View Full Version : Emotions/Surgery

01-03-2008, 07:46 AM
Hello all!
I need some of your thoughts and input on this. My father passed away on New Year's Eve after many years of fighting cancer. No matter what it seems- you're never prepared for it.
I have put off surgery many times due to the long recovery and I'm just plain scared. Also life events- daughter's grad., wedding, father's illness, etc. I promised my dad I would go through with it this time, regardless of his death.
Now, everything seems overwhelming. I do have strong family support, however.
Another thing is that we placed my mother in assisted living. She suffers from some type of dementia. I live a hour and a half drive from her so I won't be able to keep up the personal contact. My very responsible daughter lives close to her grandmother, but it's a lot to put on a 23 year old.
I am just worried that depression might really hit me hard after the surgery.
Any thoughts? Any experiences, advice would be appreciated. His memorial service is today. I know I won't make it through that without any tears.
Sorry, this is so lengthy.

01-03-2008, 09:00 AM
Dear CSC-- I am so sorry for your loss. It is so difficult to lose one's parent-- and to deal with the grief-- and you have so many other things on your "plate" as well. The whole surgery ordeal puts you on an emotional roller coaster, so you do have reason to be concerned about that aspect. Scoli surgery isn't usually a "have to do it now" surgery, so maybe you should talk to your scoli doc and see what he/she says. Even though you don't want to postpone because you promised your father, it still might be better for your peace of mind to wait a little longer. With your father's passing and your mother so far from you, it may just add too much additional stress for you to bear.

As far as being scared of the surgery-- I don't think there's a single one of us that wasn't scared! But so many of us have gone ahead, maybe you can gather a little momentum from that. If we can do it, you can do it too. In a way, it's like having a baby--people do it all the time, but when it's you, it's totally different. But you can get a sense of courage in knowing that it happens all the time. Just that the timing may not be right just now for you. Best wishes in whatever decision you make. Take care.

01-03-2008, 09:02 AM
I am so sorry for your loss. I wish you peace and strength. I'm sure your father will be looking over you and taking care of you through your surgery, when you decide to do it.


01-03-2008, 10:10 AM
I was sorry to hear of your loss. I had to have revision surgery 6 months after my mother was diagnosed with cancer. She ended up taking care of me for a short time. She felt guilty about my having back surgery, but I told her I was glad to have had it and still be alive. She passed away three years later. I developed more problems after she passed and was glad she was not around to see what I have been going through. Now my father has been diagnosed with cancer. It is something we all have to deal with (although not pleasant). I rely on my faith in the Lord to get through. If your mother has a form of dementia, she will probably not notice or remember that you were not there for a couple of months due to surgery. Take care of yourself and keep your health up so you can care about others. ;)

01-03-2008, 01:27 PM
This is a really difficult decision for you, especially with so many different emotions and things to consider. I would suggest that you are not going to find the answer on this forum that deals with all of those emotions, but you will find a lot of support. It could be helpful to go and talk through all these different emotions with a counsellor, and work through the issues that are affecting your choice to have surgery. There is never a 'good' time for major things in life, I think most people who have had this surgery have missed out on important things. But at the end of the day, the pain that many of us go through makes the surgery worthwhile, and surgery often reduces the pain enough to enjoy all the future events. It sounds like you have cancelled the surgery a lot in the past, and maybe there is something else happening that is making you need to cancel.

If you do choose to do it, you will find a way of getting through it. You don't have to do everything, you may be able to organise some temporary things to help you out. And being well organised really helps.

You'll find good support here, all the best.

01-03-2008, 02:37 PM
CSC- I sent you a private message.....

01-03-2008, 06:09 PM
CSC - I lost my mom to cancer, and my father to Alzheimer's years later. With regard to your mother's situation, it might help for you to contact the Alzheimer's Association for advice, emotional support, and perhaps actual support in caring for your mother during your recuperation. They were wonderful to us during the many years of dealing with my father's deteriorating condition. I'm sure it will help you emotionally if you feel your mother is secure.

Whatever you decide, my best wishes and prayers go with you.

01-04-2008, 01:04 AM

You have already received a variety of great advice. And I agree with them all.

I too, am sorry for loss!!!

Give yourself so time to grieve, but don't forget that you are important too!!!
You seem to be one that puts other's first. Just don't forget about you!!!

You're in my prayers,

01-04-2008, 02:17 PM
Dear CSC,

I lost my brother, who was only 54 just 4 days before my surgery in Sept. Everyone said I should still go ahead with the surgery, so I did. Obviously I wasn't able to go to his service and my biggest concern was for my aging parents and how they would cope with loosing a son and what I was about to go through.
I got extremely depressed after the surgery around the 8 week mark but I think it was mostly the drugs. I got off the heavy meds quickly and although it was horrible I was able to get past the depression as soon as I got them out of my system.
This is only my experience, we all deal with grief in different ways.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do, our thoughts are with you.

