What Doctors Won’t Tell You About Dangerous, Painful (…And Not Always Successful) SURGERY – That I WILL!

Let’s face it; surgery will always have a place in the world. It saves lives! Sometimes it eases debilitating pain. When one faces a life/death situation, surgery is absolute, no doubt about it, but I’m not here to write about dire situations. I had my first surgical experience recently. It was purely exploratory. My doctor called it a minimally invasive procedure. He had all the right intentions, I’m sure. All doctors, I hope, have the right intentions. But, surgery sucks. Recovery sucks. All of it sucks. The good news is, I’m fine. Here are the lessons that I learned…

Lesson #1

Recovery is not as easy as what doctors claim it to be. Recovery is different for everyone. I developed post-surgery blues. I developed a fear to move my body. I also became anxious, I felt regret, regret that I permanently damaged my body. I worried incessantly about scar tissues/adhesions and there is a reason for my concern. That stuff can get serious. Unfortunately, the doctor failed to mention it. So lesson #1, make sure you do the research before committing to surgery. Also, get a few second opinions so that you have the big picture. Take time to fully understand the risks and benefits. Doctors tend to be overly positive about surgery but they are not the ones who will experience the consequences.

Lesson #2

Surgery is not the end of the journey, it’s the beginning. Recovery is tedious. If you had surgery, seek out a physical therapist/massage therapist/movement specialist to work on balancing your body again. Scar tissue/adhesions may cause body imbalances that may cause serious problems later on. Also, have a support system in place, like family and friends to help with recovery. Lastly, nurture your body with gentle movement and a healthy diet.

Lesson #3

Don’t look at healthcare in terms of dollar signs. My surgery was covered 100 % but the true price I paid was in the health of my mind. It’s odd how insurance doesn’t pay for non-invasive holistic treatment such as acupuncture or massage, but it covers surgery that may cause additional problems (that could lead to further surgeries). Find a doctor that respects you and understands you as a person. Unfortunately, western medicine tends to treat just the body, ignoring the rest. If you think mind doesn’t matter, think again. Watch this ted talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/guy_winch_the_case_for_emotional_hygiene

If you are navigating the medical world, here are some inspirational resources. Read Atul Gawande’s book, “Being Mortal”. He is a neurosurgeon believe it or not, but recognizes that patients are human beings. He gives me hope. Another book I suggest reading is called “Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Kabat-Zinn for those dealing with chronic pain or stress. The mind is a powerful tool to have if used correctly and can translate into miraculous healing.

I would like to conclude that not all surgeries are bad, but just know that it treats the symptom, not the root cause of the problem leaving a trail of after effects that are unwanted and unexpected.

What does holistic medicine mean? According to Google, it is characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the physical symptoms of a disease. I whole heartedly believe in holistic treatment. The unexpected psychological trauma that I experienced reaffirmed the big why.

Linda N. Wagner

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