The surgery was unavoidable. Two disks in my lumbar spine were compressing the nerve that controls the quadricept muscle in my right leg and I could no longer lift my knee or ankle. To add insult to injury, I was in excruciating pain. It was the kind of pain that left me either screaming or whimpering. Pharmaceutical pain medications were unavoidable. The surgery was May 4th. I am delighted to report than I am pain free and ir was a huge success. To say that I’m lucky is an understatement. Gratitude leaks out of every pore. No more pain and freedom of movement!
While that’s all wonderful, the back story is about how to rebalance one’s health after the hospital. Don’t get me wrong, hospitals and doctors save lives. But today, we live at a time of pharmaceutical protocols irrespective of their harmful side effects. When a patient is in pain, the first (and welcomed) action is to administer pain killers. And when I was in pain, I was happy to receive them! The problem though, was that I became so sick from all the pharmaceutical interventions that I had to be readmitted to the hospital for extreme nausea and vomiting.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because after 10 days of suffering, I realized that the traditional, pharmaceutical-based ‘cures’ were the culprit and I stopped all the painkillers, muscle relaxers, sleep aides and laxatives that had been sent home with me and I began taking only high-quality, high-potency refrigerated probiotics and the herb Boswellia Serrata* (a powerful herbal anti-inflammatory) along with a lot of organic chicken broth, unsweetened, organic apple sauce and other soft, cooked, organic food. I also took senna (an extraordinarily effective herbal laxative; Swiss Kriss is my favorite brand) to help with the opioid induced constipation. It took about 3 or 4 days before my body began working properly and the nausea began to subside. It was only then that I healed very fast.
In my opinion, reducing inflammation is one of the keys to surviving surgery… in fact, it is the key to living healthier and longer. Inflammation causes pain and, more importantly, causes changes in the body that lead to ill health. It is well acknowledged by all the major traditional and alternative research facilities such as Harvard, the National Institutes of Health, Mayo Clinic, and the NCCIH and more that inflammation is the underpinning of ALL disease. Yes, from arthritis to dementia and cancer, inflammation is present and a causative factor in the development of those dreaded diagnoses.
There are two approaches to reducing inflammation. The first is and always will be, the way one thinks; how you react to the ups and downs of life. But that is another article. The second way has been known since the days of Hippocrates, and is through food. The food you eat will either help you heal and be healthy or help you suffer. You get to choose.
Back at the hospital, the first (liquid) meal offered after the surgery was an inflammatory nightmare of non-organic apple juice with added sugar (pesticides and sugar), jello (sugar and chemicals) and boxed chicken broth (chemicals and GMO ingredients in most boxed non-organic broths.) Breakfast the next morning was bacon (processed meats are KNOWN to cause cancer) and powdered scrambled eggs (a processed form of a healthy food.) To eat those foods would have caused an inflammatory response resulting in more pain. Rather than eat their ‘non-food’, my son brought me organic, plain applesauce (no added sugars or sweeteners) and organic boxed chicken broth. Both are healing for the gut. This was the first step in my healing, followed by the changes I made as discussed above.
Please understand that I am not saying to refuse treatment at the hospital. When I was in pain, I was happy to receive whatever they gave me. And the anesthesia and antibiotics are part of the process. What I am saying is that there are things you can control. I want to empower you so that if you, or anyone you know, is going for surgery, or is in chronic pain, you understand that the sooner you can remove medications, chemicals & processed foods and replace them with nourishment the body recognizes and craves, healing happens and it happens more quickly. The effect of these pharmaceutical medications and processed foods on the human body is such that they can keep you sick for weeks or even months – or a lifetime. Being aware of less harmful alternatives may save you untold suffering.
Be a Savvy Senior. When you’re ill or have undergone surgery, make sure to feed your body food that will help rebuild itself and ask your doctor which meds are really essential and which are not. Replace pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories with Boswellia*, Turmeric (with 95% curcuminoids and piperine) and White Willow Bark **.
* For those of you unfamiliar with Boswellia Serrata, it is a form of frankincense and has been used in India for millennia to treat arthritis as it’s a powerful anti inflammatory. Check with your doctor before starting boswellia if you have a history of gastro-intestinal problems. It can also interact with certain other anti-inflammatory drugs. Do NOT take it (or recommend it) to anyone pregnant. Just because it’s an herb, does not mean it is not a potent medication.
** White Willow Bark is from the willow tree and contains salicylin from which acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) is made. It is far less harsh on the stomach than aspirin and generally safer to take when needed.
Click here for more information on herbal anti-inflammatories from the National Institutes of Health.
This article is intended for informational purposes only. If you have any questions or are considering any recommendations, please consult your health practitioner.