Depression and cancer diagnosis: Today is a rough day

Posted by azkidney57 @azkidney57, Dec 30, 2019

Today I had a rough day. I am physically well but emotionally not so well. My mood has been low and I kept asking myself why. Then I realized a new year is starting. This will be the first year I will begin as a cancer patient. Seven months ago I underwent a nephrectomy for renal cell carcinoma. So much has happened in those seven months. I am not the same person I was before the cancer diagnosis. I don’t feel as sure of myself anymore. I don’t plan for my future too much. I have been living day to day because that seems prudent. I notice certain things trigger the “sense of loss” I feel at times. It’s a difficult thing to be faced with ones mortality.

I think for me my cancer journey will be hyphenated by the depression that has set in since my diagnosis. It doesn’t help that I work at a hospital. I actually work at the hospital where I had my surgery. Today a simple appointment reminder set me in a sort of emotional tail spin. I had a reminder for my follow up with the surgeon that performed my nephrectomy. Wow I thought a new year is coming.

I have never faced a new year as a cancer patient. It made me feel sad and angry at the same time. I felt a knot in my gut. The worst time for me is late in the evening and early hours when I am alone with my thoughts. We all live with an illusion of immortality. When that “veil” of immortality is removed there lies reality. It’s a hard thing to grasp. I am not use to living with the reality of death in front of me like a black cloud of doom lurking nearby. It is disquieting.

I try to remind myself that I am not alone. Right next to me now I feel the warmth of my dog against my leg. That is so comforting. It heals my soul. It’s the little things nowadays that mean so very much. Life is so precious. Don’t waste a minute of it.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Cancer: Managing Symptoms Support Group.

@kikibann32

I'm not sure why I'm here. I guess I try to take solace in the fact I'm not alone, even though I often feel very much so. Do you think these feelings come from your tbi? How did you feel before? I know you seemed to live life to its fullest but how did you feel about death before? I'm terrified of dying and I can't imagine wanting death more than wanting to live. I'm fairly positive you won't see this but in the rare chance you do, I hope you're well. Sincerely.

Jump to this post

Hi @kikibann32 I’d like to welcome you to Mayo Clinic Connect. I know you wrote in reply to @mrbrown9 but I’m not sure if he’s still active in the forum. It appears his first comment was the only time he’s written.

The visceral impact of a cancer diagnosis is something no one can fully understand until it happens to them. We immediately tend to turn to the prospect of death. I’ve been there.
I wasn’t actually afraid of dying. I was so near death when I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia that I was actually ready to cross over that rainbow bridge or whatever happens to us. It was incredibly peaceful and I had no fear whatsoever.
But what I was scared of beforehand was leaving behind my family, friends, things I loved…my life! I was scared to run out of time.
However, better living through chemistry and science, I am still here 4 years later, living my best life. I no longer fear death. I stared death in the face and defied it and now I have a sense of power at having beaten the odds. Every day is a gift and I don’t waste a moment.
I went through many rounds of powerful chemo and also had a bone marrow transplant. All the things we fear most when we worry about ever getting cancer. Well, they are a necessary means to an end of cancer in our bodies and nothing to fear. We perserver one day at a time.
Going through the treatments, I was very pragmatic. If I didn’t make it through, then I knew I gave it my best shot. I’d had a great life which, before that time, I took for granted.

I also feel like I’m spared for a reason and that’s why I’m on this forum as a mentor, to help instill a sense of hope in others. It’s so important to stay positive, keep a sense of humor and enjoy every day we are not pushing daisies up from the underside.

You are new to the forum so I don’t know much about you except that you’re writing in the cancer group and feeling pretty alone and frightened. I want you to know you’re not alone here. You’ve just gained a new family.
We have so many cancer groups and I’d like to make sure you’re able to Connect with other members along your same journey. May I ask what kind of cancer you have and where you are in your treatments?

