• Panic attacks or PTSD

    Asked by dollymama on Thursday, December 20, 2018

    Panic attacks or PTSD

    I have something going on now. After my diagnosis and treatments, and now maintenance, return checkups, etc. now I find I have times that I can't hardly catch my breath when I start thinking about a relapse. After I go to the doctor for a checkup I feel the same feeling while waiting on test results or scans. I have asked the doctor about it, but I don't think that they are understanding how serious this is. Does anyone else have these feelings? Is it panic attack or PTSD? I've heard both.

    15 Answers from the Community

    15 answers
    • po18guy's Avatar
      po18guy

      Sorry to hear of this. It is likely a combination of both - the PTSD tending to produce anxiety later on. Anxiety is highly treatable - in the short term with certain prescriptions, or with counseling for a potential lifetime fix. That is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and is the drug-free gold standard in anxiety treatment.

      But consider: fear oif relapse? You have amply demonstrated that you are stronger than the cancer already. Have confidence in yourself, in doctor, in medical science, in that which you believe in. Trust int he love you have for others and their love of you.

      Even more so: we are going to draw our last breath some day. Do we tend to worry about that? Not really. Shrink your view down as much as you can - limiting it even to today only. No chance of relapse today, so today is a good day.

      Personally, I believe that tomorrow cannot be a problem until and unless I wake up tomorrow. Our biggest fears are often far worse than the reality. So, there is plenty of help for our fears. After what you've been through, you deserve to live in peace, enjoying the new lease on life that you have received.

      over 3 years ago
    • banditwalker's Avatar
      banditwalker

      Laying flat, putting my whole head under the shower, bed covers have to be below my neckline, can't do MRI's anymore. All of these things and more make me freak out like I can't breath. Onc says it is PTSD. I don't know that I would go that far but it seems it is getting better with time. I'll never be able to do an MRI ever again tho'. I know that for a fact.

      over 3 years ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      I watched a video the other day called Fear of Recurrence. It is free and I think you might find it worthwhile. https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=hzReM5iduN4 The young lady who is the presenter has had cancer twice when she was a teenager.

      over 3 years ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      Sorry, you'll need to copy the whole URL, WhatNext didn't highlight it all. Or, here's a short URL to it: https://bit.ly/2rQjRG4

      over 3 years ago
    • meyati's Avatar
      meyati

      I think that it's an anxiety attack-a panic attack. I don't mind shopping or living alone, but I go ballistic if someone walks off to look at something and will be right back. I shake, can't breathe, and I feel like I'm going to faint. It's all I can do to keep from crying. This was before cell phones.
      I'm OK in a shop, but anything larger, and I lose it. I feel the same way about scans and the checkups, or if anything goes wrong.

      We were in a Mall- several floors-Penny's, Sears, Dillards, Barnes and Noble, Boot Barn, police station, and a 100 shops. The first time my daughter wanted to look at something, while I was standing in an exchange line. She met a boyfriend, and they took off in my truck. I waited and waited, we lived a 100 miles out. I went to the truck to wait, and the truck was gone. I went back and waited, walked around in the store. I asked clerks if they saw her. I had her paged. I was sitting and crying, when she and her boyfriend showed up.

      The next time-about a year later-I went with her and my son. We were to meet by the West elevators. They were late, and I thought that I was going to have a heart attack. My son decided that they should get back, and he came alone-he wanted to take me to the hospital. he got his siter and screamed at her and told their father.

      She never learned-didn't care-I just made sure that she couldn't drive off anymore. My grandson left me once, and he was so scared how I looked that he now stays right next to me. He asked, and I answered. He'd be looking at a book or toy-and she just left him. He'd wait and walk home. Small town.

