Depression after treatment ends

I’m 32 and was diagnosed in January and finished treatment in September having had a lumpectomy, node clearance, chemo, radio and now what would appear to be the start of lymphadema. I’ve been really positive during all my treatment, but in the last few weeks I’ve been feeling so isolated and alone. The constant pain from treatment had me worrying about secondaries which I’ve had checked out and so far the team at the hospital think everything is ok. I just feel so empty it’s like my diagnosis is only hitting me now. I know this can be normal, but I feel like there’s a thick black fog surrounding me and I’ve lost my way a bit. Everyone else around me lives are moving on and it’s only now that I’m realising I will never be the person I was before breast cancer again. I get angry and frustrated that everyone expects you to go back to ‘normal’. I don’t expect people to put their life on hold for me, if anything cancers caught me life is too short, but I just seem to have lost my way a bit. Is anyone else feeling/felt this way? I’d rather avoid anti-depressants if I can, but some days I spend hours teary and overwhelmed. I feel like I’ve lost a connection with my friends and scant find a way back, because their issues are no longer relevant to mine… I’ve emailed them telling them that the scars on my body have healed, the needles and treatment for this disease has ended but now I feel like the diagnosis I has got in to my head. I just don’t know what else to do.

Hi LEJ81…not really sure what to say to you that might help, but didn’t want to read and run…

If you haven’t already seen this article, it might be worth a read, as it helped me to make sense of my diagnosis and treatment last year cancercounselling.org.uk/northsouth/extra4.nsf/WebResClient/1761049276601BD68025735B00604834/FILE/article3.pdf

Have you thought about asking for counselling if you think that would help, either through your medical team or MacMillan? If that’s not your ‘bag’ then perhaps consider ‘mindfulness’ which is a way of literally living in, and appreciating the moment…trying to put the past firmly where it belongs, and not think about the ‘what ifs’…challenging I know, but with practice it has worked for me.

All I can offer is that life does eventually improve, OK not quite the same life as before diagnosis, as there will always be the reminders, and it is a slow and gradual process. ‘You will always be you’, or as my 26 year old son says to me ‘Mother you are a fruit loop in a box of cheerios’…I take it as a compliment! Nearly 2 years from diagnosis I don’t spend every day thinking about bc, have completed the race for life, lost the weight gained during chemo and have a head of hair, albeit very thin and fine.

It might also be worth phoning the helpline on here as they are fantastic.

You take care…x and a virtual hug :slight_smile:

Dear LEJ81

In addition to the support here do feel free to call our helpliners to talk your feelings over, Christmas opening hours below:

Helpline opening hours Christmas 2013
Tuesday 24 December 9am–2pm

Friday 27 December 9am–5pm

Saturday 28 December 10am–2pm

Monday 30 December 9am–5pm,

Tuesday 31 December 2013 9am–2pm

Normal opening hours resume on Thursday 2 January 2014 (Monday–Friday 9am–5pm and Saturday 10am–2pm.)

You may also find the following BCC ‘Moving forward’ information and further support ideas helpful:

breastcancercare.org.uk/moving-forward?utm_source=Homepage&%3Butm_medium=help_you&%3Butm_campaign=moving_forward

Take care
Lucy BCC

Hi lej81, I’m 42 and feel exactly the same as u … I was dianosed in April , had a mastectomy in May then chemo until October and now I’m on tamoxifen for the next 10 years… Like ur self I was very positive all the way through my treatment but now I feel less so , I also feel as thou I’ve have a black fog over me…I should b over the moon that I survive this but instead feel very low but not sure y… I’m getting sick of people who say u have had your treatment , u have done the worse part and should b normal again now …WOT is normal ?? how r u feeling now?? Is it getting better??

Big hugs for you , if u want to chat private message me if u don’t want to put anything on here… Take care xxx

Hi there,

My name is Lynn, I finished all the same treatment as you in Dec 2012.  I sailed through it all pretty well, still did lots of cycling and hill-walking and only suffered with a couple of chemo’s.  However, like you, now thats all over I feel its now I can’t cope.  I don’t want to go on antidepressants either but I have been drinking almost a bottle of red wine nearly every night which is obviously a problem.  I have kept my anxiety and depression and fear of it coming back from friends and family as I don’t want to worry them.  I only stopped wearing my wigs last month and then dyed my hair red, then purple and got my nose pierced (I’m 50 lol), hair back to normal for now!  It was a great relief to read your message and know that someone is going through the exact same experience as me, I felt so alone? I have just started having pain and swelling in my breast and arm which I assume is normal?  Had some through the year but nothing that worried me, today though its different and worse so worried now and just messaged the nurse on here…though just saw it can take 5 days for reply!  Thats why I came on this forum to maybe chat to people going through the same thing.  Anyway I look forward to your reply and maybe we can support each other?   Take care, Lynn x

Hi Lynn and welcome to the BCC forums

In addition to the support you will find here please feel free to call our helpliners, lines are open during the week 9-5 and Sat 10-2 on 0808 800 6000, our team are on hand with practical and emotional,support for you

Here’s a link to the BCC ‘Moving forward’ information and support page which I hope you will find helpful:

breastcancercare.org.uk/moving-forward?utm_source=Homepage&%3Butm_medium=help_you&%3Butm_campaign=moving_forward

Take care
Lucy BCC

I can only agree with what everyone’s saying.  I was diagnosed in January 2012 and unfortunately had to have a mastectomy.  I am now 2 years on but some days are still so difficult for me.  It’s all the what ifs that are scary.   I’ve got my yearly check up this Friday so mega anxiety at the moment.  

