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How to be Brave

Like many of you here I have had a great and productive life up until this point. I am soon to have surgery and hope it will improve my life and I accept it must be done and I believe I have a great NS. I have never had to have treatment because I had a medical problem.

I feel so anxious when I think of the mechanics of getting through this. I am thinking about that last car ride to the hospital. The nurse putting in the IV. The mask going over my face. I want to freak out and run.

I really though I was more mature than this (Geesh!)

Does anyone have any strategies for being brave and not freaking out?


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    .....sound brave already!

    You are taking care of yourself with reassurance to the necessity of the surgery.
    You are explaining the process as you know it.....visualizing it..so you know you're in good hands.

    I think there is a post here about preparing for surgery. That may be helpful to you.

    I know that there's fear of the unknown......and yet you are going forward anyway!

    You sound brave to me. :)

    Best wishes to you!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • ivym, I want to share my experience with you. I was basically freaking out after I found out I need ACDF, funny thing is I never mind surgeries, I actually quite enjoy being put down. I had gall bladder surgery (twice), elbow surgery...etc. but this spine surgery really freaked me out. I didn't feel good at all three weeks before surgery and then I found out my blood pressure shot up.. probably stress and not taking care of my body, doctor put me in high blood pressure medication, then I had to cut out Excedrin which I was addicted to for years because of upcoming surgery. I felt totally lousy.

    I remember one day I decided to get a massage, just a regular one hour massage, went home and went to bed. The next day when I got up , I feel different, happier, doesn't feel dizzy and feeling good about the surgery. I don't know if the massage, or my blood pressure was lower or I finally accepted surgery is the best option for me. that was 2 weeks before my surgery, I got three more massage after that, it was just nice to relax and forget about everything for an hour.

    A week or so before the surgery, I was actually looking forward to start recovery, I was putting a bucket list together, places I want to go, things I was to do when I get better and shows I want see when I stuck at home! :)

    ivym, I believe in a near future, you will get up one morning and feel good and positive about the surgery, there is also a book out there called "Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster", one of my friends give it to me and it helped me quite a bit too. Also taking to people helps a lot but it's hard because not a lot of people understand what we are going through.

  • Hi Ivy,
    Not sure is you are religious or not . I am not but I always remember a sermon I went to back in the day when I was going to church. It was so strange . It felt like the minister was talking directly to me. The main gist of sermon was " Give your worries to God". It does us no good to keep them inside of us. Let them go. You are doing all of the right things researching, talking to others on the board, you have a surgeon who you trust and a family who loves you. Focus on your neck and visualize the healing that will take place and how your pain will improve and you will be able to do all of the fun and important things that you have not been able to do. I 'm rooting for you. Lisa
  • Massages do wonders . Great advice Kenny . My friend bought me same book with relaxation videos.
  • Just what I needed. I didn't know if massage is ok to do but I will try that. I am religious so I know I need to give my worries to God ...it's just so hard. But you are exactly right. It does no good to hold on and hoard them...looking for that book now. Thanks again friends you lift my spirits.
  • ivymiivym Posts: 278
    edited 05/11/2015 - 3:35 PM
    Feeling so much better with your support.
  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 552
    If it makes you feel any better...I don't remember them putting a mask over my face? They gave me the "sleepy meds" through my IV, and that's the last thing I remember until I woke up in the recovery room.
    Maybe ask your doctor if you can take something for anxiety the morning of your surgery? Our minds can be our own worst enemies sometimes.
  • This is a drug that can certainly take the edge off. Ask your Doctor about it and proceed with caution as it can be addictive if in the wrong hands. It doesn't hurt to bring it up. It helps me significantly.
    Realize that FEAR is our worst enemy. Get up & get out in that stormy weather of the real world & kick fear in the teeth. Stare at it dead in the eyes & walk right through it into the storm; because once you're wet, you won’t fear the rain anymore
  • The ACDF surgery was my 5 th surgery in my 41 year existence. I can tell you it is not as bad as I expected. Recovering from my hystercectomy was way harder. I also feared it a lot, something about the spine just made me more nervous than all my other surgeries. But I am now two weeks post op. I feel great considering all that was done to me. My pain is gone, just some minor surgical pain left. I have to take it easy for six weeks, but hey, how often do us moms get a break like this. I'm milking it for all its worth, I am enjoying my kids and hubby pampering me and taking care of me for a change. You will do great Ivy. Enjoy the love and attention while you recover. Have a mini vacation from your uber type A life. I never thought I would enjoy it as I am an uber type A myself. Things won't get done your way, you're gonna do a lot of eye rolling, but it's okay. Your family will take over for a while, enjoy it. Sit on your ass and micro manage from the sofa. Eventually you won't even want to do that. You're going to enjoy letting them take charge for a while. It's just six weeks. Take care of yourself and have faith that everything will turn out great. Hugs to you, Adela
  • Wow this is probably the best post I have stumbled upon. The positivity and encouragement from all of you is just a reminder of why I joined this site. I am to waiting to have surgery and making myself sick with worry over it. Reading all the posts have helped me understand that the decision i made to have the surgery was the hardest part and that the healing will only rule my fire to get back to a somewhat normal life :)

