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How do you deal with the anxiety

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schnibbens
schnibbens Member Posts: 5
edited March 2021 in Waiting for Test Results

I have a biopsy tomorrow for some loosely grouped microcalcifactions that have grown and have a slight pleomorphic shape since the last mammogram. My radiologist told me that he would be surprised if it was anything but due to my high risk background, needed to check. He also said he has been surprised before. I had a MRI in August that was clean. I've previously had two biopsies that revealed PASH. I'm also high risk due to Mom, 2 Grandmas, 2 aunts, cousin on both sides of the family with breast cancer.

I'm freaking out - my rational mind will tell myself that the odds are in my favor, radiologist seems confident etc but I can't keep my head from going to dark places. I've had a two week wait for the biopsy and have lost 7 pounds, can't sleep or focus. Obviously, this isn't good for me and being high risk, I either need to be better prepared to handle this going forward or pull the trigger on the prophylatic mastectomy.

I've read about mindfulness and trying to live in the moment. Has anyone had success in dealing with these awful waiting period with these type of techniques? Any suggestions on how I can better deal with this anxiety? I'm afraid if it comes back positive, I won't sleep/eat/etc for the next month while everything gets sorted out.

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  • jrnj
    jrnj Member Posts: 407
    edited March 2021
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    Schnibbens , when I was first diagnosed I couldn’t function or sleep. I was already taking lunesta 2/3 the time (sleeping pill). Upped it to daily. Only thing that helps me. I don’t like anxiety medication. Two weeks is a long time. I don’t like to speculate, but I would think if they saw something really bad you would hear sooner. My biopsy was on a Tuesday and they called me on Thursday. Keep busy so you don’t think about it. The odds are in your favor. Especially if you had an mri.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,944
    edited March 2021
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    I deliberately scheduled fun things between tests and appointments. It's harder to do in the days of Covid, but my family and I did a lot of picnics and day trips last year, pretty similar to the year I had cancers. I look back and remember the fun more than the medical stuff.

  • moth
    moth Member Posts: 3,293
    edited March 2021
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    I've practiced mindfulness and meditation for years and my sense is that this is a very hard thing to start when you're in a crisis. They're the sort of thing to start when you have a bit of calm in your life to grab on to. It's not impossible, but ime, in the stormy weather part, distraction is often a better bet. This is the time to get into a Netflix drama with 17 seasons, join the online reddit community for the tv show & argue about who is the traitor and who deserved what and why is that Jane such a bitch? Develop passionate opinions about obscure hobbies. Watch hours of youtube videos on adding beadwork to knitting - even if you do not knit. Seriously consider moving to Ireland to become a swordmaker and watch hours of youtube on Irish swords. Now is the time to dig deep into your inner nerd.

    Also, sweaty exercise helps me immensely - when you sweat so hard you can't think about anything else - and being outdoors at least once a day.

    Try the midnfulness meditations also. I like Tara Brach (she has website with free guided meditations and also more lecture/teachings on health and dealing with just crap in life). There are also apps for meditation which you can try.

    I'd try it all, in series. If something doesnt work, move to the next. oh & force yourself to eat. Really, schedule it. When things are rough and can't focus, try: shower, sandwich, nap. Try one after another until something clicks and starts moving you to another mindplace. If nothing else, you'll be clean and have eaten and have tried to sleep before going to argue on reddit with your tv show fans :D.

    Hang in there.

  • Snowflake888
    Snowflake888 Member Posts: 29
    edited March 2021
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    schnibbens,

    So very sorry to hear what you are going through. Virtual hug and prayers for a comfortable biopsy tomorrow and good outcome. Moth, I love your solutions. There is little more I could add except you could try Tylenol PM at night to try to get some uninterrupted sleep. It leaves you a little groggy though, when you first wake up.

    I should have taken one tonight, as I am still up at 3:16 reading this site. I am going to close my eyes soon and dream of tartan clad night with a gorgeous Irish sword

  • melissadallas
    melissadallas Member Posts: 929
    edited March 2021
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    One point on taking things like Tylenol PM for anxiety/help sleeping. If you are not treating pain there is no reason to take acetaminophen. Plain OTC diphenhydramine (benadryl) is preferable and is the active ingredient to make you drowsy. It is too easy to exceed the maximum recommended dose and OD on acetaminophen and damage your liver because of the myriad OTC drugs, including cold and allergy ones, that contain it. It is very common for people to show up in ERs in liver failure from this

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,052
    edited March 2021
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    schnibbens, you may also like to check out and join the conversation in the following topic from our Not Diagnosed But Worried forum:

    Anxiety

    Hope this helps, and good luck with biopsy!

    The Mods

  • LivinLife
    LivinLife Member Posts: 301
    edited March 2021
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    Welcome schnibbens! Best with the biopsy! The waiting is soooo hard.... I love your suggestions for distracting during these kinds of times moth! Truly creative and awesome!

  • Snowflake888
    Snowflake888 Member Posts: 29
    edited March 2021
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    thanks Melissa Dallas,

    Yes, absolutely wouldn’t want overuse of Tylenol pm. It’s more of an occasional thing when laying awake desperate. Benadryl can increase my heart rate. All medicine should be checked with your physician, especially when mixed with with other medications. Again, prayers to you schnibbens. You are in my thoughts

  • wallycat
    wallycat Member Posts: 1,273
    edited March 2021
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    I wish I had words of advice. I'm 14 (in April) years out with BC, but a routine annual exam caused a red flag on my labs and this ugly journey is starting all over again.

