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As a cancer survivor, you probably have good days and bad days when it comes to feeling well, having energy and a good sense of well-being.
However, there's a difference between the normal feelings of sadness and grief associated with a diagnosis of cancer and the symptoms of true clinical depression. Research shows that about 25 percent of people with cancer suffer from clinical depression. It's important to recognize the symptoms of depression.
If you're wondering what's considered normal and what depression is, some symptoms of clinical depression include:
It you experience any of these symptoms lasting for two or more weeks, and they're not caused by your cancer or medications to treat cancer, an evaluation for depression is necessary.
With a cancer diagnosis, it may be difficult to tell whether fatigue or appetite loss is due to depression or to the treatment of cancer; their presence along with other symptoms strongly indicates a diagnosis of clinical depression.
Recognizing depression in a person with cancer is not easy. Many times, the same symptoms are attributed to the cancer itself, or to the side effects of treatment. It's not uncommon to feel a sense of loss, sadness, anxiety and withdrawal after first receiving a diagnosis of cancer. However, it's important to seek help if these feelings last longer than a few weeks and interfere with your usual functioning.
Early diagnosis and treatment of depression is vital to your recovery to help ease the symptoms, increase your quality of life, and most importantly, help you successfully participate in cancer treatment.
If you're a cancer survivor and have experienced depression, please feel free to share your experience on this topic with others.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
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Join the discussion at #livingwithcancer.
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This article says, "It you experience any of these symptoms lasting for two or more weeks, and they're not caused by your cancer or medications to treat cancer..." I am experiencing depression due to the joint pain, fatigue, insomnia and hormonal disruptions caused by aromatase inhibitors. While I would never stop taking them for fear of my cancer coming back, I sometimes don't knowo how I am going to live with another sleepless night or another day of pain, or if I even want to, being that I don't feel well enough to enjoy much of anything. There seems to be no remedy for treatment-induced problems, other than to "live with it." Is there any kind of treatment that will help? I've tried exercise, meditation, a healthy diet and over-the counter topical pain relief, but nothing helps.
I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer almost 2 years ago. During the entire process of diagnosis & treatment with a double mastectomy and 16 weeks of chemo NOT ONE healthcare provider ever inquired nor offered psychological support or remedies. I can recommend a book: You Can Heal Your Life by L Hay who believes all disease is caused by emotions. Cancer is caused by deep unresolved resentment. So who do you need to forgive in your life? Who or what do you blame for events in your life? Personally, I needed to forgive myself for filing for divorce from my cheating husband when my two boys were only 6 & 8 yrs old. I resented him for turning away from our marriage. I have forgiven him too. Forgiveness clears you and makes you lighter where resentment and blame harden you and literally eat away at the body-hence the development of cancer. It is not as easy as it sounds in 893 characters. It is a life choice to believe you are worth it and have every right to remain on the planet. I do and I hope every other survivor who reads this will too. Depression runs in my family so identifying the symptoms were easy, getting help was harder. My depression came after all the treatment was over and I had "survived". Why was I picked over so many other more worthy (how my mind saw it) cancer patients to remain with the living. I am not always sure a 100% of the day, but I am now more positive and accepting of the blessing of life and health. Blessings to all.
I was diagnosed with clear cell sarcoma in 2009, A very rare cancer affecting only 70 or so people each year world wide. The growth was on the bottom of my right foot. The tumor was initially thought to be a benign growth and was cut out. They later went back in to get clear margins. I ended up with a baseball sized hole in my foot. Further test revealed the cancer had not spread my lung ct was clean as well as my sentinel lymph node biopsy. I had a skin flap surgery to repair my foot. I healed up and went back to work and had pet scans every 3-6 months. In May of 2010 I had a familiar feeling in my foot... the tumor feeling when I put my weight on that foot. I called my doc he ordered an pet and sure enough my foot and my right ankle lit up. They biopsied it and it was growing again. June 7 2010 they amputated my right leg below the knee. At first I was fine and happy to be able to survive. My fiancé at the time was pregnant with our first son in 2009 when we first got the diagnosis. He was born 4 months before my amputation surgery. He is now 3 years old and we also have another son who just turned 1. I am now facing a hard reality of life life as an amputee, a father, and someone who has medical debt. My wife has been great and she is extremely beautiful. My depression is just now setting in as life gos on. I try to be normal for my wife but it gets harder everyday My last pet scan, my stump lit up and my left knee. I don't wanna put her through this again.
