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7 days and counting down and so scared!

jayhawkjjayhawk Posts: 1,032
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Well, 7 days away and I am a buddle of nerves! I don't know if it's normal, but I am afraid of not making it through the surgery itself. I am in my 40's, healthy, no other medical conditions~just the back of a 100 year old! LOL I have aways been fit and athletic, but I haven't been able to workout for the past 7 months! I worry about how that will affect my surgery. I had an EKG, but that doesn't seem to ease by fears. This isn't like me, I have had too many surgeries to count, but this just seems so major, L4-5 fusion anterior/posterior/bone graph. I know so many others have had more difficult surgeries, but I just seem to be having such a difficult day! Thanks for giving me a place to feel safe and say what I am really feeling. My hubby, basically just pats me and tells me it will be alright and then walks away! :-( Thanks for your ear! Shari


  • I wish I could be there to give you a real hug. It's normal to be afraid and realize that your husband is probably very afraid but feels he can't show it.

    In the week before my surgery I tried to keep busy with everything else. I remember sitting in the waiting room before they called me in thinking "how did I get here?"

    If you really feel it getting the better of you call your doc to get something to calm you. Some docs will offer this and others have to be asked.
  • I'm about 2 weeks away from surgery and am having the same anxiety. I have never had any type of surgery before. My family says it will be okay, and I don't want to be Ms. Gloom-and-Doom, but I'm freaking out! Here's a hug from one panicked patient to another! haha. >:D<
  • It's so hard! I have always been the rock for our family! If mom's OK, evrything is OK! I just don't know how we will manage! This day just sucks! maybe this will be my one emotional day! I haven't slept well, my husband has been out of town all week, and I haven't stopped all week....maybe it's just pain and lack of sleep combined with stress! But I am just so scared! Thanks for being here for me! I can't imagine if I hadn't found this! Hugs Shari
  • It help's to know I'm not the only one! What surgery are you having? I know others have said they were stressed before surgery, I just didn't imagine this! :-) Hang in ther! Hugs to you!
  • Your jitters are perfectly normal! Maybe use some of your nervous energy to get the house ready for your return: put things at waist lenth, stock the freezer, etc. Look at the list of post-op must haves, its very helpful.

    My first surgery I really wasn't that scared. I was in so much pain I just wanted it done (plus I wasn't using the web yet so didn't know what I was in for!)

    My second surgery I was more nervous, I did my homework though. I think for me I was more nervous about how the kids were going to do.

    Good luck to you, let us know how you make out, Lisa
  • It's so normal to feel terrified before surgery. I had the same "what if I don't wake up from the anesthesia" fear. One of my good friends, who'd had two hernia surgeries, said, "Well, the good thing is that they'll put you to sleep and the next thing you know you're waking up in your room."

    For some reason, that really helped. It's not like you're going to be laying there knowing that anything is going on. Once they start the happy juice, it goes so quickly that it'll seem like only minutes to you.

    I'm the queen of telling people that the anxiety is worse than the surgery itself, yet I was really scared before my TLIF even though I'd already had an ACDF. There just aren't any words to make someone feel better when you know you're having surgery. And I agree with Kris that your husband is probably as scared as you and just doesn't have the strength to give you the comfort you'd like. My hubby was the same way.

    Just know that it'll be here and over before you know it. Just try to keep busy during the next week and try to be relieved that your pain is going to be taken care of soon. You'll probably have days where you'll say, "I wish my surgery was today!" because of your pain. I said that to my hubby a week or so before my TLIF and he said that I'd said the same thing a week before my ACDF. So hopefully, your pain will help you in a way, by making you anxious to get this over and done with.

    I'm thinking about you and understand how you feel. Take care of yourself and don't forget to follow that old spiney rule: buy some new underwear before surgery.

  • Kris is right about anxiety meds also. My surgeon gave me Xanax before each of my surgeries, so don't be afraid to ask. It really can take the edge off the fear of upcoming surgery.

