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In a previous discussion, we talked about fear of recurrence and the anxiety associated with being a survivor of cancer. Research has shown that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur with cancer survivors — especially since you're dealing with a life-threatening medical diagnosis.
This is particularly true of childhood cancer survivors, survivors of aggressive cancers and cancers that require intense treatments.
Some of the symptoms and emotions of PTSD include:
It's normal to have some of these symptoms as a cancer survivor. However, if you're having disturbing thoughts and feelings for more than a month, if they're severe, or if you feel you're having trouble getting your life back under control, talk to your health care professional. Getting treatment as soon as possible can help prevent PTSD symptoms from getting worse.
Some types of therapy used in PTSD treatment include:
Treatment for PTSD can help you regain a sense of control over your life. With successful treatment, you can also feel better about yourself and learn ways to cope if any symptoms return. These strategies can help improve your symptoms and teach you skills to cope better with the traumatic event — and move beyond it.
What's been your experience? Share your thoughts on this topic.
Follow me on Twitter @SherylNess1. Join the discussion at #livingwithcancer.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
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I am the mother of a 25 yr old son who was diagnosed with ALL (acute lymphocytic leukemia) in 1992 at the mere age of 3 yrs . His WBC count was over 100,00 at diagnosis. He was given a 2 year 8 mth protocol of chemotherapy regimen which included intrathecal chemo. He had a CNS relapse just 1 month after completing therapy. He was placed on a 2 year P.O.G. protocol which included radiation to the brain. After reading this article I KNOW he has PTSD, His last checkup was over 2 years ago and since he's no longer a bald headed child with cancer, his care team was like we've done our job, your alive, have a good day. It doesn't matter that you rarely get out of the house. That your depressed because of your small stature. You don't feel like a man but yet your not a boy!! You can't get employment because of all your anxiety disorders and insomnia. I have fought for my child his entire life and I will not stop until my dying day! I fought our school system because of his delayed fine motor skills and his delayed cognitive skills and I watched my beautiful boy recieve his high school diploma.!!! Thank you for validating my belief that someday my son will lead a much better, but most of all healthy, happy life!!
I'VE HAD CANCER 3 TIMES. COLON AND IN 1998 (THE NAVY HOSPITAL TOOK 13CM OF COLON, APPENDIX & GALL BLADDER), STOMACH 2008 (A CIVILIAN HOSPITAL TOOK 1/2 OF MY STOMACH) AND 2011 ANOTHER CIVILIAN DR. REMOVED THE PROSTATE GLAND.
I REALLY GET WOORIED IF ANYTHING ELSE GOES WRONG WITH MY BODY.
I ALL SO HAVE NUEROPATHY IN FEET AND LEGS WHICH IS SPEADING UP IN THE KNEES AND THIGH.
THE VA GAVE ME 100% ON THE PROSTATE BUT I'M STILL FIGHTING THEM ON THE OTHER 2 CANCERS AS THEY CAME 2-12 YEARS BEFORE THE PROSTATE.
3 HERNIA SURGERIES BECAUSE OF THE ABDOMINAL CANCERS AND I STILL HAVE ONE NOW THE DR SAID HE WILL JUST WATCH IT FOR NOW SINCE THE ABDOMINAL WALL IS SO WEAK FROM THE OTHER SURGERIES.
20 YEARS IN THE NAVY WORKING WITH ASBESTOS SOMETIMES (INCLUDING 18 MONTHS IN VIETNAM) DIDN'T HELP ANY EITHER FOR MY HEALTH.
BUT I HAVE JUST 1 THING TO SAY........
FORM THR DRSK OF BOB
GET OR GET GOT
I'M GETTING OLD, BUT I'M NOT THERE YET.
HELL, I'M ONLY 72.
I CAN COMB MY HAIR WITH A WET WASHCLOTH.
BUT 1 DAY, I QUESS, I'LL BE LUCKY TO NEED 2 FINGERS TO DO THAT JOB.
AND I'M STILL GETTING, BUT ONE DAT, I QUESS I'LL GET GOT.
THAT IS WHEN I'LL STOP GETTING.
TILL THEN, I'LL JUST KEEP GETTING.
