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Any take any anti anxiety drugs to help get thru some of this?

dianehelen's picture
dianehelen
Posts: 131
Joined: Nov 2012

I am just a mess. I have lived thru all kinds of challenges in my 62 years, I have lived thru hurricanes, being alone in Boston, during 9/11 on a business trip, breaking down in a rental car on a deserted road in a rain storm in the middle of the night in a strange city, really intense 6 hour route canals... and other life challenges.

BUT, I have NEVER ever felt such intense fear and anxiety as I have been experiencing with this, mostly about the dye injection and surgery part of this journey. I have a really intense, probably irrational fear of surgery (from a past bad experience), and pretty much medical procedures in general.

When I had the appointments with all the doctors last week, they saw how hysterical I was and suggested getting some anti anxiety meds, like Xanax. I have never taken any of that stuff and dont know what to expect.

Today at 10am I have an appointment (they set up for me) with a Psychiatrist to get some, maybe. Now why, after seeing 4 MDs, they could not just write a Rx, is beyond me, makes my cynical brain think, they just want to spread the wealth, and get as many of their cronies as possibnle in on the billing venal drip, but thats just me.

So, this is my long winded way of asking, has anyone else experienced such intense fear/anxiety over this, and went the route of drug assisted anti anxiety meds? And if so, did it help?

I cant believe Im going to a Psychiatrist, I have never been, Im normally a very well adjusted happy person, but this has just done a major number on me :(

PADANAG
Posts: 20
Joined: May 2012

They do help...I never took any either but when i was going in for my first chemo i was a hysterical mess, they gave me Xanax first then the treatment. It mellowed me right out. I never had trouble with MRI's either until this past summer so i just ask for it now...the last thing we need is additional stress so just take advantage of what they have.

Hugs and prayers
Dana

dianehelen's picture
dianehelen
Posts: 131
Joined: Nov 2012

Thank you Dana, thats encourating and good to know.

What does it make you feel like? dizzy? spacey? tired? sleepy? I really have no idea what to expect. Ughhh Im even anxious about what anti anxiety meds feel like..

lynn1950's picture
lynn1950
Posts: 2566
Joined: Jun 2008

Hi dianehelen, I think your avatar says it all. I was in that state 4 years ago.

Don't be afraid to take xanax and possibly an antidepressant while you are going through treatment. I certainly needed help during treatment. I found that xanax made me sleepy, too sleepy to drive and I needed to drive to work. I took Klonopin instead; it is shorter acting.

I felt a little funny going to a psychiatrist as well, but it turned out fine. I didn't like the first one I went to. It's OK to switch.

In all honesty, I think most of us diagnosed with cancer are depressed and anxious to some degree. It is normal to feel this way under the circumstances. Thank goodness there is help. You might want to consider trying relaxation and meditation or yoga as well. All of these helped me.

In hindsight, I am glad that I took advantage of every bit of help available. xoxoxoxo Lynn

disneyfan2008
Posts: 5248
Joined: Oct 2010

I took Xanax years ago but not for medical...mine was family issues (Teen). IT helped me...I know going off it it was very very slow and had to be in spring. (less depression when longer days)

I hope you find something that helps you and have some peace.

Denise

disneyfan2008
Posts: 5248
Joined: Oct 2010

I took Xanax years ago but not for medical...mine was family issues (Teen). IT helped me...I know going off it it was very very slow and had to be in spring. (less depression when longer days)

I hope you find something that helps you and have some peace.

Denise

disneyfan2008
Posts: 5248
Joined: Oct 2010

I took Xanax years ago but not for medical...mine was family issues (Teen). IT helped me...I know going off it it was very very slow and had to be in spring. (less depression when longer days)

I hope you find something that helps you and have some peace.

Denise

disneyfan2008
Posts: 5248
Joined: Oct 2010

I took Xanax years ago but not for medical...mine was family issues (Teen). IT helped me...I know going off it it was very very slow and had to be in spring. (less depression when longer days)

I hope you find something that helps you and have some peace.

Denise

kacee999
Posts: 109
Joined: Oct 2012

My MO was VERY happy to give me additional antidepressants. I take Prozac and it has made a huge difference. All doctors know this is a time of extreme anxiety for those involved. And if you are already anxious about "medical procedures" per se, this exaccerbates it tenfold. Don't be afraid to ask outright for anti-anxiety meds and/or anti-depressants. The anti-anxiety meds are a "one at a time" thing. You take it when you need it, but it won't help your overall attitude. Anti-depressants will help take the overall "edge" off. Frankly I prefer those because I don't feel like I am being "tranq'd" up. Good luck, stay strong and don't feel bad at ALL about demanding these!!!!!

disneyfan2008
Posts: 5248
Joined: Oct 2010

sorry for post and post and post...how do I get rid of all but one?

Denise

when I clicked post and was in thinking mode long time.

kacee999
Posts: 109
Joined: Oct 2012

%$#@ happens. I acccidentally did a quadruple post once. It's a computer hiccup.

sbmly53
Posts: 1457
Joined: Jan 2010

Ativan was prescribed for me per surgery. I, too, was very apprehensive and it helped immensely. Have taken it several times since as needed for anxiety. Just ask your doctor.

