• DKS's Avatar

    Suffering depression after successful treatment.

    Asked by DKS on Thursday, April 16, 2015

    Suffering depression after successful treatment.

    I started suffering from symptoms of depression and having anxiety attacks about four months after finishing my radiation treatment and about 10 months after having a six-month hormone shot of Lupron. My question is if there's anyone else out there who experienced a similar effect.

    13 Answers from the Community

    13 answers
    • IronMom45's Avatar
      IronMom45

      I walk a fine line here as I'm not a depressed person by nature but I do mourn my previous life before cancer and it brings me down. Then I feel guilty that I'm even thinking this way cause I'm alive and isn't that enough? And I tell myself yes but as I now struggle here just a month later to find my new normal knowing I'm still not able to return to my previous abilities I swing downward in thoughts then back up again with my brain screaming you are alive! So yes I understand but maybe a professional counselor may be of help to you too. Meanwhile we both must think we are alive what's good about today? Yes I can't talk to my old friends who left me, or punch in today at my old job but I will pick my daughter up from school today. And in that moment that's what I wanted to be alive to be here for her. So find the good you have in life and focus on that. Call your doctor if you feel this is more than you can bear. Better to seek help. Positive thoughts sent your way.

      about 7 years ago
    • DKS's Avatar
      DKS

      Thanks, I am seeing a counselor

      about 7 years ago
    • IronMom45's Avatar
      IronMom45

      Cancer is so life changing there is no right or wrong how we end up responding to it. Stay strong. Know whatnext here for you.

      about 7 years ago
    • TXHills' Avatar
      TXHills

      It's good you are aware of what's going on and getting some help. Between having cancer and the hormone swings of treatment, it's understandable to have some depression. Your brain chemicals can get out of whack with so much change. It's nothing to be ashamed of, any more than having diabetes or cancer is.
      Gratitude can help keep you centered and uplifted, and exercise can help, as can working with your counselor. Hang in there and just view this as another side effect to be dealt with. You will get past this.

      about 7 years ago
    • TXHills' Avatar
      TXHills

      I started having unusual anxiety several months ago, sometimes almost panic attacks. Magnesium supplements have helped me a great deal. Perhaps discuss this with your doc?

      about 7 years ago
    • CAS1's Avatar
      CAS1

      I have always had anxiety and depression perhaps more passion than most...Type A on turbo charge..All that has changed. But my exercising and .5 ativan at night has helped me a great deal.

      The cancer has brought whats really important in life to me in a clear focus and that is a calming influence as has daily meditation..Not just my own cancer but the loss of my family to cancer as well.

      about 7 years ago
    • barryboomer's Avatar
      barryboomer

      I don't think ANY Human Being with cancer can avoid anxiety and depression. I guess it's HOW we deal with it that counts. I think accepting it is ok and then MOVE ON and get busy. The Meds can't get the thought out of our heads so it seems like a waste of time to me. I've tried Xanax a long time ago and it made me stoned but I was still anxious because the thoughts were still there. BUT sometimes being stoned just makes us care a little less....

      about 7 years ago
    • lindi143's Avatar
      lindi143

      I think that it is a natural feeling. so much change and so much to go thru. I do suffer from depression and not from cancer so I know the depressed feeling. Medication has been a lifesaver literally for me. I am glad you are seeing someone. Life is unbelievably hard and complicated. We all need help and it is best to get some help. Please know you are not alone in your feeling and that it is ok it is what it is.

      about 7 years ago
    • Ejourneys' Avatar
      Ejourneys

      You are not alone. Depression after treatment ends is not unusual. Here's what some other people have written:

      "After experiencing cancer and its allopathic treatments, most people are often left wondering, 'What just happened?'" writes Dr. Regina Huelsenbeck. "Most of the survivors I have worked with actually report the time immediately following completion of cancer treatments to be the most psychologically difficult."

      "I know of others who experience this same post cancer, post treatment collapse," writes Belinda Hawkins. "A time and space when we sort of implode, re-evaluating what's important, our relationships, our work, our life in general....That post treatment lull, that feeling of 's**t, what just happened?'. And while some people feel angry, or numb, others feel abandoned and rudderless on a sea of disbelief and despair."

      "The world seems different now, in so many ways," writes Jo Hilder. "How can you just go back to normal? What the XXX is normal? For many folks, the worst and most stressful part of having cancer isn't having cancer -- it's what happens when successful cancer treatment ends. It’s that anxiety-producing 'drop-off', when the specialist gives you an all-clear and sends you back to your life again with a smile and a follow-up appointment in a few months. This gap can seem just like the edge of a cliff. What happens now? Who will be taking care of me? Who can I talk to about my fears and anxieties about the cancer returning?"

      I included those quotes and wrote about my own experience last December, after I had finished active treatment:
      http://csn.cancer.org/node/290383

      Excerpt:
      Three days after I finished active treatment, a Facebook friend posted [a] video of Maori kapa haka performers. The haka is traditionally described as a war dance and includes stamping, menacing facial expressions, and chants. The dancers are loud, they are fierce, and they make my heart soar. I've been doing my own internal version of a haka ever since I was diagnosed on March 4. The power and intensity of my fight vibes have carried me through treatment.

