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Mental Preparation for Round 2

I started getting nervous about surgery no. 2 on Saturday night.  A week and a half before my date.  Now, I can say that I have always had some nerves (which makes complete sense, their cutting me open) but I was feeling good about it.  But last Saturday, after getting home from a friends place (all alone, as my bf was out of town) I really started to feel it.  The thought of being out of the game (normal functions), all the things that I still needed to get done before surgery and the journey ahead started to feel overwhelming.

Side note: When I say all the the things I still need to get done, I mean stuff with our company, personal organization in our home, getting bridesmaid shoes for a wedding in July, and etc. etc.  Some of which truly need to be managed and done before surgery (i.e. business and shoe stuff) but most of which are not necessities but my brain is turning into necessities.

This is where I have trouble.  I’m so use to having complete control and managing my own things that, even though this is the 2nd time around, I’m having a hard time losing control and my independence.  I don’t like being a burden on others.

I thought the second time would be easier!!  I’ve already been through all this once!

For the first surgery I worked very hard on accepting that I didn’t know what was coming or the true capacity of what rehab and my limitations would be.  And I had gotten to a place where I was comfortable with that and accepted that I would do whatever I needed to do.  I felt empowered and ready to tackle whatever was to come!

This time around I have been feeling like I was pushing against a brick wall.  What I was doing obviously wasn’t working for me, I was feeling stuck.  Now I know more so I am thinking about the entire process and it can be VERY overwhelming.  I have less fear this time but more analysis/anxiety/I wasn’t sure what to call it.  I couldn’t get myself in a place where I felt mentally ready.

But I think I have finally figured it out.

For surgery no. 1 I had gotten to a place where I was taking one day at a time.  This time I could already see weeks and months in advance and it was clouding my short term vision.

So, I already know what I’m going to be missing.    It’s the anticipation of not being able to cuddle or curl up with my boyfriend (sappy I know) or even just being able to curl up at all (no 90 degree bend in the hip), being able to sleep on either of my sides, or being able to drive or the freedom to move around without an assistant device or someone keeping an eye on me.  Also things I’m not looking forward to like waking someone up to help me get the bathroom in the middle of the night (a 10-15 minute ordeal) or giving myself shots for 21 days (uhhhhhhh, the worse).

Since initially writing this down in my journal (it’s very therapeutic, I’m glad I started) a couple days ago I have been able to change my mental track heading into surgery next week, but it wasn’t until I started to write out how I was feeling that I could figure out why I was feeling that way.

I was trying to prepare myself the same way I did heading into the first surgery back in October… it wasn’t working.  This is because I am in a difference place now then I was 7 months ago.  I now have knowledge, experience and expectations, where I previously had none.  I can’t prepare myself for the same event the same way.  After completing my first adventure race I did not prepare for the second race the same way.  I used that knowledge and experience to better prepare myself for the challenges and was able to plan and mentally prepare myself faster because I had expectations.

I am feeling much better now that I have been able to see where my anxiety and nervous are actually coming from.  I have been able to step back, and while I am still nervous, I have relaxed and am in a better place mentally heading into pre-op tomorrow and surgery next week.

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