Posted by: gaylejervis | March 31, 2010

PLANNING MY SURGERY IN SANTORINI

I couldn’t seem to settle on where I could best prepare for this surgery:  Phoenix or San Torini!  Occasionally, I chose sitting outside by the pool in Scottsdale just absorbing the sun’s rays.  However, usually, I went to Santorini even though the last time I was there my health had regressed significantly due to pushing too hard on the earlier part of our holiday and due to extreme sorrow.  It was in San Torini that we “celebrated” Mom’s first birthday and first Mother’s Day in Heaven and my loss was inconsolable.  However, it was also there that I believed that God continued to lift me up in His arms and hold me as I needed some time to heal physically and emotionally or I would never have been able to complete the balance of our holiday.  Therefore, when I was told to choose a beautiful place where I believed I could experience healing, I chose San Torini.

I had tried using imagery and visualization different times during this chronic illness but usually I would become more stressed as I was unable to relax each limb as the voice would tell me to “feel the heaviness of my legs and to let them relax”!  I never experienced any pain relief and therefore I set this healing tool aside.  However, when I was told I needed a hysterectomy, I proceeded to bring home from the library books on the surgery and materials on how to prepare for surgery.  I decided to try once again to listen to a CD that guided its listeners specifically through a successful surgery.

The first time I listened to the narrator, Dr. Martin Rossman, I responded better than in the past since he continued to reassure me that it didn’t matter how much my body relaxed, my body would still respond to his suggestions!  He kept giving me permission to do just what I could do and reassured me that that was enough as he said, “not to worry how deeply you relax.  Allow your body to relax in its own way”.

I became rather hopeful that I might benefit from listening to this particular tape!  It wasn’t new information to me as I listened to Martin Rossman say “ a good deal of research shows that people who mentally prepare themselves for surgery have fewer complications, shorter hospital stays, less pain and discomfort and even less bleeding than people who don’t prepare themselves in this way.”  I did find interesting his mentioning two different research studies.  In one study, patients about to go through abdominal surgery were told that when they woke up in recovery they might wake up thinking about their favorite food and their stomachs might be “growling” feeling hunger.  These people had a quicker return to their bowels functioning after surgery.  In another study patients were told their bodies were so smart that during surgery less blood will go to the area of surgery and they could conserve it for their time of healing:  45% of that group had less bleeding after surgery.

For the next three weeks, I listened daily to this 25- minute visualization, usually just before I went to sleep.    That is how I ended up spending a lot of time in San- torini just before surgery as I was told to choose a beautiful, healing place.  I focused on God’s Presence as I sat outside our hotel room overlooking the clear blue water, watching the big cruise ships come to the harbor.   And as I sensed God’s Presence, I also heard these instructions to my body:

“Begin to focus on your intention to have an excellent outcome from your surgery.  Imagine the procedure going beautifully and that you recover rapidly.  Remember the nurses and doctors  – they are at their best on the day of your surgery – at the top of their skills.  Imagine that you are surrounded and protected by the good wishes of everyone you love – and that God is watching over all the procedures.   As you stay calm during surgery, your muscles relax – making it easy for your doctor to do what she needs to do – you can stay comfortable throughout   and your blood pressure  remains normal.  Whatever needs to be removed can come out easily – after the muscles heal completely and quickly – blood can move away from the site of surgery making it easy for the surgeon to see and remove what needs to be removed.  Afterwards, the blood can return to the site bringing oxygen and nutrients and special healing cells to begin healing immediately.  When you wake up in the recovery room, you may be surprised that you are more comfortable and at ease than you expected.  But remember you can always ask for whatever you need to be even more comfortable.  As you become more awake, you may start to think about some of your favorite foods and your stomach and intestines may begin to gurgle and churn.  You can easily handle the discomfort you are feeling because you are relaxed and at ease.  And because you are relaxed, you will find it easy to converse with the staff and ask whatever might help you to be more comfortable.”

I would actually recommend doing this exercise before surgery.  For one thing, it gave me a sense that I had some control over what was going to happen.  I also believe that along with many prayers from friends and family, it helped me to relax and be at peace with what was going to occur.  As a Christian, it was also a powerful way to experience God’s Presence and be reassured that “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

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