Tips for Natural Healing After Surgery

For the past couple of years, I’ve been on a mission to kick “midlife‘s” ass. I’ve been on a bit of a health binge and thank god I have been! I believe being in better shape helped me recover faster from my recent surgery.

My gallbladder has been giving me fits for a few years, but I decided to go all out with nutrition and natural remedies and attempt to bypass a surgical fix. So, when my 31-year-old daughter had to have her gallbladder out a couple of months ago, I told her adorable 30-something-year-old surgeon that I’ve been fortunate to get my little beast under control using diet and nutrition. He just smiled smugly and stated that many of his patients report some degree of success for a period of time before they end up on his surgical table. Gulp. He then offered me the 2-for-1 family discount. We all chuckled…

Then as if on cue, my gallbladder took the challenge and began a relentless series of attacks. After a week of battle, I surrendered and called the cute surgeon. After all the appropriate diagnostics to validate what we already knew, it was clear the persistent gallbladder and its accumulated pesky stones wanted out.

Now that I’m well on the recovery side of this health crisis, I thought I’d share some of what helped me minimize the trauma. Not everyone has a chance to plan and prepare for surgery, but if you do, the following might be helpful.

Ways to support post-surgical healing, naturally …

woof docs help with natural post-surgical healing

Be super gentle with yourself

It’s important to try not to have any expectations—good or bad—about how you will feel or what things will be like when you wake up from surgery. Everyone is different and each procedure is different, so how you woke up from the last operation may not be how you wake up this time.

I hadn’t had surgery for over 22 years and had only a vague memory of being quite sick upon waking the last time, so I tried to let that go and be present for this procedure.

As it turns out, I did have a very rough time waking up and was quite ill, but the post-surgical staff, which included the anesthesiologist who stayed with me, were patient, but persistent angels that helped me through that first hour or two of horrible dizziness, nausea and pain. I trusted them and did what they were asking me to do, which seemed impossible at the time—”breath deeply Megan, c’mon Meg, we know you can do it! Open your eyes Megan. We’re going to get you up now…” I was like, WHAT!?!?” But they told me if I got up I’d feel better. I totally didn’t believe them, but did it anyway and it did help. I was no fun, but they were amazing, and they were right about every little step.

One step at a time

Literally. Sometimes we are so relieved that all is over with and we are ok that we want to skip down the hall and sing. At least that was my husband after triple bypass surgery! He was thrilled to be alive. It was hard to slow him down, but important for him not to injure himself with enthusiasm.

Easy foods

You may be hungry since you haven’t had a chance to eat for at least 12 hours prior to surgery. Your system will wake up gradually and depending on the type of surgery, generally you will want to eat foods that are gentle on your system. Soft foods and lots of clean fluids.

Hydration is your water glass half full? world water week

Your body needs to be well hydrated for a number of reasons including tissue healing, getting rid of anesthesia and blood rebuilding.

Detoxing from the many foreign substances pumped into your body during surgery will help your recovery. So, lots of clean water and good tea, and less soda, sugary drinks, diet soda or coffee drinks!

Rest

This seems obvious, but easier said than done in many cases. Make sure to create space for yourself to have plenty of rest when you get home. Hospitals are great, but not always good for solid periods of real rest. As much as you want to visit with your family or shake off the surgery and act normal, give yourself adequate time to be pampered and sleep as much as possible. Sleep and good rest are so vital for the body to heal and restore itself. Don’t cheat yourself on this one if you want a strong recovery.

Herbs for surgical recovery

Depending on the reason for the surgery, there may be some specific herbs and supplements for support. There are some general recommendations in this good article, but please check with your doctor to make sure there aren’t any potential contraindications.

Healing scars

Once the wound is completely healed, you may want to reduce the presence of the scar. I’ve used varying methods over the years. Everyone says vitamin E, but honestly, there’s not great evidence that it’s the secret to scar removal. There are many great oils that can be used, including basic coconut oil or shea butter. Here are some good remedies for scars from Dr. Axe.

Gratitude & perspective

There’s almost always something to be grateful for, even if we are sick and hurting. Hopefully it is all temporary and we can see healing and recovery progress day by day. I’ve always found gratitude to be an excellent balm that heals many wounds and post-surgery is a good time to count blessings and get perspective on things. A sense of humor always helps…

I have HUGE gratitude for the many medical professionals that got me through this relatively easy gallbladder thing. Easy is a relative term. It didn’t seem so easy the day of surgery! But my docs and all the nursing staff were truly like angels. I have enormous respect for nurses who have always been there for me in times of real vulnerability and even terror. And of course my family and friends who have all been so generous to me during my recovery, especially since I was a bit nuts for a few days…

Helping others

Once we are fully healed, we may find out that someone we know has to have similar surgery. Now that you are almost an expert on going through this, you can be of specific help to someone who is anxious or scared. Sharing your experience, strength and hope can make a huge difference to that person and help you in your own recovery in the process. If nothing else, it is a reminder that you have indeed survived it!

52 comments

Dianne D
Dianne D5 months ago

Love yourself and be patient. My pets help me heal.

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill10 months ago

thanks

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Jim Ven
Jim V11 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus12 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Twila H.
Twila Habout a year ago

TYFS

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Peggy B.
Peggy Babout a year ago

TYFS

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Anne Moran
Anne Moranabout a year ago

No thanks, I rather take pain killers,, than linger in bed 'naturally'...

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william Miller
william Millerabout a year ago

thanks

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Larry McDaniel
Larry McDanielabout a year ago

Thank you

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