Facing Cancer Recurrence, PTSD & Acknowledging Mental Health

Posted by Merry, Volunteer Mentor @merpreb, Dec 6, 2018

It's extremely difficult to face the fact of recurring cancers. After treatments we try and get away from it all and live our life. Then along comes another CT scan or PET scan and POW, you have to face another cancer. My reaction was developing PTSD.

You can read what I wrote in my blog: https://my20yearscancer.com/blog/
How do we cope? How do we react? What do we do?
How have you all reacted to another cancer? Or the possibility of another one? Has your "already compromised" mental health been able to deal with it? How? Or not?

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

That is very interesting what you said. I have had 3 cancers and although one try’s to live one life there is always a fear each time you have an mri or Ct. I recently went to a new doctor the other day as I have always been so positive and happy lately I don’t seem to be my normal self it’s hard to explain, my doctor who also has had cancer asked if I feel that the things that used to do to make me happy do not anymore. Boy did he hit the nail on the head. He said it is normal to feel anxiety and a little depressed after all I have been through. Finally someone who understands. Just to let you know you are it alone.

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I just found your blog and want to say thank you for writing it. I'm sorry for all you have been through but thank you for taking the time to outline all your troubles and sharing your wonderful insight. It has helped me today.

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@cindyhb – thank you. That's the reason I wrote my blog, to hopefully help someone. Now I know for sure that I have. How did it help you?

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@merpreb

@cindyhb – thank you. That's the reason I wrote my blog, to hopefully help someone. Now I know for sure that I have. How did it help you?

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I'm just 3 years in on my breast cancer diagnosis (5 years from my first Stage 0 diagnosis). I was lucky, caught it early (well so far). Seeing someone be so honest about the fear, the recurrence, the treatments, depression…..(all the fun stuff)…..and expressing it. I'm sure it's very common but somehow in my 'journey', though I am quite lucky and thankful for it, you see so many ads and posts and etc that make you feel like depression and anxiety are not the way this makes you feel or that you're not strong enough or tough enough or zen enough. I think also, as I help my husband navigate his serious cancer right now, I saw a lot of myself coping with that on top of my own troubles and thought, 'yes, it's ok to feel depressed, it's normal to hate the unknown aspect of cancer.
You expressed so completely and lovingly the struggle. The Mayo Clinic site has been a great source of support for me but I do try to stay as positive with others and gloss over a bit how awful this feels. I think everyone does. Your blog, for me, was a chance to see that the feelings I've had and are having aren't out of the ordinary. Hugs

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Hello…need suggestions…is it ok if I give orange juice to my mother

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Hi Samantha-Have you spoken to her doctors/clinic people about diets for your mom? As long as your mom tolerates OJ I don't see the problem with anything that she wants to eat or drink. How is she doing? Has she loss or gained weight?

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I'm new to this social media connection. I just read your blog post. Thank you for writing. Your post feels helpful because I have felt so alone. And odd. Learning that others have thoughts/feelings/symptoms similar to mine is encouraging. I've had surgery for brain tumors including all the usual trauma that goes along with that, followed by 9 years of no symptoms but annual MRIs, followed by a s.u.r.p.r.i.s.e. recurrence and more surgery, followed by a feeling that I'm just flailing away at life these days. It's like the poem by Stevie Smith – I'm not waving, but drowning! I remember one of my original surgeons told me upon discharge from hospital to "go out and live your life" and I've been struggling with the "how?" I intend to explore PTSD. Thank you.

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@jeanadair123

That is very interesting what you said. I have had 3 cancers and although one try’s to live one life there is always a fear each time you have an mri or Ct. I recently went to a new doctor the other day as I have always been so positive and happy lately I don’t seem to be my normal self it’s hard to explain, my doctor who also has had cancer asked if I feel that the things that used to do to make me happy do not anymore. Boy did he hit the nail on the head. He said it is normal to feel anxiety and a little depressed after all I have been through. Finally someone who understands. Just to let you know you are it alone.

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@jeanadair– Good morning. I am so glad that you wrote back. It's quite something, isn't it when you know something isn't quite right and then someone puts the words to it! I'm so glad that you found a doctor who understands you. What three cancers have you had? What treatments have you had? One cancer is a lot to absorb, but three! I have had four lung cancers. It is not easy. WHen was you last cancer?

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@cindylb

I'm just 3 years in on my breast cancer diagnosis (5 years from my first Stage 0 diagnosis). I was lucky, caught it early (well so far). Seeing someone be so honest about the fear, the recurrence, the treatments, depression…..(all the fun stuff)…..and expressing it. I'm sure it's very common but somehow in my 'journey', though I am quite lucky and thankful for it, you see so many ads and posts and etc that make you feel like depression and anxiety are not the way this makes you feel or that you're not strong enough or tough enough or zen enough. I think also, as I help my husband navigate his serious cancer right now, I saw a lot of myself coping with that on top of my own troubles and thought, 'yes, it's ok to feel depressed, it's normal to hate the unknown aspect of cancer.
You expressed so completely and lovingly the struggle. The Mayo Clinic site has been a great source of support for me but I do try to stay as positive with others and gloss over a bit how awful this feels. I think everyone does. Your blog, for me, was a chance to see that the feelings I've had and are having aren't out of the ordinary. Hugs

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Good morning Cindy- I am so glad that my blog has helped you feel like you are not alone. I can't imagine what else other than fear, anxiety, tension and depression you could feel after a diagnosis of cancer, or any other major illness. We have not only been told that our lives might be in jeopardy but then we are told that we have to have an operation/treatments where we lose a part of our bodies. And it doesn't really matter if those parts are inside or outside (although this makes it worse ), it's still a loss. Hey, give that back to me! That's mine! I've had it all my life! I don't care if it's rotten! lol
And on top of this you are dealing with your husband's cancer. I consider all cancer serious and how can you not be a bit "down in the mouth" now with all that he is going through? Is he in treatment and what kind of cancer does he have.

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@eewtao

I'm new to this social media connection. I just read your blog post. Thank you for writing. Your post feels helpful because I have felt so alone. And odd. Learning that others have thoughts/feelings/symptoms similar to mine is encouraging. I've had surgery for brain tumors including all the usual trauma that goes along with that, followed by 9 years of no symptoms but annual MRIs, followed by a s.u.r.p.r.i.s.e. recurrence and more surgery, followed by a feeling that I'm just flailing away at life these days. It's like the poem by Stevie Smith – I'm not waving, but drowning! I remember one of my original surgeons told me upon discharge from hospital to "go out and live your life" and I've been struggling with the "how?" I intend to explore PTSD. Thank you.

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Good morning @eewtao ! A warm welcome to Mayo Connect. You have come to the right place for company. Isn't it something when we are hit over the head with another cancer after such a long time! It does make us feel like drowning. I mean who is born and taught how to deal with this type of thing? It's like being shot. Does anyone teach us about the pain with that? Well, we are a feeling species and the emotional pain that we feel is just as bad, and usually lasts longer because there really are no bandages for it.
Let me ask you, what has your treatment been for brain cancer? Are you in treatment now?

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