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Am I losing my mind?

Salmosalar's picture
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2012


I am new to this forum and am searching for some help, confirmation , validation, something. I am 12 months post surgery where I lost a kidney to RCC. This is my second time around with cancer, the first was a rare sarcoma on my leg, that was almost 7 years ago. Anyway, I've noticed that I am hyper sensitive to situations or stories of people who survived/fighting cancer. If I see story on TV about someone fighting cancer, I become overwhelmed with emotion and almost have to walk away as the feelings are just touch to deal with. Although a very loving father, no one would describe me as a emotional sappy type, but since being diagnosed with RCC, exposure to people's struggles with cancer, completely overwhelm me? So is this normal in your experience, has anyone had similar reactions/experiences or do I need a sofa and medication?

Cheers Randall

MikeK703's picture
Posts: 235
Joined: Sep 2010

Welcome. You haven't lost your mind, you've gained empathy. I feel the same way. Why? Because now we know from personal experience what those people who are fighting cancer (and their families) are going through and we "feel their pain" (maybe a hackneyed expression these days, but it's true). We really couldn't before because we just didn't understand. These people were simply images on TV or folks we worked with. Now we know what they and their families have been going through. It's the same with victims of crime. Unless we, or our loved ones, have experienced a criminal's actions, we can only sympathize but not truly empathize with the victim. Some of us here probably feel it more than others, depending on what we've gone through, but I believe all of us, even those "lucky" ones whose cancer was caught early, feel it to some extent. That's why we're here, hoping we can ease the pain a little for somebody else. So there's nothing weird about what you're feeling. Nothing at all.

Salmosalar's picture
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2012

Thanks for the reply Mike. It's a strange thing, those close to me know that I struggle with the overwhelming sense of empathy. However, they can not feel my pain and I just felt the need to reach out to others who had similar experiences. I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

All the best, Randall

rae_rae's picture
Posts: 300
Joined: Oct 2010


I am a more than a year past surgery and I find I am the same. I have aides that come in to take care of my mom when I work. The newest aide had just found out her husband has lung cancer. I wanted to talk to her and express my support and I ended up crying like a baby. She ended up consoling ME! It just hits so close to home and I knew everything they were going through-or going to be going through. I wasn't expecting my reaction and yet the floodgates opened and I couldn't stop.

Posts: 25
Joined: Jan 2012

4 weeks out of a partial kidney removal & yes, I have experienced overwhelming situations. My wife took me to lunch this week, a book store stood next to the restaurant.... I opened a book and read through a passage which made me put the book down and head for the door. It's been all the sudden - just overwhelms me at times. If you've lost your mind, then I too have!!!

Be Good

Texas_wedge's picture
Posts: 2798
Joined: Nov 2011


Mike gave you a perfect answer which really says it all and the rest of us are just chipping in and showing you how widespread and normal your response is. Because of a relative dying of liver cancer, I've recently spent a fair bit of time on the liver cancer forum, which is a depressing place. Admittedly, you'd need to be made of stone not to be moved by many of the postings there but I've been disturbed by how labile I am about 7 weeks after surgery. I have often sat in floods of tears reading the heart-rending stories there and my Wife has gently suggested that I'm not doing myself any good getting so emotionally drained and I fear she's probably right.

So, go easy on yourself but also congratulate yourself on having become a more compassionate and sensitive human being.

Vagusto's picture
Posts: 86
Joined: Aug 2011

Hi Randall
I'm a little over two years post radical left. I think when a person deals with a serious
illness, one becomes more emotional. Prior to my surgery, I was the person that went to the movies with a group of ladies....and watched them cry at some sappy scenes. They'd give me grief about it, and I just said....it's just a movie....it's not real. Since surgery
I do find myself choking up when I'm watching tv, or reading an article about sadness. (although I still try to hide it) :)
Take Care

icemantoo's picture
Posts: 3313
Joined: Jan 2010

Before my RCC, Cancer, heart attacks and strokes were always something that happened to other people or when you got real old. I think we all have a better appeciation of what others are going thru when we have our own first hand knowedge. I believe this makes us better people.


Salmosalar's picture
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2012

It has been a life altering journey for certain, physically and emmotionally. I do not expect things will ever return to what was normal for me. The positive side of this, is that I am more sympathetic, generally more tollerant and small things have become small things. I really appreciate the time people have taken to respond to my question, your comments have brought me some comfort.

All the best, Randall

foxhd's picture
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

Boy, great question. I had just written my longest response to any of these threads and had second thoughts about revealing my emotions. Low and behold, I didn't submit it right and it is lost. Hence I get a mulligan. A serious health crisis is something that most have never dealt with before. Your caregivers do this 24 hours a day,seven days a week. I hope that every one on this board will and does appreciate your health care provider. You are always on the mind of your doctor, nurse or therapist. It is what makes health care providers a little different. This board provides the same empathy. Randall, you are not alone.

Posts: 61
Joined: Apr 2011

Hi Randall,
No, I don't think you're losing your mind, because if you are, then so am I :0
I deal with the exact same feelings, I posted on FB weeks ago as to why all commercials on TV deal with cancer....I long for happy cereal and floor cleaning commercials again....When these dreadful commercials come on, I switch stations...I had my left kidney removed 6-2-11. I struggle everyday to keep positive, some days I'm very successful, and put the last year out of my mind. Then, lo and behold, I'm watching TV, or reading a magazine, and there it is CANCER, and they talk about it like it's like going to get a cavity filled. I just get flooded with emotion. I think, I had it, i worry about it coming back. I hate reminders of anything to do with cancer. I hate everything pink ribboned....It's a joke...all that money raised all these years and we're still running, purchasing, and raising money for a cure...It's still a very sensitive subject with me, at times I just cry and get it over with, it's like there's no running away from it....Hopefully these feeling diminish...As for me, this whole upcoming month is going to be filled with getting ready for my daughter's wedding....I won't have time to think.Keeping extra busy is my best medicine. As for sofa and medication??? Hmmm, I started 20mg Prozac in July....Best thing I've done...The blue days are much fewer. Best bet for me is keep my comfortable sofa, where I love to read and knit, and junk the TV LOL Have a great day today, everyday is a blessing, make the most of it..

flatlander's picture
Posts: 46
Joined: Dec 2011

I went into church for the first time in along time today. Had my foley tucked in my pants and two drains hidden under my shirt and i was doing good. Then on the way out i said thanks to the preacher and welled up and could hardly talk. Even though they never met me, they'd been praying for my sinning butt while I was in hospital. I figured I better show up with my wife and Kids now I can.

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