Five Ways of Overcoming Fear of Major Surgery
Fear of Major Surgery
Man is afraid of the unknown; therefore, it is only natural for most people to fear to undergo major surgery. Wouldn't you tremble to know 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. Simply put, they are knowledge, trust, laughter, optimism, and support from loved ones.
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 in 2013. 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 religion. Having trust in God is very comforting, and it gives you hope for life after death.
Trust in God is also very comforting for anyone who will undergo a serious operation. Trust in God accompanied by prayers to Him are also reassuring 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 trust in medical people, surgery 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. Prior to my kidney operation, the anesthesiologist told me a really funny joke in the pre-operating room before surgery which made me laugh and take my mind off of 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 positive about my operation. I also recalled pulling through other surgeries where I was under anesthesia. This also gave me an optimistic 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 reassuring and gave me the power to overcome the fear of surgery. It was also comforting to have my wife with me until the time I went to a pre-operating room one hour prior to my operation.
Overcoming the Fear of Major Surgery
Which is the best way to overcome the fear of major surgery?
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