CURE Community Vlogs: How One Woman Found Her Way Out of Depression Following Metastatic Breast Cancer

July 26, 2020

After being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, nurse Stephanie Walker was thrown into a world of isolation and new depths of depression she “never knew even existed”. Here, she details how working with a therapist and communicating with her family and friends helped her find her way out of the darkness.

After being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, nurse Stephanie Walker was thrown into a world of isolation and new depths of depression she “never knew even existed”. Here, she details how working with a therapist and communicating with her family and friends helped her find her way out of the darkness.

Transcription:

Yeah, it threw me into depression, in a deep, dark place I never knew even existed. It was hard. It was really, really hard, to the point to where I even contemplating harming myself, that's how bad it was because I knew if I did that, my husband would be okay because we had a lot of life insurance. I just knew that he would be really good, instead of (facing) mounting medical bills, and he's older than I am and having to take care of me when he wasn't able to. I was blessed that I don't have anyone else in the home, it was just me and my husband, and at the time we had a dog.

But it was hard. I realized I needed somebody to talk to and I was fortunate enough that the palliative care team that I was seeing at my facility noticed that as well, and gave me a referral to talk to somebody. So it was, it was hard for me to even do that. Because as a nurse, I'm supposed to fix things, you know, I'm supposed to make things better. And you always have the connotation in your mind that going to see somebody, to talk to somebody about your feelings makes you weak. Mostly women do that, they don't want to go talk to nobody, because they're the ones that are the nurturers and when they're supposed to take care of everybody else, but I'm glad I did.

(My therapist) yanked me out of the bowels of hell, literally, and I was able to deal with some things that I thought I had dealt with in the past and covered them up. She was a lifesaver. She was truly a lifesaver and I recommend that highly, because you don't have to sit there and be miserable or be indoors with the curtains pulled, in bed.

I did have family or friends to help. I have my husband is mentally supportive. But sometimes on the flip side of that is, he reads my face. Because I have one of those faces that, if I really think you're stupid, it kind of shows on my face (laughs). I can't hide it, I've never been able to do that. Actually, (with) my pediatric intensivist, when I would go fly to pick up patients, we would practice a little bit. If he would say something stupid, I had to pretend it didn't bother me, because I would really look at the doctors at the other facilities like (makes face, laughs).

But anyway, I would always tell John the truth, but there's times I wouldn't always tell John everything, because he would worry. And he worries to the point sometimes where it makes me sad that he's worried.

And I have adult children. They were told, they understood, they were very supportive. And I happen to have an adult daughter, one of my daughters is a nurse, so she got it. Very supportive.

Also, on Facebook, on social media, I have an amazing, absolutely amazing, support team. It's called Team Stephanie, and there are like 300-some people in that group that offer me support. Just kind words that you read, they’re so heartfelt. And the text messages that I get from past nursing students that I used to teach… that's where I get my “get up and go” kind of support from.


x