THANKS FOR LETTING ME RUN MY FINGERS.
Hi, I am a medical social worker and a breast cancer survivor. I have written a blog regarding the trauma of breast cancer, recognizing the symptoms of PTSD and learning how to cope. The site is http:/breastcancercoping.wordpress.com/
Thank you Sheryl for also bringing this important topic to people's attention.
Diagnosed with Leukemia in 2003, During Chemo I developed Cardio Myopathy which delayed Marrow transplant as my Heart was at 25%, found out my first round of Chemo failed and I was going down hill, the Dr's made the choice to proceed with Transplant at a cautious pace, I pulled through But! was short lived a week or two after was put into a Medical Coma for one week and didn't know if I was going to pull threw and if there was going to be Neurological Complication's, I come threw somewhat unscathed, and with gvhd OF THE SKIN & liver month's after I had cataract surg, both hips replaced, right knee replaced and 5 surg to save my left leg below the knee, I lost it & it was amputated, then months later the left knee blew out, a year later fighting a one inch hole in the knee down to hardware many surgeries and then the smell of death from it and a day before my 45th it was off above the knee, puss spewed out and the smell was awful. Now a year later I'm out of the house and a marriage after 22 years and left an 18 year old who in ten years has seen a patient not a Father, I became a shell constantly thinking crazy thoughts about my wife and other people, felt so lost and helpless as I didn't know how to help myself anymore. I've lost a 17 year old Niece to Leukemia two years after I got it, lost at least a dozen folk I became friends with and my Nieces Father Died two years ago...Can I chalk any of these last 10 years and still going to PTSD. now the med field don't w
my husband was diagnosed with stage IV prostrate cancer. No remission will occur, only management. He has been on hormone therapy to manage his PSA which were 1100 then dropped to 1 and now slowly climbing. We have a happy marriage, great friends, and he is well respected in his career in which he recently retired. I woke up one morning and his car was packed and said he just needs to leave...no clue this would happen. Our friends and his colleagues are baffled with his behavior. He is normally a very loving and thoughtful man without any selfishness.
Could his behavior be due to PTSD? Anyone ever hear of such a thing? He jjust has run away disassociating himself from all who care so much for him. We have been married for 25 years and been very happy. He said he still loves me but he can't explain why he feels this way. He will not speak about personal topics but now considers us a business relationship. He moved to another state. I am so lost for what may be happening to him?
He is going into his third year after diagnosis. Averages for his stage are a lifespan of 3-5 years...but it be longer as well.
Any help would be so appreciated
What a relief when I found these discussions today. I had all but a couple of the symptoms for PTSD when I read the list. I asked my regular dr. to find me someone for some counseling -- that I didn't want to pump more chemicals in my body. He promised to look, but hasn't. I have horrible joint pain with Arimidex, but am afraid not to take it. I've been on it about 2-1/2 years now. I had stage 3C breast cancer, double mastectomy, over 20 lymph nodes affected. Had 15 chemo treatments -- had to stop because I was in too bad a shape to finish last 3. Refused radiation because I felt my body just wouldn't take it. Many mentions here of the neuropathy. Both feet are pretty much numb, but I didn't take the prescribed gabapentin after reading how it can cause depression. I couldn't stand one more "straw" on the pile to make depression worse. I've gone from a huge salary to a fixed income that won't allow me to maintain my life anywhere close to what I had before. I live alone, and am glad I do because I don't think I could stand anyone around me all the time -- and neither could they stand me. My faith, and my 3 dogs keep me going. Doctors don't understand, or don't care -- neither the regular doctors nor the oncologists. I hate to sound so negative, but it seemed after they got the big bucks for the chemo treatments, I was no longer of interest to them. It's rough. I'm hanging on, but some days it's by my fingernails. God isn't done with me yet because I'm