REPLY
@mrbrown9

Im reading this and I guess I don’t understand. I have had two different cancers, lymph nodes and melanoma, and the first time I instantly just wanted it out of me. I pushed hard to get immediate surgery. After treatment and recovery I was elated that it wasn’t more serious. That was when I was 24. I threw myself into technical rock climbing for almost 20 years. Climbing all over the world, changing careers and joining the ranks of the medical field. I abandoned my theology degree and finished my Masters in Applied Physics. Raised my children around the world and thought it would never end. It ended one beautifully clear day at 8750 feet on the German-Austrian border on the side of a vertical granite slab in early afternoon. Some rocks dislodged about 60 feet above and one the size of a football penetrated the frontal lobe and changed my life forever. My medical career ended that day. I was put on the disabled list for medical retirement with brain damage, neck and back trauma, damaged shoulders, shattered knee and various cracks and stresses. What followed was massive headaches and over 60 TIA’s. After a year of in-treatment and retraining to walk, talk, cope..I went home to my family (wife of 15 years and two children). I had no idea who they were at the airport. My life had changed. Now many years later I had a melanoma and frankly hoped that it would simply take it’s course. It has been so long since I have been interested in really living that other than periods anxiety and panic which drive me to do, work and accomplish..I feel like I am merely marking time. It’s not interesting to continue anymore. Severe joint and back pain and constant migraine (moderately controlled) headaches invade every moment. Intellectually I understand why people want to live and interact but those emotions and the curiosity and interest in it all simply are no longer my experience. My wife pushed for treatment of the melanoma, again doctors cut and celebrated victory. But now I’m back to marking time. I’m a farmer and despite a lot of pain for the last 25+ years I work hard and long days every day. I participate in church and an organization that helps people as a volunteer, I am able to cope effectively enough that people around me have the sense that I am engaged..that I actually care. But I think often of what relief it would be for this all to simply stop. Recently I have lost about 100lbs…Drs are looking for the usual suspects over the last year. It seems my liver and pancreas are equally disinterested in going on. I ponder the most efficient way to stop it without leaving a mess for my loved ones. This is about me and I don’t want them to have to deal with anything but the normal grief of parting. While I have learned to cope i am generally without affect. I can fake emotional response but I generally do not feel any emotion. I’m not sad, I’m not tearful, I’m not happy or even distracted. I am bored and disinterested in the future. For now i guess I’ll get back to work until i sort this out. The sheep need food three goats need to be slaughtered and put up for Winter and the eggs don’t collect themselves. There is poop to be moved and fields to be sowed for Spring. That’s my grandmother’s influence…”Never leave a job undone”. I hope to see her some day soon.

Jump to this post

I'm not sure why I'm here. I guess I try to take solace in the fact I'm not alone, even though I often feel very much so. Do you think these feelings come from your tbi? How did you feel before? I know you seemed to live life to its fullest but how did you feel about death before? I'm terrified of dying and I can't imagine wanting death more than wanting to live. I'm fairly positive you won't see this but in the rare chance you do, I hope you're well. Sincerely.

REPLY
@rikardlykling

will be having esophagas surgery on Feb.2 i have put my trust in the Lord for a good outcome.My dog is a source of peace to me he knows something is wrong GOD spelled backwards is dog.Rik.

Jump to this post

All the best with your upcoming surgery, Rikard. How are you doing today?

REPLY

will be having esophagas surgery on Feb.2 i have put my trust in the Lord for a good outcome.My dog is a source of peace to me he knows something is wrong GOD spelled backwards is dog.Rik.

