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MicheleS

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi everyone,

I'm having issues with depression. I'm crying all the time and just can't seem to enjoy the things I used to find enjoyable...  I know a HUGE part of this is chemo-related.  (That and the fact I have friggin' CANCER and might not see my kids grow up... but I digress.)

My onc gave me a script for wellbutrin which I've filled but not taken.  He also gave me the speech about staying positive and "winning" the fight.  I TOTALLY understand that being positive means oodles in terms of helping my body *fight* this beast... That's, in part, one of the reasons I'm so upset about being upset.  LOL!!

Help?
Michele
wedsnthings

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Reply with quote  #2 

Michelle, this is a part of the process you will enjoy things again and sooner than you think. For me the decadron is what made my moods swing I cried all the time and was just a mess. It will get better take the prescription and feel better. Do whatever you need to to feel better and know that this too shall pass.


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nosurrender

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Reply with quote  #3 
Michelle, Natalie is right. This is part of the process.
You have been through so much. You had to survive hearing the words "you have cancer" and then soldier on through surgeries and treatment... you have been to hell and back. It catches up to us emotionally.

Take the Wellbutrin. You will like it. It takes a while to kick in but it doesn't cause the side effects other anti-depressants do.

But the best thing you can give yourself is the permission to be positive about your future, to give yourself a break and just BE. Slowly, the old you starts to peak around the corner and you see her and remember what it was like to be normal again. And before you know it, you are smiling again. You don't wake up thinking about cancer as your first thought. And you also start to see that you don't have to be in constant fight mode. You just finished chemo- you were actively fighting a war and now all your guns were taken away. That leaves us very vulnerable.

Think of cancer in the past tense. You HAD cancer. And unless someone plops you into an MRI machine and tells you different - you are dancing with NED.

(((((Big Hugs)))))

And Natalie? I hope you are doing ok girl!!!!


Love
g


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coco

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Reply with quote  #4 
Hi Michelle,

Natalie is absolutely right; it is part of the process. I think sometimes it may be hard to determine if it is a SE from chemo or a natural response to the stress of the situation or both.

I experienced a depressive episode as a SE of chemo. It didn't last too long but it was memorable. I spent most of one morning lying on my dining room table listening to (of all things) "The Power of Now"! Another time, I spent a couple of hours in a "bubble pod" (waaay too much bubble bath). It was like an isolation tank, and it was while I was "in the pod" that I recognized that my feelings of total despair were chemically-induced. Believe it or not, I realized that even having cancer didn't upset me THAT much. My onc prescribed Effexor, but my insurance co. wouldn't pay for it. Fortunately, by the time I got a hold of some (two friends had leftovers) I didn't need it anymore.

Depression is just going to be that unwanted visitor that comes unannounced and invariably stays too long. It was my experience that the farther along I got with treatment, those "visits" became less and less frequent. I am hoping that will be your experience, too.

As Natalie said, do whatever you need to do to feel better. If you try the Wellbutrin and it doesn't feel right, talk to your onc about trying something else. Perhaps seek out a therapist that specializes in working with cancer patients or try a support group. And of course, come here to No Surrender; we are your "peeps"!

I know what you mean about feeling, well... pressured to stay positive all the time even if you feel like "CARP" (a little No Surrender inside joke there). There are even current popular philosophies (I won't name names) that can make you feel really bad about not feeling good all the time. Let it go. Feel what you feel. Cry when you need to. Reach out. We're here for you.

(((((((BIG HUGS))))))

(Note: Just saw G's post...perfect.)









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MicheleS

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Reply with quote  #5 
Thanks everyone.  I just love it here.

The pressure to stay "positive" is fierce... I almost feel like a failure for not being able to do it!

Oh and Gina... I have 11 more taxols to go. 11!!!! Yikes. So, not done with chemo... just done with AC. I'm still in "battle mode"...

Love to everyone (off to go get T#2 this morning; wish me luck!),
Michele

StacyL

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Reply with quote  #6 
Michelle -
I can relate to how you're feeling.
Sometimes people forget what you're going through and take your depressed moods personally. That is the hardest part for me. I like to be left alone sometimes to just think and it's hard with my 2 young boys and their dad.
No one except the ones who have gone or are going through this can truly understand. I am done with chemo and having surgery next week so even though I am not feeling depressed as a SE from chemo right now I am constantly anxious about surgery.

I use to take Wellbutrin yrs ago and it was great for me I felt more confidant about my decisions and made some very big changes in my life while I was on it. I just felt so much better. I think you'll like it.

You will get through this and be better for it. You are strong and have all of us on your side.

hugs,
Stacy
kmobley

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Reply with quote  #7 
Hey folks,

I was reading through Michele's notes here trying to absorb what might work for certain SE's.  I know they gave me IV Ativan with my first treatment.  Don't know about anything else.  I also took Emend for 3 days and then the Decadron for 3 days.  I am reading about Wellbutrin, Anzemet, Kytil patches, etc.  Anything that would be helpful, I would like to know.  I am meeting with my family doctor on Tues. morning.  He knows my history.  I take allergy medication everyday, etc.  He is going to contact Onc.  I am making a list of things that have worked for you all.  I know and my daugher knows that I am worrying about all of this constantly.  My mind is not resting from it.