WOW!!! This is an eye-opener, a huge relief and a blessing to know that maybe, I'm not going crazy or just not trying hard enough to "get through it". Feb 2009 I went to the ER that evening with excruciating abdominal pain only to be rushed into emergency surgery where they discovered the large tumor (diaphram to pelvis) had eaten through my small intestine and I was completely septic. They told my wife to call in the family as they weren't sure I would make it through the night. Three days later I woke up in ICU from a medically induced coma and heard the "C" word (Agressive large B Cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma - Stage 2). Round of chemo, remission, 2 more surgeries due to problems from the first surgery, relapse, a round of high dose chemo, remission, stem cell transplant and by Jan 2010 remission and been in remission since. Mid 2010, wife diagnosed with colon cancer but, surgery got it all - no chemo or radiation. Wife has been in and out of hospital and rehab haspital with other abdominal and lung problems six times since. Since 2009 and increasingly so in the last year, I am a different person. I have peripheral neuropathy in both lower legs and feet and getting a knee replacement next month. I can hardly do my job anymore and haven't been able to figure out why until I read this article and the comments and checked off 8/10 of the listed symptoms. THANK YOU! I am going to find a good therapist/counselor to help me get back on track. Prayers
GOSH IS THIS AN EYE OPENER FOR ME !!! AFTER BEING SEXUALLY ABUSED BY MY KIDNEY DR AT THE AGE OF 42, WHILE HAVING ANOREXIA, MY WONDERFUL LIFE STARTED ITS DOWNHILL SPIRAL... I AM NOW 60 AND AFTER YEARS OF PSYCHOTHERAPY WITH A WONDERFUL DR. I COULD ACTUALLY GO OUTSIDE AND AROUND PEOPLE... THEN THREE YEARS AGO I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH KIDNEY CANCER,, SURGEON ONLY TOOK A SMALL PC OF MY KIDNEY , WITHIN TWO YEARS THE WHOLE KIDNEY HAD TO COME OUT AS IT HAD COME BACK... IN BETWEEN THE TWO KIDNEY SURGERIES MY THYROID WAS REMOVED AS IT HAD NODULES THAT WERE CAUSING ME SLEEP PROBLEMS WHEN ON MY BACK... THAT SURGEON CUT THROUGH BOTH MY VOCAL CORD NERVES, LEAVING ME WITH A PARALYZED THROAT AND A TRACH FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE..... MY PTSD, STARTED WITH THE SEXUAL ABUSE,,, AND HAD REALLY NEVER LEFT ME,, BUT I WAS DOING MUCH BETTER WITH THERAPY FOR YEARS.. WHEN THE CANCER HIT,, I DID REALLY WELL WITH THAT,, BUT WHEN YET ANOTHER DR. WHO DIDNT KNOW WHAT HE WAS DOING OR DIDNT CARE, LEFT ME WITH A TRACH FOR LIFE.... THE PTSD RAISED ITS UGLY HEAD FULL FORCE... MOST PEOPLE DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS ILLNESS, BUT BELIEVE ME,,, ITS A TOUGH ONE TO JUST HANDLE.. PLEASE IF YOU HAVE,,FEELING OF DEEP SADNESS, FEEL YOU ARE HURTING YOUR LOVED ONES DUE TO YOUR SADNESS, EXPERIENCE FLASHBACKS OF TRAUMATIC EVENTS, GAIN OR LOSS OF WEIGHT, FEAR, ANXIETY,.. PLEASE SEE A GOOD PSYCHOTHERAPIST... AND I MEAN A GOOD ONE,,, NOT JUST ANY DR. CAN HELP YOU !!! GOOD LUCK EVERYONE, AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUBMISSIONS !
I have been a surivor of PTSD for more then 30 years. Now with the cancer I find myself back on the battle field of not know if but when it will kill me with no help from those that sent me.
I am so happy to find this PTSD info; have read all the comments and relate to all of them. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2011; had 16 rounds of chemo, surgery, and 4 weeks rads, finished last December. I have told family and close friends that I think I have PTSD--can't sleep, flashbacks, major anxiety, tearful, short temper, emotional outbursts. I completed treatment, so everyone assumes I'm back to normal, but far from it. I finally thought to google "ptsd cancer" and this site popped up. Thankyou-thankyou-thankyou. I'm going to find a therapist asap, because I am utterly miserable. I also have painful peripheral neuropathy in hands and feet, getting worse by the day--a side effect of chemo--Taxol type drugs. In addition, my nails (fingers and toes) separated from the nailbeds; I had staph infection under the nails--horrible--and lost about half of them. I was treated at a world-renowned cancer center (I live in Houston) but the oncologist assigned to me had no personality, no empathy, and was a complete jerk. I kept telling him about the PN and my nails and he just ignored me. When my nails started to fall off I went to a dermatologist who diagnosed and gradually cured that particular affliction. The callousness of that oncologist and various traumatic incidents during treatment forms much of the basis of what I know now is clearly PTSD. Thank you all so much; prayers and good luck to all.
