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?

In 1987, I had surgery for cervical cancer. In 2008 it was malignant melanoma on my right forearm [a beautiful 32 Stitch scar is my daily reminder!]. Other skin cancers have been removed over the years. In 2017 I was diagnosed with MGUS and have been monitored every quarter until this year. This time my hematologist-oncologist decided to let me go for 6 months since labs were showing consistent readings. On July 10th the labs came back way out of range. My nephrologist [I have a rare kidney disease, too] and hematologist-oncologist had a telephone conference and I am now waiting for a PET CT scan. It was supposed to have been this past Tuesday but the machine broke down; I got the call while in my car on the way there. I did what any good person would do. Turned my car around and went and had a very good breakfast! It is now scheduled for this Friday 26th July. I have felt like I am treading in quicksand all week. No energy, no interest. My body is rebelling with a sinus infection again, I think in response. It doesn't help that next Tuesday I move 700 miles away. I already have a new hematologist-oncologist in the area of my new town. But I am scared and this will be another cancer recurrence if it has morphed into multiple myeloma. Thanks for listening.
Ginger

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@gingerw

In 1987, I had surgery for cervical cancer. In 2008 it was malignant melanoma on my right forearm [a beautiful 32 Stitch scar is my daily reminder!]. Other skin cancers have been removed over the years. In 2017 I was diagnosed with MGUS and have been monitored every quarter until this year. This time my hematologist-oncologist decided to let me go for 6 months since labs were showing consistent readings. On July 10th the labs came back way out of range. My nephrologist [I have a rare kidney disease, too] and hematologist-oncologist had a telephone conference and I am now waiting for a PET CT scan. It was supposed to have been this past Tuesday but the machine broke down; I got the call while in my car on the way there. I did what any good person would do. Turned my car around and went and had a very good breakfast! It is now scheduled for this Friday 26th July. I have felt like I am treading in quicksand all week. No energy, no interest. My body is rebelling with a sinus infection again, I think in response. It doesn't help that next Tuesday I move 700 miles away. I already have a new hematologist-oncologist in the area of my new town. But I am scared and this will be another cancer recurrence if it has morphed into multiple myeloma. Thanks for listening.
Ginger

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Good morning, @gingerw. I'm sorry that your test had to be postponed. I'm sure you are anxious to know the results and delays like this just increase anxiety. Praying for you and hoping for good news after the test on Friday. Hang in there, this too will pass!

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@hopeful33250

Good morning, @gingerw. I'm sorry that your test had to be postponed. I'm sure you are anxious to know the results and delays like this just increase anxiety. Praying for you and hoping for good news after the test on Friday. Hang in there, this too will pass!

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@hopeful33250 Teresa, I told myself and my husband last night that the way to look at it is the fact that it is so close to the push off from this area, that there must be nothing to worry about. That the there is a Greater Hand involved in all of this for me, and this is a diagnostic tool to be considered.
Ginger

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@gingerw

In 1987, I had surgery for cervical cancer. In 2008 it was malignant melanoma on my right forearm [a beautiful 32 Stitch scar is my daily reminder!]. Other skin cancers have been removed over the years. In 2017 I was diagnosed with MGUS and have been monitored every quarter until this year. This time my hematologist-oncologist decided to let me go for 6 months since labs were showing consistent readings. On July 10th the labs came back way out of range. My nephrologist [I have a rare kidney disease, too] and hematologist-oncologist had a telephone conference and I am now waiting for a PET CT scan. It was supposed to have been this past Tuesday but the machine broke down; I got the call while in my car on the way there. I did what any good person would do. Turned my car around and went and had a very good breakfast! It is now scheduled for this Friday 26th July. I have felt like I am treading in quicksand all week. No energy, no interest. My body is rebelling with a sinus infection again, I think in response. It doesn't help that next Tuesday I move 700 miles away. I already have a new hematologist-oncologist in the area of my new town. But I am scared and this will be another cancer recurrence if it has morphed into multiple myeloma. Thanks for listening.
Ginger

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@gingerw– My heart goes out to you. I know that dreaded feeling as I just went through it. You have been through so much Ginger, plowing through what stands in your way. I think that after your move you might want to forget unpacking a lot to rest. I know that you probably feel drained and that is prime time to pick up something else. Be careful please, if you will?

