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Depression or Intuition?

LauraandLarry's picture
Posts: 184
Joined: Sep 2012

I believe Larry is suffering from depression. I highly doubt that he will give in to medication to treat it. He is insisting that the cancer is back. He has had much difficulty recovering along with several complications. He is very thin and in pain most of the time. He can go several hours feeling great, then out of nowhere he is on the floor. He has a ct of kidneys today and a scope with biopsy on Thursday. He told me last night that he will refuse any further chemo if required. He wants to hurry up and get this over with. We dont even know if he has a recurrence yet. I want to be angry with him for giving up, but I can't because when I look at him I feel so terrible for what this disease has done to him. I just cant believe it all.

Posts: 91
Joined: Mar 2011

hello, i 'm sorry you are both feeling so bad. 

my husband had a recurrence last march 2012 and had chemo again  last year.

they had forgotten to test him for Her2 last year at the time of his recurrence  but tested him this year and he is Her2 positive and getting more  chemo and herceptin .


On the whole he feels very good and uses his bicycle as his main mode of transportation. We are going to Dublin for  two weeks soon.  

I'm saying this to show there is a possility of living relatively well even with a recurrence and to treat the recurrence.

the thing my husband says is that what makes everything bearable is the fact that he has no pain.

Is there anything that they can give your husband to relieve his pain? It would make things more bearable for him and perhpas be more optimistic about the possibilty of treatment if needed.

I hope there is no recurrence, of course, that would be the best outcome but if there is, now  they treat cancer as a chronic disease.

All the best ,



NikiMo's picture
Posts: 347
Joined: Jul 2011


How many months out from surgery is Larry?  I can tell you that Jeff didn't start to feel half normal until 1 year past surgery.  I would say that he was more active at about 6 months, that is when we took our first vacation and when he started work out with a physical therapist.  At almost two years from surgery he is able to do most things, but we still have set backs.  Right now he is dealing with a lot of intestinal issues from traveling abroad.  He actually had a bit of a meltdown three weeks ago, he is sick of feeling different from everyone else.  And then he feels guilty because as far as we know he is beating this disease and he knows there are others who would give anything to be in his shoes.  It is the life of the cancer survivor.  There will be ups and downs, and unfortunately it sounds like Larry is in a down.  After surgery Jeff use to breakdown alot and actually cried in the doctor's office.  The NP there said she thought he was suffering from situational depression, it doesn't mean that Jeff or Larry are depressed people normally it just means they have been through a trauma and need a little help feeling better.  Now Jeff's first Onco was a bit of challenge and thought Jeff was fine, so Jeff suffered through without any depression meds, but he would take anxiety meds.  

How are you doing??  Emotionally the caregiver is going through thier own ups and downs.  I can tell you that everytime we get near a scan date I turn into a basketcase.  Jeff will actually tell people that I get weird when it is scan time.  I too have emotional scars from the whole thing, and am on anxiety meds to deal with what they think is PTSD.  I don't know if I would go that far, but it was pretty traumatic watching the most important person in the world to you struggle every day over and over.


I would say take some deep breaths, reach down deep for the added patience Larry needs at this time, and if need be start to advocate for him.  Most times someone who is depressed has no idea they are depressed.  Hopefully you will get some answers very soon.



Hockey Wife
Posts: 15
Joined: Jan 2013


My husband went thru a major depression following chemo, post esophogectomy. Its the depression/anxiety talking, he needs to speak to someone and get on meds. My husband had his esophogectomy 9-12, depression hit Jan, Feb & March of 2013. Its a fight to get back, but they can! Call your oncoligist and he should be able to refer you to someone. Let me know if I can help!


jcarol's picture
Posts: 30
Joined: Jun 2013

I've been thinking about both of you for a while...wondering and worrying about how you are doing.  I'm sorry to hear that Larry is feeling so depressed and fatalistic and I know the anxiety you must be dealing with.  I honestly don't know how I would be managing (both of our cancers) without taking some medication. U of M does have a psych med program specifically for their cancer patients.  I didn't use them (I'm a retired psychologist) but they might be of real help.  Clint (pre-operation) seems chipper without meds but I think the reality of post-surgery will be tough and i need to be in as-good-as possible psychological shape to manage.  I began taking Lexapro right after Clint's diagnosis (and a bit of Xanax until it kicked-in).  I have been able to keep on a very even keel since then.  I know that post-surgery is going to be a totally different ballgame.