01-04-2008, 02:32 PM
Thanks to you all for your words of sympathy and encouragement. It means a lot. I have been reading your messages over and over again. I will definitely follow and think about some of the advice given.
My father's memorial service yesterday really helped us all. He's in a better place and without pain.
I really do want to go through this surgery and get past it. Today, I went to my stress test appointment. There are so many tests and lab work required. I was informed by my doctor's office that a chest x-ray is needed, too. I was not aware of that one! Anyway, I guess I failed my test! I'm a teacher- not supposed to fail tests!
There were abnormalities present and so I now have a follow-up echo stress test next week. Anyone else have this problem? Both my parents had a history of heart disease, but it was not until later in life.
Thanks, in advance, for any responses.

01-04-2008, 02:43 PM
I found out last Dec. before we decided to have the surgery that I had an irregular ECG. After a night in the ER and lots of tests, they decided this was regular for me. As one nurse put it when they took the pictures of the heart, my guts were pushed up against it....no one would say if this was caused by the scoliosis or not. I did have another ECG after the surgery with another visit to the ER and the ECG did not concern them at all that time. Best of luck, I hope all turns out well.

Linda W
01-04-2008, 09:13 PM
Dear CSC,

I am so sorry about your dad. Both my parents died after lengthy illnesses, and I too was unprepared. I do not think you can ever really prepare for the loss of a parent. It sounds like you were a terrific daughter to your dad and are an equally terrific daughter to your mom!

I personally found the mental preparation for this type of surgery to be very important. Whether you decide to go ahead with your scheduled date or postpone for a bit, you might find Peggy Huddleston's book and cd, PREPARE FOR SURGERY AND HEAL FASTER, helpful. Most hospitals in the Boston area recommend her program to their patients. My nature is sketpical at best, but I found it to be a tremendous help in dealing with my anxiety and emotions and credit her techniques for helping me get though the process with less anxiety and an inner sense of calmness to boot. Most hospital gift shops have it in stock or you can order it on line.

Post op depression is something many of us have had to deal with. You don't have to cross that bridge until you come to it. If you do find yourself falling into it, don't be afraid to ask for help because there are many treatment options available and people willing to help you.

Be kind to yourself. Best of luck in your decision making process.

Linda W.

01-05-2008, 09:17 AM
I too lost a father on news years eve ( not my real father but a person who excepted me for me over 25 years ago). Yesterday was the funeral, lots of emotions not to mention the weather was cold and blowing. Today I hurt real bad. Let me say this, I'm sorry for your loss and want you to know I'm in the same boat as you, I haven't had the surgery yet partially due to the fact that I'm scared too. I've been going through tests for the past 2 years and next spring is the date I was given. I'm depressed now and feel like I have one foot in the grave and the other fighting to stay out. Loosing a loved one is one of the toughest things to deal with. It helps with a network of loved ones and friends. I wish you the best luck and remember, no matter how tough things get, try to keep your chin up. With the help of friends and loved ones yesterday We laughed, we cried and I thought a lot about me and my situation. It's overwhelming sometimes. I'm 42 with 2 young children. 16 and 9. I'm scared too and I think all have been b4 the surgery, That's why the forum is here, It has helped me, we're here to support you too. Love and Peace!

01-05-2008, 10:13 AM
Again thanks to all of you for your words of comfort regarding my father's death.I feel I have some real friends on this forum. As simple as it is --it is nice to be reassured that it's okay to be scared of this surgery.
I have an urgent question. I feel really needy right now. I've been keeping up a strict exercise regimen for almost two years. I exercise 3 times a week at Curves with three circuits and stretching each time. Any of you ladies familiar with it? It has really helped with my constant back pain, flexibility, and energy levels. Due to my father's death, I have not been able to keep it up the last two weeks. I can get back into that routine this week.
But now after failing my stress test, I'm not sure if I should. Also, maybe it is just psychomatic (sp?) but I am constantly feeling chest pains. I have not been aware of any heart disease symptoms before this except for pain in my arms.
My father had an angioplasty in his 70s and my mother had a triple bypass in her 70s. So, I really was not expecting the news that I got yesterday. Thought I had at least 20 more years before I had to worry about my heart.
So, the question is do I continue with my exercise schedule or wait until after my next test on Thursday? My back and muscles are already starting to protest. My surgery is scheduled for the 29th if I get a clearance. Fusion from T3-L4 along with inner-body.
Thanks all! I'll appreciate any thoughts or opinions.

Karen Ocker
01-05-2008, 03:41 PM
I also had a stress test before my surgery. My lung constriction cause me to get out of breath early on and the cardiologist believed it to be from my deformed chest. I suggest following the recommendations of the cardiologist.
You would need his clearance to have the surgery. I also had chest pains from GERD. My stomach was compressed so that acid always ran up my esophagus causing heartburn.
Interestingly, my GERD went away after surgery and I recently did well on my stress test 5 years post-op.

If you indeed have hidden heart disease better to find out now and treat it. The anesthesia care team would need this to properly take care of you during surgery--but first get the facts.