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Topic: suggestions on dealing with anxiety without meds?

Forum: Living Without Reconstruction After a Mastectomy — Discuss prostheses, swimsuits, bras, and other options for women not having reconstruction or waiting for reconstruction.

Posted on: Feb 2, 2007 02:26PM

jan21 wrote:

Had a left mastectomy years ago but still having problems with anxiety. NO reconstruction. Don't want to do drugs. They come on when I see other girls showing off their stuff and especially when my hubby (who is really a great guy) looks, and then looks again! any ideas or suggestions? ( besides giving him a swift kick in the shins )I really want to get over it, just having a hard time, especially in the warmer months. I am 52 now, was 42 when I had the mastectomy done. help?
Dx 1/28/1996, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, 0/26 nodes, ER+
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Feb 2, 2007 03:11PM Mary-Lou wrote:

Aww Hugs. I really don't know what to say, I'm going to get new boobs soon.

My old ones had had it anyway. So that is my gift to myself for getting through this whole thing. Nipples that are up and at attention, I truly think my hubby and I will like them. I know I will. I have always been large busted, so I want smaller and perkie at 51!

And to wear clothes that I never could before has to be a plus.

Best of luck.
Dx with bone mets July 15 2011 - Dx with Liver Mets July 31, 2014. Dx 9/20/2005, IDC, 6cm+, Grade 3, 4/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 7/31/2014, Stage IV Chemotherapy 12/26/2014 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel), Methotrexate (Amethopterin, Mexate, Folex), Taxol (paclitaxel), Taxotere (docetaxel), Xeloda (capecitabine)
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Feb 2, 2007 03:35PM JustOne wrote:

Hi Jan, I'm left breast mastectomy and I'm also 52. 7 years ago for me. I think I know what you mean, I don't know if mine is so much anxiety though or that I just have these small 'poor me pity parties' once in a while.
I only let myself feel that way for a short time because I realize my husband would look at other women even if I still had both of mine. He's just a looker and I don't take it personal. Besides, he's a legman, and I have some kickass legs!

I think it's so normal to go through periods of anxiety about ours bodies and looks. With or without BC and a mastectomy, I think I'd still have some insecurities going on. I try to remember my husband and family love me for me, and I'm sure yours does too.

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Feb 3, 2007 02:26PM jan21 wrote:

bcmary.... I am happy that you are getting new boobs with nipples, but that really didn't help me any, as my anxiety comes from women with boobs and cleavage. Hope your happy with them.
Dx 1/28/1996, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, 0/26 nodes, ER+
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Feb 3, 2007 02:34PM jan21 wrote:

JustOne...thanks for your understanding. legs...well that's another thing, can't say I have great legs either, as I am bowlegged too! Guess I can't win.

Dx 1/28/1996, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, 0/26 nodes, ER+
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Feb 5, 2007 03:44AM ArmyNavyMom wrote:

Jan21 -

Remember, we are like bananas, it's the inside that really counts. You are beautiful where it counts, as are we all!

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Feb 5, 2007 03:52AM Sandra1957 wrote:

Post deleted by lini57

I'm always steppin' in and out of crap!
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Feb 5, 2007 05:17AM JustOne wrote:


Also, have you ever seriously considered reconstruction? I had a bilat a year ago and can't imagine being without breasts the rest of my life.


Do you realize what forum you wrote this on? hmmmm. For someone that has chosen NOT to have recontruction, this thinking really bothers me. Now I have anxiety.........
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Feb 5, 2007 05:30AM Sandra1957 wrote:

Post deleted by lini57

I'm always steppin' in and out of crap!
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Feb 5, 2007 06:49AM beth1225 wrote:

I have been on the fence about the recon after my PBM this Spring. One minute I want boobs, the next I don't. I have seen 2 ps to date and still have not made a decision. We live in a society that women are defined by body parts and that won't change. i am sorry that I have no words to make life better for you. I feel bad for those who have tried to help and got shot down. Nothing malicious was meant and we ALL have posted by mistake. Let's all just try to get along and keep helping each other.

