The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Healing (Part 2)
It’s been six months since my second robotic procedure on my kidneys. I just got the results of my MRI and was given a clean bill of health. What a relief after a long, challenging journey.
Who even thinks about their kidneys? It all came down last summer at the Jersey Shore. A few hours after my weekly 10-mile run along the boards I felt discomfort on my left side. For the next three hours I was writhing in bed in off-the-charts pain. Then, suddenly it stopped. The same thing happened a few months earlier, but at the time I dismissed it as a reaction to food.
That night I felt fine. But, the next afternoon I experienced a repeat bout along my left side. It was the 4th of July weekend and I was away. I was between doctors and considered going to the hospital. But I was in too much pain to drive. After six hours of flopping in bed and on the floor, the pain subsided again.
The next day I found a new doctor and set up an appointment. We met and he scheduled a CT scan. Afterwards he told me that I had a kidney stone. Okay, at least I now knew the cause of the pain. Then he added that they found a growth on each kidney that needed to be removed. Although the two tumors were not aggressive, they had to go. Operating on the kidneys can be a tricky undertaking. They are critically important organs and quite vascular. The procedures needed to be handled by a top robotic surgeon. Fortunately, I connected with a top surgeon and immediately got on his calendar. I wanted to take care of this issue without delay.
The next three months consisted of numerous tests, blood work, and a procedure to remove the kidney stone prior to two robotic surgeries. My world was turned upside down and my future was at risk. Although I know now that I was blessed with this diagnosis of opportunity, at the time I was caught off guard and relatively clueless about the procedures and the long healing process. I’ve blogged about my two surgeries, which were both successful. But they were no walks in the park. Over the past six months I’ve learned a lot about myself, how western medicine works and the importance of fully participating in the healing process. It can really make a difference. My results have been stunningly successful, so I’d like to share my thoughts with you in case you ever need a serious operation. Here’s what I’ve done and what I’ve learned over the past six months.
The good and the bad – Let’s start with the good.Modern western medicine is unsurpassed for surgical procedures. The advent of robotics has taken modern surgery to a new level of efficacy and expertise. Sure, I have a few scars on my abdomen from the procedures, but my swelling has diminished almost back to normal. I’ll still need another six months to get back to one hundred percent, but I am at about ninety percent now. That’s pretty good following two surgeries and one procedure to remove the kidney stone. And, there is a ninety-eight percent chance that I will remain free and clear for the rest of my life. Although I lost some kidney tissue, everything is functioning perfectly. My doctors saved my life.
The bad news is that I’ve never gotten any answers about where the growths came from, how long they had been in my body, or how I could prevent a recurrence. I was given some information on pain management, but beyond that, I’ve been on my own. Another downer was that after my second surgery I had serious swelling on the right side of my abdomen. I asked about it, but I wasn’t given any helpful information whatsoever, beyond “it usually goes down, but not always.”
Take control of your healing.
Once you step outside the hospital, you are on your own. I understand the demands on doctors, so I set my own personal six-month plan for healing. Six months, especially in a cold winter, can seem like a long time, but like anything else, it passes. And if you consistently care for your body, mind and spirit each day, you can do wonders.
Take it slow and steady.
We live in a go-go society so it’s easy to get sucked back into a frenetic pace of life as if nothing happened. You’ll have to take charge of this and not let yourself get over-tasked while you are healing. Do whatever you can to manage your work and pace yourself. This is your health and your life we are taking about.
Although friends and colleagues will be supportive, they have their own lives to lead. They will quickly forget about your situation and turn up the pressure. Don’t take this personally. It’s up to you to manage expectations and your workload while on the mend.
Manage your exercise and diet.
After three separate procedures with anesthesia and post-surgical painkillers, my body felt bloated and toxic. I cut out the painkillers as soon as possible, and got plenty sleep the first few months. I also kept a clean diet, making sure to avoid processed foods and alcohol. In January I embarked on an eight-day juice fast.
I took a walk every day, and after ninety days began a light exercise program on the elliptical trainer. After five months I began running, although my time was snail-like. To my surprise, I handled that first six-mile jog around Central Park’s outer loop without discomfort or soreness afterwards. I still haven’t reached at my fighting weight, so I recently embarked on a second organic juice fast to purge the remaining toxins from my system.
I’m almost back to my pre-surgical weight and my energy level is sky-high. I cannot stress enough the importance of creating and maintaining an ongoing healing plan while mindfully paying attention to how your body feels each day during recuperation.
Try Reiki, meditation, and visualization.
The spirit also needs nurturing during the healing process. Our personal connection with the Divine Self is our most important and powerful tool. Use it. I practiced visualization to reduce my swelling, meditation to enhance my mood and feelings of peace, and conducted self-reiki sessions for general stress relief and emotional release. It has been miraculous.
Use your time wisely.
What goes into our minds is as important as what we put in our bodies. Over the past six months I’ve read spiritual and self-help books, fine-tuned my life plan, added to my Guy’s Guy brand platform, and am finalizing a new marketing venture that is about to launch. I am in a good place mentally and raring to get started.
Surround yourself with good energy and love.
This past six months has given me a unique opportunity to get to know my young son. I feed him, change him, put him to bed, read to him, and take him for walks in the park. This time has been a blessing and I am grateful to this wonderful gift. My wife has been amazingly generous and supportive, also. I could not ask for more of a blessing than this.
The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Healing (Part 2)This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is… robotic surgery. I think we can fit it into the Guy’s Guy credo of “when men and women can be at their best, everyone wins”. This relatively new technology is saving and bettering lives every day, and it’s only going to improve. I could not find one individual cited for developing this new surgical technology, so we’ll give a shout out to robotic surgery itself and the doctors who use it to save lives.