• suggestions for coping with emotions? have been a basket case last 2 days. not helpful to my spouse or me!

    Asked by moxie on Friday, March 15, 2013

    suggestions for coping with emotions? have been a basket case last 2 days. not helpful to my spouse or me!

    11 Answers from the Community

    11 answers
    • leepenn's Avatar

      I'm sorry to say that your basket case of emotions is totally normal. I was a total freakazoid in the beginning, and I still have my moments!

      Are you sleeping?

      Talk to your health care team about everything - your anxiety - your insomnia - whatever... I NEVER used to opt for drugs, but when I was hit with the cancer diagnosis, I was convinced that it was a good time to go ahead and take meds. I took xanax from diagnosis to about a week or two after treatment was finished. I have no regrets. I took it at night before heading to bed. It allowed my brain to calm a bit, which enabled sleep. Otherwise, I was sleeping about 2 hours a night... just agonizing about all things cancer related - including wondering if I'd see my child make it to high school.

      The other thing I'll share is that it does get better. I hate saying - you'll find your new normal... But, it is kind of true. It still ticks me off that I can never be my pre-diagnosis self again - I mourn the loss of my innocence with regard to mortality... but it's true. You start to get used to it... and the anxiety drops back...

      Also, when treatment starts, you'll feel like you have some semblance of control and like you're doing something... That will help as well.

      Good luck. I'm so sorry you have to deal with a cancer diagnosis!

      over 3 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      I can only offer that just understand that your not the first person that has been where you are. You will make it through, with the help of everyone here, and your family and friends it will get better and you will soon calm down and begin to concentrate on fighting instead of being scared.

      Lot's of us have been there multiple times, it's always scary even when you've been there before,. but you can do it.

      Let us know if you have questions or anything specific we can help with.

      over 3 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      I remember when I started my cancer journey. The first week of chemo I started having panic attacks. I started to get depressed. It was rough there for a while. I brought it my Oncologists attention and his response was "you've been through a lot and are entitled to have a breakdown". He then put me ativan for a while and that seemed to take care of the problem. I see on your profile that it's your spouse that has cancer. I highly recommend that you speak with your Dr about giving you some medicine to take the edge off. Maybe talking to someone would help as well. You know why you’re emotional so there is no mystery there. Now it's time to get it under control so you can be that strong supportive spouse. Also remember though that it's important that you take time for yourself. Get out of the house, go for a walk. Sit at a local coffee shop for an hour or two. As important as it is for you to take care of your spouse, it's equally as important that you take care of yourself.

      over 3 years ago
    • Toby's Avatar

      My girlfriend is going through Cancer for the SECOND time .We just found this out a week or so ago,and I was and am Still a walking MESS of emotions . the only thing i can add to the other comments is ,Find someone to talk to about it . You have every right to feel the way you do just done keep iti to your self . You cant be strong for your Spouse if you are a mess.... Be stron and know that it will get better !! GOOD LUCK

      over 3 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar

      Dear moxie,

      Hi, I'm Aliza. I'm a BC patient and I'm also a Medical Librarian (retired) though I still do medical research for people on this site and others. Medical Librarians don't offer medical advice (I can tell things to people from my own or my family and friends' experiences) but it's unethical for me to do that. Librarians do offer referrals - to doctors, hospitals/institutions, agencies, books,media, etc. Having said that, I think I may be able to offer some helpful suggestions to you.

      We're all terrified initially when we receive our diagnoses-it would be insane not to be. However it's not helpful to have to make decisions in a panicked state nor is it good for your body to be put through more than it is (this state increases your blood pressure, etc.) so it's a good idea to want to calm down!

      I see that you're newly diagnosed and I see that you're in Cambridge (I love that area, btw!). I'm going to take a shot in the dark here (this is rhetorical) and guess you might be going to Dana Farber (you don't have to tell me!). Wherever you're going for treatment, get in touch with your oncologist or treating facility, and tell them that you'd like to see the psychologist or psychiatrist on staff. If they treat cancer, they're going to be familiar with the anxiety that all cancer patients have and if you see the psychiatrist, there's the added perk that they can prescribe something for you for anxiety should they feel you need it short term to get you over the hump, so to speak,

      My other thought for you is for you to contact CancerCare Their Social Workers deal only with us Cancer patients and our caretakers so it's different from "regular therapy". It's focused exclusively on the experience of being a cancer patient (or caretaker) and all of the angst that goes along with that (there can be lots of it). They are warm and caring people. I see one of them-she's wonderful!! It's different than "regular thera;y". No one's going to be interested in your "toilet training" or "blame your mother"...;)

      The other thing I recommend sounds simple in theory but is difficult in practice and that is- distraction. You can't live Cancer 24/7. You need to be able to distract yourself. Think about what you like to do. Hobbies? Do you knit, crochet, paint, garden? Well, the knitting and crocheting might be easier to take up now and be less strenuous a bit later on depending on treatment, but if you like to read you might consider joining a bookgroup, or going out to lunch with friends (keep cancerchat to a minimum with friends [this frightens all but the closest friends and people will vanish - I know, not only from my own experience {people do not want to hear about something so "unfun" and are afraid in a sense (illogically) that if they do it will happen to them, almost as if it's contagious. If you love books and there is no bookgroup near you, there's a virtual one you can join called www.goodreads.com. You can track your books, find new titles, join small genre bookgroups, make virtual friends, and read others' reviews. It's especially great when you're confined to home or feeling tired. If you can get out and about you should -- and enjoy every minute you can...;) Have fun!!