I am a 6 year survivor of stage IV-B grayzone lymphoma - which I am now discovering is extremely rare and even rarer that I survived this long. However, I am beginning to experience odd symptoms. I am having problems with concentration and focus especially when under stress. I also have extreme mood swings and a feeling of loneliness and emptiness even with a full life. I am grateful to be still alive and able to work but lately all I want to do is sleep. Is this long term effects of the chemo or am I depressed or is this all in my head? I hope the pain stops soon.
I've pretty much had it with these "vital to your recovery phrases". However I am thankful for temporary recovery. But after that, after the feeling good about the temporary recovery comes the return of the cancer. Very big downer. That's the real tough stuff. Carrying on in style is all that's left. So let's do it to the end.
Last November I had a lungectomy and removal of lymph nodes as well. I am doing well as for the physical side. Although I am very depressed. Don't want to get out of bed, don't want to do anything. No socialising, nothing. I am taking something for depression but I do not think it is working and will discuss with doctor, however, I would like to know if this is normal. They got all the cancer. I feel empty and like being alone. Don't want anyone around. Is this depression?
I think something is "lost in translation" when circumstances require treatment at different facilities. Brain surgery at Mayo. Radiation and chemo at U of Iowa. Incorrect diagnosis and treatment at Iowa. Treatment at U of Wisconsin with correct diagnosis and treatment. At no time were psych/soc services offered. However, we found them through a mutual friend and WI - at least a support group. No recurrence so far, but the probability is it will be back since the entire tumor could not be removed. Where to turn?
My 30 year old daughgter was 1st diagnosed with breast cancer at age 28; we recently learned that the cancer has returned. She have had a fever ranging from 100 to 104 for over a month. Initially she was told that it could not be the return of cancer because fevers and cancer are does not coincide; she was later told, "sorry I was wrong". She continues to suffer with the fevers with no relief insight. Please let me know if anyone has had this problem and what was done to provide reief? The depression is starting to take its toll.
Depression affects us all differently. Before my islet cell, radiation and chemo, I had lived through several stages of epilepsy during nearly 72 years when cancer struck.
It wasn't easy, but I learned one thing from my neurologists and personal research, which has fortunately kept me seizure free during my cancer ordeal--"try to keep my mind occupied with things of enjoyment."
Even if I play card games with others, or computer games, etc. I've completed 5 cycles of Sutent but try to keep my mind occupied instead of thinking of the pain or future.
Depression---interesting subject. I think about it all the time. I first found I had NHL in 1993. Then clear for 10 years. From 2003, until now I have had several more lymphomas, and two stem cell transplants. I now take 13 different drugs a day for immune suppression and prophylactic care. I have some side effects, like GVHD from my new stem cells donated to me. Also some other things like weakness and balance. I am still working full time plus. I feel like each day is separate from the next without continuity. Maybe partly age and partly meds effecting thought processes. Concentration is not like it used to be. Multitasking is harder. Writing all this is to say that depression is hard to deal with for me. I have all the symptoms listed, except the weight change part. I have always dealt with my own emotions and keep trying to look at the optimistic side of life. I am not sure what that is when you see your best friend and father dying of cancer,wife recently with breast cancer and the unexpected death of a brother. Part of the normal course of life I suppose, but it really hits you hard as you reach your 60's. Many days I feel like it isn't all worth hanging around, but always think of my wife and kids to keep me going in a positive direction.
I'm in stage four colon cancer, have had surgery and am now in chemo. Still have my hair. I feel like drinking alcohol all the time even though this was not a problem before my diagnosis. Will this affect my chemo?
My best friend was recently diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. She was an otherwise healthy 67 year old, who was an accomplished professional person to someone I don't recognize almost overnight. She is now almost unable to function, ie; forgetful, angry, hopeless and sad. As her primary caretaker, I am convinced that her pain is not severe aT this time, but her state of mind is right now the root cause of her aches and pains. I am interested to know how others have dealt with this and if Mayo offers good support in this area of treatment. We are flying to Mayo for a consultation on treatment options next week. HELP!!
