How to chase away the blues -- suggestions?

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MissKim
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Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2006 3:06 pm
Location: Idaho Falls, ID

How to chase away the blues -- suggestions?

Postby MissKim » Thu Jan 04, 2007 3:04 am

Hi everyone. I love this site and I come here daily for encouragement and inspiration. I started my fight with cc in 6/2003 and am still fighting. I am currently getting a "vectibix" infusion every two weeks. I have often said that having cancer is a harder emotional/mental battle than physical. I usually stay pretty upbeat for my husband and kids (11, 9, and 6) but inside I have been feeling pretty down for the last month. I do savor every moment, I am not in pain, I guess I am just tired of 3 1/2 years of this crap. I am so thankful to still be here -- don't get me wrong. And I intend to keep fighting. I just want some suggestions from all of you on what you do to keep your spirits up. You are such a great group and I am so thankful that I discovered this message board.

Sincerely,
Miss Kim

Pollyanna
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Joined: Sun Sep 10, 2006 10:28 pm
Location: Richmond, BC

Postby Pollyanna » Thu Jan 04, 2007 9:29 pm

Miss Kim, you are not alone. I, too, try to be upbeat for my husband and sons (16 & 14), and to maintain the status quo. But some days, life totally grinds on me.

I find that having a pretty busy life is helpful - it's when I'm sitting around mulling that I get into trouble. And you know what they say about how hard it is to hit a moving target? Words to live by. When I plan my weeks, I try to make sure that there's something I'm looking forward to, if not every day, then every week. It can be something silly and little, or something bigger.

I've been thinking (OK, mulling) about why I'm in a mini-funk. I think some of it has to do with the weather. Here in Vancouver it's grey and rainy a lot of the winter, and recently it's been pretty darned cold. So, I decided I need to get out in the fresh air, and I'd better damned well just dress for it! I'm now equipped with wind-proof, rain-proof, cold-proof stuff, and ready to hit the elements. Think about what Magnolia said about Vitamin D. Maybe we're a quart low. All I know is that I'm tired of rambling around my house. I want out, and I want out NOW!! You go play outside, too. We'll compare notes :>)

Lifes2short
Posts: 549
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2006 10:54 pm
Location: Salt Lake City, UT

Postby Lifes2short » Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:01 pm

This is a timely post for me as well. I was diagnosed just over a year ago and for the most part I've kept my spirits up and stayed active. But I've been in quite a funk for the last couple weeks and I'm not sure what to do about it.

I showed up for a scheduled round of chemo last week and ended up crying so hard that the doctor gave me a chemo break. I didn't even know I was going to to it. I was dreading the chemo like I always do, but when I got to the office I was overcome with emotion. I'm usually in pretty good control of my emotions, but not that day. The doc was kind and suggested I take a week off. Well, a week went by and I feel even worse. The doc gave me one more week with my promise to stay on schedule for the final three rounds of chemo.

Seems I'm close to tears more often than not lately. I don't know if it's the short days / cold weather or something deeper than that. I've been forcing myself to get out and exercise every day - something that's always been important to me. Now it feels like a grind. I'm thinking it might be time to find a shrink or join a support group.

It's helpful to hear there are others experiencing similar emotions. That's one of the things I love about this forum. Maybe it's just a seasonal post holiday slump. I sure hope it goes away.

MissKim
Posts: 162
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2006 3:06 pm
Location: Idaho Falls, ID

Postby MissKim » Fri Jan 05, 2007 12:11 am

I also find that I do much better when I am busy and focused on other tasks -- thanks Pollyanna. I like your "moving target" analogy. Lifes2Short -- I am so impressed that you get out every day and exercise. Aren't you on FOLFOX? How on earth do you deal with the cold if you are exercising outside? Since you are in SLC I know what your climate is like and it must be brutal to be outside. Fortunately, the cold is not bothering me this winter -- I should be getting outside and getting some sunshine and fresh air (even if it is frigid!)

At times, if I even hint that I am having a hard time I am often told "to stay positive" -- I AM positive how ELSE could I have gotten this far. It is so easy for people to say that when they aren't going through the agony, the fear, and brutal treatments with all the lovely side effects. I think it is okay for us to admit that we are having a bad day. Or are in a funk... Perhaps it is because people not going through this just don't know what to say.

