Great advice Appletree, and description of the technique! I have used that technique myself for getting to sleep, with insomnia,for quite a few years. Not sure where I learnt it, maybe the same place as you?, but it works IF you really focus and really commit to it. Its not easy following mindfullness at the start, and does take practice.
Have you had a look at any websites giving advice on Mindfulness relaxation exercises? There is a very good one run by a former Buddhist monk, but I'd better not name it as that might amount to advertising. You can learn the basics and access some simple exercise routines without having to pay anything.
I was diagnosed three weeks ago with invasive ductal cancer grade 3. My lumpectomy is set for Tue 24 Apr. I have found that simple Minfulness exercises help; you could use straightforward yoga relaxation techniques too.
You lie flat in a comfortable position (I do this in or on the bed), with your hands by your side or resting gently on your upper abdomen, then mentally scan your body starting from one toe, up your leg, up and down one arm, across your chest, up and down the other arm, then down the other leg, concentrating on how that part of your body feels against the bed as you go. Then you concentrate on identifying all the sounds around you, including clocks ticking, cats purring, traffic outside, then scan your body again, but this time concentrating on how each part of your body feels on the inside, relaxing each part as you go. By the time you've finished, you are completely relaxed and calm. All the time you are doing this, you keep your breathing shallow and in your upper abdomen. (I find it helps to have my hands loosely placed there, fingers touching, with elbows out at the side.)
Returning to a consciousness of your breathing, and keeping that gentle and shallow, is the essence of this technique and has a wonderfully calming effect. I've taught myself very quick body scans and breathing routines I can do sitting on a bus, when I'm getting panicky.
I do hope that helps.
Dear All ...I am 6 days from diagnosis but have been through it all 18 years ago so kinda know what to expect. I have just read through all the comments and find it a great help. As you all say it's the waiting...my first appoiontment with my oncologist isn't until 25th April and struggling to keep positive. I have decided to go back to work tomorrow mainly to keep myself occupied. Stay strong everyone xx
Here is the link to a downloadable booklet that might help you with your children, and talking to them about your treatment. There is a section in it relating to children aged 7-12 years old.
I suspect you might have already gone for your appointment, but all the best if you see this message before you go. I was only three years older than you when diagnosed, so not so dissimilar, and there are lots here also in their 40s. Tomorrow it will be done and dusted, the worst part will all be over. They will take really good care of you, after all, sadly there is lots of medical experience now of this type of surgery for many women each day. I don't say that to belittle your experience, which is individual to you of course, but to remind you that there are so many women in the same position and you must not feel alone.
Gill, thanks for posting that lovely thoughtful message to Jobo and Rictina, especially as you are so close to your own diagnosis and surgery. Wishing you a very speedy recovery and health and happiness ahead !
Hi Jobo, As our lovely ladies have said this is the absolute worst part of it all, the limbo stage where you seem to be stumbling from one thing to another and endlessly waiting on results, It was the lowest time for me and my anxiety was at its height, I couldn't eat or sleep.
I didn't have a mastectomy but from talking to many ladies here who did they recovered well within a few weeks and say it was nothing like they imagined it would be, in my experience you are very well looked after, I was scared of waking up being sick as I had done after a previous anaesthetic but they took care of that with some medication before hand and I was fine, sat up eating within the hour and on my way home within 2!
We all imagine it has spread from the off but in reality for most of us it won't have, Once you have your treatment plan following your operation you will begin to feel much better about it all, I think we would all agree this was our turning point , up to then it's all ifs buts and maybes which fuels our anxiety to it's highest.
Honestly it does get better Xx Jo
Jobo and Rictina
I am echoing everything that Charys has said. this is the worst time but it does absolutely get better.
Jobo if you have never had an op before, it is fear of the unknown, but honestly you will be fine, before you know where you are you will be back in the ward having a sandwich and a cup of tea. Your theatre team are very used to patients anxieties and they will do everything they can to make sure that you are comfortable and looked after
I am similar to Charys, 18 months post surgery and I finished radiotherapy 15 months ago. I worked albeit it very reduced hours from six weeks after my op and my life has got back to normal. I was playing lawn green bowls again in April last year, six months after my op, and that was only because I play outdoors so had to wait for the season to start.
