Pre surgery anxiety

Hi there, I just found this site and had some really good reads. I just had my 4th chemo of taxol/carbo on Monday. It's taken me down more than ever this time. I'm scheduled for debulking surgery on the 17th may. I have anxiety. Not so much about the surgery, but about the time afterwards when I will not be up to doing much. The anxiety is brought on when I am not doing anything. I read, knit, colour etc.... But I can't do that all day. I try to watch tv but cannot concentrate. It's like I'm shaking inside my body as soon as an activity I am doing comes to an end. Any advice would be appreciated???

33 Replies

  • Hi Millie

    I have had de bulking and 6 months of Carbo taxol and am in remission,what you have is chemo brain, very normal and nothing to worry about.I couldn't concentrate on anything for any length of time and still have a short attention span a year later.

    Don't worry about after, you need to take it easy, nothing strenuous, a bit of excercise, like walking, but very much listen to the limits your body tells you and very important don't beat yourself up about your limitations.Just continue what you are able, felt I couldn't read books so read magazines,flicked from programme to programme on the tv, did a bit of knitting, a bit of pottering about in the house until the 6 weeks after the op and then gradually you are able to do more and when chemo finishes the fog slowly lifts and you come through.

    Make sure you take lots of comfortable clothes after op, wet wipes to freshen up, ear plugs and an eye mask as hospital noise and lights are intrusive,magazines and most important rest, have a duvet day and dont feel guilty, this is probably the only time in your life you should be selfish, difficult, but you will be fine.

    Any problems speak to the experts,us ladies have all been there and are here for support,

    Best wishes,

    Carole xxx

  • Thanks Carole for your lengthy reply, you have really helped me to see the end is near. Good news that you are in remission. I know part of the journey you have taken and it is really good to hear people actually get through this and come out the other side. 

    Best wishes back, 


  • Oh Mandy,

    Yes people do come out the other side and yes a support group is a good idea and you may just make friends who you can see on a regular basis

    Carole xx

  • Hi Mille

    I was really surprised how quickly I was able to get up and make tea etc after my op. I had general anaesthetic plus an epidural which meant that when I came round my lower half was still asleep...I worried about how weird that would be but in fact it was fine. My memory of having abdo surgery years ago was that I couldn't all hurt etc but not this time. Yes my abdomen looked like a building site (30 staples) but all very take heart you will manage and you may find you enjoy your chemo holiday xx Lyndall 

  • Hi Millie welcome to the site, you are doing well and nearly there with the chemo,  Sometimes the whole thing can be overwhelming.  Maybe ring Ruth the Ovacome nurse or perhaps see if there is a support group in your hospital.  I found a support group outside of the hospital which was really invaluable.  There is always this forum to express your fears and to speak to others going through the same thing,   I think when you are at home, you get fed up of television and reading etc.  Music is relaxing also if you can get out for small walks on your good days, it is beneficial.    As we get more chemo, we are also more tired and fatigued.  Make sure you have a rest period every day or a duvet day if you need it, best wishes

  • I went to the maggies centre at Nottingham city hospital on Monday and they have some sessions that look interesting and it was good to be around other people going through similar experiences. I am a talker so it really helped. I will try and see if there is anything more local. Thanks for the advice. 


  • Thankyou all for taking the time to comment. It's good to hear from people who have been through this. I know it's got to happen and it is just time, but the days are so long now I'm at home all day. It helps to hear other people's experiences and such positive ones too. I thank you so much. 

  • I had surgery on 8th March this year, no staples but glued and one catgut stitch across the centre. I love reading but couldn't get into my books for about a week or more afterwards and it didn't bother me. I stayed in bed for a few days surrounded by pillows and propped up - essential for me as they supported my abdomen. I moved back to my own bed (with hubby) after about 4 days , too awake before then! I spent a lot if my time upstairs in the little to room we have, looking out if the window at the fields and birds and I wasn't bored at all. I watched a bit if to but had no interest in doing anything else, that came back slowly . My world and interests sort of reduced and that was ok. It gradually came back. I wore fresh clean pyjamas and a cardi every day,  and after about 2 weeks I changed into my soft yoga trousers , t shirts and cardis. It wasn't until I went to see the Oncologist that I put a pair of jeans on! 3 weeks exactly since surgery and one week before Chemo started. 