May 4th will be my second year cancer free from stage 3 breast cancer. And I had all the side effects of chemotherapy and then some. I live alone so I had to work thru the whole thing. With no real support at all. I was strong and somehow made it thru the worst time of my life. Now 2 years later I have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, have asthma, depression and a boss that thinks I'm slacking off and milking my cancer experience for pity. Even my coworkers keep telling me to move faster and have even started to question whether or not my cancer and mastectomy even happened. I used to hike and bike 30 miles a day now I'm exhausted after one day of work. I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL.
Hi everyone here. I been cancer free for 3.5yrs. My cancer is incurable and is suppose to come back anytime now I guess. They found my cancer with the six kidney stone blockages I had. Since I turned 40 my health has been so bad. Now my pancreas is acting up having surgery in two weeks. Just has kidney surgery last week. I am very discouraged. I think I have PTSD. I am a counselor and am working on a Masters, but I want to quit. I am tired of trying too hard. Chemo brain I have that really bad too. My husband well he doesnt understand my tiredness, my lack of interest ect. He is not much help. I feel all alone and isolated from a normal life. I want to be shown some compassion. My dreams are gone and I need some understanding from someone who says they love me. It is hard and I get it. I am letting go of my dreams I want to just go. Why I feel like a burden to everyone around me. I didnt ask for this that is the catch why does it have to be such a bother. Well that is my story. hope my panreas surgery goes well.
Chemo Brain.----- after eight months of chemotherapy I was very happy to tell others that I was very fortunate to have had very few side effects from chemo. I was able to continue working, doing my normal routine with very little interference from chemo. What I was hiding from though was admitting that my mind was very affected from it. But there was no outward sign, I mean as long as I kept relatively quiet and did not talk too much, I thought I could keep my chemo brain I secret. But I was only fooling myself. In conversations I would not be able to recall something I wanted to relay to someone, I could not think of the correct word that I wanted to use (I would know what letter the word began with but couldn't for the life of me recall the rest of the word.) I wouldn't remember who I was speaking to the previous day, or remember co-worker's names. As embarrassing as it was, it was even more frightening. I learned what it must be like to have dementia.....what it is like to know something but your mind would not bring the information forward. I often would panic mentally when, in the middle of a sentence, I could not recall a word. I have learned what it is like to have dementia, or what it must be like to "grow old" and not be mentally on the ball any more. And it is more frightening to know that you don't have that mental capacity any longer. I understand what it must be like for elderly people now and I have learned compassion, understanding, p
I just reached my one-year anniversary of being diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Originally misdiagnosed by my pcp, I was eventually sent to a reputable hospital and clinic where I received excellent care and am in remission with a good prognosis. I have done everything the doctors wanted me to and have worked nonstop to regain and adjust to what I've lost. However, the effects of the treatments have taken a toll on my memory, my joints and my self confidence. I am not looking for the cancer to return and I constantly remind myself the glass is half full but, it's not easy. Thank heavens for my support group! Even though I've never met anyone who has survived my particular type of cancer, I can relate to the struggles and challenges experienced by others with cancer. I guess it is time to allow myself time to grieve the person that I've lost, so that I can go forward to become the person I am to become. It's been an incredible journey and not for the faint of heart.
HI,I am new to this forum its great,so much information,Stuff you never would know otherwise.I am recovering from colon cancer re section (stage 11 no mo0 just 9 months ago.I am doing well physically and have my weight and diet under control with radical lifestyle changes on my part.However I am interested in this PTSD and believe is all part of the healing/griving process that all us cancer survivers have to deal with.Our lives have changed so much,I cry alot and hate what cancer has done to me,but I wont let it define me as a person.Seek support from your family doctor or join a local cancer support group in your area and talk to fellow survivours,they have really got me through.Hang in the...we are all so special
I have read this comment and it is very useful for me that I am facing a peritoneo cancer since last year and I am receiving Taxol too, I have been very resistent with the treatment and the chemo has been very friendship with me but anyway it is important to read the possible consecuences of chemo and to share and listen experiences from others. I have read Beth post, thanks Beth.