Thanks for listening to my rambling thoughts...

Miss Kim

margotmagoo
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2006 11:10 am
Location: California

Postby margotmagoo » Fri Jan 05, 2007 12:31 am

Maybe it is the time of year....I have been hanging on a thread lately and have had a few temper tantrums. I have been positive all along and sometimes it is just too much work. I have received nothing but praise for my grace and strength but behind closed doors I sometimes fall apart. I think another big part of the emotional swings is due to hormonal changes. Chemo can mess with that big time and possibly put you into early menopause. I am signed up for a Living Strong Living Well strength/fitness excercise program designed especially for people undergoing cancer treatments or recovering from recent treatments. It is a free 12 week program offered through the YMCA. Maybe there is something similar in your area? Excercise can really help fight the blues.

You have been a fighter for a long time and that can really wear on you. I'm sending you good vibes and positive energy to help shake off the blues!

Margot
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take....but rather by the number of moments that take our breath away"
Diagnosed January 2006 with stage IIIc at age 40.

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pjpeace
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Postby pjpeace » Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:12 am

Lifes2short,

My heart goes out to you! I think a support group would be good for you. Exercise is good too but sounds like you really need some extra support. The best thing for me is talking to survivors who know what you are going through. It's hard for even my closest friends who don't have cancer to phatom what we're going through.

Definelty stay busy...do things you like to do...and let me tell you bath fizzies can take away all kinds of gloom! Try finding the humor where ever you go...I'm kinda the ring leader at chemo sometimes...last time I was there we were threatening IV pole racing and a conga line. Really trying to get kicked out of the cancer center for laughing too much ; ) I know it's hard sometimes though. No one likes chemo but we gotta kill those nasty cancer cells. Like I told my brother who was against chemo...cancer's not whoosy stuff and it takes powerful stuff to get rid of it. And just think only 3 more to go! Congratulate yourself for coming so far already. You've come so far already! I've got 2 more to go then hopefullly surgery. Just try and take each day of treatment one day at a time. i hate that old cliche but try just to focus on the now. Sometimes i know it just gets overwhelming thinking about your whole treatment at once. You're going to get through this!

Best wishes to you all!
Paula
"When you've been abandoned in the desert and the vultures are circling and squawking at you...raise you fist at them and yell "I'M NOT DEAD YET!!!"
Stage IV @ 30 yrs. 6/06 Ms. April 2008
Recurrence to pancreas 2/09 & 6/10

Kery Nelson

Postby Kery Nelson » Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:07 am

Miss Kim-

I would also agree that staying busy is key, and I think the time of year has something to do with your emotions.
I would also encourage you to pray daily, if you are not already doing that. I gain so much strength by asking the Lord to guide each day and make me be a positive, encouraging example to others. And it WORKS!
God Bless you, Miss Kim. Hang in there!

Kerry

margotmagoo
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2006 11:10 am
Location: California

Postby margotmagoo » Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:25 am

I agree with pjpeace in that humor is key. I used to call treatment my pole dancing lessons and requested that visitors bring dollar bills. The blues will find their way back into our lives unexpectedly, we just need to be armed with ways to chase them away. You have kids the same age as mine. My kids are 12 and 9 and I visualize myself at special occassions such as graduations and weddings....what kind of grandma I would be...Yikes! What will I be wearing, what color will my new sports car be....
I fnd that time with the right friends also helps a lot. They bring me up.....if that is what I want. Sometimes its nice to express your worries without cheerleaders forming pyramids and spelling out P-O-S-I-T-I-V-E! And if all else fails....Play some funky music and dance!
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take....but rather by the number of moments that take our breath away"

Diagnosed January 2006 with stage IIIc at age 40.