  • I understand what you are feeling about being "the rock". It is hard, but I really had to start opening up and explain to my family how worried I am. My son is 16 so he was asked to step up, as well as my husband, and they have been wonderful. I thought it was important to stop doing so much and have them get used to doing things for me instead.
    During thelast month they have being making a conscience effort to do things without being prompted. As the multi-tasking rock, I found myself terrified of being stuck in bed, hungry, with no clean clothes, and being fed pizza every night. haha. That's not going to happen, but you understand.

    My second worry is the surgery itself. I'm sure everything will be fine, but as you said, it is really scary. My scoliosis has progressed to 51%. I'm having the ALIF (still learning the lingo) on day 1. Day 2 of surgery will be the insertion of the titanium rods.
  • Hey there,

    I can completely understand your fears. The waiting is the worst part. Yes, my biggest fear was not recovery...it was the surgery and the fear of not making it through. Sad but I'm a worry wart. I even wrote my hubby a letter and (sort of hid it) and then told my older sister that if something happened, to tell him where the letter was.

    He said he found it anyhow...and rolled his eyes.
    I said "and that's why I don't tell you I'm scared". I told him I know I worry but I would hate something to happen and him not know some things. He giggled. I said...by writing the letter, I was at peace that I wasn't leaving anything "undone" while I had the time.

    I'm nuts, right? Well, I just had to confess b/c I figured it might make you feel better that we all get scared.

    You will do fine! The EKG is a good indicator and now adays they have so many monitoring teams.

    You will do well. I know it's easy to say 'just stay calm' but much easier from someone who is now on the other side. So my advice? If you are feeling well enough...go out to dinner with girlfriends or friends. Go for a small/short shopping spree, go out to dinner with your hubby or child. Do what you have to do to keep a little busy and not-bothered.
  • the day before my surgery I finished work at lunchtime, came home and suggested we go for lunch out. I knew it would be our last meal out together and the last "normal" thing I would do for ages.
    Do some of that sort of stuff - afterwards you wish you had!!
    Oh and you will be OK. Honest. I know it means nothing all of us telling you so but you will.
    If you can keep busy all the good, but try and have a bit of you time too.
    You will be fine - have to be to tell us all how it goes!
    Thinking of you

  • I was thinking of you this morning, when I realised that you had one week to go. Try to think beyond the surgery to a few weeks post operation. You will be on the way to your better life by then, and hopefully more comfortable. This is the way to get there.

    I have had lots of activity over the last two days with phone calls, and it looks like I will be having my surgery on 19th March, so 1 month today.

    I have also felt, at times, that my family don't understand how I am feeling which mades me feel far worse. I don't think they have any idea of the stress levels I am under. I am also not sleeping at all well, and I know that the tiredness doesn't help.

    We'll cheer each other on jayhawk. We can do this. We are just following the path of lots of others on here, and hopefully we'll be able to share our successful stories to encourage those that will follow us.

    I do hope that you start to feel calmer soon. We both know that this is the way forward to be able to live our lives again.

    (I expect I'll need you to give me this same talk, before long. By then you should be on the other side and can encourage me that all will be ok.)

  • Well I only had posterior fusion (TLIF L4-S1), but I can chime in and agree with the anxiety and fear bit. I was absolutely terrified! Not only was it my first surgery ever, but it was going to be my first time in the hospital ever too!

