Noticing New Addictions

Posted By
7/31/2010 8:03pm
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Replies: 11


As you all know, I have had four melanomas and a SNB, all clear and still stage 1. I was a pretty balanced person before this, no pills or alchohol or really anything. All my friends used to joke that I was "naturally high." Since my last melanoma over a year ago, things have started to change. Not only I am on Cymbalta, at a high dose, but I am now drinking like a fish. I am also using food as an addiction. What happen to the balance! Has anyone else gone through anything similar?


Joan C - (7/31/2010 - 8:49pm)

 Are you on Cymbalta for depression?  Or anxiety?   I would hope that you are also seeing a therapist, as IMHO, medications are good short-term help, but most everything I have read indicates that they should be used in concert with therapy for good long term solutions to stress.

When you say, "drink like a fish" do you mean you're thirsty all the time, or you are drinking alcohol?  Is alcohol contraindicated on Cymbalta - on most SSRI type drugs alcohol is discouraged, but I am not sure if Cymbalta is an SSRI.  I do know dry mouth is often a medication side effect, so that may account for general thirstiness.


As to new addictions, again I would think this is something to talk to a counselor about.  Perhaps it is your way of coping with the melanoma diagnoses, but hopefully he/she can help you find a better way to live with that.

Yes to using food as an addiction. I've been out of my mind with eating this pass month and want to blame steroids. I was just thinking, I have never spent so much money on food in one month ever before. I went to lunch with one of my sons today and for the first time in a month I got full and brought home left overs.  I m on the cut down plan with the steroids and hope to be off of them soon.

I have a stash of pain meds that I keep locked up in my safe...just in case....I did start taking them on a regular basis this past week now that you mention it and i feel a whole lot better. I want to say that I'm still in recovery mode and need them But really I can also say I  want them. So to answer your question honestly...yes ..this past  month  I have been using something in one form or anohter...oh...and I did just start seeing a conselor within the past 2 wks & she gave me Lyrica that is for nerve & bone damage pain. Onco said it wouldn't hurt me to take it so I am, they are working and I like far.

Hey...where's the spell check on this thing? I guess my post are gonna have typos (like the barf I posted earlier, what a bone-head) plz read between the lines:)

love ya, Sharon in Reno, Stage IV

To Thy Own Self Be True & Move Fast When You "Know" You Have To!!

Carver - (7/31/2010 - 9:35pm)

Everything I've read and heard is that if pain meds are only used to treat pain there is very little chance of addiction. The problem is when they are used beyond what is needed for pain. I've been on pain management for 5 years since my groin LND because of a myriad of physical problems I've had since then. I don't drink except for a few times a year for special occasions but that's mostly because there is something about the chemistry with alcohol and pain meds that affects how the brain processes the pain meds and heavy drinking while on pain meds can lead to addiction. This is a fast and dirty explanation from what I've learned. I'm stage III and am not treating cancer pain. There are people that can handle alcohol as well as pain med and I think it depends on the circumstance but when I was told I would probably always need pain management, I made the decision to limit alchohol to rare occasions. I suspect though if I had active cancer I might be adding to the special occasions when I allow myself to drink. Like, oh, this is a special suset I need to toast with a glass of wine, ha.

For me it's not so much of noticing new addictions as it is noticing big changes. Because of pain it hasn't been possible for me to keep jogging and doing the types of activity that kept my weight down so I've gained a LOT of weight since my melanoma dx. I don't think I eat more but I eat the same as when I burned a lot of calories jogging and swimming and I don't do those activities any more.

Take care and best of luck, Carver


"A closed mind is a wonderful thing to lose"

Carver, And you  still look better than you seem to thank. Remember I've seen you in person!

I'm me, not a statistic. Praying to not be one for years yet.

Carver - (8/3/2010 - 9:47am)

Thanks Jerry, I appreciate that!

"A closed mind is a wonderful thing to lose"

jag - (8/3/2010 - 12:35pm)

 Sharon, it's the steroids, I too ate like an animal and gained 20-30lbs on them.  I have gotten back to my pre steroid weight, but Merry used to joke that not only would I finish my and her dinner, I would also eat all of the old stuff that was canned in the cabinets (the stuff you normally would donate to Christmastime food banks).  Don't stress too much about the appetite, just eat less calorie dense foods like greens, whole grains, and vegetables.  There are diet books that lets you design your eating based on glycemic index that are also healthy.  Carrots and Green Beans come to mind for snacks.  Fill you up, with low calories.  Stay away from Cheesecake Brownies and Ice Cream.

