Hi Everyone,

I have only just found this site through the OPA Newsletter and what a great idea it is. I am 4 1/2 years post op. I had 3 sessions of chemotherapy before my op to remove my oesophagus and part of my stomach.

I read with great interest and sympathy Cherry Bailey's blog on depression as I too suffer from this. I was fine for the first 6 months after the op. However anxiety based depression crept up on me. This presents itself as nervousness and tension for which I am currently receiving therapy. I now have the depression somewhat under control however the anxiety continues to plague me. Does anyone else suffer from this and if so how did you cope with it ?

22 Replies

  • I think it would be helpful to know how other people cope with anxiety.

    I suspect that we all have different ways of coping with the inevitable anxiety. Depression is surprisingly common and we should not feel guilty or inadequate because we suffer from it; it is one of those illnesses that life throws at very many of us. We often need help to overcome it.

    We had a talk some while ago from Claire Hallas, and the notes from her talk are on the SOSG website, so that might be a start?

  • I agree depression and anxiety can creep up on you. I think I began to feel guilty for feeling depressed, after all I had had all the cancer removed and was no longer suffering from cancer. So I tried to put a brave face on it and not let my family and friends see how I was really feeling which just made everything seem so much harder to cope with. And the comment ' you look so well' really started to get to me.

    I am very lucky in having a very good GP who saw through my bravado and sent me for counselling. Not sure it is solving the depression but he made me realise I was suffering from depression, which made me feel better in a way knowing I wasn't imagining things, and he told me it was ok to feel the way I did after all I had been through a lot.

    I am becoming more honest about how I feel, and if I feel down I tell people who ask how I am. You see the shutters come up with some, and I have noticed those people don't ask anymore! But I have been surprised at the reaction of some friends when they have put their arms around me and given me a hug.

    I think we have to be more open and admit we are depressed.

    Hope my experiences have helped


  • Hi its me again, yes I also sometimes have depression never had in my life before i had the C', Yes I was alright at first, and I do feel Like I am someone else now, and even my wife seems not the same sometimes. But my Grandchildren bring me back.

  • I became depressed when I was told that there was no guarantee that the cancer would not come back,I feel stupid for feeling like this but its at the front of my mind all the time.

  • Yes same here it comes in waves, you feel that you are in a different place than the people you are with somtimes.

  • Isn't it comforting to know we are not alone? :-)

  • yes it is, it does seem that you are alone sometimes and this site has helped a lot

  • I agree with both comments,it is a comfort to know and it does feel very lonely sometimes even if you have got a loving family.I would do a smiley face but I cant do one,ha ha.

  • I am lucky in that I have two young children, who can help take my mind away from anxiety. When I do start to feel stressed, I now tell my wife, so she knows I might not be my usual self. Other things I do to break the cycle include music, gym, reading and watching comedies. The other important factor is getting a good nights sleep.

  • Hi Steve, re: anxiety: Yes! Me too. I lost my husband to cancer 3 years ago in November. When I was first diagnosed with mine (I knew deep down what it was anyway!) initially I was still so low that I nearly didn't even have the op. My daughters brought me to my senses and I obviously did, 16 months now. I now live alone and at times during the first months recovery period I could happily have "given up". I really touched bottom but gradually over the months found the inner strength to keep going. My daughters and my grandchildren are my greatest source of inspiration but the fear of cancer returning always lingers. On a practical level I have a tv in my room, radio and a kindle. If I wake worrying I try and put my mind onto something else and distract myself! I also mentally imagine cancer as a "blob" that I put into a special cupboard and shut and lock the door on it. Sometimes the door isn't locked properly and it pops out but the visualising usually helps! I've had sleeping tablets and the odd course of tamezapan in the past year if I've felt overwhelmed by anxiety but have never been offered councelling. I sometimes feel as though I have lived with fear for 10 years now, starting with my husbands cancer. He always used to say "we have today, nothings going to happen today so lets enjoy it" and I say that to myself often. It's very hard though and I don't think I have ever shared my feelings like this before! I guess we all have to find a way of "managing" or "coping" but being able to share these feelings with each other is brilliant.I feel that unless you have stood in someones shoes it's very hard to understand what their trying to deal with. I have an xray tomorrow as I have a lump on my can imagine what my minds doing of course but my GP thinks its just arthritis so fingers crossed!


  • Let me know how you get on Charlie, I'll be thinking about you

    Edwina XX

  • How did you get on Charlie? Relating to what you said, agree this web site is so good, sharing our feelings! Can you talk to a g.p ask for councelling if you think it will help. Good luck, keep positive!

  • Good luck Charlie.

  • I'm due to have the op in 10 days so nobody is more depressed than me. The best advise I can give is that when the depression starts, do something. Anything. Charlie 36 above says the same thing. You need to get the mind focused on something else. Going for a long walk I find beneficial.

  • I thought it might be helpful to give this link to the text of a talk given to the OPA in 2004 by Kate Morton. I have tacked it on to the end of the web page about Coping with Symptoms. It is a long document to go on to the internet, but there are some parts of it that some people might find very useful.

  • Steve I too have had the anxiety, put it down to loss of confidence. Got a lot better over time, thinking it will get even better with more time, councelling and this web site.

    Like everyone the journey, what we have all been through, going through, cant be explained enough!

    I feel nervous, tension mainly when I go out the front door. I am getting there, time again, try not to let it stop me visiting my family, have a holiday. (Not easy)

    Thankfully it is normal for you, us to feel like this!

  • Thanks Cherry, your advice is most welcome. I'm pretty lucky I manage to get out most days for a walk, that helps but anxiety is still a problem maybe it will get better in time.

  • Hi,

    I've had Hashimoto's thyroiditis for the past 14 years, and the past year my anxiety has taken a sharp turn for the worse, and in addition for the past year, for the first time in my life, I have struggled with bad depression. I'm post-menopausal, and I think for me the increased anxiety is due to a number of things stemming from the aging process. Three-and-a-half months ago I started a serious multi-pronged effort: began using USP progesterone cream (I'm progesterone-deficient); overhauled my diet (gluten-free, chemical-free, organic (no fluoride, chlorine, preservatives, hormones in meat, etc.); only "good" sugars; supplement pregnenolone; take ALL recommended vitamins and minerals including enough methyl B-12, D3, ferritin, methyl-folate, magnesium; a high quality B vitamin (many of the B vitamins are VERY important in controlling depression, including B6), selenium, zinc.

    I also work on healing the gut - make and drink bone broth and take a good probiotic. My mother-in-law had lupus and was ALWAYS worried and anxiety-ridden. I think immune disorders exacerbate anxiety.

    "The Magnesium Miracle," a book by Carolyn Dean, might be helpful.

    I hope this helps. I wish you healing!

    Ms. Klagh

  • Hi Ms Klagh.

    As you can probably see that was 4 years ago and I am very glad to say that my Depression and anxiety are behind me. I have been slowly improving for the last 18 month's and I am almost back to normal, if there is such a thing. I did go through 5 years of absolute hell and I am aware that the "Black Dog" can always put in an appearance again but I never dwell on that. I really do feel lucky that I'm feeling better, there was a time when I thought that I would be like this for ever. I have to say the depression and anxiety was far worse that the Cancer or the surgery I went through. I hope you get over all your problems and I also wish you healing.

  • So happy for you! Hope your path to wellness continues with no obstacles.

  • Thank you Ms Klagh. I wish the same for you too.

  • Just wanted to add - I also had surgery to remove a melanoma a year ago, it was deemed to be cancerous. The surgery successfully removed it, I'm told.

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