    Don't worry, just take each day as you go, have things there if you feel you need them but don't be surprised if you are just content to sit. Hugs to you


  • Hi Clare, thanks for your reply. It does sound like what I'm going to be doing will not be at the forefront of my mind. Hope the chemo has gone well. Xx

  • Its amazing Clare that you were discharged in 4 days post debulking. Wow again. My wife took nine days to get home and the Doc was happy that its a fairly  fast recovery. Non diabetic and non hypertensive, so it helped.


  • I was amazed that I was out so quickly but home was the best place to be, helped my recovery and the nurse specialist was only a phone call away when I needed some reassurance

    Hope your wife has recovered and continues to get stronger


  • Thanks Clare,  she is on mambo #5 as I dish this out.  One more to go. Phew! Btw your display name intrigues me since my family surname is Choksi. 


  • Good luck with your op. I had four chemo prior to my op too.  The time in hospital passed so quickly.  I read a bit, sent emails long into the night. Listened to some music, chatted to the nurses when they had time and the other patients. Once I got home, it was pretty much the same although I was able to walk out with my dog.  The Time just runs away as you'll be feeling tired. Don't forget your chargers and wet wipes. 

    Good luck. 

  • Thanks for the reply and advice on the wet wipes, I will definitely pack some in my bag to freshen up. People keep mentioning taking walks but how far?? I don't seam to be able to walk much now with tingling in my legs from the chemo. I bought a walking frame on wheels which helps. I'm reluctant to go far incase I get tired. Top of the street and back??

  • I walked around the hospital ward quite a bit while I was there, very slowly I must add.  So when I got back home I walked down the lane carefully considering I had to be sure I could get back.   Not sure how far top of the street is for you, but if you're not sure, go half-way and then walk five minutes more the next day (which is actually ten minutes as you've got to return).  Gives a sense of achievement doing more each day.  There's something therapeutic about being outside walking and helps your recovery no-end both physically and mentally. Hopefully this cold spell will have passed before you have your op.   My neuropathy from the chemo is quite bad now but not so bad I'd need a walking frame.  Providing I put my mind to it, I can walk ok on the straight it's going up and down stairs that are a real problem.

    The wipes are useful because you probably won't be able to get out of bed without help from the nurses the first day and if they're busy with the drugs round and other patients, might be a while before you can get washed. Someone else here mentioned ear plugs and eye masks, which are very important.   Hospitals are quite noisy and bright when you want to rest.

  • You have had some good advice here from everyone. We have all been there. Now we can tell you that you are on the way to remission. Hang in there. To be honest I was so tired inactivity didn't phase me and I had lots of visitors. I did listen to quite a few audiobooks, found that helpful. Although some days fell asleep before the murder let alone finding the killer. 😊 I am an Agathat Christie fan. Hope it all goes well.

  • Morning, thanks for the reply. It does sound like I will be too tired to worry about what I'm doing to start with. Audio books are a great suggestion. Thanks

  • Hi Millie, with so many good to hear responses, I am sure that the fears in your mind  must have eroded by now.

    'This too shall pass'


  • Don't worry it will all fall into place and you will be so so happy that you have had your op and that you will soon be getting your life back, take it easy xx

  • Hey Millie,

    You have got lots of great responses to your message and I would support every one of them! I recovered quiet quickly after both surgeries mine were done laparoscopically and it is easier to recover from that type of surgery! My one suggestion and I feel like a broken record on this board as I have said it so many times but it is really really important to keep yourself hydrated drink lots of water! It helps your digestive system among many other things! After your surgery take it easy and give in to the tiredness sleep when your body tells you to! Also I found that the anesthetic made me very emotional for a few days afterwards and again my advice is to give in to it! A good cry can make you feel much better so have the tissues handy!!! 

    Wishing you the very best of luck with your surgery. I hadn't had surgery before and I was very anxious but it didn't turn out to be nearly as bad as I had thought!!! 

    Onwards and UPWARDS!!! 


