Scared and depressed

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noanie says on 15 Apr 2011 21:55
Just got my pathology results back… aggressive infiltrating ductal carcinoma, stage 3, grade 3 and at least one lymph node contains a micro-metastasis, waiting further ct scans to see if spread.
Aggresive chemo to start in 2 weeks. I have a needle phobia and panic attacks, when I had my breast surgery Dr.had to gas me just to put in the IV, how on earth will I handle getting the port in.
Does anyone know of a doctor that will sedate you before inserting the port? What is the chemo ward like at the RSH? or should I go to Christie - 2 hours away?
I am so scared of just about everything, not handling this well at all, in a deep depression and all my support is 3,000 miles away.

bump x

Noanie, You are bound to find this scary and difficult. It would be more surprising if you didn’t. BC is a horrible disease and it totally disrupts people’s lives. If it helps at all, I found the stage you are at the scariest of all, before treatment started and with “whatif” fears running through my head.

I didn’t have chemo so didn’t need a port but I know there are several people on here who have them and hopefully some of them will be along later to tell you more about the process of putting them in. I am fairly sure that some places do sedate to put these in, so based on your past experience you could probably ask for this if it would help. Have you spoken to your BCN or the helpline on this site? I found them very sympathetic and helpful in talking about fears and they were good at making sure that medical processes happened in particular ways to help as much as possible xx

Noanie - really sorry you’re having such a rough time. I had my port inserted under a general, and if you explain to your surgeon you are needle phobic and have panic attacks I think there’s a good chance they would insist on a GA anyway. I think you can be sedated first, so hopefully that would de-stress it a little for you.

finty x

Hi Noanie,

It isnt easy having to cope with this, I am just 6 months from my initial diagnosis. Reflecting back on those 6months, I seem to having forgotten what life was like prior to my diagnosis. I was diagnosed with bi-lateral BC, grade 3 HER2 positive both sides. Having BC on one side was traumatic enough, but having to cope with 2 lots of pathology reports, waiting for 2 lots of lymph node results was just awful. My early days of diagnosis were spent crying myself to sleep. I still have some emotional days but have come to terms with it and just take each day as it comes.

I had SNB on both sides, my consultant insisted I have a hickman line inserted in my chest to reduce the risk of lymphodema. At first I was really reluctant because I did not want to feel like a patient 24/7. However, having just completed chemo I think it was the best decision made. I did not have to go through the pain of needles each time for blood tests and chemo. I have just completed my chemo and had the line removed recently. I will be having a portacath put in to complete my herceptin treatment (that is also given intravenously). You may want to discuss this option with your consultant if you are nervous about needles. I met some women who opted for hickman lines.

Good luck and I hope all goes well for you. Chemo isnt easy as many will tell you on this forum but it is doable. I just kept telling myself that it was my lifeline and to live I had to have this. You will find lots of helpful tips on how to cope with the side effects of chemo on this forum.

If you are needle-phobic, the very best thing to do is go for a port. I’ve got a portacath which is subcutaneous so there still has to be a needle, but I get Emla cream to numb the skin and it’s not a normal needle, so it’s fine. You’d probably be getting a PICC line or a Hickman line. I suggest you speak to your BCN or the chemo nurses and get them to explain all about the different lines so that you know exactly what’s what. With these two, once they’re inserted you don’t need to have any needles for blood tests or chemo, which sounds like just what you need.

When I had mine inserted it was done under sedation. I was awake and vaguely aware of it, but was very zonked so it was fine. Not pleasant, but it was fine.

thank you all for your replies and support, I just found this site yesterday and already feel like it is lifeline for me. Hard to handle all this without my friends and daughter who live on the other side of the atlantic. My surgeon was private in Manchester, but referred to me Shrewsbury as he thought traveling two hours for treatment would be rough on me. The oncologist and nurse said they would not put me to sleep for the port, so I don’t know what I’m going to do… I just know I can’t go through with it unless they do…my phobias and panic attacks seem to be getting worse.

I wAs under christies and my lovely oncologist prescribed me lorazepan, an anti-anxiety drug, which i took on the morning of each of the 6 chemo sessions. It was fantastic and really took the edge off. My oncologist suggested it himself, so it seems they are proactive there. Also i know they often use it, or similar drugs, to relax people who are phobic about mri scanners before their scans, or needles. Christies have a satellite clinic in crewe i think for breast, i’m not 100% sure of thisbut its worth asking.

Good luck, you’re at a horrible stage and it does get better, i promise.


thanks Vickie, I’m going to Christie next week to see oncologist, I want my treatment there, but they would prefer I have chemo closer to home. Seems to take ages to get started my chemo around here (shropshire), and the longer I wait the more anxious I become. Did you have to travel far to get to Christie?

Saw the oncologist who explained the pathology/histolgy report. I have stage 3, grade 3, HER2 neg, ER + 66% 2/6 LN Micometastasis, Ki67 75%, he said the cancer was very aggressive and gave a poor prognosis . Had lumpectmy, not sure why they did not suggest a masectomy. Is it worth going thru chemo with such a poor outlook?

Noanie, I’m so sorry that you were given a poor prognosis. Personally I have always felt I would take ANY treatment, even if it only offered a tiny amount of extra hope, thinking you never know that extra 1% or whatever might be the bit that tips the balance and makes a difference. However of course everybody feels differently and everybody’s situation is different.

Good luck with your treatment and I am sorry your loved ones are far away. Do keep posting there is so much support here xx

hi noanie like you i have an awfull fear when it comes to neddles so i have ask for picc line to be put in not that im going to be happy about having it done but i think to myself its that or needles every month well ill be a mess for 1 day then not have to worrie about it again i got my latter from RSH to go in on the 18 th may dont know if this is for line or to see chemo nurse as i have already met the oncologeist 2 weeks ago so yes it is taking along time to get chemo started
like the rest have said good luck with your treament and i hope you can find away round yr fear
maz xxx

thanks Sallieannie. Chemo is scheduled for middle of next week so have a few days to see if I have the courage to go thru with it…not sure I can cope with this journey, feel like going on a long trip while I’m well enough to enjoy it.

Hi honeybee, The oncologist I saw in Manchester thought the hickman would be better than a pic line, but I’m not sure I have the courage to go thru with any of this. Wish they could put you to sleep and put it in, but they will only do it under local. Can’t believe you have to wait so long to start your treatment, the waiting is the worst part. What kind of chemo are you getting?
Good luck, maybe we will meet up at RSH one of these days. I’ll be the one driving everyone crazy :slight_smile:

Noaine i just ask for any line didnt care wot one just wanted one that ment i didnt have to have them needles every 4 weeks in my arm i have had enough of them already my arm is still blue lol, as for wot chemo im having e x4 then cmf x4 then rads i carnt belive its taking this long but in a way its a good thing cos my grandson is due to be born on 13th and i really want to be there
all the best
maz xx

Just to add I am having a PICC line inserted on Friday 13 May for the remaining 5 sessions of chemo I have as the cannula was soooo uncomfortable. I will let you all know how it goes. Sorry not been on much but still feeling a little fragile and oh so nauseous so sleeping a lot.

Lots of love to all
Hope you are well Maz, speak soon xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Tracy x