I am so sorry for all you are going thru. From your post, I can see how strong you are. Rely on that strength and do ask for something to relieve your anxiety.

Hugs,

Sue

dianehelen's picture
dianehelen
Posts: 131
Joined: Nov 2012

OMFG

So I go to this appt that was set for me, to see this doc to get some meds, I walk into the office, first of all its like 100 degrees in there, and there are about 15 people sitting waiting. I ask the receptionist, if all these people are waiting to see this one doc, and she says yes. I ask about how long the wait it, she says, oh its over an hour!!

Really? over a HOUR in a waiting room thats 100 degrees, to see someone that deals with people with anxiety issues? Really?

Ughh Im more upset than ever now.. I walked out, she said to come back at 1pm. I have to see if I even want to go back to that place..

kacee999
Posts: 109
Joined: Oct 2012

Get your oncologist to prescribe them to you. Not necessary to go to a psych anymore. GP's will prescribe as well, but your MO knows your "state of mind" and should be more than happy to prescribe!

dianehelen's picture
dianehelen
Posts: 131
Joined: Nov 2012

Called her office (MO), called the RO, NOPE, they wont do it.. Back to my suspcicions of greed, and how they want to get as many into the billing pie as possible.

I now have a call into my surgeon, to see if he will . Spoke to his nurse, she is very touchy feely, maybe more than my taste, but is very nice.. keep a good thought for a good phone call back

UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

kacee999
Posts: 109
Joined: Oct 2012

I've never heard of this! People must be nuts!

camul's picture
camul
Posts: 2003
Joined: Dec 2010

I took xanex. I only took it a few times and took half of one, once I was able to sleep I was able to deal. Now I take 1, low dose Ativan every night to sleep, with orders I can take another if needed. I doubled up a few times while on steroids as they hype me to the point I cant sleep. I would get the script and have it on hand. If you are worried you can always take half and then the other half if needed, which is what my mo told me to do (I have a hard time with most meds and he knows how hard it was for me to take anything),

dianehelen's picture
dianehelen
Posts: 131
Joined: Nov 2012

So my surgeon office nurse called back, says he can call in valium. I asked for xanax.

She has to go back now and ask again.

How is valium compared to xanax?

Ugh this is making me more anxious instead of less

dianehelen's picture
dianehelen
Posts: 131
Joined: Nov 2012

OOOOOokkkk

Nurse Touchy Feely just called back, and thank heavens for her, and the surgeon, who apparantly has more heart than the other docs.. He IS calling in a Rx for me for Xanax now.. He also suggested I start taking it now, to help get thru the rest of the week.

Any thoughts, should I start it now? or wait for Sunday (dye injection day)

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 1528
Joined: Mar 2010

Just remember - no driving or drinking while on it!

I've had both Xanax and Valium - they are about the same for me. (My breast surgeon gave me Xanax as I have gone through my recent ordeal.) I can't say I prefer one to the other.

However, anti-anxiety meds are often useful as we travel this road. And yes, I see a psychiatrist. He's been wonderful.

Hugs,
Alice

sdukowitz
Posts: 250
Joined: Nov 2011

If you find a good psychiatrist, I would highly recommend him or her ... they know a lot more about some meds for anxiety and depression than a gp most of the time and most even call you in person to return a phone call! As far as anxiety I found klonopin to be the most helpful for me with little side effects .... but we are all different and .....always start with a low dose as that is sometimes enough to see how you react to it .... good luck ..Sue D

dianehelen's picture
dianehelen
Posts: 131
Joined: Nov 2012

Well I think the key word there is "good" psychiatrist. This one that I attempted to see was not! Any doctor, especially one that is dealing with people with serious emotional or mental issues , should never overbook appointments to the point of having 15+ in a waiting room that is hot and crowded facing over an hour wait. That is just NOT a good doctor, in general.

Once I get more into the hell of my new life, I may see how I feel and seek out some additional professional help. For now, Im grateful my surgeon took the high road and helped me out.

I will take my very first ever Xanax today, to see how I feel.

ksf56's picture
ksf56
Posts: 203
Joined: Apr 2012

I am so sorry you are going through this! I can identify with your anxiety - I thought I was going to go crazy after my diagnosis. Almost like I was going to crawl out of my skin. I was put on Xanax - to take as needed and I took it only during the worst times - it worked great! This is an extremely stressed out time for you - you are currently not your old self. Treat yourself differently - seek help and let them care for you. Your office experience this AM is awful! I wouldn't go back there but do find someone else. Thank God for your surgeon - his nurse will be your ally. During my chemo, my MO also put me on Ativan - I was anxious all the time and all their help and caring got me through.

Please know you are not alone - everyone here has been there to one degree or another. Do whatever it takes to take care of YOU! Our mental health really takes a beating during this journey. Please ask for something to calm you during the dye injection. The injection wasn't my favorite thing but it does pass fairly quickly and compared to everything you're going through it's just a blip on the radar screen.

Take care - I'll keep you in my prayers!

