Terrified of hospitals

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Hi, I am 61 next Friday.

I saw my doc on 3rd May, referred to local NHS hospital, Wales, he wanted me to be seen within 2 weeks. The appointment came through for 10th June.

I paid private for tests, at the Spire on the Wirral,which I had 24th May. Confirmed as breast cancer from mamo and ultra sound. Lymph nodes clear. Then had biopsy. I was told what the treatment was likely to be.

Got my biopsy results back Tuesday evening, 4th June.

Grade 2, stage 1, ductal IDC, ER+ PR+ HER2-

Consultant Confirmed treatment would be lumpectomy, SNB, followed by 5 radiotherapy sessions and medication for 5 or 10 years. She did say it could change once lymph have been examined.

She referred me back to my local NHS hospital to a consultant who trained at the same time as her.

She says I should hear from him some time next week. We are supposed to be going away next Friday for 2 weeks, nothing booked yet.

I had wanted it all done under a local anesthetic as I dislike hospitals and terrified of going under, what they do when your asleep and being out of control, childhood trauma. I've had 2 children in hospital, home same day and 2 at home. I've had 2 hospital attmittances where I walked/signed myself out before being taken up onto a ward. Ovain cyst drained with local, it took me 18 months to agree to have it seen to, my husband stayed with me throughout. My fear has got steadily worse over the years. I'm already seeing a counsellor about stuff from the past, she's currently on holiday.

The private consultant has told me it is very unlikely that the other consultant would do the lumpectomy and lymph removal under a local, she personally wouldn't do it either. My head is all over the place, I can't sleep properly, I'm waking from a panicked dream every time I drop off.

To add to my fears I've already read that you can't have anyone with you during treatment and also told that hubby won't be able to stay with me upto the point of me going to sleep, if I agree to the GA, he wouldn't be allowed in the anesthetic room. The fear of something over my mouth (mask) can be sorted with nasal oxygen, it's the rest. I have an appointment with my doc in the morning to see what he can do to help.

Sorry for the long post xx

  • Hi I'm sorry to hear of your stress. I'm petrified of being knocked out. However I can't stress enough how well the staff took care of me. They were excellent. I got mine done yesterday with a GA. You go in as a day case. I went in for 10am was taken to theatre which you walk to at 12.30. Had 2 nurses with me at all times I woke about 3pm had some tea and toast and left the hospital at 4pm. I was home for tea time. 

    I stressed so much my BP was through the roof. But on reflection the staff were brilliant and attentive and did everything they could to make sure my experience was that I felt safe and well cared for.

    I wish you well. Xx

  • Hi Redc. So sorry you are going through this . I was so scared about the anaesthetic but I don’t even remember the mask , I was out before they got that near me . I hope they can reassure you x 

  • Hi Redc,

    I had a lumpectomy nearly two months ago and two lymph nodes removed. I know this is a scary time, but I assure with the technology they have these days, the operation is a breeze, it’s a day surgery and you will be at home with your family the same day - even the anaesthetic they use now is amazingly better. The mask by the way, is a very lightweight see through one and was nothing, I hadn’t had anaesthetic for nearly twenty years, so was a bit wary, but it was great in the end.

    You have made the first big step by finding the Macmillan site, also do visit your nearest Macmillan centre, a list is on here, or ring them on 0808 808 0000, they are superbly helpful and give you lots of great info, do walks, talks and lots more. Please also get a good support structure in place, family, friends, good work colleagues, I’ve lived on my own for nigh on forty years, but realised you can’t do this on your own, although you sound like you have a great family. I also go for a short walk every day (British weather permitting) and do a daily diary, this is mega helpful, as it gets everything off your chest and out of your system. It is important during the day to keep yourself occupied, hobbies, interests etc., it stops you from dwelling on what is going on. You may also find it beneficial to listen to a meditation podcast, they really help you to relax especially when you are trying to get to sleep. I use one called ‘Go Gently’ by Christine Elizabeth Smith, it does a lot for me.

    I know it’s hard sometimes, but try and keep as positive as possible can, have positive people around you and dump the negativity, above all, be kind to yourself - I promise you, you will get through this. You are never alone and can always come and chat to us shower in here.

    Take care and big hugs.

  • I understand fear. I’m scared even having an appointment with my GP for a repeat prescription. 

    I was fortunate to have my treatment privately so no delay between diagnosis and surgery thus no time to dwell on my fears. I was still very apprehensive though. But that’s normal. 

    I didn’t have a mask of any sort whilst I was conscious and at every stage the medical staff were gentle and reassuring. It’s important to share your feelings. 

    partner was waiting at the bedside when I returned. After my first op I was barely awake at that point. After the second I was alert and waving. You’ve had bad experiences in the past but that’s no guarantee you’ll always have a bad experience. 

    I wish you luck. 

  • I read that you would have one on when you wake up, that would trigger a panic attack in me. It's anything over my face, especially my mouth, exempt from masks during covid x

  • If you explain that to them they can use a nasal canula or remove mask before you wake up. When I woke yesterday they took the mask of me. It's a clear light one. They will try their best to put you at ease.  Xx

  • I did not have a mask or anything when I woke up. Can't  even remember going  to sleep. Everyone was very kind and reassuringly. Good luck without next step.xx

  • I was the same 

  • Been to hospital to see oncologist who explained everything very clearly. I am not having chemo, the side effects would not merit it as I am 21 which is below the 25 level on the oncotype scale. I was told I was borderline by the breast nurse. I am having 3 weeks of 5 days radiotherapy to make sure the chest wall and lymph nodes are free of cells. It doesn't sound too bad, tiredness seems the most usual side effect. Not pleasant but if it makes it less likely to reacur it is worth it. Hope you are feeling a little better hearing other people's similar story. Just keep communicating it does help. Good wishes.xx 

  • I've got my docs appointment in half an hour to see what can be done to help over my fears x