Just take each stage one at a time, dont think too far ahead and worry about something you do not know about as that will only increase your anxiety and, as Chary says, just keep coming on here and we will support you in any way we can.
It will get easier Jobo, really, you have to trust us on this. The early days before surgery, and after diagnosis, are hideously hard. After they have removed the cancer and you have the final results, it all becomes clearer and you regain some control as the treatment moves along.
It is natural to feel anxious when you have recently been diagnosed. Try not to let your mind stray too much beyond the operation and recovery from that. When you discharged from hospital they usually give you an appointment for a follow up meeting with the oncologist about 2 weeks after the operation. This is to enable the oncologist to let you know the results of the sentinel node biopsy etc, check your recovery progress and let you know if any further treatment is required. If they have already checked one of your lymph nodes (from what you say it sounds like they have), and found it to be clear, the sentinel node biopsy is probably more on a precautionary basis.
As Charys says, loads of women get breast cancer and the majority make a good recovery, many of whom move on and no longer read or post on the forum. If it helps, I was diagnosed just under 4 years ago, had lump removed and sentinel node biopsy (they removed and checked 3 nodes), still on medication to reduce chances of reoccurrence, no evidence of any bc now so hopefully all gone, coming up for my 4th year checks in a few months.
Focus on recovery from the op and distract yourself in any way you find calming.
Have you had discussion with the surgeon about their findings ? You could ring your breast cancer nurse and ask her to clarify things and to explain about the lymph node and their findings?
Ok, I'm not a medical person, thats my disclaimeer, but, If its not in the main (sentinel) lymph node they have tested, then that would mean they believe it is contained to the breast . They would be offering you further scans and tests if they thought it had gone further. They would also be planning on taking out further sets of lymph nodes. What have they said to you about your treatment plan and surgery ?
Well, I tell you what, why not tell us here your fears - the things that are popping into your head ? We will try to deal with them one by one.
Does it help you to know that I had cancer two years ago and have just had my second clear mammogram? Many women here will be the same, they have been successfully treated and move on with their lives. Lots of them of course don't post on here, as they moved on years ago. I think part of calming your anxiety could be recognising that there is a huge amount of positive associated with bc treatments, and the prognosis for the vast majority of women is REALLY good.
Brilliant....good news! Then your team know it isn't everywhere around your body as the sentinel node (am presuming it was that one biopsied) was clear of any cancer cells.
Deep breath and breathe. Every ache and pain I get put down to the cancer spreading, its not, i've always had aches and pains. Its normal to be anxious about a new experience espcially an Op You will suprised at how quick it will all go. Talk to your anethestist ,I found it better for me, to walk to the room before the theatre and have the anasetetic there I felt more in control, Count down from ten next thing I was waking up in recovery. Keep using these pages. Hugs
Welcome to BCC forum. So sorry you have needed to come here at all, but I really hope you find lots of support and advice by posting and reading about others who have come through the other side of this. My breast cancer surgery was my first ever surgery too, and although mine was not a full mastectomy, I was beyond terried. I would even say there was a point where I considered 'taking my chances' with the cancer rather than have surgery. Luckily, I soon moved away from that thought.
Have your team offered or given you an MRI scan, or do they think it isn't needed? Some people have them, some don't, depending on cancer stage and location, and possible lymph node involvement.
It is usual to start imagining all sorts of symptoms in the period after diagnosis, many many women state that they can feel various aches, pains and odd sensations in their body. That is a combination of fear, stress and your mental state creating things that feel real. It is SUCH early days after your diagnosis, and to be an 'emotional wreck' is entirely understandable. It feels as if life has been suspended and some hideous nightmare has taken over...well it did for me.
Happy to keep talking to you about your fears, do come back and post again.