Exactly 2 years ago I was diagnosed with an aggresive tumor of the right ovary. I was told it was a very big one (18 CM) and classified as a grade VI aggresive clear cell carcinoma. Being married to a doctor I knew the seriousness of my illness. By the time all the findings were pathologically weighed I had gone through the worst days of my life thinking of my probable premature death (I was 64 at the moment and had always been very healthy and kept all my preventive medicine appointments in perfect order.) But,Life really brings surprises. Oh,and this occurred after 13 months of taking care of my husband who had suffered a brain clot..., had to close his office and practice permanently and abuptly, which meant that I was coming from a previous hard suffering and change in life style. Now I was and am the head of the house so to say. Well... all these be said to give the glory to the one and only that had the power to give me strenght to endure the hard days: JESUSCHRIST. I really don't have the slightest idea how can people survive life trials if they don't have FAITH in His love.Through it all I put my WHOLE TRUST in the Lord our God and today my husband and I travel a lot and give thanks to God that permits us to be alive. My husband almost die from his CVA and my cancer hadn't invaded any of my organs nor 21 nodules extracted. So, you can get sad but PLEASE DONT DESPAIR. I have proven beyond doubt: "EVERYTHING WORKS TOGETHER FOR THE GOOD OF THOSE WHO LOVE H
i got lung damaged after chemo and radiation(2009) since iam living with 24 h. pxygene and can no more walk i am very drpressed.pls help sara
I had colon Cancer and had I had a colonostopy I would not have had the problems I did and had to have several inches of the colon removed.
The clue here is if you are having unusual bowel movements you need to see a DR.
Anything that is strange to your routine see the Doc.
June 24 2011
My husband and I both were diagnosed with cancer on Oct of last year. He with stomach cancer and I with breast cancer. As per my doctor I am in remmission, but my husband do not. He is very deppressed, and has all the symptoms mentioned. I have told his doctors but the medicine do not work on him. What do you recommend. Priest and friends are always coming to our house. Prayers and help is given to us, but he seems not to appreciate them. He does not want to show his emotions and have no interest in his grandchildren whom he adores. please, let me know your comments.
I had a kidney remove in October 2011,everything was good in March the ct scan showed I had cancer in my lungs,a spot on my liver and they think its in my back.I lifted a table in Sept.broke my back they said no cancer but had 5 biopsi they showed no cancer but the doctors says yes even the radidiogy deptmart no cancer.I am on sutent round 2 inish my 3rd round in July then another cat scan.I was wondering is there anyone out there that has kidney cancer and on the sutent.Please I am depressed and i need to someone that has cancer and is on sutent.
I don't really feel that your info helps......it's just vague common sense.....and perhaps that's the best there can be.
This comment is also for Sridhara. I am glad that you found the blog and have a way to express your feelings. Please know that you are not alone. It is serious that you are feeling empty and have even tried to end your life. Your family is trying to reach out to you. Please promise to talk to someone about how your are feeling. Depression can be treated; so you can have hope and look forward to better days. Along with Christi and others here with you; remember that you are a blessing. Your family cherishes time with you. Make new memories with the time that you have together. You are valuable and precious to them in so many ways.
I am not even sure how I found this website. I just stumbled upon it. I was looking up "chemo brain". As a caregiver (My mother has lymphoma), please know it is such a blessing that you have survived. My Mother had a bone marrow transplant and stem cell transplant. She is still fighting and I admire her so very much. It has been hard and is still hard to see her have to go through what she deals with every day. She has "better days" and I thank God for what an inspiration she IS in my life. I say this to tell you, what you may feel is a burden to others, they truely see it as a blessing to have you. My heart goes out to you and your family during this very scary and difficult time.
As a colon cancer diagnosed and treated patient, i experience emptiness continuously and lack a general appreciation of things of common interest.Many a time people (wife and son) feel I am off beat and lost and find my responses when they come to be ireelevet to point in discussion.. I am really happy to be left alone and be on my own but they insist on me being partcipative.This makes me feel like getting away from all this and even end my life. I have tried twice without success as they have brought me back home after i have walked out on trivial issues.How can i make living easy for me and others around me? i have lost my earning capacity and am a burden on others already.I wish i had notsurvived.
I am an 11 year colon cancer survivor, and was just recently diagnosed with Stage I breast cancer. As I was looking up information, I found the blogs about chemotherapy and depression. Soon after I completed chemotherapy the last time, I began to feel depressed; I was even having thoughts of suicide. Fortunately for me I knew enough about what was happening that I quickly saw my doctor, and made an appointment at the mental health center. I want to second what "TLC" said. If one has diabetes, they take insulin, an infection, antibiotics, and so on. Depression should be no different; it is a disease, and needs to be treated. It is not smart to try to tough it out on one's own. If I hadn't gotten treatment for my depression, I might not still be around to fight this cancer, and while I don't like the cancer, I am glad I am still among the living.
I was diagnosed with Prostate cancer in Dec., 1995.
Had it removed at the Mayo clinic, Rochester, Minn.
