Sigh. I have so much I want to share with you... an overwhelming amount, actually, but let's do it just bits at a time, okay?
I am 55, married, and a survivor of a rare cancer called liposarcoma. I lost 1/2 of my left thigh to the cancer, went through many huge surgeries to save the leg, had extensive radiation and a chemo protocol that took five days every month in the hospital to administer. I had to live away from my home and family in Boston to receive the best care. And I survived! the cancer is gone, the leg functions minus one large muscle, and I am happy and productive again. I am HAPPY and PRODUCTIVE AGAIN. That is the most important message for now.
I lost much, much time not being happy and productive after the cancer. After the surgery healed totally (I did hve to deal with a 'hard-to-heal wound where all the surgeries came together for over a year), is when my soul and emotions and mind broke down completely. I guess while I was so busy fighting for my life, I never had time to care for anything but the physical spects and the emotional ones got neglected.
like you, as soon as I was able.. although for me it was a year, I jumped back into work full time in a demanding job in education. I wanted to never think about the cancer again. So I did my damndest not to. Was pretty good at it, too. Stuffed it all down (as well as the fact that the year before I was caretaker to my mom, dad, and uncle who were diagnosed with cancer one right after the other in a three week period. pop and Uncle died on the same day, Mom survived). I became an expert in bravado. Superwoman. wife, Mom, Working Woman, Caring Daughter, Union President... bring it on, baby... I am WOMAN!
What a farce. I was on pain meds, antidepressants, Xanax for anxiety.... everything under the sun. Oh, the pain meds helped, the Xanax helped.... mostly helped me to totally ignore that I had ignored completely ever mourning the deaths of loved ones, mourning the sadness of my own illness and the consequences of it. Those meds helped me to be FEARLESS! Right. Duh. It caught up with me. I am only going to share my most recent history with you for now.
This past October, I had the most total, breakdown that can be imagined. Total as in I had to retire from work that I truly loved, became totally non-functioning as could often not even find the strength to brush my teeth, would no longer see anyone but my husband and became a hermit. My adult children were painfully shut out of my life by me. My first grandbaby, my first and only grandbaby!, did not have the pleasure of me nor me of him. There was no pleasure in my life. I had gone almost totallly around the bend... only enough sense in me that came from some spiritual reserve that stopped me from seriously considering suicide. Somewhere, from that deep place inside myself, I found my will to live again.
Tlynn, I had to mourn. I had to face up to the hurts and pains of ten years ago. I had to come off the painkillers (opiate...oxycodone) and off the xanax. I had to come off cholesterol meds and sugar meds (heart attack t
2 1/2 years ago) I HAD to come off all of them.. and God Almighty it was hard coming off the Oxycodone and Xanax. I was misusing, abusing the oxy and xanax... took it more for emotional reasons than physical ones. I had to come off the other meds because of the strong possibilty (probablility) that they were increasing the depression.There is no doubt whatsoever that the Oxycodone and Xanax were the biggest pill culprits in the deepening, dangerous clinical depression med wise.
Babygirl, as I struggled for over eight months to withdraw from the meds, I began to earnestly work on those stuffed down emotional issues. Little by little, I dealt with them. Little by little, the depression began to lift. And little by little, my life became a restored life, rich again in hope and joy.
I would never recommend that drugs not be used because they are often absolutley necessary. I remain on Lexapro now and probably will for some time yet. I will never take xanax or any anti-anxiety benzo again long term, ever. That is me. Do not in anyway misperceive that it must be you, okay?
However, what you must perceive, what I am trying to convey SO strongly, is that unless you deal with the emotional impact of cancer in your life, your depression will continue. Jumping straight back to school...sigh. We sure ahre some common ground there! Stay busy, act normal and act like cancer wasn't much more than a sneezy cold in our lives. It was more, it IS still more for you I believe.
Enough for now. Come back and share some more.
With all hope
I admire you so much. I feel as though I've blown my situation way out of proportion. You've been through so much.
What you said about dealing with the emotional effects of the cancer is so true. So many times, I've told myself that somehow, it wasn't even really cancer, because it was just thyroid cancer. It was only papillary, so it wasn't a big deal. It was 99% cureable as cancers go, so why give it any thought?
I just can't understand, or maybe I just choose not to, how the fact that I don't have a thyroid could possibly be the cause of all of my mental and emotional problems. Since all of the meds, Synthroid and antidepressants and mood stabilizers and anti-anxiety meds haven't helped, then it MUST be me!!! How could it not? I hope I don't come off as whiny and self-absorbed. I'm just so confused and so frustrated.
Thank you for sharing and I can't wait to hear more from you. So happy that you managed to find the strength to fight, and I hope I will be inspired to do the same.