What's operating theatre like?

I’m 51 and on Thursday 14th (which is also my birthday! ) I’m having a lumpectomy and two nodes removed. I am trying to feel positive and giving a brilliant impression of being so but I’m worried sick about going down to theatre and being knocked out. I’ve never had an op and would honestly prefer to be awake! Im not a wimp and dont mind any pain and regularly gave blood over 30 years but this is freaking me! Since diagnosis meeting I’ve not heard from hospital or BC nurse (the number she gave me is not answered!) and feel so unprepared and ignorant …Thank goodness for this site and your answers. My wonderful best friend said " You like getting drunk so the anaesthetic will be the same ! " - probably not true but made me laugh ! ?

Hi HelenRose and welcome to the BCC forums, in addition to the support you will find here please feel free to call our helpliners to talk through any concerns you have. Lines are open weekdays 9-5 and Saturdays 10-2 on 0808 800 6000

Here’s a link to the BCC information about having breast surgery which you may find helpful:


Take care
Lucy BCC

Hi Breckenridge. Sorry to hear your having your op on your birthday not best day. I’m 52 and I’ve had 9 operation all told for various different things won’t bore u with what they were. I’m having my lumpectomy done on the 15th August. The operating theatre it’s self is really nothing to worry about all the staff I’ve had have been very nice and they try to put u at ease by talking about family and different things. It does have a weird smell but u r not there 4 very long before your asleep then it’s all done and in the recovery room. Hope I have helped. Hope all goes well with u.xxx

Hi Helenrose,don’t worry about going down to theatre,I have been to theatre many times.it will be over before you know it.you will be well looked after.good luck Disneyland x

Thank you so much for your replies and info …feel bit better now xx

Hi Helenrose, I felt exactly the same as you when I had my op 2 1/2 years ago, I’d never had an operation and was utterly terrified, I too explored the idea of not having a general anaesthetic, I cried all the way to theatre. My anaesthetist wanted me to have a pre med but i couldn’t as didn’t sign the consent forms until just before I went to theatre so I wasn’t allowed. Talk to your medical team, they should be able to give you a pre med which will help. As it turned out, it was fine, it was like I’d blinked and it was over with, it really was just like that. Take care and please let us know how it goes x

Hi helenrose
Please try not to worry about the op…or being knocked out… I myself went through every possible event in my head from not waking… Not making it through… The list was endless… I prob worried myself about a million grey hairs worth… But really honey you will b totally fine… I was and I am still here on the journey to tell the tail… The theatre staff are really lovely and well prepared for us with our fears… Before I knew it I was chatting with the theatre staff… Next min waking up back on the ward… You will b totally fine hun… I was the biggest wimp I have ever been in my 43 years of my life on my surgery day… Good luck honey… Be thinking of u xx

Thank you Busy Anne You girls are making me feel so much better …you would not believe how much calmer i feel. I hope in time I’ll be able to help others like you have hrlped me. Only thing stressing me now is I rang hospital last Friday as i hadnt heard anything and was told op is Thursday and they’d write to me but today still no letter …think I’ll just turn up in my new pj’s !

Hi HelenRose, firstly Happy Birthday for today and secondly all the very best of Good Luck with your op today also. You will be just fine, the staff will take good care of you and it will all be over before you know it and you will be having a cuppa and biccie as you recover, waiting to go home! My 2 experiences in Oct/Nov 2012 were very similar and i actually walked along the corridors in a lovely airy hospital gown and surgical stockings in a lovely shade of green! I went into a prep room and hopped onto the table while the nurse and doctor hooked me up to the drip all the while chatting about family and holidays and before i knew it both times i was waking up in recovery (the second op i woke up in a private room to recover at 1 in the morning!!!). I didnt request a room for one, but it was nice to be alone while looking not my best!!! All the best in your recovery and i hope all goes well for you along the way.

Cheers, Michele x


P>S> - Please let us know how it all went , its nice to keep in touch and hear how your b/c journey is going. x

Well girls as you all rightly predicted I survived ?! I went in at 11 am and came home at 10pm. I explained the anaesthetist that I would prefer to have the op by local not be knocked out and I said I dread that counting backwards bit …He laughed and said then we won’t count ! He said I’ll be putting various drugs into your hand one after another and you won’t know which one will knock you out. That made me feel so much less anxious. Wire went in at 1 and I walked to theatre at 2 - surgeon came back and for to put in the radioactive injection beforehand and said I would be back in bed by 4 and he’d be in Tesco ! I felt poorly in recovery - terrible head ache and stinging in boo but they quickly gave me something for that. I still felt shaky on the ward but realised I hadn’t eaten since 8pm the day before and in fact had hardly eaten very much the day before at all. The nurse gave me a fruit salad in syrup and said to drink the juice and within minutes headache and shakes completely went. Never had low blood sugar before but sure that I had it. Drive home was quite sore even though hubby avoided bumps but glad to get home. Surgeon warned about green colour as a result of the dye they put in …I actually looked like Princess Fiona in Shrek !! But all gone today and I feel great though still sore. Thank goodness that’s over and I won’t be so worried if I had to have more. One lovely touch was nurses gave everyone who was having breast surgery a stuffed heart cushion to bring home to put under your arm which was so comfy in the car and to sleep with. …apparently a lady who had surgery there makes them to give to the ladies who are on the ward …how lovely is that ?

Oh Sue that sounds terrible How long were you in for ? Your poor husband bet he was having a fit. Quite good though that they test node while your in theatre as not many hospitals can do that apparently. What did you have done ? Since leaving hospital I haven’t heard from anyone but will have to ring tomorrow as not sure when dressings need to come off and want to know when they’ll have my results. Feeling ok so far and not needing painkillers and back out walking yesterday - hope you are ok too xx

hi helenrose didn’t they set up district nurse for u. mine is coming out tomorrow check and change dressing and c how drain is doing should have drain removed on Wednesday can’t wait lol. surgen was a bit vague said lymph node didnt look good so they removed it. had to stay in overnight. not in to much pain. bit worried about what next plain of treatment will be. i would definetly ring and find what u have to do. all the best for u.xxx