Hugs!
Karen

dianehelen's picture
dianehelen
Posts: 131
Joined: Nov 2012

Thanks Karen

Seems like you got thru this horror reasonably ok, how are you doing now?

ksf56's picture
ksf56
Posts: 203
Joined: Apr 2012

I'm still working on this new me. I finished active treatment in March 2012. I had surgery, chemo and radiation. I look back and feel like I've been thru a nightmare but I made it! I'm feeling pretty good - lots of follow-ups with docs etc. My first post-treatment mammo (it was very scary for me) was good! Cancer entered my life and there was an earthquake in my world and now I'm cleaning up the mess. I'm a work in progress, just like everyone else but, there's lots of new things that are positive. I've met some amazing people along the way that have enriched my life - all the staff, particularly, the nurses and other people with cancer. It makes you look at life in a whole new way - I try to appreciate mundane and not so mundane stuff more.

Remember, there's alot of us that have gone before and can help you along.

Karen

dianehelen's picture
dianehelen
Posts: 131
Joined: Nov 2012

Thanks for taking the time to reply, Karen, you sound like a very well grounded and strong woman. I aspire to be like you in the coming hell I face.

SKBarger
Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2012

I can definately relate to how you are feeling. I am on Tamoxifen and one of the joys of this is raging hormones. I am unable to take Xanax because it counteracts with the Tamoxifen. The doctor gave me some valium when I was first diagnosed and they work great. I must be doing good because I have made 20 pills last since April. I only take them when I am having a very bad day. Even well adjusted and happy people need a little extra help with what we are dealing with. Good Luck!

CypressCynthia's picture
CypressCynthia
Posts: 3872
Joined: Oct 2009

A few thoughts.... First off, xanax, valium and the like can be great for getting through a short term crisis. They are not always as successful with longterm issues and, for those, a physician will usually use type of antidepressant that is also an antianxiety (probably wrongly named and antidepressant because this confuses the heck out of the public).

There are reasons for this as 1) longterm meds are often more effective and 2) the shortterm meds can be very hard to get off of (psychiatrists have nicknamed xanax "superglue" for a reason). Now, of course, if you are Stage 4, this may or may not be an issue.

Psychiatrists are no longer what many people still wrongly believe. No couch or therapy...lol (or I should say extremely rare these days). They are usually simply psych medication experts called in to take a look-see at your condition, your symptoms and your other meds to figure out the best meds for you. I know this because my sister is a psychiatrist. For example, if you are on tamoxifen, some meds should be avoided. Kudos to your docs for realizing this!

Also, you would be amazed at the wrong prescriptions handed out by GP's for anxiety--a friend was given welbutrin for anxiety by her GP and I convinced her to go and talk with a psychiatrist after she was bouncing off the wall with even more anxiety.

A significant number of cancer patients do experience anxiety and/or depression. See: Anxiety, Fear and Depression http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/002816-pdf.pdf

I am on lexapro for my day in, day out anxiety and it has really, really helped me cope with my cancer. There are many other antidepressants approved for anxiety including cymbalta, effexor and viibryd (just to name a few). Some can have serious drug-drug interactions, so a psychiatrist can be helpful in sorting this out.

My advice is to take what works for you shortterm (such as xanax) and then see the psychiatrist to figure out the very best medication for YOU. You need to be strong to fight this beast and, as you said, this disease does do a major number on us. Big, big hugs!

P.S. I see that you have seen a psychiatrist before. Please don't let the one bad apple spoil your opinion. I had a lousy one once, but have since had one great psychiatrist and one terrific psychiatric NP. Good luck!

dianehelen's picture
dianehelen
Posts: 131
Joined: Nov 2012

Thanks for your thoughts Cynthia

I dont know if you misunderstood or misread, but I have NEVER seen a psychiatrist, or any mental health professional. I have never needed one, have lived a wonderful, fulfilled, loved happy well adjusted life, until now. So my need for Xanax to deal with getting thru the dye injection and the surgery, is really all I need, at least for now.

Once and if I get thru that, and start to proceed to the next level of Dantes Hell with this, I would not rule out some other type of help. Tho it sure wont be with a doctor who has 15+ people waiting in a hot office to see him :)

I took just 1/2 of one of the Xanas pills today,. It did sorta mellow me out a bit, just wanted to start very slow to see the effect. It only lasted a few hours, so , so far so good.

CypressCynthia's picture
CypressCynthia
Posts: 3872
Joined: Oct 2009

I pray you are one of the lucky ones who just experiences shortterm anxiety, but, if you feel this cancer wearing you down, don't hesitate to see a psychiatrist. It doesn't mean that you are not well-adjusted or a failure in any way if you do need one. As I said before, cancer patients often need a little help.

For me, living with Stage 4, this constitiutes a 1/2 pill of a low-dose of lexapro. That's all I need to keep myself feeling normal :-). Good luck!

dianehelen's picture
dianehelen
Posts: 131
Joined: Nov 2012

Oh Thank you Cynthia, I sure wont hesitate to ask for some help down the line, I probably will need it.

This, for now, is JUST to get thru level ONE of Hell ie; dye injection and surgery panic ughhh

As the week moves on, and the weekend of crap begins, Im really frightened, and sure hope I make it thru this weekend ughh

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