Frightened of surgery

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Hi I was diagnosed with bowel cancer 2 weeks ago and have to have an operation in 7 weeks.  I have been putting on a brave face (I have only told immediate family) I know surgery is the best option but I have all kinds of scenarios going through my head, that I can’t seem to think straight. I am trying to distract myself by keeping busy so currently stripping the living room wallpaper so now I have to focus on getting the room decorated before I go to hospital but still I can’t stop my head from spinning, any advice on how to deal with all these thoughts and emotions would be greatly appreciated.        

  • Hi H2O. Take a look at my post on controlling anxiety and panic which has a couple of links that you might find helpful:

    It's absolutely normal to be anxious about surgery, but part of the key is to concentrate on actual facts rather than your imagination of what might happen. If you're a person that keeps thinking "What if....." then counteract those thoughts with "What if this doesn't happen?".

    My experience has been that you will be in the hands of world class health teams who are caring and understanding and will take all your anxiety into consideration when putting your care package together. Talk to them about your fears and they will be able to put your mind somewhat at rest.

    I wish you all the best and hope you, like me, find that the actual experience of surgery is nowhere near as bad as your mind tells you it's going to be.

  • H20,

    You are keeping busy - well done. Don't worry about matters over which you have no control as that is a waste of time. Look forward to coming out of hospital with the main risk to your health removed; it's a nice feeling. For my part, I experienced no pain at all after surgery. The colorectal team and nurses on the ward were first class. Place your trust in the anaesthetist as their role is of the utmost importance. If they offer advice prior to surgery then follow it. All of these dear people are there to help you, not hurt you and they have done this many times over and know their business. It's a shame about the food but I think they do that on purpose so you want to go home! Take it easy afterwards and you will be back to normal (whatever that might be) before long.



  • Thank you so much I will take a look at post now, I think it’s all still such a shock that I’m in panic mode but hopefully will get back to my positive self soon Fingers crossed

  • Thank you, I know you are right as the NHS are brilliant and everyone I have seen have been so helpful. I definitely think there is a method in their madness with regards to the foodJoy but it’s bound to be better than if my husband was to try and make me something lol 

  • It is frightening at the prospect of major surgery but please don't be afraid. I had my tonsils out at twelve and nothing really to write home about until my diagnosis at sixty. I can't say I was petrified because I just wanted it out and went along with it in a daze. The morning of the op I was very calm but was kept extremely busy with the team. Before I knew it I was coming round and not in any pain. 

    I was very well cared for in the hospital and made a good recovery all be it a bit slow but got there. 

    Good luck with your op x you will be in good hands x