Contact Steve or Victoria          905-745-0412         Email

Contact Steve or Victoria
 905-745-0412         Email

The fear of the unknown coupled with losing the familiar can easily overwhelm us and leave us fearful. Dee Ann Turner [^1]

I know the feeling! Worry, anxiety, fear. These emotions all invaded my quiet world in July of 2014 as I learned I was facing surgery for a retinal detachment 16 hours later. Simply put, "I was scared". My future sight was unknown, blocked by a black spot obstructing vision in my left eye in the 6 to 9 o'clock position. I was overwhelmed to say the least. I had left a full-time, "secure" job with Canada Post a mere 4 months earlier to start a business in web design.


Questions flooded my mind:

  • How would I provide for my family if I couldn't go and grow my new business?
  • What eyesight was I going to be left with?
  • What would my quality of life be like if my vision was impaired?
  • What caused this to happen to me?

Do you identify?

On a weekly basis, I see these emotions, worries, questions and concerns repeating themselves as I go from home to home providing hope, encouragement, coaching, encouragement and equipment to others just like you. I wish I could take before and after photos for you of our renters in order to show you the look of concern, worry, fear and anxiety pre-surgery followed by the look of relief and thankfulness as they share about their healing progress, albeit sometimes a very slow healing process.

As you face surgery, I want to encourage you with several things. The list provides a place to start. Please do not overwhelm yourself by trying to incorporate all these suggestions. These are only suggestions. Apply what works for you.

Prepare Your Thoughts 

"One of the things our brains are capable of is overthinking. Think of it as the ability to have persistent, repetitive thoughts. Overthinking is essentially when your brain spins on a thought or an idea for longer than you anticipated. Unfortunately, overthinking tends to lean toward the negative. Left to its own devices, it will naturally gravitate toward things you don't want to dwell on." [^2]

Meditation / Focused Thought

It is so easy to let your mind wander to the worst case scenarios. Focusing your thoughts on good times and reminding yourself of happy times can put you at ease.  By doing so, this practice will enable you to "reduce your inner commentary and focus on what is important,"[^3] and in turn help you maximize your healing.

Some people have found Meditation apps like Calm and Headspace to be beneficial in helping calm their inner voice during this disruptive and overwhelming time. An overactive mind leads to increased stress, anxiety and depression. The goal here it help you manage your recovery NOT endure your facedown recovery.

Incorporate Laughter

Easier said than done. Laughter is a positive emotion.  I know it is hard to think about laughing during this time but consider the benefits. 

  • Laughter can influence your brain, heart, and blood-vessel function. "In a unique study, researchers from the University of Maryland found that while watching funny movies, such as There's Something About Mary, nineteen out of twenty people had increased blood flow to the heart. Conversely, watching stressful movies, such as the opening scene from Saving Private Ryan, decreased blood flow in fourteen out of twenty people. Specifically, blood flow decreased by about 35 percent after experiencing stress"
  • blood flow increased by 22 percent after laughing, which is equivalent to what happens after a fifteen-to thirty-minute workout 
  • laughing causes the body to release chemicals called endorphins, which may counteract the effects of stress hormones and cause blood vessels to dilate. 
  • laughing may also boost the immune system and reduce inflammation. [^4]

Dive Deeper: 

 Prepare Your Environment

 Aromatherapy

Essential Oils can often be given a bad rap and yet the side effects are next to nothing. In one study the use of aromatherapy helped lower blood pressure which leads to wonder if this in turn lowers our eye pressure (which is a good thing.) [^5]

Toping the list of Essential Oils for Anxiety is Lavender.

Dive Deeper

 Natural Soundscapes

A Mayo Clinic study showed that a mix of natural sounds and music was able to lower anxiety and pain scores in patients [^6]

  • bird songs and natural water sounds are the most effective for reducing stress
  • natural sounds have an impact on our feelings and emotions of anger, tranquillity, annoyance, relaxation and anxiety [^7]

Dive Deeper

 Skip the News 

"One poll about the causes of American stressors showed that among those reporting "a great deal of stress," 40% cited news as a causative factor ... only fifteen minutes of exposure to news was enough to increase symptoms of anxiety in college students." [^8]

"For some, the anger, hopelessness, and feeling of powerlessness that can stem from sustained exposure to stressful news can really stand in the way of being productive on a day-to-day basis ..." or maximizing our recovery. [^9]

