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Just Diagnosed


Racing thoughts

Some of you will have read my other posts about my partner Anne being diagnosed recently with bowel cancer. We had both got our heads round it until earlier this week when we were told that the bowel is secondary, while she has endometrial cancer as the primary. This will probably mean a hysterectomy as well as the potential colostomy. The oncologist also mentioned the possibility of the bladder being effected but didn't confirm it.

Since then I've hardly been able to sleep (3hrs last night, 4.5hrs the night before) because of my mind racing. I take Tamazepam which the GP gave me to help combat my head twiddling while trying to get to sleep, but I wake up at 3-4am and can't get back to sleep again because it starts again. It's not just thoughts about the diagnosis etc., it's all sorts of stuff like an endless reel going off! I end up lying in bed watching it get light until it's time to drag myself out of bed.

Can anyone please offer some advice on how to combat the mind racing? Anne goes in tomorrow pm for her ileostomy which is scheduled for Monday sometime and it would be nice to be able to get her to relax a little.

Many thanks in advance


Hi Clive,

Sorry to hear of your sleep problems. I’m afraid I don’t have an easy answer for you but do know what it’s like to be awake for half the night or more
Stating the obvious there are many questions that you and your partner must have over her health which are only going to be answered when her treatment/surgery finishes, and meanwhile your mind is going into overdrive exploring every possible outcome that you can imagine. You’ve also had the shock of the diagnosis to deal with as well
You’ve tried the drug route for yourself which at least allows you to get a little sleep. At some point it is likely that you will just sleep through exhaustion but it may be a while before that happens
The only measure I take when I can’t sleep is to get up and find a distraction, making a drink, or surfing the net, usually too tired for reading, but I’ve found it’s better to do that rather than wait for the dawn chorus to start!
I hope all goes well for your partner and that you get the answers soon that may allow you to sleep a little easier!


Hi Clive

I'm really sorry to hear your problems. My own journey was similar to your wife's but the other way around. I was told mine was ovarian but when they opened me up they found the bowel cancer. So I've the hysterectomy and a stoma fitted following the bowel surgery.
I also struggle with sleep, I think many of us do. Like Chools I find getting up and doing something' else helps. I've also moved into the spare room for some nights so that I don't disturb my husband. Positive things to try are Camomile tea at bedtime and I use a lavender spray from Body shop on pillows and bedding. There is also a product from Origins called Sleep time. It's fantastic, you rub a small amount on temples and chest and sleep comes. It smells beautiful of lavender and orange blossom. It is expensive but a pot lasts for a good year. Hope you get some rest some and good luck with the surgery and recovery. Karen


Of course this is not unusual. I am sorry you are going through it, but it is very early days yet and tbh you may not be able to beat it at first. Maybe one strategy is to "allow" yourself to experience the distress ... try to roll with it a bit ... after all it is enormous news and shakes a lot of your foundations about how you live, massive uncertainty looms and you cannot expect to absorb that all at once :-\

I can only say you do get used to it, but even then I would also say that it had never left my thoughts! Something stressy about cancer tends to pop in first thing every morning ... wherever I am or whatever I am doing .. but it no longer takes over and even with new diagnosis, different treatment plans etc over the years I have found I can adapt to them quicker now ..

We recently had a thread about tips to beat insomnia, perhaps you'd like to look here:

Faraway girl

Wow! Im not suprised you're finding sleep difficult.
I agree you need answers to those questions.

Dont know if it will help but at the patients day one of the relaxation techniques was to listen to the voice in your head and then try and make it quieter and sleepier! Also dont lay in bed, as others have said distract yourself from trying to sleep.

Hope you get the answers to those questions soon :)