I moved back to Texas in February, and I was hoping it would make a difference for my mental state. You see, since 2014, when I found that lump in my breast and had chemo and radiation treatments, I’ve been on anti-depressants. I have a ton of after-effects from the treatments–essential tremors, Raynaud’s, peripheral neuropathy, thyroid issues that they can’t seem to get regulated, low grade CHF, and arthritis. All of this piled up and had me crying every day for a long time. My PCP put me on anti-depressants. They kept me from committing suicide, but they didn’t really make me feel better.
It was difficult–first I had my surgery and oncology families. After 6 months I lost my surgery family and gained the cancer center family. I went from chemo to radiation and a whole new “family.” Three months later, I lost the cancer center family and gained the physical therapy family (I needed PT to help me get the lymphadema in my right arm under control). I still had my oncology family, but I only saw them once every 6 months now. I went from seeing one family or another every day or at least every other day to one family every 6 months.
Colorado is a very expensive place to live, and I found the people there to be very unfriendly. Even the people I worked with were stand-offish. The few people I made friends with at work ended up leaving after a short time–my boss was a total freak! She even threw her phone at one guy who worked with us for about a week… After the problems from treatment made it more and more difficult for me to go to the office every day, I started to work remote from home. As things got worse, I ended up on disability (I wrote about that a while ago).
Anyway, my disability benefits ran out in April. Moving back to Texas was a great opportunity to buy back my old house with an affordable payment. It was also a great opportunity to get back to my good friends and neighbors, and a wonderful support system that I sure didn’t have in Colorado.
After a couple of months back in Texas I decided I wanted to try to stop the anti-depressants. Six years was long enough, and I feel so much better here. I can get out and walk, and my neighbors are always there to help if I need them. And I can do little things for them to thank them–wine, cheese and crackers, beer bread, banana bread, little things that I could actually do. We get together and enjoy an evening. Lots of laughter and caring. I got an inflatable hot tub where I can do water exercises. My back yard is a forest with lots of birds and animals. It’s HOME!
So, my PCP agreed that I should give it a try. I cut the pills in half for two weeks, then quit taking them altogether. I feel so much better! At first I did tend to cry more easily, but that went away within a week. Now, I’m dancing in the living room to old Rod Stewart songs! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EzV-S5nXlw Just see if you can listen to that song and sit still!
I still have chemo brain, and all of the other after-effects, but they don’t make me as miserable as they did. The biggest problem is with the heat lately. Spending time outside can make it hard for me to breathe, and I sweat a lot! But it’s a small price to pay to be happy and non-depressed! Soon, the weather will be better and I can get outside and do all of the exploring I wanted to do when I moved back here.
So, I know you have to be wondering how this could have happened. As my PCP told me, “Texas is a state of mind!” And I’m HOME!