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the blues

Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 2010

i am a week into radiation for tonsil cancer with lymph nodes affected. i am losing my energy and my spirits are getting low. i am afraid of what will happen if i get depressed. i need friends and suggestions of things to do to stay motivated. please help...Andy

Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1576
Joined: May 2009

Hi Andy,

First, you are doing one thing positive by posting here on CSN, you will never be alone as there are so many of us who have been through this and are here to help. You now have many, many online friends ;-)

I am 7 months post treatment and I am doing great. It was a long hard road but you will finally reach the end of your treatment and start the wonderful road of recovery. Both roads are hard but very doable.

One of the most important things you can do for yourself is keep a positive attitude. It may seem impossible at times but it is very important. It's natural to get down and have a "pity party" but you must not let these parties last longer than 15 minutes a day. Find anything that will keep your mind occupied on other things (I know - it's hard at first), read a good book, watch a funny movie, chat with friends. Don't let cancer be the only thoughts you have.

You must also make sure you are getting enough nutrition, hydration and rest. If your body is worn down because of dehydration or lack of nutrition then your body does not have the fuel it needs to fight. I know first hand how hard it is when you want to do something but your body is just too weak to respond. Make sure you are resting enough, then try going for short walks if you are up to it. Exercise, in moderation, is also a key element in your recovery. My first day of walking was the most wonderful thing I did for myself. It not only got me outside to enjoy the beauty of nature but I finally felt like I was more in charge of my recovery, I was finally doing something to speed up the recovery.

I don't know if you have family and friends near you but if you do then please enlist them to help you until you are stronger. I also don't know what your treatment schedule is but it sounds like you are in the beginning phase and still have a ways to go. Please DO NOT get discouraged. We've all been there and made it through and so will you.

Post here any time you need advice, encouragement or just a shoulder to lean on. We are all here for you and have all been through experiences that are similar/same as what you are going through now.

Please stay strong and post again so we will know how you are doing.

Take care and stay strong,


Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009

Welcome to CSN, like Glenna just said you are now among a lot of friends, some are like you just starting others like me 5 years or more passed there last treatment, we are all here for one reason and that is to help each other. You are only one week into treatment and things will start to get a worse as you go along, but the thing to remember is how good life is after cancer. Post here on CSN all your problems and fears we will all be here to help even if it is nothing more then just to say I am praying for you.

Take cane my friend

Kent Cass
Posts: 1898
Joined: Nov 2009

Yes- welcome to a good place to go to for answers and understandings. I'm 17+ months, and surviving very well. There are many who've been where you are, now, and are where you are going- surviving H&N C, Andy. You're gonna find a lotta help here from others who've been in your shoes, and have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share. Be advised: you are now a subject receiving hopes and Prayers! Yeah.

What treatment are you getting? What's the Chemo substance, and the delivery schedule?

Did you get a Port, and/or feeding tube? NUTRITION IS CRITICAL: it gives your body the ammo to fight this battle.

Are you being treated at a major medical center?

As for meds: Magic Mouthwash does help bigtime with mouth sores- it's a must-have; most of us were on Vicodin for pain, and even liquid morphine, and Xanax for the mental struggle. I urge you to be open with your Onco/Rad Drs. about any struggle that is getting a bit much for you. Your body has enough stressing it, already, so anything which helps with the pain and anxiety, etc., is a good thing, and Oncos know well the struggles brought-on with the C and treatment. They can make it far less of a struggle- trust me on this.

And, yes, Andy- this is an historic time in your life. It is a battle you're in. It's a battle you will survive, as we all have. There will be rough times, but you will survive them. My best advice is to focus of this one great fact- you will survive. This one large positive fact is a Truth that trumps any and all negatives you will get dealt. Come What May, Andy- you will survive.



MarineE5's picture
Posts: 909
Joined: Dec 2005

Andy, just as Glenna and Hondo have mentioned, there are allot of people here to answer your questions. As Glenna also mentioned, a positive attitude is a must. It is easy to slip into the " Pity Party " mind set. But, you can take control of that by setting some little chore for yourself.

Example of what I did. I drove myself to my treatments which took roughly 45 minutes depending on traffic. Did the treatment and when I got home, I was tired, but instead of saying the cancer treatment made me tired. I would go out and chop some firewood for 10-20 minutes. The amount of time depended on how much energy I had. Once I was tired, I would go and take a nap. Now I was tired from doing some work, not the radiation and it put me in control. I would have a nice nap.

A long time ago while in Marine Boot Camp, I had a task to do and was not able to do it. Then my Senior Marine Drill Instructor told me, there are only 3 things a Marine can't do. A Marine can't slam a revolving door, strike a match on a wet bar of soap, and put used toothpaste back into a used toothpaste tube. Anything else a Marine can do. So, you can do this. I did my task and have used his words of wisdom throughout my life. Whenever I was told I couldn't do something or have had a rough task to do, his words echoed in my head. I am still in touch with my Senior Drill Instructor.

I also found it was a good time to get in contact with some of my distant cousins that I hadn't talked with in a long time. Found out that they had been through some cancer battles as well.

Remember what Glenna and Hondo mentioned, Positive attitude, and find something you like to do. Hydrate yourself well, and eat as many calories with nutrition as you can get into yourself.

My Best to You and Everyone Here

stevenl's picture
Posts: 587
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi Andy,

I am on my 9th day of being finished with my treatments. I don't know what your treatment regimen is, but I can tell you from experience, that you can do this. My treatment included chemo every Monday (Cisplatin and 5FU), And 33 rads. All that I did was try to walk and do some exercise and stay busy with even menial tasks during the times I was awake.

For example, right now I am at Texas Motor Speedway in my RV, getting ready to go see a Nascar Sprint Cup race. Yes, I pulled my RV out here myself set it up and feel pretty good all in all. Now I am not telling you this to bring you down, but rather give you hope that what is happening to you is not the end of the world.

So just try to find something to do and don't let your mind be empty. I had read maybe 3 books in 25 years and I have read 10 since I started going through this. Reading helped me a lot. Start,if you want, with Anticancer, it is a great read. But hang in there and always be positive, and post here and people will help you.


staceya's picture
Posts: 720
Joined: Jan 2010

Like everyone else posted, you can get through this.
Meds/Food/Rest/Support (in whatever order works best for you)

Also ask your doctor (if you are interested) about a very small amount of antidepressives.
Best of Luck as you start this journey.

It helps me immensely to know this group is here and understands what is going on more than anyone else could.
Please keep posting

delnative's picture
Posts: 450
Joined: Aug 2009

Hey, Andy. Not much I can add, only to encourage you to explore the suggestions made here. They're all good.
I will mention one thing, though. When I was at Johns Hopkins, they had support groups where you could vent, ask questions, whatever. A lot of people participated.
Me, I'm not the touchy-feely type -- I've been a reporter for 30-some years, which tends to make you a bit of a hard-*** -- so I didn't join. Besides, I had the best support group going: God and a loving wife.
But you might want to see if the institution where you're being treated offers such programs. If that sort of thing appeals to you, it could be a real help.
Hang in there, Andy, and hang out here. We'd all like to help.

--Jim in Delaware

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