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Surgery done!

[ 0 ] April 4, 2010 |

Last Thursday, I had a minor surgery to extricate an infection which had spread from an old root canal into the bone under my nose. Although the surgery was necessary and is done often did not make it easier for me. I do not like to have anything done to my head, face or mouth because of all of the surgeries I have had in the past. I had been thinking about the procedure all week and posted a blog about my anxiety. I was worried it would make my facial paralysis worse, the infection would be more extensive or require additional procedures. Of course, the reality was I needed to have the infection removed and started to ease the anxiety with thoughts about how easy the procedure would be in comparison to some of the things I had in the past. Thinking about the past as you may know is a double edged sword, on one hand it can be helpful, on the other hand it can cause past painful memories to break through and cause more anxiety. Therefore, I approached the procedure with mental caution because my biggest concern was being in the chair and have the vivid past scenes burst through. The memories create and cause the post traumatic stress disorder (ptsd) I have to manage and to prepare for any surgery I really must have tight reign on the situation. I did not want the film in my head to start playing out of control.

I drove to the procedure thinking about what I would do if a challenge presented itself.  I really don’t have a reliable formula to stop ptsd (if I ever have a formula I will publish it) however simply being able to prepare and slow down in my mind proved helpful. I checked in and spoke to the doctor for a minute and he started shooting my mouth up with anesthetic. Unfortunately, most of the bones in my face have been broken or cut and the little blood vessels and nerves grew back all over the place leaving the doctor with a matted mess to try to anesthetize for my comfort. The doctor gave me more anesthesia racing my heart with epinepherine which was OK my past experiences had me expecting that and I calmed down.

The procedure was going very well and so was my mental state until the assistant moved the suction and warmed blood poured down into my mouth. “Oh no!”, I thought becoming very concerned I may have an uncontrolled flashback of memory burst out. While I was stuck in the car immediately after the accident, blood poured forcefully into and through my mouth due my injuries. Obviously, blood pouring in my mouth was a problem and I unclenched my fists and started tapping my hand against my thigh and told myself to stay there. It worked and I was fine, which I most likely would not have been able to manage years ago. Years of therapy and hard work has allowed me to create some buffer against the steel hard memories and the work has also put a comfortable distance between my past memories and what is going on in the present.

I am grateful and happy the infection is gone, and I was able to deal amicably with the procedure. My sutures come out tomorrow and I will be as good as new. lol As good as my new is.

Category: Jodean's Entries

About Jodean: Jodean Petersen is a medical professional who is a survivor of more than 20 surgeries, brought on by a teenage car accident which shattered the left side of her face, destroyed her left eye, and claimed the life of her best friend. Having been helped by so many, Jodean now works to help others facing similar life challenges through the outreach community she is building at View author profile.

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