• Is sleeping so much normal or depression?

    Asked by FloridaNana on Tuesday, January 6, 2015

    Is sleeping so much normal or depression?

    My husband was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma brain tumors after having a seizure just 2 months ago - so this has been very overwhelming and pretty much a whirlwind trying to search for information and learning that we have to be our own advocates! We continue to get very different recommendations from doctors and have been making decisions for what is best for us. Only one doctor has even been straigtforward enough to give us any timeframe of what is average with this - but researching online doesn't give much hope. We chose to do stereotactic radiation to the 2 tumor sites (one was removed surgically). After surgery my husband was doing great - turns out that was probably the steroid he was on! But since he had the radiation treatment he does nothing but eat and sleep. Family came for Christmas and he did spend more time awake, communicating while they were here, but after they left, he is just sleeping and eating again. He is gaining weight like crazy, and is very puffy. Normal?

    21 Answers from the Community

    21 answers
    • charnell's Avatar
      charnell

      Could be both. I am SO tired and have been sleeping all of time. Good luck and God bless.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Cricket's Avatar
      Cricket

      It could be both. I wasn't tired right after my surgery, but when I started taking zelboraf, I was really wiped out. I've been on zelboraf for almost three years and I can still have periods of tiredness but mostly now it is periods of depression that keeps me in down. It usually lasts about a week or two at a time.

      almost 5 years ago
    • angeldancer's Avatar
      angeldancer

      He definitely needs his rest. Radiation wipes you out so bad. I still have not recovered from radiation and it ended in April of 2014. I still need more rest than I ever needed but finally I have made a decision to make myself exercise for at least 20 minutes. It helps but I still crash afterward. Depression doesn't help and makes it worst. Get him talking and moving and then let him rest. Talk to his doctor, I will be doing the same on this coming thursday. I stay too wiped out and can't concentrate. Maybe she can come up with some ideas.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Lirasgirl33's Avatar
      Lirasgirl33

      Fatigue is real. I'm living through it. I dislike feeling like I'm sleeping the days away. I have to force myself to get up and out if possible. Sometimes pain makes me want to just lay down too. Thankfully I've found painkillers that work. Always let the doctors know of the side effects he's experiencing so they are aware and can look into it.

      almost 5 years ago
    • robsterstu's Avatar
      robsterstu

      The disease is bad enough, but the emotional toll is just as hard. Continue to do what is best for your husband and you. I believe one of the reasons doctors don't want to discuss average timelines is because they want you to live in the moment. They also want to keep you mentally focused on improving/surviving/living with the best quality of life as possible. Since your husband was more active with family visits, maybe a weekly visit from family or friends would help. I would definitely discuss the puffiness with your team since that could be inflammation that will stress his body. Prayers and positive thoughts from Michigan. : )

      almost 5 years ago
    • buffcody's Avatar
      buffcody (Best Answer!)

      I had SRS for two brain tumors as he did. I found myself sleeping more than usual, sometimes napping which has never been part of my life. If not actually sleeping, I definitely had more fatigue than usual. That was more than two years ago now. Both regular surgery and SRS definitely have a fatigue factor attached, especially if it is to the brain. On the other hand, there was no major weight gain involved in my case. In fact, I don't remember much fluctuation in my weight at all at that time. I have, however, had other problems during the past year, not a recurrence of the melanoma, but related to the larger picture. I've been frustrated with the amount of fatigue that had become part of my life recently and finally decided that there was nothing I could do about it except try to put some exercise back into my life and hope for good results. Not something I felt all that motivated to do. I missed exercising, which was something that had been a regular part of my life before i became ill, but I was always "too tired."