      Some people on the site (I'm not one of them) do yoga. Maybe I'll put up a question about that. If you follow me (not mandatory) you'll see questions that I raise on the site that may be of interest to you. I do meditate on occasion, not often enough. There are all kinds of meditation out there - TM, Zen, etc. You can buy books, CD's, search the internet for a TM center. See what interests you. Sometimes just the meditatiion music is soothing.

      I hope some of my suggestions are helpful to you and that if you folllow them you feel better. We've all (on this site) been there (for our initial diagnosis) and we all know how frightening it is. The calmer you are, the better you'll handle things in general and the better your decisions about your treatment will be as well.

      Wishing you a positive outcome!!

      Warm wishes,

      over 3 years ago
    • CAS1's Avatar

      I just posted a link to about.com concerning anxiety and cancer. There is alot of good material on about.com..please take the time to consider some of the suggestions on coping.

      over 3 years ago
    • moxie's Avatar

      thanks to those who responded. my spouse is the patient. i'm just the healthy spouse on a crying jag off and on. she is my best friend, my everything. we all tell ourselves we know life is short and then you get hit in the face with it. i am speaking with my dr about meds. taking atavan right now but maybe need something stronger. have not tried xanax but not opposed to it if it allows me to be clearheaded and supportive. i didn't choose the name MOXIE for nothing! >)

      over 3 years ago
    • Nomadicme's Avatar

      I'm sorry to hear. I got antidepressants and sleeping pills prescribed. Sleeping is very important. I now mediate and it helps some. Support from other cancer patients is also great, the ACS can direct you to live meetings. There's nothing like other people that understand.

      Meditation (not philosophy based): 10 min a day. Close your eyes and try to think of nothing but the breath coming in and out of your body. If you find thoughts are still creeping in, count your breaths as well. This could help relax you, and you'll get a 10 min break from those thoughts!

      over 3 years ago
    • Barbs' Avatar

      I am a caregiver. My husband is the patient. This is so hard, because we know that no matter what we are suffering, emotionally, they are suffering more -- both emotionally and physically. We feel guilty about our own complaints, knowing that no matter how tired we are, how shell-shocked by the diagnosis, how sad and afraid -- the person we love is also dealing with those things, as well as the affects of treatment and disease. I am seriously thinking about asking my doctor for help in the form of anti-anxiety meds and will make a decision about that soon -- but, in the meantime, what gets me through is just focusing on one day, one problem, one symptom, one side-affect at a time. Whenever my brain goes long-term, I jerk it back into the "now" moment. I can't deal with the future, but maybe, right now,I can make a suggestion, give a smile or a hug, bring him a drink or his medicine, keep track of his appointments. The hardest times are when I am alone and quiet, with nothing to do but think -- I try to keep those times to a minimum. One day at a time -- that's all we can do.

      over 3 years ago
    • sheryl1986's Avatar

      Know that you can get through this..cry..let it out..and if you can move on...i was not "why me" my motivator was "try me" and it did....It's okay to be a basket case...give yourself that....you can't be a basket case for 15 mns and then think it's all over...you may become a basket case later in your treatment...again...I worked right up til the day that i started treatment...and still wanted to work after i started...I also started meditation...that helped alot!!! Maybe for both you and your spouse. Good luck!

      over 3 years ago
    • fastdog's Avatar

      You truly think it's the end of the world when you hear those words, "you have cancer." Or your spouse has it. And, I suppose it is kind of the end of the world as we knew it. My spouse and I stood in the hospital parking lot and just bawled that first day. Then when we went to the big hospital and had to turn in at the sign that said "cancer," my stomach just fell. Me? Cancer? NOOOOOO!!!! But, you know what? That was 2 years ago and I'm still here after 2 big surgeries and chemo, and I'm fortunate in that I can do all the things I like that I did before. Can I do then next year or next week or tomorrow? I don't know, and neither does anybody else, with or without cancer. The important thing to remember, hard as it is, is that all any of us have is right now, this minute. So, try not to waste it. I think, in some ways, it may be harder to be the support person than the patient. Do whatever works for you, whether it is meds, meditation, whatever, and take time for yourself. You will get through this, one day at a time, and I think you're not called "moxie" for nothing. :-)

      over 3 years ago

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