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Having depressing thoughts


catlady91

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Sorry in advance for venting; I don't really have anyone that I can talk to and share my fears with. Lately I've been having worrying thoughts about my mum. She's doing incredibly well. The doctors have said that her response to treatment has been excellent. There's only a very tiny remainder left, which could be cancer cells or inflammation. The doctors have said that it's extremely small and difficult to see. They seem to think that immunotherapy will deal with it if it is remaining cancer cells. My mum was diagnosed with stage 3B squamous cell non-small cell in February this year. The first lung specialist we saw said the it was treatable but not curable, but my mum's oncological team have given her treatment with curative intent and the oncologist was really positive and confident and said that they're aiming to cure my mum (I know American's don't use the term cure; though I think in the UK doctors do).

She's responded amazingly well and is still under immunotherapy, though she's had to have it postponed due to inflammation of the lungs caused by immunotherapy. My mum has been on steroids for the past 3 weeks and she's feeling really well and is very energic. I try to be as positive as I can but sometimes I get scared especially on this other UK cancer site I'm part of (it's not a cancer site specific to lung cancer- it's for all cancers), there are posts about people who aren't doing well and who are terminal. It's very scary, especially as cancer is so unpredictable. I pray to God that my mum will be a success story and will beat this. People say to enjoy the moment and take each day as it comes, but it's hard not to think about the future and be scared about what might happen. 

I want to go back to my usual positive self and have positive thoughts especially as I've got no reason to have them as my mum is doing so well. There's just nobody I can talk to who gets the fear and the worry and the depression. I don't want to see a therapist as I don't think it will be useful especially if they have no understanding of what I'm going through. One thing that I will say is that I love all of the positivity on this site; it really gives me a lot of strength. I love the American positivity and optimism. 

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Hi Catlady91,

I can feel the love that you have for your Mother and I'm sure that your concern stems from that strong love for her.  But, let me appeal to your logical-side rather than to your emotional-side.  And please bear with me because I'm speaking from experience.  I lost my Mother to lung cancer and my Father to cancer that began in his bladder and spread throughout his body.  Most of the aunts and uncles on my Mother's side of the family also died of cancer; some as young as 40.  So, I always felt that cancer would be my end.  In 2010, after a routine colonoscopy, I was diagnosed with colon cancer.  It was a virulent one that could spread easily.  I underwent a colon resection and had loads of testing over the years and it did not return.  Luckily, ten years later, I now go every 2 years for a complete physical and so far, so good.   So...in 2019 I had a kidney stone CT Scan and they found a nodule in my lung.  Cutting a long story short; it was lung cancer and I had a lobectomy (lower right) and so far I have been NED.

Why did I tell you my story?  Because based on my parent's and family's history my chances of surviving this would not look good.  But, they have made many strides and cancer that was a death-sentence in the past can now become a chronic condition that can be treated with a number of tools.  That is what I depend on to go on living my life for my family and my own peace of mind.  I could dwell on the fact that LC diagnosed at Stage 1 has a 30% chance of recurrence or that LC is considered the most deadly of the cancers, but that would rob me of the ability to enjoy the life I prayed I wouldn't lose to cancer.  

Yes, there is always a chance that cancer can return and we are all going to die of something and it might be cancer, but we don't know that for sure.  I've heard it said that the person who dwells on the past becomes fraught with depression while the one who dwells on the future becomes fraught with anxiety.  In either case you lose the life you are presently living and, in this case, you miss out on the life that your Mom can and will live, because you will lost in the future and its anxieties.  All things considered, your Mother is doing very well.  You should enjoy and celebrate that.  She needs you to be a positive force in her life, so you can do the best job of supporting her.  I'm sure you prayed for her to respond to treatment so you could enjoy her presence; well now is the time to enjoy that presence and share your joy with her.  

Even aside from your Mother's lung cancer, there are no guarantees in life, not for any of us.  But, on my last day I would like to be satisfied that I lived the life that I was given rather than grieving (in advance) that it would eventually end.  Your Mom needs that support from you.  So, celebrate the good news and if you want the best lowdown on the cancer your Mom has (which is not pancreatic, colorectal, melanoma, or some other cancer), then this site is the best place to hear other's experiences and learn the best things to do for your Mom.

I'm asking you to get in the present for your Mom.  Once you do that you'll be able to say that you were present for all her days, rather than lost and worried in the future.  If you do this you'll bring joy to both of you.  Stay strong and keep going.  My prayers go out for both of you.

Lou

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Well said, Lou!

Also, I wouldn't rule out therapy because it can be very beneficial for you as a caregiver and your Mom if needed.  There are therapist who specialize in caregiving and chronic illness.  You can do a search here:  psychologytoday.com

Please don't underestimate the power of a positive attitude and determination, and as Lou said, do your best to stay in the present moment and enjoy the little things in life - as they often turn out to be the big things - especially when you look back.

 

All the best, 🙏

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Please try not to be overwhelmed.  Stress is not good for anyone and causes other illnesses.

If you are really struggling, please consider counseling.  Your PCP should be able to set it up, or possibly your Mom and cancer center.

Cancer is never easy, don't let it take over.

Lisa

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I'm sorry you are feeling this way.  Here are some resources just for caregivers that may be able to help a littlehttps://lungevity.org/for-patients-caregivers/caregiver-resource-center/resources-for-caregivers

I would also suggest speaking with your primary care physician and maybe they can refer you to someone who specializes in counseling for caregivers.  You are always welcome to vent here but speaking with someone one on one who can give constructive feedback might be worth looking in to.  We do have a monthly meetup for caregivers on Thursday evenings but I'm not sure how the time difference would work for you.  But I will be sure to share the link for the next one in case you can make it work.

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catlady - 

A word of advice - if the site you are taking part in are causing more worry to you, don't use them.  This LUNGevity forum with it's positivity is not just an American thing.  It's because there is so much positivity in the lung cancer world right now.  

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