Anesthesia Anxiety

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New Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 3/26/2007 8:09 PM (GMT -6)   
It has been awhile since my last posting, but I finally have scheduled robotic surgery with Dr. Menon at Vattikuti Institute on April 16th.  Even though I only live a couple of hours from Boston I decided to go to Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit based on the research I did primarily on the internet.  I met Dr. Menon and I found the experience very reassuring.  Having a date for the surgery has relieved some of the anxiety, however, I have to admit that I am still very nervous.  I have more concerns regarding the general anesthesia than I do the surgerical procedure itself.  I wonder if anyone else felt this way, and I would appreciate your replies.
Gleason score: 6
3 + 3

Gleason score:6
3 + 3

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 365
   Posted 3/26/2007 8:44 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Modog:  I've been under general three times in my life and found that my family members worry about it -- but not me.  AND I AM THE ULTIMATE WORRIER.
First -- have you ever been under general anesthesia?  If you have and did well with it, then you should have nothing to worry about the second time around.
Second -- Your anesthesiologist will be keeping a very close eye on you.  If there is a problem of some kind, I believe they can get you out of it real quick.
Third -- Thank God for anesthesisia -- you will go off to sleep and wake up in no time, ready to begin the healing process.  They say the anesthesia stays with you for some time after surgery, which is true in some cases, but generally results in a bit of short-term memory.  You are not alone if you do experience some loss of memory.  The first week I was home, I asked my wife the same question three times.
A plus with prostatectomy surgery is, you are not under anesthesia for too long.  So if you're worried about long-term effects, you are worrying needlesly, in my opinion.
My closest friend was under anesthesia for 12 hours (esophageal cancer) and one year later he claims he has short-term memory loss.  He asks people the same questions, tells his emplyees the same things he tld them months ago etc.
I bite my tongue and don't remind him that he was already losing his memory long before his surgery LOL. 
Relax with the anesthesia part of your procedure.  You'll be fine.

54 years old

PSA = First ever was 9.8 in late Oct. ‘06, two weeks later, 10.1

DRE: Negative

Biopsy results 11/22/06 (6 out of 8 cores positive), both lobes, Gleason 3+3 = 6

Da Vinci Robotic RP surgery, City of Hope, Jan 12, 2007

Post surgery pathology – Organ confined, Gleason still 6, margins clear.

First post-surgery PSA -- Undetectable, 2/20/07

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 1732
   Posted 3/26/2007 8:59 PM (GMT -6)   

What about anesthesia has you feeling so anxious? :>( You will be heavily asleep combined with high doses of pain drugs (often morphine) and your airway will be protected. Your heart and oxygen levels will be closely monitored. There is a Doc and quite often a nurse right beside you 100% of the time. Surgeons really depend on their partners to help keep things going safe and smooth. Menon is in my neck of the woods. I'll go kick him in the shin if he isn't nice to you :>)


M. Kat
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 715
   Posted 3/27/2007 6:19 AM (GMT -6)   
Modog - Jeff has bad side affects from anesthesia so he was worried that he'd wake up sick to his stomach. he explained this to the anesthesiologist who took very good care of him. he felt fairly good when he woke up, considering he had a big incision in his lower abdomen. I had my gall bladder taken out in Jan and having never been put under, I was nervous about it. they put an IV in my hand, the doctor said you'll start feeling sleepy, the nurse said it's going to burn a little, then I woke up in recovery. it's a different kind of sleep and is over very quickly. you'll be fine!! kat
Husband Jeff 56 years old diagnosed July 27, 2006
PSA 6.5, 2 positive areas in biopsy, Gleason 3+3=6
Radical Retropubic Prostatectomy August 30, 2006
pathology report - all clear - cancer gone
1st post-surgery PSA test <0.1, 2nd post-surgery PSA test <0.1, 3rd PSA <0.1
no more pads Oct 12, 2006
first "real" erection with use of pump 12/16/06
3/07 - occasional dribbles and erections with Cialis and pump

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 626
   Posted 3/27/2007 8:42 AM (GMT -6)   


Having never been in a hospital and never having been put to sleep I was a little concerned.  As my surgeon told me when I expressed my concern about the surgery that the mortality rate for this type of surgery is less then 0.5% and since I did not have any contributing issues he felt that it was zero in my case.  Despite all of this I have to say when they came in to give me the valium and told me that I needed to kiss my wife because I would not remember after the shot I did shed a tear.  When I woke up in recovery and realized where I was I was pumped up because I had no pain and felt extremely good.  The anxiety that I had about how I would feel was all for nothing.  I had no grogginess and felt like I had just woke up from a very restful sleep.  You will probably still worry some but hopefully all of our comments will help you deal with it better.


Diagnosed 7/6/06
1 of 10 core samples, 40%
Stage T1c, Gleason 3+3
Da Vinci on 11/01/06
Catheter out on 11/13/06
56 Years Old
Post Op Path
Gleason 3+3
Approx. 5% of prostate involved
Prostate Confined, margins clear
Undetectable PSA on 12/18/06
No more pads as of 1/13/07

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 60
   Posted 3/27/2007 10:00 AM (GMT -6)   

I understand your anesthesia issues.

When you are in your pre-op interviews, ask to talk to an anesthesiologist and ask all your questions/issues. That should help relieve your anxiety.


