Doing an elective surgery it is an excellent opportunity to really prepare for the experience. The better shape you are in physically and emotionally, the quicker you will recover. It doesn’t mean dropping 10 pounds or going on a marathon workout program. It means getting yourself ready in the best way you can so you can bounce back and enjoy your post-surgical self.
One of the easiest and most important steps is to stop alcohol and any other recreational substance at least a couple of weeks away from your surgery. Alcohol and it’s related sugars are a source of inflammation in the body and you want to reduce that as much as possible so your body is primed to heal. Inflammation itself it a part of healing but you don’t want tax the system by having it deal with external sources.
Some people are going to say that they’re nervous about what they are about to go through and that the cocktails help them through that. It’s a very easy thing to say. The question is, how much are you willing to sacrifice in the short term for benefits in the long term? How well can you allow yourself to prepare your body to go through a temporary shock?
Many people use prescription medication in the same way. A little pill here, a little pill there, to regulate the rollercoaster of daily life. It’s important to be completely honest with your surgeon and patient coordinator about anything you are taking because there can be untold consequences to mixing medication with anesthesia. The sooner you can step back from this kind of dependence, even if for a short time, the better your surgical outcome will be. It’s not something that can be quantified; you just need to know deep down that this is a practical truth.
Sugar. You know where this is going. Sugar is one of the most serious culprits of inflammation. Can you be honest with yourself about what your intake really looks like? If you enjoy a piece of chocolate in the afternoon or evening, or to relieve a bit of stress, we aren’t talking to you. But the fact is that sugar is lurking in so many things we allow ourselves to eat. It’s not just downing a soda or sport drink; sugar is in bread, peanut butter, and kale chips just to name a few. Sugar is being put in the most unimaginable places and by consuming even small amounts in everyday foods, even foods we perceive as healthy, we are fueling our constant desire for more.
Addressing sugar is a much larger issue than just the immediate preparation for surgery but it is definitely something to confront when you are planning an elective surgery. Are you willing to give up a short-term, immediate gratification moment for the larger goal of doing your surgery in an Olympian fashion?
And it’s not just sugar. Take a look at your whole diet. If you are taking the initiative to improve your body through surgery, take the time to see what steps you can take in other areas. Take this time to raise the bar, even at small increments each day. Use this reboot as a time to discard some old habits and acquire some new ones that are better for your health and well-being.
Check in on your sleep. Do you have good habits regarding getting rest? Do you watch TV long after you know you feel tired? Are you staying up late to work and get that report off since you are taking some time for yourself soon? Do your best to keep a regular schedule. Regulate your system and your entire body with regular meal times and regular bedtimes. It’s simple stuff but this is a just a reminder.
You can think of your surgery as going into battle. You want to get it done and get back to enjoying life as quickly as possible. If you can, develop some good new routines along the way. So check in on every possible level and see what you can do to better prepare. See what you can shift and improve. Plan where your post-surgical meals are going to come from and plan to eat well during your recovery. Drink more water than you think you should so your tissues become super hydrated and can bounce back. Take time for that walk or workout you skip to do things for others, whether it is for work or family. Take this time to be your very best self and keep that going after your surgery.