How To Prepare For Unexpected Health Emergencies

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

Health issues are inevitable. Even the healthiest of us know that at some point, those fights are coming. And, as Tana Amen often says, if you wait until fight day to start training, you’re in trouble. In this episode of The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, Tana, and Dr. Daniel Amen coach you into fighting shape to give you an unfair advantage when those health issues attack you.


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Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.

Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. Here, we teach you how to win the fight for your brain to defeat anxiety, depression, memory loss, ADHD, and addictions.

Dr. Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we've transformed lives for three decades using brain SPECT imaging to better target treatment, and natural ways to heal the brain. For more information, visit

Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is also brought to you by Brain MD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceutical products to support the health of your brain and body. For more information, visit Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast, and stay tuned for a special code for a discount to Amen Clinics for a full evaluation, as well as any of our supplements at

Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome back. Well, I am so excited to have my partner back.

Tana Amen: I'm happy to be back.

Dr. Daniel Amen: We called this week "surgery week" because a couple of weeks ago Tana had major surgery, and we actually thought she'd be out for a month, but she's back and part of that has to do with how well she took care of herself before surgery.

Tana Amen: Yeah.

Dr. Daniel Amen: So, before we get to you and surgery and all that, we got just more great testimonials, and we've had a whole bunch of people listen to the podcast, come to Amen Clinics.

Tana Amen: Yeah.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Thank you so much.

Tana Amen: They like taking advantage of the little gift.

Dr. Daniel Amen: The discount?

Tana Amen: Yeah.

Dr. Daniel Amen: The discount, but really take advantage of knowing-

Tana Amen: We want you sharing the podcast, because the information is what's important, so.

Dr. Daniel Amen: So this comes from an II health coach. Institute of Integrated Nutrition: "Oh, my god. You are my tribe. I love your podcast and so happy to have your voice and interviews on a regular basis. My first intro to Dr. Daniel Amen was on PBS years ago, then as a student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition." And now she just graduated. "I'm currently enrolled in an Institute of Nutrition gut health course."

Tana Amen: That's awesome.

Dr. Daniel Amen: "And what I'm hearing on your podcast is aligned with what I'm learning." Yes, that's that gut brain connection.

Tana Amen: It would be, yes.

Dr. Daniel Amen: "It is all connecting on so many levels. Thank you and very grateful for your wisdom and sharing, as I am sharing this with my family and friends around me. Much love."

Tana Amen: That's awesome.

Dr. Daniel Amen: So I just ... I love that. So, whenever people have surgery, it's a big deal. I just published a couple of blogs on the impact of general anesthesia on the brain, which ... Not a good thing.

Tana Amen: No.

Dr. Daniel Amen: And you know how sort of foggy you felt afterwards.

Tana Amen: Yeah.

Dr. Daniel Amen: But you bounced back.

Tana Amen: Yeah, and I'm still a little tired. It's two weeks right now. I'm still a little tired, if I over do it. I'm finally able to be up and out and driving, but I get tired, so I have to listen to my body. I am finally old enough that I have enough wisdom. I've had enough medical surgeries. This is my 10th medical surgery, so based on all that wisdom ... And the interesting thing is this surgery I have recovered from the best. I am the oldest. I'm almost 50, and this surgery-

Dr. Daniel Amen: Are you really that old?

Tana Amen: I am! I'm that old!

Dr. Daniel Amen: No!

Tana Amen: So I have recovered better from this surgery than any of the past surgeries for several reasons. When I was younger, I didn't take as good of care of myself. That's the big one, because I thought I was indestructible. Right? We think we're invincible when we're young. Didn't listen. Thought I was special because I worked out so hard and whatever, I thought I was special and didn't have to listen to all the rules, and so I got up and did stuff way too early. I just didn't do as well with the surgeries, and this one I have done really well, because I really just prepared well and listened. So, interestingly, the recovery has been better.

Dr. Daniel Amen: You actually went home the day of surgery.