My best regards for all the community from Havana, Cuba.
I have pretty good insurance and the year I had cancer treatment nearly put us under financially. All the years we saved and planned hoping to enjoy the "golden years" - ha, that's a blown dream. My PTSD is the fear of bankrupting my family and having it all feeding the high priced mill our health care system is. I have seriously thought about letting it take its course and not fighting cancer if it comes back. Find a psychologist... a side effect of the cancer that is a side effect of my medication that just jumped $150 a shot to $1000. Money is the limiting factor.
This comment is for Diane and others who are interested in finding out more about treatment. It is important to find a find a Psychologist who specializes in treatment of PTSD. Ask your cancer doctor if they can recommend someone who is an expert in the field. Take a look at this information on what questions to ask as you are in the process of finding the right provider for you (http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/understanding_TX/booklet.pdf). To find a therapist or psychologist in your area, take a look at these resources (http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/finding-a-therapist.asp).
am very interested in reading about the side effects of Arimidex, as I'm also experiencing them. Am usually very active and I'm an RN that volunteers at our church and at a clinic, but have to rethink things due to joint pain, etc. I have side effects to the NSAID's. Is there some way to access any studies done about this drug? We're supposed to exercise, etc, to be healthier, but it's sometimes impossible. Thanks to all of you who comment. Very helpful.
Following radiation and chemo, I was diagnosed with Severe Peripheral Neuropathy with drop feet (no feeling) caused by Taxol. Big problem is skin sensitivity of feet to texture (rug,spandex,wool,polyester,etc} and tile/wood floors too cold. Hard to find comfort shoes with support. I work hard to stay positive. Fortunate to have supportive family. Take 1800 mg Gabapentin daily. Electrical stimulation (18 sessions) no improvement to toes or feet. Nobody wants to talk about PN. I don't feel that I have PTSD but definitely a possible candidate. I let off steam with a professional support person who keeps my head balanced and a physical therapist who is trying to restore my body balance. Perhaps a column from Mayo Clinic could help others in my position.
Its not easy to admit that you're not coping - evryone thinks that when the treatment ends its over and we are constantly told to be happy that we are still alive and to be positive. This reinforces feelings oa guilt about how we actually feel. I have bilateral breast cancer with lymph node involvement and have had bilateral mastectomies and lymph node removal, chemo and radiotherapy. i have lymphoedema and cannot sleep for the pain and discomfort - I have lost my job and am afraid to put on my heating because of cost - what do I have to be positive about? Cancer hasn't killed me yet but it has taken my life away!
didn't consider ptsd , however may be possible for 6 years after sucessful cancer treatment it is surprising to me to unexpectedly and suddenly finding I am weeping easily and frequently.
I have just been a 6 mo. survivor of breast cancer. The whole radiation experience was filled with pain in my neck,shoulders,arms and hands. They sent me to PT for lymphadema. It was not. But didn't really have anyone say what was happening so we continued with PT for 6mo until I hit the major wall with extreme neck,shoulder, arm deep aches and pains with needles running thru every part of both arms and hands. I wanted to stick all of it in the freezer to numb it during the nite. That's when it hit. Finally I screamed "uncle" Begged for an MRI, exrays finally saw a Neurosurgeon> Again I am told I have Thorasic Outlet Syndrom on the right (where my radiation was done but no idea why I have it on left...Perfect Storm I was told. Guess what.. Meds.. Gabapentin up to 3600mg. OMG I am not a good pill person. I am only taking 3 now. I have bloat that rises my BP, whirlys and many other things. Still have the symptoms. Now what? I haven't worked in 6 mo because I can't do anything with my upper body without paying for it that nite.I believe that radiation is to blame. What could I do? I feel for all of you so much. Bless us
Whom does one see for PTSD treatment? What qualifications do you look for in a doctor? My son, the combat Marine and my daughter, the Hodgkin's patient need help in different ways.
