Together we will beat cancer


Time going too fast

1 Jan 2018 22:40

Pre op on the 10th blood test is inevitable but still have no idea if I can cope with my extreme needle phobia let alone the brain surgery itself surgeon says I can have some gas as anesthetic  (as in the past) but need blood test at present op and fragments injection site after. Surgery on the 16th , pressure too much not sure how much more can take. 

Re: Time going too fast

2 Jan 2018 16:21 in response to Midnightfish

Hello Midnightfish,

Thank you for posting.

I am sorry to hear about your needle phobia this must be a worry for you.

Anxiety UK have produced information about needle phobia that you might find useful to read.  It looks into what can cause it and also describes self-help methods that you might find helpful to follow.  Click here to see it.

An NHS hospital; Guys and St Thomas’s have produced a patient information leaflet that you mgiht find helpful to read, click here to see it.

Have you tried local aesthetic cream such as ‘Emla’ . Local unaesthetic cream can be put on the skin about an hour before blood is taken.  It should numb the area so that when the needle is inserted you do not feel it.  I wonder if this would help.  If you want to know if this is something you could have then it would be a good idea to contact the pre op department and tell them about your phobia.  And do ask if they think that you should have cream like ‘Emla’.  They may have some in the department or you may need to ask your GP to prescribe it, you may also be able to buy it over the counter at a chemist.  If you are told it is okay to have it would be better to come with it to the department and let the nurse or phlebotomist (who will be taking blood) put it on as they will know where it should be placed.

You might find that posting in another part of Cancer Chat is helpful because you may get some useful feedback from others. 

I hope this has been helpful. Please do get back to us if you have any more questions or call us on 0808 800 4040. We are here from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Take care


Re: Time going too fast

2 Jan 2018 20:03 in response to CRUK Nurse Caroline


Thanks for response  and info.needle phobia was the original reason that I looked for a chat line after beeing treated for all from the early 70s. Have been severely needle phobic since then and declined 15 years of blood tests at long term follow up...didn't have hick man's etc then and physically held down with parents sent out of room for lumber puncture and chemo, though occasionally given im ketamine  (hallucinations  terrifying at the age of 2,3 and 4! ) not had surgery since 1999 . 

Emla and other local an anesthetics as well as distraction don't  work after 40 odd year of phobia as it is the fear and flashbacks rather than the pain. Think the phobia istoo ingrained after all this time? Now I am trying to work out how to cope with the pre op blood test and all the inevitable needles I am facing in 2 weeks for the removal all of the 1st of 3 brain tumours. 

Without hope midnight fish

(don't suppose you know of any support groups for all survivors treated back in the early 70s...seems to be a lot for young adults but not for us oldies?

Re: Time going too fast

3 Jan 2018 15:45 in response to Midnightfish

Hello Midnight Fish,

Thank you for getting back to us. It does sound like you have been through a lot.

I am afraid that I don’t know of a specific support group that I can direct you to. Macmillan Cancer Support does keep directory of cancer support groups and you can view thist here  . But to be honest I am not sure that you will find too many members in these groups who have been through similar experiences as you have

To be honest  as a cancer nurse I do not have an idepth knowledge of the treatment of phobia and post traumatic stress. Clearly you have had the problem for many years and you may not be able to do too much to make things better in the short time before your surgery in a few weeks. But a little help and support may help you cope better. Once you have got the treatment out of the way it should be possible to work on your phobia and hopefully it should get better. Many people have been able to overcome very difficult mental health issues. So although it is easier said than done please do try not to write your problems off as being something that cannot be fixed or at the very least improved.

I am not sure what help and support, if any, that you have already received. Caroline directed you to Anxiety UK. If you have not already done so do consider using them. The mental health charity MIND may also be able to help.  While I certainly do not want to push you away these two organisations are likely to have more expertise than cancer nurses at dealing with mental health issues. But do get back to us if you think that we can help with anything else.

All the best



Re: Time going too fast

3 Jan 2018 19:49 in response to CRUK Nurse Jean

Hello Jean thank you for your response

was only diagnosed with the brain tumours in October and though have been looking for support for the phobia for a while the urgency of surgery has  bought it to to a head as how to face the treatments. 

I have never received any form of support or help but have mostly treated myself for ptsd managing to stop the night terrors by obtaining a copy of my early medical notes to check the facts against the dreams and writing the dreams down in intricate detail each time. The needle phobia is all that remains. 

I was just curious more than anything to see if there was any other all survivors from the 1970 (around my age 45) ? And if we share any experiences ?( was treated  at gosh 

With thanks midnightfish