After 5 years, my PSA began rising.The cancer was spreading to my bones. From 2000 to 2007, I tried hormone and radiation treatment. In 2007 my PSA reached 150. I thought I was dead. It was time for chemotherapy.The last 4 years have introduced me to many new and not so enjoyable side effects.
A great many of my friends are praying for me. prayers are being sent from Florida, Michigan, Alaska, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Texas, Minnesota and more.
I believe that the reason I'm still fighting this @@@@
is because of my friends. We just returned from Jamaica. I rode horses in the Carribbean, snorkled and relaxed. I plan to 'live ' as long as I am able.
Depression can easily take over during the fight against cancer. We must also not forget that depression not only can take over the patient, we must not forget to watch for signs in the caregiver.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer on 11/9/10. It is devastating, my whole world stopped. However, I took action. Whithin 2 weeks of the diagnosis I chose to have surgery quickly. Depression was horrible. I went through my ups and down. It is important to release all the emotions instead of holding them in. You must verbalise what you feel. What has kept me going is working out everyday. Every once in while I get emotional and it ok, because I let go and fell better afterwards. I do count my blessings everyday. There is a phrase I hear somewhere that I have adopted "everyday above ground is a good day" and "to feel good you must look good". So on days when I don't feel great I take the extra time to take care of my outlook and it works for me. It is all about attitude.
I just went to University of Michigan Hospital on Friday. My CA125 went from 51 in October to 91 in January. I have 2 cysts on my ovaries, growth on my uterius and large endometerosis layer. I am going in for a D & C on Feb. 1. At that time I am told a few days later if I have cancer and the next step is a hysterecomy. At that time it will be determined if cancer has spread in my body. Is it true that an Oncologist goes to the extreme and takes out a lot of things in your body that is not necessary? To say the least I keep going up and down in my moods and terrified I am going to die.
In Nov 2008 I went into 'day' surgery for a cyst on my ovary.... woke up in recovery and was told I have Stage 3B Ovarian Cancer...needless to say, my 5 hour stay in the hospital turned into 8 days. I cried for 3 days straight. Everytime someone came to visit me, they gave me 'that look'. DEPRESSED - Oh yeah. By the time I came home, I decided to do whatever it took to make me feel like 'me' again. Cancer would not define who I was. I would stay true to myself. I began treatment right away; but had days that coping was difficult (some days overwhelming emotions and crying bursts) I was prescribed anti-depressants. This was an internal conflict.... I always saw the cup half full, not empty...if this illness can depress me, so I see less hope, then I need to take back my 'positive attitude'. The pills help. Many times I thought I could handle the treatment, tests, labwork, PetScans, etc. and would decide to wean off the meds. But I found my anxiety would build up that I didn't even want to be around myself. So...for those that 'have a problem acknowledging that you need a boost' TAKE THE BOOST. The meds take the edge off a stressful time, make you easier to be around, and help you see the good each day brings (not the bad the day might bring). I've had a recurrence and have decided to live my life as large as I can. Doing the things I love, ignoring the things that bring me down. Meds help - me cope, I dont want to waste a single day.
I do not have cancer. My best friend does. She is stage 4 with liver and lung cancer.She is wondering how this will affect her because she has suffered from a high level of depression for many years. I know she is the best friend I will ever have. There is really nothing to be done. She was told the diagnosis 2 mo. ago. She is waiting for a call from a specialist to see what treatment she will receive. I think they have given up on her because she is very ill. They did tell her she has anywhere from 6 mos. to a year. She is on morphine. If she does pass away she hopes she isn't so depressed that she can find no joy in the time she has left.
I was diagnosed with Stage 3-B breast cancer in 2005. I underwent chemo, radiation, and of course a total mastectomy. I most definitely had depression during and after my treatment. My oncologist was wonderful -- when I told him how depressed I was, he immediately got me on antidepressants, which worked very well. I continue to take them now, going on 5 years with no cancer. I would not be able to function without them because I have a lot of long-term effects from all of the treatment. However, I always try to keep in mind that I am ALIVE and there are a lot of people who are not. So I endeavor to keep a positive attitude and live my life day to day, because there is no telling when I won't be here to enjoy it any more.
This post is for GIST. Early symptoms of colon cancer include persistent abdominal pain, a change in bowel habits from your usual, blood in the stool, weakness and fatigue and unexplained weight loss. If you have new or unusual symptoms, please see a doctor for an evaluation. It is very important to listen to your body and notice when something is different than the usual. For more information about colon cancer, see this link to the colon cancer overview on Mayoclinic.com
I really like to know what are the earlier symptom of Colon cancer, I often get pain in my lower abdomen, Is this pain a symptom ?
