There's no doubt about it. Going for surgery is stressful, regardless of which way you look at it; mentally, emotionally and physically. So, it stands to reason that in addition to following your doctor's orders - quitting smoking, losing weight and/or following a special diet - you also get your stress under control.
Stress affects your physiology by increasing your blood pressure, heart rate and the production of chemicals, which have their own set of side-effects. Why not prepare in advance, and give your surgical team (and you!) a helping hand?
Learning to control your anger may also speed up the healing process after surgery, US research suggests. The Brain Behavior and Immunity study indicates stress has a major impact on the body's ability to repair itself.
Over the years, I've had a number of surgeries, but 2006 topped them all! I did extremely well in recovering from all four of them by developing my own surgical success list, which included learning to transform those negative emotions associated with surgery. For me, they included fear, worry and frustration.
When you're stressed, you often think that you don't have any power in whatever situation you may find yourself. This is the conundrum – you feel stressed, you act in a certain way, you act in a certain way, you feel more stress...and 'round and 'round it goes.
Surgery can make you feel as if you have no control. What you can and can't do is dictated by the type of surgery you have. You spend a lot of time waiting - for nurses, doctors, appointments, results, recovery. Wouldn't it be great to be able to take back some of that control? To misquote the toddlers, “You are the boss of you.”
If you are scheduled for surgery, take some time to learn techniques to augment your recovery. Please email me for details. Please visit my other blog, A Rheumful of Tips, where I provide a daily tip on how I move through life with rheumatoid arthritis.