      So I forced myself some recently, and I have found that, in moderation, it has helped my fatigue a lot. Not taken it all away, but helped. I think most any medical source you would consult would recommend the same thing. Cancer patients no matter the treatment seem to have fatigue problems. Exercise seems to be important in relieving this condition. Exercise comes in many shapes and forms for people. The most important thing seems to find one that one enjoys and can stick with, is moderate, and is social or solitary depending on the person, though many are helped to stick to it by doing it with someone else. Many cancer treatment facilities offer this type of program for present and former patients. Hope this helps. It's AN answer not necessarily a complete or one that fits your husband right now.

      almost 5 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar
      geekling

      You need to understand what is happening. Your husband has some rogue cells which are constantly dividing. The doctors try to poison those cells with a variety of drugs [chemicals] under the general heading of "chemotherapy". With radiation the doctors try to destroy those same constantly replicating cells by emmitting beams of electromagnetic or nuclear energy at the cells which destroys the information contained within those cells so the communication; the ability to replicate is destroyed.

      The problem the theory and activity is that healthy cells occasionally divide also and suffer the same disastrous consequences.

      Radiation to the brain is especially difficult, I would imagine. I had radiation to my other end 13 years ago. I am cancer free but the resultant damage was of a much greater degree than I'd been led to believe and is not healed to this day. I slept for 6 months or so after the doctors were done with me. Then I very slowly climbed to be more embodied.

      Your husband probably is TIRED and does need sleep as he says but that doesn't mean that you need leave him alone.

      Humans radiate electromagnetic energy to each other which, between those who love, can be amazingly healing. We talk to babies in the womb, to invisible beings up in the clouds, to people across the world from us, so why not to a loved one as he sleeps?

      The weight gain can only be from one or both of two things. It is either the amount and quality of the food he is eating or the lack of exercise/movement while he is only strong enough to sleep. He needs to perform some regular movement so he doesn't, as you say, get "puffy".

      If you have a juicer or blender, wash and chop up a couple of ribs of celery & a cucumber (peeled if not organic .. most of the nutrition is in the skin) along with a big handful of parsley OR lettuce leaves. Maybe add ginger or mint, depending what he might like. The celery & cucumber are taste neutral. If more sweet is needed, try grapes or most any fruit which it in season. On days when he does NOt get radiaton, add a tablespoon or two of coconut oil. His body can't take too much while he is ill and it is so very IMPortant that he stay hydrated and greens do a fine job toward that goal. Applesauce, jello, even ice chips help, if water or soups are difficult.

      Best wishes for a positive recovery in the new year full of great possibilities.

      almost 5 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar
      geekling

      Please allow me to add that any drugs your husband may take can affect his metabolism over and above diet and exercise.

      Even finger exercises are movement. Healthier new year to you

      almost 5 years ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      What does his doctor say about the weight gain and puffiness? Is he getting steroids or something?

      almost 5 years ago
    • FloridaNana's Avatar
      FloridaNana

      Thank you all for your responses! I had posted on another web-site and received no response, so this has been very encouraging. Yes, my husband is on steroids - actually just weened off, which caused his appetite increase and puffiness. Hoping that the puffiness goes down now - but today is only the 3rd day of no steroids. He was eating everything in sight. So, now the only drug he is taking is an anti-seizure med, which also tends to make him sleepy. To clarify, he only had one radiation treatment (stereotactic). It was great to hear buffcody say he had this same treatment 2 years ago! The only prognosis we were given did not give my husband that much time - so that news is very encouraging! Thank you

      almost 5 years ago
    • lilymadeline's Avatar
      lilymadeline

      The puffy weight gain is probably due to steroids and medications that he is given. Please speak again to his doctors about this and also I would guess the severe fatigue is a bit of both depression and the cancer. He may need some antidepressants, and is he getting any exercise at all? Because exercise helps with fatigue! The cancer ate through my spine awhile ago, and I was given bed orders to rest and during that time I also noticed the the fatigue got a lot worse, as soon as I started moving again the fatigue got better....just saying.....

      almost 5 years ago
    • lilymadeline's Avatar
      lilymadeline

      Sorry I just saw your last answer, and BTW- it is possible for one radiation treatment to cause severe fatigue in some cases. And hopefully he will be around for a long time! Hugs!!!