 Prepare Your Diet

 Skip the Sugar

According to Julie Daniluk, Canadian author of "Becoming Sugar Free" by "decreasing and ultimately removing sugar from your diet you can reduce inflammation in your body and improve your overall health. It can be one of the first steps to relieving the struggle and pain of arthritis, bursitis, colitis, heart disease, weight gain, memory loss, depress, anxiety, insomonia ... and a myriad of other inflammatory conditions." [^10]

"High-glycemic-index foods—foods that increase blood sugar quickly—may themselves contribute to depression: ... do so through inflammation pathways." [^11] 

Dig Deeper: 

 Strategize Your Liquid Intake

Include Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha can be a powerful tool for lowering anxiety.  In our home we find that in some plant based latte mixes we purchase from Landish.ca (follow the link to save $10 on your first order). One of my favourites is the Chai Latte Mix with the following ingredients: Coconut milk powder, mushroom extracts* (reishi*, chaga*), ashwagandha root*, spices (cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves), coconut oil, acacia gum. My wife purchases ashwagandha in powder form in the natural food and vitamin stores.

Dig Deeper: 

 

Chamomile Tea
In the Thrive Diet, by Brandon Brazier, he shares how chamomile tea relaxes muscles and reduces potential cramping. [^12]. Adding this to your recovery protocol may help address tension in your body in addition to anxiety.

Dig Deeper: 

Prepare Yourself Physically 

 Change Your Breathing:

Breathing can have an enormous impact on your overall health. After reading, "The Oxygen Advantage" by Patrick McKeown I have made a conscious effort to change how I breath. So here I am in my early 50's learning how to breath. through my nose.

By utilizing the natural benefits of abdominal breathing you will improve the quality of your blood flow, increase delivery of oxygen to working muscles, and reduce the symptoms of anxiety associated with overbreathing. [^13] 

"When we perceive stress our sympathetic nervous system kicks into gear. This results in an onslaught of two stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) being unleashed on our bodies, the opposite effect of what you want to be happening in your body. In contrast, you want to engage your parasympathetic nervous system by breathing slowly ... this relaxed practice will help slow your heartbeat and breathing, relax your muscles, and decrease your blood pressure." [^14]

Dig Deeper:

 Conclusion:

In closing, please remember that these are only practical suggestions to help you get from point A to point B in your vitrectomy recovery.  If anxiety has invaded your life in such a way that you feel like everything is caving in around you, please seek professional, medical advice.  I wish you the best as you walk this journey.

 RESOURCES:
  1. Turner, Dee Ann. Bet on Talent (p. 209). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  2. Acuff, Jon. Soundtracks (pp. 21-22). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  3. McKeown, Patrick. The Oxygen Advantage (p. 164). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
  4. I believe this information comes from Dr. Amen's book "Change Your Brain, Change Your Life"
  5. Aromatherapy and Essential Oils: A Map of the Evidence
  6. Perlmutter, David; Perlmutter, Austin. Brain Wash (p. 93). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.
  7. The Science Behind Nature Soundscapes
  8. Perlmutter, David; Perlmutter, Austin. Brain Wash (p. 49). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.
  9. Anxious about the news? Our top tips on how to cope
  10. Daniluk, Julie. Becoming Sugar Free (p. unknown). Penguin Canada.
  11. Perlmutter, David; Perlmutter, Austin. Brain Wash (p. 45). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.
  12. Brazier, Brendan. The Thrive Diet, 10th Anniversary Edition . Penguin Canada. Kindle Edition.
  13. McKeown, Patrick. The Oxygen Advantage (p. 73). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
  14. Perlmutter, David; Perlmutter, Austin. Brain Wash (p. 164). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.

 

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We offer in-home personalized delivery within our delivery area.  Each in-home set-up is about 45 minutes in length as we listen to your needs and set-up the equipment for you. This is not a drop, run, good-bye.

We want to reduce your anxiety so you can focus on maximizing your recovery!

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Retina Recovery Inc. is here to help you before your vitrectomy surgery, during your facedown recovery and in the days following the critical first days of your recovery.  We not only provide facedown recovery equipment but the support you need to Maximize Your Eyesight!

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Our mission is to help you "Heal Right the First Time".  We work hard to Educate you through videos, blogs, emails and articles on our website.  There are clear themes to successful facedown recovery. With Several Thousand Rentals of Experience, we are continuing to learn what works best for each person.

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Encouragement, we ALL need it.  Facedown recovery can be difficult for many people.  We are here and available during your facedown recovery journey, answering questions and providing hope and encouragement so you can Heal Right the First-Time!

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