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?

@sushilady1– Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Thank you for sharing your history. I'm glad that you found us. I ha d a much different experience with having my port placed. I was awake an had a bit of a shot of valium and never felt anything. Mine was placed the day before my 2nd chemo. What was your horrible experience?

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@merpreb

@sushilady1– Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Thank you for sharing your history. I'm glad that you found us. I ha d a much different experience with having my port placed. I was awake an had a bit of a shot of valium and never felt anything. Mine was placed the day before my 2nd chemo. What was your horrible experience?

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I was also awake when the port was inserted. The procedure went fine. I was in recovery for about an hour and then was sent home. About 6 hours later the freezing wore off very quickly and then I was in excruciating pain. I was not advised to wear an open button shirt and was in so much pain I was not able to change the T-shirt I was wearing until the morning of that first round of chemo. I could barely bend forward to brush my teeth. I mentioned this to the chemo nurse I she told me I should have been taking Tylenol as soon as I got out of the OR. Hopefully I am an exception cause as I said, the mastectomies and reconstruction was no where near as painful as the port. It took over a month for the incision to heal but I think that was cause my white blood cells plummeted after the AC. Once I got on neulasta I headed up within days.

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@sushilady1– I am sorry that this happened to you. I have to ask why didn't you take something for it? Could your chest be sore because of your cancer?

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@merpreb

@sushilady1– I am sorry that this happened to you. I have to ask why didn't you take something for it? Could your chest be sore because of your cancer?

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As crazy as this sounds, I did not think of taking anything. I live alone and was diagnosed in my 30’s. I was super healthy and fit and have never been sick. I did not even have any painkiller in my home. I far as I know the ports are always inserted on the opposite of the cancer.

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@sushilady1– I hear you. This must have opened up a whole new world for you. How are you doing?

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@djanthony

Wow. I'm amazed that the very topic of concern for myself is the first one that popped up! I was absolutely certain God had healed me of triple-negative breast cancer of overlapping sites after eight rounds of AC and Toxil followed by a double lumpectomy and removal of seven lymph nodes. At my one year check-up, another lump was found in my breast so I had a mastectomy. Now my Medical Oncologist is suggesting five more rounds of Taxene (almost same as Taxol). Taxol made my lupus and Sjögren's flare severely and caused horrific bone pain. I'm so depressed I can barely get out of bed. I postponed my port surgery and am having a horrible time agreeing to this horrid chemo. Second opinions suggested a different chemo agent but my Oncologist refuses anything but CT. Can anyone relate or have any suggestions? I hate, hate. Hate having more of this chemo! I went to a Psychiatric Hospital but they wouldn't admit me because I wasn't Suicidal (yet).

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Hi @djanthony, I'm glad you found this discussion group and appreciate that @sushilady1 shared her experience with you.
You are not alone.

Like @sushilady1 said, you can take a bit of time to consider your decision. Have you considered talking to a oncology social worker or therapist at the cancer center?

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After close to 5 years post-stage 3b colon cancer with resection, I was told that yesterday that my CEA has "significantly" increased. I'm so much more scared this time around.

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@revcindy– I'm glad that you found us. I'm so sorry that after all this time you might be having a recurrence. I felt like this after 10 years when my lung cancer came back. It's petrifying. Your doctor sounds as if he's on the ball. Did you ask your doctor what he thought?

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a closet hypochondriac…. Is what I call myself.
Retired first responder I was aware that I suffered from PTSD, but the three years Since small cell carcinoma diagnosis it has blossomed with anxiety and panic. Learning about Me, triggers, and desires, tendency to isolate… 37 months post treatment I feel fantastic and LOVE This Crazy Life but I do feel like I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

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I was diagnosed 21 years ago at age 41 with DCIS non-invasive had a lumpectomy and radiation of my right breast last month I started experiencing breast discharge and a biopsy was done of my left breast duct and it was positive for DCIS non-invasive. I've made the decision to have a double mastectomy. I'm feeling very depressed about the fact that my cancer came back, I'm grateful that I had 21 years before reoccurrence, and its a early cancer, but it's still hard to cope with. I was tested for the 25 genetic mutations back in 2014 and didn't test positive for any I heard there's 47 now out there and I'm going to be retested.

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@karendb

I will be starting radiation treatments in one week. I wonder if that's a common occurrence to smell burning flesh? I've not heard that before and wonder if I should prepare myself.

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I did not experience that and had 30 treatments . Make sure you don’t have lotion or perfume on during treatments

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@cherlea

I was diagnosed 21 years ago at age 41 with DCIS non-invasive had a lumpectomy and radiation of my right breast last month I started experiencing breast discharge and a biopsy was done of my left breast duct and it was positive for DCIS non-invasive. I've made the decision to have a double mastectomy. I'm feeling very depressed about the fact that my cancer came back, I'm grateful that I had 21 years before reoccurrence, and its a early cancer, but it's still hard to cope with. I was tested for the 25 genetic mutations back in 2014 and didn't test positive for any I heard there's 47 now out there and I'm going to be retested.

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@cherlea – Welcome to Mayo Connect. I am so glad that you found us. After ten years my lung cancer came back and I felt the same way you do – depressed, and very afraid. I naively thought that I was in the clear. Just humbled me and brought me down from my high horse. I am very glad that you reached out to us, and I am very very glad that you are being retested. Please keep me informed!
This is a link to the breast cancer group, if you haven't looked at it yet. It may have other topics that would help.
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/breast-cancer/

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@merpreb

@bjh. I'll be curious to see how you are doing.

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Doc said MRI looked good. Now I'm to go back on double temozolomide but I may wait until the end of February to start after I come back from vacation. I feel great right now and would really like to enjoy that vacation. So God and i are discussing this decision.

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@bjh369

Doc said MRI looked good. Now I'm to go back on double temozolomide but I may wait until the end of February to start after I come back from vacation. I feel great right now and would really like to enjoy that vacation. So God and i are discussing this decision.

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@bjh369– Great news! Have a great vacation and let me know how you did on vacation!

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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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Same here. Had colon cancer and had all my large intestine removed 3 yrs ago now have polyps in small intestine removed. Im 48 yrs old and has put me in another world by myself that not even i wanted to live in . so many other problems came with it finally put me on anxity med. But have not been to a mental health. Doctor yet. Any one know were to go to one around hammond la. Area

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