      You can get anxiety med that helps anxiety and panic attacks- and PTSD.

      over 3 years ago
    • DonnainRI's Avatar
      DonnainRI

      Your symptoms are very consistent with panic attacks but even if that is the case, you cannot be diagnosed and treated here. Ask your physician for a referral to a mental health specialist. This does not mean you are crazy. When going through something as intense and frightening as cancer, it is not surprising that your mind causes your body to react. Panic attacks can be managed with counseling and sometimes medication. You have shown you are a survivor and you can do what you need to do to stay among the living. Keep reminding yourself of that.

      over 3 years ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar
      BuckeyeShelby

      While I was in active treatment, I had a nurse case mgr (I adore Jami and still occasionally pester her... Hmm, time to send her a Xmas meme....). Anyway, Jami told me that most cancer patients experience at least a little PTSD for awhile. I'll still have minor attacks, but it really kicked in when my mom got sick and eventually passed. You say you spoke to your doctor -- your PCP or your oncologist? Your oncologist should have a clue. Or maybe speak w/his or her nurse?

      over 3 years ago
    • meyati's Avatar
      meyati

      I was told that another name for cancer is ANXIETY---and I wasn't that bad on the scale 1 to 10.

      over 3 years ago
    • SandiA's Avatar
      SandiA

      I have always had some form of anxiety in my life. But it definitely increased after my diagnosis. I did end on some meds and they have really helped. I am two and a half years out from treatment and I have also noticed some increase in my anxiety. For me it has been weird time. Like the time I had baseball tickets high up in the stadium. I had a panic attack. I thought for sure I was going to fall out of my seat and land in left field. Didn’t make sense to anyone else with us but it was very real. I have also noticed an increase when I am in traffic. I have wondered too if it had anything to do with my diagnosis and fear of reoccurrence or a form of PTSD. I was going to talk to my oncologist on my next appointment. I wish you all the best. Like others I would recommend talking it out with your oncologist or possibly a nurse that you feel comfortable with. Let us know how it goes. Sandi

      over 3 years ago
    • meyati's Avatar
      meyati

      Or the chaplain--That was my route---

      over 3 years ago
    • DonnainRI's Avatar
      DonnainRI

      To equate cancer with anxiety does a disservice to all cancer patients. Of course someone with a serious illness has some anxiety. To not have it would be abnormal. Over the years as a nurse I heard about the "ulcer personality," the "inflammatory bowel" personality and of course the "cancer personality." I am not normally an uptight person but needless to say I have days now when I am anxious since I am stage IV. But the anxiety keeps me consistent with managing my care at home - my meds, for example. I realized one month that I must have missed a few doses and changed what I do in the evening so I can be sure to take the evening dose. It has to be either two hours after or one hour before eating. I've changed my meal schedule so that it is less likely I will fall asleep without taking it.

      over 3 years ago
    • DonnainRI's Avatar
      DonnainRI

      @SandiA - I had to laugh at your experience with stadium seats that were high up. I have never been fond of heights, either, but when the chance came to get tickets to sit on the Green Monstah at Fenway Park, I grabbed it. I took the seats in the lower tier because of cost and because of the height but once I sat down I realized that sitting in those seats probably make you more aware of the height. Having rows of people in front of you keeps you from being able to look straight down and go "Oh, nuts!"I enjoyed the game, but kept my eyes straight ahead! Great experience but now I have been there and done that.

      over 3 years ago
    • meyati's Avatar
      meyati

      I know that cancer really upped my anxiety enough where my personality changed, and I don't have any reason to argue with the wisdom of experienced oncology staff. Maybe the type and site of a cancer plays a part in this. Having other patients being rescheduled so you can get into immediate treatment does amp up the anxiety, but a doctor says-- Cancer-and everyone starts worrying a whole lot.

      over 3 years ago
    • SandiA's Avatar
      SandiA

      @DonnainRI oh that’s funny. It was in Philly and the Braves were the visiting team. We are Braves fans. It was the last weekend series and the stands were pretty empty because the Braves had already clinched the division. So we were the first to arrive and the only ones in the stands. It did go away a little after my family arrived and filled in the seat in front of us. But Ronald Acuna, Jr. the rookie of the year was the left fielder and I was convinced I was going to fall forward and land on him. When they did the National Anthem I stood but I have a hand on the back of my seat and I was leading back as far as I could. They all want to do it again so I said I would but at least this time it won’t catch me off guard.

      over 3 years ago
    • DonnainRI's Avatar
      DonnainRI

      @SandiA - my Dad was a lifelong Braves fan. He always said the wrong team left Boston!

      over 3 years ago

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