Guided imagery and Reiki help a traumatized pre-surgery cardiac patient get ready for her dreaded date with the operating room, and, in spite of some scary previous experiences in the O.R., she does well this time.. In 1971 I had open-heart surgery to repair a hole in my heart (ASD). I have been under a cardiologist’s care for the last 9 years because of pulmonary hypertension, secondary to my heart disease.

In September, 2003, my cardiologist wanted me to undergo a cardiac cath because of changes in my cardiogram and stress tests. In addition, my breathing was becoming more difficult. A false aneurysm was found on my aorta, that was caused by my previous heart surgery at the site where I had been hooked up to the heart/lung machine.

I was very apprehnsive about having surgery, because I had many complications during the 1971 surgery. I was re-operated on for internal hemorraging, developed pneumonia, could not breathe without the respirator and a trach was performed. In addition, I did not believe I would be able to survive the surgery because of my lung problems.

In the surgeon’s office, I read an article regarding guided imagery. I asked the receptionist about this program and she said that the hospital discontinued the program becase of lack of funds. I researched further and found that there was a nurse within the hospital who managed their Integrated Medicine Dept. She lent me Belleruth Naparstek''s "Successful Surgery". I listened to this tape several times a day for two months prior to surgery. I also had the tape in the operating room. My doctor was very receptive to this.

After surgery I had Reiki performed on me. It gave me a sense of calm and when I was in intensive care, the nurse commented that my blood pressure, which was high, dropped under this procedure.

I truly believe that Belleruth''s tape helped me through this very difficult time prior to and during surgery. I wanted to get a tape to listen to after surgery and wasn''t aware of Health Journeys resources. I listened to music, but would have preferred a post-operative relaxation tape.

I came through the surgery better than I anticipated. It''s 7 months since my surgery and I feel great. I''m back to my normal, busy, enjoyable life. I am extremely grateful to my medical staff as well as Ms. Naparstek. I have since purchased several tapes for family members and I hope they receive the same great benefits that I have.