My husband is a logical guy. He started out to be an engineer but he ended up a lawyer in one of the driest areas ever: bank regulatory law. I mean, Zzzzzz. To me. I’m not even sure he understands what New Age means. But when he was told he had to have surgery that would mean a painful recovery, I knew I had to step in. I’m a hypnotherapist now, and one of the things I do is help people with pain relief. Fortunately, he agreed. His post-surgical pain results exceeded even MY expectations. But let Michael tell you, himself. He’s got the floor.
Ok, I always thought alternative treatments were, well, woo-woo .
Love me some pain meds
But as far as medicine was concerned, if I was in pain, I wanted pain meds and lots of them—no chants , no meditation, just drugs. My threshold for pain is pretty low and I just didn’t want to feel it. No, strong pain meds were the ticket.
So when my doctor said I needed to have a three-hour thoracic surgery during which they’d collapse my lung to get at a pesky mass in a troublesome, confined space near my heart, I wanted pain meds. He told me it would be a painful procedure and I’d require lots of pain meds. I was good with that. Or so I thought.
When the need for the surgery arose, Carol was finishing her last semester of a graduate program in Integrated Imagery, a method of hypnosis that can be applied in many different ways, including to the management of pain. In fact, she was in the final stages of putting together guided imagery for healing hypnosis audio recordings for her new business. She suggested hypnosis might help relieve my anxiety before surgery and might also help me manage pain after–and also the outcome.
Nothing to lose
I’d already let her hypnotize me in her first semester for a past life regression, so the process held no fear. I trusted her completely. I figured I had nothing to lose.
The week before surgery I began listening to her Guided Imagery for Anxiety audio recording, HERE. It was extremely relaxing and significantly eased my anxiety about surgery. I listened to it every day, at least once. As I got closer to surgery, she made me a custom audio specific to my surgery and my pain. It also mentioned the outcome of my surgery. I listened to that daily, as well and in fact, I listened to it just before surgery. (Custom audio info HERE.)
When I awakened in the recovery unit at Stanford, my pain level was super-high. Carol says I looked like I was going to kill someone, namely the surgeon, for putting me through this. The button for a dilaudid pump was in my hand and I pushed it as needed the first two hours. When I was conscious enough to think, I stopped pushing the button and got the nurse to put my phone to my ear so I could listen to her post-surgical recording. As I did, I began doing the pain relief exercises she taught me. Her voice on the recording was in my head even when I wasn’t listening to the audio as I used the imagery to relieve pain. To my surprise, I became pain free. Completely pain free.
The patient in the next cubicle had the same surgery with the same surgeon. He was at least 30 years younger than I but he looked in bad shape. He told the nurses he had a lot of pain level –that is, when he could speak. He looked terrible. I, on the other hand, used my visualizations and remained pain-free.
Some 24 hours post-surgery, my two-foot chest tube was removed. I was told it would be painful for a few moments as the tube came out. I began using visualization. I watched this long, bloody piece of plastic come out of my chest.There was no pain. And they told me I could go home–26 hours after my surgery.
“But I don’t need it!”
My doctor came in a few minutes later and said he’d be sending me home with an Rx for oxycodone .”But I have no pain!” I told him. He shook his head.
“Most patients take oxy for at least a week after surgery, so don’t hesitate to take them,” he said.
As I write this, I have been home for a full week, and the full bottle of oxycodone is still in my nightstand drawer. During the first two days home, I listened to Carol’s tape, just in case any pain might arise. After that nothing. UPDATE: My doctor released me from his care two weeks after surgery–something he said he has never done before. “You’re healing nicely, no reason to return,” he said.
A good hypnotherapist can help patients manage pain. I know that for a fact since it one helped me remain pain free. Now, I’m a believer. And I think it helped me with my great outcome.
The mind is a powerful thing. It just makes sense to use it to help with healing. Oh and by the way, I got my biopsy results. Benign.
If you’ve got a pain issue or any medical issue, I recommend you take a look at the supportive products and services Carol has to offer. You find them at her new website, A Healing Spirit, HERE. If you want to know more about my own experience, email Carol@ahealingspirit.org and she’ll put us in touch.