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    Disclosure and acceptance: how storytelling saved my life

    A couple of years ago I shared my recovery story on a different platform called This Is My Brave. I discussed how a little kindness and some sage words of advice from their co-founder Jennifer Marshall had changed my life. I compared our upbringings and my struggle with medication compliance and how we were both over-achievers. What I didn’t share was that we live with the same diagnosis; bipolar disorder and that I had at first struggled with the stigma I may face about going public with my diagnosis.

    This is where my story continues. When I hit send on my first submission I was terrified. I mentioned the various bouts of depression I had faced over the years but didn’t go into detail as to how those episodes had occurred after a hypomanic or manic episode. I was afraid to share about the other side of my illness. I already had experienced stigma associated with sharing my experiences with depression so sharing that you have what is considered a serious mental illness was off limits in my head. I continued to follow Jennifer’s work. I followed her ups and downs. I reached out again to Jennifer in the midst of a very difficult time and again she made sure to reply and tell me to stay the course and that the work I was doing was important. What Jen didn’t know was that her words kept me afloat during the darkest of days. In a two year span I had a cancer scare (possible lymphoma) and a manic episode following the lymph node dissection.

    Again in the aftermath of my manic episode I clung to the words she had shared with me so many years before, “It takes time though, so try to give yourself some grace in the learning process.” I did as l had been advised. I took a step back from work and gave myself the time and grace to heal.

    This time around I not only had Jen’s words in my head I had a supportive partner. In the midst of the chaos of physical and mental illness I met the most amazing man who held my broken pieces and helped me put them back together. As Jen always says stories save lives and her courage and honesty in sharing her story inspires me to keep telling mine. Our shared diagnosis and belief in the power of a story once again help me to find peace and healing. This time I am sharing it with The Mighty’s community who have been another life raft for me through my latest manic episode and subsequent depression.

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    Thinking about traveling locally and adopting a dog to help depression

    I am 24 years old. I have had depression most of my life. It really became severe when my mom passed away earlier this year. She died expectedly two months before my wedding. I hadn’t seen her in almost 3 years. Last time was summer 2019. I was supposed to visit in 2020 but COVID happened. She also had cancer at the time so my whole family was very cautious about social distancing from her until doctors said she no longer has cancer. I was so happy to hear that but then a week later she died from something else and it broke me completely. I have since been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder as well. My anger is sometimes uncontrollable. I unintentionally get mad for dumb reasons and my husband tries so hard to make me happy. I also am unemployed and looking for work since a year of graduating masters.
    I am very depressed now and feel useless like I have no purpose. I wanted to get a dog but my past experience scarred me. We had gotten one a few weeks after my mom passed and honeslty it was a mistake because I couldn’t even get out of bed to care for it. My husband would go to work and only be home in the evenings. We surrendered the dog back to the shelter we adopted it from. I felt so guilty (still do) but it is a no kill shelter and he got adopted again within a few weeks.
    Now that I have been able to get out of bed for the last couple of months I have been trying to adopt another dog. I have taken care of my in laws dogs for a while in between to help them out and my husband said I was really happy when we had the dog around. I am wanting to adopt again but will do so after traveling. Thing is, it has been hard finding the right dog. My husband doesn’t want a high energy dog or puppy.
    I was also thinking of traveling locally to maybe Colorado or somewhere to get some peace of mind and escape the everyday life where I hardly leave the house.
    I just don’t know what to do anymore. I just don’t want to feel this way. Any advice will help. Thank you for reading
    #BipolarDepression #Depression #tired

    18 reactions 6 comments
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    How did you know? #Undiagnosed

    How did you know something was wrong and how did you know what questions to ask your doctor?

    (For context, I am in my mid-thirties.)

    15 years ago, I was working a heavy janitorial job one summer and I developed serious pain in my hands and wrists. It was so bad that my hands were screaming if I just tried to grip a zipper and zip up a hoodie, for example. I tried physio therapy, but it made a minimal effect. Then that same summer I was in a car accident and got soft tissue damage to my left thumb and wrist. It took nearly seven years for that to more or less get back to normal. Even now, if I knead bread, chop a lot of veggies, scrub the bathtub, etc. both my hands feel stiff and sore the next day.

    I first started to notice some knee and hip stiffness 5 years ago. Nothing major - just couldn't comfortably sit with crossed legs (crisscross applesauce) on the floor anymore. Since 2014, I have also been having some difficulty with swelling in my feet, ankles, and lower legs during (mostly) long flights or bus journeys. Now, the swelling happens within just a couple hours in a car or if I am on my feet in the kitchen for more than three hours. I think I have some permanent swelling at the top of my knees, too.

    Last night, I spent an hour catching up on washing dishes, and when I woke up this morning, I felt like I'd been hit by a truck. I know people say that when you hit your thirties, your body starts breaking down, but this can't be normal.

    Both my parents have arthritis and my paternal great aunt had multiple sclerosis. There is also a lot of cancer (many different kinds) within my family, including immediate family members.

    In October, I convinced my doctor to requisition a blood test and he did an "autoimmune panel", but he hasn't followed up. One of the values was slightly out of range, but, knowing him, he would probably just dismiss it. I get such bad anxiety doing phone appointments with him that I certainly don't want to call and ask him to follow up.

    So. Should I be concerned? Is this just normal body-falling-apart-in-my-thirties?