February 9, 2012 9:30 p.m.
To - catherine
I am a 12 yr survivor who was also on Arimedex and had joint pain too especially in the hips. It felt like my hip was going to pop out of the joint. My treatment felt like 8 yrs on Arimedex until I did yoga too. It also helped with carpel tunnel syn. Now I have what they are now calling pts. I always exercised but it is hard hanging on. No one really knows how you feel unless you been through it.
Reading all of the responses I just kept saying to myself yes I have that too !!
It seemed every letter I could relate to in some form.Was almost happy when one mentioned spelling!!!! I was very worried, it seemed as though I was "dumbing down" for lack of a better description. stageIV Thymic Carcinoma they tell me is very rare I KNOW it is very aggressive and will recurr so the 3 month check-ups are torture and no one seems to understand why.The constant pain I have does not help!! concentration is non-existant and keep putting important decisions and work off. I had never been a procrastinator beforebut now "I'll do it tomorrow" is my favorite phrase.I feel guilty I am still alive when I was expected to die within months.I had a wonderful surgeon (but horrid aftercare) so I am still here.It seems the longer I am alive the worse it is and teh constant bills add to the maritial strain.
I feel like screaming for hours and hours just to releve the pressure inside of me
Think I am a bit stressed? LOL
WOW that felt good to just type it.
i rarely post but have gotten a lot of support just reading what others contribute.
An 11-yr breast ca survivor, I used Arimidex for five years with tremendous joint pain, especially knees and hips. Toughed it out with yoga, deep breathing; didn't want to experiment with other drugs. Symptoms stopped a few months after 5-yr course of treatment and I'm happy I hung in there.
I didn't realize that there was PTSD for cancer survivors!! I went through pure hell for the first 3 months without knowing what was wrong, nor having anyone listen to me! Oh, everyone felt "sorry" for me, but that's not what I needed!! I just needed someone to listen to what I had to say and answer some of m questions without looking at me with this "WHY ARE YOU NEEDING TO ASK THAT?" expression!! All I wanted was for someone to let me talk and for them to listen!! I would go 24-36 hours without sleeping more than 2-3 hours at a time....talk about nightmares!! Its been almost 5 months now and things are better, but its still tough when I talk about some things that happened...like the lack of pain maintanence right after surgery!! It was pure torture, waking up to NO pain meds after having a body organ removed!! I would have liked to have seen the surgeon in that position, feeling that!! I thought torture was illegal!! Yes, I still harbor some major resentment to how I was treated after my surgery!! I have learned what to DEMAND if I have to have another surgery!!
I have a couple of comments. I kept working all through chemo and radiation for breast cancer, and thought I was fine. Afterwards, I took on new responsibilities at work, only to find 6 months later that I started crying one day and couldn't stop for 5 days. 15 months later, I still have problems sleeping and my concentration is nothing like what it used to be. I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, which went into remission during chemo but is now back with a vengeance. Thanks to Patty's question and the response, I'll check it's my doctor to see if Arimidex is contributing to this. Many thanks for your forums, they are really helpful
diagnosed with uterine cancer June 2011 - had complicated hysterectomy and am now on 4th round of chemo, then 5 weeks of radiation. Mouth and lips are scalded and the steroids are very hard on the stomach. Really trying to remain positive.
April 2006 was diagnosed with NSCLC 2B underwent Chemo and Radiation treatments 36 in all; lost much of my hearing. Tumor shrank from 5cm to 1.5cm.Following CT my oncologist
states there was no reoccurance. 2009 was diagnosed with Head and neck cancer. in the mean time setting in the lobby awaiting my appointment time, a patient stated he was not happy with the oncologist that we were both seeing as the Dr. tends to minimize the facts.
