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Anxiety

askmimi's picture
askmimi
Posts: 20
Joined: Jul 2018

Hi all.  I haven't posted for a while.  I feel like I've just been trying to keep this ship afloat lately.  My hubby just did his 5th round of Folfox Wed-Fri.  The effects are cumulative.  He says nausea gets worse each time, the metal taste, the neuropathy/cold sensitivity, etc.  The biggest thing is the exhaustion.  He is so tired and frustrated because he's so tired.  

Me?  I feel like I am spinning a dozen plates and several are losing their balance.  Some days are better than others. One of my kids is really struggling emotionally and that has been an added stressor for both of us.  It got serious enough that he had to be admitted to the hospital, not that I feel like the hospital did a dang thing to help him.  

My doc gave me some anxiety medication, and the one day I took it, I was very glad I only took one instead of the 2 pills recommended....I felt higher than a kite, which made me more anxious because I really hate feeling out of control.    I will never take that stuff again.  

Hubby will have another scan after the next round in 2 weeks.  I'm really stressed about that.  He was staged 3C colon cancer- found in 10 out of the 15 lymph nodes.  I'm terrified that it will be showing up in liver or lungs.  I don't know if the fear/anxiety ever subsides.  When he had the CT scan after his colonoscopy, they didn't even see the tumor in his colon on the CT scan....  so I'm terrified that they didn't see something that was there in addition to the colon.  

Any tips on how to help him with his exhaustion?  I think that's the symptom that frustrates him more than anything.  Any tips on how to calm me down?  Thanks!

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
Posts: 817
Joined: Aug 2013

Sorry things are going rough, my experience was different with the folfox, I was able to work, albeit slower and with more difficulty. Many here practice mindfulness, as do I to simply slow the anxiety, and bring myself back to the moment, with slow breathing and focus. Much of your anxiety seems tied to what might happen in the future, and as I've learned, anticipating things on this path, isn't useful at all. Early on I took the Xanax they offered to prescribe, one 50mg pill did stop the worst of the anxiety, two invariably put me to sleep, but everyone is different. My wife took Ativan after her diagnosis, but they seemed less potent to me.[yes, as a child of the 70's, I tried/try stuff out]. I was stage 111b, and it came back twice in my liver, but I'm 11 years out and 4 years clear since my last liver resection. I still have the Xanax prescription, because I'm lazy and it works for scan/blood test reveals and 3am "wake up and worry" sessions, but truly, mindfulness would work as well. Your other question about your hubby's frustraition on chemo, I'd keep the pressure off on anything he doesn't absolutely need to get done, a lot of little things can wait. Hoping for good news from you in a couple weeks...............................................Dave

mountainhiker
Posts: 63
Joined: Aug 2018

There is no way to pretty it up.  It's without a doubt the most difficult thing I've ever done.  Nausea was not an issue during my 14 rounds of chemo (3 Folfox, 11 Folfiri), but the fatigue and constipation were awful.  It slowed me down but never stopped me.  The only time I took off from work was when I was in the hospital for surgery and infusion days.  My only suggestion is to not give in to the fatigue - do something, anything.  I remember last September I was two months out of liver resection surgery and was on my second or third round of chemo and was hurting and exhausted.  So I went outside and spent 6 hours ripping the front suspension out of my car and rebuilding it.  Probably not the smartest thing to do, but it needed to be done and I just wanted to stay busy and get cancer off my mind for a while.  I found that if I could beat the mental part, I was good.

As far as calming you down...I think you just have to accept what's happening and know that there is no amount of worrying that will change it.  Your husband is stage 3 and I pray he never goes to stage 4.  But just know that if he does, it's not a death sentence.  It'll be difficult, but both of you will get through this - together.

mountainhiker 

flowerrod
Posts: 22
Joined: Jun 2018

medical marijuana helps my husband and me with the anxiety. we have a legal card - you guys will definitely qualify too. helps with sleeping and eating as well. it the hardest thing, we all hanging in there. stay strong, eat healthy, go for a walks... anything that helps for you.

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 4447
Joined: Jan 2013

I know, its so hard, and anxiety over upcoming tests is a life-long trial. Even when you're hubby is home and free, there will be another scan, and you will be anxious.

