It’s perfectly reasonable for you to ask as many questions as you need in order to make a choice about the surgery you’re to have and whom you want to perform it, although of course within the health service your choice may be limited to whoever covers your area.

Nevertheless it’s still acceptable for you to ask for a second opinion if you wish. Spend some time talking to the professionals (you could visit the ward and talk to the nursing staff, for instance) and gather as much information as you can about your condition and the procedure. However, if you’re one of those who would rather not know what’s going to happen, that’s also OK. Many people are afraid of what’s going to happen or who feel lost and anxious afterwards about what was removed etc. A simple diagram of the anatomy and an outline of the operation usually allays their fears. Ask your surgeon if that can be done for you if you wish so that you know what’s going on.

Before the operation the consent form needs to be signed, the operation site marked out, the notes reviewed, any allergies noted and the results of all pre-operative tests checked to make sure that you are fit for surgery and anesthesia. The anesthetist will visit you and talk to you about anesthesia and about what you are likely to experience and pre-medication may be prescribed which will help you feel more relaxed. You will have no food or drink usually from at least 6 hours before the procedure and will be taken to theatre wearing a gown, and perhaps a special paper hat and pants, and sometimes stockings depending upon the operation you are having. You will have a wrist label which will be checked along with your notes on several different occasions to ensure that you are the right patient having the right operation.

The following recommendations for nutritional healing, exercise and lifestyle, complementary therapies and emotional and spiritual healing are appropriate for the whole period surrounding surgery, both before and after the actual operation.

Nutritional Healing

Although your doctor will check that you are not anemic and that you’re generally fit for surgery, there is much you can do to ensure that you are at optimum nutritional status as far as your condition will allow. For as long as possible pre-surgery, have as good a diet as you can, full of all the natural foods you can. However, add extra sources of Vitamins B, C and E, all of which help wound healing. Zinc and magnesium are also essential to the natural healing process, so to help both your surgeon and yourself, top up these too.

Add anything you need to ensure that your immune system is on top form and set to deal with the added stress that surgery is bound to put upon you. The vitamins and minerals mentioned above can also be taken as supplements of course, especially if your appetite is poor because of your condition. Check with your doctor what you’re doing if you have any doubts. Since gingko biloba may have an effect on blood clotting, mention this if you’re taking it. If you’re anxious about your surgery, then try to ensure that you take your Vitamin B, calcium and magnesium at night to help you sleep for the few nights prior to going into hospital.

Exercise and Lifestyle

Try to keep your body and mind as fit as possible in the pre-operative period. If you’re able to exercise, great. If not, then even some simple gentle stretching will help you keep toned and will also help your body recover after surgery. Keep your mind alert too, which will not only allay your anxiety but will help you feel in control of the situation rather than a victim on whom surgery is being performed. Once you have made your choices and the decision to go ahead with the surgery, try to let go and trust the surgical

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