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Why so much anxiety, fear, and depression?

Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2012

I am new here so a bit about myself first. I am 46 and was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer in Nov. of 2010, went through chemo and radiation, and finally had my left lung removed in March of 2011. I since have tested clear every four months, and have progressed fairly well in my physical recovery.

But it is my mental recovery which is of my greatest concern. After surviving lung cancer, I thought the flowers would smell sweeter, the sun would shine brighter, and my lust for life would grow exponentially. But my reality is quite different than what I thought it would, or should, be after overcoming such a deadly disease.

Each day is a struggle. Although my body is feeling better, my mind finds itself frozen in a seemingly endless cycle of anxiety, fear, and depression.

Does anybody else feel this way, or has anyone worked their way through these types of feelings? Can you please tell me what the heck is wrong with me and how I can leave this dark place behind.

Posts: 1846
Joined: Aug 2010

Haven't we all either been desperately ill or known someone who has and everyone prayed/hoped that survival would happen and life would go one? Sure, absolutely.

But life has changed, Mark. YOU are changed. How could you not be?

You are definitely listing signs of clinical depression, very common post-cancer.

Talk to your doctor about medications available for just such a situation. Talk to your family and friends. Talk to your minister.

Better days are ahead for you but you need help getting there.

Just like your body suffered from the cancer, your mind did, too, and you must now treat those wounds.

Hugs. Come back and let us know how you are doing. We want you to get to those better days. Be patient with yourself and go get help.

Hanno's picture
Posts: 45
Joined: Aug 2012

Hi Mark,

That dark place you are experiencing can become bright again. I agree that you seem to be exhibiting some signs of clinical depression and it would be excellent if you could talk with a professional about it... Your GP, the hospital, the local neighborhood center... they will all be able to put you in touch with some strategies or other service providers who will be able to help you. It's important that you get that support. You deserve it and no one will think any less of you for reaching out. In fact, you would be applauded by many, especially other survivors who understand first hand.

Remember it's OK to feel down, to have a crap day, or for emotions about what has happened to overwhelm you occasionally. But if you're having more bad days than good, then reach out and talk to a professional.

I understand your feelings first hand as a survivor who is struggling to come to grips with what has happened... and you know what, I don't think there is a right or wrong way to feel after overcoming cancer. You have the right to deal with it in your own time and own ways. But make that appointment with your doctor in the meantime and help that healing along :) All the best mate.

Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2012

Your posts are just what I needed today.

I had a partial nephrectomy in September to remove a fairly aggressive clear-cell tumor from my left kidney. Up to that point I'd been feeling no symptoms -- crazily enough, an ER visit back in May (I fell while pruning a tree and fractured two vertebrae!!!) led to a CT scan that revealed my mass. Otherwise it's likely that I wouldn't have caught the cancer until it had advanced.

By all rights I should be beaming today. My back injury has healed. My tumor was caught early enough to be treatable. I found an excellent doctor who specializes in the da Vinci procedure. I've been able to return to work and resume a normal life. And, presuming all goes well in the ongoing CT scans I'll need, I can look forward to watching my kids grow up.

Like Mark, I thought I'd be experiencing everything brighter, bolder and happier after my procedure -- and, for the first few weeks, that is how I felt. But six weeks in, I'm struggling. I feel emotionally "flat," for lack of a better word. I'm going through the motions at work. It's taking all my energy just to maintain normal routines around the house.

I guess, like Noellesmom says, you have to realize that things have changed. I've been telling myself that this is all normal and that the sadness will pass, but seeing everyone's comments have me thinking it's time to get some help adjusting to this "new" normal.

Mark, I hope you're taking the same advice -- and I'm so glad to hear your physical recovery is progressing so positively. Noellesmom and Hanno, I really appreciate your input here. It's just what I needed to snap out of the doldrums on this otherwise beautiful morning.


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