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Two months out - lots of emotions

ImNotDeadYet's picture
Posts: 244
Joined: Apr 2017

Hi. I’m Gary. I’m new to this group and glad I found you.

Mid-to-late January I went to my doc because of bloody urine. They ran tests, saw no signs of infection or any obvious cause, and thought it was probably kidney stones. They said we’d redo the test in a week. Less than a week after that, I was in severe discomfort with tremendous difficulty urinating. I left work, took the long train ride home, and then went straight to ER. After the CT, I was told I had a racquetball-sized tumor on my left kidney. While they wouldn’t say for sure at the time, I knew it was cancer; and I was right. They operated the next day, with a terrific surgeon performing a radical nephrectomy of my left kidney. Totally encapsulated, clear margins, no recommended adjuvant care.

Still having a bit of pain from time to time, and sometimes inexplicably tired. I guess I figured that at this point (just over two months out) I’d be back to normal. I can manage the pain and the fatigue. What I’m noticing though, is I seem to feel down for no apparent reason. Just out of nowhere, I feel like sobbing. I’m not a stoic guy by any means, but I’m not normally prone to bouts of random crying. I just feel like I’m going through the motions at work, just to get through the day. Work has become less meaningful, and I seem to hate the commute more than I ever did. I think I’m holding up well outwardly – everyone marvels at my great attitude and sense of humor. Inside, I’m a bit more of a mess. Our lease is up and we must move by end of May. We’re hoping to relocate to another (healthier lifestyle) area. But with less than two months to go, I have no clue where we’re going, or if we’re staying local.

My partner has been wonderful, she really has. But dealing with emotional stuff is not really in her wheelhouse. I see a therapist every two weeks, and that’s been helping. I just can’t get past this feeling down. I’ve had downer periods before, but this feels different. It’s like I’m thinking about life and realizing just how short and precious it is. I want to live every moment and enjoy it. And for some reason, despite my rational appreciation for every minute I have, I can’t shake this feeling.

I don’t even know what my question is, or if I even have one. I just didn’t know where else to share this and needed to get it out. Sorry if I was rambling, and thanks for reading.

hardo718's picture
Posts: 853
Joined: Jan 2016

Truthfully, what you're going thru is completely normal.....just my opinion.  I'm sure others will chime in with their thoughts and opinions as well.  It's a lot to absorb, and it's VERY life altering.  You've been thru a lot with the surgery and diagnosis and part of the healing process is coming to terms with the fact that you had cancer.  That, in and of itself can be an exhausting process.  BUT, you might want to ask your doctor to order a CBC to make sure you aren't anemic as well.  Not uncommon.  Are they planning on doing any follow-up care?  I hope.  Typically every 6 months or so at first they usually want scans, labs, etc.

And now for the move.  Take it easy and try not to overdo.  You're still in the early stages of healing, even if the outside is healed up, the insides take much longer.

I'll keep you in my prayers,


ImNotDeadYet's picture
Posts: 244
Joined: Apr 2017

Thanks for the reply, Donna. I appreciate your kind words. I know (intellectually) that I'll get through this and that others have had it much worse than I have. Knowing that generally helps keep me more positive. For some reason, right now it's not. And I'll get through this too - and whatever else this thing throws at me.

It's wonderful to find a group of people who have the collective perspective of this group. I look forward to learning more here and hope one day I can be of support to others.

mlph4021's picture
Posts: 76
Joined: Dec 2016

When I finally started feeling better. I went from being terrified finding out and pre-surgery to just wrecked following surgery. It hurt a lot more than I expected and I was angry that I couldn't do the things I wanted to do. I was even angry at my surgeon, the man who literally saved me life! Then the depression set in and some days I thought it would have been better to have not gone through the surgery. 

Of course, now I know that is just ridiculous and I am grateful it was found when it was and the surgery is in the past. I think just having a "safe" space to talk about all the feelings helps a lot. Usually after just telling others how I felt, my mood improved a bit. My biggest issue was that everyone around me was so happy it was over and the surgeon said the margins were clear. Life went on. I didn't want to burden them with, "hey I still feel bad." 

For me, I started accepting all invitations to get out of the house. And I started having fun again. And I am trying new things as well, currently trying to get some friends together to walk a 5k, because why not? 

ImNotDeadYet's picture
Posts: 244
Joined: Apr 2017

Thanks! I feel a little better knowing it's not just me. It's  good to see that there's light at the end of the tunnel.

Jan4you's picture
Posts: 1327
Joined: Oct 2013

Glad you came to us! Welcome! But I worked in mental health. I do not think this is a psychological issue as much as other factors. It is not uncommon to have a "downer" kind of reaction following any trauma, surgery and anesthesia. Its the CHEMICALS and lack of NUTRITION for the brain. Also it is good to have them check you for anemia, Vit b12 Vit D levels. That alone can cause some neurological and/or depressive symptom.

