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?

@auntieoakley

If you need a friend, you know where to find me.

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Thank you so much 😊

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@janlanderz

Not sure if this will help you… I have to read it sometimes to remind myself to stop feeling so angry or sad about things.. because I have a lot of why me moments.. see below: took most of it from a 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?

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Food for thought. Thank you.

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@azkidney57

We must never lose hope sorry but my dog jumped on me while I was texting. Also, I interchange God and dog a lot. I think about God a lot. I was raised Catholic. My dog is my best friend! He is my constant companion. When I first came back from the hospital after my nephrectomy I sat down in the living room and he didn’t jump on me as usual. He sat next to me and put his chin on my lap and stared at me. Best welcome home ever!

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My dogs are my very dearest friends and companions. Wouldn’t have made it as well as I did and do after my lung cancer diagnosi, surgery and post op follow ups without their unconditional live. What you wrote above is so touching.😊🦋

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@auntieoakley

I found I had less tolerance for meaningless small talk. I never did the why me question because I always really expected it, but I did struggle a bit until I was about 8 months in to treatment a doctor gave me some chemical help with that. I firmly believe in Zoloft being better living through chemistry now. I went off for a few years, but when my husbands bone cancer returned right away and had to return to Mayo for his second transplant, I went back on it. I try to be grateful for every day we have together and be mindful of the moment, but truthfully sometimes it is really hard. If antidepressants aren’t appropriate for people like us, I don’t know who they are. Because there is so many feelings and thoughts to process all the time. I find that scan time is the longest weeks of the year.

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@auntieoakley – You have described how I reacted when I first learned that I had cancer to a T. Minutia, crowds, anything loud. I love Zoloft and I won't get off of it unless it does me wrong. Some of us need the chemical balance to be put right and this does it for me too.

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@azkidney57

When I first got the news about my cancer I was shocked! I had always been so healthy. I was depressed and anxious for weeks. I have only recently gotten over the diagnosis. I am in the process of getting a new oncologist. I am private about my cancer even with family. Early morning hours are indeed the hardest because you are alone with your thoughts. I spent many sleepless nights wondering why the hell I got cancer! But I am learning to cope. Mostly I am learning to keep busy. I have a full time job so that helps. I am not the same person anymore. I have changed. I find I have much less tolerance for some people. I don’t like to be around lots of people they annoy me. My god is a great comfort. I have a few good friends I rely on. I try not to let worry dictate my life. But at times I do think about the cancer coming back and I have scans in October. I just have to deal with it. I am looking into a cancer group to join where I can be around other people who shar similar experiences. I am sleeping better nowadays and that helps. I want to get my life back on track because I feel derailed! This group helps because I read how others cope. Cancer sucks but we must lose hope!

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@azkidney57– Boy have you come to the right place for cancer groups with people who are going through, or have gone through what you have. You can also go to Groups, at the top of the page and it will list all of our groups and topics that are being discussed now.
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/cancer/
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/kidney-conditions/

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In reply to @padovani "I hope so too" + (show)
@padovani

I hope so too

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I also have multifocal adenocarcinoma , was diagnosed in 2011 at mayo. Have had two surgeries and a couple of rounds of radiation. I go back now in November for my ct scan so will see what happens. On the last one they said something had changed in my lower left lung so will be anxious about that. I told my counselor yesterday….. it will be what it will be……. you do what you have to do and hope for the best………..Best wishes and prayers for you padovani and you too merry

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@auntieoakley

I found I had less tolerance for meaningless small talk. I never did the why me question because I always really expected it, but I did struggle a bit until I was about 8 months in to treatment a doctor gave me some chemical help with that. I firmly believe in Zoloft being better living through chemistry now. I went off for a few years, but when my husbands bone cancer returned right away and had to return to Mayo for his second transplant, I went back on it. I try to be grateful for every day we have together and be mindful of the moment, but truthfully sometimes it is really hard. If antidepressants aren’t appropriate for people like us, I don’t know who they are. Because there is so many feelings and thoughts to process all the time. I find that scan time is the longest weeks of the year.

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Hi Auntie, I agree about the small talk. I don't want people to keep asking questions of which I have no answers, I don't want pity or sympathy. Maybe this is all wrong. I have a older sister who just drives me crazy and I get so upset with her, I just prefer to stay away. She is my older sister, my parents and brother are gone . All I want is some cheerful support when needed and then treat me like any other day if I didn't have cancer. Is this selfish of me. I don't think so. We are the ones who have to deal with it and if we need emotional support and a good friend we will reach out. I talk to a counselor quite often and she is super. I have accepted the cancer and will deal with it as it comes up………. I'm not going to live my life feelng sorry for myself. I've been thru lots of other things and survived and I will this as long as the Lord lets me…….I'm ok with that.
PS The people in here are the greatest because they all understand and that means so much.

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@sakota

Hi Auntie, I agree about the small talk. I don't want people to keep asking questions of which I have no answers, I don't want pity or sympathy. Maybe this is all wrong. I have a older sister who just drives me crazy and I get so upset with her, I just prefer to stay away. She is my older sister, my parents and brother are gone . All I want is some cheerful support when needed and then treat me like any other day if I didn't have cancer. Is this selfish of me. I don't think so. We are the ones who have to deal with it and if we need emotional support and a good friend we will reach out. I talk to a counselor quite often and she is super. I have accepted the cancer and will deal with it as it comes up………. I'm not going to live my life feelng sorry for myself. I've been thru lots of other things and survived and I will this as long as the Lord lets me…….I'm ok with that.
PS The people in here are the greatest because they all understand and that means so much.