My wife was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. I had to beg her to go to the doctor.
She is very upset because the doctors told her she is uncurable but they cannot say how much longer she will live. Her older sister is even more upset than my wife because their mother died two years ago from cancer. My sister in law decided to tell me off one day and just dumped all over me about things that have been bothering her for a long time. Now they want to get together for the Holidays and I just want to avoid her family like the plague.
I am depressed and have been taking meds for a long time. Her sister seems to feel like somehow the cancer is my fault.
I think they are both depressed, but they feel; like I can just "snap out of it and be a "rock" whatever that means.
Hi to everyone. Thanksgiving coming up and I'm thankful to be alive and thank God everyday for the ability to look at the nature and good things I see. I've got Stage III Lung Cancer. Odds for this one are not great but I figure I've got a few years left. Only one source knows when it is time to call us all home so really we can't change any of this. I've had 3 rounds of Chemo, 28 rad treatments and a tumor that is half way gone. Back for a PET in late Dec. Interested to see whats going to happen. Realize I can't change anything. I do try to eat better and keep on top of reading about the disease I like to read the blogs and the survival rates. We could all get hit by a car tomorrow and die but I'm shooting for living until we have to go. Treatment is rough though and I've been blessed not to have suffered a much as many others here. Blessings to you all. People still love us it's just that we remind them of their mortality and sometimes even family doesn't know what to say. It's the elephant setting in the living room syndrome.
In 2007 I was diagnosed with 4th stage non hodgkins lymphoma. Already had melanoma since 1990 had several surgeries for it. Have copd (not bad). Have a scan coming up on Dec 1st. Received retuxin chemo which I came thru pretty good. Enjoying life even if I get tired now and then. Have good friends and a husband that has changed for the better. Like Tony Soprano would say "Forget about it" God Bless and Love to All.
I regret I didn't edit well below. My conclusion was meant to be: Reach out. Prayer works. You are NOT alone. Accept: There is no cure; just extended life. God bless you as you live another day.
Depression is normal. Good grief, friends, we are going through life-extending treatments with horrendous side effects. Let's give ourselves a break! I am a multiple meyloma cancer survivor who was "saved" from death last November because I was sent to Mayo Clinic Phoenix where they found a swollen heart that could barely pump "jello" blood. I was destined to die November 1st from a massive heart attack or stroke. Whew! I have been given another year by the grace of God, good doctors, an excellent psychologist, an auto-stem cell transplant, a website to keep friends informed, and family and friends to help and pray for me. (I lost my husband to complications of colon and prostate cancer in 2006.) Depressed? You bet. After my husband's death, I agreed to an anti-depressant that I took for 1-1/2 years. It took the edge off and helped me cope as a high school teacher and a mother of two adult children. Did I get depressed this summer when I was gaining strength after the transplant, but couldn't physically do all I had planned to do in my retirement? Of course! It was decided I didn't need an anti-depressant, but continued counseling. The transplant was a success for only 3 months, not the 2 to 3 years I expected. Depressed? Duh! I have just completed 8 weeks of treatment. Cancer is "gone" again, and I seek a second remission. Discouraged? Yes. Thankful for another day? Yes. Reach out. Prayer works. You are NOT alone. Accept: There is no cure; exten
I read with interest Derrick's comment. I am also a stage IV cancer patient now. I have some friends and family that were there in the beginning but are now gone. I think it is their own fears. I am fortunate to have other's who have stuck by me. I find that by saying things like I want to hear "your problems" too can help. Sometimes I say let's not talk about the cancer thing. At other times I need to. It is my life. We all want to feel normal. I get so tired of being looked at like a "cancer" patient. I am so much more. I am possibly going to be starting a support group in my area. When you are at stage IV the issues are different and most people don't understand them, unless they are there. Most people don't want to acknowledge that you likely won't be here in the distant future. I am trying to grab my "moments" so to speak. Yet, I grieve at the same time. With some friends the conversations "stop" at a point due to comfort levels. I recommend to others to try talking to social workers at local treatment centers etc. to see if they are willing to help you start a group. Do something you enjoy and try to live for each moment, even though it is not always easy to do. We are all here for a season, for a reason. Focusing on helping others with a kind word or such also helps.
