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Offline subwayknees

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Abject panic
« on: August 04, 2011, 12:56:22 AM »
I am in my early 60's and have had many surgeries on my knee, including a failed replacement several year ago.  I know the in's and out's of knee surgery and recovery.   I was scheduled about a month ago to undergo a revision and reconstruction, knowing I would be looking at close to a year for full recovery.  The morning of the surgery I went into a panic mode and called the hospital and cancelled.  I have never had a fear of surgery and know from four consults I need the surgery.

I rescheduled after apologizing with the doc and set the date a few weeks out, only to panic and cancel a second time.  Everything in me said DON"T DO THE SURGERY.  I am a lot of pain and need the surgery, that has been confirmed by many consults.  Well the doctor fired me and I have finally found another surgeon who is experienced in complex revisions and reconstructions.  This new doctor happens to be the team orthopedist for a major NFL Football team.

He is wonderful, very supportive and willing to help.

However I am afraid that when the time comes for the surgery scheduled in about six weeks panic will take over once again.  I assume many people on this site have had knee surgeries.  Mine is major, a revision and reconstruction with alograft at same time, and there are not that many skilled doc's who have indepth experience in that complex a surgery which will be number 7 for me.
If anyone out there has had similar experiences with blinding fear I would like to hear how they handeled it.

I am not a scared person, I have been in the military have played sports and was always relaxed and smiling before my other knee surgeries that is what makes this so strange.  Maybe I should be on a Psyc. Chat line, but I think I am dealing with fear of never walking again etc.

If anyone out there can help I would aprreciate any ideas as I cannot cncel this again especially with a busy well qualified surgeon.

Offline tenisfan

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Re: Abject panic
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2011, 05:21:59 AM »
I asked my doctor for a good dose of valium before my surgeries. Maybe that would help you. I have not had to have a knee replacement yet but did have a cartilage replacement, and believe me the anxiety can make anyone wacko. What you are going through is completely normal.   Kim
2006 right knee surgery, meniscus
2008 left knee lateral release,  meniscus
2009 microfracture left knee, lateral meniscus,  fragment
2009 cartilage transplant oats
2010 loose fragment removal, meniscus fraying,found another defect
2010 oats failed, synvesic injections ,2011 right knee meniscus

Offline Hooligan

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Re: Abject panic
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2011, 05:48:55 AM »
I understand. The fear of the unknown can be debilitating.

After many years of kneecap dislocations I was scheduled for a major stabilization surgery (a TTT to correct patella alta). I cancelled about 8 weeks before the surgery out of total fear.

For me, that was a horrible decision. If I had had the surgery immediately following my last injury I would be MUCH better off. My knee is now good. In knee is amazing. It rarely hurts and feels remarkably stable. What I am now dealing with is hip flexor dysfunction, vmo atrophy, psoas problems and a glute medius that doesn't fire - these are all complications I developed from postponing the surgery and compensating for a miserable knee.

I wish I had had my surgery ages ago - I wish it had been offered to me ages ago, and I wish I'd had the foresight to do it -  but such was not the case. I don't know the extent of your knee problems - but I get the fear factor. The day of my surgery, I was given Ativan, had the support of family & friends, I sucked it up....and haven't looked back.


May 1998 - LK scope, loose body and scar tissue removal
March 2008 - LK scope, plica removal, partial lateral release
July 2010 - LK  TTT (tibial tubercle transfer to correct patella alta)

Offline sarah123

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Re: Abject panic
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2011, 10:27:52 AM »
I saw a sports psycologist before my surgery as i had a fear of needles, numbness and not returning from the GA. We corrected this with me writing affirmations down as to why I had to have the surgery ( years of dislocations), my visualisation as to how I wanted to be in my new future with my new knees. I l I also knew I had the best team around surgeon...the  only guy to my type of surgery, the best physio and strong family support who wanted me better. I aslo practised mediation 3 times aday...not a natural to it ...but it worked. You need a disc or I'm sure you can download one from the internet. The mediation made me calm, taught me how to breathe through the panic in the tummy,that sick feeling which makes you freeze with also taught me to realise that it is a feeling which comes BUT it goes too. you just need to let it in and then out..then you are in control. I am also a control freak and was panicking about not being in control...but i allowed myself to have faith in those that were in control. On the day of the op I mediated, on the trolley down to theatre and while they were busy putting needles in ( very deep breathing and out, in and out I was in control of my breathing). I took my affirmations in with me and read them before surgery...I knew I had no choice ..this as my future and I was taking control. YOU CAN AND MUST DO IT FOR YOU.

