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How to Chill Down Before a Surgery

Posted May 05 2013 4:04pm
It's been awhile. But I decided that maybe it's time to jump back into this. I've been vlogging over at http://www.youtube.com/heyheyraytay with my buddy Taylor, but very little of it has been about health.

So, on my last post, I posted this video. It was a first reaction to finally accepting that I needed a hysterectomy.



That surgery, my friends, is tomorrow. Monday, May 6th. I generally don't get anxious about a surgery until I'm actually in the hospital getting hooked up and stuff. I've literally thought about hopping out of the hospital bed, ripping out my IV, and telling them I'd reschedule. But something about this surgery has been smacking me in the face for a few weeks now. I've been overemotional, stressed, and flat out crazy. I'm aware that I have severe surgery anxiety. But, as I said - it's normally so late in the process that I'm 15 to 30 minutes away from being doped up by the time I start to freak out, so it's not as big of a deal. I start to freak out and then they juice me.

This time it's different. I've been going out of my mind the past few weeks. My other half best friend Taylor once told me, "Chill down." She meant to say chill out or calm down. But I feel like chilling down is exactly what people need to do before surgery.

So I finally figured out some things that have been helping me de-stress last night and today. Different things work for different people; these are just the things that have worked for me. So here's my list of ways to chill down before surgery.

1. Do something you love. For me, that's video editing, writing, and studying anything that has to do with video. So I've been doing that. I'm glad to have had a week between school ending and surgery starting. Do what you love. Any distraction that you can lose yourself inside of for hours - if not days - is good at this point.


2. Forgive. Cheesy, I know. But it occurred to me, through trying to get everything squared away at my university, that I have completely forgiven people who have caused me a lot of stress and pain over the past semester and a half. It's freeing and it's weird. That's what all the zen, the-whole-world-is-lovely people don't tell you. Forgiveness is weird and it makes things weird. Especially when you can't reach out to those people and communicate that forgiveness. But the fact that it makes me feel better without certain people even being made aware of it just speaks to the notion that forgiveness is more about us and less about the people we forgive.

That old adage about how hurt people hurt people? I believe that it's true - for the most part. I find myself wanting to help the people who have hurt me because I know that somewhere along the way, someones or somethings hurt them. I'm one of those someones in a lot of those cases. Forgiveness is a tough road, especially when the other person refuses to forgive you. And this isn't some, "I may die during this procedure, so I'm going to forgive everyone and give away all my previous heirlooms," type of crap. I'm not giving away all my precious belongings (which is pretty much just one cat and lots of debt). This is genuine. I find myself wishing good things for people who probably wish the worst for me. I'm saddened by it but it's also empowering to know that they no longer have that hold on me. It makes me feel calmer in general.

I would add "apologize" to the list, but I can't do that. Because in multiple instances, I'm not allowed to apologize for one reason or another. When you can't speak to someone or someone refuses to acknowledge you exist or someone has completely disappeared from the face of the Earth and doesn't even stay on the radar...it's tough. Sometimes you can't apologize even though you know you should. But simply having an apologetic heart seems to be working okay for me. I wish those people well and I hope they feel the good vibes and good thoughts coming from me.

"If you're feeling happy vibes, they're from me. [...] I'm vibin' you real hard. I'm building a wall of love around you, three inches all around." - from Rob Sheffield's Love is a Mix Tape

3. Try to stay calm about the monster known as insurance if you're lucky enough to have it. I mean, I know you have to think about it in order to pay for the surgery. But understand that things can be refiled and contested. When the insurance person calls you with a number that has more digits than a phone number, chill down. Realize that it's not over yet and even though things will undoubtedly end up being more expensive than you'd prefer, that first number is NOT the final number. I'm incredibly lucky to have health insurance. But they need cash money that I simply don't have.
Why is there not an insurance company called C.R.E.A.M?



4. Have an "I can do this later" pile or list of things to be done. Things to save until after surgery or even until after recovery. Not big things - pay your bills, for chrissake. But some things? Save them for later. Let's say that I felt obligated to post something on this blog every single Sunday but I didn't really like writing and I felt like it was more of a chore than an outlet or means of catharsis. I would toss this blog post into that pile. It's not important in the greater scheme of things. What's important is to chill down.

5. Realize that things are beyond your control. I don't claim to be a spiritual person and I don't have one set belief system, but I do believe in something greater. And even if that isn't true and there isn't a greater power? It's still beyond my control. I'm going to be knocked out and I'm at the mercy of my doctor. Luckily, I have the most amazing surgeon who I trust completely. That's another important step in not stressing...but if you already have a surgery date, it's a little bit too late to change surgeons now.

6. Take deep breaths. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Such a basic thing but it makes a huge difference. DON'T DO IT OVER AND OVER AND OVER FOR HOURS. YOU WILL PASS OUT. Unless you're into that kind of thing....in which case - breathe on, my friends. I'm not here to make judgement calls on your kinky activities.

7. Be honest. If you're freaking out, tell someone. And be open about your surgery. I'm having a hysterectomy. I'm keeping my ovaries and cervix. I have no problem sharing that with the world. I think that that has been a good thing. It enables me to talk about lady parts. Your parts aren't shameful. Dudes are scratching their balls ALL THE TIME in public. Ovaries are basically just balls that are inside a woman's pelvis. Okay, I don't remember where this number was going, but be honest about what's happening and don't be afraid to talk to people about stuff that's going on in your head.

8. BREATHE
. COME ON YOU GUYS WE JUST WENT OVER THIS.

9. Pet a cat. I love my Samson. Some people hate animals. But if pets are your thing, then cuddle cuddle cuddle until you can't cuddle no more. Samson is really good about sensing when something is wrong. He has not left my side all weekend. He's a lap cat so he's actually in my lap right now as I'm typing this.

He looks means in this picture but he's not. He's just majestic and he knows it. (Those were actually the original LMFAO lyrics...)

10. I'd say exercise but generally if you're about to have surgery, something is wrong with your body or insides and exercising is difficult. So definitely exercise if you can. But I've just been doing those weird, simple yoga moves that cause your body to be more oxygenated or whatever. But mostly I've been huddled under my heating pad because I hurt like a sumbitch. SO...yup.

11. Make a list of people you hate and then light it on fire as you sing Dashboard Confessional songs. Okay that was actually taken from a list I made a decade ago about how to survive middle school. I'm just running out of ideas here.

12. Buy more cats but make sure you also get enough cardboard to construct little cat tanks for your army. Okay sorry. Again, from a different list.

13. Make sure that you have as much done before surgery as possible. Big pile of laundry? Do it now. Someone ran into your car with a tractor? Sue him/her now. Get done what you can get done, but chill down about the stuff you can't. Ask for help. Accept help. Generally, there are more people willing to help than you think. When people say, "Let me know if there's anything I can do to help," sometimes they're just saying it because it's what people are supposed to say. Screw that. They said it, so take them up on it either before or after surgery. Ask them to help with laundry or other things that other people can do just as well as you could. Recovery almost never goes exactly according to plan.

So...we'll see what happens. I'm excited about it being over and me being recovered. I'm excited for AFTER recovery. This time tomorrow, I'm going to be hurting and whining like a baby. Viva la surgery! I thought this list was done but I guess that's one more.

14. Misuse a foreign language. And just for kicks, speak nothing but a different language after you wake up in the recovery room. Make sure no one knows that you speak two languages. Just pretend it was some weird fluke. Everyone knows language is affected by the pelvic area. That's why women yell so many colorful words during childbirth.

[Yes, everything on this blog is old. I'll redo the "about me" and "about my illness" tabs later. They're no longer entirely accurate.]
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