falling apart

I was diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkins Lymphoma 3 months ago, and I'm already halfway through my chemo treatment. When I was first diagnosed, everyone kept coming to me and telling me to stay strong and to let them know if i needed anything. I didn't understand. Because it really wasn't that bad. Sure, I felt achey and had a lot of side affects from the chemo. Plus i was so tired all the time, my hours at work had to be significantly reduced to 'on call'. I am also technically in menopause at age 22 from a shot they gave me to shut down my ovaries so when this is all over, i might still be able to have children of my own. So I get all the fun symptoms of menopause too. Sometimes I'm real grumpy, I feel like I'm in an oven half of the time, my metabolism has slowed considerably and I've gained 20 pounds, 
But NOW i understand why everyone said "Stay strong". Because out of nowhere, this became unbearable. 
My body is reacting well to the treatments. I am in almost complete remission and I still have 4 months of treatment left. I will definitely survive this. And I've been told the likelihood of the cancer ever returning is minimal. But somehow that doesn't make it any better. For some reason I can't ever stop crying. I feel like everything is falling apart. I want to be strong and beat this and do it with my head held high, but instead I am letting my cancer beat ME. 

Any helpful words would be much appreciated. 


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  • I always hated it when people told me to "stay strong" and "stay positive."  Not because I wanted to feel sorry for myself, but because when things got too hard I wanted to cry or get mad at times and then felt bad because I wasn't being strong.  I finally figured out that through this I was denying myself to feel and express my true emotions. When I needed to get mad, I allowed myself to get mad.  When I needed to cry I allowed myself to cry.  Sometimes everything has to fall apart but remember we can always put it back together or create something new. Remember you can do this and there is always support from all of us here.  It is so hard to see the end of this but it will come. When you're feeling down do something that always makes you smile.  For me it's taking a walk or watching funny youtube videos as well as looking at pictures of my puppy (I love dogs lol). I hope this helps a little!!
  • I think a lot of my problem was that I wasn't allowing myself to feel my emotions since this began. So it all kind of hit me at once. I know the only thing you can do is take it one day at a time, but some days are sooo much harder than others. But i really appreciate the advice! I think it would be good for me to find more things to fill my time with. More HAPPY things.
  • JUSTJUST Community Member
    edited August 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    The road you are on, is long and narrow. So many of the
    blessings and offerings will probably fall short. Many people come out
    of the woodwork to acknowledge your illness but most wont be there when
    you need it. But that's OK. As a spouse of an ovarian cancer
    survivor/patient (beat it last year/battling this year) I say take your
    moment to be down, or mad, or to have a good cry. Nothing is wrong with
    that. But when you're done, pick yourself back up and do what makes you
    feel good/happy. That is the hard part. Identifying what brings you joy
    nowadays. Keep your head up and your focus strong.

  • God, I’m so sorry. I don’t know if this helps and I’m definitely not trying to diminish what you’re going through – but I think every cancer patient has been there. It’s totally overwhelming. Totally draining. It’s ironic – I just (as in, days ago) read an article that might help you: https://reimagine.me/editorial/magazine/you-are-so-much-stronger-than-you-think. Like it was written of you. I hope it helps. And if it doesn’t, just remind yourself that like you said, you’re going to survive this and there IS life after cancer. 
  • Push through it and keep your mind strong. Thats how i do it, no one understand what us cancer patients go through so we have to remind ourselves that we face different obstacles.
  • I was diagnosed with Stage III Hodgkin's about two years ago. I had all of the same problems that you had, including the sleepy ovaries shot. Those hot flashes SUCKED. If it's any consolation, mine ended and now all of that is back to normal. I also gained a substantial amount of weight as a result and am still working to take it off. 

    I had a lot of those psychological hang ups as well. It's hard to be told you're gonna be fine when you feel terrible. The surgeon who put my port in always told me to "get angry" and that weirdly helped me a lot more than being told to stay strong.

    If you need anyone to talk one on one to, someone who's been down a similar road, feel free. I am very open with the whole experience and I am always willing to help out in any way that I can.

  • Greetings. First off, I'd like to congratulate you on the progress and effectiveness of your treatment. I just recently finished a pretty rough cycle of BEP chemotherapy for my testicular cancer (embryonal carcinoma) and understand how difficult the process can be.

    Even though I was declared "in remission" last week, I still have bouts of sadness and depression that come up when dealing with the side effects of the chemo treatment. During treatment, it was difficult to deal with the fatigue, nausea, and just generally crappy feeling in your body during the whole experience and now the hair loss, chemo rash, hot flashes, and swollen hands/fingers are a different type of difficult.

    My best advice is to not be ashamed or shy to spread your story along whatever channels you can (forums like this, social media, etc.). I did so in the hope that I might educate my friends regarding the risks of cancer in young adults (I'm 29 years old) and to encourage them to see their doctors annually to be checked. An invaluable side effect of this was that I received an overwhelming outpouring of support, love, prayers, encouragement, and kindness. I strongly believe that this is a large reason for why I am still alive today.

    I remember when I was first diagnosed with cancer that I cried longer than I had in my entire memory. The fight with cancer can be hopeless, dark, scary, difficult, and lonely. I understand that very well. Despite having a successful radical orchiectomy, finding out that the journey wasn't over and chemo was in my future almost led me to give up. Then, my father passed away after my first chemo treatment (a loooong 8 hour session) due to an accidental fall. Having the people that I love and that loved me around was the only thing that got me through the entire experience. Many hadn't yet dealt with cancer personally or through someone close to them, but their words, thoughts, and prayers still held just as much sway. It's important to not isolate yourself. The fight against cancer doesn't have to be fought by you alone.

    I still cry, often. It's hard to forget about such a draining experience. When you're told that you have a 1 in 5 chance of not making it through the next 2 years, it's hard to stay positive. That's why the people around me are so important to me. I find, now, that when I start getting upset over something negative, I can look back at all the messages people sent me and I can turn my tears into ones of happiness and love. It's okay to cry. Being a southern man raised to not express emotion, this was a tough lesson to learn but a necessary one.

    You can do this. If you believe it, it can happen. Just remember that you're not a statistic. Inner strength, perseverance, willpower, and hope cannot be quantified. This won't be easy, but the journeys that make us who we are will always be difficult. Best of luck. Good vibes and prayers sent your way. Hang in there!

    P.S.> I don't claim to be eloquent, so I also recommend watching a video on YouTube of Stuart Scott's ESPY speech. This speech was one of the catalysts to turn my viewpoint around into a positive one.

    "I listened to what Jim Valvano said 21 years ago. The most poignant seven words ever uttered in any speech anywhere. 'Don’t give up, don’t ever give up'."

    "So, live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you. That’s also very, very important. I can’t do this “don’t give up” thing all by myself. I’ve got thousands of people on Twitter and on the streets who encourage me."