HARRY, SO VERY SORRY TO HEAR OF YOUR DILEMMA! AS IT SAYS ONLY TWO PARAGRAPHS ABOVE, IT IS IMPORTANT FOR EARLY DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT FOR YOUR BEST CHANCES. I WAS TOLD TO WAIT AND SEE. THIS ONLY GAVE THE CA AN OPPORTUNITY TO PROGRESS FURTHER AND NOW I'M IN REAL TROUBLE!! I WISH I HAD THE SENSE TO SEEK A SECOND AND EVEN A THIRD OPINION! THE LONGER YOU WAIT THE MORE OPPORTUNITY YOU GIVE A HORRIBLE AND TREACHEROUS FOE TO WREAK HAVOC ON YOUR BODY. REMEMBER HARRY, THIS IS YOUR LIFE!! GATHER ALL AVAILABLE INFORMATION AND YOU BECOME A PART OF YOUR HEALTHCARE TEAM AND PARTICIPATE IN SUCH AN IMPORTANT DECISION CONCERNING YOUR LIFE!! I HAVE BEEN A PART OF MY TEAM FOR EIGHT YEARS, NOW I HAVE CANCER! I WILL NOT STOP FIGHTING NOW!! GOOD LUCK TO YOU HARRY, KEEP FIGHTING.
14th Nov. I've been diagnosed with cancer in my left
kidney i'm a quadraplegic my level of injury is C3 my
doctors tell me that quads needs both kidneys so they want to leave the infected kidney in my body and play a wait and sea game with my life what do i do ?
Since 9-11-02 I have been diagnosed WITH A VERITABLE MEDICAL DICTIONARY OF "TERMINAL " ILLNESSES AND SINCE FIGHTING MY WAY BACK FROM A RECENT SETBACK I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH A "NASTY AND AGGRESSIVE " CANCER ABOUT A WEEK AGO. GENERALLY I ENJOY LIFE AND TRY TO FILL IT WITH SMALL THINGS WHICH I ENJOY SUCH AS GOING TO A MOVIE. IN THE MORE RECENT YEARS I FIND THAT I MUST RESOLVE TO LESS PHYSICAL FUNCTIONS FROM MY WHEELCHAIR. THE LORD HAS PROVIDED US WITH SO MANY BEAUTIFUL AND WONDERFUL THINGS IN LIFE AND I CAN FIND PLEASURE IN MERELY CONSIDERING WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO DO NEXT. I JUST CAME ACROSS THIS WEBSITE AND ALTHOUGH I AM VERY SYMPATHETIC TO ALL OF THE TRAGIC STORIES I HAVE BEEN READING GUESS WHAT? NOW I HAVE FOUND YET ANOTHER THING I CAN DO WITH MY ANDROID PHONE! DON'T GET ME WRONG, THERE ARE SOME PRETTY TOUGH TIMES BUT I CERTAINLY DO ENJOY CONSIDERING WHAT SMALL GOAL I CAN SET FOR NEXT WEEK. LAST YEAR I ENTERED THE LAWNMOWER RACES AT OUR TOWNS HUCKLEBERRY FESTIVAL AND NEXT YEAR I PLAN TO ENTER THE WHEELCHAIR RACES! SURE, THERE MOST CERTAINLY ARE SOME REALLY TOUGH TIMES BUT IT SURE CAN BE A WHOLE LOTTA FUN WHEN WE CHOOSE TO ENJOY LIFE. I FIND MYSELF GETTING TIRED FROM WRITING SO I BELIEVE I'LL STOP FOR NOW, CLOSE MY EYES, AND REMINISCE ABOUT CROSSING THAT FINISH LINE LAST YEAR, OR EVEN FANTASIZE THE ONE COMING UP NEXT SUMMER. BLESS YOU ALL AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING!
Hi! Following the diagnosis of my stage IV cancer, the most depressing thing for me was the loss of friends! In my head I knew what was happening, but the heart took a while to adjust. Reading about death or objectively considering it is very different to being confronted by it in someone you care about. The 'withdrawal' of my closest friends has been, I believe, a sort of coping or defence mechanism for them - they are not only confronted by their own mortality in relating to me, but feel saddened, frustrated and helpless. Fortunately for me, a much younger friend has stepped into the breach and has, through great strength and character, filled a void for me - he cares and he's always there for me which has gone a long was in helping my generally chirpy and upbeat response to the diagnosis.
I think it is important to read what symptomps do other people have and compare them with my own. I'm cancer survivor for two years and less than a week my doctor find something during my regular checking (cervical cancer with radical hysterectomy) - he decided to take biopsy to be on the right side but I immediately start thinking about what I've passed two years ago with all the symptoms of the depression. May be this is the constant feeling and everybody who survive the cancer suffer from waves of depression because of the danger that cancer can be back? I try not to take antidepressants, instead I try to preoccupy myself with different activities but from year to year it bacame more difficult...
