09 Mar

Fear is a powerful force.  It has its place, but often times if you give it an inch, it takes a 26.2 miles.  Fear, lately, has been an unwelcome house guest who is quickly overstaying her welcome and barging into my life at the most inappropriate moments.  She rears her head in the form of stress dreams; sudden, acute anxiety; digestive discomfort; emotional outbursts; crying over nothing.  Par example: Last Sunday I decided I hadn’t veged out in front of the tv in months, so I decided to sit back, drink my coffee and enjoy some mindless drivel.  I ended up flipping back and forth between Roadhouse (I don’t have cable) and one of the Big Mama movies where there’s a Mrs. Doubtfire scenario happening.  The farcical Big Mama and the kids become attached to each other and the goodbye at the end of the movie had my shedding a tear.  Oh Brooooother

Recently I received an email from my boyfriend’s brother who reminded me of something I’d heard somewhere before.  Fear can be put into perspective via acronym:

False Evidence Appearing Real or maybe False Expectations Appearing Real

Either way, I’ve been buggin’ out!  Lately, I can’t stop thinking about waking up during surgery.  Then, last night, I did the worst thing someone can do.  I googled it.  I found out it’s more common than I even thought.  I read people’s accounts of it happening to them, which somehow led to reading people’s horror stories of life after a Total Thyroidectomy.  I found myself on the very same page I remember reading that froze me to inaction last year when I thought I was ready for surgery.  I read about people gaining 25, 35, 75, 100 pounds after having their thyroid removed and claiming to have “normal” blood levels.

I could feel the fear spreading through my body.  There was actually a stream of tingling energy traveling through my body, animating particles and molecules and atoms, probably leading to inflammation or more belly fat or an aneurism or something…   See how it spirals?

All I could do was breathe.  I sent my brother an email and fortunately Anto called just in time to talk me down so I could go to bed.  I awoke feeling calm, but the fear definitely comes in waves.  I don’t want to plant an idea in my mind, as I know how powerful the mind can be.  This is very important to me and though I’ve been joking about it with people, I’m serious about having the right thoughts before surgery.

Here are the steps I’ve taken to correct this:

I went back and read the helpful emails of people’s positive experiences from people who have taken the initiative to be educated advocates for their own health.  I consider myself to be one and feel like that will contribute tremendously to a positive outcome.  One woman did not consider any of these fearful possibilities that I’ve read about as options for herself and I would like to get in alignment with that type of thinking.  Reading her words helps.

I have ordered books from my library about healing (spiritual/energy/etc.), prayer, conquering fear, and humor i.e. Mike Birbiglia’s Sleepwalk With Me.  Granted, I won’t be able to read them all before the surgery, but I’m surrounding myself with them before and after to keep my mind aimed towards the right direction or distracted by someone else’s comically written account of his own set of woes.  Hopefully from there my brain can pick up momentum and create these thoughts on its own.  Like giving myself constant, effective pep talks.

What do you do to counteract the fear that grips you when you have made a big decision or have to go through something in life that you’d rather not?  What skills have you acquired?  How do you cope?  What tools do you use to get yourself in the right frame of mind?  I’d love to hear your stories and your experiences.  I encourage you to share your own in a comment.

Thanks for “listening” …and sharing.



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3 responses to “F.E.A.R.

  1. Keya Horn

    March 9, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Dr Wayne Dyer was just on PBS again a couple of days ago. One of his comments said repeatedly that stuck with me was ” All things are possible with God” (substitute any word
    you want for god: spirit, the great mystery, anything) We all have the same whatever (I can’t think of a good word) that this Spirit has and therefore we can change our thinking at any time.
    So ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD. Take those other thoughts out of the equation, because you do not want them to manifest. You will wake at the right time. You are not going to
    have bad reactions. You will have a good experience. These positive thoughts are what you need to put into your thinking. ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD
    Now go have a good surgery experience, period.

  2. Jen Folger

    March 10, 2012 at 6:37 am

    When I broke my leg I came across a website called it contained stories about people who had breaks and surgeries etc. I remember coming across more than a few stories of people who said their legs never healed well or that they were always in pain etc.

    What I had to finally realize is that the only people who were on this site years after their break were the ones who had bad experiences. The many, many more people who were fine had since forgotten the site and were out using their legs! I also realized that some of those people were in pain etc BECAUSE they were not out using their legs.

    So basically remember that all of the people who have had completely normal experiences with anesthesia and surgery are probably not coming back to write their stories because there is no story. My friend who lives in NY city always reminds herself when watching the news is that it is news because it is not the norm.

    Hope this helps some.


    • houffenglaarfert

      March 11, 2012 at 11:06 pm

      Thanks Jen. Those are wise words. I do know better, I don’t know why I let myself google. I used that same rationale to get to the decision to have surgery in the first place – the fact that the people having difficulty are the ones all over the internet. Once I found some people who are living a good life after a thyroidectomy, I’ve clung to their stories and they are helping me through this. I have to keep shifting my focus though. Your words were a good reminder.


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