Two weeks ago today I was laying on top of a hard metal table with three intimidatingly large lights suspended above me, endless tables of instruments and sharp objects and three nurses in the room who had only their eyes visible.
I was on the surgeon’s table.
I have to admit that leading up to surgery I was terrified and I had a large list of everything that could possibly go wrong before, during and after to justify my fear. I started obsessing over every detail, found myself talking about it ALL THE TIME and tried to talk myself out of it on several occasions. Anxious Annie got a new haircut and some shiny new heels and moved right in!
“Use your tools, Sarah, use your tools!” I kept telling myself. “You wrote a book, Sarah! Read it!”
The day of surgery, I urged the nurses to make sure the surgeon and anesthesiologists were well fed because the anesthesiologist seemed a bit grumpy, maybe low blood sugar? They assured me he was eating a granola bar and would be right in. Sure enough, he appeared. “Okay, Sarah.” He said “A little oxygen and let’s get you to sleep” and I was out before I could ask him how his lunch was.
Surgery, a true test of one’s fearless mind. A situation where you truly have zero control and your well-being literally lay in the hands of others. (surrounded by a lot of sharp objects!)
For some of you, this anxious situation could be health-related, financial, parental, marital, the fear of flying. An immediate situation that you do not have a lot of control over that could have disastrous consequences (in your mind, anyway).
How do you stand or in my case lay fearless in an intense moment of uncertainty?
Leading up to surgery I did everything I could to stay busy, active and distracted! An idle mind is an anxious mind.
EXPRESS YOUR WORST FEARS
I called in an SOS to a friend and sat on her cozy sofa and expressed all of my worst fears out loud. It felt good to let the crazy out.
ASK FOR YOUR WORD
Anytime I feel that I am walking through the valley or even on the mountaintop I ask God for a word. This could be one word through prayer that I feel in my heart or it can be a scripture or encouragement from a friend. My word came from my eldest daughter who said. “Mom, I really feel in my heart you’re going to be fine and recovery is going to be smooth.” Her encouragement lined up perfect with the scripture I hang on to “For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you, not to harm you.”
These were my surgery words I hung onto. Anytime an item off my fears list would pop up I would refute it with the promise that everything was going to be okay.
ASK FOR A PICTURE
God speaks to me through pictures in my mind. Leading up to surgery I asked God to show me a picture of this situation, I saw myself on the surgeon’s table and a GIGANTIC hand covering my body. I knew this was an image of God’s hand covering me and protecting me.
Going into the actual surgery I closed my eyes and focused on this image.
I did scramble a bit to grasp my tools leading up to surgery but the day of I was calm, focused and (almost) fearless. I even sold a copy of my book to the main nurse as I laid on that table waiting for the anesthesiologist to finish his granola bar.
Fear is allowed to be present in big deals like my recent surgery it shows you care about yourself and your well being and your life. However, fear gets to be a passenger not the co-pilot.
I’m doing great! God is faithful and Anxious Annie took the bus home!