consider that you are suffering from depression or some other similar disorder and need to seek professional help to get over it.

Cancer, my friend, is biological disposed to take certain things, and even those medical technology is doing its best to defer/deter, but cancer also often takes what it is not predisposed to take: our will, our happiness, our love, our way of life.

It is up to you to overcome your inertia at least enough to seek help. If you find it nowhere else, at least continue to come here to vent and even to help others, which may help you.

Best wishes with that.

Take care,


cwcad's picture
Posts: 117
Joined: Nov 2009

Thanks a lot for the responses.

I agree about what cancer takes.

I will seek help. I have no reason to be depressed. What problems do I really have? I really am whining and the majority of me does not care. Freedom of choice is where I am at. I do not want to choose anything.

I have been making calls. Things are in the works. I already have an appointment with my GP for next week. I appreciate the calmness of the posts. It is like everything I want to do frightens me into doing nothing. I have tried some of the recovery to hard, to early, and to long to get over this feeling. I feel like the sane man is watching me do crazy things with crazy thoughts. The "what do you have to complain about?" way of motivation is literally killing me with guilt inside.

pk's picture
Posts: 192
Joined: Aug 2009

Ok - you are doing the right thing. Depression is a sneaky thing. You need to deal with it and get back to feeling like you. Meds and good Drs. will help you do that. Keep on keeping on. You have survived cancer so don't let this become the way you live. It doesn't have to be. PK

cwcad's picture
Posts: 117
Joined: Nov 2009

This thread only punctuates what I am going through. I have so many high's and low's. Either I am high now or on a low it does not matter but my mind frame as I type this is much more stable then when I typed the initial post. That is not to say that anything I said is untrue but the depth that it strikes me is not as deep now. I have to many ups and down's. I think it intensifies when I read of others and how they have faired and wonder why I am not as strong?

Since all my medical care is thru Military it may be a while before I get into my appointment to see my GP. There seems to be a problem at Ft. Hood and I suspect that my appointment is going to be rescheduled for another date.

I will continue reading the threads and dive into the blogs. As someone who is calmer I am glad that I finally got here. Thanks!!!

Posts: 29
Joined: Oct 2009

First, I had a very simialr HPV derived SCC. I am only 4 weeks out of treatment and have already been to my family dr because I was an emotional wreck once I stopped seeing my care team. She put me on Lorazepam to even out the anxiety(also helps me sleep much better at night) and Citalopram for depression which she insists I must stay on for a year no matter how good I start to feel, because you can slide backwards. Unfortuately the depression drug can take up to 8 weeks to kick in, but a few days after starting I was better able to manage my emotions. Still have a bad spot here or there, but nothing like it was 4 weeks ago.

The addition thought is on your fatigue. My drs have cautioned me that my thyroid very well could have been damaged but it won't manifest itself - in significant fatigue - for six months after treatment. You might have your thyroid checked - they can medicate for this.

cwcad's picture
Posts: 117
Joined: Nov 2009

Everything that you have said is spot on, Santa6. To bad I did not follow all of the directions that your doctor as well as mine gave to me. I was taking the medication that you mentioned. I stopped..I really cannot remember why... I often have been my own worst enemy in this recovery. I must be acting passive/aggressive to myself. What a hoot!

I have been on synthroid for about six months. I had an appointment to see my doctor the day that Obama came to town and it was canceled. I will see the doctor again in two weeks. I know it sounds like I am unhappy but I really am getting better. I know this very well. Some things that I have written were at the peak of my frustration or depression. I have way to many highs and lows. Reading of similar problems from others has abated my feelings to a point that I am embarrassed about my ability to not see the forrest through the tree's. Sometimes self pity can be over whelming for me. I really do know better. Yet there are times that I forget.

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