6 months Post IL op depression - Oesophageal Patie...

Oesophageal Patients Association
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6 months Post IL op depression

My husband had IL in jan 2019. He now eats well, little and often, dumping/nausea rare now, has put a little weight on too. Had a good holiday in Tenerife and seemed to be doing well. BUT...... he is now feeling depressed and although having some telephone counselling and taking an anti-depressant Sertraline, it doesn’t seem to be improving. Apparently these meds can make you feel worse before better, he is to see his GP in a couple of weeks. He is trying so hard, and as the day progresses his mood lifts a bit. I am not good with dealing with depression, so I feel useless and unable to help him. Any advice and tips would be great please. Thanks in advance, where would we be without this forum?!

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Hiya, I'm almost 6 years post op. It's very early days and he seems to to doing really well to have put on some weight and to have been on holiday! Sorry to hear about his depression. I'm sure counselling will help. Is there a local support group you both could go to, as I find my local one very helpful? You could also speak to someone at the OPA too. There's lots of us who have been through it and progress can be slow and frustrating but I'm sure with your help and support he will get there. Love Angi xx

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Thank you for getting back to me, we are members of our local OPA and attend the monthly meetings. It is very reassuring to read how others are progressing, my husband has read all the responses and I am sure it will help him. Thanks again xx

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I am nearly a year post IL and can understand how you both feel. The whole period of treatment (chemo, surgery, chemo in my case) is very busy and you’re constantly busy going here there and everywhere. When that daily structure ends it might be difficult. Everybody wants to move on but your suddenly left with gaps. I suggest you get your husband busy. Small things that give him structure now that he has beaten 👍🏼 Cancer. I have four or five local dog walks each with a coffee shop. I walk there, have a coffee and a rest then walk back. I. Listen to the radio while walking and spend most of my time shouting at the idiots on BBC. It’s time to get him back to normal. He’s beaten cancer. Get back to enjoying the life you both so richly deserve. Good luck. Tanktank

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Thanks for your positive words, all very true and it is good to see it written down. He has read all the responses and I am sure it will help him over the depression. Physically he is doing well so just the mental bit to sort now!! Thanks again

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Hi I can understand how he feels l, I have done really well I’m 10 years post op but I got to about a year and got depressed. It was part survivor guilt, (many that I had done the treatment with didn’t make it, the cancer came back) part grief for the life i had lost and would never be able to get back, (the job I had before was too demanding for my energy levels, 14 hour days were not an ongoing possibility.) part frustration at myself because the NHS had done a fabulous job physically and I couldn’t get the mental bit right. I didn’t have the same energy I had had, I had a constant brain fog, it was like thinking through treacle. Life was good but I was going to take some convincing of that. Every body was so pleased I was cured, they kept telling me how wonderful it was and I felt anything but. I also felt guilty I felt this way. I wanted to be back to normal and somehow that seemed to me to be a long way away. I found the tablets just increased my brain fog and made things worse for me. Counselling helped and I went to the support group too.

Ended up helping to run it.

It does get better but it takes time for some of us to adjust

Cheers Lizzy

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Thanks for getting back to me, you have just about said it all, so very true! He has read the replies and hopefully will start to turn a corner soon. He will discuss the tablets next week when he sees his GP. Many thanks once again x

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Wow he is doing very well, does he realise that only 30% of those diagnosed are able to have the op ? so he must owe it to those that were unable to have the I L to grab life with both hands and make what he has worthwhile, on behalf of those that were turned down.

I think you have done brilliantly with going on holiday, we have just had days out so far and I, probably only now, 1 year post have the courage to think about a holiday of 7 days or more.

good luck we must live and enjoy our life as much for the surgeons who spent their time and expertise performing it as well as for those that were unable to have the op.

Jeff

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Thank you for your response, my husband has read all the replies and he really does know how lucky he is, I am sure he is going to get his head round it all. You are absolutely right when you say he must grab life and enjoy every minute, life is so very precious isn’t it! Go ahead and book your holiday, if you plan to fly then arrange assistance at the airport etc. It’s free, we just told them that my husband had mobility issues and we got fast-tracked through check-in and on and off the plane and passport control etc. We took all meds etc and contact details for GP etc and all went well. With regard to travel insurance, if you or your wife are in receipt of a civil service pension (nhs, local govt, forces, education etc) you would be eligible to join the CSPA, Civil Service Pensioners Association and then access their travel insurance, it’s excellent! Good luck with everything and thanks again.

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Thanks, yes travel insurance was something I thought may be difficult but I'm ex Police I'll look into that. thanks for your reply.

Jeff

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I was given a book from Macmillan Nurses entitled

TRAVEL AND CANCER which is a recent publication and a wealth of information easily understood

(Worth a read even for those who are not at that stage of recovery)

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Brilliant Fizzy 35 thanks I will ask for one.

Jeff

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Very easy to join CSPA and the travel insurance is great, also you get lots of other discount offers too. Good luck and happy holidays!

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Thanks

Jeff

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I am 18 months post op and I completely understand how your husband feels. I never suffered with mental health issues before becoming ill but about 6 months after became really anxious and down. I am so grateful that I was able to be operated on and this added to me feeling guilty for feeling so down but it's something you can't control. I did contact the doctor who referred me for CBT therapy. This still hasn't taken place but I have found that time is a great healer. Your husband is doing so well and as time passes the horror of it all subsides and life does become normal again. If he can stay strong in mind and try and focus on good positive stuff and stay busy he will be fine. Tell him not to feel guilty for feeling like this as he has gone through hell but has come out the other side and life will get so much better just be patient.

I send my love

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Thank you, you have hit the nail on the head,he never had mental health issues until now, but he is trying so very hard, and together I know he’ll get there. He is having telephone Counselling and his GP is great. Thanks again,and love to you too x

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Hello there,

I am almost four years post op and I can honestly say that the depression has been with me on and off throughout. I call it the Black Dog, although I wish I wasn't familiar with him.

I think sometimes we have to accept that these things could be with us in the long term and it's a case of do your best to not let him get on top of you. I know easy to say not so easy to accomplish. I avoid taking any drugs for it because they have their own problems. I think if you have a partner who loves you you are already blessed, the best thing to try to do is sit down sometimes and try to count your blessings. And if you have a garden, try taking up a bit of gardening, it can be very therapeutic but not so as to strain yourself, just gently.

I'm lucky in that I have two cats who seem to uncannily sense when I am really down and make a big fuss of me.

The other thing is hobbies and interests, no matter what it is it will help you to take your mind off of your negatives. And try to keep a little busy, laughter is good for you so do your best to laugh a little.

Believe me, I am no expert but these are the things that help me and I hope you can find your own way through the worse of the 'Downs'

Good luck with it all

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Hi! Thanks for your response, it really is good to know that what he is going through is normal! He tries so very hard, and reads all the responses. This week he has started doing some gardening, something he enjoys. It definitely has helped him. We are lucky that we can talk to each other,(well actually I do most of the talking, but he listens! 😀😀)

Thanks again and all,the best for your continued recovery, hang in there!

PS cats are wonderful.

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