If there was a way to take it all back I have not found it. I also wish we could make a choice and never have regrets. I am sure there will be regrets after my surgery too. Jan, I hope you can find solace. I don't like the idea of drugs to help either but sometimes it is the only way I get some sleep. But that is for ME. Everyone is entitled to do what is good for them.
Love and hugs, Beth "Without Humor, life is a walk, not a joyride." PBM 5/7/2007 is our family website, please visit me! Dx 1/3/2008, DCIS, Stage 0, 0/6 nodes, ER+
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Feb 5, 2007 01:58PM chemosabi wrote:

Ya know, sometimes I dont necessarily read what forum Im on. Usually, something catches my eye as this thread did. Because I have anxiety alot and never had this before being introduced to this breast cancer world.

Just remember, the underlying cause of anxiety is depression! We are each individuals. And this whole journey isnt easy. I tried to get through this without medications. After 6 months, things only got worse. The best thing that every happened to me was my PCP giving me an antidepressant. I cant tell you how it has made a world of difference.

I find myself looking at women - women who have breasts! All the time. I try to remember how I looked before my surgery, and I cant remember that anymore.

I wont kid anyone here, I had reconstruction. But I dont feel like I look pretty anymore.

Just one: - gee you seemed a little hard on Lini. Those of us that have been here a while, well - we just like to try and help others. We may not say the right things, but our intentions are always good.

So my humble advice, talk to your doctor and maybe consider medication. The quality of my life is just so much better.

Waving hello to everyone
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Feb 5, 2007 02:35PM LuAnnH wrote:

lini, I don't think you were offensive, I chose not to reconstruct. I checked into it years ago and decided it was something I would never consider. It really is a personal choice for each and every one of us. The reasons we chose for recon or no recon are all different also. I think the hardest is when someone wants recon and it just doesn't work and they are left feeling incomplete.

This forum is for those the choose not to have recon but eveyone is entitled to their thoughts and opinions. I have found others with bc are some of the most loving and caring women I have ever met in my life. Just seems someone is always there to pick you up when you slip! So IMHO I like all the helping hands. So don't feel bad about putting your input in.

LuAnn -- Dx 7/2/2006, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Feb 5, 2007 03:38PM jan21 wrote:

Not sure that "threaded" means, but giving it a try. I want to clearify my problems, as many of you girls want to help me and I thank you very much for all of your support, but this additional info, might help answer some of your questions for me. Here goes:

Let me try to explain where I am coming from. At 42 I had a mast. on my left breast. No history in the family...just me and thought I was on the younger side for that. Yea, I was so glad to get rid of it (at the time), but really jumped the gun. Had a friend who just died 1 year earlier and her kids were the same sex and age as mine. Our BC were totally different though. her's was stage 4. I did not even need any chemo or rad. only tamox. for 5 years. I never looked into any other choices except a mast. From the time that I was told that I had BC to when I had the surgery was only 5 days!! I panicked and chose surgery to get rid of it as fast as I could. My husband was all for it.,, wanted me not the breast. the years went by I really started to feel bad that I did not look into other options. Yea, I do know how VERY LUCKY I was just to have the surgery and nothing else. No hair loss or any of the things that goes with chemo/rad. Maybe that is part of my problem?? I am on an antidepressant and that does help, just not with the anxiety. NO, I do not want reconstruction. I did look into it...against my husbands wishes, as he did not want me to risk surgery and other problems in the future with that, but agreed to go with me to see what they had to say. Guess I was not real satisfied with the pictures that I saw and knowing that one breast would be sticking out more than my remaining breast and that it would not really "match it completely". And no, I would not put an implant into my good breast. I know that I would not be happy with that either. To go through all of the pain with reconstruction and then not to be happy with it just does not seem worth it to me. And I do know that there are many women out there that are not happy with or have more problems with them than before they had it done. I never did understand why a married man HAS TO LOOK at other women, I feel that it is disrespectful toward the wife, that they look because they are "BEAUTIFUL"....well gee wiz...makes me feel not that "beautiful" now. Guess I am just old fashion. I want a man that will love me for me (AND HE DOES) that does not have to "look"! anxiety problems I know that I am a very good person and a giving one. Just wish I can find some peace in my life. I am thinking of going to a hypnotist and see if that would help. MIght even look into accupuncture too.
Dx 1/28/1996, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, 0/26 nodes, ER+
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Feb 5, 2007 04:29PM roseg wrote:

I never did understand why a married man HAS TO LOOK at other women,

I don't mean to sell the male part of the race short, but a A lot of times they think with parts besides their brains! If you husband wasn't looking at other women, maybe he wouldn't be the great guy that he is to you!

