I'm 4 weeks post op and see the surgeon on 4 th Jan. Every morning I wake up shaking with anxiety. What if, what if, what if ...... What if we can't afford to stay in our house, what if my iliostomy can't be reversed, what Chemo, I'm self-employed and afraid I won't be able to go back to work-in fact I don't even want to, what if.... I can't stop myself. I've never been depressive before but this is different. I feel better in the evening but don't want to go to bed as I know I will wake up in fear in the morning. Can anyone relate to this please?

27 Replies

  • Hello Neona, you are probably suffering from post operation blues. Do go and speak to your gp about this, It is better to stop the what ifs, these are your thoughts and not facts. You have to keep telling your self this, Try and get out every day for a while, list at night three things which made you feel good during the day and three people you are grateful to for whatever they did during the day for you or at any time this will help your mindset to settle a bit. But do speak to your doctor too.

  • This is a good idea and friends have been incredibly good to me. I will try to see my GP but it is difficult to get to the surgery as I don't think I'm ready to drive yet.

  • Hi Neona,

    I can relate to that totally. Are you taking anything for the anxiety? I take Diazepam as and when needed. I can take 2mg up to 3 times a day, but often just the one is sufficient to calm me down. Anxiety isn't depression although just as hard to deal with. Have you had debulking surgery?

    The self employment worries are very real ones aren't they. I have a bee in my bonnet about the lack of support for the self employed while ill. Are you claiming all your entitlements? If unsure, contact Macmillan - they are very helpful. If you haven't already, talk to your mortgage provider and ask for them to give you some time to get through the difficult months until you are back on your feet. Ours were very accommodating when I explained what was happening. Being proactive will help you refocus your mind.

    Whatever you do, you must make an appointment to see your GP. If you can't drive, grab a taxi.

    Try to get as much sleep as possible. Sleep helps you heal.

    Debs xxx

  • yes I have had cyto reductive surgery and had complications-didn't wake up from anaesthetic, sepsis and pulmonary embolism and iliostomy. Diazapan sounds like a goid idea -am on so many pills already! Have just been reading about post-operative depression which I had never heard of.

  • Hi Neona

    I think what you are describing is very familiar...we all feel the loss of control this diagnosis brings to some extent. I am also a freelancer...I was very lucky in that my main contract let me work when I felt able fact I did about 1 day per week throughout chemo by working from home.

    I also made some knee jerk decisions about things I felt I couldn't afford at the time of diagnosis that I now wish I had waited on.

    This disease is generally a slow try not to panic but get support to look at your situation in a realistic way. Macmillan are very good. Talk to your family too- they might just surprise you! Xx

  • Am hoping to get a lift to the hospital Macmillan centre for some counselling-unfortunately it is an hour away.

  • Hi neona,

    I feel exactly the same. I am fine at night when I'm settled watching tv but when I go to bed the anxiety starts. It's about waking up in the morning and having the whole next day to be worrying.

    I did ask the doctor and they have prescribed citalopram for me which has helped. I have also had 1 session of counselling and am hoping as appointments go on that will help me to ease my worries.

    It is the uncertainty that we have to deal with that is mostly my problem. I finished chemo at the end of October and I can say it has got better in the last two months but I'm not fully there yet. I'm hoping over time it gets less and less.

    Please go see your GP and ask for help. If they prescribe medication to help it doesn't have to be forever, just to see you through this tuff time at the moment.

    Wishing you well,


  • Thank you Mandy- I think seeing my GP will beva good thing.

  • Hi neona

    As the other ladies have said this is completely normal , you wouldn't be normal if you did not feel like this after one of the most traumatic experiences any human being can have. This is also caused by the anaesthetic , the drugs used afterwards and hormonal issues. Are you on HRT ? Also please don't be afraid to ask for help , whether or not that's counseling and or prescribed medication.

    With love n hugs xxx

  • No not on HRT but did have issues with the anaesthetiic. The op was 7 hours and I didn't wake up properly and they put me back to sleep for 24 hours.

  • totally....just try and stay in the "what is" instead of the "what ifs"

  • Hi Neona, you have had a big trauma and you could well be suffering from post traumatic stress. Speak with your medical team, they have specially trained staff who can help you. Do try to focus on the positives such as you have now had your surgery and you are recovering, you may have to have chemo but it's another positive step in the move to getting well again, your illeostomy is helping you while your bowels settle and if they've said they can reverse it then why think differently? There is so much to look forward to and you've done the hard bit now.

    Speak to your mortgage people, if they know your situation you may be able to take a payment break, many mortgage companies do offer this, they just tag the payments onto the end of the mortgage period. if they know they can help.

