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The Surgery Coach: Mind-Body Preparation for Faster, Better Recovery
(Simple, Practical Techniques for Patient, Family and Friends)

Recover faster from Surgery and feel better sooner with this easy-to-read guidebook to naturally enhanced self-healing:

Recommended by surgeons:

“This book is great – and very well referenced. Thank you for that detail!  Will feature in an upcoming “e” or newsletter.
Christiane Northrup, MD”

“Wow! Great book!  I am very very impressed….I think we are thinking along the same lines…..God that must have taken you forever to write!  Strong work…..well-documented and referenced and a good read.  I will be more than happy to refer patients to you…..
All good things,
Andrew Mirhej, MD”

“Joe Casey presents a very comprehensive discussion to assist patients to prepare themselves better for surgery. Surgery, whether relatively minor or more major, is a concern for most and is frequently accompanied by fear and anxiety. This book offers a generous variety of suggestions ranging from a well-referenced academic approach to psychological and spiritual perspectives. Pre-surgical preparation as described in this book will help allay patient apprehension and promote a favorable surgical outcome.”
Stan James, MD

 “As you prepare yourself or a loved one for surgery, take heed of the invaluable information in the following pages to remove the obstacles to a successful surgery. Practice the exercises to relieve your mind of unnecessary fears; provide your body with the raw materials it requires to do its job of recovering and healing; trust in the ability of your body to respond and heal; invoke the participation of spirit; invite your loved ones to care for you; empower your surgeon and surgical team; and heal on all levels of your Being… The most important message in the following pages is that if you only try a few of the methods of getting ready for your surgery, you will still be way ahead in improving your outcome, and in learning from the extraordinary opportunity that your surgery offers.”
Judith J. Petry, MD, FACS (From the Foreword)

Would You Like to Know How to…
* Heal faster and more fully?
* Feel safer and more confident all the way through?
* Need less medication to be comfortable?
* Minimize hospital errors and hospital-caused infection?

 Surgery is an event that we do better at when we prepare actively. This applies to all kinds of surgeries, whether ‘major’ or ‘minor.’ It helps sometimes to think of it as the mind-body equivalent of a sports event you are training for. The information applies to all kinds: plastic and cosmetic surgery, gastric bypass, eye surgery, heart surgery and others. You will have your own surgery coach to help you make your journey as safe, comfortable and successful as possible.

This groundbreaking book is a bridge between medicine and the expanding world of natural wellness. You don’t have to choose one or the other. They work together. Recent research shows that surgery patients who engage in even one or two of the natural practices in the book have significantly better outcomes in these ways:
* Shorter hospital stays (1.5 days sooner in studies)
* Lower anxiety and stress
* Greater comfort, less pain and need for medication
* Faster incision healing
* Lower incidence of hospital infection
* Minimized possibility of error and complications
* Better overall result – feel better faster
* Lower out-of-pocket expense
The exact information you need to promote yourself into the ranks of the best-healing patients.
You will learn:
* How to increase your comfort levels throughout the process and reduce your need for pain medications afterward.
* Two ways to ensure you stay anesthetized during the operation.
* How to shorten waiting time before the operation and how to make the most of any waiting period that comes up.
* One sure method of avoiding nausea during and after the operation.
* The seven key factors in healing faster, shown by research, and how to use them effectively.
* The single most important factor you need to know to recover more fully.
* Three vital things to know to stay unstressed, even calm, through the entire process.
* Eight different strategies to strengthen your immune system and raise your own powers of self-healing.
* Two crucial things to lower your risk of mistakes and other adverse medical events.
* How to make healing allies of your surgeon and anesthesiologist.
* The secret of why some patients heal faster than others.
And it’s simple
* Easy to read. Every suggestion is explained clearly.
* You will easily learn how to help yourself.
* Well documented: every idea proven to work in published studies.
* Easy to choose from the menu of helpful actions.
* A checklist of questions to ask your doctor and anesthesiologist.
* Endorsed by surgeons.
The key is knowing the right things to do – the ones that have been proven to work most effectively.
The Surgery Coach provides a selection of well-researched techniques that support both your doctor’s work and your goals. Choose one and you will benefit. Choose two, three or more and become a model of recovery. Your doctor might even ask you to advise and coach other patients because your recovery was so remarkably swift and successful.
You’ll find out the best things to do for yourself, why to do them and, most important, how to fit them into your life. Available from amazon.com by clicking here.

