I'm scared to death...

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I'm scared to death...

by HollyeC on Sat Aug 22, 2015 01:34 AM

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Met with the radiation oncologist today. Had my mask done. That was an ordeal. I'm claustrophobic bad. Thankfully the doctor stayed in there and helped with everything. The mask being bolted down still freaks me out. The doctor did cut can open for my eyes, mouth and nose after the mask set up, so I felt a little better. I broke down pretty bad at the office. He was brutally honest when he was talking to me. He said when you think it can't suck anymore than it does, it's going to suck even more. I'm scared to death. Im trying to be strong for my husband and my daughter, but I'm scared. I'm scared I won't be strong enough to make it through. I'm scared of not being able to function on a day to day basis. I scared of falling into a deep depression. Im just f'ing scared to death.

RE: I'm scared to death...

by PopPop on Sat Aug 22, 2015 03:05 AM

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HolleyC,

I can understand how you feel, this is something none of us want to do. Please remember that the Doctor(s) have to give you all the information as what can possibly happen to you. Not everyone experiences all the side effects that they mention.

Each person travels this road with different bumps along the way, so what happened to me, may not happen to you and vise versa. Take one day at a time and deal with that day then, don't worry about what MAY happen, worry about what is happening at that moment. Solve each problem as it appears and things will go smoother.

Ask your questions and someone here will answer.

My Best to You and Everyone Here

 

 

RE: I'm scared to death...

by augustus on Sat Aug 22, 2015 03:07 PM

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Sometimes admitting how scared you are helps. Because when you are through with admitting it, you realize you are still here, nothing has changed and it is just an emotion. (There is also nothing wrong with taking ativan before your treatments either. It helps a lot of people with claustrophobia and the mask.) I listened to music during mine. It gave me something to focus on. I also noticed that when I am in a crowded elevator now, I have zero claustrophobia. Once you conquer the mask, nothing bothers you. I am posting a link on training your brain regarding claustrophobia. There are several like this one out there and most are saying the same thing. It deals with de-sensitizing yourself to it.    http://www.pe2000.com/phobia-what/pho-claustro/claustrophobi  

Sometimes I imagined I was with a group of little kids and I had to keep them from getting scared. So I faked my way through it in my mind. Other times I thought of it as a battle mask to protect me as I fought cancer. Silly, I know, but whatever works, right? 

"He said when you think it you can't suck it up anymore than you have, you can suck it up even more." Fixed it for you.  

RE: I'm scared to death...

by Cortni on Sat Aug 22, 2015 03:42 PM

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Hollye- I met with my Rad/Onc last week and will be getting fitted for my mask and mouth stent soon. I to am trying to be strong for my husband, kids, family, and friends. I've somewhat accepted that it's okay to be afraid from time to time during this ordeal. This is not a journey any of use expected to be on. It sounds like you and I will be going through treatment at similar times and if you need a friend I am here. I could use one myself ;) 

Best of luck to all of us through this. 

RE: I'm scared to death...

by RonCancerfree on Sat Aug 22, 2015 03:52 PM

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You can do this. 

Each day on it's own is manageable. For me, thinking about what was in store next week or next month of treatment was not helpful. You really cannot do anything except take care of yourself with proper nutrition, fluids and rest each day. I admit that I was quite open to any meds they thought would help me through. Zophran, Ativan and Xanax were helpful for nausea relaxation and sleep. I welcomed the pain relief of Fentanyl and Vicodin during radiation. Silvadine cream was excellent to heal the skin.

Think about today and be present for your family today. There will be days when bed is the only place you are comfortable. This will be hard on them and it is their first time too. You have an opportunity to demonstrate strength to your husband and daughter. 

You can and will get through this. 

 

RE: I'm scared to death...

by Dlynn1210 on Sat Aug 22, 2015 04:43 PM

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Holly -

You have received some excellent advice here - especially from augusta.  I underwent one treatment and told them the minute it was over, you are not getting me in there again - and I meant it!!  I am severaly claustrophobic and being held down on a board with a mask over my face - no way could I handle that.  My oncologist prescribed Ativan one hour before treatment and it helped.  My Dad was also highly claustrophobic and I kept telling myself that Dad would never have made it through - and somehow it helped me get through it.  I tried putting myself in another much better place while inside the cement mixer (aka radiation machine).  Whatever technique you use, it won't be easy but you will make it.  If I can then anyone can.  I took Emend for the nause that came from the cisplatin chemo. 

Tonsil cancer used to be virtually rare but is definitely on the rise and yo have a good sized family of tonsil cancer survivors on Cancer Compass.  Any time you need advice or a question answered or some emotional support, someone is always here 24/7 - and that is for everyone in our Cancer Compass family.  We are a family who has been there done that.  As Ron indicated - take one day at a time and focus on beating cancer.

Prayers for all.

