Hi everyone. I was diagnosed with skin cancer at the start of the year. The melanoma was removed and then I had the wide excision and sentinel node biopsy surgery. Thankfully all came back clear and I thought I could restart my year and take my life out of that weird limbo feeling that the diagnosis, wait for surgery and then wait for results brings. Instead, I’ve fallen into a state of anxiety and depression. I’ve had depression in the past and do not want to go through that again. I went to my GP last Monday, who put me on Fluoxetine (Prozac). I know it takes a while to kick in but in the last week my symptoms feel worse than before I went!
Has anyone else gone through this? This constant feeling of anxiety is horrible
I think it is perfectly normal to be anxious and down - wouldn't it be a bit strange not to be, given what has happened and all you have been through? My husband is the one who had cancer not me and he is very up and down even two years on, depending on whether he is in pain or not or whether there is a scan coming up. I am also hyper anxious myself a lot of the time.
It takes time to come to terms with what has happened and process it, so be kind to yourself if you can. This will pass and you will see a better day.
Keep the Faith
Hi Knic1, what you are experiencing is just not unusual and I know that this may not help but it does improve with time.
My journey with a rare type of Skin Lymphoma started in 1999 and it took 17 years and a lot of treatments to hear the word Remission - NED No Evident Disease.
This is a great paper about the post-treatment journey, make a cup of tea and have a look.
This also a great article someone did about Scanxiety but it can be related to the post-treatment journey.
What Is Scanxiety and How Can You Manage It?
February 26, 2018 - Choose Hope
The first time you read or hear it, “scanxiety” may look and sound like a funny word. However, when you are going through it, there is nothing funny about this very real condition. From the first MRI following a doctor’s suspicious discovery during a routine exam to the annual PET scan years after an initial diagnosis, the fear and worry that accompanies imaging appointments can take a significant toll on your emotional and mental wellbeing.
Fortunately, you can take steps to minimise and cope with the sometimes-overwhelming emotions you feel.
Acknowledge your Feelings
Don’t try to ignore the way you feel, as this can actually increase your anxiety. Instead, recognise and even embrace your scanxiety. This first step empowers you to take action, move forward and manage your emotions, helping you find peace and feel more in control of your own life.
Talk about It to the Right People
Venting your fears and frustrations to people close to you can be a wonderful way to release stress and gain vital support. However, if you have folks in your life who tend to exacerbate your worries or load you up with even more concerns (and really, who doesn’t have that one friend or family member?), avoid sharing too much with them.
Practice Mindful Living
Ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” Look for ways to live in the moment. Hug your little boy and inhale deeply, noting the mingled fragrance of fresh earth and shampoo. Stroke your husband’s face and think about the way his soft stubble brushes your hand. Savour a particularly flavourful meal. Relish in the here and now.
Find ways to take your mind off the upcoming scan, at least for a while. Dig into a novel or binge watch a series that completely engrosses you. Turn up your favourite music and tackle a chore you’ve been putting off for too long. Hang out with that one friend who has a gift for making you guffaw. Schedule some time to enjoy your favourite hobby without interruption. If you have trouble letting go, imagine setting your worries in a “to do later” box and tell yourself you can pick them up when you’re done.
Sometimes, the unknown is the greatest instigator of anxiety. If you are unclear about anything –from what to expect during the scan, to when and how you can expect to receive your results, to what those results might mean– don’t be afraid to ask your doctor. Having a well-defined understanding of what you will or might experience allows you to be better prepared and can even ease your mind.
Plan for the Worst Outcome…
Along with knowing what could possibly come of your scan, creating a strategy for the worst case scenario can improve your sense of control. By no means should this be perceived as giving up or being resigning yourself to bad news. Cancer can make you feel powerless, but creating a basic action plan just in case can help you regain your power as well as your optimism.
…but Visualise the Best
Your mind is more powerful than you might realise. Visualisation and guided imagery have been shown to improve your mood, control symptoms or side effects and even boost your immune system. Imagine yourself receiving great news after your scan. Allow yourself to experience the feelings of relief, gratitude and elation. Think about these things as though you are remembering them. Seeing it in your mind’s eye can give you the encouragement you need to overcome your scanxiety.
Mike - Thehighlander
It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela
I've suffered with anxiety & depression for years, it can take a while for the medication to work, usually a week or too, if you feel no better, then go back to your doctor, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2017, I've had 2 surgery's, chemo, radiotherapy & on hormone therapy for 5 years, I thought I was doing well but nope, the anxiety & depression has kicked in again, I'm lucky where I live that I have support & I'm going on another 8 week councilling course, maybe ask your doctor if there are any support groups that may help you, talking on here is also good, I know how depression can make you feel, I also try & use distraction therapy, like reading, crafting, gardening anything to take your mind off what's troubling you. Try not to be so hard on yourself
The article on scanxiety is so true and so helpful too.
Maybe while you’re waiting for the meds to kick in you could access some talking therapy or some kind of counselling? It’s very true that a lot of the time ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ & sometimes sitting face to face with someone & getting these worries off your chest is a great relief. Maybe give the Macmillan helpline a ring to see if there’s anything local to you that you can access fairly quickly or I know my local Cancer Connections has a free counselling service you can access if your struggling at any time throughout this awful journey. I have a family member that has suffered terrible anxiety in the past & they had a course of CBT therapy & it’s been totally amazing the difference it has made to their life. All worth thinking about as when you’re suffering from depression & anxiety it can & does effect every aspect of your life.
I hope you find something that helps very soon.
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