See if you can find a NURTRIONIST (after your MD checks your labs for the above mentioned) or professional trained in NRT (nutritional response testing). It probably will not be a MD. They don't even get any training in nutrition or alternative integrative medicine, but some do. Once you are tested and they realize what you are decifient in and you start the supplements you need to build yourself back up, I bet you'll start to feel better. I promise.

Let us know how you are doing. We'll be here for you. So look up NRT trained professionals. Some are chiropractors. Mine was a certified nutritionist, NOT a dietician you find in the hospitals. They do not have NRT training.

I am here for you.

Warmly, Jan

ImNotDeadYet's picture
Posts: 244
Joined: Apr 2017

Thanks, Jan. Great suggestions. This (the food) may be the hardest part for me in the long term, but I'm slowly making some needed changes.

donna_lee's picture
Posts: 1018
Joined: Feb 2009

and back on his horse.

To say you got a double whammy is an understatement.  You hardly had time to adjust to maybe I'm OK, to I have cancer, to I've had surgery for cancer.  The emotional part is more difficult than the physical; because you can at least see evidence of healing, or even feel the evidence.  At least I was already on an antidepressant, but the low spells that came took me lower than I wanted to be, so the Dr.  tried to change my meds.  I say tried...as it didn't work and made things worse until I leterally ordered my PC to get me back to normal.  Whatever normal is!!

The crying, the sadness, the loss of energy and enthusiasm are all part of coming to terms with the disease.

Mild physical activity on a regular basis, healthy meals, and sharing laughter with friends or family are a place to start.  Get outdoors as the weather warms up.  Do a project that takes little thought but keeps you busy, i.e. clean out a drawer or two or three.  Tidy up a section of the garage. Organize a recycling area.  Read a good book, but forgo the ice cream. Get the dice game "LCR" and invite friends over.  You'll laugh and be busy. Prepare a list of good things to live for and look forward to.  If you like to hike, start by setting the goals to make you fit enought to take hikes this summer.  If you like to golf, find a practice area and putt/chip or drive.  Take the dog for a walk.  There are so many things you are able and capable of doing; so don't let yourself fall into a hole and say you can't do anything. 

Join a cancer support group; and/or come back to this group with your worries and problems.  There are a few newbies here, but there are years of experience of survivorship on this board and we've heard just about all that's out there.

Read some the member's stories.  Just click on their user names and you'll read about the drugs and medications, the multiple surgeries, the other dieseases, etc. And while I'm there, fill in the start of your story by creating your page.

We wish you good luck and lots of hugs.

donna_lee     Yeah, another Donna, so I go by my original user name


ImNotDeadYet's picture
Posts: 244
Joined: Apr 2017

Thank you, Donna. I plan to get better acquainted with the resources here. I'm really looking fwd to learning from others in this forum who have been down this part of the road already..

Steve.Adam's picture
Posts: 463
Joined: Oct 2016

You could try long (slow) walks in beautiful places, when you're up to it.

Getting your mind off depression is ok, but it depends on your personality, I think. You might find it helpful to analyse your thoughts and feelings. 

How did you feel about your life before you got cancer?

Maybe you're due for a change.

I'm projecting my own thoughts on to your situation. My apologies for that, but we might have similar feelings.

Sometimes it's better to get variety in responses.


ImNotDeadYet's picture
Posts: 244
Joined: Apr 2017

Nothing to apologize for, Sreve. I appreciate your thoughts. I think I have been due for a change. Perhaps this was my wake-up call to get the ball rolling.

Posts: 425
Joined: Nov 2016

I like your user name...you are not dead yet...you'll get better! Wink It has been six months since my surgery to remove my left kidney. I can relate to the down times. I think part of the weirdness for me was I had this major surgery to remove this horrible disease and evil mass inside of me, a very serious situation. Then I am able to get about, walk, get back to work with no further treatment except checkups every 6 months. People and family see you are getting about okay and functioning and outwardly things seem normal, but inside my emotions are still in a mess and thing don't seem normal. Getting out and walking helps me but to be honest, I am still having rough days emotionally. Just my two cents worth, hope you feel better all around soon, Gary.

ImNotDeadYet's picture
Posts: 244
Joined: Apr 2017

Deanie, I think you described a lot of what I'm feeling. Once again, it's good to know I'm not alone in feeling these things.

nasman's picture
Posts: 3
Joined: Jun 2013


I’m a long term survivor & I still have episodes of the blues. My significant other finds my side effects to difficult to deal with, so she deals with it by not dealing with it. it’s not that she doesn’t care, but the stress is too much for her. at times I feel quite alone....other people don’t understand so much unless they’ve been through it. That is is why online support forums are important. I talk to people who understand & spend time hiking early each morning to help manage my health & my state of mind. It will get better given time. Best wishes to you.

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