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long term depression after chemotherapy
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long term depression after chemotherapy

I am four years post-chemotherapy for breast cancer and have struggled with persistent depression ever since. I've seen numerous doctors and tried many therapies, both traditional and alternative. Nothing has helped. Does anyone have any experience in this area?
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Yes My father was diagnosed with brain cancer 2 1/2 years ago and within eight months he had undergone brain surgery and chemo treatments successfully with all 3 brain tumors gone.  We thought we were out of the woods but a month after the all clear my father became depressed and overly anxious to the point of believing he was going broke which was far from the facts.  He was put on 60 mg of Cymbalta that brought him back to his normal self.  Our family is very anti-medication so as time went on we thought he could be taken off it.  After a year he was slowly weaned off it and sure enough the symptoms returned  and we realized that he would have to take this medication perhaps for the rest of his life.  He is now on 40mg of Cymbalta and all is well.  Hope this helps.
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Wow, talk about a relevant topic.  I am new to this so hopefully my post will show up and show up in the correct place.

I just happened upon your topic tonight as I was researching chemotherapy based depression.  I am a 41 year old man who had extensive cancer treatment around 13 years ago and I have suffered from major depression that I never had prior to my treatment.  For history, I had a soft tissue sarcome that was treated as follows:  stem cell transplant along with high-dose chemo (MAID regime I believe), followed by surgery to remove entire hamstring muscle in leg which contained tumor, followed by brachytherapy, normal localized radiation, and then follow-up chemo which was supposed to be 6 rounds but limited to 3 rounds due to complications.  Total treatment time of approximately 9 months.

I was fine for a couple of years due to what I believe was just wanting to get on with living a normal life.  But then I crashed: separation from my wife, divorce, new relationship, end of that relationship, instability, multiple suicide attempts, and just all around major depression and anxiety.  Not what you would expect from a cancer survivor who is just glad on one hand to be alive.
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Man, the things they DON'T tell you when start out on your CA journey !  I was diagnosed with Stage III breast CA and started treatment in March of 2007.  After 4 surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation I'm facing a depression that has completely taken me by surprise.  I sailed through everything else pretty well until after my last surgery, 3 weeks ago.  I just can't seem to get it together and I've been crying almost everyday.  When I started treatment I was 59 years old and could still work circles around my younger counterparts.  Every surgery gets harder and harder to bounce back from and I'm having another one next month.  I strongly suspected general anesthesia from multiple, almost back to back surgeries, as being the culprit, but now I'm also looking into chemotherapy as being a contributing factor.  When I received my dx an antidepressent was offered to help "take the edge" off and I love it, but I don't know if it's working anymore (Lexapro).  I would love to try Cymbalta but my insurance doesn't cover it.  I feel relieved knowing that others are suffering post-chemo depression cause I was really perplexed as to what was happening.  
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,

I'm a 20 year old female and was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic leukemia as a 7 year old and completed 3 years of Chemotherapy.

Ever since I've hit my teens I seemed to have become irritable, easily upset, crying a lot and more. I have always put it down to hormones but lately I seem to becoming very anxious and almost completed stopped socializing. I feel worthless and like I'm not going anywhere in life, sad all the time and have been crying several times a day. I seem to have become very negative as family members keep pointing out that im alive and im (fairly) healthy and i should be happy. Logically i know this and it makes me angrier and even more upset that i can't feel this way.

I'm wondering if there are any other people who seem to be going through the same thing?- several kids i went through chemo with have had similar feelings but not to this extent.

Is there anything i can do to help? I cant seem to feel happy or have any fun anymore.
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My son-in-law complete chemo about 3 months ago and was having some depression. No one told him or his family to expect this.  He ended up shaking his 8 month old baby girl now in ICU and he is in prison. Is there no responsibility to the medical community to inform families of the dangers of chemo. Or is this man just evil.
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm in the same boat with everyone else.  I have the same problem with depression after chemo and other cancer treatments.  It is hard to believe that you live through all of that to come out on the other side and then be so depressed.  
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Wow , I thought I was all alone in this after chemo boat... I to am depressed and I break down easy, irritable, just want to run away.. Yet everyone keeps saying your a strong person don't give up now after everything you have battled, you have your little girls.. Well welcome to my world that was put on hold and taken in so many ways.. I cant function enough to even work.. Anyone else having this problem?? I to was young and diagnosed after my 30th b-day....
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No one seems to be answering your question, which is how to deal with this problem following breast cancer, and chemotherapy. I went through aggressive breast cancer treatment (including chemotherapy) in 1999, and I, too, have had my battles with depression, off and on, since then. Unlike many cancer survivors, I never took anti-depressants, wishing, instead, to remain drug free.

My only answer to this problem is to get out of the house, at least three times a week, for an hour (or more, if possible) and get some fresh air and exercise! I am not insisting on high impact sports, but walking for at least 40 minutes to an hour, a few times a week, is both good for your body and your mind, boosting heart rate and endorphins that stimulate mositive mood changes in the brain (most likely in the temporal lobe, which is strongly impacted by hormonal changes and which governs mood changes in the brain).

Running or walking regularly also helps to keep you fit and trim (particularly the abdominal area, which is the part of women's bodies that should remain slim, as women who gain weight in the torso tend to be at higher risk of breast cancer and cancer recurrence).

Meditation or going out to an art museum or concert, or just getting your mind or body active by noon, is probably the cheapest, easiest, and best solution, but it does require that you fight the heaviness that you must feel in the morning, with which I can identify.

I hope this, as a starting point, is helpful to you. I know that regular walking, followed by stretching and/or yoga has kept me both fit and alive these last 11 years.

Take care,
Erna Cooper
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I have increasing depression post chemo - harsh long chemo- I feel like something is wrong all the time and am almost to the end of my rope.  Oncologist seem to forget about you except for the periodiac check ups.  I think i feel alone in this struggle after 14 long months of treatment.  :(
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My mother had ovarian cancer, just after the third dose of chemo signs of depression appeared too, now we are few months after chemotherpy completion and she is still suffering from depression, although she is taking minimal doses of antidepressants, we expected the depression will end with chemo but it didnt and we have no idea what to do, any advice? :(
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I am a survivor still in treatment and had to go on  depression meds..I didn't want to at first but just after 14 days I felt so much better.  I to tried to go of the meds and found I started feeling the same symptoms as before.  My doctor said think of depression as a disease just like diabetes who need insulin and my meds are just like that.  Depression is not a choice.  I hope you find this message with everyone happy and healthy.
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I am a survivor still in treatment and had to go on  depression meds..I didn't want to at first but just after 14 days I felt so much better.  I to tried to go of the meds and found I started feeling the same symptoms as before.  My doctor said think of depression as a disease just like diabetes who need insulin and my meds are just like that.  Depression is not a choice.  I hope you find this message with everyone happy and healthy.
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I am so sorry to hear about your son in law and grand baby.  I hope the baby is ok.  Im a survivor and battled depression.  I have never had a mean streak but I had a episode where my niece who is 12 years younger than me and an adult really made me mad and I attacked her and pulled her hair.   This was so awful and to this day I hate that I did that.  Look into this topic and you will be surprised how many people suffer.  No I don't think he is a monster and I hope some lawyer will fight for him.  (I don't think what he did is right at ALL!!!!!!!!)
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