View Full Version : emotional issues post op.

03-01-2007, 12:33 AM
Hi everyone. Lately I have found myself getting quite upset thinking about the ordeal I went through before and after my surgery and it has been making me quite depressed. I was wondering if anyone else has these 'blues' even months after surgery. The other night I broke down in tears out of no where just watching RPA when a patient was wheeled down the corridor after saying goodbye to his family. I guess it bought back my memories of that horrible experience. Can anyone recommend what I might be able to do to get through this phase. Trudy's death has really upset me also and perhaps this is what is bringing back some nasty thoughts.
Cheers, Katie.

03-01-2007, 04:50 AM
hello katiev ,i am also fighting with myself and emotion ,mostly cross ,but cross about what ?? and off cours Trudy pffff very hard .isn 't this just plain human .tears are probably the best way to relief ,and writting things down on Forums like this one helps because lots understand really.i am just over 2 month op and 40 ...and things should be like new back new body new feelings etc....good luck a soon here again :o

03-01-2007, 07:02 AM
I think it is pretty normal, at least I felt the same way. You spend months anticipating the whole thing, It takes up most of your energy. Then you get thru it all & look back on it all..& realize what you've been thru..& just roll your eyes!. There definitely is some post-op depression/stress!
I was one who wanted to know nothing of the hospital or operation info/details before surgery. After, I watched my surgeon's Discovery video on the surgery & was totally amazed by what was involved...I still have flashbacks now & then but as time goes on, you do get better! I think it's an experience that just makes us all stronger & reminds us to treasure our life. At least, I don't sweat the small stuff...anymore...I also now feel more strongly, that everything happens for a reason....hang in there-(hugs)! Lynne :)

03-01-2007, 09:55 AM
Sometimes i think it's Post Traumatic Stress.... we definitely went thru some trauma in our surgeries!! I had a lot of problems with depression and anxiety after mine. Thankfully i had a very understanding GP and she helped me a lot. Discuss it with yours. Also as 'bonjour' says, it does help to express yourself in writing... either here on the forum or elsewhere in a blog or a journal.. It really makes some interesting reading later on when you realize what all you went thru both emotionally and physically.

We are all here for you, understand your difficulties, and will help support if we can!! ((((hugs)))) JoAnn

03-01-2007, 03:15 PM

iv had nothing but positive emotions since the op but i can understand where you are coming from.

why dont you make a list of all the things that have improved since the op and things that you can do now that couldnt before. Maybe this will help you concentrate on the positives and lift your spirits.
hope this helps and i really do hope you dont get too depressed (i was before the op for several months and it isnt a nice place to be).


03-01-2007, 04:56 PM
Hi Katie,
I know what you mean about getting upset even though i haven't had the surgery yet i find myself thinking about things and just crying. And i know what your talking about when you mentioned RPA i always watch that show and whenever someone gets wheeled away from there family i just think im going to have to go through with that soon.
Keep smiling Katie as i've read alot of people go through this at some stage in recovery.

Lee :)

03-01-2007, 06:11 PM
Hi Katie...

You should mention this to your primary care physician. Depression after major surgery is REALLY common. Sometimes it helps to take anti-depression medication for awhile.

Your talking about watching a patient being wheeled on a gurney on TV reminded me of something I experienced. About a year after my own surgery, I was at the same hospital to see a friend who had had surgery. I was surprised to find myself light headed, and almost fainted. It happened a few subsequent times, and then I was over it.


03-02-2007, 09:22 AM
I cried at every thing for a few months after my surgery. It was kind of a running joke because normally I am very unemotiojnal. I am back to normal now but things affect everyone differently.

03-02-2007, 09:34 AM
I cried at the drop of a hat for the first few months after surgery. The meds can also contribute to depression. You are not alone. :)

03-02-2007, 11:51 AM
My local surgeon pulled me off of one of my post-op meds (Valium). He said it causes depression and being post-op he didn't want me taking it. Makes sense. Just something to keep in mind once you are post-op.

