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Panicking Before Surgery

I am having so much anxiety and panic right now. Surgery is early next week for my double mastectomy. I have a lot to be grateful for. It was found early, in Stages 1-2, and is smallish still.

But I am panicking over fear, and I get that. Also, the reality is setting in that I have to deal with this. Before, it was just appointments that I could manage with strength.

Can anyone share how they felt in the days leading up to surgery? Was the panic over after surgery?


  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,884

    Hi @nilespark44,

    We're so sorry you're having this fear and anxiety. It's certainly understandable, and you're NOT alone in this. We're sure others will be by soon to weigh in with their experiences and share what helped them.

    Many of our members find that getting as prepared as possible and knowing what to expect with surgery helps calm nerves. You can read the Shopping/Packing/To-Do List for Surgery and Recovery thread for lots of great practical information, as well as the Mastectomy Surgery and Recovery: What to Expect page for more detailed information.

    This thread is also very inspiring:

    In addition, it might help to ask your doctor for a prescription for an anti-anxiety medication to get you through.

    Hang in there —you've got this! We'll be thinking of you next week.

    —The Mods

  • maggiehopley
    maggiehopley Member Posts: 102

    The day before my double mastectomy I thought "they are going to have to drag me in there". I did not think I would be able to do it. The day of, I was just fine. You will be able to treat it just like your appointments- you will find the strength. We are here for you.

  • snm
    snm Member Posts: 72

    Days leading up I used audio guided imagery to help give me coping skills for my anxiety. It helped a lot. Everybody's experience is different but I did post "Tips for bilateral mastectomy and immediate tissue expanders with implant exchange". Wishing you find some applicable tips there.

  • lw422
    lw422 Member Posts: 1,399

    Your anxiety is understandable; it's a huge life-changing experience and a bit of an ordeal. I was so ready to "get the cancer off of me" that I wanted to get it over with as soon as possible. Then when the surgery got closer the reality of what was going to happen really set in. I did goofy things like taking pictures of my breasts and now I'm glad I did that. Sounds silly to admit, but it is an emotional thing that only another woman would understand. My very best to you for a successful surgery and an easy recovery.

  • needs.a.nap
    needs.a.nap Member Posts: 157

    Dear @nilespark44. I wish you all the best! I hope you’ll feel much calmer afterwards.

    I have my next surgery on Wednesday, to exchange my tissue expander for an implant, plus a reduction on my other side. I’m feeling anxiety starting and some sadness too. I remember feeling a lot of dread before my mastectomy (not about going under anesthesia or dying or anything, just all the unknowns I guess) but I was pleasantly surprised at how the reality ended up being so much less than I anticipated. Each minute is doable!

    I’m sorry you are feeling so panicky! I hope we both find the reality to be much easier than we worry about. Take care and have a restful recovery, don’t try to do much, just heal.