Tana’s Advice on How to Prepare for a Medical Procedure

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

Having a major medical procedure is never fun. But going in prepared mentally and physically can make a world of difference. As Tana prepares to go in for a major surgery, she outline some of the preparations she has made to make recovery much easier.


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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 amenclinics.com.

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 brainmdhealth.com. Welcome to The Brain Warrior's Way podcast. Stay tuned for a special code for a discount to Amen Clinics for a full evaluation, as well as any of our supplements at brainmdhealth.com.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome back. We are gonna talk about one of my favorite topics today, which is women. Hi.

Tana Amen: Oh, dear lord.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Five sisters, three daughters, 14 nieces. I wrote a book called Unleash the Power of the Female Brain, because I've been a huge fan-

Tana Amen: Are you sure that number hasn't changed, the 14 nieces?

Dr. Daniel Amen: It's probably more.

Tana Amen: And the granddaughters, I'm sure, is about to change.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Oh.

Tana Amen: Yeah.

Dr. Daniel Amen: I'm going to have two granddaughters.

Tana Amen: Yeah.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Right? So, I'm a huge fan. But you have something important coming up.

Tana Amen: I do. I'm not gonna be with you for a few episodes because ... Yeah. So, one thing, I have this little bit of a pet peeve when ... It's not a pet peeve. It's just a concern that I have. We talk so much about eating health and living the right lifestyle to prevent illness. But there are times in your life ... it's almost like society now has gotten to this extreme where if you get sick or if you need surgery, or if something happens to you, people almost look at you like, well you weren't taking care of yourself. I see this on my Facebook page sometimes. Well, that's because you did something that you were responsible for this happening to yourself.

The truth is, you should never feel that way. You need to take care of yourself and not feel bad about it because-

Dr. Daniel Amen: We are not opposed to good medicine.

Tana Amen: No! No, and there are times where you can do everything you can, and you can prevent it most of the time, or you can maybe make it less invasive when you have to have something done. But there's always gonna be times in your life where you've got to take care of your health. So, I'm gonna be gone for a few episodes. I am saying, I am divorcing some of my female parts while we are still on semi-amicable terms. It's genetic in my family. All of the women have had to have hysterectomies. I am the oldest one and I made it the longest. It's been pretty severe for all of the women in my family. For me it's been bad, not nearly as bad as for some of the women. Lately it's gotten really bad.

Dr. Daniel Amen: A lot of people who have to have general surgery or general anesthesia, we've seen on our imaging work that it's really not very good for your brain.

Tana Amen: I've had nine. I've been under anesthesia nine times for health issues.

Dr. Daniel Amen: If that's you, know, you just should be doing everything else right. If you've had to have chemotherapy, please have chemotherapy so the cancer doesn't kill you. If you need surgery, otherwise you're gonna bleed to death, please have the surgery. What that means is, you should also be on a rehabilitation program the whole time so that if the anesthesia sort of gives a negative hit to your brain, you are repairing it. You're repairing it. I believe we should always be on a detox program. I'm not a fan of doing detoxes.

Tana Amen: Right. Just how you life.

Dr. Daniel Amen: I think you should be living a detox.

Tana Amen: Right, because we live in a toxic world with pollution and stuff like that.

Dr. Daniel Amen: What are the things you want our listeners to know-

Tana Amen: I think in order to talk about women's health [crosstalk 00:04:05]. Let's talk about women's health first, because it's such a common thing. Most of my listeners, at least on my page, are women. We have a lot of women that listen and pass it on.

Dr. Daniel Amen: And if guys are listening, they're often connected.

Tana Amen: They're often married or they have daughters or ... right. It's really important topic, because when a woman's health begins to change, and even if you're not facing what I'm facing, a hysterectomy, at this age, our hormones change. I've got a daughter at puberty age, and I was hoping to get to menopause before-

Dr. Daniel Amen: Do you think that's one of God's little tricks?

Tana Amen: You know, it might be. It might be.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Give you teenage children during menopause.

Tana Amen: I think it was more my lack of planning than it was God's choice. Fortunately for me, because of what we do, I know so much about this, so I'm able to sort of circumvent ... I know I would be on the evening news if I didn't know this information. I know that it would not be good. There's a reason I'm not in jail or on the evening news, and it's because I have learned. I've taken the time to learn this. I don't want to be divorced, and the reality is, is that this is the age when a lot of women file for divorce. Not men, it's mostly women.

Dr. Daniel Amen: 75% of people who file for divorce are women.

Tana Amen: At this age. So, I don't want that to happen, so I've taken this time to learn, what is it, why are the reasons, how do I stop it.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Are we okay?

Tana Amen: I have never been happier in my life, and I'm at that age.

Dr. Daniel Amen: So, we're okay?

Tana Amen: Is there something you need to tell me? Because I just said I've never been happier.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Okay, just checking.

Tana Amen: We just want you to sort of know that it's an age that women's bodies begin to change pretty radically. One of the big issues is this issue with not only menopause, but our uterus'. They just decide to like ... go rogue.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Go rogue.

Tana Amen: Yeah, they just go rogue, and I've got this fibroid tumor that's the size of a large orange or a small grapefruit, or something like that, and I was pretty miserable. Apparently I'm like the equivalent of four, four and a half months pregnant or something like that.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Wow.