  • Re how much walking, you will find that the hospital aims to get you on your feet quickly and will encourafe you to walk around a bit. That important to help your bowels too. Once i was home i just walked around the house then when i felt stronger i walked around the garden. It took abit of time before i walked up and down the lane. Do what you think you can manage


  • Thanks clare I am struggling with my bowels at the moment. I keep trying to drink but only managing just over a litre. I don't like the taste. I try a cup of tea in the morning and force that down and then have 2 400ml glasses of squash throughout the day. I know it's not enough but I can't manage any more. I know it's a viscous cycle and hopefully my intake of fluid will get better once the chemo wears off a bit again. 

  • Some people have suggested drinking ginger beer or adding lemon or lime slices.  Just sip a small mouthfuls , they all add up. 

    Im on day 3 of chemo  2 and feeling a bit under the weather so am still in bed watching tv and sipping squash.  Occasionally nibbling on a ginger biscuit.  No bowel movement since Wed but am now taking Laxido sachets which were prescribed for me by my Oncologist on Wed. I dont like the taste but manage to keep them down! !

    These symptoms do pass and yours and my days will soon be better. 


  • Thanks Clare. Xx

  • I hated Laxido!! Bought myself a Nutribullet and have never had to take anything else again! Tastes much nicer and full of vitamins x

  • Yes I'm finding laxidol hard to take, can't face it at the moment as I know it won't stay down. I do drink Nutribullet drinks but when I feel nausea I find them hard to swallow to. I will ask my hubby to make me a small one.x

  • It's not much fun I know! I am on number 16 of 18 which I never thought I could do, it will get better xx

  • Hi Millie,

     I'm just in recovery from my op.  Like you, I'd done four chemo's first and have two to follow after my surgeon gives me the go ahead.

     My anxiety was for the op - I'd never had surgery before.  When it's over, you must try not to concentrate on anything other than getting yourself well again.  It doesn't matter that you can't focus for too long - as long as you get plenty of rest and shut eye.  Sleep is the best remedy and I have indulged in plenty over this past week.  Do you have support? 

    I find that talking books help too.  just lie on the bed and listen to something funny or cheerful.  Audible are a good source with thousands of great books and plays.  Just close your eyes and listen.  There are plenty of meditations on YouTube as well.

    Debs xx

  • Hi debs, hope your recovery is going well. I have support at home with my partner Lee. He has been amazing. I don't quite know what I'd do without him at the moment. Everyone family and friends being so supportive. 

    I will search audible books as u are the second to mention it. 

    It's a nice thought only two chemos left and then fingers crossed good news is on its way for you. 

    Take care and rest easy. (I can say it just not good at doing it)


  • Not much about this rotten illness is easy.   But you go easy on yourself.  Like you, I'm lucky to have a supportive other half.  He's been a diamond.  Plus I have my eldest sister and brother in law.  

    I was prescribed Diazepam for my anxiety.  I pop one as and when required and believe me they have helped enormously.  Anything that helps, I say..

    We'll be here after the op love xx

  • I've had three ops to date and have recovered well from all of them, I was very anxious beforehand but always turned out better than I thought it would be. Good luck, it will be OK :)

  • Thanks for your reply . Sorry to hear you had 3 ops but good news that you have recovered from them. I suppose time has a way of sorting things out. 

    Hope you are all sorted now.

    Best wishes. Xx

  • So many fabulous responses and advise which I pinching :) My debulking is around the 19th, so we're in the same situation albeit I am in Dubai and I'm guessing you are in Europe? After-care here is very sketchy with medics at the onc clinics not working weekends and no way of contacting them, but I come from a family of medics who are hugely knowledgeable and supportive even though they are in Australia and England. Try not to worry about not doing anything. Rest is vitally important, even if it means sitting  with your legs up in front of the tv. I'm indulging in ALL the Downton DVDs again and have recently watched The Night Manager and The Bridge and of course Corrie and Emmerdale which I am addicted to. Do you watch them? If so, WHAT has Eileen in Corrie done to her teeth? Ha ha. I shouldn't mock ... She has hair, I don't. Take care. Stay strong and believe all will be well. Hugs, Jeanne xxx

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