    About 5 weeks before surgery I found myself thinking of little else. Also around that time my home life was hell on Earth! But even then I couldn't think of anything but the surgery, and all of the things that could happen...blah blah....all of the unknowns. But then about 2 weeks before surgery I got a stomach bug and had to go off all the heavy pain meds I was on (Percocet and Oxy ER), but was still having to go to work for 8 hrs every day. Needless to say I was absolutely miserable! The doc gave me tramadol which was like taking a tic tac...and about 20 hrs out of the day my pain was easily at an 8 sometimes a 9. Though to be totally honest I swore it was more like a 15 sometimes! Anyway point is, facing that pain just turned a switch on for me, and suddenly I couldn't wait for surgery. I had it in m head that it was going to "fix" me, at least to the point where I could work towards having a normal life again. When my surgeon walked in for the little pre-op visit, the first thing he said was that he wasn't sure he'd ever seen anyone who seemed almost eager for surgery...but truth was I was just ready to start a new chapter of healing. And well that's exactly what happened. Recovery was no walk in the park (ok well sometimes that's literally what it was lol) but with that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel....it was so much easier to face than the seemingly endless days of suffering I dealt with before.

    Anyway, my point with all that was that a positive attitude can work wonders! We all understand just how scary surgery is, especially spinal surgery, but my advice is to try to do your best to stay positive and look at it all with hope and determination! Hang in there!

    Best of luck to you!
  • I'm 2 weeks post op now and I was scared to death too, I think its normal. Anybody tell you their not afraid of surgery, I think thats insane. But everything will go well Jayhawk have faith. :) Take deep breaths.
  • Today is much better and is a brighter day! :-) Yay! Went out last night (jeans and boots!) with a girlfriend, a few drinks and a ton of laughter!! Just what the doctor ordered~I couldn't help but think it may be the last time I wear jeans and boots for a while! :-) Thank you so much for all your support and helping me get through a really rough day!!So happy to have found you all!

    I was able to open up to my hubby and not try to "just tough it out"! He is going to take at least a week off and be here to help and entertain! :-)

    Going to take my daughter to her riding lesson, won't be able to go for a while. I love to watch her ride and enjoy being with the horses, they are so calming!!

    Thanks again for all the support! A week from today I will be on the other side! Yay!! You know you are in a lot of pain when you are looking forward to the idea of someone taking your spine apart! :-) Shari
  • Yep-I couldn't wait!Animals are so calming,they just love unconditionally.Shari,you will be on the other side before you know it!
  • I was like awalker819, I couldnt wait for my surgery and to try to get my life back. Make sure you get your toenails clipped and legs shaved, as you wont be doing that yourself for a while. I forogot my toes, and had to have a friend help. How embarressing, Hi, Could you come over and cut my toenails! LOL Anyway, good luck and soon you will be on the other side of it, looking forward to recovering and looking forward doing the things you used to do.
    Keep a positive attitude, and look at your recoevery as Dr visit to Dr visit, and you will notice the changes more, than if you look at day to day. Make sure you rest and follow your Drs orders. Take Care, Robin
  • that you are having a better day today. Try to keep yourself busy and plan some other fun things to do over the next few days.

    My paperwork for my surgery arrived today. Scarey!!! Are you ready to comfort me???
  • I AM ready to offer support, although after a day of melt downs, I do feel better! Maybe it's theraputic to get it all out! I have tried to plan something fun for each of my days left! I'm incredibly tired though! Less than a month for you! I will remember your date as it is my little sister's birthday!

    I ordered silk sheets from Overstocked.com. and I found a raised toilet seat with grab bars from Target. I'm working on getting everything ready. Tried to go to the grocery store, just can't walk that far, but couldn't help but think how long it might be before I would be there again. I am really learning to not take the little things for granted!

    The weather is beautiful here! How I wish I could go for a walk or a bike ride, but I'll settle for only being 5 days away from my new life!

    I wonder how hot it will be wearing the brace. I though it would be winter while I was recovering, but now it's spring!

    I hope you're feeling OK! We WILL get through this! Thank goodness for the internet and laptops! :-) I have been Tvo'ing as many shows as I can, trying to "stock up"! If you see any good movies, let me know~trying to start a list!

    Enjoy your weekend! Shari
  • I say fellow Big 12er assuming your a Kansas fan from your screen name. I went to Baylor. If not then fellow fushionist.

