Depression and cancer diagnosis

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.

I hear you. This has been a tumultuous year for us as well. We lost a dear family member and I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Living with a cancer diagnosis is an emotional roller coaster. I try really hard to not overthink things as I am essentially cancer free right now. But everyday when I take my medication it is a stark reminder that mortality is out there. The middle of the night, when I awaken for any odd reason, is when my mind races. Any given day I might burst into tears because the future is so unknown. But then I realize that the future is unknown for everyone not just cancer patients. My daughter's friend went out to a bar one evening. She was responsible and called a Lyft to go home. She never made it as her Lyft was t-boned by a drunk driver. She was 22 years old. Like you said most people live with the "veil" of immortality and they don't realize that death is in front of them all the time. With a cancer diagnosis it brings living more to the forefront. You are on the right track with the idea of not wasting a minute of life. It is indeed the little things, like the warmth of your dog against your leg, that mean the most. Keep your chin up!

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I am glad you reached out on connect, I feel the same way some days. I could not stop crying one day at oncologist and she referred me to the psychology dept. Just talking to someone (a professional) helped a lot.

For eighteen months I felt like I could not leave town due to appointments and how I was feeling. I understand being afraid of making plans in case you have to change them. When I finally went on vacation for a week last spring, it was great. I could not do everything I did in past, but nice to have change of scenery.

In 2020 I plan on making more travel plans. I will purchase travel insurance in case I have to change plans.

Do not ignore the symptoms. I suggest you make an appointment to talk to someone about depression.

Laurie

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I know that feeling. I have multiple myeloma and end stage renal failure. The middle of the night is always the worst time for me. It's when I'm alone and everything I worry about comes to light. Maybe I need to talk to someone. Thanks for sharing.

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@roch

I am glad you reached out on connect, I feel the same way some days. I could not stop crying one day at oncologist and she referred me to the psychology dept. Just talking to someone (a professional) helped a lot.

For eighteen months I felt like I could not leave town due to appointments and how I was feeling. I understand being afraid of making plans in case you have to change them. When I finally went on vacation for a week last spring, it was great. I could not do everything I did in past, but nice to have change of scenery.

In 2020 I plan on making more travel plans. I will purchase travel insurance in case I have to change plans.

Do not ignore the symptoms. I suggest you make an appointment to talk to someone about depression.

Laurie

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I’m glad to hear you plan to travel. If you travel internationally, I suggest you also get medical evacuation insurance. My doctor recommended it for me.

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@roch

I am glad you reached out on connect, I feel the same way some days. I could not stop crying one day at oncologist and she referred me to the psychology dept. Just talking to someone (a professional) helped a lot.

For eighteen months I felt like I could not leave town due to appointments and how I was feeling. I understand being afraid of making plans in case you have to change them. When I finally went on vacation for a week last spring, it was great. I could not do everything I did in past, but nice to have change of scenery.

In 2020 I plan on making more travel plans. I will purchase travel insurance in case I have to change plans.

Do not ignore the symptoms. I suggest you make an appointment to talk to someone about depression.

Laurie

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Hi Laurie — Two years on from my illness I finally have the all-clear to travel and have done so. It's great medicine!
You're absolutely on-target about getting travel insurance. Besides paying for routine stuff like lost or stolen luggage, it also covers medical costs and medical evacuation should you be some place where medical care is not up to standards.
One thing to know: many travel insurance companies will cover pre-existing conditions — but only if you buy insurance soon after you book your trip. How soon? Depends on the company.
A good Web site to research this is squaremouth.com. It doesn't sell travel insurance. Instead it's a directory of companies that do, and it gives the particulars of various companies and their policies as well as their rates.
As for traveling, taking a cruise is a good option because ships have doctors (the one I was just on had two, as well as three nurses) and everyone speaks English. Also, on a ship you can rest when you need to — while still traveling. It's wonderful!

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Thank you for your extreme honesty about your situation. I can relate as I, too, have been battling cancer for the past 2 years. Humanly speaking, I shouldn’t be alive, but thanks to the Mayo Clinic, I am. But the cancer battle continues. What makes the difference for me is the assurance I have that, if I die, I will go to Heaven—not because I’m good enough, because I’m not! But I can be assured of Heaven because Jesus is good enough. I’d like to invite you to go to the website below to learn more. I’m a beggar in need of bread just like everyone else, and I’m wanting to invite you to know how to find the Bread of Life. Thank you. Mark Wilson
http://www.NeedGod.com

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the best thing you did,when you posted your story at mayo connect! share your thoughts with other people. writing down what you went through in the past months. it helped me a lot, for example after my serious car accident (2005), 1 month hospital with 5 operations). I wrote a kind of a diary after the intensive care and sent it to the relatives (no matter, if they appreciated it or not, I did it for ME).
I wish you all the best, yoanne

