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How I Used Self-Hypnosis for Surgery

Previously, I posted about using self-hypnosis for dental surgery. However, this time, I was really putting my skills to the test. I was given the option for surgery under general anesthesia (complete unconsciousness), but I opted for conscious outpatient surgery with a mild sedative. Although sedation along with intubation (protecting the airway) is generally safe, there are some risks of complications with anesthesia, and I just wanted to be alert afterwards, go home right away, and have a speedier recovery. Also, in my work, I've monitoring the nervous system during surgery, and I've seen the delicate balance needed to keep a person anesthetized while keeping their vitals stable. I've also watched people with difficulty waking afterwards and some with nausea or worse.

I was given 1mg Ativan to "relax" (I didn't feel it was needed, but I took anyway because I had not used self-hypnosis in this capacity before) and 5mg hydrocodone with acetaminophen about 1 hr prior to surgery. In the procedure room I was given given time to put myself into hypnosis and shortly thereafter a shot of ibuprofen. I didn't feel the shot at all. The photo above is me just beginning my self-hypnosis. I was much deeper and more relaxed when surgery began.

This surgery was an incision and a biopsy of a very sensitive area. A prior attempt was made to send a scope into my uterus and couldn't get through, so a small incision was needed in the cervix to create a suitable opening for the hysteroscopy. Once in, they could take samples of the lining and remove polyps.

I was in a deep state of calm at the beginning of the procedure, and used a technique to allow me to feel slightly distanced from the experience of my physical body and pain. I was feeling very much as peace and no pain from numbing injection of the cervix or the biopsy within, nor did I feel the cramping any longer. The pain meds for after the procedure were unnecessary as well. The only effect I faced afterwards was fatigue, and that was probably due more to the medications and the healing process.

I am thankful that I could practice self-hypnosis for pain during dental surgery and on a minor basis for not feeling shots and lessening the discomfort of a mammogram (no real time given to put myself into a hypnotic trance though).

Photo credit: Jordan Jones

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