REPLY
@mrbrown9

Im reading this and I guess I don’t understand. I have had two different cancers, lymph nodes and melanoma, and the first time I instantly just wanted it out of me. I pushed hard to get immediate surgery. After treatment and recovery I was elated that it wasn’t more serious. That was when I was 24. I threw myself into technical rock climbing for almost 20 years. Climbing all over the world, changing careers and joining the ranks of the medical field. I abandoned my theology degree and finished my Masters in Applied Physics. Raised my children around the world and thought it would never end. It ended one beautifully clear day at 8750 feet on the German-Austrian border on the side of a vertical granite slab in early afternoon. Some rocks dislodged about 60 feet above and one the size of a football penetrated the frontal lobe and changed my life forever. My medical career ended that day. I was put on the disabled list for medical retirement with brain damage, neck and back trauma, damaged shoulders, shattered knee and various cracks and stresses. What followed was massive headaches and over 60 TIA’s. After a year of in-treatment and retraining to walk, talk, cope..I went home to my family (wife of 15 years and two children). I had no idea who they were at the airport. My life had changed. Now many years later I had a melanoma and frankly hoped that it would simply take it’s course. It has been so long since I have been interested in really living that other than periods anxiety and panic which drive me to do, work and accomplish..I feel like I am merely marking time. It’s not interesting to continue anymore. Severe joint and back pain and constant migraine (moderately controlled) headaches invade every moment. Intellectually I understand why people want to live and interact but those emotions and the curiosity and interest in it all simply are no longer my experience. My wife pushed for treatment of the melanoma, again doctors cut and celebrated victory. But now I’m back to marking time. I’m a farmer and despite a lot of pain for the last 25+ years I work hard and long days every day. I participate in church and an organization that helps people as a volunteer, I am able to cope effectively enough that people around me have the sense that I am engaged..that I actually care. But I think often of what relief it would be for this all to simply stop. Recently I have lost about 100lbs…Drs are looking for the usual suspects over the last year. It seems my liver and pancreas are equally disinterested in going on. I ponder the most efficient way to stop it without leaving a mess for my loved ones. This is about me and I don’t want them to have to deal with anything but the normal grief of parting. While I have learned to cope i am generally without affect. I can fake emotional response but I generally do not feel any emotion. I’m not sad, I’m not tearful, I’m not happy or even distracted. I am bored and disinterested in the future. For now i guess I’ll get back to work until i sort this out. The sheep need food three goats need to be slaughtered and put up for Winter and the eggs don’t collect themselves. There is poop to be moved and fields to be sowed for Spring. That’s my grandmother’s influence…”Never leave a job undone”. I hope to see her some day soon.

Jump to this post

@mrbrown9 welcome to Connect. It was very difficult to read your posting; It certainly sound like you’ve had a very difficult time and have lost the zest for life. Have you looked for someone to talk to? What were you looking for when you found Mayo Clinic Connect?

REPLY

Im reading this and I guess I don’t understand. I have had two different cancers, lymph nodes and melanoma, and the first time I instantly just wanted it out of me. I pushed hard to get immediate surgery. After treatment and recovery I was elated that it wasn’t more serious. That was when I was 24. I threw myself into technical rock climbing for almost 20 years. Climbing all over the world, changing careers and joining the ranks of the medical field. I abandoned my theology degree and finished my Masters in Applied Physics. Raised my children around the world and thought it would never end. It ended one beautifully clear day at 8750 feet on the German-Austrian border on the side of a vertical granite slab in early afternoon. Some rocks dislodged about 60 feet above and one the size of a football penetrated the frontal lobe and changed my life forever. My medical career ended that day. I was put on the disabled list for medical retirement with brain damage, neck and back trauma, damaged shoulders, shattered knee and various cracks and stresses. What followed was massive headaches and over 60 TIA’s. After a year of in-treatment and retraining to walk, talk, cope..I went home to my family (wife of 15 years and two children). I had no idea who they were at the airport. My life had changed. Now many years later I had a melanoma and frankly hoped that it would simply take it’s course. It has been so long since I have been interested in really living that other than periods anxiety and panic which drive me to do, work and accomplish..I feel like I am merely marking time. It’s not interesting to continue anymore. Severe joint and back pain and constant migraine (moderately controlled) headaches invade every moment. Intellectually I understand why people want to live and interact but those emotions and the curiosity and interest in it all simply are no longer my experience. My wife pushed for treatment of the melanoma, again doctors cut and celebrated victory. But now I’m back to marking time. I’m a farmer and despite a lot of pain for the last 25+ years I work hard and long days every day. I participate in church and an organization that helps people as a volunteer, I am able to cope effectively enough that people around me have the sense that I am engaged..that I actually care. But I think often of what relief it would be for this all to simply stop. Recently I have lost about 100lbs…Drs are looking for the usual suspects over the last year. It seems my liver and pancreas are equally disinterested in going on. I ponder the most efficient way to stop it without leaving a mess for my loved ones. This is about me and I don’t want them to have to deal with anything but the normal grief of parting. While I have learned to cope i am generally without affect. I can fake emotional response but I generally do not feel any emotion. I’m not sad, I’m not tearful, I’m not happy or even distracted. I am bored and disinterested in the future. For now i guess I’ll get back to work until i sort this out. The sheep need food three goats need to be slaughtered and put up for Winter and the eggs don’t collect themselves. There is poop to be moved and fields to be sowed for Spring. That’s my grandmother’s influence…”Never leave a job undone”. I hope to see her some day soon.