Tana Amen: Yeah, they told me that I wouldn't do that, and I ... I'm a nurse, so I know number one way to get sick, best way to get sick is go to a hospital. Number one, spend time there ... Because there's bugs! There's germs! There's sick people, right? And the other thing is, I knew I wouldn't sleep. So with all them checking on you all night, and the noises, and the IV alarms ... I'm like, "If I don't sleep, I'm not gonna recover." So, I've got a doctor. I'm a nurse. If I can go home ... So after talking to my doctor, she's like, "Well, if you do really well in surgery, if the surgery goes the way I think, recovery goes the way I think, we'll see about letting you go home." And so they ended up letting me go home, which I think was the best thing that happened.

Dr. Daniel Amen: So what did you do to prepare for surgery? I ask that question, and I think ... Well, you have been preparing for surgery for the last 10 years, right? As you've been super focused on your health.

Tana Amen: So I have a line that I use in Brain Warrior's Way, our books, Brain Warrior's Way. You don't wait until fight day to start training. You cannot. I practice martial arts, and I was attacked when I was 15. Hadn't ... Obviously didn't have any training at that time, and I almost lost that fight. I won because I'm just a brat. Because I'm crazy when-

Dr. Daniel Amen: I can attest to the brat statement.

Tana Amen: Because I get a little crazy when people- (Laughter). But it made me realize, you don't wait until fight day to start training, especially when you're talking about your health.

Dr. Daniel Amen: You guys should write that down, underline it, pin it up on the mirror. It's one of the most important things you can get from this podcast.

Tana Amen: I got blindsided-

Dr. Daniel Amen: You don't wait until you get sick to try to get healthy. That is not the smartest thing.

Tana Amen: I got blindsided. Most of us get blindsided the first time. I got blindsided with cancer at 23. I was like, "What the heck?" And then when it came back several times, I just didn't expect that. I didn't expect it. After that, I got a little wiser and I'm like, "All right, I don't want to keep going through the surgery thing. I don't want to keep having to do the radiation and surgery and feel so lousy all the time." So I got really serious about my health, and I thought, "Whatever comes up, I want to be ready for it." We all know something is coming at some point. Most of us hope it happens when we're 90, 95, 100, but we know it's coming at some point, so why don't you want to be ready for it? To think it's not coming is just foolish. So be ready for it.

So I've been preparing for a long time. But the big thing is ... So, physically, with food, with sleep, with whatever, I've been doing that a long time. That was really important, and I think that's why I'm healing so well. What I really did differently this time as well, though ... I really focused on ... I got my environment completely. You saw me, I got everything really ready in my room. I made sure the house was organized for everything I would need beforehand, but I really spent a lot of time mentally.

You guys have your way of preparing for things. I actually called everyone I knew and asked them to pray. So I had a ton of people praying, and I actually believe in the power ... Very much the power prayer, when two or more gather, this idea, and I spent every day meditating and praying, and focusing on-

Dr. Daniel Amen: So when you say you spent every day meditating, tell people what that means.

Tana Amen: So, besides calming-

Dr. Daniel Amen: Chanting?

Tana Amen: No, no, no, no. I don't chant. But besides prayer, prayer is a big part of my meditation, I would, in addition to that, do a visualization. I would actually visualize this healing light, and being healthy. And this is gonna sound really funny, it's gonna sound a little corny ... So I had a hysterectomy. I had this alien growing in my body that just decided to go rogue.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Ten times normal.

Tana Amen: Ten times normal size which, on my frame, was significant. It was causing a lot of problems.

Dr. Daniel Amen: She looked pregnant.

Tana Amen: I did. I looked pregnant. Like four and a half months.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Cute pregnant, but pregnant.

Tana Amen: But pregnant. And so it was miserable. I was feeling miserable, and so ... But I spent time actually thanking my uterus for my daughter, and making peace with my uterus, and saying goodbye. And now I'm wondering why the heck I didn't do this five years sooner. I really didn't want to have surgery, but I have to tell you know that I've done it I'm like ... Why didn't I do this five years ago? I feel so much better.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Yeah, her doctor was telling her she was walking around 12 weeks pregnant.

