Surgery Is Awakening My Fears

I’m desperately hoping that someone out there can relate to what I’m going through now and give me some feedback on how they’ve coped with it. Since receiving the news that I’ll be having major surgery a few weeks from now my anxiety levels have started shooting through the roof and I’m sleeping even less – if that’s possible. With that I’ve been having nightmares and flashbacks – which I’m certain are related to past trauma – and I feel an overwhelming need to control or make right as many things as I can before the day arrives, even though I know this won’t be possible.

I’ve created a to-do-list of the practical things I have to do: power of attorney, pre-surgery appointments, financial arrangements (pre-paying bills), and post-surgery homecare needs, among other things. The list is almost finished, except for a few people I need to contact to let them know when I’ll be going into the hospital; and detailed instructions I need to write for the people who will care for me after surgery, but I feel like what I’m doing to prepare is not enough. Logically I know what I’m doing is right, but emotionally I feel as if I don’t have a clue about what to do. Listening to my body, I’m hearing mix of uncertain sounds in response to each thing I do and feeling waves of nausea as each day closes. I’ve experienced a mind-body disconnect before, but this time is different and I can’t explain how.

Circle ZIA - 7 Dollar Store Pens

Circle – Zentangle Inspired Art (ZIA)

The funny thing is that I’m not anxious about my surgeon’s abilities. I’m somehow anxious about my body’s ability to make it through something that ultimately is what it needs to get better. I don’t know how to calm my mind and body – even with the forced activity of my art/gratitude journal, Zentangle, music, and buckets of ice cream – beyond what I need to do to keep up appearances with everyone around me that I’m fine. I don’t know what to do in the middle of the night when it’s dark and I’m most alone with myself or in the daylight when the tears start and I can’t turn them off.

Does anyone have any experience with this kind of fear?


OneRepublic – Counting Stars


10 thoughts on “Surgery Is Awakening My Fears

  1. You’ve done a good and thorough job of preparing for the surgery. Being prepared sometimes helps me with my fears, but not always. And sometimes, being over-prepared, with an abundance of knowledge as to what could go wrong, makes me more anxious. 🙂 Some things you just can’t prepare for.

    I don’t think there’s some secret to conquering fear — life happens and we just live through the experience, passing by each fear with each step we take, like passing a car on the highway. We can look in the rear view mirror and worry, or we could look directly into the headlights.

    It’s hard to look fear in the face, but if we can’t, that doesn’t mean we’re weak. Maybe the mind-body disconnect you’re feeling is more about judging yourself than about your fear of the surgery.

    I might be weakened by chronic pain, but I am not a weak person. And neither are you. 🙂


  2. I’ve never had something as major as this to prepare for so I don’t know exactly what you are going through. I know when I’m anxious writing everything down really helps. So working through your lists is a great start. Knowing you have the important stuff that you can control done will ease a big weight from your mind.
    You say you aren’t confident in your body being able to recover? Your body will know exactly what to do to heal itself, but it needs your mind to be in the same place. If you think you can do it, your body will do the rest. I’m not a religious person or even particularly spiritual so I don’t know how you’d feel about this. But I found a lot of ease of mind in bad times doing mindfulness meditation. There are YouTube videos and different audios and apps to talk you through it. I did it once a day for 10-20 minutes and it really did help. I also had a few sessions of reiki done, which I really am sure helped ease a lot of my ailments. It can really help in the recovery stages.
    Hope any of this can help. You will be great =)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your support and ideas.
      The lists are helping and I’m doing a lot of writing/journaling. I’m doing mindfulness work using Zentangle and my own form of art therapy. Those two things seem to be working best. Mindfulness meditation has worked for me in the past, but for some reason since this illness arrived I can’t connect with meditation. I even tried a guided style of meditation called iRest for a time. However, I’ve been listening to some Tibetan Singing Bowl and Chakra meditations (YouTube videos).
      I agree that my body will know what to do to heal and I truly trust my surgeon’s skills. I just have to hope my mind catches up with my body before August 11th 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t have an experience in this arena and nor can I begin to imagine what you are going through, but I wish you all the strength in the world to get through this surgery and the lead-up to it. We’ll be thinking of you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for this support.
      Creating positive connections in this online community has been so helpful to me for dealing with this phase of my life. It’s hard to articulate how uplifted I feel when people I’ve never met are so emotionally and spiritually giving.
      Thanks again 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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