Tana Amen: It's pretty crazy, yeah, but all the time.

Dr. Daniel Amen: What practical things can women do when they're faced with health challenges?

Tana Amen: Get it checked. I avoided it, I really didn't ... I mean, I'm not one to avoid getting checked. I avoided trying to do this. I tried everything else. But really, if it's going to affect your family, your quality of life ... It began to affect the quality of life. I was really trying to avoid this and try to get to menopause first. I know you married me for this never-ending source of material, and I don't know why I'm sharing so much right now, but really if it starts to effect-

Dr. Daniel Amen: This was not my idea, by the way.

Tana Amen: I'm gonna be gone and I figure, might as well-

Dr. Daniel Amen: You want to let everyone know why you're gonna be gone.

Tana Amen: And I just know a lot of women face this. It just seems like more and more women I know are facing this. For whatever reason, things like PCOS, women going into menopause earlier-

Dr. Daniel Amen: Most people don't know what PCOS is.

Tana Amen: Polycystic ovarian syndrome. Going into menopause earlier is ... it's an issue now, or having problems with thyroid, it's an issue now. It seems to be happening more and more. I actually just had somebody write to me on my page about it, and a lot of people think that fibroids are a sign of cancer coming, and they're not usually. That's one thing to know. Fibroid tumors are not normally, in fact very, very rarely, related to cancer. But they're very uncomfortable, they're very painful, in a lot of cases. It's really one thing to take into account. Get them checked. You don't always have to have a cystorectostomy. There are many other options. In my case, there's a lot of other reasons why I'm doing it. It was multi factorial. It was-

Dr. Daniel Amen: So, anyone who's facing surgery, or has faced surgery, what are some practical tips to help them heal faster?

Tana Amen: I think we've talked about it in our earlier episodes, and that is, make sure that you're going in with reserve. Just like brain reserve, you want ... I was a nurse in an intensive care unit, and this is an extreme example, but it's a good example. The patients who did the best in intensive care situation, whether it was a trauma or burn, or whatever, were the ones who came in with the most reserve.

It means the ones who lived the healthiest lifestyle going in, the ones who had the most muscle on their body, the ones who had the best blood sugar, the most stable blood sugar. They're the ones who were the most likely to live through a trauma or a severe burn situation, and come out, and a year later be back to the most normal lifestyle.

That's an extreme situation, but in any situation, you're more likely to have a more satisfactory recovery and heal more normally if your blood sugar is stable, if you have more muscle on your body, 'cause you're gonna be down. You're not gonna be able to exercise. Right? So you want to be going in as health as possible.

Mentally, I know I meditate, I pray every day. Those things help me psychologically 'cause I don't like being down. I really don't like being down and not doing stuff.

Dr. Daniel Amen: There's actually a study. I talk about it in the new book I'm working on, Feel Better Fast, and Make it Last, one hypnosis session decreased depression in patients who had open heart surgery, so just one.

Tana Amen: Yeah, I believe it.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Getting your mind right is really important, because the chronic flood of stress hormones actually diminish your immune system and make healing harder.

Tana Amen: Yep.

Dr. Daniel Amen: For those of you on Brain Fit Life, we have a number of hypnosis audios, one for anxiety, one for sleep, one for pain, one for peak performance.

Tana Amen: And I use them. I love them. You made the peak performance one for me initially.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Yes I did.

Tana Amen: You did, for my black belt test.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Because I love you.

Tana Amen: Yes, it was awesome. I'm addicted to meditation and prayer. My joy, my level of joy and happiness, and coping and stress are just so much ... I'm just so much happier as a person when I do that, and knowing that I'm gonna be down, that I'm not gonna be able to move as much for those few weeks.

Dr. Daniel Amen: So getting your food right, getting your sleep right, getting your level of stress right, getting your mind right.

Tana Amen: Right.

Dr. Daniel Amen: I had this thought yesterday. I had an appointment with my dad and his orthopedic. His orthopedic doctor was so traditional. I remembered how much it irritated me. When I was interviewing to go to medical school, I was really excited about visual imagery and how imagery could boost your immune system. I talked about it in one of my medical school interviews, and I didn't get in to that medical school 'cause I was talking to an orthopedic doctor who was just looking at me like I had crystals or some woo-woo, no science nonsense. But, we know that is in fact not true.

Tana Amen: Right.

Dr. Daniel Amen: That mindset is absolutely critical when you have a major health challenge.

Tana Amen: Well, there's a reason that the Olympic teams have coaches that do nothing but visualization. They work on visualization, like meditation and visualization for Olympic athletes, which are highly important to their teams. Right? They're investing a lot in these athletes, because when athletes visualize the outcome, they're more likely to achieve it. Even with your body, when you visualize it, it's more likely to turn out better. We know that. They've actually done studies on it.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Alright, so if you are facing a health challenge like Tana, you want to be a brain warrior, which means you want to be armed, prepared, and aware, and do the right thing, so you can heal better faster. No one's figured out how to not die, so all of us will face medical issues at some point. Don't feel bad. Don't feel guilty. Just take care of that in the smartest way you can, and through the process, make sure you take care of yourself. Stay with us.

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