At 10 Months Post-Op, Judy Comes To The Edge

By Adam Pick on September 3, 2008

We’ve talked about “It” before…

It invades our brains before surgery. It clouds our thoughts during recovery. It manifests worry.

“It” is fear. Or, as I have suggested before F.E.A.R. – an acronym for Fantasized Experiences Appearing Real.

The funny thing about F.E.A.R., in relation to heart surgery, is that most people incorrectly assume that patient fear culminates and terminates on the operating table. As I, or most patients will share with you, that is completely inaccurate.

For most patients, fear reemerges during the recovery as the patient reanimates their life to match the memory of their own, pre-operative existence. I remember this all too well – as I relearned how to walk, sleep, drive, run, swim, golf and work after my own, heart valve replacement surgery.

I am reminded of this fact when I receive emails and phone calls from patients that are several months (or even years) into their recovery and are still battling F.E.A.R.

For example, Judy just wrote to me, “Adam – It is ten months since my surgery. I am writing you because we are planning a trip to Europe. I feel fine and I received permission from the surgeon and cardiologist. Yet, I have all these misgivings about going to Europe after surgery. I worry!!! Can you give me any comforting thoughts? Thanks a million! Judy.”

In reading Judy’s email, I could completely relate to the fear of long-distance flying after heart surgery. Then, I remembered a poem that was quoted to me two decades ago by one of my mentors. I was 17 years old when I first heard this poem, but it has stuck with me ever since.

“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We are afraid,” they said.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
They came to the edge.
He pushed.
They flew.

This is my virtual push to Judy and all the patients reading this. It is time to fly. 🙂

Keep on tickin!


Written by Adam Pick
- Patient & Website Founder

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded HeartValveSurgery.com to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and The Wall Street Journal.

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded HeartValveSurgery.com to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and The Wall Street Journal.

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