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Duke of Earl - Chapter 61 - The Seesaw


ginnyde

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Earl has had 6 PT sessions and says he feels a little stronger and has a little more energy. They work his arms, legs, trunk and balance.

But, the BIG BUT, other than PT and doing a small group of exercises at home, he does nothing. And it seems to me one day he is showing some interest in life and the next day (or hour) he shows none. Not talking really, just staring aimlessly at some stupid TV show, like the Food or Game Network.

Shows no interest in anything, my job, our finances, our lawn and gardens, his customers from his company, his children, grandchildren, nothing, nada, zilch, zero. He is on Zoloft.

We go to the onc in 10 days, no scans, just a let me look at you type visit.

He is so pessimistic. He got sick to his stomach after the first 3 PT's - not since. On the way home I ask "Do you feel sick?" His answer, "No, not yet". Drives me crazy - it is like he is just waiting to get sick.

Even though he is stable, we make no plans. I don't know from hour to hour what to expect from him - don't know if it is emotional or physical.

And my sister (throat cancer) is not doing well. Into third week or rad and chemo, has had port and feeding tube installed. Is back in hospital in horrendous stomach pain, (can't find cause) and they had to give her two transfusions.

Is Earl's lethargy normal? It seems almost all of you are doing something with your lives.

Sorry to dump on you, just feeling a little low and frustrated.

Ginny

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Ginny

my father is the same way. "how do you feel today dad?" .....answer - "not dead yet" . "Did you eat today dad?" answer- "yep" "what did you eat today dad?" answer - "food"

"Did you go out today dad?" answer - "yep to the cemetary to look at my plot" ok dad well great talking to you, you really know how to liven up a conversation.

my dad is on paxil but he doesn't shave, change clothes, brush his "heat Miser" hair do. nothing. just sits in the lazy boy watching discovery channel.

me..my life, up, go to work, go to dads (clean and do his laundry) go home and clean and do laundry, go to bed ... repeat.

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Ginny,

Talk to his doctor about his lack of interest. Zoloft was the first anti-depressant I took a few years ago when having a tough time at work. I had the boss from hell, no lie. Since I couldn't move out of the job, I had to fool my brain into thinking life was okay (I'm sure you understand what I mean by that). So, I took Zoloft - and I could HEAR deadlines whooshing by and I didn't care...I saw a pile of work growing on my desk - and I didn't care...I saw life happening without me - and I didn't care... On my follow-up with my doctor (they evaluate that stuff), she switched my drug. Suddenly, there was SOME panic when deadlines approached - and when I switched jobs, I stopped taking all the drugs....

...and ya know, I have Xanax for when things get real bad, but the cancer thing didn't send me in for anti-depressants - whazzat tell ya about that boss? :roll:

Good luck, Ginny, hope your sister is better, too!

xxoo

Becky

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Ginny,

I take prozac, and it DOES NOT do that to me. I suspect too it may be the zoloft.

Second point, lethargy breeds lethargy. If he would get out and walk (brsk for him, at least) fifteen or twenty minutes daily, his basal energy level would go up.

I tried the second. It worked for as long as I kept it up. If I weren't working full time and chasing 2 kids, I would be less of a slug and doing more the regular exercise for me because I sure felt mentally better, more energized.

The PT somehow causes pain on a deep level and does something to the vegus nerve, I think, I had the same thing happen to me early on in PT. Good thing I was empty. That proved to me they were working me hard enough.

I hope you can shake Earl out of his recliner, else all the PT in the world won't help his attitude.

Sorry to hear about your sister, I know you want to be there for her too.

Hang in there!!

Prayers,

XOXOX

MaryAnn

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Ginny,

Please check with your doc about the zoloft. For some people certain anti-depresants can cause just the opposit reaction than the one that is looked for. It sounds very much like the Duke is experiencing a clinical depression, but I'm no doctor so PLEASE have that checked out.

