View Full Version : Personal Problems Ahead of Surgery

Mojo's Mom
01-14-2012, 09:20 PM
My surgery is scheduled for just 10 weeks from now, but I am worried about my psychological and emotional strength to handle it because of problems in my personal life. My marriage is under considerable stress which affects me daily. My husband has assured me he will "be there for me" for the surgery and afterward, but separation has been discussed and the stress is taking its toll on me. It is likely that when my husband gets back into town (see next paragraph) we will be starting intensive counseling.

In addition, my brother-in-law in another state is critically ill, long term, and my husband has been away most of the last month taking care of his brother, which is putting additional stress on the marriage. There is no end in sight to the problems there, and the situation is not likely to resolve any time soon. My husband may have to put his emotional and physical energy into his brother's situation right up until the time I go into surgery.

I am not in intolerable pain. I remain active although standing and walking bring on significant pain that affects daily life. Nerve problems in my left leg worsen at a noticeable but gradual rate. My curves are progressing and I'm not getting any younger. I see my surgeon in the next two weeks and will then know how much progression has taken place in the last year, which will help me to judge the urgency of my surgery.

My goal six months ago was to spend six months in serious physical and mental preparation for this surgery. I've been able to keep up the exercise and even increase it, but the emotional part of preparation is not going well due to the above circumstances. In fact, I feel quite exhausted emotionally and psychologically. The ten weeks until my scheduled surgery date is feeling like tomorrow and I am getting anxious.

I want to know from those of you who have been through this, given my situation as described above, should I postpone the surgery until my personal life is more settled? Or will the emotional toll of my situation not take as much out of me as I fear? I don't want to go into a surgery this big without considerable strength, both in body and spirit, and I am questioning my ability to bring that strength to the task under the current circumstances.

Thank you for any thought you can share.

01-14-2012, 09:44 PM
I cannot give you any advice, but just want you to know that I'm thinking about you.

01-14-2012, 10:07 PM
So sorry you have all this to contend with right before surgery. Just a comment though--when you are dealing with pain it is very hard on a day to day basis to be your normal self. That alone puts a strain on relationships. After surgery you will have a different sort of pain that can strain things too. I'm just thinking that any decision on your marriage is hard to judge when you've been under such difficult circumstances including your husband's brother. I too had done everything to get myself ready. We were actually in St. Louis to get pic line etc. on a Friday for Monday surgery. On Sat. night we found out my husband's brother had been life-flighted and had a life-threatening condition. My husband said--you're doing the surgery; you can't go back now. That caused some family rifts but he stuck by me. (Sadly, a year and a half later my BIL died from the complications. Later my husband was able to spend lots of time with him and they had a great last few months.) I think that just shows how important the build up is to this surgery. I don't know how I could have gone thru all the prep again months down the line. Even close family doesn't understand that.
I wish you two could fast forward about 6 months after your surgery and see how your relationship would be by then. You might find you both are different in your relationship. Sorry I'm just sort of thinking aloud since I really don't know your situation. Just throwing some things out there. Janet

01-14-2012, 10:12 PM
I'm sorry this is so hard for you. The surgery is hard enough without these circumstances. It's difficult to give advice without knowing more, and until you've seen your surgeon for an update on how your curve is progressing.

The thought did occur to me though, that if you're up for counselling, then there's still hope? And with your husband promising to be there for you...one never knows what's round the corner.

I hope things become clearer for you after your next surgeon's visit and that someone can offer some useful advice. Good luck!

Mojo's Mom
01-15-2012, 08:27 AM
Thanks to all of you who took the time to reply. Doodles, especially, thank you for sharing your personal experience. In my home we actually live with double the "not yourself" due to my husband's chronic pain syndrome from an auto accident long ago. He has been in constant pain throughout our relationship, while I have only come to know pain in the last ten years, and mine is not constant. Just sitting here typing this, I have no pain at all. His pain is actually a good deal worse than mine, and he is a little envious of the fact that I have a chance (no guarantees) of getting out of my pain eventually through surgery, while he does not.

I think from the replies I may have overcomplicated my real question, which is this:

How important is it to be psychologically and emotionally strong going into this surgery? It is wise to proceed at a time when you are under considerable emotional stress totally unrelated to the surgery?

loves to skate
01-15-2012, 03:06 PM
Hi Stephanie,
I am so sorry you are going through all this emotional pain. I personally don't know how I would handle this if I were in your shoes. Just looking from the outside in, I think I would go ahead and have the surgery as planned because: 1. Do you know for sure that your situation would be any better in six months or even a year? 2. What if you postponed your surgery and your personal situation doesn't get any better and your back keeps progressing? I'm just saying that there are no guarantees in life. I really don't know how stress regarding your personal life would affect your recovery. There certainly is plenty of stress leading up to scoliosis surgery. Sometimes you just have to let go and put your future in a higher power.

