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So Nervous

So Nervous

Posted by JAS on Nov 7, 2020 4:20 am

Going for a mastectomy this week. Cannot eat or sleep. I am super worried and somewhat scared. How do our lives change so quickly?
Cannot have visitors in hospital. Every appointment has been alone. How is this good?

Re: So Nervous

Posted by MCoaster on Nov 7, 2020 9:14 am

JAS‍   I am so sorry that you find yourself in the nightmare that is cancer.   The shock of the diagnosis and then the treatments prior to surgery are so scary.   COVID is depriving you of support when it is needed most as you face having major surgery.  

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer nothing had prepared me for the emotional stress.  It seemed like there was nothing else.  When I had a bilateral mastectomy last November the virus had not yet made its presence felt but I still remember how scared I felt.  I found that mindfulness helped a lot before and during the day of the procedure and diverting my mind was also very important.   Concentrating on what was happening now stopped my mind from running away with me.   My IPad  and playing Scrabble and talking to the nurses who were so kind were what saw me through.   My doctor also gave me a prescription for Ativan.  After I came home I was tired but so very relieved that the cancer was no longer there.   What happened has certainly changed me both physically and mentally but I am still here.

Looking after your emotional and physical needs during the roller coaster are both important.  

When is your surgery?   I will be thinking about you and send lots of healing hugs.

We are always here for you.


Re: So Nervous

Posted by Yuliya on Nov 7, 2020 10:23 am

JAS‍   warm welcome to you! Many women here went through the mastectomy, some of them twice. I don't have this experience myself but will it be helpful to think about surgery as a stepping stone for being cancer free? One more step closer to NED status?  I wish your surgeon will remove all cancer,and I wish you clear margins. 

Re: So Nervous

Posted by cancertakesflight on Nov 7, 2020 10:28 am


I remember what this is like and that was in 2011. I actually felt relatively calm and slept well the night before my surgery. As MCoaster‍ said, I thought of my surgery as one step closer to ridding myself of cancer. The advice to distract yourself is also great.

It is amazing how your life can change so quickly. Please keep in mind that the cancer experience will change you in many ways but please remember that you are a great person first who happens to haver cancer. For me, I thought of my breasts as just objects. I was still me whether or not I had them.

The unknown is what drove me crazy. I felt better once I started treatments. You are not alone in being nervous. Most people have a fear of the unknown even if it doesn't include cancer.

Please know that there are many of us on this site who have been through this and have come out the other side and still able to smile and laugh again.

You are not alone. We understand and support you.

Please keep us posted. Please let us know how we can help even if you just want to vent. There are no wrong reactions to what's going on.

Laughter is a lifestyle choice. www.laughterandcancer.com/blog

Re: So Nervous

Posted by Wendy Tea on Nov 7, 2020 11:14 am

JAS‍  Yes a mastectomy is scary and there are so many unknowns.  I felt the same way 18 months ago and I couldn't believe how quickly I healed. My scar looks perfect, I love my body. My new body saved my life. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how well everything goes. Can you let us know? 

Re: So Nervous

Posted by Littlebeth on Nov 8, 2020 8:42 am

JAS‍  I am having my surgery this week, too - a bilateral mastectomy. It is a very anxious time, as has been the whole experience, and COVID makes it that much harder by having to navigate so much of it on your own. I was diagnosed with Triple Negative BC in April and did 5 1/2 months of chemo. While I am scared about my surgery and upset that my husband will not be allowed to visit me, I take some comfort in knowing that I felt the same way before my chemo started and it was not as hard or as lonely as I had feared. Everyone here has different things that help them and hopefully there will be suggestions that you can use. Personally, trying to take one day at a time (and the occasional Ativan to untie those knots) has gotten me through this. I will think about you this week and send wishes that everything goes well.

Re: So Nervous

Posted by MCoaster on Nov 8, 2020 9:16 am

Littlebeth‍    Thank you so much for your post.  

When I was diagnosed it was so comforting to know that I was not alone and that others were, and had been, where I was and really related to how I felt.  COVID has made everything so much more stressful but has  brought out the kindness and caring which we feel for each other.

 I wish you speedy healing and please, if you wish, keep in touch.

Thinking of you.



Re: So Nervous

Posted by cinderella1 on Nov 8, 2020 11:43 am

You got this! I had a lumpectomy and total lymph removal on my right side 8days ago. I felt better mentally knowing the cancer is removed. Also found surgery easier to recover from than chemotherapy. (1 percentile not tolerating chemotherapy) You are the beautiful you after surgery as you were before. Stay strong. My prays are with you. 

Re: So Nervous

Posted by JayRay on Nov 8, 2020 12:12 pm

Hi there. I had rt side mastectomy 2 weeks ago with 4 lymph nodes removed. IDC diagnosis with no treatment before surgery. I have yet to see an oncologist. I'm healing very well and see my surgeon 3 weeks post op to discuss next steps. 
I got anxiety meds shortly after my diagnosis which has helped immensely. 
Hang in there! You got this!

Re: So Nervous

Posted by Yoursrtrulyasurvivor on Nov 9, 2020 10:09 am

You have to give yourself time to feel how you feel and not be apologetic for it. Life is fleeting and as we know now it can change  in a moment. 
I recently did a bilateral Mesectomy and it was an overnight stay in the hospital with no visitors/family. 
The nurses were angels. I ended up staying two extra days because of my blood pressure and I didn’t mind at all. Well except for the food.
Bilateral Mesectomy is not as bad as having breast reconstruction. And many people go through this and survive. It sucks but you have to fight through the pain and know that it will get better.

Re: So Nervous

Posted by Wendy Tea on Nov 9, 2020 10:38 am

Yoursrtrulyasurvivor‍  Thank you for saying that...more ladies need to hear this...maybe we can cross stitch it on a sign.

