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Help with a friend's anxiety?

Phred

Senior Member
Messages
141
Hi everyone,

I have a friend who has terminal cancer. It's called gist (Gastrointestinal stromal tumors). She was given her 5 year all clear remission, then 6 months later they found 9 tumors!

The first time she had the cancer she was given about 9 months to live. She accepted this and carried on with her life. Then she went into remission and she started planning her future.

This time around she's finding it much more difficult. She's much more anxious than the first time. So much so she's ready to jump out of her skin.

I was reluctant to give her methylation supplements because I didn't know if it would speed up the progression of the cancer. She became desperate and we agreed to try some supplements.

I gave her 1mg of Mb12. She tolerated that well. But when she tried a small (approx. 200mcg) of metafolin the anxiety went through the roof. She stopped all supplements.

Does anyone have any ideas on what I can give her to help with the anxiety?

She's taking a chemo drug called Gleevec (Imatinib).

She's gone back to Klonopin to try to calm the anxiety.

She's also taking Metoclopramide, an anti-nausea drug. It is also a dopamine antagonist.

If anyone has any ideas on what I can do to help her, she and I would be most appreciative.

Thanks,
Phred
 
Messages
2
Hi everyone,

I have a friend who has terminal cancer. It's called gist (Gastrointestinal stromal tumors). She was given her 5 year all clear remission, then 6 months later they found 9 tumors!

The first time she had the cancer she was given about 9 months to live. She accepted this and carried on with her life. Then she went into remission and she started planning her future.

This time around she's finding it much more difficult. She's much more anxious than the first time. So much so she's ready to jump out of her skin.

I was reluctant to give her methylation supplements because I didn't know if it would speed up the progression of the cancer. She became desperate and we agreed to try some supplements.

I gave her 1mg of Mb12. She tolerated that well. But when she tried a small (approx. 200mcg) of metafolin the anxiety went through the roof. She stopped all supplements.

Does anyone have any ideas on what I can give her to help with the anxiety?

She's taking a chemo drug called Gleevec (Imatinib).

She's gone back to Klonopin to try to calm the anxiety.

She's also taking Metoclopramide, an anti-nausea drug. It is also a dopamine antagonist.

If anyone has any ideas on what I can do to help her, she and I would be most appreciative.

Thanks,
Phred
I have also had problems with anxiety. It can be terribly debilitating and if you've never felt it, it's not something to take lightly. 3 things really helped. 1- a product called Mental Calmness- by natural factors. they are chewable tablets made of l-theanine. 2- homeopathic drops called ANX 50m. The last thing that helped was to just try to relax and ride the wave so to speak. Each time you have a terrible anxiety attack feel the wave going thru your body and like a surfer, ride the wave. it sounds weird but concentrating on this helped take my mind off the panic feelings.
 

Phred

Senior Member
Messages
141
Thanks @boncar. They sell the Mental Calmness here in Canada. I'll research it to see if it'll interfere with any of her other meds. She can take a look to see if it's something she wants to try.
 

JPV

ɹǝqɯǝɯ ɹoıuǝs
Messages
858
I think anxiety is very often caused, or aggravated by, inflammation. I clearly feel this is the case in my situation. If I ever eat any foods know to increase inflammation, such as wheat and sugar, I always get an anxious feeling accompanied by butterflies in my stomach.

Sugar, gluten (bread and pasta), alcohol, omega 6 oils and dairy seem to be the worst culprits.

There is some anecdotal evidence that omega 3 oils and curcumin/turmeric can help alleviate inflammation. Certain probiotics may help too.

@Hip posted some good info on a regimen that helped him find relief from anxiety using supplements that are mostly considered anti-inflammatories...

Completely eliminated my severe anxiety symptoms with three supplements!
 

barbc56

Senior Member
Messages
3,657
Your friend needs to talk to her oncologist. She should not be taking supplements, OTC medications as well as prescription medications without consulting her doctor. Some of these may be contraindicated with chemotherapy.

I understand you want to help your friend and that's to be commended. At the same time you don't want to compromise her treatment. Oncologists see patients who are in the same situation all the time.

Has she talked with her doctor about this? Some oncology practices have specially trained therapist or can recommend someone.

This must be devastating for your friend. I'm so sorry.

Barb
 
Last edited:

Phred

Senior Member
Messages
141
@barbc56 thank you for your concern. My friend has gone to many doctors about the anxiety. They've given her many different anti-anxiety and anti-depressants and they just make her worse.

@Valentijn I know that folate "feeds" cells. That's why I said in my original post I was reluctant to give her anything because I didn't know if it would help progress the cancer. She reached out to me in desperation.

Posting here was a last ditch effort to find something to bring her even a few days of relief from the anxiety.

Please understand she is dying. There really is no "worse" at this point.The tumors are no longer shrinking. They have "stabilized". Soon they will start to grow again even with the Gleevec. If we have her for another year we are all blessed. I was just hoping to find something to make her last few months not riddled with anxiety.

Thank you everyone for reading and your responses.
 

