Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

Surviving Preemie Surgery and a {Giveaway} “Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster” Book

Before my daughter’s final surgery, the surgery where the doctors would reconnect the piece of intestine they had originally looped through the outside of her abdomen, I was hanging on by a thread. A very thin thread that snapped long before that surgery date even came close to arriving.

At three in the morning I found myself in the emergency room with severe chest pain and numbness running all the way down my left arm. Tests were run, blood was drawn, oxygen levels were taken, but ultimately it was determined that I’d had a panic attack. Not a heart attack, not a stroke, but a panic attack.  I had hit rock bottom and didn’t know if I could pull myself up again.

But my daughter still needed surgery, so pull myself I did.

I began talking about my fears. My fear of her being back in the hospital. My fear of all the things I believed could possibly happen.  My fear of her being back in the hospital for months and months.  My fear of the surgeon accidentally slicing a little bit of her intestine and her bleeding internally on the operating table.  My fear of her dying.

“There’s just this looming future date out there and there’s nothing I can do but wait.”

But I was wrong. There was more that I could do. So much more.Kasey with her daughter in the hospital

One morning, I bumped into a friend I knew from yoga class.  She asked how I was doing.  “Not well,” I dared to say and quietly told her about my emergency room visit and all my accompanying fears.

“I have a book for you,” was all she said, and later that day I found a plastic grocery bag hanging from my front door with a blue paperback inside.

It’s funny to look back on moments in time with the knowledge of “what happens next.”  I thought I was just pulling a book out of a bag.  Who knew that I’d go on to recommend that very same book to dozens and dozens of family and friends?  Who knew that I’d one day write about that book in my own book?  Who knew that the wisdom and knowledge held within those pages would become my lifeline leading up to Andie’s ostomy reversal surgery?  Who knew that I’d go on to practice the simple, mindful techniques and exercises in that book when I had my own surgery after my English Mastiff’s huge head accidentally rammed into my nose?

Who knew?

I know now.  I know now that Peggy Huddleston’s book, Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster, is an invaluable resource for anyone and everyone facing any kind of medical procedure or surgery.

Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster by Peggy Huddleston

The book is broken down in parts.  Essentially it’s about managing your intentions and expectations going into, and coming out of surgery.

I’ll tell you this, not only was my daughter’s surgery a success, not only was I calm and present throughout the weeks leading up to the surgery and while we sat in the hospital waiting room, but the severe rash that was due to cover her bum for 6-8 weeks never emerged. Not a single red spot.

I’m not recommending you get this book.  I’m telling you to.  I always have several copies sitting on my bookshelf so whenever I bump into someone who confesses their fears like I’d done all those years ago, I have a copy ready to leave at their door.

In fact, I’m ready to give away a copy today. Enter, using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster taught me that I no longer had to be a victim. It gave me back the vital sense of control and purpose I’d been missing, and the lessons I learned from this book continue to resonate with me to this day.

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Kasey Mathews About Kasey Mathews

Kasey Mathews (NH) is a mother of two, her son, Tucker born on his due date at an even 8 pounds, and her daughter, Andie born at 25 weeks, weighing 1 pound 11 ounces. Kasey is a writer and author of the memoir, "Preemie: Lessons in Love, Life and Motherhood," in which she openly and honestly writes about her fears and uncertainties as a preemie mom. Kasey considers herself a student in the lessons of everyday life, and regularly observes and finds unexpected meaning in seemingly ordinary events. Her life-lesson stories and much more can be found on her website, www.kaseymathews.com. Follow her on Twitter.


  1. Wow. With my daughter’s kidney transplant due in the next month and half, this sounds like something I must read.

    • Absolutely, Melissa. The book will guide you through active and thoughtful activities that will help minimize your fear and optimize your daughter’s healing and yours. I truly can’t recommend it enough! One of the things the author recommends is creating a circle of those who hold the vision you’re holding for after surgery. Please include me in that circle and I’ll hold a vision of you all healthy and healed!

  2. I will definitely need to read this book as we face our daughter’s open heart surgery coming up this year.

    • Yes, yes, yes, Kara! And it’s never too soon to start as so many of the exercises are about healing old emotional wounds and getting really clear and grounded before the surgery. Keep us posted please.


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