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?

@merpreb

@padovani- Unfortunately many sleep meds are very addictive. Have you considered taking a long term anti-depressant during the day? I will last all day into the next when you take your next one. Xanax might be wearing off after 4 hours. Sleep habits are difficult to break. I know when I don't get very steady sleep I'm a mess. Without sleep any other problems are exaggerated.

Good sleep habits are very important: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-tools-tips/healthy-sleep-tips

Has anything happened to set this off? Do you have any other problems that can be causing this? Have you spoken to your doctor about it?

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My biggest problem is probably that I am older and alone. My family and now friends are gone
I am married and my husband is a nice man but very passive and incapable of even the appearance of confrontation or even disagreement. He is unfortunately for me my power of attorney. Anti depressants have never worked except to put me at risk for stroke.

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padovani- I am sorry that you feel so all alone. Have you contacted the American Cancer Society? https://www.cancer.org/
They have a lot of services. Does your state have a legal aid? Perhaps you can get some further assistance to help you feel more secure.
Has your doctor advised you to take more meds at all?

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@merpreb

@padovani- Welcome to Mayo Connect! I'm sure that you feel all of these things and I wish that you didn't have to! My advice for you right now is to take just one day at a time. Do you know what your treatment will be for your liver cancer? Is it a primary or have they biopsied it?
Here is a link that you might find helpful: https://www.verywellhealth.com/lung-cancer-spread-to-the-liver-2249263

I also never thought that a recurrence would happen. I had changed my life around and was "doing all the right things". Someone needs to redefine that saying.
For the time being, until this is under control do you feel like you would want to ask for medicine to help you get your feelings under control? It might help you see thing more clearly I think. Your denial will come and go but your other feelings will take a bit of time. I love the quote, "The difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes a little longer." I had to look at this on my refrigerator every day so I might slow down.

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@merpreb Hi Merry: Thanks for that quote, "The difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes a little longer."

I'm going to put that on my refrigerator also!

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@padovani

My biggest problem is probably that I am older and alone. My family and now friends are gone
I am married and my husband is a nice man but very passive and incapable of even the appearance of confrontation or even disagreement. He is unfortunately for me my power of attorney. Anti depressants have never worked except to put me at risk for stroke.

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I am sorry to hear of your sleep problems, @padovani. Not sleeping well can make everything seem worse, can't it?
I see that you have tried antidepressants without much help and you feel that they have increased your stroke risk. Many members on Connect have discussed Trazodone for sleep. Just a small dose (50 mg or less) can make a difference in sleep. You might ask your doctor about Trazodone.
Have you ever tried Trazodone before for sleep?

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@hopeful33250

@merpreb Hi Merry: Thanks for that quote, "The difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes a little longer."

I'm going to put that on my refrigerator also!

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Woohoo.

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No but my husband ha to give it up because there was hangover that impacted his ability to think clearly and solve technical problems. I am retired but solving mathematical problems is my major pastime. Loss of mental sharpness would be ashiw stopping side effect

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Plus I.thought trazadone was an antidepressant not an anti-anxiety. I think it bus used for the latterbonly off- label

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Trazadone is an atypical anti-depressant that is great for people suffering insomnia but not from depression. 50mg at bedtime should do the trick.

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@odikaflog

Trazadone is an atypical anti-depressant that is great for people suffering insomnia but not from depression. 50mg at bedtime should do the trick.

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As I said our experience ga been that it results in an all-day brain fog that results in a compromised ability to do intellectual work. Groggy all day

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@padovani

As I said our experience ga been that it results in an all-day brain fog that results in a compromised ability to do intellectual work. Groggy all day

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Have you tried Melatonin? I find it works well for me when I can't sleep. It's 'simple' and natural and doesn't give any side effects the next day. It might not be strong enough for you to use if the sleep problem is really serious for you but might be worth a try if you haven't already. Available over the counter.

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Merry,

Three weeks ago, I learned of a recurrence of adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) in my lungs. It's been 6.5 years since my initial diagnosis of ACC in my parotid gland. When meeting with my ENT to schedule my annual head & neck MRI, suggested I get a CT chest scan so I have a baseline for comparing future scans (ACC almost always metastasizes to the lungs). I was asymptomatic and expected my lungs to be clear but I was wrong.

I'm spending my free-time reviewing clinical trails for ACC and working with my medical oncologist to figure out which trials/drugs make sense for me to pursue. I'm a pragmatist and want to do what I can to improve my odds.I also want to utilize my remaining time on this planet. How to spend my time wisely?I I asked myself that question when I received my first cancer diagnosis but didn't have an answer so read ife-coach book in search of answers. The book was awful. That's when I realized that I had to figure out the answers for myself..

You ask, "How do we cope?" "How do we react?" "What do we do?"

There aren't universal answer that apply to everyone. To answer these questions, you need to replace "We" with "I" and come up with answers that work for you.

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@cindylb

Have you tried Melatonin? I find it works well for me when I can't sleep. It's 'simple' and natural and doesn't give any side effects the next day. It might not be strong enough for you to use if the sleep problem is really serious for you but might be worth a try if you haven't already. Available over the counter.

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No I am not aware it is an fda quality regulated substance

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@odikaflog

Merry,

Three weeks ago, I learned of a recurrence of adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) in my lungs. It's been 6.5 years since my initial diagnosis of ACC in my parotid gland. When meeting with my ENT to schedule my annual head & neck MRI, suggested I get a CT chest scan so I have a baseline for comparing future scans (ACC almost always metastasizes to the lungs). I was asymptomatic and expected my lungs to be clear but I was wrong.

I'm spending my free-time reviewing clinical trails for ACC and working with my medical oncologist to figure out which trials/drugs make sense for me to pursue. I'm a pragmatist and want to do what I can to improve my odds.I also want to utilize my remaining time on this planet. How to spend my time wisely?I I asked myself that question when I received my first cancer diagnosis but didn't have an answer so read ife-coach book in search of answers. The book was awful. That's when I realized that I had to figure out the answers for myself..

You ask, "How do we cope?" "How do we react?" "What do we do?"

There aren't universal answer that apply to everyone. To answer these questions, you need to replace "We" with "I" and come up with answers that work for you.

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Exactly. Thank you. You are clearly an intelligent and discerning person facing the future with courage. I wish you the very best and send you positive thoughts and energy

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Trazadone is worth a shot. For me, the most valuable combo has been Serqoquel (200 or 300 mg at bedtime) + .2 mg of clonidine. Both drugs are generic, which makes them relatively cheap.

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@odikaflog

Trazadone is worth a shot. For me, the most valuable combo has been Serqoquel (200 or 300 mg at bedtime) + .2 mg of clonidine. Both drugs are generic, which makes them relatively cheap.

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Did you read my previous replies. I cannot have a fogged brain and do my scientific work. All it is know to cause blood pressure issues ani it is an anridepresantnot an anti anxiety. I know many doctors use it off label but I am not an off label type. Pharmaceutical chemistry in my bacground

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