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?

Will start treatments up on 23rd of September but needed a break they have tried 4 different types of pills to stop the throwing up but than stomach is upset so I decided which is worse. After throwing up feel better till next time I put food or liquid in my mouth.

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@richcolleen

Will start treatments up on 23rd of September but needed a break they have tried 4 different types of pills to stop the throwing up but than stomach is upset so I decided which is worse. After throwing up feel better till next time I put food or liquid in my mouth.

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I am glad your cancer stayed the same!! I am also glad you were willing to ask for a break when you needed it. I have had the unrelenting nausea and vomiting, and your body and mind just gets tired. My doctor found out about a cream they call magic four. It is made at a local compounding pharmacy. I asked the pharmacist once if he would share the information, he said yes just have a doctor or pharmacy call him. I do know that it worked and you can use as much as you need. You just rub it in to the skin and it really does help. Northwest compounding pharmacy #541-672-8399. It is a transdermal medicine that has several medicines in it. When I was sleeping on the bathroom floor for days because I was so sick and nothing worked, it did help. If not this, then I hope you find something else that helps. I am keeping you in my thoughts and hoping you get a chance to eat and feel good before you go back in for treatment.

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Thank you will call my pharmacy

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@alamogal635

@merpreb Haven't posted for a while, but have been reading the posts. My CT scan–first one post the lobectomy is coming up this Tuesday. The doctor wanted the first CT scan six months after surgery. Anyway, here it is coming up and I am a basket case. I can put up a good front and do what needs to be done, but gosh inside I am flat scared. It is as I think of it simply the unknown. I FEEL like things will be good, but then doubt creeps in. A week after the CT scan I see my oncologist.
The cancer diagnosis was difficult along with the surgery to start with, but this CT scan has lurked in the back of my mind and lowly grown into outright fear. I notice that since the diagnosis and surgery, I've become more and more avoidant of social situations. I have always been shy, but now I would call it more like genuine Social Phobia. Talking about it helps some, but it all boils down to going to the imaging center and getting the thing done and the results known. I pray a lot, but have avoided my church community for a good while. I make excuses for avoiding attendance there and in other social situations. My anxiety level is high with the unknown of the CT scan results. I think it is the unknown that is so difficult. Already have lived a long time with depression and anxiety and have great help in that area with great therapists and necessary meds. So, I guess the thing to do is simply hang in there, pray, keep on reading the posts here, and get the darned thing over and the results known. That is how I'm coping right now. It is probably not the healthiest way, but it is what is happening now. I'm thankful that I've been connected with this group and find such support here. Thank all of you and know you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

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@alamogal635 @merpreb Just reading these stories is terrifying. No wonder you are afraid. And yes, the unknown makes everything worse. I wish AA stood for "anxiety anonymous," but unfortunately it's not that simple.

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Like that–AA–Anxiety Annonymous.

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@richcolleen

Just had my scan at the Mayo Clinic was also nervous (my cancer is terminal) as I had different feelings within lung and stomach. Of course one always thinks the worst. Turned out everything was same.my scan was read and meet with Dr same day which helped me. Tumor stayed the same as did the nodules.get sick 8-10 days after treatments, which I get every 21 days, so I took holiday and skipping the next 21 days. Hoping I made good decision but my mind was tired of being sick. Prayers coming your way.

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Thank you. Am glad yous is staying the same at least. LIke your attitude of time off because of being tired of being sick. This year has seemed to me one in which I need a month away from doctors and procedures. Have never had such a medical year. Tooth issues, cataracts with up-coming surgery, on-going back issues requiring epidural injections and of course the lung cancer. Figure will have my last cataract surgery sometime in October, or early November and then I am taking off for so R&R. Enjoy your time off from medical stuff. Prayers to you, too.

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@merpreb

@alamogal635 – I get the absolute fear, and I seem to react just like you. I hide when I'm fearful, until I can put them in perspective, I'm a basket case too. I just took a mini step back from Connect so that I could wrap my head around new news about my cancer. And that is I am walking around with a minimum of 4 cancerous lesions with many more that are too small to be considered much of anything. My cancer has increased in both the number of nodules and time in between treatments. And this will progress as time goes on, which I didn't know. I'm better now after a great visit with my oncologist.
During the first year of having cancer we really don't know what is going on and everything is new. I have a CT scan in December and because one of my lesions has grown it's likely I might need it zapped with SBRT. I am petrified, even if I know what it will be like.
I also tend to shy away from friends as I am so wrapped up in myself that I have nothing to say–ok, ok, I know, I always have something to say, but not when I'm petrified. I do not know if this is a good thing or not but it's how I seem react.
I think that we need to come up with a mantra for when we feel like this. What might yours be?
Having cancer turns us into being self-centered, not out of selfishness but being consumed with this disease. Friends are really necessary and the world is bigger than we are. It's good that you pray, if this gives you comfort. I don't pray to a God, I write and Mentor here. I also turn to Connect when I don't know what to do, or feel lost. It's amazing how comforting how some people can be and just pull you out of something. One of my mentor friends reminded me of something that I wrote and it woke me right up!
Are there any friends that call you at all or email? Staying home doesn't serve any purpose after a while and it does feed into our fears. I am going to try and get out more when this happens because I'm going to be afraid no matter where I am and being out makes me less afraid!
Hang in there honey- the Scan and knowledge are just around the corner.