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Hello @gingerw, the advice from @merpreb, was so good. Don't allow yourself to become overly tired after your move. Allow the boxes to "sit." I can guarantee that they will not scream for your attention and they will quietly wait for you.

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@merpreb

@gingerw– My heart goes out to you. I know that dreaded feeling as I just went through it. You have been through so much Ginger, plowing through what stands in your way. I think that after your move you might want to forget unpacking a lot to rest. I know that you probably feel drained and that is prime time to pick up something else. Be careful please, if you will?

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@merpreb @hopeful33250 Thank you both! The nice thing is I will be by myself so I can leave those boxes unpacked. My husband will come back down this way and be back with another load four weeks later. There will be no time clocks to punch or places to be, except for the DMV for license and plates for the car. I am looking forward to the peace and quiet. Will journal and Zentangle my way through this.
Ginger

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@gingerw You are a wise lady, Ginger. You know how to care for yourself!

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@gingerw

@merpreb @hopeful33250 Thank you both! The nice thing is I will be by myself so I can leave those boxes unpacked. My husband will come back down this way and be back with another load four weeks later. There will be no time clocks to punch or places to be, except for the DMV for license and plates for the car. I am looking forward to the peace and quiet. Will journal and Zentangle my way through this.
Ginger

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@gingerw– Yes you will and we all wil be here to help if you need it.

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@mrsbv

@merpreb and to all of you beautiful women…I am going through my own medical issues and the possibility of Lupus, Thyroid Cancer and/or mouth cancer. My my doctor has gone away on vacation again like she normally does just about every other week and leaves for three weeks. In the meantime, I am sitting here going crazy just waiting to find out what else I have. I also live with a rare disease called stiff person syndrome that has many variants. I must be emotional because I am in tears, because no matter what – you all are very strong women and clearly are the definition of WARRIORS! You are all an inspiration to me. I lead a support group for those of us living with Stiff Person Syndrome, on Facebook since 2012. I had to stop working and retire in November 2011. When I found out that I had Stiff Person Syndrome, I just was in denial. It affected my job, I was told that my position from Court Operations Supervisor and Courtroom Deputy to our Magistrate Judge would need to go on to someone else who could be at work every day. I was not GIVING UP! I made a terrible choice and stopped taking all of my necessary medication and just needed one last good year. I only made it through six months. Our lives completely change. When I researched my illness….I could barely find anything on the web. which not many specialists are very familiar with this rare disabling condition. Shortly after I joined this support group I was asked to be a part of the Admin Team. I have only let my feelings out to the public just a few times. Other than that I am doing everything to the best of my ability to help all of our SPS patients and families. I am very close to my mother-in-law and my husband's family. My mother-in-law gives takes very good care of me. My Daddy passed last year due to Cancer. My mother-in-law also had cancer, My Grandpa and Grandma passed away from Cancer, along with one of my Aunties and an Uncle. I have another uncle who just found out he has stage 4 thyroid cancer. He is not well at al. It has been pretty rough seeing one member of our family after another pass due to this ugly disease. Yet, I stay strong and support, educate and Advocate for our group members. We have almost 2200 members; some are family and friends.

I apologize for going in circles, but I have been very sick and bedridden since the second week of this year. I tend to have bad nights like that. Today is one of them. Please pardon me for writing about one thing; then the other.

I wanted to be sure to tell you all that each of you are such an inspiration to me. I am so happy to have this opportunity to be a part of this social connect group. I love and appreciate how positive, caring and empathetic everyone is to one another. I am very fortunate to be surrounded by such a caring and compassionate group. My heart and prayers go out to all of you. I am honored to be in this group. I need to get healthier, so I can spend more time on the group. I shall definitely need to set up a deadline for each challenge I have on my list.

Please know that although I have not ever spoke with any of you, I am very happy I logged on, read your "true stories", and love to see the determination and fight and compassion you have for each other. May our Heavenly Father bless you and your families.

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@mrsbv– Alma, good morning. Talk about warriors, look at you! It's not like you have a splinter! I'm very glad that you have joined us so Welcome to Mayo Connect. You have been dealing with so much yourself and reaching out to help others, good for you. You have set a fine example of how to pass along your experiences and suggestions that mean so much to others, as you stated. It is our way of passing on Hope!
I'm amazed that your oncologist takes so much time away from your needs. You might really really like her but my recommendation would be to look for someone who is more available for your needs. Can you do this or want to?

