Preparing for Surgery
by Purple Herbal
I’ve never had surgery before, so when I decided to have the Nuss Procedure done, to fix my pectus excavatum, I immediately started doing research on natural ways to strengthen my body and prepare it for the upcoming shock and trauma of surgery.
Here’s a picture of a before and after of a young man with pectus excavatum who had the Nuss Procedure:
This is one of the most painful surgeries, especially for an adult. And since I’ve never even had stitches or broken a bone before, preparing mentally and physically for it was of the utmost importance to me.
The Nuss Procedure will place a stainless steel bar through my thoracic cavity, and basically pop my inverted chest out. The cartilage connecting my sternum to ribs has grown downward, giving me a sunken chest.
I had to come to terms with the fact that there is no “alternative” method of dealing with my pectus, especially considering my age. As much I didn’t want to have the surgery, I knew I would regret it more than if I had gone through with it.
My main goal was to feel in control of the situation and like I had some influence on what would happen during and after the surgery. I wanted to give my mind and body the strength it needed to overcome the challenges that having surgery brings.
I scheduled my surgery two months in advance, and that has given me lots of time to prepare.
The first thing I started doing was mentally preparing for it. I had a lot of fears of the unknown, which in turn created a lot of stress. Stress can cause all sorts of diseases and upsets within the body, like inflammation, so I started thinking of ways I could get over these fears. I called the hospital where I was having the surgery and scheduled a time to meet with the head of patient relations. She was kind enough to give me a tour of the facility (everything but the operating room), and that helped me visualize myself in a calm state both before and after the surgery. I saw myself being rolled in and out of the operating room in a healthy state that would quickly recover.
Focusing on a quick and easy recovery is my number one goal, by far. Visualization is probably what I do more than anything else, even more than the physically preparing for it. I always think about the surgery going well, with no complications, and I think about being in my room resting and healing. Don’t get me wrong, I still have butterflies in my stomach about what’s about to happen to me, but I know that is natural.
Our minds are connected to our body, and our thoughts are such a powerful force in our lives, that I figured if I was able to focus on what I wanted to happen, as opposed to what I didn’t want to happen, I could sort of manipulate myself into having the kind of healing and recovery I desperately wanted.
These past two months have strengthened my mind very much, because I have been forced to change my attitude towards surgery (something I vowed I would never have). I feel like I am creating the outcome that I want, so I look forward to posting about my recovery process, because I’m visualizing a quick and easy one!
Working through my fears and conquering them mentally is what I feel to be my greatest accomplishment thus far with my surgery. However, preparing physically for the shock and trauma it is also a key component in my hopes of achieving a fast recovery.
I have chosen both herbal and homeopathic preparations that would be beneficial for anyone having surgery, like arnica, but I have also been using some plants that are specifically for those who are having surgery that deals with bone or cartilage issues.
The first plant I knew would be beneficial was arnica. I plan on taking it both before and after my surgery. Arnica is a perennial that grows in mountainous areas in Europe and North America. It has been shown to be effective at reducing pain, inflammation, and helps the body handle sudden shock and trauma, like surgery.
I plan on taking a 30c homeopathic dose the night before my surgery and every 3-6 hours for a few days after my surgery. I also will take phosphorous, which will help my body deal with the effects of anesthesia.
I have have been taking gelsenium in homeopathic form to deal with any lingering stress and fear I have about the surgery. It has definitely helped. Ruta graveolens is another homeopathic remedy I have used because it is used to heal the bones and cartilage.
I have been taking a raw and organic multi-vitamin to help boost my vitamin and mineral levels. Now that I am less than a week away from surgery, I have decreased my doses and will not take a vitamin the day before surgery.
Horsetail is an herb that I have been using in tea form, because of its high silica content, which is an essential mineral needed in the bones. You’ve probably seen it growing as a weed along roadsides. It is actually one of the oldest species of plants, dating back to the dinosaur era. Of course, it was a lot larger of a plant then, but I find it fascinating that once again, a common weed is such a beneficial herb for me! This is a recurring pattern in my life, btw. 🙂
I also have horsetail in tincture form, as well as astragalus, that I take occasionally. Astragalus is an herb that works on boosting our immune system. I talked about this herb in more detail in a previous post of mine “Helpful Herbs for Natural Immune Support”
Eating a healthy diet that includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as drinking filtered water, coconut water, and green smoothies are giving my body the strength it needs to get through the surgery.
Aloe Vera juice is another thing I’ve been drinking to help clean out my bowels and improve my digestion. Most of our immune system is located in our digestive tract, and aloe was an easy thing to add to my diet that would reduce inflammation and heal anything in my intestinal tract (not that I have issues there, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!).
As for when I get out of surgery, the first things I want are arnica and coconut water. I also will have the Naked green and red smoothies to help replenish nutrients. I’m lucky enough to be able to bring my own food to the hospital, so I’m making the delicious Romanian Meatball soup. I know all of the vegetables and protein will be very helpful to me. I also have some dark chocolate for anti-oxidants, dried apples for iron, lemonade, peppermint water, and ginger beer for nausea, as well as some essential oils to help boost my mood. Citrus is one of my favorite smells, and I have the Pure Citrus spray to help clear out the hospital smell!
I’m also bringing some flowers and cuttings of some of my houseplants (pothos and philodendren) that can be quickly rooted in water to help clean the air and add a comforting feeling. I have about a hundred houseplants, so if there weren’t any plants in my hospital room, I wouldn’t feel at home. And making my stay in the hospital as homey as possible is going to ensure a quick and easy recovery!