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does everyone start to freak out? because I am

susiessusie Posts: 152
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
oh my goodness - Does everyone start to freak out 2 weeks before surgery? I am having an anterior and posterior fusion with a discectomy on 2-24. I have had it scheduled for almost 4 months and all of the sudden I am just a nervous wreck - and that's with nerve medication. I have bought everything I think applies to me from the great post op list and I have been cleaning house a little at a time. I have washed and pressed curtains - not easy on my back or neck - but I just have done one panel a day. I feel like I want everything to be perfect before I leave that morning for surgery but I don't know how much more I can do. I went Monday for the pre op exam with my regular dr. On
2-16 I am - renewing my 25th anniversary wedding vows, changing clothes at the church to go to my last pre surgery Surgeon's visit, then on to my therapist for last minute nerves, then out for dinner for our anniversary and then home for a few friends coming over for wedding cake. I've tried to write out instructions for my husband on laundry and I am going to get my hair cut and colored a few days before sugery and get the household bills for March paid before I leave for the hospital. Does everyone go through things like this? I feel like I can only do so much. Is everyone like this? Susie


  • Hey Susie,

    I was a mess before my surgery. I actually scheduled the fusion surgery several times over the period of several years before I finally went through with it. My family almost intervened so I would have it done--the pain meds were getting to be too much. It is an enormous and life-altering decision. I think the build up is probably more difficult the less pain you are in. If you are in tons of pain, nerve/leg pain, then you are more likely to want to get it done. If you are like I was, in tolerable but chronic pain, you start to wonder whether or not it is truly going to fix your pain or you are simply going to make it worse. It is a tough surgery--but before you know it, you'll be a few months in. I am three months in and just the past few days feeling better.

  • I always feel that way. I am nervous about my upcoming surgery on March 24 and that is a ways away. But like you I have had it scheduled for a little while.
    That is great that you were able to do so much. Your family will appreciate it. You seem to have it all scheduled and will be very prepared for surgery.
    Congratulation on your 25th Anniversary!! That is a great accomplishment, enjoy the cerebration and don't let upcoming surgery ruin it.
    Keep us updated, and I will be praying for you.
    Take care,
  • I had mine scheduled 10 weeks out, but didn't freak out until maybe a week before. In the pre-op, my heart rate was 146!! As if I had run a marathon! But I made it through, and the nerve pain has dissipated, I feel good. I am walking every day, and hopefully fusing!

    Just focus on the outcome and what lies ahead. :)))
  • I can feel your pulse get faster and faster with every word in your post. Enjoy your anniversary and do everything in your power to focus on the "here and now" because worrying about your surgery won't really get you anywhere. Yes, we all feel extreme apprehension regarding upcoming surgery. Mine was scheduled about 2 months out. I almost would have preferred just having it the next day. I think our own imagination is often our worst enemy, don't you? But remember this, you will be better off in the long run if you try to relax. Whatever it takes.....enjoy a few movies. That's one of the things I did when all the apprehension and worrying got to be too much. I'm such a control freak. A true type "A" personality! Just ask my husband lol! I'm my own worst enemy! Don't follow my footsteps. Your surgery will be here before you know it. We are all here to support you. Keep us posted and do rely on this wonderful group of people to help and uplift you. They will do that! I'm living proof. They've all been a godsend to me. You are in my thoughts and prayers for a wonderful anniversary celebration.
  • Happy Anniversary! Nerves are common, it is normal. I became really calm the day before and stayed calm the day of surgery. Do what you can and leave the rest because all that matters to your family is that you are home. Best Wishes
  • We all try to get it all done. It's not that easy, but we try. I live alone, so I had to have everything ready. Afterwards, you won't care so much. Congrats on renewing your vows and best wishes for your surgery. Hopefully, you'll do just fine.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Not me. I was in sufficient pain prior to surgery that I couldn't begin to clean...and figured it would wait. But then I guess it depends on your personality -- how much a perfectionist you are, etc.

    I was actually quite relaxed going into my surgery. and was eager to get in there and get it over with. I had spent three years thinking about it, and once I made up my mind, I was ready!!

    Try to relax a little. If something doesn't get done, it is not the end of the world! There are many things more important than a spotless house.

    Enjoy your anniversary and your friends. That should take your mind off the upcoming events.
  • I am waiting for a surgery, 5 March, and Im having alot of work done on my house, which wont be finished until March 6, when im in hospital!!