Surgery is a major event. It deserves extra attention.  For those interested enough in the subject, there are a lot of good clues in what follows and in other material here.  Many clinical studies have shown that anyone facing surgery, no matter how major or “minor,” can improve the likelihood of a successful outcome with certain non-medical techniques.
A recent comprehensive review of the mind-body literature relating to surgery stated: “Several hundred studies involving thousands of patients confirm that relatively simple behavioral interventions prior to surgery can demonstrably improve postoperative outcomes in such measures as reduced need for pain medication, shorter hospital stays, less blood loss, and fewer surgical complications.”
Dreher H, Mind-Body Interventions for Surgery: Evidence and Exigency, Advances In Mind-Body Medicine 14, 207-222, 1998.
I have made a study of which “interventions” or techniques actually make a difference. I’ve written a book, The Surgery Coach: Mind-Body Preparation for Faster, Better Recovery
I work with people before surgery to help them be emotionally ready, by releasing unnecessary fears and concerns, by visualizing the entire event, and seeing the positive outcome. The purpose is to help you be in the best possible state. I am able to do this by phone or in person.
Many doctors are in favor of patients helping themselves with methods that bring them to the hospital in top form. Doctors and staff know that when patients enter the hospital in a high, positive state, they are more likely to do well. The entire surgical team is happier when patients are mentally, emotionally, and spiritually tuned up. Why? They know that well-prepared patients do better.

 Hypnosis and Imagery before Surgery
I have made two recordings on CD that embody the results of the major research:  Before Surgery and Healing After Surgery or Injury, available here.

There are good reasons to like Guided Sessions
Out of all the things you can do for yourself, the top performer – or very close to it — is hypnosis, or guided imagery. Discovering the evidence, some of which is summarized below, convinced me to study hypnosis in order to help more effectively.
Guided imagery, also called hypnosis, has been studied in hospital settings for over 25 years, now more than ever, as hospitals are realizing that their patients can get better faster. The cumulative research shows that recorded suggestion programs are effective for:
* Increasing immune function.
* Increasing natural killer cell activity.
* Lowering complication rates.
* Reducing and stabilizing blood pressure.
* Lowering anxiety, promoting peace of mind and relaxation.
* Less pain, greater comfort.
* Lowering need for pain medications.
* Reducing depression, raising mood.
* Lowering cholesterol and blood glucose levels.
* Minimizing blood loss during surgery.
* Reducing effects of chemotherapy, especially nausea, depression, and fatigue.

Clearly, you can get good results from a recording. The individual sessions that I do are tailored to the person’s concerns, so there is, I believe, even more benefit, even on the phone.

From an MD hypnotist’s perspective
One of the pioneers of complementary surgery preparation, Neil Neimark, MD, says that basic relaxation techniques, by themselves, are not enough. A surgery is a stressful and demanding body-mind event requiring preparation and training, like an athlete getting ready for a game, he writes. Athletes don’t just relax. They also train, preparing mentally and physically, building up strength and stamina. Dr. Neimark cites a review of the latest research showing “that the best outcomes from pre-operative mind/body interventions are derived when the intervention involves specific ‘training’ of the body and mind.”
Neil F. Neimark MD, Mind & Body: The Newsletter for Health and Healing, Summer 2002.
He delivers the “training” he refers to in a recorded hypnosis session containing specific suggestions of the body’s responses and comfort level. Dr. Neimark has made an excellent tape containing specific suggestions based on the research. He provides a pre-surgery session that instructs your body how to act during and after surgery. The research shows major improvement in results when the patient has received specific instructions, as compared to simple relaxation. http://www.mindbodymed.com/
Here’s Dr. Neimark’s quick summary of why to listen to a recorded pre-surgery preparation:
“Recent studies verify that listening to a properly prepared guided imagery cassette tape prior to surgery can bring about positive post-surgical outcomes in patients, including:
1. decreased blood loss during surgery,
2. decreased length of stay in the hospital and
3. decreased need for post-operative pain medication.
Additional benefits for many patients include improved wound healing and decreased anxiety.”

And please consider owning my book, The Surgery Coach: Mind-Body Preparation for Faster, Better Recovery. There’s a post with that title here.

Science Daily    Tue Aug 28,2007

Hypnosis Reduces Pain And Costs In Breast Cancer Surgery

 The use of hypnosis prior to breast cancer surgery reduced the amount of anesthesia administered during the operation, the level of pain reported afterwards, and the time and cost of the procedure, according to a study published online August 28 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Breast cancer surgery patients often suffer side effects such as pain, nausea, and fatigue during and after their operation. These complications can lengthen their hospital stay, lead to hospital readmission, or require additional medications–all of which increase medical costs. Several previous studies have suggested that hypnosis may reduce pain, recovery time, and the need for medications after surgery.