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@gingerw

In 1987, I had surgery for cervical cancer. In 2008 it was malignant melanoma on my right forearm [a beautiful 32 Stitch scar is my daily reminder!]. Other skin cancers have been removed over the years. In 2017 I was diagnosed with MGUS and have been monitored every quarter until this year. This time my hematologist-oncologist decided to let me go for 6 months since labs were showing consistent readings. On July 10th the labs came back way out of range. My nephrologist [I have a rare kidney disease, too] and hematologist-oncologist had a telephone conference and I am now waiting for a PET CT scan. It was supposed to have been this past Tuesday but the machine broke down; I got the call while in my car on the way there. I did what any good person would do. Turned my car around and went and had a very good breakfast! It is now scheduled for this Friday 26th July. I have felt like I am treading in quicksand all week. No energy, no interest. My body is rebelling with a sinus infection again, I think in response. It doesn't help that next Tuesday I move 700 miles away. I already have a new hematologist-oncologist in the area of my new town. But I am scared and this will be another cancer recurrence if it has morphed into multiple myeloma. Thanks for listening.
Ginger

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🙏🏼 4 u

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@gingerw

@hopeful33250 Teresa, I told myself and my husband last night that the way to look at it is the fact that it is so close to the push off from this area, that there must be nothing to worry about. That the there is a Greater Hand involved in all of this for me, and this is a diagnostic tool to be considered.
Ginger

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@gingerw I really like that word picture of the "Greater Hand."

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@travelgirl Yes, I had my CT and appt. today. I now definitely have 3 nodules and at least one is large enough to biopsy. They will be doing a needle biopsy on that but I don’t have a date yet. The dr. believes this is the triple negative breast cancer and not lung cancer. However, they thought the same thing when they did the wedge resection last year and it turned out to be lung cancer. Regardless, it will be stage 4 because they are in the opposite lung from the last time. Of course, if it's the TNBC, it would be stage 4. What I really questioned was that even if the biopsied nodule is one kind of cancer, there is no guarantee that the other 2 nodules are the same kind of cancer and it is too dangerous to do a needle biopsy in the lungs in 3 different places at the same time. I understand they will wait until that first needle biopsy is done, hopefully see what that is and if it is lung cancer, they will surgically remove all 3. If it's breast cancer, well, we cross that bridge when we come to it. I guess I was sure it was the lung cancer in my own mind and didn’t realize it would be considered metastatic since it was in the other lung. I suppose the only bright spot in this is that if it's the breast cancer, I know my smoking for so many years played no part in it so I don’t have to feel guilty about that. I do not know why he believes it’s TNBC as opposed to lung cancer but he was wrong about that last year.

In a previous post, I talked about issues with my parents and my oldest son. Since then, my middle son has told me he is getting a divorce and I cry every time I think about it. They have been married for 23 years and I love her like she was my own. He’s not trying to hide that’s this is entirely his idea and frankly, I’d like to smack the you know what out of him. I don’t know how much more stress I can handle and I feel so badly for my poor husband. He wouldn’t have even told us now but my youngest son (who is my rock) told him that I was suspicious something was wrong and it was worrying me to death and he had to tell me the truth. I don’t think anyone had any idea how hard I would take it.

We are leaving Monday to go visit our youngest son. We’re driving and will be stopping in Nashville for a few days, going on to Tim’s in St. Louis and then on to their new lake cottage on Lake of the Ozarks. We are designated baby sitters during the day for 4 days while they film an episode of HGTV’s Lakefront Bargain Hunt. I think that will be fun to see. Their realtor set this all up. We’ll be gone a total of almost 2 weeks and my biopsy will be after we return. I figure it has waited this long, 2 weeks shouldn’t make much of a difference.

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@cwm1

@travelgirl Yes, I had my CT and appt. today. I now definitely have 3 nodules and at least one is large enough to biopsy. They will be doing a needle biopsy on that but I don’t have a date yet. The dr. believes this is the triple negative breast cancer and not lung cancer. However, they thought the same thing when they did the wedge resection last year and it turned out to be lung cancer. Regardless, it will be stage 4 because they are in the opposite lung from the last time. Of course, if it's the TNBC, it would be stage 4. What I really questioned was that even if the biopsied nodule is one kind of cancer, there is no guarantee that the other 2 nodules are the same kind of cancer and it is too dangerous to do a needle biopsy in the lungs in 3 different places at the same time. I understand they will wait until that first needle biopsy is done, hopefully see what that is and if it is lung cancer, they will surgically remove all 3. If it's breast cancer, well, we cross that bridge when we come to it. I guess I was sure it was the lung cancer in my own mind and didn’t realize it would be considered metastatic since it was in the other lung. I suppose the only bright spot in this is that if it's the breast cancer, I know my smoking for so many years played no part in it so I don’t have to feel guilty about that. I do not know why he believes it’s TNBC as opposed to lung cancer but he was wrong about that last year.