03-04-2007, 12:51 AM
Thanks everyone for the replies. I will talk to my GP about it next time. I am totally pain medication free now though so I don't think thats the cause. I think Joann5 was spot on about the post traumatic stress thing. It is a major thing to go through and I don't see myself getting over the emotional scars anytime soon. I am lucky that I have a strong support network here at home though.

03-04-2007, 03:36 AM
Hi Katie,

This surgery can be a crushing blow!!! Even though it corrects our condition, it hurts like hell!!! We have all gone through the stages, and there are different stages to this recovery!!!

I am still amazed at the physical and mental pain this surgery can cause!!! There's not a darn thing wrong with feeling depressed over what you have just gone through!!! Been there, and the only thing that I can say is that, you made it through it, and if you can look at it from this point of view, just think of how strong of a person you really must be!!!


03-04-2007, 03:11 PM
I started having an emotional phase last week. When people would ask me how I was doing, I would get very weepy and had to leave work upset a couple of times. I did go back to my surgeon and talked about how much I was still having pain and waking up at night when the pain meds wore off and wondering if something bad was wrong or if I would be in this much pain for the rest of my life. He was pretty reassuring that my fusion was great. Nothing broken or wrong. He asked me to have patience and give the pain 6 months to a year to feel like myself again. He said I might be doing too much and also took me off one of the meds and sent me home.

I guess I am doing better. Just not back to my old self yet.

I understand how you feel. Let us know how you are doing.

03-05-2007, 03:05 PM
I was shocked by the emotional toll that recovery took on me. I was fully prepared for the physical aspects of recovery and just never gave any thought to how difficult it would be to emotionally recover from such a traumatic surgery. I spent many nights crying out of frustration and self pity. I hated that I had to rely on others to do the simplest of things like wash my hair or change my shirt. Luckily I have the most amazing husband in the world who was there everyday to remind me of the milestones that I was overcoming along the way. I did feel at times that depression was creeping in but with support from my family and friends, I was able to keep it at bay. I agree with Linda that you should talk with your doctor about it so that he/she and you can keep an eye out for signs of depression and ways to help overcome it if it is in fact what is happening to you. Good luck...

03-07-2007, 09:12 AM
I am so glad that you all said this.... I am just over 2 months post-op and the past few days have been horrible emotionally for me! I literally cry for hours straight, my patience is MUCH less than normal, I am irritable to my family... This is not me at all!! I don't feel like myself. I feel like laying in bed and sleeping for a week! I've never experienced such a thing. I'm not sure why this is happening all of the sudden....although it may be because I stopped taking oxycodone two days ago (I was taking it every 5-7 hours) and I started vicodin. It doesn't work nearly as well, so I'm also feeling uncomfortable...not necessarily pain, but achiness. The weather probably doesn't help- it's brutally cold! So I woke up this morning and booked a flight to florida for 10 days at the end of the month. Hopefully some sun and r&r will help!
So, I'm hearing that this is normal, but does anyone have any suggestions on how to stop feeling so down? (besides of course, taking more meds!!) I don't have ANY negative feelings about surgery...in fact, i think that the meds I took have an amnesia effect, because I had some bad days while in the hospital and I don't remember anything bad- I remember it as a wonderful experience.
I've never felt so awful emotionally and it's freaking me out a bit.... Will I snap out of this soon?
Thank you everyone for your support-- so much!!


03-07-2007, 09:40 AM
Hi Lesly,
I am almost 3 months post op and I know how hard it is -I just want to feel normal again! I find that walking helps me-emotionally and physically. A few days a week I go to a flat spot and walk 2 miles-I do feel better afterwards. Did you switch your meds cold turkey? I think that could be the problem if you did. I think it is better to gradually switch. I have heard it can cause depression otherwise. Hang in there Lesly!

03-07-2007, 09:44 AM
Hi Cathie!
Yes! Dr. Boachie just switched me-- I took my entire supply of oxycodone and then woke up one morning and started the vicodin. I didn't think this was the right thing to do either, but I thought maybe I should give it a few days to see if it starts working better and I feel better. Or maybe I should call the dr and get it switched?