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@merpreb What a fantastic attitude you have. Gosh, you are a true trooper and have been through so much and are going through so much. Will have to think up a mantra, but that's a great idea. What is SBRT? That is another new term for me. Gosh, I am not great at prayer–sometimes nothing comes, but I figure the intention is acknowledged. I am better today–the closer it gets. As you say it is getting to be where the results will be known and shared.. Was going to say that cancer is a sneaky and nasty disease to have, but so are so many others. Yes, it does make us turn inward. The thought of something growing within that has no place there actually makes me angry. This is a great place to come and "vent" with others who are sharing in something that others cannot relate to fully. Anyway, thank you for your kind words and for being here as moderators. Your knowledge is wonderful as is your support. I hold you in awe for lending such support with all you have going on in your life and with your health.

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@auntieoakley

You are in my prayers as well! I will be thinking of you, while you wait for results.

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Thank you. It means the world to have your support. Will let you all know when I know.

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@janlanderz

I have just started seeing a therapist at our Hospice Centre… the therapists at the cancer clinic were not all that helpful unfortunately. I do not think I can get my daughter to go … she has a young son.. my only grandson 🙂 who is 8 yrs old and can be quite a handful.. she is very busy with all his activities… however, she is doing much better since I have been hiding my emotions from her… I learned alot from that message I had posted… it really helps to show strength and not weakness…
My immediate family… 4 sisters and my mom live about 1200 miles from me in the East Coast of Canada… my sisters know I have cancer, but I chose not to tell my mom, with suggestions from my sisters… I agreed not to tell her because it will weaken her and she is getting old.. it will not fix my cancer, so I agree she does not have to know…
what is really sad however is that I go to the east coast every year and did not go this year. I told my mom that we were really busy at work and that work asked me to cancel my vacation.. even though the doctor put me off of work since my Diagnosis in Dec 2018… I hate not being truthful to my mom, but I know God will forgive me because it is for a good reason. I did not go to visit this year because of the PVT blood clot I got in May… afraid the long drive will cause me to get another clot… the doctor did put me on eliquis for life…sigh…

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@janlanderz Hi, again. You mentioned not telling your Mom of your diagnosis because of her age, etc. I, too, didn’t tell my mother when I was diagnosed with a brain lesion due to a rare autoimmune disease. But, it turned out that she knew from the beginning. It was so hard to pretend that all was well when it wasn’t. Now, she is a good support to me. She’s 96 and healthier than I am!
I hope all goes well and you can make your trip to the east coast. Please take care

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I am so impressed to read what everyone is saying!
@janlanderz Your strength is awesome, and your wisdom to downplay your issues with your mom is commendable. Remember, you are her daughter, and she may be aware something is not right. Perhaps saying there are some health issues, but not many details, will be enough?
@auntieoakley I like the sounds of your group!
@alamogal35 You have my prayers
@merpreb It's scary times, but no doubt you will handle things with grace and attitude ;))
Having a group like Connect here to lean on is a good thing!
Ginger

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@becsbuddy

@janlanderz Hi, again. You mentioned not telling your Mom of your diagnosis because of her age, etc. I, too, didn’t tell my mother when I was diagnosed with a brain lesion due to a rare autoimmune disease. But, it turned out that she knew from the beginning. It was so hard to pretend that all was well when it wasn’t. Now, she is a good support to me. She’s 96 and healthier than I am!
I hope all goes well and you can make your trip to the east coast. Please take care

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thank you becky… you are too cute… glad your mom is doing so well… and I do think she knows there is something wrong.. I told her I quit smoking in Dec.. she is real glad to hear that… but I think she knows something is wrong.. but I still rather not tell her the worst.. did tell her a while back they were checking a lump on my throat..

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@gingerw

I am so impressed to read what everyone is saying!
@janlanderz Your strength is awesome, and your wisdom to downplay your issues with your mom is commendable. Remember, you are her daughter, and she may be aware something is not right. Perhaps saying there are some health issues, but not many details, will be enough?
@auntieoakley I like the sounds of your group!
@alamogal35 You have my prayers
@merpreb It's scary times, but no doubt you will handle things with grace and attitude ;))
Having a group like Connect here to lean on is a good thing!
Ginger

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thanks everyone for your input.. I am so glad to be part of this group.. the support is overwhelming… and sacred…

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Hi everyone I have chronic Epstein barre , it causing cancer. I can not move my neck and had white things in my mouth for a month, no one helps me. God forbid I can find a oncologists or beg someone to do a peta scan. I have had who
It’s patches down my esophagus for a moth

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@jshdma

@alamogal635 @merpreb Just reading these stories is terrifying. No wonder you are afraid. And yes, the unknown makes everything worse. I wish AA stood for "anxiety anonymous," but unfortunately it's not that simple.

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@jshdma– Now there's a thought! Maybe we could come up with a better acronym and start a whole new "thing". What are your thoughts? Any ideas?

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@becsbuddy

@janlanderz Hi, again. You mentioned not telling your Mom of your diagnosis because of her age, etc. I, too, didn’t tell my mother when I was diagnosed with a brain lesion due to a rare autoimmune disease. But, it turned out that she knew from the beginning. It was so hard to pretend that all was well when it wasn’t. Now, she is a good support to me. She’s 96 and healthier than I am!
I hope all goes well and you can make your trip to the east coast. Please take care

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@becsbuddy– I agree with you about telling @janlanderz's mom. Having cancer is stress enough but not telling your mom about your illness ads to that. I'm sure that you have felt that. Also I'm sure that your mom knows that something is up because you have cancelled your trips to see her. It sounds like she has brought you up to be a caring loving person, so giver her the benefit of the doubt that she will help you and that it will not hurt her. Will you give this some thought?

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