Preparing for Surgery

Updated: Feb 22, 2020

There’s a lot you can do prior to getting surgery, from preparing your body for the inevitable tissue trauma that occurs (no matter how small the incision), to supporting a speedy and optimal recovery. I share here a short version of what to consider when you’re contemplating, getting ready for, or recovering from surgery.

Some key points I'll cover -

How to:

1) Prepare yourself physically and emotionally to efficiently cope with any trauma and/or toxicity of surgery…thereby improving wound healing*

2) Educate yourself regarding what supplements and herbs to avoid that may be counteractive to surgery

3) Protect and nourish your healthy cells

4) Promote wound healing, lymphatic drainage, and liver and kidney detoxification (from anesthesia)

5) Facilitate muscle and fascial release and recovery and restoration of Qi/energy balance

* Stress affects wound healing

(These recommendations are taken and adapted from the book The Breast Cancer Companion that I co-authored with Dr Barbara MacDonald)

Feeling Ready

If you’re contemplating surgery, it's important to check in with how you’re feeling about it. Stress affects wound healing, so it’s important that you feel physically and emotionally prepared. Feeling prepared and as relaxed as possible prior to the event can do wonders for your experience and your recovery. Here’s a list of questions to ask yourself (or a loved one) if you are preparing for a surgical procedure.

  • How’re you feeling about this surgery?

  • Do you have any fears? What are they?

  • Do you have any prior experience with surgeries or anesthesia procedures? How did that go for you?

  • How do you anticipate being affected by the surgery, what is your desired outcome?

  • Do you have any known allergies to anesthesia or pain medications?

  • Do you feel you need any anxiety-reducing natural supplements or drugs?

  • Would a guided meditation help you before your surgery?

  • Would you like family members to be present at the hospital with you?

Obviously the type of surgery makes a difference.

Getting a root canal may feel less fear-provoking than getting a mastectomy. Both are significant procedures, but the mastectomy has many added complications; longer time for recovery, higher potential for post-surgical infection, bleeding, clot formation, pain and musculoskeletal asymmetry. The emotional impact of having to let go of a breast adds greatly to the impact of the mastectomy.

Take the time, either with a health-care practitioner or a loved one, to anticipate and examine your emotions. By doing this, you can greatly reduce post-surgical traumatic stress. Make sure you understand the surgical experience and what the day of surgery will look like for you. Mentally walk yourself or have someone walk you through the procedure to prepare for what’s to come.

Click here for a guided meditation that can support you


1) Presurgical Cleanse – if you have time, you can help yourself immensely by following an individualized detoxification or cleansing program. This will enhance your body’s vitality and strength before you undergo surgery. A cleanse prior to surgery will also increase the chances of proper and efficient wound healing and support your body so that you recover more quickly.

Are you ready for a cleanse? Are you motivated enough to consider making changes to your diet? Make sure you’re not overwhelmed already, and that you have the means to properly prepare your meals. If contemplating a cleanse is too much, making healthy substitutions for unhealthy foods is a great place to begin.

There are many different types of nutritional cleanse programs you can tailor to your needs. Here are some basic suggestions that are effective in supporting and detoxifying the body.