Scared!! Diagonosed with throat cancer

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Scared!! Diagonosed with throat cancer

by CheyenneMoon on Thu Oct 16, 2014 04:41 PM

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Hi Everyone,  I have been diagnosed with throat cancer related to the HPV 16 virus. I have run the gamment of emotions but yesterday took the cake. I went in for my simulation....where the make your mask...total panic attack. Now I am so scared I won't be able to go through with treatment. I felt like I couldnt breath. They gave me adivan to get through the simulation part. Has anyone else had such and experience and if so how did you handle going in for daily radiation treatments. Please....any advice would be greatly appreciated.  I am so afraid I can't get past the panic.

Thanks

RE: Scared!! Diagonosed with throat cancer

by Judithf on Thu Oct 16, 2014 05:18 PM

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Hello cheyennemoon so sorry omg! it must be scary, I'm not familiar with the mask but, my aunt had to do alot of measuring before her treaments very scary stuff. But it turned out to be more scary then anything.  so my dear grab control of your mind find a place in life where you see yourself, somewhere you want to be... and fight for it. I am so sure you are a lot stronger than you know. I don't know if you have a relationship with God but it would be good tiime to start one hon, and just trust that things will be fine cause you got places to go and people to see :-)) YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!

RE: Scared!! Diagonosed with throat cancer

by katsarcow on Thu Oct 16, 2014 06:35 PM

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Hey.  Sorry sorry sorry.  I was dx with stage IV throat ca in 1999.  Yea, first the dr shot 3 gold beads into my throat and they will always be there.  It was like being shot with a bb gun at closse range.  3 times.  I was so freaked and then they layed me to the table to get my mask made.  During the whole procedure I was looking up into a big light or something above my head and I was so freaked I never blinked or closed my eyes.  They've never been the same either.  When I left the thoughts were turn left and drive into the ocean or turn right and go home.  I called a friend and they talked me all the way home.  I don't remember driving.  Yes, yes, yes it does suck.  I'm so glad I turned towards home.  I've been on Ativan and prozac ever since that day.  Now good news.  You can get through this.  15 years ago they didn't know as much, but I was told if the cancer is from HPV you have a much better chance of surviving.  They gave me 6 months in 1999.  Get your dr to write you the scripts and take them forever.  Just my opinion.  I just remembered they put me also on some Valium for awhile.  It do not like pills.  I fought the doc that I didn't need them.  He said you won't get through this without them.  I do believe he was absolutely right.  The radiation treatments themselves are painless and fast.  Taking care of yourself is really important.  My ENT dr. gave me my dx and said Linda, attitude and nutrition will get you through this.  I love him for that.  Keep in touch.  You are in my prayers and thoughts.  One day at a time.

RE: Scared!! Diagonosed with throat cancer

by CheyenneMoon on Thu Oct 16, 2014 08:00 PM

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Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. I am going to try thinking of my grand daughter she is the Keeper of my Heart. Maybe that will help. I have recently renewed my relationship with God. I am just scared and don't have much for a support system.

RE: Scared!! Diagonosed with throat cancer

by CheyenneMoon on Thu Oct 16, 2014 08:03 PM

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I don't know if they will give me something to keep me calm but am hoping so. I am trying to get my head wrapped around it all. I did very well up until the mask and panic attack. Beore that point I was feeling positive and up beat but that was such a truamatic experience for me. Am going to get past it somehow though and keep moving forward. Your words of encouragement help so much.

RE: Scared!! Diagonosed with throat cancer

by PopPop on Thu Oct 16, 2014 10:31 PM

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CheyenneMoon,

Yes, the first fitting of the Mask is a different experience for sure, I am usually good with tight spots, but the Mask just threw me for a loop the first day.

When I started my first treatment, I did as what was mentioned above, I listened to music that the Tech had put on for me, and pictured things I liked to do in my mind and tried to relax, deep breathes and I made it. Each time became easier and at times I nearly fell asleep.

