meditation for surgery recovery

Using your mind and the power of meditation to recover from surgery is one of those concepts that sounds completely possible to me.  But the testing of whether or not meditation would help with surgery is not an experiment I wanted to take on unless stuck having surgery.  So when I ended up with a November 1st 2010 surgery for a double hernia, I knew this was my “lucky chance” to be a human tester of the power of meditation to heal from surgery.

From the moment I was diagnosed with a double hernia, I was searching for the fastest way to recover.  All roads led to Dr Cattey in Wisconsin as the expert of his field.  In a stroke of luck, my insurance allowed Dr Cattey so I quickly made plans to see the best in the country at sports hernia surgery.  Just because I was prepared to use my mind to help heal my injury didn’t mean I wanted to ignore the intelligence of using the best doctor available!

6 days before the surgery it dawned on me that I could use the Hemi Sync Surgical Support Series to help with my recovery.  I think it is obvious that your thinking determines your life.  I wondered if my thinking DURING the surgery, if properly led, could reduce the time to recover from hernia surgey.  So I called up and had the CD series rushed to me.

Hernia surgery is not trivial.  It is somewhat like a male version of a c-section without the baby.  Your stomach gets sliced open, stitches ensue in all the areas of your stomach that are ripped up, and then you are stitched back up.  The recovery process involves 30 Percoset painkillers over 10 days.  The plan is to be numb to the pain while you heal up some, and then start some basic walking and light treadmill exercising.

The Hemi Sync Surgical Support Series has 3 exercises to be used the day of the surgery:  Pre-Op, Intra-Op, and Recovery.  While at the hospital prior to the surgery, I listened to the Pre-Op as directed using my iPod player.  I had created a playlist called “Surgery” that had all 3 tracks that I was supposed to listen to during my stay at the hospital.

The Pre-Op exercise put me into a very deep and relaxed meditative state.  This is normally easier said than done before a surgery that requires anesthesia.  But I was extremely calm and relaxed.  My only anxiety was to emphatically tell everyone at the hospital to make sure to move my ipod playlist to the appropriate tracks at the correct times during my stay there.

A typical conversation with anyone on the hospital staff:

Scott: Hi, I’m using meditation to recover from surgery faster.

Staff: Whatever helps is fine with us.

Scott: You HAVE TO TURN TO TRACK 2 WHEN I GET GASSED!

Staff: Ok, ok, but I’m not going to be in the room with you, I’ll pass it along.

This happened at least 4 times.  Me, intently insisting that whoever I was talking to move the ipod to track 2.  The staff person graciously telling me they would pass along the instructions to the right person.  I became temporarily obsessed and probably came across like a meditation cult member.

Eventually I communicated the instructions to the anesthesiologist and Dr Cattey.  They were supportive and with that I relaxed and passed out.  I do recall hearing some parts of the meditation which I re-listened to so I could communicate this blog better.

Very quietly and in the background I would hear instructions that the upcoming surgery was beneficial and helpful.  I would also hear that I should not attach significance to the pain impulses from my nerves today.  I thought that was an interesting approach – telling my brain “Hey, you know how you listen to the nerves tell you when you should feel pain?  Don’t do that today, its not pain, its for good.”

My continued obsession with communicating the surgical ipod instructions must’ve paid off, because I awoke to track 3, post-op.  My first inclination was to ring for the nurse because I was antsy to leave asap.  It wasn’t an anxiety or discomfort with the hospital.  I just kept coming back to the feeling that surgery was over and it was time to go home.

The benefits of using meditation to recovery from surgery were already becoming clear upon check-out.  We had left the hospital around 45 minutes after the surgery was completed!  Normally people haven’t even woken up from the gas yet.

When I got home, I had 30 Percoset painkillers to take over the first week or so.  The plan is to take 1 every 4 hours for pain, up to 3 a day, for 10 days if you need to.  I ended up taking 2 the first day.  The 2nd day I took 1 pill, and it was more because I was stuck on the couch bored, not so much the pain.  And then that was it, the pills were put away because I just didn’t feel any pain.  Less than 48 hours after surgery, no pain at all!

I still had very limited mobility and things were extremely vulnerable and fragile in the area.  But there was no constant, nagging pain, and I could walk around slowly without any resistance at all.

Within 2 weeks I was on the ellipitical at the gym. 3 weeks after surgery I was running on the treadmill.  One month after surgery doing high intensity interval runs on the treadmill for 40 minutes.  Today, 6 weeks after double hernia surgery, I just smoked my friend at racquetball this morning.

I realize every surgery and situation are different.  I am always of the opinion that doing everything I can to help myself succeed is the intelligent choice.  Being in surgery in a deeply relaxed state, with instructions to help you heal faster, seems like something that would help me, and it did.  So if you are looking at using meditation to recover from surgery, there is only upside to using the Hemi Sync Surgical Support Series.

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