It seems my fairly well established pattern of Lupron effects fading substantially six weeks after the injection has ended. This last week, week 7, has been one of the worst weeks of my life. Depressions that once started in the afternoon, but could be resolved by taking some Xanax and sleeping it off are mostly gone. Instead I have depressions that start in the early afternoon and torture me until I am finally so exhausted I collapse at night – even then fearing what awaits me when I wake. I am so ready and wiling to die. This isn’t a life.
I suspect many people find it very difficult, if not impossible, to imagine my depression. What could it be like? For me and I suspect most others in my situation, there are 2 elements: the past and the future. The past is the sum collection of everything “wrong” about me mostly from screwed up childhood stuff I incorrectly labeled as proof of my worthlessness – with great help from my parents. The future is the literally true nature of how hopeless things going forward “may be” (but in this state of depression I assume they “will be”).
In fighting the elements of the past, it’s all about convincing myself that those are inappropriate perceptions of a child driven by imperfect parents. I feel as if I’m doing a pretty good job of that. Fighting the future means trying to live in the moment, at least until the moment becomes unbearably painful. In this regard, I’m falling woefully short. I suffer from no direct cancer pain, only these Lupron induced depressions. The depressions produce enormous fears of how bad the pain and hopelessness can and will likely be. Oftentimes it’s hard to imagine that an early death wouldn’t be a more humane result. I find myself praying for a quick death, such as by a brain aneurism or at least something like kidney failure (a very good way to go I’m told).
The doctors all tell me the drugs can control the pain. The things I read in the press don’t jive with this at all. I’ve yet to read even one story where the drugs took away all the patient’s pain, and they talk about a blissful, untroubled period. I guess this could be that they live a horrible life nearly up to the end, have a pain free period, and then die before they recount anything about it.
In the near term I hope somehow, someway to get control of this Lupron depression. In the longer term I fear all my concerns are, in fact, right on target.
Right now the truth is that all I have is week 8. Hopefully, it will be more forgiving.
Just recently our phone answering base station gave up the ghost. The handsets appeared fine, but the base station would no longer take messages. I ordered a new base station with a model number that appeared to be compatible with our existing handsets. We received it in a couple days and I hooked it up. The older handsets wouldn’t recognize it. So off to the internet to see if there was something I could do to force recognition. To make a long story short it turned out there was a process to pair the old handsets to the new base. I just had to dig them out of the trash…
What’s note worthy about this experience was how upset I became.. It was bad enough I noticed it on my own. I’m a big believer that if one’s response to a situation is out of proportion to the event, there’s something else going underneath that’s trying to get out.
After a little thought about what was really bothering me, I realized it was fear that was a result of a meeting with one of my doctors earlier in the day.
This doctor sent a “letter of introduction” to a pain management specialist I’d asked about seeing. The letter described my situation and indicated I’d be calling for an appointment. He read the letter to me, so I’d know what info was communicated.
There was one part that really caught my attention. He wrote I had 2 years to live. Now, I currently tell folks that I have 2-4 years left. However, I realized from my reaction that I think of it as 4 years, not 2 years.. Having 2 years put out there as the possible end of my life with no mention of the 4 years scared the hell out of me. For some reason 4 years was far enough away that I was OK with it, but 2 years was way too close.
This all took place about 5 days ago and I’m back on my normal track. I suspect this experience helped me get a little more comfortable dying on the early side. I don’t really know what else to say, except that this dying business is trickier than I thought it would be.
We had another death in the family Saturday. I guess it should probably be called extended family, but for all purposes she was family. She was about 100 and her body just gave out. Thankfully the pain patches made it a peaceful end.
It was another in a recent line of deaths. My sister in law’s mother died two week ago, more or less. My brother in law’s best friend of many years and employee died not much later. My wife’s mother’s estate closed just a week back; she died a few months ago.
I’m not sure what to make of all this. I guess it’s just part of life. These things cluster. It’s also not clear how difficult it’s supposed to be to deal with these events. More to the point, how emotional one is to be.
If it’s a direct relative it’s pretty obvious, but once things start to get removed, it gets tricky. At the end of the day, of course, we feel what we feel, but along the way I think most of us, like me, try to convince ourselves the impact is minimal. Maybe someone says something that brings a quick tear to our eye, but it’s quickly removed under the guise of an eye irritation.
I guess all I can say for myself is this collection has deaths has changed my mind. Something very real was lost with all these folks’ deaths and none of us will every find it in someone else in our lifetimes. To be sure, some of the things we’ll find in others and ourselves in the future will be wonderful, but that doesn’t change the loss. I think it’s that permanence in loss that has me so sad.
It’s my second birthday and Christmas since I was diagnosed with stage IV prostate cancer. Pretty soon it will be the second New Year too.
Last year I wasn’t sure if I’d see any of the holidays this year. We hadn’t established how aggressive my cancer was at that point. Now we’re pretty sure it’s not particularly aggressive, so it appears I’ll likely see a few more Christmas holiday seasons. Exactly how many no one knows.
I do know I haven’t yet come to terms with my cancer, which really means my death. How? When I think about this birthday, Christmas, and New Year, there’s no feeling of being grateful to be able to experience it. Finding happiness, contentment, or peace seeing these milestones come and go is hard. Instead I find myself fighting back feelings of being a marked man wondering when the other shoe will drop – the time when I know my last birthday, Christmas, and New Year are upon me. Then I get concerned about not staying positive enough, that my negative feelings are going to hasten my demise. Fortunately, I’m able to regain control pretty easily, but it’s still unsettling and a clear indicator to me that I have a lot of work to do with this acceptance thing.
There are no surefire ways to get there and that worries me. I guess I’ll just keep pushing and see what happens.
I probably won’t be posting for the next couple weeks or so. Lisa and I will be off on vacation.
In case you’re wondering, I wound up on a slightly modified version of the last drug change. Those half days I referred to earlier were a killer. Very high levels of anxiety, so we had to do something. Things seem to be settling in now. Sometimes I wonder if there will ever be any real stability.