Guy Montgomery, Ph.D., of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and colleagues conducted a clinical trial to examine the effects of hypnosis when it is given within one hour before surgery. Two hundred women were randomly assigned to either 15 minutes of hypnosis by a psychologist or a control session in which they spoke with a psychologist.  The researchers then compared the use of pain medications and sedatives during surgery, as well as the levels of pain and other side effects reported afterwards. The hypnosis session began with suggestions for relaxation and pleasant visual imagery. The patients were also given suggestions on how to reduce pain, nausea, and fatigue, and instructions on how to use hypnosis on their own. Patients in the hypnosis group required less anesthesia than patients in the control group. They also reported less pain, nausea, fatigue, discomfort, and emotional upset after surgery. They spent less time in surgery (almost 11 minutes less), and their surgical costs were reduced by about $773 per patient, mainly due to the time savings. “Together, the combination of potential improvements in symptom burden for the hundreds of thousands of women facing breast cancer surgery each year and the economic benefit for institutions argues persuasively for the more widespread application of brief presurgical hypnosis,” the authors write.

In an accompanying editorial, David Spiegel, M.D., of the Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, Calif., describes the history of hypnosis in medicine and the evidence for why hypnosis could reduce pain.  “It has taken us a century and a half to rediscover the fact that the mind has something to do with pain and can be a powerful tool in controlling it … It is now abundantly clear that we can retrain the brain to reduce pain: ‘float rather than fight,'” Spiegel writes.

References:

Article: Montgomery GH, Bovbjerg DH, Schnur JB, David D, Goldfarb A, et al. A Randomized Clinical Trial of a Brief Hypnosis Intervention to Control Side Effects in Breast Surgery Patients. J Natl Cancer Inst 2007;99:1304-1312

Editorial: Spiegel D. The Mind Prepared: Hypnosis in Surgery. J Natl Cancer Inst 2007; 99:1280-1281

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

  Number of Inpatient Procedures  (2004)

   National Center for Health Statistics

 

  Total number of inpatient surgical procedures performed:   45.0 million

 Number of selected procedures performed:
-Arteriography and angiocardiography using contrast material: 2.1 million
-Cardiac catheterizations: 1.3 million
-Endoscopy of small intestine with or without biopsy: 1.1 million
-Computerized axial tomography (CAT scans): 828,000
-Diagnostic ultrasound: 813,000
-Balloon angioplasty of coronary artery or coronary atherectomy: 664,000
-Hysterectomy: 617,000
-Reduction of fracture: 667,000
-Endoscopy of large intestine with or without biopsy: 596,000
-Insertion of coronary artery stents: 615,000
-Coronary artery bypass graft: 427,000-Total knee replacement: 478,000
-Total hip replacement: 234,000

Source:  2004 National Hospital Discharge Survey, table 8 

More Data

Discharges with at least one procedure in non-federal short-stay hospitals, by sex, age, and selected procedures, 1993-1994 and 2003-2004 Health United States, 2006, table 99 

Rate of all-listed procedures for discharges from short-stay hospitals by procedure category and age  2004 National Hospital Discharge Survey, table 9 

Source: National Center for Health Statistics                        http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/insurg.htm

Nine Rewards of Having a Support Team for Your Surgery 

Why do you need a Support Team for any and every surgery? In a nutshell, you will do better, feel better and recover faster. Having support lowers stress and speeds recovery and total healing. Hospital patients receiving personal support do better by every measure: less pain, less need for medication, lower stress and shorter hospital stays. This is a time when it is appropriate to allow yourself to receive help.  

What does a Support Team do? Anything and everything, ranging from everyday household tasks to being with you in the hospital, looking after your interests. The purpose is to keep your stress level as low as possible. Everyone can act as a healer just by picking up a strand for a friend. Plus, the more people who believe in you doing well, the larger your aura of wellness.   Asking friends for help offers them an opportunity to be of genuine service. Don’t mind the ones who don’t accept. Give thanks for those who do.  

Who Do You Need?  

1. Someone to go with you to meetings with your doctors, take notes, help ask questions and maintain your calm, balanced state of mind.When you visit the surgeon’s office with an optimistic friend or two or more, you shift the expectancy of doctor and staff so they believe you are going to do well. 

