Surgery Stress and Ways to Cope

photo 1 (6)Things usually get easier the more they occur. However, scheduling my youngest son for surgery for the third time is just as hard as the first. My oldest son has had a procedure done as well, so you would think since this is my 4th time experiencing a surgery it would be easier but it’s not. Let me first say that my sons’ surgeries have all been minor and neither one of them have had any problems post-op which I am so thankful for. Most of our problems are with my husband and I and our crazy “what if” moments that haunt us for the weeks prior.

Liam’s surgery that is scheduled for this week has been in the works since last May. He was originally scheduled for surgery in December, but he had a mild cold and they couldn’t perform the surgery. So all those weeks during the holidays that I spent tossing and turning have now been with me for months. I’ve had anxiety over this since we were told he would need surgery last May.

Will he have a problem with anesthesia? Will he be in a lot of pain? What if something goes wrong? The thought of Liam having more scars from surgery incisions makes my heart break into more pieces. Every time I see his little scars, I cringe with wonder of how much that may have hurt. I try to think of them as his battle scars that just prove how far he has come to make it where he is now.

What has helped me reduce some of my anxiety is to focus on the things that I could control regarding his surgery.

Here is a quick list of how to help reduce some of your stress:photo 2 (6)

  • Find out the instructions prior to surgery. Make sure to take notes on the last time your child can eat and drink.
  • Ask your child’s surgeon and nurses what to expect post-op. Are they any special bandages you will need? Special diet you need to do? How should you manage the pain?
  • Stay positive and as calm as you can. Children feed off our energy. If you are stressed, your child will be stressed. By staying calm and cool, your kiddo will mimic your emotions.
  • Make preparations for your family. Plan some meals ahead of time. Make sure you make arrangements for your other children for drop off and pick up from school on the day of the surgery.
  • Accept any and all help! Grandparents willing to have your other children sleep over? Take them up on it! Friends wanting to drop off a meal? Gladly accept. If people are trying to make your life easier, accept it.
  • Bring your favorite mobile device loaded with a few episodes of your child’s favorite shows. It will help you pass time before surgery and when in post-op when waiting to be discharged.

Has your child needed surgery? How did you cope with it? Any tips?

Mary Olivio
Mary is a caffeine addicted boy mom to Noah, Liam and Luke. This “stay at home” mom can typically been found cruising in her minivan, jamming to Beyonce with a Starbucks in hand on her way to carpool or after school activities. Mary has been married to her high school sweetheart since 2007. She is a founder of Delivering Hope NOLA and the Vanessa Wolff Scholarship Fund at her Alma Mater. Mary is passionate in the local preemie community and has been heavily involved with the March of Dimes since her sons Liam and Luke were born premature.


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