I think you sound pretty comfortable with your decisions regarding breasts. I admire that. You know who you are, and what's right for you. Plenty of us spend our lives being unhappy because we can't get ourselves to that place.

I'd be grateful he's still got the perk to "look", and make sure he "does" with you!
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Feb 5, 2007 07:17PM SusaninSF wrote:


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us. I think most of us can really relate to what you're going through. I haven't noticed my husband looking but also don't make a conscious effort to see whether he's looking or not. I know I do feel a bit sad and jealous when I see some great cleavage on another woman but I probably had those feelings to a certain extent before the mastectomy any way. As I get older (I'm 43), there are also more and more women out there younger and prettier so it's not just the breast thing. Overall, I am very comfortable with myself but to a large extent society values women for their looks and we can't help but be influenced by that.

I believe that recognizing our weaknesses such as vanity is important and can ultimately make us stronger. The fact that you are facing these anxieties head on and reaching out for help is highly laudable.

I find that working out and doing yoga daily go a long way to giving me a positive attitude about my body. I may have a scar across my chest instead of a breast but by staying fit and limber, I feel and look the best I can.

Have you tried yoga and/or meditation? Both can really help with anxiety.

Hugs, Susan
Mets to brain, lung, eye, femur bone. Currently on Sacituzumab Govitecan TROPICS-02 trial. Dx 2000, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/31/2000 Lumpectomy: Left, Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Reconstruction (right) Dx 2008, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/2/2008 Mastectomy: Right Dx 3/29/2014, 4cm, Stage IV, metastasized to brain/bone/lungs/other, Grade 2, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 3/31/2014 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy 4/28/2014 External: Brain Chemotherapy 10/30/2014 Xeloda (capecitabine) Radiation Therapy 1/8/2015 External: Bone Radiation Therapy 6/6/2016 External Hormonal Therapy 11/16/2016 Faslodex (fulvestrant) Targeted Therapy 12/21/2016 Ibrance (palbociclib) Radiation Therapy 11/27/2017 External: Brain Hormonal Therapy 8/21/2018 Femara (letrozole) Targeted Therapy 8/21/2018 Piqray (alpelisib) Chemotherapy 4/23/2019 Taxol (paclitaxel) Chemotherapy 6/19/2019 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 10/23/2019 External: Brain Immunotherapy 10/25/2019 Targeted Therapy 2/18/2020 Trodelvy (sacituzumab govitecan-hziy)
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Feb 7, 2007 03:15PM jan21 wrote:

I m glad that I am not the only one that feels that way, but I also have to say that I have always felt a bit jealous over some good cleavage, as I am/was on the smaller size to begin with...34AA, so anything larger than that I thought would be nice to have . I have not tried yoga or meditation, but am going to a hypnotist next Thursday. Spoke with him about my anxieties and thought he could help me. We will see..hope it works out and I do not start "CLUCKING" when I hear the word "chicken"!!
Hugs to you too!! Jan
Dx 1/28/1996, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, 0/26 nodes, ER+
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Feb 22, 2007 03:33PM jan21 wrote:

well, today was my second visit to the hypnotist and he says he feels that he can help me out. I will have to see, but I do believe him. He is well known and has been in the local newspapers around here after he was able to make this bedridden man walk after 10 years of not walking. Guess that guy had a mental blockage about falling and hurting himself, which is what happened to him many times. Now he is walking! hope it works for me and you if you also have that type of problem too with the anxiety.

Dx 1/28/1996, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, 0/26 nodes, ER+
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May 14, 2007 07:02PM jan21 wrote:

I have finished my 12 weeks with a hypnotherapist. I feel it was well worth my time and money. He helped me out quite a bit and feel that I am more in control with my feelings. I would suggest to any one out there that is having anxiety attacks, to look into a reputable hypotherapist instead of going on meds.

Dx 1/28/1996, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, 0/26 nodes, ER+

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