Take care, and, well, don't blame yourself for eating like a Labrador retriever.

Insert Generic Inspirational Motto Here


Not that I didn't have a little bit of an addictive personality before MM got tough with me. But, in 2003 when I advanced to stage 3, my life was pretty tidy. I did a party (I AM  a musician) but I was also in great shape. I was extremely careful about my diet, and had a stringent work out routine.

In 2003 when I went on interferon, I quit drinking entirely, and..didn't really eat much either. I lost a lot of weight on interferon but I also quit lifting, quit all of my exercise routines, because I was just too exhausted all of the time.

After interferon it was like I went on a 'celebration diet' I began eating and drinking like crazy. The Champagne and Brie diet I called it. I gained 50nev lbs, and I have not lost it. I'm at my highest weight ever, and still don't exercise.

When I advanced to stage 4, I got even worse.

I still function well in my life. I nursed my stepmom thru the end of her battle with Pancreatic cancer, never missed a gig, and  I've worked very hard with the band gettng our CD finished and produced and printed this year. But I drink every day. AND..I eat whatever I feel like eating with no concern about the consequences.

It's like I don't even care about heart disease or diabetes anymore..sure that melanoma will get me first.

I don't think it's that uncommon either. It's true that SOME people face cancer by getting extra healthy their routines. They become vegetarians, go on macrobiotic diets, will only eat organic and become exercise fanatics. I've done the opposite..and I imagine plenty of others do the same.

Maybe part of it has to do with the fact that I WAS so healthy when I advanced. I WAS eating right and being moderate and exercising, and it SO did not work fo me..that I have no faith in that path, so it doesn't call to me anymore.

Instead..I guess I am in that 'grab each moment' camp. I go to festivals every weekend and play music for 8 hours..and for 3 or 4 of those hours, I'm drinking whisky and howling at the moon.

Anonymous - (8/3/2010 - 2:25pm)

After my diagnosis I was depressed and frightened all throughout spring and summer. I was terrified of the sun and hid in my house during the day, just sitting and reading everything I could find about mel on the internet. I gained about 7 maybe 8 pounds in the following 6 months and smoked more than usual. I developed a wheeze and terrible cough.

After 6 months I became disgusted with myself and did an about face. Right after Labor Day I started dancing with weights for exercise and started to eat healthy. I quit my 50+ year smoking addiction and still I managed to lose a few pounds in spite of quitting smoking. Several months later I ruined my right knee while dancing and high kicking, but still managed to keep the weight down over the winter months. I substitued the eating and smoking addiction with chewing gum addiction. Not good when you have lost most of your lower teeth and a partial torques against the remaining anchor teeth when chewing gum. I quit that addiction too this spring, I credit an expensive (to me) new wardrobe and strong resolve to look good.

This summer I planted trees, shrubs and flowers and just a few weeks ago adopted a small dog from the SPCA whom I walk 2-3 times a day.

I refuse to cower indoors and deprive myself of the things I have always loved and enjoyed.

I refuse to let fear rule me. If I get hit by a car, die in a plane crash, get a different cancer or the mel spreads, well so be it. In the meantime I will live my life to the fullest and enjoy whatever is left to me. There is no do-over and I don't want any regrets.


Joan C - (8/4/2010 - 9:10pm)

I'm hoping to hear back from the original poster.  He/she was stage I, so I don't think that steroids or other heavy duty MM drugs are part of their picture.  


I guess the original poster may be having some tough times psychologically with the MM diagnosis, and that col cause the depression or whatever.  Still hoping to hear whether alcohol is the problem or just frequent thirst instead.

washoegal - (8/4/2010 - 11:12pm)

I don't think any of your "new addictions" could be attributed to melanoma directly.  Attributed to stress/anxiety, sure.  Talk to a professional before you spiral out of control.  Having dealt with depression for 15 years, I know how easy it can be to ignore mental problems and let them build until you are controlled by them. 



Stage 3

Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living.

Everymoment - (8/16/2010 - 11:35pm)


Sorry that it has taken so long for me to get back with you. I am on anti-anxiety medication for depression. I have recently decided to back off and only take half of the dose because my behavior is irrational. I feel "different" but something has got to change. What is that say...something like being stupid is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result. I need to make a change before the change is made for me. I will keep the board updated.