• What can I do to keep my axiety down? Bilateral mastectomy in 5 days. LONG hair chopped off last week. SO many changes are overwhelming.

    Asked by Julie99 on Saturday, January 5, 2013

    What can I do to keep my axiety down? Bilateral mastectomy in 5 days. LONG hair chopped off last week. SO many changes are overwhelming.

    My stress level is so high. With IVF for preservation, I haven't been able to exercise for my release. I'm on anxiety meds but still overwhelmed to tears daily, especially the closer to surgery I get. I'm trying to keep busy with fun things & stay postive, but I'm scared. My hospital bag is packed. Food, snacks, drinks are all ready for when I come home. Laundry done. People to be with me at all times lined up for close to 2 weeks. No more preparing. Just wait. Which is the problem!

    15 Answers from the Community

    15 answers
    • Debbie's Avatar

      I shared your anxiety as well. As long as I was doing "something", I was fighting back. Even cleaned out closets and cabinets to feel productive. My GP prescribed anti-anxiety pill so at l could sleep. Hope the days go by quickly for you.

      over 7 years ago
    • juliec3's Avatar

      I took Ativan (Lorazepam) during cancer treatment, and now take 50 mg Zoloft daily for remaining anxiety.

      over 7 years ago
    • Kathy's Avatar

      I have been meeting with a social worker who specializes in cancer patients and that has helped so much!! I also take Ativan at night to get a good nights sleep. Check with your doctor to see about getting some meds for the anxiety. It is not an easy time. I also try to stay in the moment and take the one moment at a time. Take care.

      over 7 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      It is all a matter of perspective, the half empty, half full thing. Try being eager and excited about your surgery rather than anxious about it. Sort of like 5 days before Christmas or your birthday when you were a kid. Be happy that everything has been prepared in advance and now your have 5 days to do anything you want. I always have way more that I want to do than I have time, so waiting for anything just isn't in my vocabulary. If I have time to kill, I always have a list of things to do while I'm waiting for anything, whether it is an important event or being on hold on the telephone.

      over 7 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      I saw a therapist and still do. He suggested I try to journal which didn't work for me, but I did start writing a blog
      It may help you to read it. I read some other ladies' breast cancer blogs beforehand and seeing how strong they were and how they made it through definitely helped me.

      over 7 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      Can you walk? I worked through all the Dx and testing before bilat...and also worked during chemo and rads....for me work was a diversion and kept my mind off what was happening....I did get in bed many nights and cry.......Also my kids helped keep me busy, my youngest at the time was only in grade 2.......Ativan and wine!!!!

      over 7 years ago
    • IKickedIt's Avatar

      Of course you are anxious, we all were. It's a very scary experience. I couldn't walk through the grocery store because I was terrified of banging into someone I knew and having to talk about it. I literally would get a panic attack in the grocery store!

      As the time got closer, I was just impatient to get the show on the road and "get that bugger out of me." Like Nancyjac, I was very eager to get one step closer to being cancer-free. We saw the whole journey as a series of mountains, some higher and some steeper than others and some ice, snow and unexpected bumps along the way. This was how we approached it with our kids, too, and it was a very helpful perspective. Every step was one closer to the finish line (I was fortunate to have an optimistic prognosis). And then we also were able to look back and be appreciative of all we had already accomplished.

      Treat yourself over the next few days. Go to a movie or museum . If you like to shop, go to a quaint shopping village or outlet center you haven't visited in a while. Do you like crafts? If so, make a few blankets for children in the pediatric department at the hospital where you will be having surgery. They're very easy and it may help to know that you are helping others. If not, create some cards on the computer or with construction paper for the children. Visit a senior home and play cards with the seniors in their common room. Volunteer your time.

