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Don't Underestimate the Time it Takes to Heal from Surgery

Oct 26, 2007
My mother passed away from breast cancer more than ten years ago. She fought a valiant battle and kept much of it to herself in an effort not to burden her family. When thinking back about it I often questioned the rationale for her last surgery. She had metastatic cancer that spread to her hip and based on the advice of her doctors had elected to undergo orthopedic surgery to stabilize her hip.

She related to us that the surgeon had said she would be healed in about six weeks and that she could carry on her usual activities. In reality she never recovered, ending up in hospice care and dying soon after. Later I think the surgery took too high of a toll on her body allowing the cancer to accelerate her death. I think she would have had perhaps several months to a year to spend with her family if she had not had the surgery.

Another good friend of mine passed away a few years ago from colon cancer. He also had elected to undergo a surgical procedure that ended up weakening his body and accelerating the cancer and hence his death. I have seen this kind of thing many times in my practice. Patients relate to me that their doctors have told them that they would heal in a certain amount of time that is grossly underestimated.

Just recently I was again asked the same question about surgery. A friend's family member was facing a long and extensive surgical procedure. The friend wanted to know how long it would take to heal. The surgeon told her it would be a matter of weeks and that she could resume her normal life in a short amount of time. Considering how sick this person was and the extent of the procedure I told her that in my opinion the recovery would be much longer.

Why is the time to heal from surgery or other medical procedures so seemingly underestimated? Is it because surgeons only consider the time it takes for tissue to heal and disregard the whole person? Or is it the constant pressure from insurance companies to get people out of the hospital in record time.

I think it is a combination of both. We must consider the whole person when we estimate healing time. In my opinion surgery is a major assault on the body, mind and spirit. When the surgery is over the healing begins. We must then begin to heal on a number of levels and this healing takes time. There is the disease process to consider that caused the problem as well as the surgery performed to help to correct it. We must heal from both.

People who experience a disease and subsequent surgery need to participate in a healing program that addresses all of the levels on which we exist. There are many ways to do this. Many methods encompass alternative medicine techniques because they address higher levels of existence such as the mind and spirit as well as the idea that you must heal from within.

Here are some tips for healing from surgery.
Consider additional healing time. Your doctors will estimate the time it takes your tissues to heal but you may need additional time. There are many messages in our society that convey the idea that you can take medications to cover up pain and symptoms so that you can continue to work. You need to get in touch with your body so that you can determine when you feel ready for activities such as work.

Take nutrients. Your body may need additional nutritional support to heal. Make sure you eat healthy foods and take good quality vitamins and minerals. You may wish to work with a practitioner who is well versed in healing with nutrients.

Get lots of rest. This may seem like common sense but we live in a society of sleep-deprived people. Burning the candle at both ends can really slow down the healing process. Many people feel fatigue after surgery that is amplified with an increase in activities. Again, listen to your body and rest when you feel you need to.

Use mind-body healing. Consider using some mind-body techniques like meditation or imagery to help you heal. Your mind is a very powerful source of healing information. There are a variety of alternative medicine practitioners who can help.

Use healing prayer. Studies are now supporting the effect of healing prayer. People who feel connected to a higher power live a better quality of life. Having a connection to a spiritual community is even better than praying alone.

So if you are facing a surgery you may want to consider putting together a healing program that encompasses the above ideas. Surgery can do a lot of good and many times is the only option with dealing with a difficult illness but it is only one part of healing. After surgery the healing really begins.
About the Author
Dr. Bruce Forciea is an author, educator and chiropractor. His new book "Unlocking the Healing Code" presents a new paradigm for healing. His site:
contains more information, free newsletter, free guided imagery download and New Age music downloads.
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