Your emotions: Before scoliosis surgery

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When preparing to have scoliosis surgery, it is normal to experience a change in mood, or anxiety. Read about why they occur and tips for managing them.

Key points

  • When preparing to have scoliosis surgery, it is normal to experience changes in mood. You might feel angry, sad, hyper or pretend like it is not going to happen.
  • In order to cope with your feelings, try talking to someone you trust and try switching your focus to your future after surgery.

Here are some of the ways you may feel when you are waiting for surgery. The paragraphs in quotes are what some teens said about how they felt.

How will you feel before surgery?

You might pick fights with people.

"As surgery got closer, I was grumpier towards other people. I tried to find every little thing that someone did and I tried to get mad at them for it".

You might pretend that the surgery isn’t going to actually happen.

"Before my surgery, I didn’t really think about it. I wasn’t scared, wasn’t nervous, wasn’t anything until it was actually the day of my surgery. When the nurse came to take me to the operating room, that’s when I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m going for surgery.’ I didn’t really want to think about it. It’s one of those things that I just wanted to keep at the back of my head."

You might feel down.

"I just kept analyzing it. Whenever my life was going good, I’d be like, ‘but I have to have surgery.’"

You might get a bit hyper and decide you want to do everything you can before your surgery because you know your activities are going to be restricted.

"It’s just like this summer I got a lot of stuff out of the way that I couldn’t do after the surgery. So I went to Canada’s Wonderland and went on all the rides, I went sea-doing with my friends, and I went to Florida and went parasailing. I wanted to get the most out of my summer because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do those things for six months to a year after the surgery."

How to cope with your feelings

Talk to someone you trust, just to get things off your chest.

"I would be trying to pick a fight with everyone and my mom would be like, ‘You know what, we need to sit down and have a talk.’ And we’d all figure out that I was just really scared."

"I remember (my mom and I) were talking to my doctor and he was telling us about the complications, and I remember he mentioned paralysis. The risk of paralysis is less than 1%. It really helped me knowing that number."

Have something to motivate you. Try making your scoliosis surgery a project that you can do for school. Or focus on an activity you can get back to after you have recovered from surgery.

"I was told I had to stop dance and soccer for a while. So I was like, scared. It helps just knowing that you’re going to have something you can go back to."

Last updated: June 1st 2008