    I cant beleive all of the things youve done and thought about, you must be superwoman or something...Im very envious of the way you can organise things, i dont know what im doing tomorrow. I guess the difference between us is that your staring this in the face and getting on with it, and im hiding pretending its not happening. Maybe thats why you feel so nervous. Il bet that you will have used up all of your nervous energy before you get to the hospital, and when you get there a calm will come over you and I will be the one breathing into a paper bag thinking oh no I havent done this or that!

    You may feel that you are stressing, but it sounds to me you are coping extremely well. One thing I will say is that maybe its time to pass most of the worries on to someone else now, like cleaning and bills, so you have a chance to relax and make the most of a time where you can still do thigs that are going to be limited for a while after surgery, get out and about, see things etc. Ive encouraged birds into my garden, and im off out in a bit to buy nesting boxes in the hope there will be some families out there to watch from the window while i recover. Its the not being able to get outside that worries me, ive always been an outdoor person, farm working, horses, mountains etc, so im trying to bring some to my window for when im a bit stuck!

    All the best for your surgery and recovery
  • I appreciate all of the comments - I think having to wait it all built up. I knew I had about lost it when I was ironing my raincoat. My husband took the ironing board and put it away in the basement. My neighbor's cleaning person is going to come and look my house over and book me for a good cleaning about every 6 weeks. I guess I just kept thinking this is my last chance - to what - iron? I know that sounds nuts to me today - and bending my neck and back to iron has had me miserable. I seemed to have focused my anxiety on ironing and starch (?) I guess it had to go somewhere. I know I am going to be finding out the important things in life and quit trying to control what I cannot - my back is in God's hands not my own. Thanks for all of the replies - I feel better this morning. I was just about to go nuts I think, good thing I posted! My balance is so bad that I walked into a doorframe last night and hit the whole right side of myself - I need the surgery and the relief from endless pain. Thank you for all of the kind and helpful words. Today I am going to remain calm - and rest. Love to all, Susie
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,858
    That can be some of the most stressful times you can have.
    We all know about the pain we are dealing with prior to surgery, so that is a given.
    But its our minds that start to go into high gear thinking about the surgery. So many thoughts run through our heads.

    - Will the surgery be successful?
    - What happens if something goes wrong?
    - Will I be able to walk after surgery?
    - How am I going to manage my house after surgery?
    - Who will take care of this, that and other things
    - And many more

    I think that is all so natural. Even with all the pain I was in prior to some of my surgeries, I know that the night before surgery, I was a basket case. I didnt let anyone know, but inside, my mind was churning, my heart was racing and more....

    We all get through it....
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • You sound like you are "nesting" in preparation for having a baby! jk

    I always "nest", too. Good thing because last surgery 1/20/09 I thought I was having an office procedure and turned into a 3 day hospital stay. Because I'd gone nuts and done laundry and such, I was prepared. I thought I was just making it easier on myself after the "office procedure" but instead worked well for the emergency surgery!

    I hyperventilate and cry on the way for surgeries. I think a mild amount of nervousness is normal and somewhat healthy. You are giving up all control so of course you're nervous. Also, if you weren't nervous at all, I'd think maybe you were taking the procedure a little too lightly and didn't think it through enough. We need to be educated and realize there could be some complications or recovery may be a little longer than we thought.

    So, after that whole long speech, I do think you're just find(well, except for the curtain thing! :) .) If this keeps you busy and your mind off the upcoming procedure, go for it. If this makes you feel like you are providing for your family/yourself afterwards, go for it. I think you are just fine and normal.

    Remember in the preop area that you an ask for something to calm you down. A little Versed in your IV goes a long way! :) You will do fine.

