Tonsillectomy Anxiety

I’m getting my tonsils out tomorrow. I’d be lying if I said I was anything less than completely freaked out. I’ve had surgery before. In fact, I’ve had surgery three times and all three had recovery periods of upwards of a month. I had shoulder surgery and had my arm in an immobile sling for five weeks. I had leg surgery and wasn’t able to bend my leg for over a month. I had jaw surgery and had my jaw wired shut for weeks. I am no stranger to the anxiety or the inconvenience of recovery.

But this will be the first surgery since becoming a mother four and a half years ago. For some reason, that scares me. I’m also feeling anxiety about all sorts of things I’ve never even thought about before. Like, what if the anesthesia doesn’t work 100% and I can feel something? My epidural didn’t work with K-Dub’s birth, why should I trust this will work? Plus I’m hearing conflicting stories about how painful the recovery is. Some people say they were uncomfortable for a couple of days, others were on pain medication for over two weeks.

The more I think about it, the more anxious I get. So, now that I have written this down, gotten it off my chest, I’m going to try to think about other things today. Fortunately, work will be busy, since I have to set things up for a week out of the office.

The other thing I need to think about right now is a soft food diet. During lunch, I’m heading to the grocery store, and I need to pick up some things I’ll be able to eat before I reintroduce solid foods. I’m thinking green smoothies will be a good choice. There’s nothing chunky in them, no citrus, nothing spicy, and they are full of nutrients.

Any other great ideas?

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19 Responses to Tonsillectomy Anxiety

  1. I can totally understand! (I think I have written in a comment before that I was messed up by surgery quite a little. NOT by the nose surgery, though! That one went well and really helped.) Also, I think can I understand why this upsets you more now, that you are a mom. This would be because you think of your children, and love them and want to be there and a good mom for them. With the surgery, you’re in a vulnerable position, and the anxiety is about not being able to be there for your children for some time, I’d guess.

    I still have my tonsils, so I have no idea how painful it is to get them removed, but what really helps to bear it is to anticipate how much better you’ll feel if you don’t have constant infections from them anymore.

    I think green smoothies are a very good idea for liquid nutrition. You can make them more nutrious by adding protein powder (I have used rice, whey, and egg white protein powder so far, and I like rice and whey the best because egg white makes me feel sick easily) and almond milk or almond butter (or other nut butter) to add some protein and fat. I’d not recommend dairy during the first days because of its mucigenous properties.

    Another thing you could try simply is pureed foods. Think of baby food, which is (for older chidren) also made with chicken and rice or noodles (if you like that), and of course vegetables. Porridge will also work if you cook a thin porridge. Soups are also fine, of course. A home made chicken soup is said to help a lo with recovery by givng you back your strength.

    Earlier this week, my therapist has shown me a very simple exersize to cope with anxiety which I found very helpful. I don’t know if you’re into things like that, but I’ll just tell you. And don’t worry, it has nothing to do with mindfulness or meditation! It works via imagery, because the way we experience anxiety often is via pictures (horror scenes ;)) that flash up in your mind. This exercize is about getting a grip and some influence on these pictures. So, if you have imaginative skills (and I suppose you have, thinking of you – you’re very special and creative), you can easily do it. Here it is.

    * Anxiety Coping *

    (1) Sit down in a relaxed position and close your eyes. Sense where the pictures are positioned, relatively to you. (In front of you? Above you? Close to you? etc) Do the pictures change quickly, or is it a long sequence? Just observe. Feel the tension that is elicited by these pictures.

    (2) Try to get the pictures closer to you (like zooming with a camera). How do you feel now? Does the tension change? [When I did this, I felt the tension getting worse and my throat becoming narrow, like suffocating.] Stop then, don’t overdo it. This is just to demonstrate how it works and that you can influence it. It’s usually easier into this direction at first.

    (3) If the pictures are above you or directly in front of you, try to move them downwards so you can look down on them. Then try to zoom the pictures away from you. They should become smaller, and the tension less bearing then. If you have a fast picture flashing, try to entangle them and get some space between them, so you have a line of pictures that are rather far away from each other, and a few meters away from you. This should lead to a feeing of relief.

    The goal of this exercize is not to get the anxiety away (it’s meaningful it’s there), but to make it smaller and less threatening. I hope this helps you a little!

    • merf says:

      I am bringing a printout of this to the hospital with me tomorrow.

      Interesting about anxiety causing pictures in your mind. Over the years I have a recurring image that showsbup only when I am really anxious. It’s an image of a physical injury happening to me, but its something that never happened in real life. It rouses me from sleep in horror.

  2. Best of luck love! I hope an easy breezy surgery for you and a super speedy recovery! i’ll keep you in my thoughts! ❤

  3. Stephanie says:

    Good luck! Wishing you a smooth and easy recovery. I had my tonsils out when I was about 5 years old so I don’t remember too much about it. I do know my niece just had hers out a few months ago and she was back in school 2 days later. I agree with a previous post, add some protein powder into that smoothie to make it a little more satisfying. Good luck!

  4. Cindy says:

    I can not sugar coat this. The recovery will be big. I had mine out at age 19, and they say it gets harder with age. It was hard to eat anything for at least 10 days. Green smoothies sound kind of harsh and are making my throat hurt just thinking about it. I pretty much ate apple juice popcicles for a week (make them yourself). Ice chips. Ice water. That was it. Then, my mom made me try spagettios, and they felt like I was swallowing bolts. At least I felt fine to walk around and get stuff done (when I had the energy).

    The good news is IT IS TOTALLY WORTH IT. I used to have tonsillitis or strep once a month. It always hurt to swallow. I was convinced people could see the big swollen bulges in my neck from my enormous tonsils (and one finally swelled so much it exploded, which made the DR finally agree to remove the nasty little sacs.) But I haven’t had a sore throat since! Let me add a few more slammers: !!!!!!! I understand your pain, and this will be the mother of all sore throats, but it will be your last.

    Good luck! Will be thinking of you. Call me if you need anything!

    • merf says:

      Thanks, Cindy! I appreciate the honest warning/preparation. I will keep myself going just thinking about how I will never have tonsillitis again! There aren’t many guarantees in this world but that is one!

  5. Good luck! It will be great once you have them out… plus you get to eat ice cream 😉

  6. Hannah says:

    Green smoothies sound like a good idea. Maybe you could make oatmeal or chia puddings and puree them? I’m sure the surgery will be fine and you’ll be back to normal in no time 🙂

  7. Lots of smoothies, ice cream, and yogurt will hopefully help your throat feel better 🙂 Good luck with the surgery!

  8. Rach says:

    Oh my goodness, I can’t imagine how scared you must’ve been! I would be too. I don’t do these types of things well at all. I passed out the last time I got a shot, haha! Hope everything went well!!

  9. I’m a little behind on commenting, so I guess you’ve had your surgery by now, hope all went well, and wishing you a speedy recover!

    I think you’re on the right track with the green smoothies, that would be my first choice, and second probably the Pacific Natural soups that come in the cartons, they are SO good, they taste like homemade, and they have lots of smooth varieties like the tomato/roasted red pepper, delicious!!

    • merf says:

      I’ve never tried one of those Pacific Natural soups, but have been curious about them. I’m generally not a fan of boxed or canned soups, but I always love a recommendation. I’ll pick one up!

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