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Wow I'm in the exact same spot, even with my dog lying next to me in bed. I am scheduled with an appt at Mayo Rochester on Jan 8 and instead of feeling fortunate for the opportunity to be seen there I feel totally frightened. And it is dark at 7 am and the evenings and early mornings are really hard for me too. You have helped me know that I'm not the only one feeling this way and it is ok to be sad and afraid. What is funny is that I worked in a hospital also as a patient advocate and chaplain, helping patients and families, and now I'm the one reaching out in the darkness. We are human and it's ok. So much for the thousands of obits that read "after a courageous battle" . We know it was courageous but not like people think. You don't understand until it's you. Thanks again, Karen

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Karen it helps me knowing I am not alone as well. I find courage when I am validated by others. Sometimes I need to be with my own kind, those that get it. I went to lunch with an old friend and she was ranting about how upset she was. She couldn’t find a pair of shoes to match her new dress. I listened to hear for a while until it made me nauseous. She can’t find a pair of shoes to match a dress and I will be facing another set of scans and blood work and doctor appointments. Quite a contrast. I don’t blame her for anything. She knows about my diagnosis she just doesn’t get it. People like that I must avoid. I can’t relate to her anymore. When you go through a life changing event in life you are changed forever. I have lost friends because of my cancer but that is ok. I don’t have the patience anymore for some people. I have a circle of friends who understand. I find comfort in them. This site also provides a good measure of validation I don’t always receive. Karen you and I are kindred souls. I wish you the best! I will think of you when I can’t sleep. I am sure there are more of us out there! We are not alone!

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Hang in there, it will be better to think positive, but I am sure everyone tells you that. Coming from another facing death I think it means alittle more cause they understand where you are coming from. Please try to stay positive and your single too like me huh… that part sucks too in the alone times, night and morning like you said. Other times there is other people, the tv, music, whatever that will keep you busy but its that time when you have to lay there with your thoughts are the times that you wish it would just all end. Not a nice thought. I wish you the best my friend!!!

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@kat718

I know that feeling. I have multiple myeloma and end stage renal failure. The middle of the night is always the worst time for me. It's when I'm alone and everything I worry about comes to light. Maybe I need to talk to someone. Thanks for sharing.

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My mum was diagnosed SMM. I am very close to her. The diagnosis has changed me. I am depressed every day and always wake up at midnight, wanting to cry.

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Many people suffer from depression. Sadly the outside public see a person who looks healthy but they do not see the inner pain. I sat and cried two to three times a day for what I thought was no good reason. The reason was depression. Thanks heavens for a good physchologist who dismissed me after about six months. I still feel a bit overwhelmed at times, but I can now function as a normal person again. There is no stigma to seeing a doctor for your mental health.

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@blessing19

My mum was diagnosed SMM. I am very close to her. The diagnosis has changed me. I am depressed every day and always wake up at midnight, wanting to cry.

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Kat I have smm too and don't want my daughter to be depressed. I guess I'm scared enough for both of us. I told her it is a bone marrow disorder. I haven't had any treatment yet because it's wait and watch. Although I'm hooked up with Mayo Clinic now and may qualify for a trial. If I do that I will have to tell everyone more. I agree with everyone that having mental health support as well as a support group is necessary. Pleasedont be depressed alone. xxxooo

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@azkidney57 It is not unusual to feel doom-and-gloom after a serious diagnosis. You look at your life from a very different point of view than the week or month before. I know for me, all colors seemed brighter, everything was in such a sharp focus. My most serious conditions are malignant melanoma [surgery Dec 2008], non-treatable rare kidney disorder [kidney function at 33%], and smoldering multiple myeloma [on a "wait-and-watch" plan, labs every 3 months]. But, I tell myself I am not those maladies. I am me. Do I get depressed at what may be a shortened life? Yes, sometimes. Will I be able to accomplish all I want to do? Maybe, maybe not, but that won't stop me from trying. What is important to me, now, may not be the same as the next person. And vice-versa. We each have an expiration date, and my plan is to make the most of my time. Seeing that I do not like labels, I am who I am, and happen to have these things going on in my life. But, it is still my life to make of it what I want.
Ginger

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@azkidney57

Karen it helps me knowing I am not alone as well. I find courage when I am validated by others. Sometimes I need to be with my own kind, those that get it. I went to lunch with an old friend and she was ranting about how upset she was. She couldn’t find a pair of shoes to match her new dress. I listened to hear for a while until it made me nauseous. She can’t find a pair of shoes to match a dress and I will be facing another set of scans and blood work and doctor appointments. Quite a contrast. I don’t blame her for anything. She knows about my diagnosis she just doesn’t get it. People like that I must avoid. I can’t relate to her anymore. When you go through a life changing event in life you are changed forever. I have lost friends because of my cancer but that is ok. I don’t have the patience anymore for some people. I have a circle of friends who understand. I find comfort in them. This site also provides a good measure of validation I don’t always receive. Karen you and I are kindred souls. I wish you the best! I will think of you when I can’t sleep. I am sure there are more of us out there! We are not alone!

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You are definitely not alone, Karen! I also have friends who cannot find the right shoes (so to speak!). Also, those who ask how you are coping then immediately go into a lengthy description of the cousin of a friend whose stepson’s wife’s sister’s condition. Hello? I am here! I decided that I need not spend my precious time with them.

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