View Full Version : 2 weeks preop and frustrated

11-15-2007, 07:41 PM
Hi all,

Up until about a week ago, I was feeling really calm and focusing on all the things I needed to finish up before surgery. Tuesday I got a fat envelope from the hospital, outlining the gory details of recovery ("Expect to be in varying amounts of pain for 3 to 6 months" and "How to change your dressing"). I think that was the tipping point. I'm internally freaking out (and externally fighting with the people I need LEAST to be fighting with). I don't think I'm nervous about the surgery as much as the following 6 months; I'm worried about relying on people, I'm worrying about those people not coming through when I need them, I'm worried about not being able to meet my own commitments.

I'm also frustrated that I'm spending the next 2 weeks doing work, rather than spending time with the people I love (spare a dinner the weekend before). I wish I was able to be going on fun dates with my boyfriend, traveling, and spending time with my family and friends, but instead I'm spending my time writing literature reviews, my thesis proposal, and an evaluation plan.

I'm sorry to vent, but any words of wisdom on how to survive the next two weeks would be greatly appreciated. At this rate, if the last 3 days are indicative, I'm going to make myself crazy....

11-15-2007, 08:19 PM
Boy oh boy, the pre-op roller coaster....

As far as the people in your life, it is so hard to know - some of my family and friends pleasantly surprised me, and some were a bit disappointing. That's a whole thread to itself, and I think it has been. Honestly, if you have one or two key people in the first weeks after surgery, you will be doing so great. I think you'll be surprised how quickly you regain independence.

The school thing is a challenge I didn't have to deal with, so I sympathize with you. Just know that you have done what you need to to prepare, if your posts are any indication. I built up the recovery so much in my mind, and now that I have the luxury of being able to look back, it wasn't all I had anticipated. I don't want to upset anyone by making light of it, because it is not easy, but you are YOUNG and you are PREPARED. Keep posting questions you may have, and I know you'll get lots of reassurance from people on here - they are the best!

11-15-2007, 08:35 PM
Vndy, you're freaking over the same stuff *I* am - and I don't even HAVE a surgery date yet! ;-)

And both you and Geo are VERY close to my fusion levels ... I suspect you'll both hear from me offline.


always smilin'
11-15-2007, 08:39 PM
My motto as of late is to take things 1 day at a time. If you worry too much about what is to come...you miss what is here at this moment. I recently completed my grad program so I totally know the stress level you are under (I completed mine with 3 kids, a hubby, and a full time career:) - take some breaths, take a few minutes each day just for yourself - relax doing whatever it is that relaxes you. I can only imagine your worry for the impending surgery (I'm too chicken to go through mine right now) but seriously, take each day as a blessing right now and worry about tomorrow when it comes.

Best of luck
Always Smilin' :)

Harrington Rod 1982 (T2-T12)
Now looking at possible revision surgery - curve has taken a wrong turn for the major worse
Degenerative discs L1-L3

11-15-2007, 09:44 PM
I'm sorry that I don't have a whole lot of advice to offer you, as you know, I'm a few weeks behind you in the process. I think that these feelings are more than natural, it would be unnatural if you didn't feel this way. Let yourself be scared, but open yourself up a little to people that know what you are going through.

I have to keep telling myself that I'm not the first person to have this procedure, and I won't be the last... It may not seem relevant, but also try and think of all the fun things you will be able to do post op- like re-read your favorite books, watch daytime television :p etc...

People like you and I are very independent, it seems like the commonality many of us share on this forum is our inability to let go and let someone else take control for awhile. Take this opportunity to let other people take care of you, even if it is just for a few days, you will have many days to give back the time and generosity that they showed for you.

As for the fighting with people- I'm already starting to do it too :o . I warned my husband, I told him just the other day that I'm becoming a nervous wreck, but I need to save my energies for school and my health. (I also told him that he will probably get sick of trying to take care of me and keep me happy, so he shouldn't try too hard just yet...)

Keep going to yoga, and doing the other things you love.
I'll talk anytime.

11-16-2007, 07:17 AM
These last two weeks will fly by. After being extremely nervous for months beforehand, I became strangely calm and resigned a couple of weeks before surgery. Maybe this will happen to you....it's like my mind just gave up and my body took over. What helped me also was getting as physically tired as I possibly could by walking for miles and miles. If you're able to exercise, it really helps.

I distinctly remember waking up in the recovery room and thinking: Thank God it's finally OVER!!!!! :cool:

11-16-2007, 08:23 AM
Isn't it great to be able to vent and release those frustrations and emotions? Of course you are getting nervous/scared/emotional! This is a big time for you. It's ok. Just try to understand that a lot of us have been there already and know what you're going through. One of the scoli books I read explained that you would be on an emotional roller coaster for awhile--and suggested letting your friends and loved ones know that, so they wouldn't be offended if/when (!!!) you say things to them you wouldn't do normally. It's all part of this. It's just too bad that you can't have a more relaxing and fun time pre-op. I was working pre-op, but did take off the day before I was to travel up to the hospital. I gave myself that day to do whatever I wanted to do-- like freak out and cry, have a pity party, finish getting things in order, etc. I also ended up doing something I find relaxing and fun--baking some cookies. I figured my husband could nibble on them while I was in surgery. If you have to work right up until the surgery, at least you can have peace of mind that you did your writing and are prepared in that way. Maybe you can work it out so that you work hard and then treat yourself to something fun every once in awhile. If that won't work, I'm so sorry.

