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Its over, & I'm not coping well.

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  • Its over, & I'm not coping well.

    I don't understand what is happening to me. Rob is back to work, life is somewhat "normal," I use that term loosely, and I should be very happy. But I'm not. On the mornings my daughter has school I have to peel myself out of bed, but I'm fine and functioning the rest of the day. Days like today, with no school, I can barely get out of bed sometimes. It's almost nine at night and I never got dressed today. I wake up planning to do things, but I don't do them. I mean, my house is clean, I cook dinner, play with my daughter, etc., but I don't want to do those things, either. This happens to me about two or three days a week.

    I was having sporadic panic attacks when Rob was in the hospital, but they've gone away. And in their place, I feel pretty much nothing but indifference to everything. As, I suppose, I delayed reaction to the stress of everything, my skin broke out, my hair starting falling out, (my friend was killed in a motorcycle accident as well) and a sinus infection and upper respiratory infection knocked me out for almost two weeks, which has never happened with an illness before.

    I hate to complain but I don't know even who to talk to. I'm even finding my relationship with Rob slightly strained - he's handed over to me the few responsibilities he's had in the house, for no apparent reason, and he seems to act like he never had cancer.

    I don't know what's wrong with me. I tell myself that others here and literally everywhere have it so much worse than I do, endure so much more than we've endured with our battle, and cope rather well. I feel embarassed to have this feeling that I can't control.
    Rob and Stacy
    DX: 3/10/05, AFP: 15,047, L I/O: 3/28/05, Yolk sac tumor & teratoma, Stage IIIC, 3xBEP & 1xEP: 4/4/07 - 6/25/07, AFP: 14, RPLND 8/10/07, w. left kidney removed. 10/19/07, AFP: 1.9

  • #2
    I'm so sorry, Stacy. Cancer can hit really hard. In addition to these forums, is there a caregivers support group near you? LIVESTRONG SurvivorCare may be able to recommend local resources.
    Scott, [email protected]
    right inguinal orchiectomy 6/5/2003 > nonseminoma, stage I > surveillance > L-RPLND 6/24/2005 for recurrence, suspected teratoma but found seminoma, stage II > chylous ascites until 9/2005 > surveillance and "all clear" since

    Your donation funds Livestrong services for people facing cancer now. Please sponsor my ride!


    • #3
      It took my wife and I two years before we began to feel better. I guess our advantage was that we had each other to lean on whle our son acted as if nothing had ever happened. To this day my wife talks about seeing a professional to discuss her emotional scars. You may also want to think about jsut finding someone to talk to and it shouldn't be your husband, it may not be evident to you but he is also trying to find ways to cope. This really is one of those Mars Venus things.
      Son Jason diagnosed 4/30/04, stage III. Right I/O 4/30/04. Graduated College 5/13/04. 4XEP 6/7/04 - 8/13/04. Full open RPLND 10/13/04. All Clear since.

      Treated by Dr. Rakowski of Midland Park, NJ. Visited Sloan Kettering for protocol advice. RPLND done at Sloan Kettering.


      • #4
        I felt most helpless and most anxious AFTER Ray finished RT. It was like as long as I was learning and he was being aggressive in treatment I felt like we were fighting. It's like after the stress and anxiety wear off you almost have to redefine your life. You are coming to grips and Rob has moved past it....have you told him you need his help and support at this time? You may have a tad of post traumatic stress/depression and talking to someone may help. Please know we are here for you. This was a life altering event...don't be too hard on yourself if it takes some time to adjust.
        Retired moderator. Husband, left I/O 16Dec2005, stage I seminoma with elevated b-HCG, no LVI, RTx15 (25Gy). All clear ever since.


        • #5

          It does sound a bit like post-traumatic stress disorder. If you think you need to talk to someone, please don't put it off. Emotional/psychological trauma is just a real as physical trauma.

          You've reached the point where life is expected to go back to "normal", but for cancer patients and caregivers, I don't think things are ever the same - "you can't put the genie back into the bottle". But most folks can create a new sense of normality.