    #Undiagnosed #Adviceplease #Arthritis #MultipleSclerosis #JointStiffness #Diagnosis #MentalHealth #Depression #Anxiety #ComplexPosttraumaticStressDisorder

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    A better day today

    So while I normally wake to much pain and stiffness in muscles and joints, abdominal discomfort (liver ?), and in a fog due to my oxygen levels yesterday was much worse. Ended up in ER. Stones,cyst,and a UTI! Explains a lot but between my hips that cause pelvic pain and my low back discs I was suspicious of a stone but just wasn’t sure. Now I know. Drinking lots of water and taking my antibiotics. Self diagnosis becomes more justified. My blood cells are not normal size and the #Mayo clinic Jacksonville Fl they have done labs and confirmed my suspicions that the HCV 3a I had along with the treatment consisted of Sovaldi/Ribavirin for six months leaving me anemic and with AVN bilaterally, bone marrow reconversion (fatty marrow rather than rich RBC factory) and so many other symptoms like emphysema, RA, Fibromyalgia, Sjogrens Syndrome, etc I thought it’s gotta be connected somehow?? My cells are not functioning properly like carrying oxygen (binding capacity) proteins also labs and UA show high levels. UA had blood and proteins. Deficiencies in vitamins and other nutrients or molecules? The fatigue, the temperature sensitivity, light sensitivity, blood clots, necrosis, just nonstop pain, swelling tissue everywhere especially connective tissue and on and on and on. Hope I pass the stone before I have to drive two plus hours to Mayo on Monday for labs and rheumatology consultation much needed. So tired of it all. Meanwhile my Dad is hanging on by a thread fighting his cancer and being ignored as if they don’t want to care for him, afraid he’ll die when under their care. It’s madness. He was abandoned by his urologist. No reference or help while the stent he put in was due for removal. New guy takes him on does a cystoscope looks at the stent (I gloved in and assisted as a former surgical technician) then he pulled it out? I was like why didn’t he remove it ? I had to be his advocate and even then after the doctor told me my Dads bladder was distended and backing up urine is causing the UTI. I had to show him the piss all over the OR table and the floor with wet diapers?? It’s the bacteria encrusted STENT!!! He finally agreed an put orders for surgery in. That was two weeks before Nicole hit. They didn’t call for over a month and we had to request a meet with the higher ups. Now scheduled for the 14th each day he is getting weaker. He’s on Bactrim which is weak compared to what they had him on in the teahab. UTI’s are way worse than I ever knew. Caused my dad to go into A-fib. Loose all muscle strength and visceral muscle loss as well. Mentally changed the man. So 3+ months to get a stent removed and now he has a fibrous mass popping in and out of his inguinal hernia. Really sad medical system we have. We can do so much better. I worked my whole life in the field and we can do it for sure. Like the implementation of the time-out right before your surgery in the OR with all staff silent we go over a process that is simple and assures it’s you and the surgery about to begin is correct and all details are checked one last time to avoid any mistakes like doing surgery on the wrong side or getting patients mixed up. The Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville Florida, I must say , operates with much more success and it’s obvious once you go. I feel heard and I have a care team and they all communicate. Their website portal is amazing and works. Just thoroughly impressed by the quality and difference of all the many many doctors I spent years trying to get to help me. I’m on the right track now. Back to drinking and passing this stone. “Dragged down by the stone stone stone stone stone (ruff ruff ruff) stone stone “. Who can tell what song or band is connected with on the lyrics? Hav Ra good day peeps. I don’t pray but truly hope your pain and suffering in any form is less so today than yesterday and lessened more tomorrow Forward we go. Thank you all for the support you given me👍👍👍👍👍O share a picture of one of many in my collection of the only hobby I still can enjoy to some degree. Enjoy Lambis Lambis spider conch -X-Large beauty from Philippines ❤️

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    Law of Attraction

    What do you guys think about this? Do you agree that the more you focus on something the bigger it gets? If so, what do you think happens when you focus on negativity? Do you think a change in perspective can help you? Or is this just silly talk?

    ~ Thanks to all. Thanks for all. ~

    Speaking of thanks for all, I was hoping we could acknowledge everyone who comments below. I know it seems like a small gesture, but many people here have never opened up to anyone before and being open and honest with strangers can be quite scary. So, if we could show our gratitude by giving their comment a simple reply or heart, I’m sure they would really appreciate your team support. What do you say?

    #MentalHealth #Depression #Suicide #Anxiety #BipolarDisorder #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder #Addiction #dissociativedisorders #OCD #ADHD #Fibromyalgia #EhlersDanlosSyndrome #POTS #PTSD #Cancer #RareDisease #Disability #Autism #Diabetes #EatingDisorders #ChronicIllness #ChronicPain #RheumatoidArthritis #Schizophrenia #ComplexRegionalPainSyndrome

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    What accessibility modifications have you made in your house to accommodate your chronic illness?

    Living with a chronic illness can mean making changes to the environment around you to help better fit your needs, and that's 100% OK.

    Have you made any modifications in your home to accommodate your chronic illness? How did those modifications help? Were there any pros or cons?

    P.S. Need a relevant Mighty read? Check out this insightful new Mighty article by Tierra Drollinger Everything You Need to Know About Getting a Walk-in Tub for ...

    #ChronicPain #ChronicIllness #MentalHealth #Disability #Caregiving #RareDisease #Migraine #Stroke #CardiovascularDisease #AutonomicDysfunction #PosturalOrthostaticTachycardiaSyndrome #Spoonie #Lupus #Endometriosis #Hospital #Cancer #Anxiety #PTSD #CheckInWithMe

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