Underwent Radiation treatments for H&N cancer 35 treatments,Voice box, esophagus, vocal cords, corotid arteries sheathed 6mm tumors. November 2011 Ct results, Dr. stated no reoccurance of cancer, yet, I have a tumor growing on side of my neck where a limpnode would be located, pushing up the surface size of a large peanut. Yet no reoccurance? I pray he is correct, but I do not believe him anymore.I just do not want any last minute surprises.Dallas
Glad to see this article. I've been wondering if it was possible that I could be experiencing PTSD. I'm esp. having problems with anxiety and memory loss and it is very difficult sometimes to concentrate. I even have trouble spelling words when I text or go on facebook. I have an appointment next Wednesday to see my oncologist so I will discuss these symptoms with him then. I just try to cope and try to relax and try to tell myself that I will be okay but I'm having a hard time believing it after a mastecomy, 7 chemo treatments and 33 radiation treatments and I am having trouble with my right lung now. still have pain and I am finally doing physical therapy. Surgery was April 2011. Finished treatments in October. Had a CT scan yesterday of my chest to see what is going on. I imagine all sorts of things.
I was diagnosed with non hodgkins lymphoma stage 4 just recently, 4 months ago ,and even now feel like I am just adjusting to it. I have waldenstroms macrogloblunemia which is a rare one. I try not to think about it too much.
Three years after intense chemotherapy and surgery I still have flash backs (especially month of orginal diagnosis). If I am home I get an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion and I sleep for about seven to ten minutes. Sometimes this happens five times in one day..my Oncologist thought that is might be PTSD. I find that the side effects of Arimidex for me has been life altering (I have tried the other two same results) and I am now participating in a study as to why so many women stop taking this drug that has shown such good resutlts. First time I have ever posted anything but I read everything. Being a nurse married to a physician has made this journey in some ways so very helpful - in other ways TMI
I think the most important thing for cancer survivors is to have the support of your family and friends .... be there for your loved one and do not make it any more stressful for them .... I was not fortunate enough to have this and have always been supportive of my family regardless so I guess I thought I would have it during such a sad time and I did not .... so just be there and care .... it is all we want and all we NEED during this difficult time ... a hug goes a long way too
Thank you for posting this story. I had alot of the symptoms you prescribed after treatment. I am a 5 year Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, stage 4, survivor. It was hard to adjust to life before cancer, after cancer and all the whirl-wind of treatments. Life is never the same after cancer. And for several years later, the anxiety of going back for tests and check-ups, was almost unbearable. I would not sleep for a week before and after the tests and was actually sick going for results, imagining all kinds of things. Being a nurse made it even worse. I started a cancer support group for our area, I found there were so many more going through the same issues. It has been the best medicine for all of us. There is help out there, thanks for bring this to light for many cancer survivors.
Thank you for posting this, Sheryl. I was able to share it with one of my patients immediately. This is something I am recognizing now with more cancer survivors, especially if they had a very difficult treatment course.
Dr Cory Annis
The MD for Entrepreneurs
This response is for Patty - Arthralgias are one of the most common complaints about the use of any of the aromatase inhibitors (the drug class that Arimidex (anastrazole) belongs to). These side effects are the most common reason that women stop taking these drugs. While only a minority of women suffer from this side effect, it can be debilitating. Fortunately, stopping the medication can typically alleviate the side effect. There are two other aromatase inhibitors on the market, exemestane and letrozole. Many women who experience arthralgias with one, can tolerate one of the other medications without similar side effects. In addition, there may be other treatments available instead of an aromatase inhibitor, including use of a selective estrogen receptor antagonist (such as tamoxifen). One last possibility is does the patient need this medication? What are the relative benefits for her in her particular situation and what are the side effects and do the benefits outweigh the side effects? Of course, any changes in the plan need to be fully discussed with the patient's cancer care team to make the right decisions for the individual patient. Content was provided with input from Dr. Timothy Moynihan
She may benefit from a trial of Cymbalta. I am a MD dealing with my own recovery from cancer - but this may be helpful for your patient.
Hello. I'm a Palliative medicine DNP. I have a patient who was syuccessfully treated for BC and is now living cancer free but with what she believes are persistent myalgia and bony pain from arimidex therapy. I know this is off tpoic but I was not sure how else tor each you (we cannot access Twitter here at the medical center.) Do you know of any treatments for this? I have tried NSAID's and low dose opioids but she was intolerant. Also, is there anyone in the field who researches these side effects or who has more experience managing them? I am a bit out in left field with this one and she is a lovely woman who remains active and cares for a variety of elderly relatives and community members in spite of her own illness.
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