So the after 11 weeks post op( very successful) and struggling with panic again to walk with confidence and without crutches. I now must practice my mediation again, and tell myself I will walk again and the help I have from this forum has been amazing, the recovery is a completely new journey with good day and bad days, progress is small each day but it is there and you have to keep going. It is normal to feel downhearted but I want you to know that these feelings are normal and the mind is amazing. I tell my children that the fear feeling is also like the excited feelling on christmas eve...the same feeling ...just the mind telling you how to behave with feeling.
With a bit of practice you can control it. Go for the op, this is for you. Good luck.

Offline amoler

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Re: Abject panic
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2011, 02:20:30 PM »
I have a tale to tell. It has bearing on your situation. I am an infertilty patient. When I first found out my tubes were "better than tied" I was offered 2 options: Surgery or egg retrieval/IVF. I dawdled and fretted and scheduled the surgery and then about a month out had a freak out and canceled it. We ended up doing egg retrieval and IVF instead. After one miserable miscarriage failure, the next cycle netted me my son, who is now 12 years old. Oh, and I want to laugh at the people who suggest Valium/Ativan/etc - but only because any benzodiazapine makes me so wired every moment it's in my system is permanently hyper-engraved on my memory. But hey that's just me.

Fast forward 4 years and two more failed IVF cycles ---and technology changed a bit too. This time I went for the surgery, with only night before anxiety- and came thru with flying colors -- that eventually netted me a beautiful daughter.

My opinion - sometimes there are spots in your life for whatever reason that surgery is not the right option for that time and that may change later. Just something to think about.
'77- Rt knee menicus tear
'90 -2nd menscus tear
'91 -failed arthroscopy/partial menisectomy
patella dislocation 10/ 2010
Dx = grade 4 chondromalacia + synovitis + Meniscus tear + lax strained medial ligaments
Fall down the stairs 7/20/11 - mcl sprain + 2 meniscus tears

Offline subwayknees

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Re: Abject panic
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2011, 02:38:59 PM »
Thank you all very much, I will print out each response because they are all excellent. First I thought I was the only one who cancelled surgery at the last minute out of fear. Well I see I am not.  The idea of writing and imiging is great too.  The morning I cancelled the second time all I could see was me laying in the recovery room, screaming in pain with no one to help.
I was so panicked that before I called the hospital to cancel I ran into the kitchen and ate a bunch of food in the fridge.  That way I knew they would not do surgery as you can have nothing to eat the night or morning before.
That made me secure that I could not have the major surgery that day, so I called.
I think I am going to seek out someone with a professional background in strress therapy, as I do not want to cancel again.

I spoke to my primary care doctor this morning who will send me to a therapist, as I think I need backup.
My primary doc did howere say two very good things, first he was upset that the surgeon fired me and told me he would no longer have me as a patient after cancelling. My primary felt he should have understood and helped me through the issue, then he also suggested that I make a special appointment to see my new surgeon and tell him how I reacted, in that way he can if he wishes be in contact with the therapist i will see.  I am a bit fearful of that since this doctor is the team physician for a major NFL Football team, I doubt he sees these players being fearful of surgery, but then again he also has a large private practice at a major teaching hospital so I guess he has seen it all
In my case the surgery is a must, I cannot take 300mg plus of morphine forever, it keeps me home and tired all the time, I have no life.
Also the entire artificial knee is loose and the ligaments are basically useless and I live in constant pain.
Everyone who answered has been very helpful and if any others have ideas that would be great, in fact I will take the printed posts to the therapist for my first appointment.
At least I know I am not alone and the only one who has cancelled major surgery out of unfounded fear.  I just hope the Redskins win their game the week before surgery because I want the doctor to be in a good mood, also since he is the orthopedist for the Washington Redskins my daughter suggested that I do not bring my Dallas Cowboy cap to office visits.
God belss