      Good luck and we'll see you on the flip side. Let us know how you are doing!

      over 7 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar

      exercise is GOOD - just get out there and do it!!!!!!
      and, when you start chemo, if you hae to do chemo, keep moving every single day. exercise makes everything better. so, get out there and do it!!!!!

      ok ok - now.... i hear you. i had so much anxiety. my team told me that if ever there was a time to take anti-anxiety drugs, the time is NOW - with a cancer diagnosis. those drugs will help you sleep and make it through this. so ask your health care team for whatever you need. it's a tough tough time... not something we are prepared to handle!!!! and so will the exercise help you handle this - oops -b ack on the previous topic... sorry. seriously, though, the exercise will make it better - i promise you. exercise until your muscles are quivering for relief...

      and then hang out with your family and friends. if you have friends that exercise, then go out with them. it really will make it getter.

      i promise you - it will get better. you will be able to find the calm and peace again. i know it's hard to believe.... but it will happen.

      over 7 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      I was totally freaked out before my surgery. A lot of good suggestions here already: exercise, keep busy, anti-anxiety meds, and counseling. My cancer center has a psychiatrist who specializes in treating cancer patients. It's great to talk to someone who already knows a lot about cancer and its treatments. Still, with all these coping mechanisms, I was pretty well paralyzed with anxiety right before my surgery. Don't let all the online horror stories freak you out. For many of us the surgery and recovery went smoothly. The waiting really is the hardest part.

      over 7 years ago
    • Momofivedcisbc's Avatar

      Julie, It is ok to cry, actually it is therapeutic and cathartic. It is ok to feel scared.....cancer is a scary thing....when I made the decision to have a double mastectomy....I armed myself... brain and heart with information so I was prepared and then I spent the next five days breathing relaxing deep breaths and spent quality time with my loved ones...children....husband and friends...we drank a lot of camomile tea....I made stamping up thank you cards for gratitude....I worked on photo albums and scrapbooked my love and my memories....I chose to "live" every day with cancer and not let the fear try to scare me into the negative thoughts. The more I breathed the more "love" I felt. I listened to uplifting music. We are in this together..I will pray for you..good luck..oh...I forgot...steamy hot bubble baths...with warm towels and pajamas helped too. Guess what you just helped me.....off to make some tea and take a warm tubby. Thanks

      over 7 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      One other idea: "Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster: A Guide of Mind/Body Techniques" by Peggy Huddleston. It's a book and there is an accompanying relaxation CD. Helped me feel less helpless in the days leading up to surgery.

      Amazon Description:
      Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster shows how to use mind-body techniques to reduce anxiety, use 23-50% less pain medication and heal faster. Documented by research, it is recommended by hospitals in the US, including Brigham and Womens Hospital which is a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital and NYU Langone Medical Center in New York. It also includes chapters about using mind-body techniques to reduce the side-effects of chemotherapy, how to prepare children for surgery and vitamins to speed healing. An updated edition was published in 2012.

      over 7 years ago
    • Lindy's Avatar

      You are in an area for optimum care. I pumped up with vitamin C crystals, cleaned out the fridge and strolled into the surgical suite like a deer in headlights.

      over 7 years ago
    • lovinglife's Avatar

      I honestly think we all went through this when first diagnosed. It is the scariest and the most overwhelming thing that's happened to most of us. I did take some anxiety meds for a couple of weeks,but once things get moving such as surgery or treatment you will feel like at last something is being done to fight this!

      over 7 years ago
    • Julie99's Avatar

      Thanks all. I've been taking anxiety meds for about 1 1/2 months now & they do help. I see a social worker and psychosomatic psychiatrist at the Dana Farber Cancer Center I am being treated at. As long as I'm busy, I'm good. When I lay down to go to bed, my mind starts spinning, even with the meds. I have a blog and have been trying to get it all out of my head and I have a TON of support all around me. Now I'm just waiting. 3 more days. wware & Tom Petty said it right.. The Waiting Is the Hardest Part!
      Tonight I'm going out for dinner. Yesterday was an extended family Sunday Dinner. Saturday was mani/pedi, shopping then the best girls night ever! (won a contest for a Boudoir Photo Shoot for me and 3 friends. Talk about empowering! Black panties, my boyfriends chain and his boxing gloves on with those gloves over my breasts! I can't wait to see the pictures in a few weeks!)
      Trying to do fun things with great people is helping. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to be expected to get anything done for the few hours I'm going to work this week between appointments.
      But this site helps too and everyone's suggestions are wonderful. I love that this site is here for a place where people actually "get" what I'm going through.
      Thank you!!

      over 7 years ago
    • Nomadicme's Avatar

      You were smart with the ivf, I'm bummed out I didn't do it.

      over 7 years ago

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