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?

@janlanderz

I am experiencing all the emotions that everyone here is experiencing… I have Stage 4 inoperable lung cancer… I try to hide the emotions and read this little thing I put together below, part came from I book I read:

If I let cancer make me bitter or angry, then I would of spent the last days of my life in sorrow and isolation; making a living hell for my loved ones, and be remembered if at all, a bitter old woman who let cancer defeat her.

I would receive their temporary show of sympathy, but in the end they would only have contempt for me and how I left them;

On the other hand:

If I were positive and hopeful, it wouldn't change the day of my death a bit, but, it would mean that I would spend the last days of my life breathing deeply, clearly, contented and blissful, and in love with my family and everyone I met…
I would die a happy woman and be remembered as that brave soul who faced a terrible death with courage, fortitude and aplomb.
I would be cherished by those who knew me.

Why waste months of my life wailing about an end that wasn't even near?

Jump to this post

Thank you it was beautiful. And we all need reminders to be happy live each day for what it is! Be happy enjoy life it helps!

REPLY
@janlanderz

I am experiencing all the emotions that everyone here is experiencing… I have Stage 4 inoperable lung cancer… I try to hide the emotions and read this little thing I put together below, part came from I book I read:

If I let cancer make me bitter or angry, then I would of spent the last days of my life in sorrow and isolation; making a living hell for my loved ones, and be remembered if at all, a bitter old woman who let cancer defeat her.

I would receive their temporary show of sympathy, but in the end they would only have contempt for me and how I left them;

On the other hand:

If I were positive and hopeful, it wouldn't change the day of my death a bit, but, it would mean that I would spend the last days of my life breathing deeply, clearly, contented and blissful, and in love with my family and everyone I met…
I would die a happy woman and be remembered as that brave soul who faced a terrible death with courage, fortitude and aplomb.
I would be cherished by those who knew me.

Why waste months of my life wailing about an end that wasn't even near?

Jump to this post

#janlandenz Yes- the general consensus is that a positive attitude is best. Still, I wonder if it is an honest way to go. Stories like this make my sad and depressed even if I am OK myself. Indeed– what are we to think when terrible things happen to good people? Great books have been written about this subject but offer little solution.

REPLY
@IndianaScott

Hi @bdpp I an so sorry to read of your health situation. It's never easy to travel these journeys in life that's for sure. When anyone of us is diagnosed with cancer our lives change and they change without any consideration for what we had been planning for, or hoping for, in our future. It certainly was the case when my wife was diagnosed with brain cancer at 49. Cancer, like all of life, is simply not fair.

It was good to read you have so many positive things in your life. A wonderful partner, good insurance, the financial security to be able to afford COBRA, which can be a brute for sure, and a community of supportive friends. While it is not easy, sometimes we need to force ourselves to look at those good things in life versus the bad or those things we have lost. As I said, easy to say, but never an easy task.

During the very worst of the months of my wife's disease we came to relish the fact, when we woke up, that we simply had another day together. That was our greatest gift and we trained ourselves to not look past that.

Wishing you continued strength, courage, and peace.

Jump to this post

@IndianaScott – Scott, what you have said about your time with your wife is so beautiful, and it's true when you love someone and they are ill. With my cancers, each one cuts us down but then we pop back up with relief and love for each other.

REPLY
@jshdma

#janlandenz Yes- the general consensus is that a positive attitude is best. Still, I wonder if it is an honest way to go. Stories like this make my sad and depressed even if I am OK myself. Indeed– what are we to think when terrible things happen to good people? Great books have been written about this subject but offer little solution.

Jump to this post

@jshdma– Good morning. I get what you are saying. A positive attitude, to me, does not mean that people are walking around on cloud 9 after a cancer diagnosis, or any illness, with ourselves or others. This is a mean, ill world right now and that's just not possible. What I think, after 22+ years of having cancer is after we get over the shock of an illness and have our treatments that we also get on with life-striving (even unconsciously) to just do things if possible. It doesn't irradiate fear or feelings of devastation, but they aren't always in our forefront. We go out to dinner, socialize, travel, have picnics–we get out of ourselves, even for short periods of time. Does this make sense?

REPLY
@jshdma

#janlandenz Yes- the general consensus is that a positive attitude is best. Still, I wonder if it is an honest way to go. Stories like this make my sad and depressed even if I am OK myself. Indeed– what are we to think when terrible things happen to good people? Great books have been written about this subject but offer little solution.