I am going on my 6 month of remission from ovarian cancer stage 3. Had major surgery, taking out 2 tumors, one the size of a football and then debalking anything i could live without. After finishing the Chemo
I became very deppressed. The doctors were not very
incouraging, stating that there was 100% chance it would come back and a 35% chance of beating it.
Needless to say at the age of 45 I was devastated.
My doctor wanted to put me on Lexapro for depression and hot flashes. I have resisted this because of my mom being on many meds for depression and anxiety. She committed sucide in 1999. I also went through a divorce 8 months before the cancer. Life has been very stressful and a challenge to want to go on. I know I should be on something but am just afraid. I wish I could have been one of those people who do better with their lives when diagnosed with an illness, but thus far I havn't. It helps to know I'm not the only one who has this burden to live with.
As a bipolar adult, sister of two women with s oiitage for cancer,my opinion is that medications can take away the parts of a depression that you have no chance at changing by yourself. The medication work differently and are not interchangable so having a skilled psychopharmacologist is better that getting meds from your GP.
I think we all handle things differently, some get strength from the diagnosis of cancer, or have a better reason to eat healthier, exercise, etc. Personally, I cried a lot, had panic attacks and decided I would not die the same "way" my father died with cancer.
Depression, yes and not for the first time. I am more prone to it than maybe others, so I went to my regular Dr. and got a "pill" to help. So what, if you need help I say get it.
I had a double mastectomy in June, reconstruction surgery in Oct. in Sept. a Pet/ct scan found what maybe be throat cancer and I had a real scare re uterine cancer this month. The uterine and throat cancer are still under investigation. (A new CT scan is being scheduled.) It has been a rough year so far.
Surviving is hard work and very hard on your nerves and your family's nerves. Also, I have realized that anything that makes you smile is important, so watch for those things. Try to remember what you enjoy and do what you can make those smiles happen for yourself and family and friends as much as possible.
Sometimes we cry and it's cleansing, sometimes it's just sadness. I hate facing death, but we all will at some point with or without cancer.
Love to all, Renee
First as a RN I have to add that truly if anyone feels suicidal they should seek help and keep looking until they find someone who will listen and take the time to provide not only medical care but insist on counseling. Sorry I just don't want something bad to happen to any of you.
Second, I can relate so much to those of you who have brought up that it is terribly hard to be a survivor. On the one hand we are elated to be the lucky ones to make it but the psychological price is high sometimes. I have been fortunate to have 3 physicians, 2 at Mayo MN, who have openly talked and acknowledged the "normalcy" of freaking out about every little thing.
Having said all of this I chose to take medication because I did not want to have all the symptoms of depression on a daily basis. I tried everything to help myself but chemically my body was not normal. If I was a diabetic and my blood chemistry was not normal I would use the tools available to help my body. I see antidepressants in a similar way. Working with a counselor and taking the meds and owning how I felt with other people in my life made a difference for me.
You have been so much and you are very brave and reading what you wrote about that Doctor who sounds awful, how about considering therapy, honey, to talk to someone who has a heart and will listen. I don't know what area you are from, but I'm sure if you ask around you can find someone, or perhaps the Mayo Clinic can recommend one in your area...take care and I will pray for you!
I took prozac for about 20 years. One day the doctor asked me if it really helped me. I told him that without the medication I was depressed and it "bothered" me to be depressed. With the medication, I was still just as depressed but didn't care if I was or not. I've been off anti-depressants for about 2 years now, and don't plan to go back on them.
I am not a cancer survivor as far as I know but I am a survivor of a major stroke 3 yrs. ago and have all of the symptions described. It took me about10 minutes to type this. Can I get any help here?
I went into a deep depression which saddly made me loose months that could have beeen better used . I did nothing but be in fear and write about fear . Went for help and it was the best thing I could have done for myself .
I would tell anyone do not stay in a space where you do not communicate with others - life is worth it even with cancer .
Tracy, I'm can relate to what you said. My treatment for breast cancer ended almost 2 years ago and it is now that I am most depressed and anxious. With diagnosis and treatment I was a rock, each day marching forward to fight this disease. Now things are all clear, but every ache, pain or twinge sends my worry meter running. Is it possible to have PTSD after a cancer diagnosis and treatment?
