+ Reply
Log in or Register to participate in these discussions
How do you cope with depression after the chemo is finished and you are waiting for breast reconstruction.
This is my second time around and I am cancer free. I feel like I’m in a holding area. I know I would face this and even though I have faith and believe in God I still can’t get myself out of this rut. I want to get up early and exercise and do all the errands to make me feel fulfilled. However because I don’t have a set schedule I fail. I am dismayed and I’m going to go see someone to help me through this but if anyone has any ideas please let me know.

what makes this hard is that I know I am blessed. I have survived cancer twice now. But I feel disfigured and also that I have lost time and that joy I have that I want to share with others is diminished.
7 Replies
2007 Posts

Depression is a common factor many of us deal with before, during and after cancer. It can strike anytime, so good for your realization and seeking assistance here and as you say seeing someone to help you through this.

A holding pattern - as you said is a really good description of what I am in. Thanks for expressing this - it makes so much sense to us and others that aren't in this situation. Having lost time is also something many of us feel as well, and the multiple surgeries I've had have changed my appearance and abilities - but we are alive and have to move forward as best we can. Have you considered any group therapy for cancer survivors? This site is a good place to start - and you will feel a lot less alone with issues because they are quite common. I know myself once I got some sense of no being the only one going through issues, it took some of that weight off of my shoulders. It will for you as well. FYI, I have had cancer and a recurrence, so we have this in "second time around" in common as well.

As to your issue with not having a set schedule - time to make one. The exercise, errands, and everything else you want to put help you feel fulfilled is as simple as drawing up your own schedule. I had to retire due to my cancer, and I have struggled to find that schedule that keeps us on track and having purpose. I've done many things, and with covid adding to the issues I've made some revisions to my schedule. I get up, walk the dogs, feed them and me - get a coffee ready for my wife, drive her to work, if I have shopping to do - I do it first thing. This sets me up for an early morning and getting the day underway. Then I do the housework, think about dinner, get my wife from work and all the other things on between.

So, simple stuff for you - write up a schedule - get up at a certain time and start your day with breakfast, a walk, exercise and all else to get you back into the swing of things. It may take some time, but keep on moving and you will get your own pattern going.

Two publications from the Canadian Cancer Society I found very helpful are: Coping When You Have Cancer and Life After Cancer Treatment. Add these to the tool chest we all need to use at times.

Keep well, and keep posting.

Thank you so much for not only understanding what I had to say buy also taking the time to outline what to do to make my life fulfilling.

I will utilize the schedule and the Links you provided. I am so uplifted to hear how you met this challenge. God bless and I appreciate your response more than you could ever know.
2007 Posts
Hi Yoursrtrulyasurvivor

I am glad my post helped you. I think all we need sometimes is to be understood and hear from someone that has been there to help point us in the direction needed.

Keep moving forward at your pace and kep in touch on the site.

Keep well and keep safe.

5 Posts
The only answer I can give is that some days are better than others, physically and mentally. There are days when I feel useless and irrelevant. I can't go to work. Half the time I can't even go outside. Most of my friends started ignoring me long before the diagnoses when I just had symptoms and felt tired, sad and sick without knowing why. They thought I was whining. Even my family stopped calling after a whole because I kept saying I was too tired to talk and it sounded like an excuse.

Sometimes that even makes me happy because I'm just too exhausted to try. The feeling of being in a holding pattern is so real.

Most days I focus on the positives that came from this. I've learned a lot of new skills like knitting when I couldn't get out of bed. I've seen more movies than anyone. I started a clothing business from home making hand painted and embroidered clothes.

Today is a bad day. I'm feeling exhausted from typing. But yesterday was a good day where we biked all the way to the beach.

It's a good time to try stuff you always wanted to do. And not worry about looks too much. I was never pretty so I don't miss it. But a loss can be a gain too.
Thank you for listening to me. I understand wanting to be strong, showing strength but really feeling vulnerable.
I’m sorry your family didn’t understand how much you needed them. I realize being my second time around to accept help even when I didn’t need it. It makes others feel valued. It also makes you accepting of love. That is not easy.
I love hearing how you learned to knit and started you own business. Your story made me realize more and more that I am depressed. I need to feel motivated. I realize that I need to imagine myself better than ever. To possibly have an image of myself cancer free.
it’s the waiting to go back to work and wondering if the reconstruction will be successful. I read and listened to people who struggled with depression. It helps to listen to others who have conquered or have ideas to overcome. Thank you as you’re so correct. A loss can be a great gain. I know this but have to yet overcome and be victorious.
2052 Posts
Yoursrtrulyasurvivor‍ Your post is so powerful! I read strength, courage by your admission of your vulnerability. Talking, sharing about our mental health can sometimes be more difficult than talking about our cancer!

You are not alone with these feelings. That being said, there can also be relief . Most cancer centres, doctors offices and /or community have mental health support. Sometimes having someone else to process these feelings can really help, sometimes it can also be medication. Your doctor can really help in this regard.

I struggled with anxiety . I tried hard to manage, thinking i “shouldn’t “ feel this way. My first learning opportunity - no more “ should have, could have”....lol... It just is - and i wanted relief.

Sometimes the emotional journey is also part of side effects of treatment - our bodies have gone through so much.

The other responses also offered some great ideas. You are not alone, we are here.

I hope today is a better day. Please let us know how you are doing. Kim

PS - there are some good resources online as well:

Thank you Kim,
I am still struggling to find my way but it really helps to know that there’s so many ways I can help myself. Thank you for speaking about our struggles as well and making me feel valid.

It’s funny cancer really makes you question everything. However I think once you realize that you don’t need to question and to just get up and go is half the battle.
Also learning to accept that your body is healing. That it needs rest and you have to allow yourself to be loved, to heal, to give yourself time and to be at peace.

I’m still trying to learn this. But your support means so much. God bless

+ Reply