Jump to this post

I think we can make ourselves sicker by suppressing emotions like grief, anger, sadness, but to feel them fully, gain their messages, and then release them gracefully may be a lifelong learning. I try to do my gratitude journal every day. Even on the worst of chemo days, it helps me balance the crappiness and fear of the unknown with all the many things that are going right. If we have a human body it is a given that we will get sick, grow old (hopefully) and eventually die. What value can we create in the meantime?

REPLY

@susandc– I absolutely agree. There is absolutely no reason to supress any of these emotions, for what purpose? I don't do daily "thank yous" because I am continually grateful inside for every breath that I take, every day that I have. If I have a bad day because I am afraid to die, even if it doesn't look like my time is up, I'm not going to hide it or suppress it. Why would I? Fear of death drives everyone, is the basis of many religions, to do good so if there is a higher power and we will please it and not suffer in hell. Preserving our lives is one fundamental human characteristic – survival! It motivates everything we do. There is nothing that we can do to calm this as it is one of our banes for being human.

REPLY
@susandc

I think we can make ourselves sicker by suppressing emotions like grief, anger, sadness, but to feel them fully, gain their messages, and then release them gracefully may be a lifelong learning. I try to do my gratitude journal every day. Even on the worst of chemo days, it helps me balance the crappiness and fear of the unknown with all the many things that are going right. If we have a human body it is a given that we will get sick, grow old (hopefully) and eventually die. What value can we create in the meantime?

Jump to this post

@susandc

I appreciate your sharing your thoughts about suppressing emotions. You have shared a great philosophy for life when you say, " If we have a human body it is a given that we will get sick, grow old (hopefully) and eventually die. What value can we create in the meantime?"

This way of thinking will take us beyond the "why me" thinking and will lead us to say, "what now."

REPLY
@hopeful33250

@susandc

I appreciate your sharing your thoughts about suppressing emotions. You have shared a great philosophy for life when you say, " If we have a human body it is a given that we will get sick, grow old (hopefully) and eventually die. What value can we create in the meantime?"

This way of thinking will take us beyond the "why me" thinking and will lead us to say, "what now."

Jump to this post

@hopeful33250 – Bingo Teresa!

REPLY

@bjh369– I am sorry that you have to go through this. Hopefully your surgery has taken care of your being stable at this time. A year out from surgery is wonderful! congratulations. There's a buzz word going around that is called mindfulness, being in the moment without any thoughts other than what's on hand. A lot of times it can be very challenging to be mindful, but it really does help! Don't you think?

REPLY

@merpreb I am sure all the advice to be positive is correct; but it doesn't always work. I feel I am doing all the right things–that is, I have endless work to do, much of it is my professional work as an academic. Add to that eating right, exercising, and filling the day with activities and people. But the general sadness and gloom never leaves.

REPLY

@jshdma– I agree, and no it doesn't always work, but it does sometimes. After hearing a devastating blow such as having cancer there is a cloud that follows us around. Sometimes it rains on us, sometimes it's just cloudy and other times the sun is out. But it is magnified when we are given a possible death sentence. Believe me, I certainly have my times of curling up on the bed, frozen in fear. Have you considered any medication to help with your depression?

REPLY
@janlanderz

I am experiencing all the emotions that everyone here is experiencing… I have Stage 4 inoperable lung cancer… I try to hide the emotions and read this little thing I put together below, part came from I book I read:

If I let cancer make me bitter or angry, then I would of spent the last days of my life in sorrow and isolation; making a living hell for my loved ones, and be remembered if at all, a bitter old woman who let cancer defeat her.

I would receive their temporary show of sympathy, but in the end they would only have contempt for me and how I left them;

On the other hand:

If I were positive and hopeful, it wouldn't change the day of my death a bit, but, it would mean that I would spend the last days of my life breathing deeply, clearly, contented and blissful, and in love with my family and everyone I met…
I would die a happy woman and be remembered as that brave soul who faced a terrible death with courage, fortitude and aplomb.
I would be cherished by those who knew me.

Why waste months of my life wailing about an end that wasn't even near?

Jump to this post

@janlanderz BEAUTIFUL! I’ve bookmarked your post so I can read it again. And you wrote part of it? Just wonderful

REPLY
@bjh369

I have Glioblastoma grade 4…so I also have to remind myself to live in the moment. It's not progressing at this time and I'm almost a year since surgery:)

Jump to this post

@bjh369 I am so happy for you! Do you have fun things planned for your 1yr anniversary?

REPLY

Yes. Flying to Florida to see friends.

REPLY

@bjh369 WAIT!! I think it will be rainy and that’s no fun!😁

REPLY
Please login or register to post a reply.