Topic: PTSD and cancer

Forum: Mental Health: Because Cancer Doesn't Just Affect Your Breasts — Meet and support others who are affected by these issues around anxiety, depression & other emotional effects.

Posted on: Apr 20, 2021 02:31AM - edited Apr 20, 2021 02:33AM by phoenixrose8

Posted on: Apr 20, 2021 02:31AM - edited Apr 20, 2021 02:33AM by phoenixrose8

phoenixrose8 wrote:

https://www.breastcancer.org/community/podcasts/ptsd-20181220

I have read this transcript and it was simply amazing. I have developed PTSD type symptoms during cancer treatment and on top of other mental health issues. I have a psychiatrist to handle my physical symptoms but I'm finding it hard to find a therapist that I can afford that deals specifically with cancer in general. I wish I had an oncology psychiatrist earlier on. I stopped going to my regular therapy sessions after my diagnosis because they specialized in anxiety, but I'm not sure if they handle PTSD. Otherwise, they are wonderful.

Please help me find a way to bridge quality, affordable, and accessible mental healthcare for cancer patients.

So many of us are suffering, especially now. We deserve good mental healthcare.

Dx IDC, Right, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Right); Lymph node removal Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Breast, Lymph nodes Chemotherapy Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Nov 11, 2021 01:04PM phoenixrose8 wrote:

Hi AlwaysmeC,


Thank you so much for sharing and please, please know that you are NOT alone. I know EXACTLY how you feel.

In a nutshell, my breast cancer was only caught when it spread to my collarbone lymph node. I literally had a women's check up a few months before and they couldn't feel anything, it could only be seen by mammogram but I am under 40, so, there ya go. Boom. Cancer. My blood work was even clean before. Anyways, the chemo portion of the treatment was literally hell on earth. I had almost every symptom in the book, including throwing up 5-7 times a day (unfortunately, not an exaggeration). After chemo was done, I was still throwing up everyday and my doctors gave me two brain scans that came back clean. My psychiatrist immediately said it's psychological. And it was. PTSD.

I wanted to go into detail with my experience because I want people to know that mental illness is very real and debilitating, especially when going through treatment. You have no idea how many people suffer quietly and those around don't understand. They think “well you're done so why are you still acting this way". I too, cry when I think about the chemo. People don't understand that the flashbacks, the anxiety, and not to mention the physical symptoms that come with recovery. I know how horrible it is, and i can't even imagine having to go through another round of it. But listen to me, I am a huge believer in inner strength. I like to think of it like a Phoenix (sorry, I'm corny and a bit of a nerd). The Phoenix literally burns to ashes and rises up again, stronger and in touch with what really matters. You are Phoenix. You will be ok, I promise. You will be ok.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help. I have a lot of articles and books I could suggest to help.


Dx IDC, Right, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Right); Lymph node removal Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Breast, Lymph nodes Chemotherapy Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Nov 12, 2021 01:09AM alwaysmec wrote:

Pheonixrose, I just turned a few days from 42 when I was diagnosed. I was finally getting to a place where I felt comfortable and somewhat in control of my life when the unexpected happened. Thank you again for offering your support and updating the thread with information. I really do hope that we all can rise from the ashes. And I really do think that a diagnosis like this changes people. We have no choice but to keep going through treatment if we want to move forward. It's like I have no choice but to be a different me to get through it. The problem is and was that I don't know what kind of me I am supposed to be, and I'm scared because I have been incapable of telling myself I will be okay physically and mentally because I can't even figure out who I am anymore. But I keep trying to get to that mental state. It's my goal lately to be mentally better so I can support my treatment process and support my body with a healthy mind. I know if I didn't have other people such as those in this forum, or the support group I am in, that I would have broken down even worse.

Chemotherapy 4/29/2021 Other Targeted Therapy 4/29/2021 Kanjinti Targeted Therapy 4/29/2021 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy 9/2/2021 translation missing: en.treatments.targeted_therapy.targeted_therapy_medicine.short_options.phesgo Targeted Therapy 9/20/2021 Herceptin (hylecta) Surgery 9/23/2021 Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph node removal (Left): Sentinel Chemotherapy 11/12/2021 Other Targeted Therapy 5/3/2022 translation missing: en.treatments.targeted_therapy.targeted_therapy_medicine.short_options.phesgo Dx IDC/DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+, ISH, IHC
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Nov 12, 2021 12:45PM phoenixrose8 wrote:

Hi AlwaysmeC,

It is absolutely normal to feel this way. Our minds have been caught up in a whirlwind of who we are and what we can and can't do, feelings of hopelessness, etc. I know that if I was told that I need to go through chemo again, I would be devastated, but, hopeful and having a deep belief that my body, especially having already gone through chemo, will know how to handle it better the second time around. I know you feel lost and you are not sure what type of your self you should be, but I promise you, that person who you need to be is already here. It's the same person who got you through the first round, and it will get you through this one.

Now, of course I'm not a psychologist, but I know that having one during this process will be very helpful. He/She can attack each feeling and thought as you go through the treatment and will help you tremendously. I wish I had one but they simply didn't have that. It is a lot harder than you think to get an oncologist psychiatrist. He/She will help you. Even just a little. If not, find another one, and then another one until you find someone you are comfortable with. Don't be afraid to tell them that you are not a good fit. You deserve the best care for your mind as well as your body.

I know these negative thoughts about how you will react are strong right now, but remember, they are only thoughts. Thoughts can't hurt you. A good exercise is imagine a river with leaves floating on it. Each leaf you can put down a negative thought or feeling and then just watch them float away with no judgment or emotion. Also you can try deep breathing exercises. There is a lot of stuff out there but I don't want to impede anything you are working on with your psychiatrist.

And finally, I'll always be here to talk.


It will be alright. Just keep that in your mind.

Dx IDC, Right, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Right); Lymph node removal Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Breast, Lymph nodes Chemotherapy Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)

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