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Dr Bill Booker preparing for surgery

Preparing for Surgery: Pre-Op Tips For Faster Recovery

Editor’s Note: This blog is the first in a series on Dr. Bill Booker’s journey to recovery after a severe hip injury sustained more than three years ago. Surgery was delayed while Dr. Booker tended to his injury through a series of treatments, but ultimately the injury could not be repaired without a surgical procedure. Dr. Booker will be documenting his recovery process through this blog series.

As many of you know, I rang in the new year by having hip surgery on Jan. 4, 2016.

I am really pleased with the way recovery is going, and I believe that preparing for surgery — along with my post-op regimen — is the reason that my doctor is so astounded (really! astounded!) by the pace and progression of my recovery.

Despite the speed with which I’m recovering, the journey will last several months and involve several rehabilitation techniques. Rehabilitation began before the surgery ever took place, so I wanted to tell you some of the ways that I spent my time getting ready to go under the knife.

I was preparing for surgery for quite some time leading up to the actual event. Many people may not have that luxury, but regardless of the timing of one’s surgery, there are several steps that everyone should consider during the pre-op process.

These steps are very similar to the advice we give people for overall healthy living, But when dealing with a potentially life-altering event like surgery, I stress them even more. Some of these steps my seem unconventional. Some may be easily mocked, but in combination, they are extremely effective, and I am here to stand by them.

  1. DIET

I celebrated New Year’s Eve with a couple of cocktails and a great evening with friends. But the morning after signaled 72 hours before the big event so it was time to get serious. I discontinued sugar. I mean NO refined sugar and NO foods high on the glycemic index (that includes dairy, flour, rice, sugary drinks and fruit juice).

My reason: Sugar is an inflammatory agent. Your body will be fighting inflammation following surgery so start the anti-inflammatory process ahead of time.

In addition, I increased my water intake to at least a half-gallon a day, and it’s better to drink more if you can tolerate it. All chemical reaction in the body take place in a fluid environment. Those chemical reactions are far less effective when you’re dehydrated. Hydration flushes inflammation, detoxifies the body, and provides an environment for healing and regeneration.

Also, I upped my protein intake. The body looks for protein to repair damaged tissue. I increased protein by adding three protein shakes a day. I use both the I5 and Liver Cleanse, which are both an organic and vegetarian source of protein.

Added to all this was my little diet trick: The addition of Collagen Hydrolysate, a powder supplement that I put into my protein shakes. Collagen is what your body uses to repair joints. The hydrolysate form is easily absorbed and processed in the body. It is beneficial in replacing the synovial fluids between joints and secondarily to repair and build cartilage weakened by overuse through impact and stress. Our bodies are made up of 30 percent collagen, 70 percent of which is found in the connective tissues of our joints.

  1. EXERCISE

My exercise program consisted of two parts: gym training and FlexAware, which you’ll be hearing more about soon.

Gym training was composed of the good old-fashioned strength-training workouts, with a focus on core stabilization. The reason to work so hard on the core: If you increase your metabolism, you will increase your rate of healing.

Many of you have not heard of FlexAware (think “flexible” and “being aware”). FlexAware is a low-force style of exercise that focuses on re-establishing normal movements with a full, fluid range of motion. These movements are conditioned through proper breathing techniques. FlexAware is powerful, the benefits are immediate, and the results are long lasting. When you are injured, you move in an incorrect fashion, in an effort to avoid pain. FlexAware helps train the body to rediscover complete and proper movements.

We are offering FlexAware classes at Capitol Rehab of Arlington with FlexAware founder Steven Shafarman.  Anyone with a chronic injury should strongly consider signing up for the FlexAware classes.

  1. MINDSET AND OUTLOOK

This is often the most overlooked and easily mocked part of any treatment or recovery program. I mentally prepared for my surgery for months in advance. I did research. I spoke to several people who had the same or a similar procedure. I organized my living environment to be more compatible for a person in recovery.

Most importantly, I knew I was going to recover fully. And I was going to do this through thorough preparation, and obsessive compliance to the rehabilitation program ahead for me.

I think you will come to see in future posts that the combination of nutrition, exercise, and mindset are far more powerful than many of us of ever thought.

1 thought on “Preparing for Surgery: Pre-Op Tips For Faster Recovery”

  1. I love your tip to increase water intake to at least a half-gallon a day to help the chemical reactions take greater effect. My sister’s eight year old son may need surgery on his foot, and they want the whole process to be as painless as possible. I wonder what other things can make a patient more comfortable before and after the procedure.

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