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How I Overcame Pre-Surgery Anxiety

How I Overcame Pre-Surgery Anxiety

So I just had a non-invasive surgery yesterday to repair a fistula near my rectum and drain an abscess.

I have been in pain for 4 months with this little guy, it’s been uncomfortable and annoying to say the least. Work has been affected, my entire life has been affected by this pain and discomfort. I’ve been exhausted, run down, unable to sit for more than around 45 minutes at a time, unable to exercise or walk easily and then was unable to stand or even lie down without pain. It had progressively gotten worse and more life affecting over these 4 months.

When I finally had a consultation with a colo-rectal surgeon and she said the only thing left to do was operate, I was feeling a bit terrified.

I have had 4 colonoscopies and an endoscopy in the last 4 months but had never had surgery, so needless to say, I was terrified of the unknown. Terrified of the anesthesia, terrified of everything. The surgeon said she didn’t exactly know what all would need to be done until she got in there, but told me what her suspicions were and what her plan was and informed me that recovery can be quite painful. Again, I was terrified.

The surgery was scheduled for 4 weeks later and I was feeling intense anxiety for the 3 weeks leading up to the last week… until I had a huge realization that totally calmed my anxiety. And that is what I want to share with you today.

One of the things that was bothering me the most was the fact that I didn’t know how I would feel afterwards and I couldn’t plan. I also didn’t know if they were going to use general anesthesia or heavy sedation using propofol. I wanted the heavy sedation because I’d had that for my colonoscopies and knew I’d be okay and with it afterwards and not sick. I wanted to control as much as I could. I even bought a new shower head for my shower to have a shower arm to be able to wash my bum afterwards, I wanted to control and plan, and not being able to do that about the day of surgery or the recovery was giving me so much anxiety.

Until, I realized… actually, I don’t want to control everything. I don’t want to do the surgery myself, I don’t want a mirror and a scalpel! I am not a surgeon. I don’t want to decide if I need general anesthesia or sedation, I am not a doctor, the anesthesiologist is. They’re the professionals, they’ve done hundreds, if not thousands of these, ultimately, I don’t want to make these decisions, I want them to.

And just like that, I released the control. And just like that I felt immense calm and trust sweep over me. I had no anxiety the entire rest of the week and leading me all the way through surgery. I was nervous of course, but I wasn’t anxious, I was okay. It seems so simple looking back now, but it’s incredibly difficult to give up or release control when you’re having intense anxiety. All you want to do is grasp for control over whatever is making you anxious, to know the outcome. In this case, as I’m sure is the case for many circumstances, releasing the desire and need for control is what actually settled my anxiety.

So far, my recovery has been great. I’ve had pain which is to be expected, some moments easier than others, but I have been even better than I thought I would be.

I wanted to share the biggest thing that helped me get through my anxiety and I hope it helps you too. As always, reach out to us and let us know what’s helped you!

-Cassie

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