    I totally understand the palpable angst. I will be having a bone marrow MRI on the 17th and had a thyroid ultrasound yesterday. I feel like I'm walking through mud to make it through the day. I wake up with panic attacks. I was a regular meditator but this has thrown me into a tailspin. That and dealing with DH's metastatic prostate cancer....life can be cruel.

    You can try taking Hops and/or Lemon Balm to find some calm. Both are also good at killing cancers (at least in vitro).

    Best to you.

  • melissadallas
    melissadallas Member Posts: 929
    edited March 2021
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    Snowflake888, Tylenol PM IS benadryl. That is why it makes you sleepy

  • moth
    moth Member Posts: 3,293
    edited March 2021
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    but Tylenol pm is not JUST benadryl . It's acetaminophen plus benadryl.

    Point is don't take acetaminophen if you don't need it. It really is very bad for the liver. My pathophysiology prof thought it was one of the most dangerous meds and that it should not be otc. Can cause irreversible liver damage, even at "safe" dose so take only if you actually need it.

    If you want the benadryl, take benadryl. Dramamine also causes sleepiness. Buy it's best to talk w Dr and pharmacist. Sometimes a rx is a better and safer option

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,944
    edited March 2021
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    All pain relievers come with issues. I have arthritis and took NSAIDs for years every day, Aleve for about a decade, then Motrin (which was the most effective) for another. But my urologist says those were major contributing factors, along with smoking, to my developing kidney cancer. Now, with one kidney, all I'm allowed is Tylenol. I did ask about potential liver damage, and all my doctors have said as long as I stay well below the maximum dose, I should be fine. It's certainly not as effective as Motrin, but it takes some of the edge off the daily pain.

  • schnibbens
    schnibbens Member Posts: 5
    edited March 2021
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    Thank you all! Biopsy went great and looks like I won't get a massive hematoma like I did last time.

    I'm in a better place- reading stories of people who have been through all of the treatments and came out the other side has helped. I'm sure ill freak out again if I'm part of the 20% but the stories here will help. I told myself multiple times today that I didn't have to be brave, I just had to show up.

    If all this doesn't work- it is time to move to Ireland and start making swords

  • Snowflake888
    Snowflake888 Member Posts: 29
    edited March 2021
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    Melissadallas,

    Thank you so much for taking the time. May God bless you for your concern. Sadly, I am always in pain...a bad breast reconstruction, bulging discs, etc. And I rarely medicate for pain because of drug interactions with my Coumadin and heart meds. Strangely enough, Benadryl alone gives me rapid heartbeat, while Tylenol pm doesn’t. Must just be me. I will ask my doc someday.

    Schnibbens, I hope today went well. I have kept you in my prayers. Please let us know how things go.

  • jrnj
    jrnj Member Posts: 407
    edited March 2021
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    Unison and sominex have otc sleep aides that are not Benadryl (they have multiple formulas)I never understood why people take Tylenol pm. But I get sick from Benadryl and the others make you very groggy in the morning. Prescription sleep aides are SO much better. I take lunesta, it's extended release. Anyway hope you won't need it and all is well for you and Wallycat!!

    Alice, I was struggling so bad on AIs i was taking ibuprofen every day twice a day. I was scared to do that. I read Celebrex was better so I asked for that, which apparently can cause heart problems. don't know what to do. Been off for almost 2 months due to diep surgery. Will start up with a new AI and have an appointment with rheumatologist. What do you take now for arthritis?

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,944
    edited March 2021
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    JRNJ

    I take Tylenol, but my quality of life has gone downhill without Motrin. I have to use a cane or walking stick more, and my stamina is way down as a result.

  • jrnj
    jrnj Member Posts: 407
    edited March 2021
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    Thanks Alice. Sorry to hear that. My pain is pretty bad on AIs. I’ll see if the rheumatologist has any magic pills but I doubt it. When I was on steroids I felt great but I know that is another medicine not meant for long term.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,944
    edited March 2021
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    I was on steroids for a week after major dental work. Never felt better in my life! Which is why I guess they're dangerous long-term.

  • schnibbens
    schnibbens Member Posts: 5
    edited March 2021
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    Update here - benign breast tissue!!! Fibrocystic changes

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,944
    edited March 2021
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    Great news, schnibbens!

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,116
    edited March 2021
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    Congrats. AND thanks for the update. Too many people never come back so we are left to assume they are OK. We appreciate you post.

  • 2019whatayear
    2019whatayear Member Posts: 468
    edited March 2021
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    Great news on this Friday! Thanks for coming back and letting us know!

  • LivinLife
    LivinLife Member Posts: 301
    edited March 2021
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    Soooo happy for you!!! Thanks for letting us know! Enjoy your weekend.....

  • Snowflake888
    Snowflake888 Member Posts: 29
    edited March 2021
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    schnibbens,

    That is great news. Thanks for letting us know.

  • Boxingmama
    Boxingmama Member Posts: 5
    edited March 2021
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    Also a cat lover. The anxiety is close to unbearable -totally understandable. I have not been able to meditate since my diagnosis Monday. It is my second time with cancer though the prior cancer was thyroid. I am taking Xanax which helps a little. It’s hard to see friends who havent been thru this. I am going to try to go back to boxing as those hormones help anxiety, or should. Best of luck and keep us update