Caught in the box....

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Caught in the box....

Postby dianaiad » Fri Mar 09, 2018 3:31 pm


Long 2000 I began bleeding very, very heavily because of menopause. I got so anemic that I was choosing my fast food places by the quality of the ice. Now the symptoms of anemia that severe can be; heart palpitations, fatigue, lack of interest in anything, mood swings, know. all that good stuff.

They fixed the bleeding problem, but did NOT help the anemia. Instead, they sent me to a psychologist and psychiatrist who didn't pay attention to the severe blood loss/anemia, and started throwing the pharmacy at the symptoms. Heart palpitations? Why....panic attacks and atavan. Mood swings? Take anti depressants. Lots of them. Of course, all the pills had side effects that were managed by giving me more pills to conquer those side effects, and which produced more side effects.

In a year I was so medicated that I couldn't think. I couldn't remember a phone number long enough to dial it. I couldn't speak without stuttering. I couldn't walk straight....and yes, I was seriously thinking about suicide. One day I woke up and decided that I was either going to live, or die, but I'd do it without all the pills. I threw them all away. Cold turkey.

..................and no, I do NOT recommend that. Telling this story to my docs NOW make them all blanch. ;) ) As it happens, though, it had been a year since they'd stopped the bleeding and my anemia was gone, so getting rid of all the pills was a good thing. I went back to college, got three degrees, taught school, and lived a very good life.

EXCEPT of course that from then on I was stereotyped. I go in with 'shortness of breath?" Why, I'm having a panic attack, NOT asthma or pneumonia. I can't sleep? Why, I'm depressed...throw ambien at her. I soon learned that going to the doctor was an exercise in futility. No matter what was physically wrong with me, the first 'go to' was 'depression,' a pat on the head and an attempt at prescribing some anti-depressant or tranquilizer.

Five years ago my PC saw that I was getting anemic again. She already knew my opinion of people who just assumed that a middle aged fat widow is depressed, not 'sick.' So she sent me to a hematologist for more tests.

Turns out, I had Multiple Myeloma, bone marrow cancer. That's not curable. It's MANAGEABLE, as in, I could very easily have 15 to 20 very good years and I'm already 68. That's not exactly catastrophe, y'know? The treatments suck, but....(shrug) you deal with it. Bone marrow transplants, lots of's just stuff.

The problem is now two fold for me: first, it turns out that heavy chemotherapy can cause peripheral neuropathy...and guess what some of the best treatment for that is?

You got it; anti-depressants.

Then of course, when one is terminally ill, one can GET depressed, and one can need some help coping.

When I get the atavan for nausea, or the anti-depressant for PN, the stereotype is RIGHT BACK. I could be wearing a huge red sign on my forehead: SHE'S DYING OF CANCER AND TAKING THIS STUFF FOR SOMETHING ELSE!" the reaction is, again....she's not right in the head, she's depressed, we don't have to look any further to see what the problem is. Just throw a pill at the problem and she'll go away.

I don't dare go ask for help with depression caused by cancer, because....that's all anybody sees; It stops at 'depression,' and 'they' don't go further to see why I should BE depressed. I'm being treated for the wrong thing. Again.

When a pharmacist gives me the instructions for taking atavan or whatever, those instructions are for depression and anxiety, NOT peripheral neuropathy and nausea.

there was an old joke that I'm not sure is all that funny any more; the head stone that reads "I TOLD YOU I WAS SICK!"

I AM frustrated....and what is more frustrating than anything is that I know that my cancer IS causing some depression, I DO need help....and I don't dare go ask for any because the CAUSE will be ignored. Oh, she is depressed, we don't have to worry about anything else....

Sorry for the rant, but I'm so tired of this.

I'm especially tired because depression as a disease on its own is VERY real and very serious. It's NOT a 'catchall' category that doctors can throw people (mostly women) into when they don't have time to investigate further.

But it's being treated that way.

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Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:47 am
Location: Argentina, [email protected]

Re: Caught in the box....

Postby DiegoArgentina92 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:29 pm

Hi, couldnt read all your message in detail, just wanted to tell you someone at least read some, if that helps you :| :roll: :D . Let me know if you need to talk with someone. good luck, hope you doing ok.

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Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2018 1:12 am

Re: Caught in the box....

Postby Ire » Fri Oct 26, 2018 1:57 am

I'm am sorry to hear what happened to you.

I've seen it so many times, "oh, it will probably just go away (some kind of pain/numbness). Oh, well, have tried getting more sleep? eating better? that might help. More exercise? We could try anti depressants." It isn't very encouragin/hopeful.

My mom was recently diagnosed with a uterus cancer (she's fine now), but she was showing signs of it for a long time (a couple years) and they were dismissed many times until they became more severe. It is frustrating.

I myself have many health problems, (overall, I would just quickly describe it as feeling shi**y physically 99% of the time and mentally 70% of the time). After some blood work and an mri when I was 12 they deemed it chronic fatigue. Since then (15yrs) my symptoms have gotten worse and new ones have arrived. (I'm pretty sure my 82yr old grandparents are healthier than me). I have been upgraded to chronic fatigue/fibro myalgia now, yay... But whenever I express concerns about something it is often just attributed to that. The only treatment I am offered is lifestyle changes (I have been following them all well for the last 2 yrs since I haven't been able to work and have a bit more time), and anit depressants. And neither have made any difference (except for aditional negative side effects from the anti depressants).
The lack of progress despite much effort is extremely depressing (for me). I'm thinking the only way to fix myself now is to become a doctor myself. >.> But probably not, there is probbaly nothing to be done. Sorry for the long rant.

It seems the only one ever truly on your side is yourself, and many other people are quick to discard concerns. The only way is to be persistent I guess. You did good, you finally found what appears to be the source.

I hope you can find a doctor who will listen to you, and believe you when you say something is causing a problem. (Maybe try a young/new doctor who might not be burnt out. They may be more willing to devote some energy and thought to your case and may also be less likely to think "they know it all".)

P.S. I don't mean to be hard on doctors, I think they have a very difficult job in so many aspects, and so many things are uncertain when diagnosing (the body is very complex).

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