    I'm having a L3-4,4-5,5-S1 posterior lumbar interbody fusion on March 17 and have/had some of the same feelings as you.

    I'm 46, was a college athlete and am also the rock of the family. I also own a small company with 30 employees that depend on me, so the not knowing how everyone will manage part really hits home.

    It's great you and your husband are talking more now. Every person is different in the way they handle stuff like this.

    I've found people are alot stronger than you give them credit for and by opening up and letting family and friends know some of your concerns can help. It's OK not to always be the strong one. It sounds so weird for me to say that, since I am usually the one that takes charge of everything. It has really helped me to let go of some of the things I would not normally not let go of.

    Stay strong and remember you are not alone.

  • awe thanks screentex! I live in Houston, but I did go to KU, and I am a huge college hoops fan! Looking forward to watching all the March Madness games, I usually miss some, but this time I will have a front row "seat"! Just maybe no jumping up and high fiving! Watch this year be the year KU makes it to the final 4, Ha!

    It really did help to open up and talk about my surgery. I have tried to shield everyone from what I have been going through, and at this point of my recovery, I can't do it any more.

    I have waited so long for this date to get here. I still remember the exact day/time that I was told "there was more damage that we anticipated (during my last surgery) and I would need a fusion" That day is only 4 away!

    Yours will be here soon too! Where are you having your surgery? Is this your first back surgery? Hope you're having a good weekend! Hang in there!~Shari
  • I thought you probably went to KU. I'm a huge BBall fan too. My father played for Baylor and then coached HS BBall for 35 years, so I've always been around it.

    We had a GREAT game with you guys in Lawrence this year. OSU hit about 14 threes on us yesterday in Stillwater to beat us. I actually planned my surgery so I could make sure I make it to Baylor's last home game against Texas and like you be front row for the tourney.

    I'm so glad the opening up helped!!!! I know it's hard, but is sounds like you are doing a great job with it.

    I'm having my sugery in Waco. We have one really good nuerosugeon here in town. I heard he was good, but researched him too. I think the seal of approval was when my primary doc told me that's who he choose to send his father to.

    This is my second. I had a lamnectomy about 10 years ago. Then had a bad flare-up about 5 years ago and it was suggested I have a fusion or ADR at that time. At that time I was leaning towards the ADR, but insurance wouldn't cover it. I just couldn't wait any longer due to the quality of life. We have a 6 and 7 year old and I'm hoping this will let me be more of a participating dad.

    Hope your having a good weekend too. Besides the OSU game yesterday, it's been pretty good.

    Keep me updated with your surgery and I'll do the same.

    Stay strong!!!!

  • So glad you got out with friends (and dolled up in jeans and boots!) and glad you got to take your daughter to riding....that's totally what helped me...savoring all the fun that I knew was on hold and would have to go back on hold.

    The 2 weeks before surgery I accepted almost every invite to meet up with friends and family even if it was for a short bit...b/c the laughter and distraction and just being out...was good for the mind and soul.

    Sounds like you are wrapping up loose ends!
    Glad the weather is nice.

    I am keeping an eye out for you this week and will be here giving you positive encouragement! You will do good.
  • Ugh!! Well, it feels like I over did it again! Trying to get evrything ready, spent the morning cleaning, moving, furniture, hauling out trash, all the basic housekeeping stuff. Trying to prepare to spend so much laying down and anticipating that it won't be on the sofa. Put together a little sitting area in my bedroom so when friends come to visit, they will have a place to hang if I have to lay down. Now to get the Wii moved in here.

    Put together baskets of "stuff", meds, etc. I still need to type up some grocery lists so my hubby can just print 'em and go! He's willing to go to the store, he just doesn't know what to do once he gets there! LOL I know, he is spoiled! :-)

    We have been very nervous as the hospital didn't have a "reservation" for me, but it's all good. Letting the hubby handle the financial aspect of this, but I sense difficulty...In the state of Tx, a hospital is able to collect money in advance of a surgery, but my insurance is out of Mn and there it is illegal! hense the hubby battling this one out! Go hubby!