2. Someone to take you to the hospital and be with you before your operation. 

3. Someone to help you get settled when you come out of recovery.  

4. Someone to stay with you in your room, in 2-4 hour shifts, most or all of the time, while you are in the hospital. What do they do? –Reassure you and nurture you as you wish.–Keep the caregivers optimistic about you by enlisting them in the reality of your excellent recovery..–Have a list of your medications, make sure there are no errors, and question if there’s a change. –Keep you from getting steam-rolled by something the staff wants to happen that might not be in your best interest.–Guard you against being awakened unnecessarily. –Provide the foods you need, the tape you want to hear, the aromatherapy you want, the healing aids you’ve brought with you.–Keep your energy from being drained by visitors you don’t really want. 

5. Several someones to be with you at home recovering but not completely self-sufficient. Help at home is crucial. Your team should be able to keep anyone away from you who wants to demand your attention. Your recovery period will go faster if you have few social visits that require you to speak, or even listen to casual conversation. Your energy is best directed to healing. The best possible people for the above roles are your most sympathetic friends, calm and outgoing, with caring, nurturing qualities. Their first job is to engage with hospital staff on your behalf, so they have to be willing to ask questions and say, “Hey, is that supposed to happen?”  

6. People to clean house, put dinners in the freezer, help with driving or take care of children, take care of pets, paint the house, and so on. Make a list of the things you’d like help with and give the right task to the right person.  

7. Several people who agree to think of you positively, pray for you, meditate on your healing, or whatever they like, around the time of your surgery. As many as you like from wherever they are. No travel time needed. Prayer has been clinically proven to improve recovery, so encourage even a commitment of a couple of minutes.  

8. Find as many talented healers as you can. Some hospitals are now providing access to Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, Massage Therapy and the like, which lower stress and increase immune function.  

9. Ask for a healing circle. It can be as easy as friends gathering around you for a few minutes of healing intention. Before your surgery, the group emphasizes relieving stress and worry, plus holding positive thoughts about your good prospects. For a circle after the operation, the emphasis shifts to healing the physical trauma and the emotional wear and tear from the whole adventure. Keep in mind that you are deserving of attention and care at this time. Your job is to be receptive. Allow it in. 

The above is adapted from the book, The Surgery Coach: Mind-Body Preparation for Faster, Better Recovery, by Joseph Casey. Available at www.TheSurgeryCoach.com. 

…A lot more than just about anyone can imagine. The bottom line is that every aspect of recovery is positively influenced by preparation. The most bang for the buck is finding ways to release fear, stress, worry, and related negative emotion. These matters are in your hands. The docs do not have the time, training or inclination to help patients prepare.  Once you know what a difference you can make, the only thing left to do is find out how.   A popular T-shirt reads: “If I had known I’d live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”  Same thing applies to surgery. If you’d rather recover quickly and feel better sooner, it’s possible, but you have to take care of yourself.  Those who seek, find.

 

Patients do well to think about how to own their power in the medical system.  It is more considerable than you might imagine.  It seems a miracle that some hospitals are finally offering Reiki, massage, music therapy, and other ‘complementary-alternative’ adjuncts. But this has not happened because doctors said they wanted it.  Patient demand has been the key, along with increasingly enlightened nurses working clandestinely. Patient evaluation forms are the most powerful force bringing the entry of mind-body-heart practices into hospitals. This collective power derives from individuals owning their own power over what happens in hospital. When enough individuals know that they can ask for something, that something will soon happen.  When enough of us ask hospitals to think about how to improve results by advising patients to engage in a ‘complementary’ practice, they’ll do it.  Hospital food will be the subject of a post all its own.

 

Americans have been well trained to comply with the authority of doctors. That model is crumbling, but retains lots of footholds. I still see reasonably enlightened people completely lose their senses when illness comes, surrendering all knowledge to the doc. When we respect what docs can do, yet understand their limits, and when we know and use our own resources, that’s when things go best.

A rich harvest of scientific studies in the last 15 years has demonstrated the effectiveness of mind-body techniques, or complementary wellness methods, to help bring about faster, better recoveries from surgical procedures. These practices have been shown to help surgical patients in all the ways that doctors usually measure: shorter hospital stays, lower costs, fewer complications, lower rates of infection, less pain, and less need for medication, as compared with control groups. There will be more about these practices and the studies in future posts.    Mind-body-heart practices also seem to help in ways doctors don’t measure, such as quality of life, mood, relatedness. outlook, and contentment, to name a few.