Do you know when the U of M will have the meeting you mentioned for Esophageal Cancer patients/survivors in September?  I'd love to arrange to come if it is after my radiation is over. If you have any questions feel free to send a PM.




Posts: 760
Joined: Apr 2012

My husband won't admit that he is fighting depression and even if he did, he wouldn't take the medication for it.  We have already tried that.  As far as Larry saying no more chemo, that is his choice.  I know how hard that will be as my husband said no more after undergoing 70 rounds of radiation, 10 rounds of chemo and surgery.  Then to have a reoccurrence and spread to his right lung, he said enough is enough.  That was in January when he had a PET/CT scan and we were told then.  Biopsy on lung showed spread of cancer, even though it was very small.  Surgery was ruled out altogether. 

I can honestly say that since January/February he has been holding his own and if he had elected more chemo, I do wonder if he would still be here today.  I am trying to talk him into having a CT scan to see how things are going but he doesn't want to.  Again his choice.  It is hard to sit and watch the progression.  But after all he has been thru, it is his choice.  We have been married 51 years and it is hard to think about the future.  He has made all his own decisions.  I can honestly say that if I were to be diagnosed with cancer, I don't know if I could or would go thru what I have seen him go thru.  Cancer is a beast and the treatment and side effects are horrible.  We were told that chemo would not cure only prolong and possibly hasten due to how much stronger the chemo would be this time around.

Wishing you both peace, comfort and love -- Sharon

RKMikulski's picture
Posts: 34
Joined: Apr 2013

Might as well chime in. My husband is on Prozac and xanax I take a occasional Valium. I am not embarrassed to say we could not get through this without help. My husband also sees a psychologist at first weekly now monthly. I go through days and weeks with no sleep until I eventually drug myself.

Heeran's picture
Posts: 173
Joined: Aug 2011

Hi Laura,

I can relate to you from a caregivers standpoint but I've been through thick and thin w/ my mom the last 2 yrs battling this disease.  She also got very depressed off and on and refused depression meds.  We've been doing hospice at home for about a month and she stated she wished she died at the surgery table compared to going through hell right now dying very uncomfortably.  She has lots of side effects from the "comfort meds" and the only joy she gets is by quenching her thirst (which repeasts the secretions and gagging/vomitting cyle).  As part care-taker over the last two years, I've cried for weeks on ends, started praying that she be one of the lucky ones to get cured, angry and her and my dad for smoking for 40 yrs, not eating healthy, for refusing to cut out sugar during our treatments, and then feeling guilty.  Guilty, saddness, acceptance, angry-at her for dying-at myself that I didn't take better care of her-angry at othe people b/c they have their moms- Just weird stuff has been going through my head these last 2 years.  I even told my husband I think I've been phychotic.  I know logically I'm grieving but it just feels aweful.


I hope all your tests come out clean and stay that way.  I hope you have all the time in the world with him.  


ceb1's picture
Posts: 7
Joined: Jun 2013

I think of myself as a pretty solid person, but watching my husband deal with this cancer for 2 years has definitely driven me crazy at times. How can it not? Same for him (worse for him....). I think everyone has to do what they can to stay sane. I run, do yoga, make sure I stay close to my kids, go out with friends when possible, try to keep my career on track and see a pyschologist once every two weeks. Even so, some days are just bad. Scan days, scan result days, days when they are on the couch and can't move or talk. Those are days when I am just glad they are over and I can go to sleep. That is IF I can stay asleep. I also agree with the guilt. I am suffering watching him suffer, but he is the one that is facing his own mortality. My husband is stubborn too so I really have no control over what he does and doesn't do (..or we wouldn't be in this mess since I begged him to stop smoking more times than I can count...). Someone mentioned PTSD...maybe not a stretch. The 16 days my husband was in the hospital will stay with me forever as, so far, the worst time yet. I am scared to think what is next. Oh, and tomorrow is a scan day....

Do what you can, but caregivers - do not apologize for being human. This is tough.

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