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A Big Old Update on Facing Your Fears 

Hello Readers,

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.


Feeling peaceful and ready to face my fear.

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!

Many blessings,


About Julie Hodges, RYT

I am a happily-married, 53-year-old woman living in a beautiful place with my husband and our three dogs/babies. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (FMS) in 2004. While FMS affects every moment of my life, I have learned to live with it and be happy, not allowing it to destroy me. While I have FMS, it does NOT have ME! As a yoga and meditation teacher, and as a Reiki Master/Teacher, it is my passion to help people have a good, strong and healthy life and relationships. Fibromyalgia Lifeline will help me serve that passion. It is an honor to lead by example, as well as to continue to be a student on this path to freedom from the hold of FMS. Other than that, I like to knit, read, write, be outside, play with my dogs, be with family and friends, movies, some TV shows, ghosthunting, go places in our RV, travel, music, and so many other things, but mainly laugh and have a great time.

4 responses »

  1. It sounds like you were at the point where you simply had exhausted your other options. Ive always read that surgery should be a last resort. The fear towards having a surgery is very healthy and normal! I sure hope this really helps and you dont have to do further work anytime soon. Self Talk is my biggest help for dealing with fears. I have to write it all down in my diary so I can take a look at it. Analyze it a bit then start asking myself how Im gonna face this . If its a fear thats keeping me down and Ive recognized it then the answer is usually a good self pep talk. One things for sure : things are never as scary as we think they are. We sure do build them up in our minds!! What a relief when we look fear in its face…when we feel the fear and do it anyway! Love and blessings to you and yours. *Cheers to your health!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! Things are much worse in our minds than in reality! None of what I was most concerned about happened. Sure, it was painful, but not as bad as I had in my mind. It was dealable. An staying in a hospital wasn’t the worst, either.

      People with Fibromyalgia are often afraid it will make Fibromyalgia worse, since that is what starts it for some people. That was my biggest fear!!! It did not happen.

      Thanks so much for commenting! Sending love to you and yours!


  2. She was an amazing Patient. She did all she could to be prepared and feel as comfortable as possible. I am glad Julie is feeling more like herself. My wife is a very strong independent being. I am very happy that all went well. Very nice blog!
    I love you forever and a Day….

    Liked by 1 person


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