***"Bilateral mastectomy is not as bad as having breast reconstruction "***

Wishing you well on your journey. 

Re: So Nervous

Posted by Yoursrtrulyasurvivor on Nov 9, 2020 11:07 am

You’re very welcome.

Re: So Nervous

Posted by JiKL on Nov 9, 2020 12:17 pm

I had colon cancer and in July I were admitted to hospital at Humber. It was a hard experience since I were alone and visits were restricted due pandemic. But what helped during that time is calling loved ones over face time or hospital face time service (that is a great tool). I know it is not easy, but the nursing team where also friendly and you can chat with them. Meditation will also help. I hope you pass this difficult time , and always keep in mind it will pass. Don’t lose hope.

Re: So Nervous

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Nov 10, 2020 9:05 am

JAS‍ - I am on this site as a caregiver, but I’ve come in to “piggy back” on MCoaster‍ ‘S comment about mindfulness.

If you can manage it, I recommend it, too (but I know from experience how hard it can be). There is an author in the US named Jon Kabat-Zinn who has written two books about mindfulness and meditation: Wherever You Go, There You Are, and Full Catastrophe Living. These books are available in hard copy and audio formats, and he’s written other books as well. 

You can find lots of guided meditations on-line. The breathing ones are particularly recommended when starting out, and there are some by JK-Z as well.

Another technique we often recommend to people here on this site is to ask yourself (often) what you know for sure. When a frightening thought comes to mind, try to stop yourself with the question, “Do I know this for sure?” (Hint: a lot of the time, we don’t.)

Not having visitors in the hospital has to be hard, and you’ve already had some good suggestions for dealing with that. For future appointments, you might ask your health team if someone can be in the room virtually, either by video call or speakerphone. That might help you feel like you’ve got some company in the room with you, or at least that you’ll have someone to “compare notes” with after the appointment.

My experience with my Dad’s cancer during Covid, when I couldn’t come in with him was that the oncologist offered for me to call in and talk with him after Dad’s appointments, and that the nurses were really extra helpful on the floor when he couldn’t have visitors with him. I hope you’ll find that you have a similar experience.
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: So Nervous

Posted by TT53 on Nov 10, 2020 10:56 am

JAS‍ sorry to hear you have to have a mastectomy.  I had the same surgery, now almost a year ago.  I had two lumpectomies prior to the mastectomy and I can tell you it wasn't that bad.  Be prepared for about 3 nights that you will be in pain and uncomfortable, but from then on it gets better.  I was unable to take heavy duty meds, so maybe mine was a bit more painful, so you might just sail thru.  I did not have to stay in the hospital even though I had an immediate reconstruction.  I went home the same day with drain tubes.  You will do good.
Take care and think positive thoughts.

Re: So Nervous

Posted by KEA44 on Nov 11, 2020 11:54 am

JAS‍ - best of luck with your surgery this week!  

Thank you for posting this thread.  I'm one week behind you (right side mastectomy with lymph node biopsy) and my anxiety is definitely ratcheting up.  I haven't been sleeping even with sleeping meds and my exhaustion is overwhelming today.  Reading all the lovely and supportive responses to your post is helping.

Re: So Nervous

Posted by Whitelilies on Nov 11, 2020 2:48 pm

KEA44‍ Hello......welcome to our caring site.......sorry for the reason......
You shared that you have surgery next week.....wishing you the very best......stay strong and positive and focused.....and rest when possible.....use this time "now" to prep.....clean the house....stock the pantry.....get laundry up to date......get outdoors if you can.......next week will be here, before you know it.  All good!

Warmest Regards



Re: So Nervous

Posted by Littlebeth on Nov 18, 2020 3:49 pm

MCoaster‍ Had my bilateral mastectomy last Friday 8am and was up and eating lunch by 3 pm. Even though visitors were not allowed, a wonderful nurse said my husband could come in to learn how to empty my drains and when he did, she “disappeared” for two hours and left us alone. I took pain medication for a couple of days but nothing since. I do have some soreness in my shoulder and tenderness everywhere but nothing I can’t handle. The worst problems are trying to sleep on my back (I am using a wedge) and those annoying drains, but overall I am recovering extremely well.

JAS‍  I hope everything went well with your surgery and you are healing comfortably.

Re: So Nervous

Posted by MCoaster on Nov 18, 2020 6:15 pm

Hi Littlebeth‍   Thank you 🙏 so much for the update and well done you, your husband and the lovely nurse! The chemo and surgery are over and you will be able to move forward to enjoy Christmas.   It is also good that you had the surgery now because I think,  difficult as it is with COVID at present, it might get more so quite quickly.   Personally I am for the first time quite glad to be having my routine colonoscopy in a couple of weeks rather than later.

The drains are a pain and after trying different ways of dealing with them I tied a dressing gown belt round my waist and used safety pins to keep them in place.  They should not be in place for too long.  Just make sure that they don’t get blocked.  I cleared any blockages myself after being shown how to.

My major post op. and still ongoing problems, a year after surgery, have been disruption my lymph drainage and adhesions of my scar to my ribs.  Because of where I live I had very little post op. care or information and was very glad to find this site.   I thought that as my range of motion was good that was it.  Only  after joining this community did I learn general  lymph drainage could be a problem although lymphedema was often mentioned.   I hope that you have been better informed than I was and I should also mention that not everyone has these problems but I strongly suggest that you do all of your exercise and  perhaps even talk to your nurse  or doctor about doing other exercises which are available on the web.   I’m here if you have any questions.

Lots of rest and good food.   You too have a very good husband I think and I am sure he will cosset you.  My husband and I will celebrate our 50th anniversary next year and joke that we will either celebrate or commiserate about that!

Take care and I am always here for you.

Healing thoughts.