I HAVE HAD 2 MORE BACK SURGERIES THIS YEAR. TOTAL 5 IN LAST YEARS SINCE CHEMO/RADIATION. ALSO HAVE SEVERE HOT-TYPE FLASHES, NAUSEA, WT. LOSS AND EXTREME FATIGUE. I AM ALSO IN DEEP DEEPRESSION. DR. AT OSCHNERS DID NOT FIND CARCINOID BUT PUT ME ON REEVALUATION LAB Q 6 MO. I TOLD MY PHYCHIATRIST I HAD THOUGHTS OF SUICIDE. HE SAID I NEEDED TO GET OVER IT. I TAKE 40 MG PROZAC AND RESTARTED SAVELLA. IT CONCERNS ME THAT I AM ABLE TO DO NOTHING TO FEEL BETTER OR QUIT HURTING SO MUCH. JUST WANTED YOU TO KNOW THAT DOCTORS ARE NOT REALLY INTERESTED IN PATIENTS WITH SUICIDE THOUGHTS.
I had to laugh at reading this, not because it's funny but it seems the answer to all problems is to give the person another pill.
I suffered from a lot of these symptoms but I dug a little deeper. My sleep problems were caused by a low level pain that was constant. I was not depressed (as my doctor insisted), I was tired!
I had some anxiety. I was, afterall, dealing with the very real possibility of my death. Working it through drug free helped me a whole lot. It was good to 'deal' with these issues.
I gained weight ... lots of people do if they take massive doses of prednisone.
I'm not really for or against taking another little pill (for depression). I just know that it would not have solved my problems.
Pain pills, yes. Sleep aids, sometimes. But I had to stop there and deal with the rest, which wasn't so bad after a pain-free, good night's sleep.
I just can't stop thinking that my cancer will return.....
that is all I think about..every ache that I have I think it is my cancer returning. Does that ever go away? (I had breast cancer, mastectomy, chemo, rads, been done with treatment for 7 1/2 mos.)
I was diagnosed with CLL 4 years ago. Everytime I go to the doctor I am asked if I am depressed and I always respond yes. I am then told I have situational depression. I understand having a fatal cancer is the cause of my depression. Is there any way to over come or at least make it better? I would like to enjoy the time I have but I feel like I have a heavy weight on the top of my head all of the time.
I have had multiple primary cancers and ... lots of sadness - clinically diagnosable as a DSM disorder. But I totally disagree that a pill is the way to handle an appropriate response to a really sad situation. There is meaning in our suffering. Without sadness we are shallow souls who have little empathy for others.
Natalie - what type of cancer do you have? If it is esophageal or laryngeal, I do have a support group for you!
My problem is I have not had a great support system, which was partially my fault. My friends didn't know how to handle my diagnosis, so I think they felt it was best to not talk about it. Which inturn makes me resent them a little. I'm already trying to deal with the fact that I was 32 years old with a cancer diagnosis then to virtually have no support. It's depressing.
Jill I disagree. I too have had depression from caring for one dying parent, a very traumatic marriage and loss of career business and family farm. You know what cured my depression - cancer did. It changed my expectations. I am now happy to accept myself the way I am and accept the limits to what I can do and the changes in my life.
Antidepressants have helped me through all this. I think it is a matter of personal circumstances and how we individually deal with things. Antidepressants may not be for you any more and that is great, but they have helped many many people. At the moment I take them to relieve menopausal hot flushes and when i take them I feel so much more level headed. I should stay on t hem. NBYc5Q
I have to tell you that this is a real problem. Survivor- radiation- mile elevation in PSA 2 years after treatment and I am like planning my final days - thinking should I let this run it's course or "take care of it" myself. Dumb thoughts, I know. But they are real. The real question is "so what"? Abraham Lincoln lived with depression, didn't he? Lots of people have... others haven't I realize but still... I just don't see taking another medication as a good answer to being sad and occasionally suicidal. Am I missing something? I mean if medication was the right answer, and really fixed stuff, I wouldn't still have these cancer cells polluting my blood, would I?
Right on Jill. Get active, eat healthy, exercise, socialize, address life problems at cognitive, psychological, spiritual level and you'll better off on the long term instead becoming dependent on drugs. Drugs should be used only for short term for most desperate cases.
Um, those symptoms ARE side effects of most, if not all, chemotherapies, if not the disease itself. "Malaise" is a symptom of most blood and lymph cancers. Sounds to me like this is info directly from Big Pharma antidepressant manufacturers. I suffered from "depression" not from cancer but from caring for two dying parents, a divorce, loss of my career, and I fell into the antidepressant trap. 13 years later what has cured my depression is getting off the antidepressants. No kidding. They are a scam and a sham.
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