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Austin - Emotional and psychological weight of astrocytoma

Greg_Combs's picture
Greg_Combs
Posts: 2
Joined: May 2016

I was recently diagnosed with an astrocytoma in my right temporal lobe, pressing against my spinal cord. Rather than wait and let the fear cripple me, I opted for a fast-track treatment path. 

I had had a craniotomy last week and the surgeon was able to remove about 90% of the tumor. What remains is categorized as a grade 3 astrocytoma, so we're following up with radiation in the next couple of weeks to last about 6 weeks. Chemo may follow radiation depending on the extensive genetics test results and MRI/CT scans during the course of radiation. 

Thats all well and good, I have a lot of trust in the physicians network and their treatment processes. But what's really bothering me is my emotional and psychological state and behavior.  Since the craniotomy, I've felt out of place in my new reality.  For example, a small part of me expected to die during the craniotomy -- like I went through the mental hoops to come to accept that could be an outcome. But thankfully I didn't die. But my mind has already constructed this alternate reality that didn't occur. So now everyday there's like a cognitive dissonance that's impeding my normal connection with my wife, my kids, my connection to my day job. 

i wonder if other patients have experienced this, or if their caregivers have witnessed it?  How did you work through it?

 

More than anything I'd like to return to a sense of normalcy. I know that my treatment and recovery will take time, but I need to find the path that leads me back to the reality as I knew before I was diagnosed. Is that impossible?  I want to feel like I belong here, but there's this mental barrier that's clouding and filtering my daily interactions with the people I love and the people I work with. 

 

Any advice from the community?

 

-- Greg

 

Greg_Combs's picture
Greg_Combs
Posts: 2
Joined: May 2016

feeling a little bit better this week than last week. 

still, if someone knows of a good therapist or group that I should visit, let me know.

cindysuetoyou's picture
cindysuetoyou
Posts: 514
Joined: Dec 2009

hi, Greg.

My son was diagnosed in May of 2009 with anaplastic oligodendroglioma. He lost his battle on October 15, 2012.

I remember people telling us that we had a "new normal" now and that we needed to learn to embrace it. I didn't like hearing that but I guess it was true. We made it a point to look for every good and positive thing that came out of David's situation, and surprisingly enough, there was a lot of good. 

We met two people during the course of David's battle. Both were young...early and mid 20's. Both were diagnosed the same month as David but they had a different diagnosis than David---they both had anaplastic astrocytomas. Both had surgery and chemo. Both are doing very well, with NED. (No evidence of disease). one finished college and is a practicing radiation oncologist, the other is a physicist--a rocket scientist. I just wanted to let you know about their successful battles. When David was fighting, it really helped us to know about others that were winning the battle. I hope it helps you too. 

Never, ever give up.  There's always hope. Each day we are alive, we are one day closer to a better treatment plan and one day closer to a cure. I pray that they find a cure in my lifetime  

love and blessings to you,

Cindy in Salem, OR

PS please ask your doctor to put you in touch with a support group. I went to a cancer survivor's group and it helped immensely to talk with people that were going through the exact same stuff. Just knowing that others knew what I was feeling and going through really made a big difference for me.   

 

 

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