 

I don’t think people realise the aftermath of a cancer diagnosis,unless they’ve had close personal experience of it.  

 

I want the old me back both physically and emotionally but that’s never going to happen so I’ve just got to accept things the way they are and some days I can but then some days those dreaded wobbles happen along.  Hopefully those days will get fewer and fewer.

I don’t really know if any one will answer this as never used site before to push are how I feel. I had left breast cancer and had immediate reconstructin using tummy fat. (I got afree tummy tick that’s the way I coped ). I fine on the surgery site as all healed and that’s not what is bothering me. I returned to work fill time 1st oct and now everyone thinks that bev , mum, wife is as I was before. I now find that I have been feeling depressed at times and angry with other people not myself as they are carrying in as if nothing as happened. When I was diagnosed my husband was all about what I wanted done (I just wanted the porch painted. Weird I know). Now he has gone back to his normal self and leaving me to stew about has he is not doing anything and happy to sit watching tv until mid Morning. I went for check up on Friday and the consultant has suggested councilling or anti depressants. Any one else feeling as I do at the moment totally useless

Hello all
It’s comforting to know that I’m not going completely mad with my emotions. I was diagnosed Dec 2012 and had a mastectomy and an immediate diep reconstruction followed by chemo, herceptin and tamoxifen. You are all so right, you spend a year going through the motions. It becomes our routine and of course we accept whatever is thrown at us. No time to think just get through it. Our poor bodies, they have taken a beating and they are hanging on in there!
Now we face a new challenge, our minds are in turmoil. I never imagined I would feel quite so fuzzy with how I am feeling. I simply cannot think logically and one minute I feel fine and the next I am in pieces. How does that work?! I know we have to accept that this is what happens, but it doesn’t make it any easier. I also get so tired in the afternoons and haven’t really done anything major to warrant it. It’s sooooo frustrating.
Well, at least we can vent our feelings here and not be judged. It’s nice to know we are all in good company on this site.
Keep smiling everyone.
Lisa xx

Hi all, I am New to this forum malarkey!! I was 41 when I was diagnosed 2 years ago. Been through all the treatment and had one thing after another since in terms of side effects from treatment. It has been relentless. I went back to work one month after treatment finished but could only manage part time so had to take a huge pay cut and am still working only part time. I get really frustrated and angry as I wanted to be back to normal by now but it’s beginning to dawn ok New that that’s not going to happen. I have been having counseling for 8 months which has helped me stay of the anti depressants as I get such bad side effects. (they gave me some earlier last year in low dosage to help with terrible nerve pain but they made me feel ill). I am lucky to have a charity drop in Centre nearby where you can get comp therapies and counseling for free. I am also lucky to have a very understanding and supportive husband, poor thing. I can totally relate to everything everyone is saying about tiredness, anxiety and depression and how it’s over for everyone else but us. However I do have some light to shed on things in the hope that it may help!! Firstly, 16 months after end of treatment, the post treatment side effectsI had have improved, I had terrible nerve pain, asi said, and although I still get it, it is much less frequent and less painful when it does come. I also had some rare chronic radiation dermatitis which baffled everyone and was so so sore for so long I could wear a bra. Had to spend virtually the whole year in baggy sack like clothing and Big scarves to cover up the freak show on my chest, as I was unable to wear the breast insert to even the chest area out! This is now less sore and I am now beginning to once again be able to wear a bra and insert and hence normal clothes. So things do slowly improve, but battling with access, pains, nausea and tiredness every day is a challenge. I founda book which really helped knew understand why I was feeling the way I was and that I want going mad! It’s a bit wordy but I really found it helpful. It’s out of print now but you can get it on Amazon etc. It’s called" dancing in limbo"z anyway that’s my experiences, hope that helps. It’s hard to see improvements when they are so slow and over such long periods of time, but they are there. 3 years to recovery seems more like a reasonable estimate to me! Jo xx

Thanksi will do kazey. I got another one written more recently called the"cancer survivors companion" by Frances goodhrt and Lucy atkins. Having a real tough time mentally ( and physically) at the mo and despite a wonderful support network of family and friend and an amazingly supportive husband, just can’t get my head out of this funk. Thanks for the reply. Xx

Poor you bobsicle. It’s not surprising you are depressed. It’s horrible when you just seen to get one thing after another, as if treatment isn’t bad enough, then getting lots of other little things on top just add insult to injury. Out of interest, has the Doc prescribed you stemetil ( aka prochlorperazine or buccastem)? This is an anti sickness drug which is also used for dizziness and motion sickness which are some of the effects of menieres. If not it might be Worth asking for it as it is quite effective.
Hope you feel better soon. Xxxxx

Hi Bobbie,
Sounds horrible. Just when you think all the anti sickness pills are behind you!!! I really feel for you. I am not too bad at the moment. Had a really rough end to last year and beginning to this but the past 10 days or so I have been feeling a bit better. I had a resurgence of the most horrendous hour flashes after my laparoscopy in January. Couldn’t sleep, kept feeling like I was going to explode. Add that the the pelvic pain and nauseai was getting And I got really down. But following advice from one if these forums I cut out tea(don’t drink code anyway) and touch Wood the hot flushes have stopped. Still get the pains and nausea but even that’s improved a bit so there’s hope for me yet. Really hope Docs can sort something out for you. Xx Jo xx