    Just a few more days! YaY! Shari
  • Hey - you are amazing! You are so completely organized and thoughtful. you have Wii and a sitting area for visitors...that's just so awesome.

    And that stinks about the financials but very cool your hubby is taking that worry off your plate. I had my hospital try to collect in advance but my insurance 'assured me' to tell them "no, bill the insurance company first". I was worried the morning of but the financial guy called me in, i told him again that I wasn't paying b/c my insurance company told me that's not how the plan works. he looked it up and said "ok, you are all set". I was surprised but my insurance is in CT and my hospital was in CT.

    Of course now that it's all done, I will pay but I hit may out-of-pocket max for the year so the positive is...the next 10 months are "free".

    You are doing good...a few more days of worry and then it's all about recovery!
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,732
    Your lungs need to be in good shape. If you can do some walking w/deep breathing exercises. Or just the real deep breathing if you can't do the walking. When you come out the other side it will make a big difference. You'll be able to get the ball on that breathing thingy right to the top!
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • in all your preparations jayhawk.

    Keeping busy is a good idea to take your mind off the worrying. Remember to do something to spoil yourself too.
  • I think that I may be in denial. Denial that this is really going to happen, that I really may get the help I need. We have known for so long this needed to happen. It has been delayed many times. I hope and pray nothing will happen to prevent it this time....Soooo, rather than being afraid for surgery, I'm afraid it won't happen Friday! Crazy huh!

  • I think I am a bit in denial too. I am actually trying to ignore the fact that I only have weeks until my surgery. If I pretend it is further away, then it doesn't seem so scarey. People keep asking me if I have a date yet though, so that reminds me. Their reaction is also something that makes me feel nervous about it all.

    I'll pray for you jayhawk; for peace and that it will happen on Friday.

  • Yes I was in denial as well, right up till they were taking me back, and really I think that was the best way to go about it! It was like some unrealistic thought that it wasnt really going to be happening to ME. It was great! It was so fast! It was like I took a very well deserved wonderful nap and woke up and they said "ALL DONE!" I just couldnt believe it! I had L5/S1 fusion and a spondo grade 2-3 allignment. I went in smiling and came out smiling! I will pray that you have the same experience as I had 2 short weeks ago! Hang in there. I was scared too, before I got to the denial stage. ;-) They moved up my surgery a couple of hours, which rushed us out the door, and I think that helped because it didnt make us wait and wait...which I think makes it harder!
  • sarajo said:
    Yes I was in denial as well, right up till they were taking me back, and really I think that was the best way to go about it! It was like some unrealistic thought that it wasnt really going to be happening to ME. It was great! It was so fast! It was like I took a very well deserved wonderful nap and woke up and they said "ALL DONE!" I just couldnt believe it! I had L5/S1 fusion and a spondo grade 2-3 allignment. I went in smiling and came out smiling! I will pray that you have the same experience as I had 2 short weeks ago! Hang in there. I was scared too, before I got to the denial stage. ;-) They moved up my surgery a couple of hours, which rushed us out the door, and I think that helped because it didnt make us wait and wait...which I think makes it harder!

    Mine was actually the very simialiar, I was scared but I was working to the day of the surgery, got off the day before, fell asleep hard to believe then had the early wakeup, I was the first surgery, and went in the hospital surprising fast. And what made my jitters go away was the fact, everybody knew my doctor and kept telling me hes the best. The PA Anesthitists were in awe of him. When he walked up to me in the ready room, all hooked up on the IV and getting loose on the pain meds. It was like seeing the man, the myth, the legend. He was so respected in the hospital and just like sarajo said, i was out and in my mind 15 minutes later waking up going what the he-ll happened and the nurse was saying All done. I was very happy how it turned out. Was very smooth. :)
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