Diana

RE: I'm scared to death...

by atcbugsy on Sat Aug 22, 2015 05:12 PM

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Holly,

I made it through 28 out of 33 treatments without any meds or any problems.  But then my pain became so intense, the docs put me on the Fentanyl patch.  Well, as a side-effect of the Fentanly I had a panic attack during my 29th treatment.  So, my Radiation Oncologist put me on some anti-anxiety drug to help me make it through my remaining treatments.

I'm sharing this to help you understand it doesn't make you any less strong to use pharmaceuticals to make it through this crapfest you're about to embark upon.

The doctors can help you get off the meds when all this is over with.  But during this journey use whatever tools are at your disposal to make it through.  A few folks mentioned taking an ativan an hour before your therapy.  I believe that is what I took, plus some other stuff I was probably on.  Take whatever you can to make it through.  Listening to music while you're being cooked can help.  Focusing on something or someone before you get bolted down can help.  Sometimes the game I played was me against the machine.  Do whatever works.  And remember to keep your eyes closed.

Hopefully others will post and you'll get some good advice that you can use to make it through.

Best of luck.

Bugsy

RE: I'm scared to death...

by Sdurnell on Sat Aug 22, 2015 10:21 PM

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Hollye,

You can do this.  Many, many folks have gone through this radiation, and so can you.  We'll be here to celebrate with you when treatment is finished (although it's not over when it's over, as I hope you've been told).

Remember, the prognosis is good.  Your life may change in some ways, but so what?  It was going to change anyway!  It's always going to change.

I remember that with my firstborn's delivery, I started to get a bit off the wall.  It was back in the day when no drugs could be used at all, so we just had to tough it out.  Well, it was bad for a long time, and I guess I just started freaking out.  The OB nurse just put it to me honestly--that things were going to be a lot worse before they got better.  My mom got mad at her (what did she know?  They knocked her out when she delivered us!), but it was just what I needed.  It was no time to dissolve into a pile of jelly.  Time to buck up! 

And think about how empowered you will feel when it's all over!  You will have mastered a very trying time, and come out OK, and it will be something you will look back on with pride and determination not to let things get to you again.  

As for anxiety, and depression, there are meds and therapists for those, should you need them.  This is not a time to reject Western medicine, as it will be doing its darndest to save your life.  Say yes to whatever your doctors can do to make this ordeal more tolerable.

And try not to concentrate on what will come, as others have already recommended.  Deal with each day, each side effect, as it comes.  That way, with each new twist, you can tell yourself that you already survived X and Y, so now you can get through Z.  

I am terribly claustrophobic, but I never let the mask bother me, especially after the first week when I'd lost enough weight to get both eyes open.  My RO suggested I visualize little cancer cell bad guys getting zapped, so I did some of that.  You can hum a song in your head, of even bring in soothing music of your choice if you need it.  PIcture the most beautiful events in your life.  Just think about the moment and how it's the biggest part of the cure, because that's what radiation is.  

Worry is only good if it helps you prepare yourself for what is to come.  After you've done that, it's not only pointless, it's harmful.  It will worry your loved ones unnecessarily too.  Get meds if you need them.

Remember this is just a waypost on the road to recovery.  Chances are that things are going to get much worse before they get better, so do some planning to deal with that.  Stockpile videos, audio books, magazines, music, books, and whatever else you enjoy for the rough times ahead.  Find out what your friends and family can do for you when you are too sick to do it yourself.  You'll feel better doing something and have less time to worry.

All the best,

Susan

RE: I'm scared to death...

by Arman on Sat Aug 22, 2015 10:34 PM

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Holley,

Like Bugsy, I also listened to music during the radiation treatment. I counted how many songs before the treatment was over for the day "average 3 songs". One day, the radio was off and I had a panic attack since it was so quite in the room. The technicians came in and turned the radio on and I was fine after that. This is not easy but focus on the fact that this cancer has 95% cure rate and there are people in a lot worse situation than the rest of us in this forum.

Arman

RE: I'm scared to death...

by Dlynn1210 on Sat Aug 22, 2015 10:43 PM

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On Aug 22, 2015 10:34 PM Arman wrote:

Holley,

Like Bugsy, I also listened to music during the radiation treatment. I counted how many songs before the treatment was over for the day "average 3 songs". One day, the radio was off and I had a panic attack since it was so quite in the room. The technicians came in and turned the radio on and I was fine after that. This is not easy but focus on the fact that this cancer has 95% cure rate and there are people in a lot worse situation than the rest of us in this forum.

Arman

Arman

If I ever started to feel low my grandmother's words from childhood would come back to me, "Look around, you will always find someone worse off".  I went to the brain cancer section on CC and after reading a few of their threads I would realize just how blessed I was to have tonsil cancer which is totally cureable when caught early.  Others are battling a cancer that is only palatable.  

Diana

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