Ron50
Posts: 695
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:04 pm

Postby Ron50 » Fri Jan 05, 2007 5:22 pm

There was a special on TV in Australia a couple of years ago called surviving survival. The quote that sticks in my mind is"Despite what you would imagine ,people who have survived cancer are amongst the most unhappy and depressed in the community often becomming alienated from friends and family and in a lot of cases unwilling to take risks of any sort." The final analysis was that the medical profession needs to take a long hard look at the way it treats cancer survivors and in particular that they should be doing more for the mental state of survivors particularly after the medical side of cancer was resolved.
I was at my doctors last week, he started asking me a series of questions on some sort of questionaire. When he was fi
nished I asked what it was about. He said that my answers to the questions indicated that I was well passed the point of major depression and he gave me a referral to a shrink. We all have a lot of crap that happens to us in our lives and it is hard to deal with for normal? healthy ? people ,cancer adds another dimension and acts as a catylyst for the other problems. What I do know is that we do need to get help,professional help, to get thru it. I have survived cancer for nine years the question is how much longer can I survive life.
Ron.

Lifes2short
Posts: 549
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2006 10:54 pm
Location: Salt Lake City, UT

Postby Lifes2short » Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:28 am

PJPeace and others, thanks for the concern and kind words. Means a lot. Feeling a bit better this evening after getting out to ski in the fresh snow and sunshine today.

Thanks!

margotmagoo
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2006 11:10 am
Location: California

Postby margotmagoo » Sat Jan 06, 2007 9:48 pm

Lifes2short -- you found the energy to ski? You go girl!

Ron50 -- What you said was interesting. I will be meeting with a psychologist soon as a mandatory appt. before my tumor is sent in for genetic testing. I am curious to learn what my true state of mind is.
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take....but rather by the number of moments that take our breath away"

Diagnosed January 2006 with stage IIIc at age 40.

MissKim
Posts: 162
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2006 3:06 pm
Location: Idaho Falls, ID

Postby MissKim » Sun Jan 07, 2007 12:02 am

Thanks everyone for the great feedback -- I really appreciate it. For me keeping busy is key. Today we had 18 for dinner for my daughter's 6th birthday. We prepared a feast and had a great time. God bless all of you!

Sincerely,
Miss Kim

Bryan S
Posts: 82
Joined: Fri Jul 21, 2006 6:44 pm
Location: Florissant, MO

Postby Bryan S » Sun Jan 07, 2007 1:39 pm

Draw strength form your family and freinds they can be a potent antidepressant. You have a right to be depressed, being told you have cancer and getting treated for it is not the happiest thing in the world. Also many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder ( SAD ) due to the sortness of the day. Now if you want to feel better consider getting out in the sunlight a little more then think about seeing a Dr, there is no harm in getting a little outside help. Medications like Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft all help with depression and are available as generics for that low co-pay.

sevenyear
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Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:59 pm
Location: Northern Virginia

blues

Postby sevenyear » Mon Jan 08, 2007 1:33 pm

Being physically active and also new girl friends worked for me at first (although both are almost impossible while actively doing chemo-take advantage of the between chemo time). During the first five years I continued my active life of skiing, traveling, whitewater, and team sports in-between operations and scheduled chemo regimens. The last two years chemo has ruled my life and I truely question whether a Dr. Kevorkian might be a better way. How do other single (divorced) people who are still young enough to think about something besides kids and grandkids handle it ?

rthornton
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Location: Atlanta, GA
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Re: blues

Postby rthornton » Mon Jan 08, 2007 3:49 pm

sevenyear wrote:How do other single (divorced) people who are still young enough to think about something besides kids and grandkids handle it ?



I was single when diagnosed, and I still am. I had recently become convinced that there are zero single women in my city of about 5 million people, but chemo was keeping me homebound so often that I guess it only seemed that way. A female friend (who didn't count as a single women because she was in the "friend zone" already) found a boyfriend through an online dating ad, and it worked out well for her. With this in mind, I made my own online dating ad, several months ago, that said something like "Unemployed Stage IV colon cancer patient seeks female. Age, race, weight, religion, skin condition, criminal history do not matter, but must reply within 20 months as stage IV colon cancer patients don't exactly have all the time in the world. Also, must enjoy long conversations about anal fissures." I don't remember *exactly* what the ad said but it was something like this. It was more for my own amusement than in anticipation of any real results, but ... someone actually replied to it, confirming the assertions of many of my already-attached friends that there really are single women in the Atlanta area, or at least one. I met this girl a couple of times in person. Let's just say that we are both still single, the experiment was a disaster, and I have no clue how to answer your question!

Rodney


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