 The biggest antagonist to healing is stress. Until recently, it wasn’t well understood how stress affects healing.  This excerpt from Science Daily speaks volumes:

Scientists investigating why wounds heal more slowly on patients who are stressed have found that psychological stress can increase the levels of some hormones in the blood. These hormones can slow the delivery of certain compounds – cytokines – to the site of the injury to start the healing process. But if the process is slowed at the beginning, the wound will take much longer to heal, posing potentially serious consequences to patients recovering from surgery. “There is a lot in the medical literature suggesting, if possible, that a patient should not be under stress before surgery,” explained Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State University. “Stress, depression and anxiety prior to surgery have all been associated with poor surgical recovery.”[i]  

Researchers Learn How Stress Slows Wound Healing, ScienceDaily, July 28, 1999

Source: Ohio State University. Article at: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/07/990728073743.htm

 

 Here’s a passage from my book, The Surgery Coach: Mind-Body Preparation for Faster, Better Recovery:

“Surgery takes place on many levels. It is a multi-layered event. On the physical-mechanical plane, doctors in modern hospitals are doing a good, often great, job. It would be nice to pretend that’s all there is to it, but that is not so. We all have feelings, emotions, worries, hopes, doubts, thoughts both dark and light, uncertainty, and more. We know intuitively that healing happens best when we feel safe and nurtured, when our anxieties are comforted and our souls honored. Rarely, though, does a surgeon address the non-medical issues. Sometimes family practitioners do, but by and large, spiritual, psychological, and emotional questions don’t get a lot of time in the short interviews we have with doctors these days. They are under pressure to see more patients in less time and must deal first with the strictly medical issues. If your doctor takes an active interest in your inner well-being, engaging with you about how you feel, consider it a big plus. If you have a doctor who recommends a course of mind-body preparation and suggests who and what might help you, consider yourself fortunate to have such an enlightened physician.

The more usual case is that we must rely on our own resources for preparation and recovery assistance that is not narrowly medical. These entries are intended to help bridge the gap by suggesting useful things to do, how to go about doing them, and what sort of people to talk to get the assistance you want.” www.thesurgerycoach.com

  

Even if your surgery is outpatient or relatively “minor,” you can help yourself by preparing yourself mentally. Studies of people going in for “minor” surgery show heightened heart rates and other signs of anxiety as great, or nearly as great, as patients going in for “major” surgery. One thing remains true: the better prepared you are, the better you are likely to do.

Joe Casey’s home site is www.wellnesscoaching.net

The following letter from a client describes her process. Everyone would benefit from doing it as she did. She was very very nervous about it at the start.
  
Joe,
I wanted to follow-up after my recent surgery and thank you for you surgery 
coaching.  It was so helpful.  I thought it might be helpful for you if I wrote 
something about my experience.  Feel free to use this text however you'd like.  
Thank you so much for all of your help!
Megan K
 