    Good luck with your surgery Ivy.

  • Being an uber type A I enjoy (NEED TO BE) in control at all times (wry smile and eye roll here). Since I first saw my neurosurgeon and got a visual of my condition. He went over the MRI w/ me nd I could see the hot mess that my neck was. I actually fainted in his office (Good Lord...talk about status dramaticus) Anyway, for the next few days I would cry a lot.. several times a day....just like a toddler.

    I don't know what it was like for the rest of you all telling others that you needed a major surgery and would be out of the loop for 12 weeks...6 weeks or whatever but it took me a long time to do it without crying. I have learned a lot about myself through all of this.

    I don't want this surgery (imagine me saying this with the voice of a toddler and stamping my little foot.) This time, for me, it does not matter what I want. I cannot wish it away. I cannot work it away. I cannot fight it away. I must not only accept it, I must be thankful for it that there is something that can be done and there is someone who is willing and able to do it (ack...help me.)

    My dear husband has a lot of wisdom and bless him he has been pretty good up to this point. One evening when I was feeling particularly sad I said to him...."DH, I am a poor unfortunate soul." (Just like The Little Mermaid.....Good Lord!) DH turned around and said "honey YOU have a serious condition. You also have a great physician as far as we can tell. YOU have great insurance and a family that loves you. YOU are a fortunate soul." (God I love him.)

    Anyway, among the things I cannot control are that last car ride to the hospital, someone starting an IV that I don't want then someone putting me to sleep. These fall under the realm of things I cannot control.

    What I can control is my attitude. I can fear the car ride or hope that the car will be a part of what will turn out to be healing in my life. It will be hard to be thankful when the nurse starts the IV but I am going to make a valiant effort. My family will be around me and I am thankful for that. I am sorry they are so worried but I cannot allow my (active imagination) to go down that trail right now.

    I am still having my moments and you all help me so much. THANK YOU! As I said, I am learning a lot about myself and learning to let go of things is one of my developmental tasks, I guess. Will I be better off if I believe all will be well and I will be better if I end up with a less than optimum result? Would I be better off fretting about bad results if the results turn out either way. I know the high road is the best one for me to take right now and I'm trying...

    Love to all,

  • You don't try to be brave when in the moment. Bravery came when you made the decision to go forward with the surgery. Now that you have made the decision and done everything possible to prepare for the surgery you should no longer think about it. As soon as any anxiety or doubt comes throw it out of your head without giving it a single moment of reflection.

    That's exactly what fighters do they rely on their training and practice . In this case your training and practice was all the testing and steroid shots and all that stuff prior to making the surgery decision . Now it's time to go forward without thinking and instead rely on your gut and your body to take care of you.

    Best wishes
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