← Return to Disabling symptoms since distal bicep repair surgery. Any suggestions?

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@stevetaylor721-Hi. I have read through your thread, as the title caught my attention. What you describe, I experienced the same thing after a “minor” elective surgery.
-My profile was completely healthy 100%.
Active in every area of life. Zero health issues. Exercised daily. Ate very healthy. Slept 8 hours a night. Healthy community and family support.

-First-I want to point out the positives for you. It sounds like the surgical site is healing well and you are healthy there. And you also have a great support system.

-I will share with you what I have learned along the way, in hopes it could shed some light or address something that hasn’t been addressed.

-About 2 days after surgery I could not sleep more than 2 hours. Shaking, trembling, could not regulate body temperature. Weight loss despite eating. Severe rushes of cortisol/adrenaline all day.
Saw every type of doctor, had every type of test.

-I too was referred to a Psychiatrist after many doctor visits and tests. This psychiatrist explained to me how anesthesia works and how the body processes surgery as a trauma response. Anesthesia can alter people’s brain activity afterwards. The brain can also get stuck in a protection mode “fight or flight”, when you are no longer in danger.
Many people think anesthesia just “puts you to sleep”. It does so much more than that and acts on all different neurotransmitters in the brain. Each persons pathways are different. So it is not known how each persons brain will accept/respond to the affects. All of these alterations affect the Central Nervous System. It was explained to me as the brain gets turned off like a power grid. When you come out of anesthesia the grid comes back on in different areas and starts reconnecting. If the synapses don’t connect and start firing together these neurotransmitters together, that’s when the altered state can remain. Causing severe anxiety/panic. This then causes all kinds of real physical symptoms. Such as the sleep loss, nausea, vomiting, muscular tightness, trembling, weight loss etc...

-Anxiety/Panic is not just a response from external stimuli and thoughts. It can absolutely happen systemically from within as neurotransmitters from a systemic response and literally make you physically sick. As the lack of sleep continues, this continues the cycle as the brain can only recover with proper restorative sleep. This is why many of the first questions at appointments will be “hows your sleep?”. Without that, nothing can happen.

-At this time you would have to address brain health to balance the Central Nervous System. and many people are out of touch with that.

-Find someone who will explain to you the circadian rhythm/sleep cycle which is run by these neurotransmitters. The rushes you feel immediately in the morning-similar to that of dropping from a swing- are most likely bursts of cortisol/adrenaline. We all wake with a tiny release of this. This hormone is what actually wakes us. Rushes of it at once are not supposed to happen.

-I would recommend working with a Functional Medicine Doctor, one whom understands this as a common occurrence.
A Neurologist, whom understands, brain activity and neurotransmitter firing.
A psychiatrist whom understands and has worked with altered states to due anesthesia and how to help the mental part that this can put a person in.

-Neurotransmitters run the body. They are heavily connected to the gut. Which is why there is a name, “The Gut-Brain Axis”. Both continuously talk to one another. Some people after drugs/anesthesia have nausea and vomiting, this is a response.

-I want to reiterate these are just suggestions. As what you have shared is not rare. It is just not talked about or acknowledged. Anesthesiologists main job is to keep you out of pain and in a coma like state. So long as the surgery went well and they kept you alive, then it is considered uneventful and a successful surgery. To this day, they aren’t fully aware of the mechanism of action on the brain, as every person is so different.

-When the doctors brush you off and tell you it’s “anxiety”, they are doing you a disservice, because many people think of anxiety in a non chemical/systemic way and only with having anxious thoughts. This leaves a patient to think they are creating it. You are not. It is absolutely a chemical/systemic response.

- I will add an article that you can review.
You can bring this up to the providers that you are currently working with or new ones.
It would have to be a provider who completely understands the body as a whole.

-In the mean time, there are things you can do to help restore your nervous system.
A Functional Medicine Doctor can help you with that as well. Or have your wife look into somethings for you.

Focus on brain healing foods, that boost the neurotransmitters, not just calories. But good proteins, vegetables, and high vitamins/minerals. Anything that can promote relaxation and sleep. Keep moving and walking. Try for restorative stretching that can help your nervous system response.

*again-these are just thoughts or suggestions. By no means telling you, you have a certain condition.

If you have anymore questions, please let me know.


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Replies to "@stevetaylor721-Hi. I have read through your thread, as the title caught my attention. What you describe,..."

@nrd1 Hello. I'm happy you joined the conversation and am very impressed with the information you've presented to @stevetaylor721.

It follows along with the same principles of Central Sensitization Syndrome and the Central Nervous System being disrupted. The treatment and recovery plan lines up as well. Holistic, basic rebuild with proper nutrition, balanced sleep, physical and mental activity.

Thank you for such a thorough explanation of something that is valuable to know and understand for many.

May I ask how you are now doing since your bout?

I can’t thank you enough for the information and reply! There are definitely a lot of similarities to what you experienced. I hope you are doing better and we’re able to make a full recovery to your old self! I am absolutely going to ask my primary about this scenario as it makes a ton of sense and there are too many parallels. The psychiatrist I was referred to said similar things at first, but the last visit thought maybe enough time had passed for that to be the issue and felt it was anxiety/depression. I don’t really agree with that but do acknowledge that the longer this has gone on, the more anxiety and depression are becoming a factor just due to the stress, if nothing else. The rest of the doctors I spoke with blew off the suggestion that anesthesia (or the combo of 9 drugs they gave me) had anything to do with my symptoms. The refrain I got was that those drugs are out of your system in a day or two, so it couldn’t be that. I was skeptical of that because alcohol is out of your system in hours, but when I was younger I had a couple of hangovers that lasted for days! I am mostly joking, but the concept would seem to be the same. Thanks again for your most helpful input and I will definitely bring it up to the doctors I am seeing and update this post as I get answers.

This is a great explanation. Thank you very much.
@stevetaylor721 May I also add, that you need to find out the exact combination of anesthetics and all pre-anesthesia drugs you were given, provide the information to all the other docs you see, and make sure you never get that combination again. After an unfortunate experience with anesthesia nearly 50 years ago, they were unable to keep me awake for more than a minute at a time for 24 hours after a 30 minute operation, and I still have total amnesia about the entire 48 hour episode. It was the anesthesiologist who figured out exactly what went wrong.