03-07-2007, 10:05 AM
From observation, recovery is a physical and emotional roller coaster. The pain medications do not help the emotional side of things, they contribute general anxiety and inhibit clear thinking. Plus, every time you go to another level of activity, you crash a bit afterword, both physically and emotionally. It may be reassuring, in terms of emotional swings, anxiety and pain to keep a diary of the weather, increased activity, stresses etc. and look back when you are not feeling well. Impatience (cabin fever) is a problem. There is a tendency for yourself (and others) to try and declare yourself prematurely "better" and load you up with jobs. Everything is individual as to scoliosis surgery recovery, but adding 50% to any time expectations is not a bad idea. Also, don't prematurely assume family burdens etc. if it costs you quiet time and exercise time. Your first job is recovery.

03-07-2007, 10:38 AM
I am now 6 mths post-op & I will have my check-up next Monday. I still don't still feel like 'me' before surgery.. I am not on any pain meds since about January or so. I am still pooped after I make dinner & many a night still have to go to bed early. It's the energy/stamina I used to have that I now miss. Keeping in mind, I have 2 active young boys! I still have some numbness/stiffness around the incision. I surely will ask about this but do think (I hope) I will be told it is normal & at my age(47) to give it a year...I just had it in my mind that by 6 mths I'd be active like I used to be-wrong!...I agree with Joeb-z, it has been a rollercoaster ride! Personally, this has been way worse emotionally for me than the physical stuff. You learn sometimes the hard way, to learn patience...! Ly

03-07-2007, 10:56 AM
It seems like the 3-4 month period was the worst for me.... I even started having anxiety attacks that i had NEVER had before. I have always been the one that my family would call on when things went wrong. When i returned to work at 3 months, i guess they just assumed that everything was back to normal... They called me at work one day when my elderly mother could not be located... I left work just imagining the worst, that she would be lying hurt or dead when i got to her house... and by the time i arrived, i was having a big panic attack.... She was at her doctor's appointment, just as she should be, doing fine.... but I wound up having to go to the ER because i could not get control of myself!!
Thank heavens for my sensible General Practitioner who recognized this as a result of all i'd been thru with the surgery... She prescribed some Xanax for me to carry with me in case i feel that panic beginning again. I haven't had to take them very often at all, but just knowing that is what is going on and that i have them if i need them is all the reassurance i usually need.
I think it was an eye-opener to my family too, that even though incisions heal and work resumes, the Fragility is still there for quite some time!

03-07-2007, 11:08 AM
My suggestion for feeling better would be to have as many friends and family around you as possible. We often had friends and family visit, especially when I was feeling down, and it really helped get me over that hurdle. They would remark at how great I looked and at how much better I was walking than the last time they saw me, etc and it just helped to really pick me up and keep me going. Even talking to friends and family who live far away helped alot.

I think that it's great that you've planned a trip. It will really help you to look forward to that as well. We went to DisneyWorld 10 months after my surgery and having that trip to look foward to was such a big focal point for my recovery. Good luck!

03-07-2007, 01:19 PM
Joann- I have to say I felt the same as you. I also had some panic attacks around 3-4 mths. Especially after I fell back in Feb. I was so shaken up after that & a wreck that I did something to my back/hardware. Now I'm just more careful & that fall made me realize that I was'nt back to normal..yet. I should have said in my earlier post that at 6 mos, I am feeling way better..just lacking the stamina/energy level I had before the operations so I get a bit down on myself & fustrated from time to time.. all in due time, I guess.
Heidi-you are a real inspiration, too, to me! :)

03-07-2007, 10:14 PM
Hey There Everyone,

If you look back on some of my first posts back in May 2004, you will see that this is exactly what I went through. At that time there really wasn't anyone else here that had the surgery. Everyone else was waiting to have theirs. Unless you have gone through this surgery, you just won't know what we are talking about. I guess we can say we're in a club all our own. Other surgeries that I have been through are not this emotionally draining. My revision surgery in June 2005 wasn't accompained with this problem. I'm hoping this next surgery this June won't have it as well. This will pass, even though it seems like it won't. Remember, One Day at a time.