Anxiety control when facing surgery?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 25
   Posted 8/16/2009 1:59 PM (GMT -6)   
Most of you seem to have had many surgeries.  How do/did you control your anxiety right before the surgery?  My last two surgeries for an abcess were not too bad physically, but were the anxiety was horrible.  My surgeon/anesthesiologist would not give me anything until I was literally in the operating room.  The panic was so bad I thought I was going to die and I was hyperventilating and could hardly breathe.
Do any of your surgeons give you something in the hour before your surgery to help the anxiety, or if not, how do you try to control it?  I may be facing number three this week and was wondering if everyone went into their surgeries "cold turkey" or if my surgeon was just clueless and maybe I could get her to give me something - it's just so scary and it makes it hard to face more surgeries.  Thanks for your help.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1220
   Posted 8/16/2009 2:52 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Bluemom,

I usually tell them I get anxious and they give me something like benadryl in the pre-op room. My anxiety is more about post-op -- having to deal with another incision. I have no fear of death or dying on the operating table. I wasn't as anxious for the third surgery. I was just sad to be dealing with another incision, but happy to get the infection out. I think it is natural to feel anxious before surgery. It isn't pleasant to feel out of control.
Diagnosed with Crohn's in early 2007.  Several peri-rectal abscesses and two fistulae with setons.  Allergic to Remicade and Humira.  Currently on 6MP, and vitamins D and B-12.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 674
   Posted 8/16/2009 6:37 PM (GMT -6)   
I know that they give me SOMETHING other then IV fluids before I go into the OR while Im in the pre-op room, what it is I dont know. I'm not completely relaxed when I'm going in, but once I'm in there they do give me something before Im actually alseep.  All I know is I feel really weird like I want to talk or move my arms or legs, but I litterally can't.
I'm not a religous person at all, so prayer doesnt really work for me. But I do find myself repeating things in my head like "I'm ok" over and over again until I'm alseep, it calms me down a lot. One thing Ive learned is, once I'm in there if I just close my eyes I think its much better, rather then looking around at all the people in there, at this point I'm usually loopy from something and all the stuff going on around me just confuses me and I feel like I want to go in to a panic state.

Dianogsed with Crohns: At 16 years old. 22 years old now.
Surgeries:2 Bowel Resections, Gallbladder Removed, 3 Abscess Cleanings
Current Meds: 6MP, Vitamin B12 (injections), Nexium.
Next Surgery: Sept 4, 2009 to Take Down Abdominal Fistula!!

Post Edited (MAG102886) : 8/16/2009 5:54:18 PM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 342
   Posted 8/17/2009 12:13 AM (GMT -6)   
yes they give me something they call the anti nerve medicine..but its on the way to the or..that i finally get it.. i took valerian to calm me down days a more than a week are supposed to stop all before..ask your pcp for ativan..that would help..and you are talking the most anxious girl
Crohn's Disease,Colitis, Lupus, Hyperthyroidism, anal fistual-seton
medicine-Pentasa...previous..Asacol, Prednisone, Imuran, Flagyl
Peri-rectal surgery-ishiorectal horseshoe shaped abscess, seton placement, two c-sections
soon to be on either Remicade or Humira
Valerian and Melatonin to sleep
First Diagnosed with Crohn's in 2001

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 342
   Posted 8/17/2009 12:14 AM (GMT -6)   
you have to tell them that you feel that way...and that you need something right away..i say demand it and they will give it to you
Crohn's Disease,Colitis, Lupus, Hyperthyroidism, anal fistual-seton
medicine-Pentasa...previous..Asacol, Prednisone, Imuran, Flagyl
Peri-rectal surgery-ishiorectal horseshoe shaped abscess, seton placement, two c-sections
soon to be on either Remicade or Humira
Valerian and Melatonin to sleep
First Diagnosed with Crohn's in 2001

