Depression, or as Nancy’s Mom – Gobby – used to call it “The Depresh.” You are likely going to have to deal with it at some point, or several points, in your diagnosis, treatments and recovery.
It can hit you in many ways, starting with the obvious “holy crap, I’ve got cancer” to the general Depresh that creeps in as you wage your daily fight to try to feel better and not succeeding at it. Then there’s the great one about going back to work fifteen years ago after you have recovered sufficiently from your stem cell transplant and the President of the Board takes you out to lunch to tell you they will not be renewing your contract. Also, it would be best if you don’t return to the office because it will make everyone feel uncomfortable knowing that your work decisions don’t matter since you won’t be continuing with the company at the end of your contract. I learned they had decided they “couldn’t afford to have an Executive Director that was going to die on them.” Nice!
I saw that when Robin Roberts returned to her job at Good Morning America after her stem cell transplant, they had all of the Muppets come on the show and welcome her back. Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that for everyone.
Including when I was diagnosed with Leukemia and began my year and a half of treatments, my employer had to let me go because they needed to have a fundraiser on staff, and I couldn’t do it. Not that I blame them, but it was still pretty crushing losing a job with an organization that I loved.
Then there’s the Depresh that follows the joy of “hey, I am still alive” with looking at your one hundred thirty-five pound self in the mirror. You look like an escapee from a prison camp!
So, not only are you fighting to regain some normalcy with your health, but you also have to find a new job to help support your family. And we all know how much fun that can be as you get older. We also know that you have to keep a positive outlook when you are doing the job search. Good luck with that! But the truth is you’ve simply got to do it.
You HAVE to share these feelings with your doctor. They see this all the time with their patients and they have a great range of drugs that can help lighten up the Depresh. And there is no shame in taking these drugs! Let’s be crystal clear on this – there is no shame in taking these drugs! They are mostly mild, you won’t get addicted and you won’t be on them forever. But you won’t be able to move forward without them. Trust me, I know.