Despite my best efforts, as well as those of my doctors, I unfortunately had to have major surgery on my abdomen in November. While the thought of surgery was unsettling, I actually looked forward to it, excited to feel better. So, with the prospect of better living, I began to prepare myself for my procedure with the understanding that it would do a number on my body in the process.
With a surgery date that was two weeks away, I started to prepare my body by ramping up my intake of Vitamin C. I doubled my daily dosage to 2000/mg a day to help boost my immune system and help with pain. Anemia was a side effect of my condition and could potentially pose a problem during surgery; so, I included an iron supplement to make sure my blood was in good shape and avoid the need for a blood transfusion.
With my excitement to feel better also came some anxiety with a splash of fear about going under the knife. I took 11mg of CBD before bed each night leading up to surgery to keep myself calm and not stress over all the things that could go wrong.
The Day of Surgery
My surgery was scheduled for 7am and projected to take about 1-2 hours. Well, you know what they say about plans. I was actually on the table for about 3-1/2 hours. It was a laparoscopic procedure via four – 1/2″ incisions on my belly. I did well; no excessive bleeding, no complications with anesthesia.
The following 24 hours in the hospital were rough. It hurt to do EVERYTHING – walk, talk (thanks to the tube that was down my throat during surgery), sit-up, lie down, laugh, cry, even pee! With all of that, I only succumbed to narcotics, twice right after waking up from the anesthesia (Thank you, Vitamin C). I was able to mange my pain with prescription-grade Tylenol and Advil.
Let me be clear. Doctors, nurses, hospitals and even prescription drugs are sometimes necessary, and I am extremely grateful for the wisdom and compassion of my medical team. No amount of herbs, cannabis, vitamins, yoga, etc. could have done what I needed to be done that day. However, once I was over the hump, I was ready to go home and get to the business of healing.
The Road to Recovery
Once I was home, it was game on!
Surgery was not just a matter of being cut and stitched back up. My body was also affected by the antibiotics I had been given during surgery to prevent infection, the anesthesia, and the medications I was given. Yes, recovery was about my wounds healing AND it was about getting my body back on track. Here’s how I did it:
Bone Broth was one of my whole foods of choices along with fruits and vegetables for my first week post-op. I didn’t have much of an appetite, but the warm broth soothed my throat and was just enough to keep my stomach happy and provide me with some sustenance. But here’s the real bonus: bone broth contains tons of minerals and gelatin which helped to rebuild tissue, inhibit infection and reduce inflammation.
Vitamin C and lots of it! I now increased my dosage to 3000mg/day not only to help with pain, but also to help repair my cut upon, stitched up tissue. Vitamin C helped my body synthesize the collagen I was getting from the bone broth which helped rebuild my connective tissue; thus, healing my wounds.
I incorporated a high quality probiotic and miso soup into my diet. The antibiotics I was given during surgery not only killed the infection-causing bacteria, but they also killed all of my good gut flora. I needed to put the good stuff back to support my immune system.
I added a liver-cleansing herbal tincture that contained Milk Thistle to my water 2-3 times a day to help rid my body of the residual anesthesia. Milk Thistle protects the liver from toxins and helps detoxify it from anesthesia. It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Remember, I said it hurt to do EVERYTHING! That pain did not go away when I went home, and I was trying to heal my body so I knew prescription and over-the-counter pain meds were not the best option for me. The hospital sent me home with prescriptions for more than my share of Oxycontin, 600mg Tylenol and 600mg Motrin; however, I was trying to DEtoxify my liver.
As a side note: I clearly understand how everyday people end up addicted to opioids. I only took two doses right after surgery; however, anytime I was asked about my pain, I was offered Oxycontin. When I was being discharged, I was not asked IF I wanted or needed the prescription, I was asked HOW MUCH did I want. Coincidence? I think not. Anyway….
Cannabis to the rescue! The first day home was rough. The extra walking, the car ride and not having the help of the hospital equipment to move around and lift myself amplified the pain. Once I was settled, I took a mouse poop sized amount of Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) to help, and another dose that night for the next three nights. RSO is an extremely potent form of cannabis. It contains anywhere from 60-90% THC and very little CBD; therefore, it made me very high in a put-you-to-sleep-you-feel-no-pain kind of way.
As I got better and during the day when I needed and wanted to be alert, I used a 1:1 tincture of 500mg CBD/500mg THC to manage pain. This did not make me high, but more relaxed. Because of the equal parts CBD and THC, the psychoactive effects of the THC were counteracted.
The CBD and THC addressed the pain, helped me sleep and reduced inflammation. There was no need for the Oxycontin, Tylenol or Advil.
I am happy to report that I went to work on Day 7 post-op (Shhh, don’t tell my doctor). And now, almost 3 weeks post-op, pain is no longer an issue and my incisions are healed. My biggest challenge is regaining my energy levels, but I know it will come. I am still taking the probiotic and Vitamin C and will for another month before going back to my regular supplement routine. My plan is to be 100% by the time of my follow-up appointment at the end of December.
Do you have an upcoming medical procedure that could benefit from cannabis? Or, do you have a comment you’d like to share? Let me hear from you in the comments.