Greatly appreciate anything you send me.

Kay Mobley
coco

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Reply with quote  #8 
Hi Kay,

For a restless mind, I recommend Ativan. It helps turn down that radio station in my head so I can get some sleep.

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wedsnthings

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Reply with quote  #9 
Hi All,

Ativan was too mild for me I took xanax and it was all good. However I am finding that I'm having a hard time dealing with the fact that chemo is over. I don't feel particularly depressed but there is just an empty what next feeling. I start rads next week I wonder how long 6 1/2 weeks will feel and what type of fatigue it will bring. This is kind of an all about me post please forgive I'm just in some type of mood.

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CherylG

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Reply with quote  #10 
MICHELE... Ativan worked best for me. Effexor and the anti depressants made me feel awful, but Ativan helps your mind "slow down" so you feel less anxious about everything. I was more overwhelmed than depressed. You are feeling what we all do ... you are fighting a battle and it drains you emotionally. Keep trying meds until you find what works for you.

WEDSNTHINGS .. I worked through rads as I didn't experience a lot of fatigue. It is cummulative though, so give yourself permission to rest when you need to. The worst thing is that it is daily so your routine is disrupted which is more of an inconvenience than anything, but the time goes by surprisingly quickly.

Hugs ... it does get better and you are all doing great!
Cheryl

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nosurrender

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Reply with quote  #11 
When I had cancer the first time, in 2001, and finished my six months of chemo and 8 weeks of rads, I was like a robot. I didn't feel safe, I didn't feel like I was living, I didn't feel human.
It took me a very long time before I came out of it and joined the land of the living again.
We have scars and adjustments and it is really overwhelming at times.
Plus, we don't trust our bodies anymore and we don't feel safe. That is a hell of a way to go through life.
Please, believe me when I tell you this, it gets better.
Give yourself time to heal on the inside and the outside.
You put unrealistic expectations on yourself if you think you will be like I Dream of Jeannie and can blink and everything is normal again.
You took a long, hard journey into cancerland and back. It will take a journey to feel safe and happy again.

But as someone who had cancer in 2001 and then we re-diagnosed with a totally new breast cancer that had nothing whatsoever to do with the first one six years later and had to get a bilat and do over nine months of chemo.......
I can testify that YOU DO FEEL LIKE YOU AGAIN. YOU WILL FEEL HAPPY AGAIN. YOU WILL BE ABLE TO PUT IT ALL BEHIND YOU.

If you need a little help with Wellbutrin or even getting your Thyroid checked and getting your Vitamin D level up in the good range- do it. It all helps.
But nothing helps as much as time does. It does heal you. I promise!

Love to you all,
g


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Karen1956

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Reply with quote  #12 
Michelle,

During Dx, meeting w/ doctors etc, and Tx I was on autopilot...I seemed to get through it and everyone was amazed at my "positive attitde and (oops just forgot what else I was going to say).  I felt like crap for 3 or 4 days post chemo and didn't see anyone...DH tried to get me out walking everyday even if it was just 3 houses down.  I had chemo on Thursdays and went to work the following Monday or Tuesdays...but I was barely functioning...not really doing much...work was a distraction and helped me from being a "victim".  But once I was done what I call active Tx, I fell apart...I think it is like many through a crisis they hold up, then crash once it is over.
After my ooph, gyn Rx Effexor...many gals take it and do well...I did not like it so I slowly stopped (was on it for about 3 weeks) and then didn't take anything.  well about 8 months later, I was sliding downwards and started the Effexor again...still didn't like it, so sought out a psychologist for counseling and psychiatrist for meds....1 1/2 years later, I still take anti-depressants....I just weaned off of Wellbutrin, but continue to take Lamictal.  I also take Ativan when I am struggling (used to take it dail) and Ambian to sleep.
BC changes our lives...we all have our different ways of coping...use whatever you need to to get through this...anti-depressants, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety or whatever else.  Your emotions are yours...allow yourself to feel however you need to...cry, smile, vent...whatever....you are allowed to be sad, angry, happy, depressed...again, take whatever Rx you need to help you function.

Sorry for being so long winded....it is a journey...your journey may be different than mine or someone elses, but it is yours...am I rambling?
Hugs to you....Karen
MicheleS

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Reply with quote  #13 
Everyone,
Thanks so much for your replies.  I've found them soooo helpful.

Karen,
I started the wellbutrin a few days ago and have forced myself to go outside everyday.  I also made an appt with a counselor for next tues.  I'm just so used to being the "strong one" around here.  I'm the one with the successful career and the one who keeps our family on track each day.  Now, I can barely dress myself some days... not to mention dealing with the kids and all of my employees...  Plus, I'm just so angry.  Why me? (Not that anyone deserves to go through this...)


I will say that this wonderful site has given me hope.  I was convinced that I was surely going to die before I came here.  I had the "bad kind" of BC and I might as well make plans now.  I still feel soooo sad and scared but I'm not giving up. 

Anywhoo, thanks to everyone and to Gina for giving me a place to come when I just can't deal with this by myself...
Michele

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