Topic: ER+, menopause, and severe depression

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: Jun 9, 2022 11:31PM

Posted on: Jun 9, 2022 11:31PM

mpetago wrote:

Good evening all,

I had a stage III ER+ diagnosis in 2004, so incredibly fortunate to be 18 years' NED last February. Here's the thing, I refused oophorectomy because I was terrified about quality of life by going into instant menopause at age 35 after having extremely high estrogen since birth I guess. I spoke with a number of high estrogen, younger women who had horrible effects from ooph and I felt like it was just too much. I always figured I would be better off going in to menopause naturally, if that time came for me. So, that has apparently now happened, or I'm at the end of perimenopause, and I am in the most severe depression of my life. Add to that, everything that could possibly go wrong has, all at once, like things go sometimes, but what has changed is that I am completely incapable of getting out of this funk.

I took Celexa for panic attacks for about six years, these started during chemo and finally became so disabling that I tried meds, which worked great. Recently, maybe last 6-8 months, I have entered a depression so severe that I am unable to cope. I was started on buspar with the Celexa, then Celexa was stopped and Prozac added to buspar. No improvement. Prozac dosage doubled. No improvement. Now wellbutrin is going to be added to Prozac. All the while, I'm thinking this is definitely hormone related, but of course I am not a candidate for HRT. I'm wondering, has anyone tried a low dose ER for severe depression, because nothing else was working? I am more sure than ever that passing on the ooph was the right thing for me, but if this is how I'm going to feel from now on, I don't feel like I want or am able to do it. This is not a life. I know an ER+ person asking for estrogen sounds crazy, but I feel that I have gone crazy and if small amount of estrogen would stop this, I wouldn't hesitate as of today. Anyone have similar experience or thoughts? I would really appreciate hearing them!!

Dx 2/18/2004, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/11 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 2/22/2004 Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph node removal; Lymph node removal (Left): Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Left); Reconstruction (Left): DIEP flap Chemotherapy 4/1/2004 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 10/15/2004 Breast Hormonal Therapy 1/1/2005
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Jun 10, 2022 01:22PM sunshine99 wrote:

mpetago, what about a consult with BOTH your MO and your PCP? I know that my PCP (years ago) suggested a hormonal supplement, but my MO freaked out (sort of.)

There has to, or should, be some balance between risk of BC recurrence and your quality of life. If you're living and trying to cope with severe depression, then one would hope that there has to be SOMETHING that would help.

I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this.

(((hugs)))

Carol

my-sunny-side-up.com Cancer has progressed to my bones. I pray that it never enters my soul. Dx 11/2/2007, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIA, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 3/26/2020, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, ER+/PR-, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 4/22/2020 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 5/5/2020 External Local Metastases 5/5/2020 Radiation therapy: Bone Radiation Therapy 5/12/2020 External Local Metastases 5/12/2020 Radiation therapy: Bone Targeted Therapy 6/10/2020 Ibrance (palbociclib)
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Jun 10, 2022 02:26PM gladis wrote:

Mpetago, my heart goes out to you.

Panic attacks are my side hustle and depression knocks like a demented neighbour.

(I try to use my humour even though my daughter tells me i'm not that funny)😔

My very best friend is battling something similar.

...would you consider edibles? The right strain will give you a cerebral lift while you still function normally.

(My bf can not as she is a single parent of a severely handicapped son.

She is on prescribed meds, which they are changing, again- as it 'muted' her personality -hard)

Hug!

Gladis

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Jun 11, 2022 08:31PM mpetago wrote:

Thanks for the responses ladies! Ugh, I wish edibles worked for me! I've tried cannabis products enough times to face the fact that it is just NOT my friend lol The only thing it does for me is cause extreme paranoia that allows me to focus on remembering to breathe for ten hours instead of just being depressed. And that's on a mini dose.

I really feel like as I look back at the times I've really struggled mentally, it was always related to some type of estrogen suppression as opposed to life circumstances. First for endometriosis in early 20s, then for breast cancer in mid 30s. When I finished my five years of tamoxifen (with monthly lupron injections for awhile because my period would not stop for anything), I felt like a new person, or my old self at my absolute best. And my estrogen levels were scary high again, like the level of a pregnant woman, except I was early 40s and not pregnant.

This, plus reading that perimenopause and menopause can throw some women into severe depression due to hormone levels, is making me wonder about trying a small amount of estrogen replacement. Not even sure I could find a doctor to prescribe it, but if none of these drug combos work, and so far they aren't, I know I can't continue this way. My life is falling apart and I can't do anything but lay in bed staring at my walls. Oh, and picking my skin til it bleeds every day, that's the one new hobby I've picked up.

As it stands today, if someone said you can feel like yourself for ten years but then you're getting breast cancer again, or you can just feel this way for the rest of your life, no question I'd take the estrogen and the cancer. Maybe this lasts awhile and then gets better, even for super high estrogen women, I don't know. I'm the only high estrogen woman in my extended family, everyone else had early hysterectomies or normal menopause (no breast cancer) and said they were fine afterwards. Doctor and psychiatrist aren't really hearing me, I brought up the possible hormone connection and they basically said, 'oh yeah, maybe, interesting.' Pretty much the way those interactions have always gone. 🙄

Dx 2/18/2004, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/11 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 2/22/2004 Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph node removal; Lymph node removal (Left): Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Left); Reconstruction (Left): DIEP flap Chemotherapy 4/1/2004 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 10/15/2004 Breast Hormonal Therapy 1/1/2005
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Jun 14, 2022 07:59PM mpetago wrote:

I wanted to throw out this info I've found for anyone interested. A medical oncologist, Dr Bluming, co wrote a book called Estrogen Matters where he thoroughly debates the alleged dangers of HRT after menopause and argues strongly in favor of the substantial protective benefits it offers, EVEN in women who've had breast cancer. He also just had a journal article published in Cancer Journal called HRT after Breast Cancer, It Is Time.

Dx 2/18/2004, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/11 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 2/22/2004 Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph node removal; Lymph node removal (Left): Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Left); Reconstruction (Left): DIEP flap Chemotherapy 4/1/2004 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 10/15/2004 Breast Hormonal Therapy 1/1/2005

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