1. presurgery. 6 months or so
- BEGIN TO THINK About surgery and preparing your body. Look at alcohol consumption, quit or reduce smoking, do fewer or no recreational drugs.
- Do a detox diet 2 months before your surgery. Eliminate wheat, dairy, sugar, beef, pork, coffee and fried foods for at least 10 days. This is best done with a Naturopathic Doctor so it can be a learning process to identify foods that work and don’t work for your system.
- Continue to eat a “clean” diet after your detox. Practice the 60/40 rule – if you are eating healthy with whole grains, vegetables, fruits, vegetarian protein and good quality meats 60% of the time, the other 40% doesn’t matter as much.
- Take a health food store brand multi vitamin (better quality), vitamin C and fish oil or flax seed oil if possible.
2. Presurgery: 1 week ahead.
- Drink less alcohol. Have several nights with nothing to drink.
- Get lots of sleep. 8 hours per night if possible.
- Go grocery shopping. Your fridge and cupboards need to be stocked with one weeks worth of food at least. Have clear broth and hearty soups ( ie vegetable, organic chicken noodle, butternut squash, split pea) , apples, salad ingredients, applesauce, organic yogurt, toast, crackers, ginger tea. Cook a pot of brown rice.
- Buy a few ginger based drinks from your local health food store. Ginger is good for nausea and helps the first few days after. I like Ginger Soother by The Ginger People (filtered water, honey, ginger juice, lemon juice, natural flavour.)
- Pick up a herbal laxative from health food store if you will be given narcotic pain medication. I like Genestra Herbolax or Natural Factors Senna Capsules. Ask supplement advisers for advice if you do not have a ND.
- Pick out a gentle good quality soap for washing the wounds with. Commercial soaps can be too harsh. I like Avalon Organics soaps or Dr. Bronners peppermint or lavender soaps. Nothing with a “moisturizing” base or scents other than natural essential oils.
- Eat a healthy diet with as little wheat, sugar, and dairy as possible to have your system geared towards optimal wellness or, avoid foods you learned caused reactions on your detox diet.
- Follow hospitals advice. Stop all medications and vitamins as they request 3 days ahead of surgery.
- If possible get prescriptions filled ahead of time for post-surgery so you can go straight home afterwards.
3. at hospital:
- ask for anti-emetic (anti nausea) in with anesthesia to make coming out of the surgery easier on you.
- Relax! Its out of your hands now.
- Trust your doctor.
4. post surgery:
- first day. Have apple sauce and organic sheep or coconut yogurt in fridge plus some juice that you like. When you get home, have a small dish of applesauce with or without yogurt (can add maple syrup) to buffer the pain medications. Use this as a light snack to take with pain meds that require ‘with food.”
- Arnica 200c homeopathic. one pellet or 10 drops three a day for first 3 days home. Can take up to every 2 hours for strong pain. Then reduce to once a day until pain is resolved.
5. Week after surgery:
- Traumeel cream or gel: Use locally around surgery site but not over bandages/exact site. You can also use Traumeel drops in water in addition to topical treatment. The Traumeel gel is soothing and can be spread over the tape without worry. It does leave a weird glaze, so apply it to areas you can wipe off with a washcloth. Apply a thick coat an hour or two before bathing and let it soak in, then wash off.
- Use a fiber powder (psyllium husk is cheap and effective) daily 1 tbsp in juice – shaken not stirred to help keep your bowels moving. Drink quickly as it gels up.
- If using a codeine based pain medication or percoset you may need a herbal laxative. After day 2 out of surgery use 1 or 2 capsules on days when you use the pain meds. Best taken before sleep.
- Begin taking your multivitamins and vitamin C again. Take vitamins with meals.
- Eat lightly. You wont be moving around much so your appetite may be low. Eat only when you are hungry. Eat until you are full, but don’t be surprised if its less than usual. Avoid chips, chocolate, ice cream and pop and coffee.
- Drink as much water as you can. Keep a bottle of water next to your bed. Also have herbal teas and hot or cold lemon water.
- If any infection or complications develop, contact your ND and check in with your MD – for my patients, please call or email at the first signs of complications: theWrightND@gmail.com
6. The healing process:
- As the tape comes off and the incisions are exposed, Apply a mixed tocopherol vitamin E topically to incision site. Make sure your hands are clean!
- St Johnswort and Echinacea 50:50 tincture is an excellent anti microbial and pain killer. (Not safe with HIV meds, birth control, antidepressants or blood thinners.) Use topically on incision sites with a clean cotton ball or Qtip once or twice daily after washing. ** this can be made up at a herbal dispensary or buy two small bottles and mix.
- Continue to use arnica as needed whenever you do activities that seem to strain the incision sites or your surgery site hurts.
- Continue to use Traumeel topically. Once the gel is gone you can switch to the cream as it absorbs much better. Only use the cream directly to the wound after the tape has fallen off. Apply to entire affected area to aid healing. Massage into incision sites as scars form to reduce ropey scar formations.
- Use a small dab of tee tree oil on incision sites that get red or infected.
- You may end up wanting or needing an antibiotic ointment as well – the single ones are more effective than the “triple therapy” ones.
- If you know you heal slowly from wounds you may also want to support your immune system during this time. A good quality echinacia capsule or liquid once daily may be helpful to keep infections away.
- Be gentle with yourself. You may feel more emotional than usual. Surround yourself with people who love and support you. Ask for help. Give yourself lots of love. Note what issues come up and be prepared to go back to them with therapy or journalling as they may need to heal along with your chest.
- Touch your new scars. Let others touch you.
7. Down the line: 3-6 months.
- When the incisions have become red scars, switch to calendula cream. Alternate with a mixed tocopherol vitamin E. Calendula CANNOT be used on open wounds. Massage it into the ropey scar tissue to reduce scarring. Use your intentions to break up the scar tissue and envision healed skin.
- Thiosaminum 30c is a homeopathic remedy that can be used to break up scar tissue. Take 2 pellets per day for 2 weeks if you are developing thick scars. Do not take if your healing is going well.
- Continue to take your multivitamin, essential fats (flax seed oil or better yet fish oil capsules) and vitamin C.
- Follow up on emotional issues that may have come up in the first 2 or 3 weeks after surgery.
- Acupuncture can also be helpful for reducing scar tissue or speeding along healing after difficult recoveries.