In a previous post, I talked about issues with my parents and my oldest son. Since then, my middle son has told me he is getting a divorce and I cry every time I think about it. They have been married for 23 years and I love her like she was my own. He’s not trying to hide that’s this is entirely his idea and frankly, I’d like to smack the you know what out of him. I don’t know how much more stress I can handle and I feel so badly for my poor husband. He wouldn’t have even told us now but my youngest son (who is my rock) told him that I was suspicious something was wrong and it was worrying me to death and he had to tell me the truth. I don’t think anyone had any idea how hard I would take it.

We are leaving Monday to go visit our youngest son. We’re driving and will be stopping in Nashville for a few days, going on to Tim’s in St. Louis and then on to their new lake cottage on Lake of the Ozarks. We are designated baby sitters during the day for 4 days while they film an episode of HGTV’s Lakefront Bargain Hunt. I think that will be fun to see. Their realtor set this all up. We’ll be gone a total of almost 2 weeks and my biopsy will be after we return. I figure it has waited this long, 2 weeks shouldn’t make much of a difference.

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@cwm1 The time away will be good for you. Take time to smell the fresh air, play with your grandchildren, and enjoy. What is in the future is unknown.
Ginger

REPLY
@cwm1

@travelgirl Yes, I had my CT and appt. today. I now definitely have 3 nodules and at least one is large enough to biopsy. They will be doing a needle biopsy on that but I don’t have a date yet. The dr. believes this is the triple negative breast cancer and not lung cancer. However, they thought the same thing when they did the wedge resection last year and it turned out to be lung cancer. Regardless, it will be stage 4 because they are in the opposite lung from the last time. Of course, if it's the TNBC, it would be stage 4. What I really questioned was that even if the biopsied nodule is one kind of cancer, there is no guarantee that the other 2 nodules are the same kind of cancer and it is too dangerous to do a needle biopsy in the lungs in 3 different places at the same time. I understand they will wait until that first needle biopsy is done, hopefully see what that is and if it is lung cancer, they will surgically remove all 3. If it's breast cancer, well, we cross that bridge when we come to it. I guess I was sure it was the lung cancer in my own mind and didn’t realize it would be considered metastatic since it was in the other lung. I suppose the only bright spot in this is that if it's the breast cancer, I know my smoking for so many years played no part in it so I don’t have to feel guilty about that. I do not know why he believes it’s TNBC as opposed to lung cancer but he was wrong about that last year.

In a previous post, I talked about issues with my parents and my oldest son. Since then, my middle son has told me he is getting a divorce and I cry every time I think about it. They have been married for 23 years and I love her like she was my own. He’s not trying to hide that’s this is entirely his idea and frankly, I’d like to smack the you know what out of him. I don’t know how much more stress I can handle and I feel so badly for my poor husband. He wouldn’t have even told us now but my youngest son (who is my rock) told him that I was suspicious something was wrong and it was worrying me to death and he had to tell me the truth. I don’t think anyone had any idea how hard I would take it.

We are leaving Monday to go visit our youngest son. We’re driving and will be stopping in Nashville for a few days, going on to Tim’s in St. Louis and then on to their new lake cottage on Lake of the Ozarks. We are designated baby sitters during the day for 4 days while they film an episode of HGTV’s Lakefront Bargain Hunt. I think that will be fun to see. Their realtor set this all up. We’ll be gone a total of almost 2 weeks and my biopsy will be after we return. I figure it has waited this long, 2 weeks shouldn’t make much of a difference.

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Sometimes just to get away from tests and appointments and spend time in a totally different environment can give you an emotional break from “downers” and lift your spirits. Emotional health can positively affect your ability to deal with what will be and help get you through the “next steps”. Enjoy every minute.

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@gingerw

@cwm1 The time away will be good for you. Take time to smell the fresh air, play with your grandchildren, and enjoy. What is in the future is unknown.
Ginger

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@gingerw, thinking of you today.

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