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@sakota This is how i feel, also. I don't want pity, I want support if I reach out. If I need to say "no" to some activity because the energy is not there, or the situation is wrong for me, please don't pat my arm and look at me with puppy-dog eyes! Since 1988 I have been dealing with chronic illnesses, some serious, and I refuse to be identified by the dis-orders listed on my chart.
Ginger

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@sakota

Hi Auntie, I agree about the small talk. I don't want people to keep asking questions of which I have no answers, I don't want pity or sympathy. Maybe this is all wrong. I have a older sister who just drives me crazy and I get so upset with her, I just prefer to stay away. She is my older sister, my parents and brother are gone . All I want is some cheerful support when needed and then treat me like any other day if I didn't have cancer. Is this selfish of me. I don't think so. We are the ones who have to deal with it and if we need emotional support and a good friend we will reach out. I talk to a counselor quite often and she is super. I have accepted the cancer and will deal with it as it comes up………. I'm not going to live my life feelng sorry for myself. I've been thru lots of other things and survived and I will this as long as the Lord lets me…….I'm ok with that.
PS The people in here are the greatest because they all understand and that means so much.

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This is not selfish! Everyone has to live with this in their own way. I talk a lot about different health things many of which I don’t have and my husband does not have. Mostly because I like to study the nuts and bolts of disease. Also because I like to be able to understand how it affects people. I try to be respectful of what people dont want to talk about. I have been going for years here and I still am lousy at small talk. Weather is just weather and we all watch the news. I love a real conversation and I love silliness. I don’t want “oh, poor you” and I don’t want people to do things for me. I want to try to figure it out on my own first.
I, for one, am glad you came to connect! Welcome to the journey, sometimes I think we are pretty darn lucky. We don’t take our days for granted.

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@auntieoakley

This is not selfish! Everyone has to live with this in their own way. I talk a lot about different health things many of which I don’t have and my husband does not have. Mostly because I like to study the nuts and bolts of disease. Also because I like to be able to understand how it affects people. I try to be respectful of what people dont want to talk about. I have been going for years here and I still am lousy at small talk. Weather is just weather and we all watch the news. I love a real conversation and I love silliness. I don’t want “oh, poor you” and I don’t want people to do things for me. I want to try to figure it out on my own first.
I, for one, am glad you came to connect! Welcome to the journey, sometimes I think we are pretty darn lucky. We don’t take our days for granted.

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Nothing must be taken for granted. My life after a cancer diagnosis is teaching me this. I don’t intend to waste any time. I am not care free anymore. I have less patience and I tend to resent people I find “petty”. At work two co workers were talking one was complaining about her life she had a wedding to go to and was having wardrobe issues. I wanted to say, “You think you have problems, well I have scans coming up and I don’t know whether or not I will need to deal with cancer!” But they don’t know I have a cancer diagnosis and I was once care free. I need to deal with my own negativity. It isn’t anyone’s fault I got a cancer. I need to deal with it but I am not alone. Some days I feel less positive but I am working on being happy and grateful for what I have. I have my family, I have a good support system, and I am not alone! Also I am cancer free right now. I am grateful for that!

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@padovani

I could use some help here. I can not sleep more than four hours any more. I awaken and cannot get back to sleep again. Currently tale low dose xanax but only as needed to get back to sleep. I want no dependencies.

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I don't know if this works for others….. but before I would wake up at every little sound and then lay there wondering if someone was in the house or what the heck was going on so would end up losing hours of sleep. Since I have an echo I decided to put on some meditation music at nite when I go to bed and now I sleep thru, don't hear those noises, don't lay away thinking but sleep very soundly. It helps me to relax. Not saying its a cure but it helps me……..Best wishes to you Padovani

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this is a question that doesn't pertain to lung cancer , just in case someone has an answer……. does anyone know how long it takes to get results back after a 72 hour eeg? Mine should be pretty easy to read, nothing in my brain anymore,,,,,,,,, lol?

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@azkidney57

Nothing must be taken for granted. My life after a cancer diagnosis is teaching me this. I don’t intend to waste any time. I am not care free anymore. I have less patience and I tend to resent people I find “petty”. At work two co workers were talking one was complaining about her life she had a wedding to go to and was having wardrobe issues. I wanted to say, “You think you have problems, well I have scans coming up and I don’t know whether or not I will need to deal with cancer!” But they don’t know I have a cancer diagnosis and I was once care free. I need to deal with my own negativity. It isn’t anyone’s fault I got a cancer. I need to deal with it but I am not alone. Some days I feel less positive but I am working on being happy and grateful for what I have. I have my family, I have a good support system, and I am not alone! Also I am cancer free right now. I am grateful for that!

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If I can just stay in today! You nailed how I hear trivial complaints. I am instantly transported to my diagnosis day. I know that my mind was thing about funeral homes and my Mouth was only able to speak of hair loss. A new UnNormal filter between what I think and what I can say. Today is a Cancer Free Day full of Beautiful possibilities! Thank you for reminding me of that! ❤️

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