      almost 5 years ago
    • melanomamama's Avatar
      melanomamama

      Is steriotatic radiation like targeted gamma knife radiation? I had gamma knife radiation twice, and it kills healthy cells along with the cancerous ones. That causes necrotic tissue to wreak havoc in the brain. As the body is trying to get rid of dead cells, there can be brain swelling (reduced by steroids), and I have had numerous flash fevers and uncontrollable fatigue. I would sit down on the couch to rest a minute and would wake up three hours later. When the fevers got too high (104 degrees F.) I was taken to the emergency room and spent four days in the hospital while they reduced fevers with Tylenol. I am out now on steroids and Tylenol, but still not peppy. The doctor says I have an 80 percent chance of living four more months, at which time I would be out of the woods as far as this brain tumor goes, but the necrosis caused by the radiation could also kill me (20% chance.) The first time I had gamma knife radiation, the same thing happened, only worse, and I ended up needing an open-skull craniotomy to reduce the life-threatening brain swelling. Ongoing MRI brain scans will tell the true story of necrosis, and the tumor's shrinkage or growth. Mine is shrinking after the radiation.
      Constance Emerson Crooker
      www.melanomamama.com

      almost 5 years ago
    • barryboomer's Avatar
      barryboomer

      If you paid the smartest people in the world a million dollars you couldn't have gotten better advice than you got from GEEKLING....Brava.....

      NOW...that he's off the meds Do some Radical things to TRY and turn things around....IF HE will do it.....Radical change to 99 % Raw and some cooked plant foods, Lots of Green Juices AND Smoothies with lots of berries etc....I would have other smoothies with just veggies. I wouldn't mix fruit and veggies. USE Stevia if needed and banana's and raisins add sweetness.

      Then LOOK UP anti cancer supplements like curcumin and green tea extract and Reishi Mushroom extracts and others and start popping a LOT OF THEM and wait to be cured.

      Maybe no................BUT Maybe at least a DRAW....you did all the killing NOW start on the long way back to HEALING. IF IT WAS ME.

      There is NO Cure for Cancer except getting our Killer T cells and it's brothers and sisters back in the game. Our cells DON'T Eat unless WE feed them and it's common sense IF we feed all our cells Poison Disguised as Food that they might not do very well....It's NOT just about Cancer but all diseases. NOW Some people's genetic makeup is that they can live to 90 eat junk and die in their sleep from plain old age.....but most of us are not that strong and NEED better Nutrition NOW and through our entire life......Don't feed your kids and grandkids food called JUNK....what's up with that. IF YOU were a Killer T Cell and were hungry and were patiently awaiting lunch would you do better with a donut or an apple....I REST MY CASE.

      Give it a chance and if it doesn't work and he dies like EVERY other person on the planet you will know you tried everything....killing AND HEALING.

      almost 5 years ago
    • buffcody's Avatar
      buffcody

      Yes, Constance, gamma knife is a type of SRS. I like you had two brain tumors radiated. Both sites developed necrosis and both required later craniotomies. I had seizures prior to the first operation, and they may have been related to the first expanding necrosis. I was hospitalized twice due to the seizures. The second set convinced the doctors to operate, though we did not expect to find metastasis. None fortunately was found; the necrosis was removed. The second radiation site also expanded through post-radiation necrosis. The growth in the locatioi led to a suspicion of another metastasis a year later on this second site Only another craniotomy assured us that it was necrosis and not another metastasis.