You can mention it to the Nurses that you may panic and they will work with you and give you something to calm down. Luckily, I did not need that, but others did. The main thing is to get thru this as comfortable as possible.

Yes, I would also think of my grandkids and that would bring a smile to my face and calm me. You CAN and WILL do this. It has been 10yrs since my surgery.

My Best to You and Everyone Here

RE: Scared!! Diagonosed with throat cancer

by CheyenneMoon on Thu Oct 16, 2014 11:47 PM

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Thank you for the encouraging words PopPop and everyone else. It is comforting to know that I am not the only one that has had a full blown panic attack during the masking part. I am hoping it gets easier. I am also hoping I can find support here and near my home as I have a very small system of support through family and friends.

RE: Scared!! Diagonosed with throat cancer

by SanDiegophil on Fri Oct 17, 2014 01:02 AM

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On Oct 16, 2014 4:41 PM CheyenneMoon wrote:

Hi Everyone,  I have been diagnosed with throat cancer related to the HPV 16 virus. I have run the gamment of emotions but yesterday took the cake. I went in for my simulation....where the make your mask...total panic attack. Now I am so scared I won't be able to go through with treatment. I felt like I couldnt breath. They gave me adivan to get through the simulation part. Has anyone else had such and experience and if so how did you handle going in for daily radiation treatments. Please....any advice would be greatly appreciated.  I am so afraid I can't get past the panic.

Thanks

Hi CheyenneMoon,

I am about claustrophobia as the next person so my mind was racing as how to approach this mask task. I felt I had to do it to LIVE, and that was my constant thought throught the process. I was more concerned that my body would flinch and therefore we would have to start the process again. I didn't flinch thank God. At one point I had lost too much weight which affected the tight fit of the mask and I had to wait two weeks before they could fit me with another one. The second mask was very tight and I wanted to mention it was tighter then the first one, but they hurriedly wisked me away to the rad room, and I soon realized that was going to be my new mask which I still have as a trophy of sorts. Thoughts of my growing family and future events we had planned to do before cancer interrupted our lives really helped tremendously as well. You will do just fine like the rest of us did.         San Diego Phil

RE: Scared!! Diagonosed with throat cancer

by jagerwin on Fri Oct 17, 2014 02:07 AM

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Sorry to read your news. But you have found a great support site. I had a few similar reactions to yours.  And I did like the others. I used the headphones/music. I worked with the techs. They had to bail me out (unlock the mask and let me get up) on the 3rd session but I was able to go back and finish it. I found that on about the 5th session I stopped having those panic attacks. I was given Ativan although I don't remember if I used it early on. I think not b/c later when I did use, it about put me to sleep. I could hear the individual radiation deliveries from the machine, and as I needed them on both sides, I began counting for each. I then began counting the length of each delivery, and they differed. The number on each side of my neck differed (like 9/14) and so all that counting kept my mind busy, as I tried to remember the series and then guess how far along we were (and thus, when it would end). I learned that 3-4 pop radio songs was enough for each session.

If you have someone to drive you then you could use the Ativan but if not, well, I'm not sure. Or you could do what I sometimes do now and cut one tablet in half. I'm 5 years out, but occasionally revert to an anxious moment and so I still use it now and then.

Yeah, it's certainly an emotional journey. And physical. I'm sorry you don't have a bigger network, but again, you'll get great support and advice here. You can read notes from folks at various and many years of surviving. Lots of inspiration. We made it, and you can too.

John

RE: Scared!! Diagonosed with throat cancer

by Atoms on Fri Oct 17, 2014 05:19 PM

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I found the mask experience totally terrifying. I didn't stop treatment at any point but I had to ask for some time to calm down a few times. If you can't control yourself, take the drugs, I'm three years out and I still take a Klonopin occasionally when I'm really whipped. The payback is a good chance for recovery. I'm ever grateful for Dr. Kumar and his excellent management of my radiation treatment. I believe the radiation saved me from Stage IV by killing the scattered here and there cancer cells. It's worth it. Learn to deep breathe, to meditate, to pray continually, anything that lets you relax and get through the treatment.

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