          I agree it's rough and it can take time - so don't put too much pressure on yourself to bounce right back. Be good to yourself.
          Right I/O 4/22/1988
          RPLND 6/20/1988
          Left I/O 9/17/2003

          Tho' much is taken, much abides; and though we are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are; one equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will; to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.


          • #6
            Your words speak to a place that is very familiar to me. No matter how hard I tried, I could not will my thoughts into a different place. Time helps. If I could suggest...relax into what is happening....I believe it is the balance, the rest that is needed from the stress. It will change. You are normal, the situation is abnormal. take care, Sharon
            Click here to support my LIVESTRONG Challenge with Team LOVEstrong.


            • #7
              Dearest, dearest Stacy: I'm so very sorry to see you cross this difficult bridge. But you have to continue to take one step after another and another, and I know that in no time you'll realize that you've made it to the other side. Don't beat yourself up over the lack of enthusiasm or energy or gumption...your batteries need to re-charge after everything you've been through. I remember when I first came on board here (we were newbies together) and fessed up that the garage was my crying place...I still end up there a lot in the grief over my dad, but as of late the only tears I shed for Andy are tears of gratitude and SHEER JOY at the fact that he is well. Rob is back to work...he is well and there is much comfort in that.

              My personal take on this: Our husbands have been forced to expose such a vulnerable and weak side of them with their testicular cancer. This is so painful for them from such an emotional standpoint that gaining any sense of the way things were before diagnosis (be it work or workouts) is like reaching the finish turning back. It hurts too much for them to look back on it. They want everything "back to normal" and it's how some people choose to cope. I envy that actually.

              It's been quite a race you've both been running, and sometimes it's hard for people (and yes, even our guys) to realize how much weight we carry on our shoulders during that race. I know that you have been channeling so much energy to asking the docs all the right questions, preparing for Rob's surgery and care, making sure your little girl is okay...along with paying the bills, running the household, answering questions from family and friends - having a hard time remembering who you've already given all the details to. It's hard Stacy...anyone who says differently is selling something (sorry for The Princess Bride favorite movie). So don't be afraid to seek some help if you feel the need, and treat yourself to something good. A hot fudge sundae and a wee bit of shopping by myself! Made me feel great! Be well dear friend.
              *Hubby Andy diagnosed 02/13/07, Left IO 02/16/07 *Stage 1A Non-Seminoma (65% Immature Teratoma / 35% Embryonal Carcinoma) *RPLND 04/27/07 Lymph Nodes-ALL CLEAR
              *Complications from Chylous Ascites so Laparotomy 05/03/07 *No food for 10 weeks, TPN only *07/18/07 Removed drains, tubes, picc line *CT Scan 07/31/07-ALL CLEAR
              *CT Scan 02/12/08-ALL CLEAR *Hydrocele surgery 06/19/08 *CT Scan 9/30/08 and 03/06/09 shows <cm left lung nodule - under surveillance


              • #8

                A cancer diagnosis, changes everything in your life around, whether it's yourself, or a loved one, as you know.

                You wake up one day and everything that was the norm is suddenly changed to a frightening, whirlwind of doctors, hospitals, medical tests, surgeries, chemo and/or radiation treatments, with a constant fear for what is going to happen to your loved one.

                You know that you can take nothing for granted, because you know just how quickly that can all be taken away.

                I think it just takes some time to start feeling "normal" again, or as normal as possible. I'm still not there either.

                Anthony is the same way; he acts like nothing ever happened, but I thought it was just because he is so young. Who knows though, what is really going on in their thoughts, and hearts. But really do hope he feels just that good.

                I am doing ok, but have not started reliving my life, doing things that were the norm for me, and, thoughts of "will it come back" are always there like a dark evil cloud that hovers overhead, daring me to feel good, or try to live life.

                Sometimes I realize that those fears are holding me back, and I have to push myself. I have to remind myself that I can't allow this to happen, because it's not good for me, or Anthony, though I hide all of it from Anthony.

                It still happens though, no matter how much I tell myself that.
                We just have to keep pushing back until we win.

                I did start my classes again, though they seem more of a chore to get through now.
                It's very hard to focus long enough to read a book chapter, because I am constantly distracted by other thoughts.
                But I have to do it. I think that is the only way to deal with what has happened.