      I have read where others have had similar experiences, though I have no idea of how common this is following SRS. Though I experienced limited fatigue after my radiation, I did not have the extent of the fatigue that you experienced, nor did I have any fever, nor did I need an inpatient hospital stay. I was never told anything about my survival odds by any doctor nor given any reason to fear outside of that created by the forms one signs before radiation and operations. I was definitely not told anything about the necrosis being life-threatening and, if it were before removal, told absolutely nothing about the removed necrosis or site being any kind of future threat to my life. Maybe I need to ask the surgeon, but I think he would have told me if there were a threat remaining after the craniotomy. I certainly anticipate regular MRIs of the brain for the years to come. But I enjoy life much more without carrying the burden of life expectancy statistics. I hope you feel better as the weeks pass and have no further major setbacks.

      almost 5 years ago
    • buffcody's Avatar
      buffcody

      Just saw this on the Time Magazine website. An interesting reflection on the depression question. The starting point for the theory is that everyone feels down when they are ill

      A growing number of scientists are coming to the conclusion that depression is at least as much a physical condition as it has to do with the mind.

      One explanation is inflammation, which is caused by a part of the immune system that gets called into action when the body suffers a wound, the Guardian reports.

      A set of proteins called cytokines sets off this inflammation in the body. This process is why people tend to feel down when they fall ill.

      And so scientists think the brain may be tricked into feeling depressed through a process akin to an allergic reaction.

      almost 5 years ago
    • melanomamama's Avatar
      melanomamama

      To Buffcody, just to clarify, I asked my oncologist for the statistics on my prognosis. Otherwise he wouldn't have told me. Many docs have learned not to stamp expiration dates on us, because they are so often wrong, and also many of us don't ask and don't want to know. My oncologist is a melanoma researcher, so I trust that he gets his statistics on longevity from real numbers in real patients. That said, I have beaten the statistics over and over, so I don't get too wrapped up in them.
      I can't believe you went through two craniotomies for the necrosis. I had two craniotomies, but my first was to remove a golf-ball sized melanoma from near my frontal lobe. Then melanoma grew back in the hole, so they gamma knifed it. Then the gamma knife radiation caused necrosis that caused life threatening brain swelling, so they told me I needed another craniotomy. At first I asked what would happen if I waited to see if my own body would clear the necrosis, and they let me wait a couple of weeks, then did another brain MRI, and told me that the brain swelling from the necrosis was much worse, and that if I didn't have the surgery I could have a stroke and/or die. So that resulted in craniotomy number two.
      So then with this new brain tumor one year later, they recommended gamma knife (not a craniotomy.) I was reluctant because of the necrosis issue, and I told them that if they caused necrosis again that I would go on hospice before I would undergo another craniotomy. Two craniotomies are enough for a lifetime. They wrecked my quality of life for a long time. So now, I'm waiting to see if my own body will clear out the necrosis while steroids keep the swelling down and Tylenol controls the fevers. That's why I have a timeline. The latest MRI shows the tumor shrinking, so it's a race between tumor shrinking and the necrotic tissue rotting away and causing problem. That's why the doc says we'll now which way things will turn within four months.

      almost 5 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      Both fatigue and depression are normal. The way I fight both is to make sure I watch the sunrise.
      Even though he is in treatment. I visit to his PCP might be in order as he/she could see other things than cancer.

      almost 5 years ago
    • FloridaNana's Avatar
      FloridaNana

      It has been just under 3 weeks that he had radiation. No one said anything to us about necrosis. He has not had a fever. Just a voracious appetite - which I contribute to the steroid. But he has been off the steroid for 3 days now, and is still eating everything in sight, and seems to be sleeping more the last 3 days.

      almost 5 years ago
    • ritafaystageIV's Avatar
      ritafaystageIV

      I agree with BoiseB,
      Maybe you're PCP will see something besides cancer. It seems no matter what I have wrong with me, my oncologist ( and I am on my 3rd one ) has very limited ability to help me. I am going to my PCP tomorrow. I have been home from the hospital from the flu for several weeks, and don't seem to be bouncing back.

      almost 5 years ago
    • schweetieangel's Avatar
      schweetieangel

      Great answers glad everyone here was able to jump in and help you out. I know i sleep more and more after each chemo session.. lately i have been napping 2-3 times a day and then in bed 9-9:30 .. think it just wears you out. Hope he starts to get a little more energy soon.

      almost 5 years ago

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