I recently underwent surgery to have fibroids removed from my uterus.  The 
procedure was laparoscopic.  Four incisions were made in my belly, a camera  
and other tools were inserted, the fibroids were dissected from my uterus, 
shredded, and removed through the incisions.   Five fibroids were removed from
 my uterus, and one of them was bigger than a grapefruit. My surgery went so 
well.  I attribute this to all of the things that I did before and after the surgery to 
prepare myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  This was possible 
because of my session with Joe Casey and the guidance in his book, which I 
read and followed.  
Prior to my surgery I has a session with Joe Casey in which we worked on my 
fears around undergoing anesthesia, being given drugs I might react to, and 
other fears.  He used Emotional Freedom Technique and by the end of my 
session I no longer held these fears.  He also gave me some really helpful 
concrete tips of things I could do including gathering a support team, having 
a Reiki session, and asking my doctor to say healing statements to me during 
my procedure. 
 He also told me some things I didn't know about anesthesia, which were really 
helpful. I did a lot to prepare myself in the weeks after that session.  I read 
The Surgery Coach and did the things that felt right to me:  I brought my sister 
with me to all of my appointments with the surgeon, so that she could listen to 
what he said and help me remember what he told me.  I also wrote it down. It 
was nice to have her there with me.  I brought a list of questions for my 
surgeon, including questions from the book.  I found a surgeon I felt really 
comfortable with and that I trusted.  I found an anesthesiologist I felt comfortable
 with and trusted.
 I emailed all of my friends and family and let them know that I was having 
surgery and that I would need some help afterward.  I gathered a support team 
for the hospital - someone to be with me when I was admitted and to be there 
when I woke up, someone to bring me healthy food, someone to advocate for 
me having my herbs and vitamins, someone to bring me decorations. Afterward
 I stayed at my mom's house to rest and recover for a week and she was 
available to cook for me, go to the store for medicine, and help me with anything
 I needed.  It turned out I didn't need much help.  I also took several weeks off 
work to make sure I had time to recover well.
I had a Reiki session about a week before my surgery to help with stress.  I had 
an acupuncture session to help my body prepare for the trauma of the surgery.  
I also had an appointment with my naturopathic physician who prescribed 
arnica for pain and multivitamins, iron, and other herbs for the week before 
and the weeks after my surgery.
 I used the Healing Response Statements from the book and said them aloud 
to myself daily for two weeks before the surgery.  I asked my anesthesiologist 
to say healing statements from the book to me during my procedure.  She did 
this for me.
 I used the guided imagery for self-healing after my surgery to visualize my
 body healing well. I listened to Joe's CD titled "Guided Imagery and Relaxation
 Before Surgery" every night for two weeks prior to my surgery.  I listened to 
Belleruth Naparstek's CD titled "Successful Surgery" every night for two weeks 
after my surgery.  I asked my anesthesiologist to play my tape of soothing music 
in my headphones during my surgery and she agreed.
I ate the foods recommended in the book, especially leafy greens, chicken 
vegetable soup, raw veggies, fresh fruit, meat, yogurt and blueberries, before,
 during and after my surgery.   I drank LOTS of water after my surgery.  I took 
many of the supplements listed in the book before and after my surgery and 
consulted my naturopathic physician as well.
 I got someone to bring me food in the hospital so I didn't have to eat the hospital 
food.   I got lots of sleep.  I went running and did other exercises right up until 
the day before my surgery so that I would be as strong as possible going in. 
I knew my surgery and recovery would go well, but I had no idea that they 
would go as well as they did.  My surgery went so well.  As I was being 
admitted I was in good spirits.  I enjoyed interacting with the prep nurses and 
my surgeon and anesthesiologist.  I was afraid that I would be afraid as I was 
going in, but I wasn't.  Not even for a moment.  I was looking forward to my surgery!  I got rolled into 
the operating room and noticed all of the fancy equipment that was going to 
be used on me: TV screens, monitors, etc.  As I was going in, I thought of 
my support team, friends, and family, and I thought of my peaceful garden 
retreat. 
When I woke up the surgeon and anesthesiologist both came to me and said, 
 " You did great.  It went very well."  They both also commented about how big 
the fibroids, which were removed, had been.  I had not needed an open 
procedure.  They were able to do the whole thing through the small incisions. 
 I had also not needed a blood transfusion, because I hadn't bled that much 
and my hemoglobin levels were high, probably because of all of the blood 
building I'd done with iron and foods prior to my surgery.  This was all good 
news and I was really pleased.   I hada reaction to coming out of the anesthetic 
state and was shaking and very uncomfortable for about 20 minutes, but that 
passed quickly.  Apparently it had been a very difficult procedure, which took 
about four hours.
 In his report the surgeon wrote "postoperatively, the patient did extremely well."
 I had an epidural so I really had no pain when I woke up.  Friends and family 
visited and called that evening and the next day.  I was feeling pleasantly tired 
and relaxed, although I wasn't on any sedatives or pain medication at that point. 
  I slept well in the hospital.  I had two Vicadin tablets while I was in the hospital 
and other than that, I didn't need any pain medication.  I was able to drink and 
eat by the next morning, so my IV was taken out.  My bowels started moving 
and I was able to urinate right after the epidural wore off.  My surgery happened 
on Friday afternoon, and I was able to go home on Saturday.  That night at home 
I was able to climb stairs and the next day I was able to go for a 10 minute
 walk.  Each day after I was able to go on alonger walk.  Over the next week I 
rested at my mothers house and spent my days eating, sleeping, taking my 
supplements and some Advil and going for walks.   I was in very little pain.   It 
hurt me to sneeze, cough, and laugh and my stomach muscles and uterus hurt 
when I moved in certain ways, but the pain was minimal. Three of my incisions
 healed really quickly and one got infected, but it’s healing now.  In the three 
weeks after my surgery I've been able to go hiking and walking.  I started
 jogging again, gardening, and returned to work.  At the three week mark I don't 
have any pain.  I've followed up with acupuncture and Reiki sessions after my 
surgery as well.  I've been taking good care not to overdo it, but I'm so pleased
 at how good my body feels.
 Megan