Monday, September 9, 2013

Stage 4 Lung cancer depression and the whipping post

from Facebook … Jackie  to Patrick Leer

"haven't seen anything by you in a few days... hope all is well as possible. Hang in there and keep the faith!! Hi to Megan and tell her to take a few minutes and breathe.... "

Patrick to Jackie ... Round 4 of Chemo (carboplatin + almita) is worse since Chemo began in June ... remember an old Almman Brothers song 'Tied To A Whipping Post"? ... 

"Sometimes I Feel ... Sometimes I Feel ... Like I've Been Tied To The Whipping Post ... Good Lord I Feel Like 'I'm Dying'…”

... minus the long hair, guitars and about 40+ years that about captures this week ... with blood counts crashing … I found myself anemic as the week ended and ‘qualified’ for my third blood plasma transfusion since chemo began, three months ago.. 

… anemic + chemo fatigue + chemo fog is not only a constant risk of physically falling but also episodes of falling asleep sitting at a table trying to eat … the danger in falling is what I may hit so I find myself as anemia worsens positioning myself more to prevent falls than function.

Loss of wheelchair van and my failing ability to transfer Patti created the first week in months where I could not visit with Patti … … truth be told as readers may have noticed chemo fog was so bad I have not even been able to post … 

OK! … No Mas! No Mas! …. accepting that ‘quality of life’ is increasingly as challenging daily as trying to outlive lung cancer … I added mental health to my team this week … adding a psychiatrist and an anti-depressant (Lexapro) to my meds.

It has been one helluva roller coast week … sooo looking forward (at the risk of sounding like a vampire) for some blood plasma today.

Patrick Leer
Health Activist:
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @


  1. Depression is huge during chemo, speaking only of my experience. My friend, Bo, had asked my doc to prescribe something for anxiety (for me, not him!! haha). I found myself taking them about 15 minutes before taking the cisplaten (I had such a hard time with it!!) and on the days I couldn't do anything but cry. It's not a weakness, it's living! You do what you have to do to get through it all, whatever it takes!!

    It's all so hard to do alone... it's all so hard to do with help...

    It's just hard to do... You need to know you have people from all over rooting for you!!

    BTW, do you take any vitamin D??

    1. I just added Vitamin D to my OTC supplements ... "whatever it takes" Amen!! ... though interestingly some people I used to know simply do not get support

    2. I found it most interesting during my chemo treatments who volunteered to take me to treatments (usually the least expected persons!!), who backed away from me (again, the least expected), who, when asked to help, would not help me. All very confusing during a confusing time.

      I started taking Vitamin D maybe a year before my cancer was found. I had been on the low side of general blood work a couple of times. During and after chemo, I increased the IU's and all docs agree it would not hurt me. It is one thing I feel strongly that has been very beneficial. But, who knows?? Oh, that and laughing... I think that helps a lot.... Bo is always good at making me laugh...

      Linda, one of the funniest things that happened was on the night after my first treatment. I had taken my regular night meds and the anti-anxiety med. Bo always takes a "boat-load" of night meds and he had taken them that night too. After we had taken our meds, he decided (after I had complained about my hair), that he would give me a hair cut. AND I AGREED TO IT!! OMG, we laughed so hard that night!! The next morning, he came to my room and said, "I think I dreamed I cut your hair, but I see it wasn't a dream!!" We still laugh about that!! It was actually a good cut! AND the first time he had ever cut someone's hair!!

      May we all be "C" free someday!

  2. Oh Patrick-I am sorry your having such a hell week. I had to giggle reading Jackie's post about taking a anxiety med. I started taking them when I was diagnosed(because I was a wreck) and have kept on them ever since. I really should have been on them for years. I'm as stubborn as they come- but after cancer, I see everything different now. Quality of Life is what it's all about. No more guilt, shame or worrying about the little things. Life is too short for that. Just know I am out here in cyberspace holding you up spiritually. You are doing great getting through these trials. You are an inspiration to all cancer survivors. You will Kick cancer's a--!!!!!!if I have anything to do with it.

    1. Linda thanks for the chuckle .. I too was given an RX for Ativan by my primary care nurse practitioner after original DX for Stage 1 Lung Cancer because sometimes even 'a guy' like me might need a little help :) ... with so many different mental health RX'a prescribed by different professionals since my DX jumped to Stage 4 with brain mets I wanted a psychiatrist to review ... and IMHO probably is a critical part of my team in this 'quality of life'stage of trying to outlive lung cancer

  3. I am glad to hear you met with a psychiatrist. It does get so confusing with all the different meds that come at you. Oh, and by the way Patrick-I took and still take supplements. I couldn't take some of them during chemo, but after treatment I started a regimen with my natural path/chiropractor. I am still taking them till this day and I believe strongly they helped my immune system and kept me cancer free all these years. It cost a little money but it's worth staying cancer free. You just keep that upbeat attitude Patrick and keep telling yourself 'you will beat this.' Words are Power which I can tell you already know. I continue to keep you in my prayers and thoughts.