My Top Favorite Things to Promote Breast Surgery Recovery
Yesterday I covered the things you can do to prepare for surgery – today I’d like to share with you my list of my top favorite things to promote breast surgery recovery. I have personally tried all of these and found that they worked wonderfully well.
In the Hospital
Whether you are recovering from mastectomy, lumpectomy or breast reconstruction surgery, there will be incisions to heal. The body requires protein to heal properly and if you’re a vegetarian, that can pose a problem.
If you can, have a friend bring you some homemade soups, salads, stews made with fresh organic ingredients while you’re in the hospital mending because that would be much better than the processed food most hospitals serve.
1. Protein – since you probably won’t be able to get organic meat in the hospital (or if you’re a vegetarian), your best bet is to have a good quality protein powder that you can mix into juices or soups. If you need a suggestion about the best one, contact me.
2. Arnica – you can take this in homeopathic pills, a cream or a gel but it’s great stuff for limiting surgical bruising and pain. Don’t miss out on this one! See Useful Links for a good brand.
3. Goji/Wolfberry juice – I had my husband give me this as soon as I woke up from surgery. Research shows that it helps to decrease healing time, increases the body’s own antioxidant systems which will be needed to increase immunity (remember the hospital is the best place to get infections!), helps promote sleep and elimination of toxins from the anesthesia. Eliminates the need for vitamin C. There are only two brands I recommend, watch this video to find out why.
4. Essential oils – to promote the healing process, decrease pain and the chances of infection, limit bruising and increase oxygenation to the healing incisions. I used PanAway, a remarkable essential oil blend of helichrysum and wintergreen. Since your incisions will be covered, just apply the essential oil to the areas you can access – the oil will migrate where it is needed. Just be aware – some nurses might frown on this (I did this by myself in the bathroom!).
Healing at Home
5. Sleep – once you’re home it will be easier to get some rest! Sleep is the absolute best way for your body to heal itself. Don’t feel guilty about getting some extra sleep – you need it right now.
6. Continue 1, 3 and 4 above – in addition to PanAway, try Lavender for its superior skin healing qualities and ability to relax and promote sleep.
7. Keep stress levels down - too much stress can slow down the healing process. Keep stress levels down by taking time out to meditate. If you can learn to visualize your body healing itself, it will happen that much quicker.
8. Bromelain – an enzyme found in the stems of pineapples, useful for reducing post-op swelling. It acts as an anti-inflammatory and boosts the immune system to reduce pain, bruising, and tenderness. It is a natural supplement that works the same way as Ibuprofen, the well-known over-the-counter drug, the only difference being that bromelain will not harm your liver.
Reducing Scar Tissue Adhesions
I had the latissimus dorsi flap breast reconstruction so had a sizable scar on the left side of my back just under my shoulder blade. I had a friend massage cypress and wintergreen essential oils around the edges of the scar (while it was healing) and into the incision itself after it had healed. Cypress increases circulation and wintergreen is a natural anti-inflammatory and decreases pain.
After about 8 weeks post-op, I had my massage therapist do some cross-fiber massage over the scar to reduce adhesions which could limit my range of movement. I still get that done 8 years later because adhesions tend to cause trouble even this far down the track. Gentle stretching of the arm above the head (yoga is wonderful) also helps quite a bit. I created a video to show others how to do the massage procedure.
The important thing post surgery is to stay positive and relaxed, and let nature run its course. Remember, your body is adept at self-healing. It knows how to repair itself. All you have to do is give it the proper nutrition, relaxation and good circulation.
I send my love to everyone taking this journey right now. If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.