Dealing with Guilt & Depression

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I am a month post op from a robotic lobectomy on one of my lungs to remove a cancerous tumour.  It was successful and there is no sign of cancer in the lymph nodes so no further treatment apart from monitoring is needed.  I cried with relief when I was told and I am very aware how lucky I am. My diagnosis journey started at the beginning of the year and it's been a rollercoaster of scans, tests, appts, more scans.  Now I seem to be struggling to process everything that's happened.  I'm still dealing with variable but constant pain, both from the operation and also bad gastric issues from all the pain meds I was on so sleeping and eating are difficult.  I should be feeling as though I've been given a precious gift and every day is special and I don't understand why I feel so low which is making me feel guilty and so lower still.  I don't know what to do.  Has anyone else felt like this in similar circumstances?

  • Hello   thank you for contacting our Online Community. 

    I’m so happy to hear that your surgery has been successful, that is really good news Hippy Happy but I’m also really glad that you’ve reached out to our Online Community because I want to give you some assurance that these feelings and emotions you are experiencing at the moment are entirely normal, believe me, we receive a lot of calls, emails and chats from people experiencing this, they have come through a cancer diagnosis and treatment and everything is going really well, like you, they feel that they should be elated at receiving this ‘precious gift’ as you so beautifully put it but instead they find themselves feeling low, scared, guilty… a whole host of emotions that don’t seem to reflect the situation.

    From speaking to others it seems that there are several things that may contribute to this, first of all you’ve been through something huge, as you say it’s been a rollercoaster and I imagine that it didn’t really give you much time to reflect on what was happening, now things have settled down you may have that time to reflect and are only now coming to terms with exactly what you’ve been through, so perhaps you have to go through the range of emotions before you get to the way you think you should feel?

    Another thing some people find is that while they’ve been on this cancer journey the focus has been on them, perhaps from family, friends and certainly the medical team, they have all these people looking after and caring for them and then suddenly it’s over!  They don’t need any more treatment, the appointments stop and things around them start to get back to normal except it’s not always that simple to just get off the ride and back to normal, it can leave you feeling isolated and left wondering what to do with yourself especially if you don’t actually feel like your old self which is what many people we speak to also feel.  I know it’s not always the same for everyone, I wonder if this is how it’s been for you? 

     There are a few things that may be able to help with your situation Hippy Happy. We have a partnership with BUPA where you may be eligible for up to six free counselling sessions, you can contact us to arrange a well-being assessment or even refer yourself from the website, I’ve put the link to the page here.

     As well as joining in with our Online Community  as you’ve already done you may like to consider joining a local support group?  On our website at macmillan.org.uk you will find a section called In Your Area, here you can input your postcode and it will show you any centres, groups etc. near to where you live, not only Macmillan ones but any that relate to cancer, sometimes getting together with others in a similar situation can be of comfort and support.

     Finally Hippy Happy, we have a couple of really useful booklets that I hope may give you some good advice and further insight into these feelings/emotions you are experiencing and perhaps even how to manage them, if nothing else it will hopefully assure you that it is completely normal to feel this way and that others certainly experience this too.  I have some titles for you below.

    Your feelings after cancer treatment

    Life after cancer treatment

    How are you feeling? The emotional effects of cancer

     

    I hope this information is of some use to you Hippy Happy, if you need any further help please don’t hesitate to get in touch.  Please remember, we are here to support you, our helpline 0808 808 0000 which is available 7 days a week 8am-8pm we provide a place to talk through how you are feeling, a listening ear where you can be open and honest about how you are feeling about everything.

     

    Kind regards,

     

    Vicky, Information and Support Adviser

    Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or by email.

  • Thanks so much for this and I'm reassured by the fact other people experience the same sort of thing.  I'm going to have a look at the booklets and will seriously think about counselling.  I think maybe it would also be a good start to be a little less hard on myself and learn to take each day as it comes.