Age: 63
PSA 2.62
Negative DRE
Gleason 3,3
Stage T1c
Cancer 5% in one of twelve modules
DaVinci scheduled for April 16, 2007

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 133
   Posted 3/30/2007 11:50 PM (GMT -6)   
I was also nervous about the anethesia, primarily because I have a very strong gag reflex and a friend mentioned remembering the tube being put down his throat before his surgery. I discussed this with the anesthesia nurse the day before the surgery and the anesthesiaologist the day of the surgery. Both assured me that I would be completely asleep before the tube was put down my throat.

Here is my memory of the last 60 minutes before I was completely asleep prior to surgery:

#1: about 60 minutes prior a nurse took me back to a curtained area, I changed into a hospital gown, and put on the pressure socks to help prevent blood clots. I signed some forms.

#2: about 45 minutes prior to surgery another nurse put the IV in. No meds yet.

#3: about 45 mintues prior, members of my family were allowed to come back and stay with me for about 30 minutes.

#4: about 15 minutes prior, the anesthesiaologist came back and confirmed that I have no anesthesia alergies and just chatted with me. I told him that I was concerned about gagging on the breathing tube. He assured me that I would be asleep when they put in the breathing tube. He was very reassuring. They started me on a mild IV sedative at about that time that made me very relaxed.

#5: about 5 minutes prior, they wheeled me into the operating room. I was pretty far out of it by then so I don't remember much other than seeing the room and some of the hospital staff.

#6: The next thing that I remember is waking up in the recovery room and being talked to by the recovery room nurses.

All in all, it was not big deal. Nothing to be worried about.

Good luck,
DIAGNOSIS: 09/25/06. Age 49. PSA 4.6. PSA free 2%. Clinical pathology: Gleason 10. Stage T2a.           
SURGERY: 11/08/06. RP at Johns Hopkins. Surgical pathology Gleason 10. Stage T3a (positive margins.) Negative seminal vesicles, lymph nodes, and bone scan.
POST OP: 12/15/06: First post op PSA was 0.00.

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 48
   Posted 3/31/2007 6:20 AM (GMT -6)   
You definitely need to discuss your concerns with your doctor. You will be well attended throughout surgery with people and resources who will respond to any needs that arise while you are out of it. As for the anesthesia itself, you really won't experience much or remember anything. Whatever they were giving me in the pre-op area had me thoroughly relaxed and very groggy so that in spite of my best efforts to stay awake, by the time they wheeled me into the surgery room, I was pretty much asleep. I remember waking up from the movement as they wheeled me in and someone said, "there's your robot" and I looked at the equipment and saw my doctor (everyone was wearing masks) who greeted me. From that point on, the effect of the anesthesia was that it seemed like a split second and I was waking up in recovery. I don't remember the actual administration of anesthesia. When I awoke, I had to ask whether the surgery had been performed because I thought I was still waiting for it. There was no sense of any time as having past since my last moment of consciousness. The bottom line is that your anxiety will be alleviated medically long before you actually get to the point of general anesthesia. It will be over quickly and you won't remember much of it.

Cedar Chopper
Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 432
   Posted 3/31/2007 7:35 AM (GMT -6)   


You have a lot of very helpful replies posted here!
I have been under general anesthesia 8 times since 1962 (appendectomy - age nine).
The operating room procedure before you go to sleep tends to vary a little from hospital to hospital.
However, it is generally pleasant.  If your feet feel cold, ask for a warmed blanket!
Current pharmocology & technology is incredible.

You wake up in "recovery."  You stay there until the person attending you thinks you are coherent.  Then, they wheel you to your room.

My main advice about general anesthesia is that it stays in your system for months.
I'm not talking about "side effects" per se.
I'm just suggesting you do extra exercises (particularly anaerobic - like rowing or swimming) and drink plenty of WATER for the first six months to get it out of your system.
My personal "side effect" is a tendency to melancholy when I get tired.
I don't recall losing my memory

Cedar Chopper

2 Years of PSA between 4 and 5.5
Biopsy 23DEC06 
Only 5 percent cancer in one of 8 samples.
Gleeson 3+3=6
Radical Prostatectomy 16FEB07 at age 54.
1+" tumor - touching inside edge of gland.
Texas Hill Country
FRESH Produce Department Manager
Have you had your 5 colors today?

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 357
   Posted 4/1/2007 2:04 AM (GMT -6)   
I had some anxiety about anesthesia. I had never had any before and had some slight fear of not waking up or having a heart attack during surgery, or something like that. Of course, the hospital has you sign something saying you realize you could die, though the chances are small. I also happened to hear stories on the radio of people that woke up during surgery - but this is rare.

Going under turned out to be easy. They gave me a shot of some sort, and after that, I don't remember anything, though I was told I was awake and silly for a few minutes. No nausea afterward, I just woke up in post op. Lot of gas after, but that's about it.

I think some fear is normal... but I suggest focusing on getting to the other side, and the statistics that tell us very, very, very few people have a severe problem during surgery.
Prostate cancer diagnosed:  May 15, 2006 (age 40)
Gleason score:  3+3=6
daVinci radical prostatectomy:  July 25, 2006
size of tumor:  approx 1.1 inches
post-surgery Gleason score:  3+4=7; negative margins from surgery
number of pads/day at 3 months after surgery:  3 to 5
number of pads/day at 4 months after surgery:  1 to 2
number of pads/day at 6 months after surgery:  0 to 1
1st post-surgery PSA:  0 (Nov 2006)
2nd post-surgery PSA:  0 (Feb 2007)
ongoing post-surgery treatment:  Cialis every other day, Viagra "on-demand", ErecAid pump daily Cialis every other day, ErecAid pump twice daily (when I can manage it)

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