REPLY

Hello Colleen hope you are doing well. I haven’t confirmed my scan appointments for May as of yet. I will do so in the coming weeks. I try not to think about my scans until the time comes closer but I do think about how to better prepare. The anxiety that occurs is my fear of the “unknown”. Now with the virus that has plagued the world this fear of the unknown has taken on a new dimension or depth. There so much “unknown” out there and an entire world is in its grip. I am now a “displaced” worker. My department at the hospital where I work was greatly affected by the virus epidemic. I now scrounge around for various “other” work. I am not working full time at present. But I am in good company a nation and world of displaced workers. I haven’t lost my job I am happy about that. I may take on a part time job. I feel well physically. I am taking one day at a time. It’s all a matter of “perspective”.

REPLY
@azkidney57

Hello Colleen thank you for asking about me. My scans in late February 2020 were clean. No Mets which of course was great news. I did not do so well in terms of the “scan anxiety” at all. I had the chest CT first and I almost had a panic attack. I dreaded the scan even though it was a short scan. I see a psychiatrist and she prescribed Lorazepam to take. I took the drug prior to the MRI, abd/ pelvis which was a week later. My experience was better, not great but tolerable. At present I am doing well psychologically. Next scans due late May. The virus of course is awful but I am managing. I met a man and I have been dating him. I haven’t told about my RCC, nephrectomy, don’t see a need to. This May will mark my one year anniversary. I am far better than I was a year ago but I take things one day at a time and I am happy each day that I am cancer free and virus free. A new perspective is in place and I am learning more tolerance and patience. Best wishes to all!

Jump to this post

@azkidney57 so good to hear from you. What a difference a (almost) year makes. Great news on the "no mets" results. I hope you're feeling better prepared mentally for the scans in May. Is the appointment confirmed?

REPLY

Hello Colleen thank you for asking about me. My scans in late February 2020 were clean. No Mets which of course was great news. I did not do so well in terms of the “scan anxiety” at all. I had the chest CT first and I almost had a panic attack. I dreaded the scan even though it was a short scan. I see a psychiatrist and she prescribed Lorazepam to take. I took the drug prior to the MRI, abd/ pelvis which was a week later. My experience was better, not great but tolerable. At present I am doing well psychologically. Next scans due late May. The virus of course is awful but I am managing. I met a man and I have been dating him. I haven’t told about my RCC, nephrectomy, don’t see a need to. This May will mark my one year anniversary. I am far better than I was a year ago but I take things one day at a time and I am happy each day that I am cancer free and virus free. A new perspective is in place and I am learning more tolerance and patience. Best wishes to all!

REPLY

@azkidney57 I’ve been thinking about you. How are you doing?

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.