BTW-- I know every doctor is different, but I didn't have any dressings to change or anything like that. My incision was 20 inches long. By the time I left the hospital, there were just some steri-strips hanging on back there and they came off on their own for the most part, and the stragglers were removed by my doctor when I went for my 3 weeks' post op check up.

Best wishes! The time will be here soon, and you'll do fine. Panic a little as need be, but I'm praying you'll find some peace too and a sense that this is the thing to do and that you'll be glad when it's over... Hugs! :) Susie

11-17-2007, 11:37 AM
Thanks, everyone, for your support. I have to say, it really help to hear this is "normal." As for my "to do list," I've finished my thesis proposal(!!!) and now just have an evaluation plan to finish, and about half a literature review to write. I'm almost looking forward to having a solid excuse to do absolutely nothing :)

My Pre-op is on Tuesday - I'm looking forward to writing a "what to expect" post... finally I can provide information rather than just receive it from all of you!!!

11-20-2007, 12:22 AM
Hi Vndy,
me too... I'm also a grad student, I've put my research on hold... still have an assignment to hand in but thankfully finished my exams. I went on holiday for 2 weeks and now have 2 and a half until my op. I can relate to what you're experiencing, not wanting to be doing the uni stuff and just wanting to do fun stuff. I thought about you a bit while I was away because your surgery is close to mine.
In NZ we don't get given a lot of information on what to expect from the surgery, which in a way is good... but stuff still triggers emotions. I sent in all my consent forms the other day, and that was a bit emotional. We also don't visit the hospital before the surgery day, we just go in on the day. We get our bloods done a few days before at a local laborotory. I'm worrying, but also glad that it's nearly here because the wait is awful. I'm glad I found the forum, because the population of NZ is only 4 million, so there's no support groups and stuff like that. I'm planning to start something here, a charity or organisation for scoliosis, because there truly is nothing.
I hope all goes well for you... I'll follow 3 days later (probably 2 days with the time difference!).

11-28-2007, 06:06 PM
OMG! I found this thread right on time. Today was TERRIBLE!!! Everything seemed to go bad!!! and I ended up taking things out on other ppl!!

I'm surprised at myself b/c I haven't worried a single day about the procedure. BUT TODAY it's like ... undescribable. I think learning my levels of fusion (t5-l3) and hearing my doctor say 3 weeks and you're back in school, and also hearing my mother ask...why didn't u wait until the summer really hurt me....

I thought I would only be fused on the T levels. (of course, i'm no doctor but I thought I'd have more lower movement if only T levels were fused)

and hearing my doctor say 3 weeks agitated me because I decided w/ my mom not to take classes in the spring due to my recovery...(which i've posted about) but 2 hear my dr. say i'll be ready to go back in Jan. really hurts b/c I haven't registered for classes, I deffered my scholarship $$, blah blah blah...b/c i felt i wouldn't be ready. and I still don't feel like i would be but it's just frustrating to even think about it... b/c i know next summer is going to be long and boring due to me having to attend full term summer school to make up my courses..

and to hear my mom ask "why didn't u wait until the summer.." is a whole another thread .... !!!

i'm just venting guys, but some encouraging words would help....

11-28-2007, 07:23 PM
Dear Glenda--I'm so sorry about all this you're having to deal with right now, on top of the big surgery! Take a few deep breaths, figure everything won't go right even though you really want it to, and then TRY to not let your mom's thoughtless (as in she doesn't realize how much it's hurting you right now--she didn't think about it much, maybe) words penetrate too deeply and stick with you. She is probably also going through a lot thinking about your surgery...

All of this will pass-- and you just have to keep thinking about that. You'll be so much more alert and able to study next summer, even if you have to skip some of the fun stuff. Instead, you can have a leisurely (!) recovery and have fun this spring.

Your doctor must have decided that in the long run it is better to fuse more vertebrae than what you had previously discussed -- or is it just what you were thinking?

Three weeks does sound really short for returning to campus life. Maybe he doesn't really get the picture. Maybe he's thinking more like someone returning to high school. Regardless, once you have made your decision, and it sounds like you have, move on and don't dwell on what others are thinking or saying. If your mom gives you more grief about it, can you try to calmly let her know that she's increasing your anxiety about the whole thing by her comments?

You'll be ok. You'll have a nice long time to recover. Life is going to get better and better. And remember the really big thing is that you'll be so much straighter and taller in just a short while! :D Stay focused on the good things and throw the bad out with the garbage. You can do it! And go right ahead and vent as much as you want to us.

11-28-2007, 09:04 PM
Thanks so much.

I went to bible study tonight and now i feel much better!! jesus is awesome!!

as for my mom, i'm sure she did just get a little frustrated...things are good b/w us now...i just had alot of stuff on me today...

it was my own thoughts about the length of the fusion... i guess doc does know best. lol

I look forward to enjoying a nice long (and relaxing) spring! i'm dreaming of soap operas and blockbuster movies already!!!

thanks, susie i feel soooo much better... venting really helps..

11-28-2007, 09:16 PM
You are so welcome, Glenda. I'm glad things are looking better for you and are good between you and your mom. Yes, Jesus is awesome. :) He'll help you through it all.