                Your feelings are normal Stacy (Big Hug)

                It's amazing how quickly everything in your life can be turned upside down.. it's going to take some time. It is good that you recognize what is happening though. When you know what you're dealing with, you have the power to turn it around. But that isn't necessarily going to happen overnight.

                I guess I should ask dadmo, or others that have been through this for a longer period of time.. do you ever feel "safe" again?

                Hang in there Stacy .. Keep talking about it, and try to get back into some kind of routine. Maybe get up every morning (yes I know you will have to peel yourself from the bed) and go for a long walk to start. Nothing like a good walk in the fresh air, to make you feel in touch with life again. Not a cureall no, but it's a start.

                Please let us know how you are doing-


                Son Anthony DX 12/11/06
                L/O 12/20/06 Stage IIIA, 95% EC, 5% Yolk Sac
                4XEP 1/29-4/6/ 07
                AFP started increasing3 wks later
                Residual abdominal mass found on CT
                RPLND 6/8/07
                Cancer in pathology-
                80% mature teratoma, 20% Yolk Sac. --
                No adjuvent chemo and
                AFP normalised

                July 22, 2010 ---- 3 years all clear!


                • #9
                  Hi Stacy,
                  I'm sorry to hear that you are having a tough time adjusting to life after cancer. Everyone deals with things differently and you should not compare yourself to others. What you are experiencing is not abnormal. Many have experienced some of the same feelings as you and have had to deal with them in their own way. If you think you may need help then seek it out. It is the same advice we give those that come here wondering if they have TC. If you need to vent or cry we are all here as well.

                  If you look for the truth outside yourself, it gets farther and farther away. ~ Tung-Shan
                  If you love life, don't waste time, for time is what life is made up of. ~ Bruce Lee
                  Please sponsor me for the 2011 LiveSTRONG Challenge Philadelphia.
                  My Blog

                  Diagonosed 1988. Left I/O - 3 rounds of chemo
                  Relasped 1989. RPLND - 3 rounds HDC - Bone Marrow transplant.
                  There is Army Strong, There is Live Strong and then there is me. Crazy Strong


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mstlyn
                    I guess I should ask dadmo, or others that have been through this for a longer period of time.. do you ever feel "safe" again?
                    Yes you do. Its like any wound, they all heal in time. Not to say that you will forget all about cancer but you get to a point where you rarely think about it. Cancer is part of me. It has helped to shape me into the person I am and I will never forget that I had it. But I live my life with no fear of it returning. Not because it can't happen again but I had it and I beat it and I no longer fear it. Someone once said "Whatever doesn't kill me.... makes me stronger".
                    If you look for the truth outside yourself, it gets farther and farther away. ~ Tung-Shan
                    If you love life, don't waste time, for time is what life is made up of. ~ Bruce Lee
                    Please sponsor me for the 2011 LiveSTRONG Challenge Philadelphia.
                    My Blog

                    Diagonosed 1988. Left I/O - 3 rounds of chemo
                    Relasped 1989. RPLND - 3 rounds HDC - Bone Marrow transplant.
                    There is Army Strong, There is Live Strong and then there is me. Crazy Strong


                    • #11
                      Stacy...boy do I know where you are coming from. In fact, your post rang SO true to me that I went back and found a post that I posted when we finished treatment, I will post it below. Please call me anytime, I will be more than happy to help support you during this difficult time 919-215-9464

                      I hope that it is okay that a caregiver needs some support. Lord knows that the brave souls that are here fighting this terrible illness have to go through so much more than anyone else but as a caregiver, I find myself struggling at times. Hope this is not too long.

                      The funny thing is that learning to live “with” cancer was almost easier than learning to live “with out” cancer. When my husband got diagnosed, we were so focused on him and fighting this thing. I went to all the Doctor’s appointments, took him to chemotherapy, sat in the hospital for surgeries and traveled to Sloan Kettering for his RPLND. Not easy for a southern girl to be alone for her first trip to New York City. But I was on a mission and nothing was going to stand in the way of helping him get better.