Dean

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Well here's another country heard from. Overwhelming fatigue just seems to be part of this wonderful disease. As David says, he could sleep 24/7 John has zip for energy also as do others on the board. I remember our oncologist stated once it's just the parasitic nature of this diease. Even though John is doing well cancerwise, his energy level is decreasing. He only has so many good hours in a day. He doesn't need to sleep, he just has no energy.

So it might be the zoloft, it might be depression, and it might just be the cancer. I guess the doctor gets to pick.

Do you still have the last issue of CURE? They had an article on fatigue.

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Ginny,

Ck out systems of Iressa. Maybe it is causing the fatigue. When did he last have his blood count. Maybe his red count is low and causing an-emia. I just read the article that Ry talked about in the spring issue of Cure and it spoke of anemia possible reason.

I know that Buddy from the day of the operation back in 9/11/02 till his death, never had any strength or energy. He did want to do things but could not. He forced himself to get up and go to Mcdonalds every morning up until about 3 to 4 weeks before 2/12/04. He did have a drive but no energy. He was never on any meds for depression and he was never depressed during all that time. Was Earl always active before all this started or was he someone who was more laid back. If always active then it is prob the meds or blood count or Iressa.

Talk to his dr more. Per the article in Cure, excerise can get him out of the fatigue if it is only caused by the chemo, etc, not the blood count or maybe not the meds he is on.

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Dear Ginny,

My mom also had the "disinterest" in life. Which was SO atypical for her. She always possessed a passion for life. Then I would show up and she wouldn't talk to me, would stare off or watch TV. It was so very hard for me to see. I didn't know if it was the medications, the disease or her trying to distance herself from any connections to us. I think a lot of it had to do with the pain medications she was on...but it would change day to day. Then the next day she might be very talkative. I think it is hard on everyone involved, the patient and the loved ones.

I am so sorry to hear about your sister too. Please know my prayers and thoughts are with you. Hugs to you.

Andrea B.

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Ginny,

A friend of mine that had lc was suffering from anxiety about the

future, the doctor put her on Zoloft, she was apathetic inside

of a few weeks, the doctor changed the medication and she

got slowly better and now she is in good spirit and no more

Zoloft, only Ativan at night.

There could be other reasons, but you see the doctor in 10 days,

that will be the time for checking all that was mentioned in the

previous posts.

Don't forget, he had many adventures when he was trying to

keep active so he may be scared to try again and fall as he did

before, who knows, not me.

Hope you find out soon.

Sorry about your sister, prayers and good vibes going for her

and your husband, also for you.

xo

J.C.

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Ginny,

I took Zoloft for a very short time, and the world went as flat as a pancake. No joke....I had the emotional range of a slug. My friends and family wanted to know what in the heck was wrong with me. It was the drug. Hope you can find a good alternative for The Duke...

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My mom was the same way she would sleep like 18 hours a day.If not

sleeping would be watching t.v. After we cut her back on some of the

meds. she was taking she became more interested in doing more.

I believe some of the meds. added to her depression. You could see a

remarkable difference once they got cut down some. Haylee

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I knew you guys would give me great info and I thank you for it.

I, Dr. Ginny, have made a decision to cut his Zoloft in half. I don't think it is a good idea to just STOP it. If I see a difference I'll talk to the dr. about eliminating it, or changing to another med.

Ginny

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Now if Dr. Ginny just had a license to practice we'd be all set. :roll:

Also, you tell the Duke for me that he needs to liven up cause his book is getting pretty boring. I mean here we are on chapter 61 and there's no action! We want excitement!!! Not another broken leg though.

Ry

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Ginny,

I know that some of his lack of enthusiasm may be from the meds. However, as a cancer patient, I can tell you that some days you just don't feel like doing or saying ANYTHING! If he is in any kind of pain or discomfort, it may just be easier for him to sit and "veg-out" watching tv.