Tana Amen: But it felt more like four and a half months, because when I was 12 weeks pregnant I did not show like that, so let me tell you. Yeah, it was big.

Dr. Daniel Amen: So when you meditate, because I want to make this super practical for the people listening.

Tana Amen: I have my meditation online. So I did a Vlog on it. They can either go to my Vlog at, or go to YouTube. Look me up. Look up meditation, Tana Amen Meditation. You'll see the meditation. I've got several meditations on there. So I did our loving kindness meditation on there. I have a forgiveness meditation. I have a general meditation, but I very much focus on this healing light that ... Just really focusing on my body being calm and healing, and the last thing I thought about, as they were wheeling me in, we prayed, I had people with me, but as I was going in ... And as I was going under anesthesia, I just focused on ... Again, might sound corny to some of you, and that's okay. I just focused on these loving arms around me, and this beautiful white light, and that's how I went to sleep, and the next thing I know, I was awake, and ... But it was different than other surgeries, because I mentally was so prepared for it.

Dr. Daniel Amen: So, you prepared your body, you prepared your mind, you prepared your spirit.

Tana Amen: That's what we talk about!

Dr. Daniel Amen: You prepared your-

Tana Amen: Physically.

Dr. Daniel Amen: -group.

Tana Amen: My food. What do we talk about in Brain Warrior's Way? We talk about preparation being the first thing you do. Awareness and preparation, so get your numbers checked and then prepare-

Dr. Daniel Amen: So the Brain Warrior's Way, we talk about armed, prepared, and aware.

Tana Amen: All the time, right.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Armed, prepared, and aware.

Tana Amen: 'Cause when you go through a fight, like the surgery would be the fight, the metaphorical fight ... So, you go through the fight, and then you can win. You can't win if you're not trained, and prepared, and aware.

Dr. Daniel Amen: So, when I was an intern at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC, and I was the surgery rotation, I would hypnotize my patients ahead of time, and have them do a visualization around healing. There is a brand new study out that I actually talked about in my new book, "Feel Better Fast and Make it Last." That's coming out in November, where they looked at people who had open heart surgery, and those that had hypnosis beforehand, and I know that's one thing you use a lot as well, had significantly lower levels of anxiety and depression after surgery then the people who didn't.

Tana Amen: Right.

Dr. Daniel Amen: So getting your mind right, getting the internal environment right for surgery-

Tana Amen: It makes a big difference.

Dr. Daniel Amen: -is so helpful.

Tana Amen: And I had a great support team. You were amazing. You took amazing care of me. My daughter was right there. My mother was right there. I had so many people-

Dr. Daniel Amen: I was your nurse! I really like being a doctor better than being a nurse, but I love nursing you.

Tana Amen: You were a good nurse.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Because you're so-

Tana Amen: You were up in the middle of the night with me. You did-

Dr. Daniel Amen: Because you're so important to me.

Tana Amen: You were amazing. So having that loving environment, people that love you, take care of you, it makes a big difference. Just knowing that you've got this support system is really helpful. So it was really, really helpful and it's-

Dr. Daniel Amen: So, before surgery be nice to the people in your life. That's really important. Know that they're going through a stressful time, too.

Tana Amen: Right?

Dr. Daniel Amen: Right.

Tana Amen: My daughter was pretty freaked out.

Dr. Daniel Amen: That's a hard thing, even though it's a routine surgery, anytime someone goes under anesthesia, bad things can happen.

Tana Amen: And you have more knowledge of medicine. Chloe was pretty freaked out. She's very close to me, and so it really scared her. The idea of-

Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, it's scary. So, acknowledging that, but then giving people the statistics that actually you're more likely to wake up then come home if you drive to LA.

Tana Amen: Right.

Dr. Daniel Amen: All of those things. So stay with us. We are going to come back and talk about more practical preparation for surgery and then what the heck should you do when you wake up? Stay with us.

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