September 3, 2013

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired!

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired from cancer treatment. Even though I have three cycles of chemo to go, I've been feeling depressed. I know it's three chemo weeks of hell where I will be lucky to get out of bed. The cumulative effect sucks. It is harder and harder to get in that fighting mental state when you feel like you've been dragged behind a horse through the desert and you see no end in sight because of all the physical and mental trauma you've just been dragged through. 

I think depression is normal for any stage or type of cancer, how could it not? Most, not all, never see cancer coming. They are just going about living their lives with friends and family, enjoying activities, vacations, eating out, movies, and maybe working out … the list is long and varied. Then you get the call from the doctor, "You have cancer." Even after that call, you have no clue how much our life will turn upside down. The list of activities above are pretty much gone, thanks to chemo. Sure you can do some of them here and there, but they all come with a risk when you're going through chemo. I'll say it again, going from 100 MPH to zero MPH is enough to depress anyone. The imagine staying at zero for six months or more. Made you depressed just thinking of it, didn't I? 
Went from living life to the fullest at 100 MPH to zero and that is hard to manage 
without getting sad from time to time. (click on image to enlarge)
I did a little (and I mean VERY LITTLE) research online and the stuff I've seen is a joke. The majority of depression symptoms are also symptoms of CHEMO! Mind you, these are purely MY thoughts and opinions below. However, depression should be taken seriously if you believe you have it. I had postpartum depression after the birth of my third child and it was HELL. Once I thought I was good and started to go off my meds, my mother passed away, hence I stayed on my meds a while longer. So I am saying don't take some of my glib responses in purple too seriously if you REALLY DO believe you suffer from depression. Go to a doc and get it checked out regardless!

Major depression has specific symptoms that last longer than two weeks.  It's normal to feel sad after learning you have cancer, but a diagnose of depression depends on more than being unhappy. Symptoms of depression include the following:
  • Feeling sad most of the time. Well DUH! Who wouldn't be sad learning they have cancer! And again, going from 100 MPH to zero is sad. And thanks to social media you get to see all your family and friends out and about, enjoying life without you. I think you'd be sad too. 
  • Loss of pleasure and interest in activities you used to enjoy.  yep, true that … maybe it's because chemo is so restrictive and you're so damn tired most days when you can do "activities". 
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits. Hmmm, sure have changes, again due to CHEMO. I can't eat certain foods and some days are to nauseous to want food. But the damn steroids bulk me up regardless AND I can't sleep. The last thing I want to do is put more meds inside me. 
  • Nervousness.  Who wouldn't be going through chemo? The doctors can't and won't give you a definitive that cancer will be gone when you're done with chemo. They can quote stats and that is about it. So we basically we go through chemo on a wing and a prayer, hoping the chemo gods shine down upon us and grant our wish, giving us decades of life cancer free. Instead we wait for that next colonoscopy to determine if we're healthy … at least for the time being. 
  • Slow physical and mental responses. Ironically that is a daily state for most chemo patients. You're whipped from treatment and you have chemo brain!
  • Unexplained tiredness. Oh, I can explain it. See my last response above ^ same deal.
  • Feeling worthless. When you lose your ability to live life "normally", of course you're going to feel worthless! But don't - you need to just be SELF-focused and HEAL! There is no place for pride when going through chemo. You TAKE help whenever you can… and take it if you're fortunate enough to get it, damn it!  You also have to "learn" to ASK for help. This is a hard one for an independent and stubborn gal like me. But you need to, otherwise you're not going to have time to focus on YOU. 
  • Feeling guilt for no reason.  Goes with the territory, don't you think? And for chemo patients I would think the believe it's not for 'no reason'. We all have thoughts like, "could I have prevented this?" 
  • Not being able to pay attention.  Go up four responses. Chemo brain! duh
  • Frequent thoughts of death or suicide.  I have to say death has crossed my mind A LOT. But if you have cancer it's natural. Self inflicted death or suicide? Not here, but I would imagine that those with a terminal diagnosis would consider that versus death by cancer. It's clearly personal and depends on the individual. 
So the ebb and flow of sadness will just have to be worked through. I'll try to meditate it off. Or make a batch of brownies and eat it away ... normally I would turn to Ben & Jerry's at a time like this, but some chemo drugs prevent you from eating or touching anything cold and I'm lucky enough to be on that drug.... ugh. Maybe a few easy yoga stretches. Or ART! 
I find that the addition of dark chocolate M&M's and dark chocolate chips help!

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