I am currently not on chemo, but am amazed at my total lack of energy. And I have always been an avid reader, but can't concentrate for the life of me on the book I'm reading..."The Davinci Code". Sometimes I feel my best just sitting, not thinking, and watching tv.

Unless you have experienced the debilitating amount of fatigue, you can't imagine how it feels. Sometimes I will sit for hours "gearing up" to put on a load of laundry, or washing some dishes...simple things that I used to do in seconds, now take me what seems like forever.

So, see how the reduced dosage of his meds works out, and hopefully this will change things for him, but don't forget how fatigued he really is....

I hope this insight helps,

TAnn

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Ry, You think you're bored, I only started sharing this exciting story on Chapter 48.

Becky, Been there done that, beer tastes crappe to him and the other seems to be ho hum. So good for my ego.

Tann, I know that this damn disease causes fatigue during and after treatment. But he does NOTHING. No wash, no dishes, etc etc etc.

It is now 2:00 EDT and he is still in bed watching Star Trek. Says he feels fine. Only gave him 1/2 Zoloft this a.m. Let's see what happens.

The good news is that he is 19 months from dx and stable and in no pain or discomfort, the bad news is that he has no life. Our motto here is live each day to the fullest, the definitive word is 'live'.

Oh well, I am so glad he is stable and comfortable, I should be content.

Ginny

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Ginny, I can tell you from personal experience with anti-depressants that there can be a real "so what" component. I can only imagine combining that with the lethargy of this disease and treatment. Cutting the Zoloft in half may help - and you're right about not stopping it abruptly, it's a big no-no.

Maybe you should get really blunt with the Duke. Men generally don't do subtle even on a good day. Not mean or nasty, just really direct and to-the-point about your concerns and desires. Ask him to be blunt too, and brace yourself for what may come. I have to admit, my relationship with my husband is probably more blunt than most - we are both straightforward people, and our age difference means we learned quickly to never assume you know how the other feels (he is 20 years older than I am). Being blunt and straightforward takes a lot of mutual trust to make it work, but is very worthwhile.

Is it possible to get more PT? Or a counselor? You're certainly right about one thing, Ginny - you should be LIVING life. Getting the Duke to talk about it may be the first step, if you haven't been there already.

Prayers that you will both enjoy this spring and summer.

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Ginny, you're right about not stopping it. Cutting back is the right way to go. I had trouble with Zoloft and am now on 1/2 a celexa a day without problems. I am always busy but I do get tired and I didn't have chemo or rad. I think the body and mind just gets worn out from this beast. My husband has Alzheimer's and his days are the same as Earls, so I know how hard it is on you. Remember that you have to take care of yourself too. It will wear you down if you don't get away from it once in a while.

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Dr Ginny,

Sorry to hear the the Duke is Down in the Dumps. I know for Keith and I both, depression can be a huge downward spiral that feeds itself. Keith has expressed to me that he is fine mentally until he starts to 'feel' bad. Whether it is illness or fatigue. Lately he has been so completely exhausted that he sleeps all the time or feels like he needs more and more rest. This in and of itself causes him to fear his disease and makes him depressed. The depression cuases increased fatigue which makes him more depressed. It can get really bad. I know I feel the same as well at times. I usually feel like I just don't want to get out of bed, ever.

I am always tired, and depressed about being tired and tired from being depressed.

But you are right, do not go cold turkey on the anti-depressants. I did that for a few days when I couldn't get to the pharmacy for a refill and boy did I crash BIG TIME. Keith came home and asked me if I ran the dishwasher and I broke down into fits of hyserical sobbing as I felt that life was totally overwhelming me. I ran out to Walgreens, crying the whole way, and within 3 hours of taking that little pill, the tears dried up.

((((Ginny)))))) Talk to the doctor about this, and until the Duke is feeling himself again, I will be keeping him in my prayers for him to see the joy in every moment.

Lots of Love

Carleen

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