If your husband said he would be there for you, can you take him at his word? Could the both of you agree to postpone any decisions about your marriage until after you recover from your surgery? Just knowing he has agreed to counseling should help some and maybe even a lot to help you deal with your emotional pain.

My husband used to threaten to leave our marriage and it used to stress me out terribly. I finally realized he was manipulating me. The next time he threatened to leave, I showed him the door. He never left and he has never threatened to leave again.

You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

01-15-2012, 10:22 PM
You said it much better than I. I agree totally with your suggestions. Would postponing it change the situation?--is an important question. I agree that the counseling even now would be a great idea. Also, if you haven't seen on here the info about Peggy Huddleston books/tapes--they might be worth checking out, trying, etc. It helped me get thru the last few months before surgery and relax me. Just a thought. Janet

01-16-2012, 06:25 AM
I,too, think Sally made excellent points. Most of us are an emotional mess prior to the surgery due to the unknown, as far as the success of the surgery, hospital care, recovery pain, life after fusion, and on and on. It has to be extremely difficult having personal problems in addition to the surgery stress, but, as Sally said you don't have a guarantee that your situation will be improved at a later date. If only we had a crystal ball . . . Counseling sure couldn't hurt and it might give you more of a positive feeling about your situation.

01-21-2012, 03:26 PM
Wow. What a bad time for all this to be happening. I am so sorry about this. I tried to write a private message, but there just isn't enough room in the private message box to write what I wanted.

Everyone has valid points. So much has to be taken into consideration. If you already considering counseling in the future, I think it would be a good idea to start now, even if it is just you going by yourself. Good to get your own thoughts worked out before you bring your husband in. If you are normally able to handle things fairly well, then you could very easily be just fine going ahead with surgery. But a good support system is also important, especially if your emotions are more on the fragile side. There is nothing wrong with that- some people just have more sensitive personalities. Your body will be under a lot of stress, too. But many members have had surgery and recuperated fine entirely on their own.

Some questions to consider-
If you are considering postponing surgery, are you able to postpone it without compromising your health? Both your marriage and your health are important, but you don't want to risk your health. Is saving your marriage more important, less important, or just as important as your surgery? Is it worth saving? If you aren't entirely secure about him being there for you, should you make your health decision based on him? Will your current situation actually ever be "settled"? Marriage counseling is a long haul. I've been there. Do you have time to put surgery off that long?

My intent is not to offend you, please don't take it that way. I am not asking questions for you to answer in public-just giving you some food for thought. I am no professional, and my last wish would be to offend you. Please don't take it that way. This is something only you can decide. If it were me, I would definitely talk to a counselor. I was married for 28 years to a man I never imagined going through this with. Maybe that is one of the reasons I put it off for so long-who knows. Now I am happily remarried, and I was blessed with a man that was absolutely there for me for my surgery and recuperation. He knew surgery was part of my package when I met him, and I knew without a doubt he would be there. And to be honest, I am glad I had him by my side, even though I am a tough cookie! But I also know that I could have done it by myself if that was what I had to do.

I wish you the best of luck in this. It is such a tough decision to decide on surgery, even without all the additional complications. I wish I could hand you over some peace of mind! Private message me if you ever need to talk and would like to email me so we have more space and privacy...

01-21-2012, 03:35 PM
Oh, and one more thing. Maybe being there with you through the surgery will let him see you in a new light and bring you closer. It could be a turning point. One never knows. There must still be something there if he agreed to counseling. He may realize how much he cares and also have some empathy for you and what you are dealing with. It doesn't matter who is in the "most" pain. Pain is no fun- no matter who you are and what the level is!

We are all tougher than we think, and we all eventually make it through the recovery period. No matter what you decide, you will, too!

Mojo's Mom
01-21-2012, 05:23 PM
Jenee, thank you so much for all your input. I couldn't possibly take it the wrong way or be offended in any way.

My husband has always insisted that he will "be there for me" for the surgery and recovery, but with the constant stress of regular fights it is hard for me to build my emotional strength ahead of surgery. He definitely "cares", that's not the problem. He has huge trust issues, jealousy and insecurity and an absolute hatred of one of my best friends.

A number of people have offered to help me during and after surgery, and I have adequate support without my husband. My fear is that the emotional stress I am going through will have a physical toll that will make me tolerate the surgery less well and heal less well. I guess time will tell.

I see my surgeon on Tuesday, and then I will know how much progression I've had, and can make a better decision about how much time I have.

I guess there's probably never an "ideal" time for this surgery. And we never know what life is going to throw us.

Thanks again to everybody who responded to this thread.