I agree with Dave, and meditate. When it was really bad, I used a guided imagery CD, which helped me no end. 

As for the fatigue, I think that had to be one of the worst side effects for me. I hate being in the house, but I when the fatigue hit, I would be on my knees, literally, if I wasn't on the couch. There were several times, I had to crawl to the couch, and then could barely pull myself up onto it. 

It is good to try and keep moving, but if your husband literally can't move (as I experienced), then there really isn't much you can do but give in to it. 

If he can still eat well, then obviously a healthy diet won't go amiss. 

Its a hard ride, and seems never ending; but it will be over, and then it will be a memory, a bad one, but a memory. 

Try to take it one day at a time. 

Tru

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 5729
Joined: Feb 2009

Fatigue and exhaustion are probably the most common of symptoms.  It's hard to say what is going to help hubby or not, but one thing not to do is sit and lay constantly.  You need to push to get him motivated even when it's hard to have the strength to do it.  Sometimes a small walk can make someone feel so much better even when they resist at first.  Going out for a cup of coffee just for 1/2 hour to sit and talk about anything than treatment or anything related.  Going to a store for a short trip out would be a good distraction.  Let him take time to rest, but also try to get him to move also.  Hoping the test results come out good and please let us know how he is doing.

Kim

Twinzma
Posts: 154
Joined: Jan 2018

No it never goes away for us caretakers but you do get better with coping with it in time. It's so hard to watch our loved ones go through this and sometimes you need to step aside love. I go over to my freinds house every so often on A friday night. They always have lots of people over and it is a good distraction. Once in a while my hubby will join me but not very often. I went this Firday and found myself doing the two step after a little encouragement from my friends. For just a couple of hours my life wasn't filled with doctors, chemo, the what ifs. At first I felt guilty going out but now it's something I know I need to do it to keep my sanity. I was taking 3 valium a day at the start of this a year ago and now I only need one every once in a while. Please remember to take care of yourself too. You won't be any good to him if you fall ill yourself. Take that mental break, even if it's just going and getting your nails painted at the salon. 

steveja
Posts: 44
Joined: Apr 2017

In conventional anxiety disorders someone has an unrealistic assessment of risk, and exaggerated fears, and with tranquilizing meds and some limited exposure to the feared item, they can be brought around to accept that the fear isn't realistic. That is NOT what you are experiencing.

You are experiencing very realistic fears and concerns, and are facing (will continue to face) huge levels of uncertaintly about major isues in your lives. Your views about this are likely very realisic, not exaggerted and unfounded.  So any med that 'tranquilizes' or makes you 'high' is just escapism.  It's no better than bourbon-therapy, and you are wise to stop.  Unlike a fear of air-travel or elevators, your concerns are reailistic; you don't have any erroneous thinking that needs to be re-learned with the help of mood altering drugs.

My *opinion* is that the state of cancer patients (and likely their care-givers) is closer to the 'learned helplessness" concept from animal studies of the 1960s by Maier, & Segilman...

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4920136/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learned_helplessness

We've all experienced aversive effects of cancer, a sort of punishment, and we have almost no control over it, no ability to escape.  When they do this to animals, they "learn" to stop reacting and trying to avoid the harm, which causes changes to brain chemistry and related effects. There are similarities to PTSD and depression more than to anxiety.  If you read the papers you can see why advice like 'don't give up', 'keep active' make a lot of sense, even light exercise can be preventative but may not be useful once your body has already 'learned helplessness'.

There is evidence that SSRIs (meds like prozac, zoloft, celexa) can help correct the serotonin deficit, and they don't make you high at all.  There are good reasons to think that CBD has a similar effect on serotonin, tho' the amount of studies is limited..

These are my personal musings on the topic, not medical advice.

It sound to me like you are dealing with a bad situation very well.  You reached out for help, got pushed toward a poor-choice med, and made a good judgement about it's utility quickly.

I've nothing else brilliant to say, except plan some "me time".   Social activies with a friend or two are ideal, but even binge watching movies alone helps..   You need to get a little distance from the issue a couple times a week.

 

Butt
Posts: 70
Joined: May 2018

 I heard from a nurse that 5hft and happy camper herbal supplement does help a lot of people.

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