  • The more time that passes since my accident the harder it is to deal with anything. I find myself waiting at this point for an SCS trial and a large part of me says, NO, DON"T TOUCH ME! The only thing that has changed is the knowledge that I am merely waiting on the insurance company to approve it! Every night I sleep worse. I'm now back to the two horrible nights followed by passing out in the chair watching the news when I get too tired to stay awake.
    So, no it's not just you! To top it off windstorms took out our power last night so the house was 60 degrees and dark!
    Had to watch lost on a 9" TV in the kitchen plugged by extension cord to a power inverter in our car running in the driveway!
    We will get thru this...
  • I had never been under anesthesia before, so I was actually more apprehensive about what the anesthesia would feel like and possible general surgery complications than the cutting into my spine thing. I never questioned my decision to have the ACDF and I had complete confidence in my NS and the hospital staff. Turns out everything went great and I actually enjoyed being waited on hand and foot post-op in the SICU. I only wish I remembered more about the anesthetic experience and that I could have stayed longer!
  • Hi Susie,

    Firstly many congratulations on your wedding annivirsary!! I'm delighted that you'll be well enough to enjoy the festivities <:P

    My op is on 24th Feb... 10 days and counting... i'm not physically able for anything at the moment so i can't tend to the house... (not that i was EVER a neat freak 8} ) but it's getting to me that i can't have the house sorted (particularly with my mom coming to stay with me for a while after the op!!! EEEKS embarassment) Aside from ignoring deep cleans, ironing and all that i am COMPLETELY distracted by my op and recovery to do list!! me and my trusty lap top have resourced practically everything i'll need! Beginning to drive my friends nuts i think with it. I think this need to get organized is a way for us to have control over SOMETHING, heaven knows we can't control much of what's going on with our pain/health... Very healthy thing to do!!!

    Enjoy your anniversary & i wish you the best of luck for your op and a speedy recovery!
    L4-L5 fusion 1998; ACDF C4-6 2008; DDD
  • I had mine last minute and totally freaked out too. I have had many surgeries, but this one frightened me the most. I had done a lot of reading and researching to get me mentally prepared, but anxiety always seems to creep in when you least expect it. It is good to preoccupy yourself so that you retain your sanity. Congratulations on your anniversary and I hope you have a great time <:P
  • When I was going for my last surgery,(deviated septum repair on my nose)I was so nervous I was sick and when I told the Nurse she called in to get me an IV anti nausea med before the antibiotics. That calmed me down and made me sleepy too just before surgery. Anyways, I hope you can relax a bit more before your surgery. Congratulations for your 25th Anniversary and renewing of your vows! Have a great day. Charry <:P
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • lol!

    But, channel this stress into a positive energy ready for your post -op recovery.

    It is normal to worry about the maybe's and what if's...problem solving some of these before surgery will be helpful.

    I was really nervous, each time. In fact, I was awful on the last one!

    The worst part - is NOW and what you are doing to yourself!
    The going through it bit is easier.
    Good luck.

  • I didn't have a lot of time to freak out but I had just enough. I did the same things you did except the ironing. You are perfectly normal. The actual operation wasn't nearly as bad as I had anticipated. I'm glad though that you have the kind of energy that you will need to be able to get through the surgery and recovery. (As is evident in your household organization.) That will make things go much smoother.
    Congrats on your 25th! Enjoy and don't let this get you down.
  • Hi. I am nearly 3 months post-surgery for a major fusion and yes, freaking out the closer the day comes is normal. I thought I was doing fine, but then my first-ever real panic attacks started the week before. I had to begin Xanax. So, do your deep breathing, take your meds, try to stay distracted and positive.
    I was recently told they may have to go back in to fix a stress fracture, and I started freaking out again. Yep. That is normal.
    I wish you best of luck
  • i had a 2 level,i got so nervous that when we were checking in to the hospital i just got up and walk outside.my wife followed me and the nurse checking me in was also outside.talk me back in.went to a room to change sat on a bed and a nurse gave me 2 shots and left.when she came back she looked at my wife and said he;s not out yet and gave me another shot.next thing i remember it was over.had 4 surgerys the neck was the scariest.
  • I freaked out the day before my first surgery(l4-L5).
    Just about got up and hobbled out (couldn't walk).
    Finally, the next morning I resigned myself and just let go.

    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • i agree iam scheduled surgery feb 23 ive been a wreck since last wwek just hit me i was going to be cut on... hang in there
  • I've had many operations,and I'm a lot like you describe before every single one.I always try to get everything done,in order,clean and be prepared-and I never feel like I have the time or energy.Always,without fail-I feel like I'm forgetting,or forgot to do something on the way to hospital..and it has never made a difference.I envy the people who know this and can relax,but look on the bright side..at least our houses were clean.....for like,a DAY.Lol.Nerves are normal.All of the work you are doing might be your way of dealing with the stress and emotions of your upcoming surgery.

    Enjoy your anniversary...now THAT is something that is well worth your time and energy ;))
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