    We all have had issues like this I think, you have been on the diagnosis and treatment treadmill when you don't have time to think because there is just so much going on and now you're back to your own devices with time to think. Yes there are down sides but there are always upsides too to any situation. Do try to find these.

    Hope you feel much better soon & sending big hugs ❤xx Jane

  • Thank you so much-you are very encouraging.

  • I needed to go to my GP surgeries 2 weeks after one of my operations, so I couldn't drive. I'm married, but my husband was admitted to hospital with chest pains 2 days before my appointment. A friend living quite near was able to give me a lift. But if I had been unable to get a lift, I would have had to get a taxi there & back, although I know it would have been expensive. Di

  • Don't know how things could be so difficult.

  • Hi Neona

    As you have had very good advice from women who had surgery I won't go there since I never had surgery. I can however confirm the fact that diagnosis of this illness with just chemo treatment results in the same horrific anxiety. I was told that surgery wasn't possible and that produces its own anxiety when you see that most women have it. It all just goes with this disease. I tried to deal with it by accepting the counselling I was offered, practicing mindfulness and going to a support group. I also kept a journal. It did work for me but having a recurrence earlier this year has set me back so my New Year resolution is to get back on track with all of these aids as they really did help. As I had already taken earlier retirement I didn't have the added worry about taking time off work etc. I see that that other ladies have given you advice on this. I hope it all comes together for you and I wish you the very best.


  • Thank you -a friend has offered to take me to the hospital Mcmillan centre for councelling so I have asked for a referral. It is an hour's drive away unfortunately. I wish you success dealing with the reocurrence which must cause as much worry as the initial diagnosis.

  • Thank you Neona

    Both my counselling service and support groups are an hour away too but it is worth the travel . It is good that you have a friend who can take you there. I really believe it will be beneficial to you. Keep in touch.


  • Hi

    Have you asked if any support groups in your area or could you get in touch with other ladies in your area. I do this and it really helps we have a small group of 7 who meet every few months. The other thing may be your local hospice as they often run therapies such as massage or acupuncture which can help. There is also mindfulllness which I know has helped a lot of people. Which area of county do you live. Maybe worth contacting target ovarian cancer as they run events where you can meet other ladies. Sx

  • Thank you-I live in Cornwall and can't find anything near at all. There is a new Macmillan centre at the hospital in Truro and a friend is going to take me when I can get an appointment.

  • Maggies have an online service ive not used it but may be worth a look. It may be worth asking at hospital if anyone else would like to meet others. I left my email with my support nurse and she gives it to anyone who enquires about support or meeting other ladies with the same condition. I was a bit nervous about doing it at first but it works fine and then I just send an email out every couple of months saying when and where we meeting, normally a local garden centre with café or largish café and people come if they can. Not yet been sitting their on my own. You could put a post on here or on one of facebook pages for people with ovarian cancer asking if anyone in your area wants to meet. hope you get some luck at the hospital sxx

  • Thank you -that is a good idea.

  • Hi Neona,

    I can sympathise completely and understand how you are feeling. Some of this is natural and part of the post trauma you are going through, and in time this should settle and ease. Some of it may also be the drugs you are on or side effects. I was put on diazepam for a while which really helped. I tried anti depressants but I actually felt worse on these for a bit so stopped them, but I do know they work for a lot of people.

    There are various chemicals in the body that ate at different levels after sleep. This is why you might find this so much worse on waking? Much like I did. I actually did quite a bit of hypnotherapy which eased anxiety significantly. You can apply for a Macmillan grant for this if you have bit done so already?

    The other 2 things which helped me were/ are mindfulness and sleep. You can find many online free mindfulness tracks to listen to, especially on you tube. I found these really helped and are easy to do the second you wake. Put in your earphones and start listening.

    It is so hard to shut out the 'what ifs', I am 7 months on and still worry but it has got less as I try to focus my mind on living in the moment. I would also STRONGLY recommend you visit spent Penny Brohn in Bristol. The retreats and courses are free and for me, made a massive impact. They will guide you through all sorts of techniques you can do at home to ease worry and anxiety. Have you been there at all?

    If you are struggling still, sleep should help. Fall back to sleep and your mind will repair a little. Also keep in mind this is just a short phase. You may need to be patient and kind of ride it out but with meditation and maybe tablets you can ease it.

    There is also a high strength magnesium drink ai am using at the moment called 'natural calm', this helps me too. Here is the link

    Lots of love to you xxx

  • This is very helpful-thank you so much

  • Here is the Penny Brohn website

  • A relaxation YouTube guided free meditation I listen to

  • This is very good.

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