Posted By: SonOfTCMom Ways to console depressed OC survivor - 06-02-2021 12:02 AM
From my post in the other thread, some of you probably know that my mom was diagnosed with Stage 2 Tongue Cancer and is starting treatment.

She has never set foot in a hospital before (even for childbirth). So the combination of "first time nerves", cancer diagnosis, her overt focus on the stress she's causing her caregivers (my dad mainly, and me) and other problems with our family situation (I, her son, haven't settled down in life, my dad has health issues himself etc etc) mean that she's extremely depressed.

It's heartbreaking to hear end-of-life talk from someone who has been a cheerful, bubbly, positive character for most of my life. How do I console her? This is all the more terrifying because she just barely started treatment -- from what I've read online, it doesn't look good at all for the next coming months (chemo, rads and side effects etc).

I'm trying to be positive but I've been diagnosed with depression myself in past so I'm not the warm center I ought to be (for her sake). It all feels very dark and suffocating. Just where do we derive the inspiration and positivity from?
Posted By: gmcraft Re: Ways to console depressed OC survivor - 06-02-2021 10:29 PM
I’m sure your mom is scared. No one wants to be told the diagnosis is cancer and the treatment plan and side effects. If she is at a cancer center, she should have access to the Guidance Department. When my husband was in treatment, a volunteer at the hospital told me to trust the doctors, that they know what they are doing. She also told me to go talk to someone at the Guidance Department.

Other than that, I found that the best way of dealing with the stress is to take it one day at a time. If John had to have an MRI, then we went but we did not then allow our minds to fly to the results on that day. We had to wait for the doctor’s visit and then we would be told. There was no point in fretting as it would only exacerbate the stress. The mindset took me through multiple tricky situations over three years. That’s probably the best way to deal with it.

Wishing you all the very best!
Posted By: Nels Re: Ways to console depressed OC survivor - 06-07-2021 10:02 PM
Dear Son of TC Mom

So sorry you are both going thru this. It is scary. I went thru Stage 4 surgery and radiation treatment last year. They took basically half my tongue and all my lymph nodes on the associated side of my neck. The doctors, of course, have to warn you of all the potential negative results. Which makes it even scarier.

Recovery from surgery was intense but quicker than that from radiation. I could see improvement nearly every day after surgery but radiation was more like every week or longer. Radiation also wasn't as intense a process. But, I am happy to share with you that I am a year out and most people would never know unless I told them. My speech is pretty good and I can eat most foods again. My scars healed fairly well.

Some of the tools that helped my mood. Weekly calls or zoom meetings with different friends and family. Journalling/writing both my thoughts and my medical notes. Practicing faith and prayer (different for most, so whatever that means to you). Yoga, walks, jogging, surfing, biking, whatever your favorite way is to get outside and experience the joy of nature. Dancing. I would play my favorite music in the hospital and do a super simple dance next to the bed while hooked up to all those sensors and drain tubes, etc. Who cares what i look like at this point. Reading stories of others and how they made it thru similar.

Please also know there are counselors and specialists who can help with the stress and fear of all this. Everyone's path is different. Try a lot of different things and hopefully you will find a few that help.

Keep us up to date on how everything is going.

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