It has been a long time since I have written and much has happened to me.
I had been dealing with a back problem, anterolisthesis, as a result of Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD). DDD is not associated with Fibromyalgia, but is in addition to it. It created significant pain and numbness and inability to do many things I would normally do, affecting even my ability to walk my dogs a short way. By the time I had surgery, I could not stand for more than a minute, two at most, without going numb from the waist down. It affected everything in my life.
I had to face a major fear, surgery. I hadn’t had surgery since my tonsils were removed in 1980, when I was seventeen years old. But in May I had back surgery, a fusion, a laminectomy at two vertebrae, and had bone spurs cleaned from another vertebra. It was a big deal, especially with having Fibromyalgia. A month before surgery, because of numbness, I fell down the three stairs leading to my deck, spraining my right ankle and tearing the meniscus on my left knee. I was a mess.
I was terrified of having surgery! I put it off for five or six years, having epidurals and physical therapy. I am sure there were advances in technique while I waited. But, there came a time when that didn’t work anymore and I was in danger of losing my ability to walk.
How did I release the fears so I could have surgery and be relaxed about it? I chose a healthcare team I trusted, wrote lists of questions that my doctors patiently answered, I didn’t do too much internet research on my surgery (enough to know what was going on and what other people did to get through it), and I prepared myself spiritually. I meditated, visualizing the surgery and my successful recovery, and my friends sent me their prayers and positive thoughts, depending on their own religion. Oh, and I wrote my will, which some neighbors witnessed for me, just in case. I requested that the anesthesiologist who gave me the epidurals was with me in surgery. I liked him and we already had a doctor/patient relationship. He knew my body. When I went to the hospital the morning of the surgery, I was calm and at peace. Sure, I wasn’t happy about it, but I wasn’t terrified anymore.
I gave my doctor and anesthesiologist some information about Fibromyalgia and how surgery can affect Fibromyalgia patients. Both doctors were very happy to read the article I gave them. That was encouraging and relieved some of my fears. I knew that the people caring for me were truly interested in the best outcome. I knew in my heart I had chosen the right team, but to see the evidence lifted burdens from me that even I didn’t know I carried. Thank you Dr. Morgan and Dr. Lasko and the whole Sierra Neurosurgery team!!!
Since the surgery I feel like a new person! Yes, I still have Fibromyalgia, so it isn’t as if I have no pain or numbness at all. But I don’t have the pain and numbness from a physical abnormality that could be repaired. It is a big relief to not have the fear of it getting worse (which it did) and I don’t fear the surgery I will likely have in the future. More discs will degenerate to the point of needing surgical intervention. This time I won’t live with the pain and numbness for so long!
I also want to thank my priests at Reno Buddhist Center, Revs. Matt and Shelley Fisher. They came to the pre-surgery room to chant for me and visited me while I was in the hospital.
I am not afraid of much in this world, but I do have fears come up every now and then. I cope by doing everything I can to control that which I can control, and, when I can, choose who is in control of everything else.
Let me know about your fears and what you have done to cope and face your fears. Please comment. Please also comment on what you would like to read about in this blog.
Thanks for coming to this page and reading this post. Have a great Labor Day weekend!