SB_1108

Senior Member
Messages
315
I've suffered from frequent anxiety since I developed CFS and when things are particularly bad for me, I take Xanax. But on a daily basis, I take magnesium. Vitamin B in any form seems to make my anxiety worse so I have to limit my intake (to approximately once a week).
 

PeterPositive

Senior Member
Messages
1,426
Ashwagandha is a relaxing herb, with good evidence for the anti-anxiety properties:
http://examine.com/supplements/Ashwagandha/

It also has an immune boosting effect, so much so that it's used with HIV patients. I am not sure if this could interfere with her current therapy.

Magnesium could help too and it shouldn't interfere with anything since it's an essential mineral found everywhere in the body and in any diet.

Herbs such as Valerian and Passion Flower are good anti-anxiety herbs with essentially no side effects. Also medical marijuana could help, although not everyone gets a sedative effect.

cheers
 

Phred

Senior Member
Messages
141
Thank you again to everyone.

@helen1 I just looked at Hip's post. Very interesting. I can find NAG here in Canada so it might be doable.

@PeterPositive I can find Ashwagandha here too. I'll talk to my friend to see what she wants to do.

@SB_1108 I thought of magnesium too. It's certainly an easy one to give to her
 

Firefly_

Senior Member
Messages
235
Location
Oklahoma, USA
Ashwagandha is a relaxing herb, with good evidence for the anti-anxiety properties:
http://examine.com/supplements/Ashwagandha/

It also has an immune boosting effect, so much so that it's used with HIV patients. I am not sure if this could interfere with her current therapy.

Magnesium could help too and it shouldn't interfere with anything since it's an essential mineral found everywhere in the body and in any diet.

Herbs such as Valerian and Passion Flower are good anti-anxiety herbs with essentially no side effects. Also medical marijuana could help, although not everyone gets a sedative effect.

cheers

@PeterPositive I would like to try the Ashwagandha but I am being treated with Dexamethasone because I have no cortisol production and the link you provided said that it lowers cortisol in people that are stressed so I'm wondering if its contraindicated in my case if you or anyone else knows anything about this.
 
Messages
13,774
So sorry to hear about your friend. I'd agree with the others advising caution with any supplements.

Cuddles instead?
 

PeterPositive

Senior Member
Messages
1,426
@PeterPositive I would like to try the Ashwagandha but I am being treated with Dexamethasone because I have no cortisol production and the link you provided said that it lowers cortisol in people that are stressed so I'm wondering if its contraindicated in my case if you or anyone else knows anything about this.
Adaptogen herbs typically modulate the cortisol, so they should lower cortisol in stressed people only. I am pretty sure this is what Rhodiola does for example, which is another adaptogen herb such as Ashwagandha. (Rhodiola is less indicated for anxiety though)

In any case it would be safer to consult your doc prior to taking anything that may interfere with your current therapy.

cheers
 
Messages
2,125
Rooibos(redbush tea), look it up. Its not actually a tea but can be drunk the same way. Works by lowering cortisol but is also packed full of good stuff.
 

Crux

Senior Member
Messages
1,441
Location
USA
Hi @Phred ,

It is very kind of you to seek help for your friend. I see how scary it can be to try to find any sort of intervention to help someone so ill, and being treated with drugs that could interact with supplements, causing side effects.

Since we know that our suggestions are only that....not prescriptions, I'll just make some with that in mind.

I agree with JPV, that any sort of inflammation can cause anxiety. Angst is our alarm bell.

I also tend to believe that there are infectious causes to most diseases, including cancer. Some have been found to be so.

With supplements, the (annoying) but true saying is that they really only work in cases of deficiency.
Herbs are different.

I have found the supplement, choline, to be helpful with anxiety to an extent. ( It's never just one thing)
(It also stopped my OI, vertigo,etc.)

The neurotransmitter, Acetylcholine formed from choline and other nutrients can be both calming and stimulating, so there are caveats to trying it.

Choline deficiency is associated with some types of cancers, most well known is hepato-carcinoma. ( In animal testing, there are cases of various GI cancers.)

Phosphatidylcholine, found in lecithin, may be more stimulating.

I've read differing views about whether dopamine and acetylcholine antagonize each other. One tends to be high when the other is low.

There are some gut bacteria that utilize choline for growth, and may produce the fishy odour if there is an overgrowth of them.

My thoughts are with you and your good friend.

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/90/4/1056.full
 

Jonathan Edwards

"Gibberish"
Messages
5,256
Dear @Phred,
Everyone here has sympathy for your friend's condition and your deperation. However, this is a site for discussing ME and not for general discussion of the use of supplements or medicines. You should not be giving your friend anything unless the physician recommends it. Particularly in this sort of situation all sorts of things can have unpredictable adverse effects and you do not want to have cause to wake up at night in years to come thinking you did the wrong thing.
 

Crux

Senior Member
Messages
1,441
Location
USA
@Crux I can't connect to the URL you posted. It says something about site maintenance?

Barb

Hi Barb,

It worked for me just now....maybe it'll work for you?
The article is about how choline decreased anxiety in a group of women and men. There are other studies about choline deficiency and cancer.