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 314
   Posted 8/17/2009 12:59 AM (GMT -6)   
I think the way a lot of anastesiologists give versed in the per-op room. But Ive never really been anxious for a surgery beyond my first one. So Ive never really asked for anything to have or anything like that.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 8/17/2009 8:01 AM (GMT -6)   
I always ask for something to calm me down beforehand. Usually they give you Ativan. I usually am already asleep before the surgery, because of the Ativan. Hope that helps.
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease and Anxiety/Panic Forum
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 33 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, Calcium  w/Vit D, and Xanax as needed for my anxiety.  Resections in 2002 and 2005. Also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, and Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission, but my joints are going crazy!
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1118
   Posted 8/17/2009 1:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, the last surgery i had in Jan i didn't have anything but wish i had! i was ok till i got down to theatre in the room where they send you to sleep and i could see everyone in the main theatre waiting for me!!!!!!! i had a really bad urge to get up and walk away  that freaked me out. The way i controlled it before was watching everyone coming back from their ops and thinking that will be me in 4 hours or so, ill be having some sort of med before my next op in Nov I think everybody gets anxious at times like this its a natural reaction just ask for meds when you go in good luck with your op. Bev x  
Diagnosed with crohn's at 13 now 42
resection, right hemi 1993 In remmision from 93 till last sept with no meds or docs
2 resections small bowel  and fistula jan 09 and given temp stoma.  reversal sheduled for Nov09 Meds:Pentasa 500mg 3x day,  B12 shots, every 3 months, iron syrup,loperimide,folic acid, Back on citalopram 40mg (for Anxiety.)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 769
   Posted 8/17/2009 8:37 PM (GMT -6)   

They gave me something to calm me down before the procedure so I felt ok but I will still anxious.


When I came out of the operating room and started to wake up, I started hyperventilating and freaking out, my monitor was going beserk! The nurse ran over to me and asked me for ‘slow, deep breaths please’. I found the anxiety post-op much worse than before-hand. I was crying which the nurse attributed to the morphine.


I remember asking the nurse after she took a look at my abscess ‘what does it look like, does it look scary?’, I was in tears, and she was great, she told me what to expect and how it looked. After my 1st seton surgery and discovering the gaping hole I wanted to be a bit informed before I took a look!

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 209
   Posted 8/17/2009 9:23 PM (GMT -6)   
Aww, those nurses saying "that looks so good"
(Me thinking "thats a crapload of staples")
B-12injections,Pentasa,Loperamide,Entocort,6mp,Hydrochlorothiazide,8 week
Remission since surgery
and 8-week Remicade.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 6518
   Posted 8/17/2009 9:28 PM (GMT -6)   
When I have had surgery , I am not nervous . Fact is I wish they had filmed my bypass. I know I have good friends and family waiting on the other side should my time be up and I'm not having such great fun on this side so why worry.. Now when my wife has surgery, I'm a basket case , but I hide it very well.
If we would read the secret history of our enemies,we would find in each mans life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 769
   Posted 8/17/2009 10:09 PM (GMT -6)   
Yeah I had a mushroom drain inserted but it was exploratory surgery and I didn’t know what I was coming out with…… I asked her what had happened (“How many holes, is it scary?”) and she explained the size, length etc of the tube, and how the stitches looked, it really helped because I was a little more prepared than I was when I had my seton put in and was left with this enormous gaping cavity on my butt :)

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 237
   Posted 8/23/2009 10:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi there. My anethesioligist was awesome. He talked to me in the prep room and asked if I was scared. He then ordered a Valium for me. He asked me if I was worried about not waking up, ect.....Explained everything,,,,

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 1342
   Posted 8/24/2009 12:19 AM (GMT -6)   
I've only had 1 surgery to have my gallbladder taken out. I was so incredibly nervous! Thankfully, there was a student nurse there to observe. Just having her to talk to before the long wait to get into the OR helped me so much. So if you can have someone sit with you and chat, I'd highly recommend it.
34 years old, Crohn's disease for 15 of them
Current Meds: Humira since 7/08, Pentasa, Effexor XR
Supplements: 3 kinds of Fish Oil, Multi-Vitamin, B-Complex, Vitamins D, E, & K, Calcium, Magnesium, Enzymes
SCD since 12/01/08 - eating Stage 3 foods

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