      The intensity in my life has now been dialed down several notches. In the week following the end of active treatment I am healing from radiation; as of December 10 any pain I had was gone, though I still look pretty burned. On that same day I had a follow-up MUGA scan to check on my heart (the results are comparable to my pre-chemo baseline; yay!). I take a little round white pill every night, whose job is to keep cancer at bay. On Monday I slept in -- the first Monday since October 20 that I have not had to set my alarm, because I no longer have a radiation appointment.

      Will "scanxiety" -- fear of recurrence -- hit me? It's too early to tell. But when my chemo ended, even before my 33 rounds of radiation began, I knew that I would experience some kind of post-treatment void. Caregiving does not stop for cancer, and I am caregiver to my partner. My time in the chemo chair, taking poisons into my bloodstream, had been a form of respite for me. People were taking care of me for a change.

      about 7 years ago
    • Jalemans' Avatar
      Jalemans

      Hi DKS, I was dxed with moderate to severe depression & anxiety about 2 months after I quit chemo. It got bad enough that I was considering ways to end my life. I did see a therapist briefly, but what really helped has been antidepressant drugs through a psychiatrist. I never thought in a million years I would need this. I was fine all through everything until I wasn't DOING something. I feel pretty normal these days & will probably need to stay on the drugs awhile.

      They told me everything I was feeling was absolutely normal for someone in my position. All options are worth a try, but the drugs worked for me.

      about 7 years ago
    • life101's Avatar
      life101

      Thank you for sharing. I think this is much more common in men then people think. Partly because we don't generally share feeling even to the point we lie that everything is OK! Here is what I went through after my prostate surgery..

      First I was high on life. And I was alive! Amazed at what modern medicine could do and thanked God for my doctor and family. I was all gun-ho about my recovery and did everything right and when the doctor told me I could run again I started running. Also I was making plans on what to do with the life that I had been given. I even wrote the CEO of Google with some great ideas that would be great PR from them and get the word out about prostate cancer screening and treatment.

      About 4 months after the surgery mentally I got hit by a freight train. First the government came out with new PSA testing guidelines (wrong ones) that made me question my goal of educating men to get tested. At the same time I realized I had changed but the world and people around me had not changed (although I found out later it had a bigger impact on my kids then I thought). Also I realized no matter how positive I was I could not will away side effects of the surgery. And I had 2 other things going on continuously in my head.... PSA anxiety due to 3 month testing and cloud of relapse of the cancer and last but not least the feeling I should be happy because I was alive which just eats away at your because you feel like you have no reason for all the negative feelings. (Also all the pressures of life don't go away just because you survived cancer. ie Money issues, car issues, kid issues, job issue etc)

      I am now 4 years out and it has been a roller coaster emotionally. My feeling is that you need to treat the aftermath of treatment like the period when diagnosed. You need to build a support team. As the tag line for my support group says "Don't face Cancer Alone" (Also should be "don't face recovery and survival along). This can be family, church, work, doctors, counselor, running partners and the more the better. Not so much to talk cancer but to get back into living. Also I think you have to decide if you want the Cancer to define your life or not. I am still up in the air on this one. I don't want to have others pity me but maybe I can help others by being open about the whole thing. Honestly I have not conquered this myself but I will. And opening up even to an online bulletin board is a positive thing. One step towards building a support network.

      Sorry for the long post. Hope this is helpful. At least you know you are not alone!

      about 7 years ago
    • Ross' Avatar
      Ross

      As I read these comments, it seems as though 1 of the side effects of prostate cancer is some form of depression. It may be mild or more severe in some. And I can say, personally, that this side effect as well as a couple others remain even after treatments are finished. I would say my depression has taken the form of melancholy which comes at different times. It can come about as a result of a song, a book I'm reading, a movie or other events. I hope you find some support in knowing that you are not alone. I'm living and loving life every day and am thankful for all the help I get from you out there and my great spouse. Be well.
      A survivor after 5+ years.

      about 7 years ago
    • martian's Avatar
      martian

      I had 2 years of Lupron (ADT) which has been shown to improve more successful outcomes. (cure and/or help manage any spreading of the cancer cells) I had radiation also. NOT knowing any of your clinical facts, I do know that that with the removal of testosterone in your blood stream and body, you will experience changes in your hormonal system. (check the manufactures statistics - some will change their hormonal balances more than others) Suggestions for your depression: 1 Change your diet. Eat more of the good oils and combine proteins and some carbs. I found that using low carbs really helped me. Each person has a unique genomic make-up. Experiment with your foods and supplements. Your GI tract or microbiome is very important in making neurotransmitters, especially serotonin and endomorphans (the calming hormones). Think positive thoughts because all of our thoughts and feelings have a chemical basis. Get rid of negative thoughts as they show up in your mind. Do plenty of exercises. You are the only ONE who will determine what kind of a journey you will make for yourself. Depression is a chemical imbalance and diet and supplementation can change this condition. Get on-line chat rooms. Join a support group. Try mindfulness habits. Make the choices that work for you! Wishing you wellness at this moment. Cancer has presented itself - you are the only one who can choose the way you WILL actually respond to it. Get plenty of love from the most significant ones in your life. Hugs actually change your negative hormones into positive ones. I hope this information helps you. Martian

      about 7 years ago

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