                      Now we are blessed with the news that he is in remission…and I am thrilled and relieved but the adrenaline is pouring out of my body as fast as it entered. Some mornings I still feel like I should be heading to the cancer center. I miss their support and love and I also feel a sense of loss that I do not get to see the other patients. I felt a sense of purpose and now I feel a bit out of place. He seems like he is getting stronger everyday and moving on, back into his normal routine. I know things ‘should’ go back to normal but I feel changed in many positive ways by cancer and I don’t think things will ever go back to the way they used to be for me.
                      Just because we got our blessing does not mean I can turn off my worry and care for those still waiting for their cure. Maybe that is why I am on this forum; I have no one to take care of anymore. I felt so unmotivated and down after we got back from SK because I did not know what to do with the free time I have now that I have no one to care for. Is there anyone that can relate?

                      I hope no one is angry at me for feeling moments like this of selfishness while all of you are working so hard to get better.

                      thread is here
                      Co-survivor with husband Boyce, Diagnosed 7-11-06, orchiectomy right testicle on 7-12-06- Stage 3A: Mixed germ cell tumor with inguinal seminomatous and kartotypic carcinoma. One tumor over 10 cm, second tumor 4 cm, Chemo 4xBEP: Bi-lateral RPLND Dec 2006, nerve sparing but left sterile.
                      Current DVT
                      Current testosterone replacement therapy, Testim.

                      "You must abandon the life you planned, to live the life that was meant for you" ~wisdom I have learned from my family on this forum


                      • #12
                        Stacy, while reading your post I thought, "Oh boy, she crashed." Believe me, it happens and that is why it is so important that the caregiver get support and try to keep a life outside of cancer. We (meaning the caregiver) are so consumed for so long and then when it is over we have such expectations and when those expectations are not met, it hurts. Maria cried in her garage, I used to turn the fan on it the bathroom and let that loud noise drown out my sobs. Unfortunately, now that your husband doesn't need you (or you think he doesn't need you but he really does!) your daughter does. It sounds like you might benefit from some professional help to bounce back. Dianne
                        Spouse: I/O 8/80; embryonal, seminoma, teratoma; RPLND 9/80 - no reoccurrence - HRT 8/80; bladder cancer 11/97; reoccurrence: 4X
                        Son: I/O 11/04; embryonal, teratoma; VI; 3XBEP; relapse 5/08; RPLND 6/18/08 - path: mature teratoma


                        • #13
                          My dear Stacy,
                          I wish I could just give you a big hug and then we could have a good cry out. I can't say anything that everyone here hasn't already said. Give yourself time. You sound totally exhausted physically and emotionally. And you have every right to vent, and never feel bad about doing so. Come here to vent, or if you can speak with someone, that would be great. At the Harold Leever Cancer Center (directly across the street from my house, don't figure) they have monthly gatherings for caregivers. We eat, drink, laugh and cry. There is some odd comfort in knowing that others have gone through or are going through similar situations. And it gets you out for a bit. Better days are coming.
                          Brother Diag. 10/05 Non-Sem.
                          Right I/O 11/05
                          4XBEP 8/06
                          RPLND 12/06
                          2X VIP 1/22/07
                          Only completed 1 Rd.


                          • #14
                            This once again reiterates the impact this disease has on caregivers and the life-changnig nature of this disease.

                            You caregivers are all really exceptional people!!

                            I don't know how to tell you to feel better, Stacy, but please take some comfort knowing that your caregiving made a real diference for your guy. Nobody else in the world could have given him what you did.

                            Take a deep breath. Bask in the wonderment of all of this. And let time lead you wherever it will. But also, talk to someone about this. You are not and never will be alone...certainly not with all of us here to care for the caregivers.
                            Stage III Non-Seminoma- 7/11/06
                            Right I/O 7/12/06
                            Completed 4x BEP 11/06
                            Bi-Lateral RPLND (Dr. Shenifeld)- 11/27/06
                            Surveillance since then

                            When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or Fight Like Hell.
                            Lance Armstrong.


                            • #15
                              certainly not with all of us here to care for the caregivers
                              In this case "Paybacks are a Gift" (for us that is). Lean at will. Lots of shoulders here.
                              I Love My Pack!