Five Ways of Overcoming Fear of Major Surgery

Surgery

Surgeons at work
Surgeons at work | Source

Fear of Major Surgery

Man is afraid of the unknown; therefore, it is only natural for most people to fear undergoing major surgery. Wouldn't you tremble knowing you had to have open heart surgery, brain surgery or a leg amputated?

When I learned on March 31, 2015, that I had to have a kidney removed, I, too, was really scared. What if I had a heart attack or stroke during the operation? Suppose I never woke up from the anesthesia given to me? I guess that is the reason I finalized my last will and testament during the week before the operation.

Based on my recent experience of undergoing kidney surgery, I suggest five ways of overcoming the fear of major surgery in this article.

Knowledge

Robert Reid Knowledge (1896) Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington D.C.
Robert Reid Knowledge (1896) Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington D.C. | Source

Trust

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Laughter

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Optimism

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Overcoming the Fear of Major Surgery

Which is the best way to overcome the fear of major surgery?

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Reassurance from Loved Ones

Author and Wife
Author and Wife | Source

Overcome Fear of Surgery

Five Ways of Overcoming the Fear of Surgery

1. Educate Yourself on the Reality of the Surgery

Most people fear surgery because they don't understand what will happen after going into the operating room. There is a saying that knowledge is power, and this knowledge of understanding what will happen to you during surgery will definitely lessen or overcome your fear.

A smart person will try to understand as much as possible about his or her upcoming surgery. This can be done by reading books and/or Internet articles as well as viewing Youtube videos about the specific surgery you will have. You can also learn about your scheduled operation by talking or corresponding with people who have had the same operation.

After I was diagnosed with a kidney tumor and knew that I needed the removal of a kidney, I told my second oldest sister who is a vet. Fortunately she had a friend who also had his kidney removed less than two years ago. Pat put me in touch with her friend, Steve, who answered all of my questions about the kidney operation he had had. Steve's answers and recollections of the operation definitely made my upcoming surgery sound not as bad as I thought it would be. I was especially encouraged by Steve's comments that he was able to walk on the same day of his operation and leave the hospital after a three day stay.

2. Have Trust in God and People

Almost everyone is afraid of the unknown after death, and that is the primary reason for belief in God and a religion. Having trust in God is very comforting, and it gives you hope for life after death.

A trust in God in also very comforting for anyone who will undergo a serious operation. Trust in God accompanied by prayers to Him are also assuring in that an upcoming surgery will be smooth and successful.

Having faith and trust in the knowledge and skills of medical people such as cardiologists, surgeons, and anesthesiologists who will be involved in an operation is also essential for allaying our fear. Without a trust in medical people, surgeries would be much more dreadful.

3. Don't Be So Serious

It is only natural for patients to feel serious about their illnesses and upcoming operations. Laughter, however, is the best medicine, and it definitely will make you relax and feel better when facing surgery. Before I had my kidney operation, the anesthesiologist told me a really great joke in the ICU right before surgery which made me laugh and take my mind off the imminent operation.

4. Be Optimistic

It is extremely important to be positive or optimistic prior to surgery. By having knowledge of the surgery you will undergo and faith and trust in medical people, you will be much more optimistic about the results of your surgery. I focused on the successful results of my sister's friend's kidney operation which really made me feel optimistic about my operation. I also recalled pulling through other surgeries where I was under anesthesia. This also gave me a positive feeling going into the operation.

5. Support and Reassurance from Loved Ones and Friends

Finally, it is essential to have the support and reassurance from loved ones and friends before and during surgery. Prior to my kidney operation, there were so many friends and relatives who expressed concern and said they would pray for me so everything would turn out alright. This was really assuring and gave me the power to overcome fear of surgery. It was also comforting to have my wife with me up until the time I went to an ICU room one hour prior to my operation.




Summary

If you are scheduled for major surgery, try not to be afraid. A famous U.S. President once said that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Educating yourself about specific surgeries and having trust in God and your medical personnel will go a long way in lessening or removing your fear. Finally, make sure you are not too serious, be optimistic, and have the support of friends and loved ones.

© 2015 Paul Richard Kuehn

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Comments 12 comments

ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 19 months ago from New Delhi, India

Great hub and a very important one!

I had undergone gallbladder stones surgery some 20 years back. Family support and reassurance is very important. Prayers can keep you strong plus awareness and education about the surgery is a must.

A very thoughtful hub, with important tips for those who have to undergo surgical procedures in near future.

Thanks for sharing, voted up as useful!


Billrrrr profile image

Billrrrr 19 months ago from Cape Cod

Hi Paul,

I am sorry to read that you had this surgery, and not surprised that you came up with such a strong and reasoned approach to it. I hope you are feeling well and kudos for creating this work. At our age it is not a question of if we are going to have a medical problem, but when. I hope I will be able to face my future surgeries as calmly and intelligently as you did.

Bill


Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 19 months ago from Oklahoma

I am terrified of going under the knife. Very helpful article.


garnetbird 19 months ago

In 1994 I had a radical hystetectomy.I was on a prayer chain which gave me some peace. Good hub.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 19 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Thanks for your good evaluation of this hub and I'm very happy you liked it and found it useful. I also appreciate you voting up this article.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 19 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Hi Bill! It's great to ready your comments again, It's great that you liked this hub and found it useful. How true it is that the older we get the more likely we will have medical problems. I am sure you will be able to face any needed surgeries as calmly and intelligently as me.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 19 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Hi Larry! Most people are terrified about going under the knife. Fortunately, with the anesthesia that is used today you will not be able to remember what happened during the operation. I still have nightmares about my first operation at age 6 when I was given ether during an acute appendectomy. I'm glad you found this hub helpful.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 19 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Thanks for sharing your experience. I am confident that prayers do help when you are faced with any danger. It's great that you liked this hub and found it good.


torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 19 months ago

My biggest fear is getting any type of surgery, whether it's big or small. thanks for the tips on overcoming surgery. Best of wishes.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 19 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

&torrilynn I'm happy you found my tips on overcoming fear of surgery useful. When I was younger, I especially hated dental surgery and I guess that's the main reason I ended up having to have most of my teeth pulled when I was only 47.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 17 months ago from Home Sweet Home

I agree, when I first had my gallbladder surgery, I was afraid that I might just kick the bucket too. Knowledge of the surgery is important.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 17 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Yes, it is important to know as much as possible about your sickness, operation, and other plans of treatment. With this knowledge your fears will be lessened or removed.

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