Lupus and Surgery Recovery
Writing about recovering from surgery with lupus is particularly apropos for me, as I have undergone two minor surgeries in the last two months. Suffice it to say, it knocked me off my feet pretty hard.
But, now that I’m feeling a little bit better, I’m ready to share some of my tips and tricks for making sure your surgery goes smoothly and that you get back to your best self as soon as possible.
Be Open and Honest With Your Doctor
Before your surgery, make sure your doctor is aware of your entire medical history and the full extent of your lupus. If you haven’t been diagnosed yet and are experiencing lupus symptoms, ask your doctor to perform a lupus panel before having surgery.
This way, the doctors will know exactly what they are dealing with and if your lupus or lupus-like symptoms are active in the body. This can make a huge difference when it comes to things like anesthesia and the way you recover, so it is very important that everyone on your medical team is on the same page.
I know I emphasize preparedness in almost every article I write, but I can’t really stress it enough. Unless your surgery is an emergency, it is important that you’re both mentally and physically ready for your operation.
Although you may not feel well in the days leading up to your surgery, it is important to eat as much and as healthily as you can so your body will have a strong basis for recovery. This doesn’t mean overindulging, but simply getting the correct amount of food for your body type.
If you’re having issues digesting food or simply aren’t hungry, you can supplement with drinks such as Ensure and Gatorade to help keep your system going.
Plenty of sleep is also extremely important. It can be difficult (I know, the night before surgery I didn’t sleep a wink!), but it is important not to let anxiety get the best of you. Aside from proper nutrition, a healthy amount of sleep is paramount for promoting healing after your operation.
If you are in the hospital, ask your nurse if it is possible to get you something to help you relax. After my last surgery, I didn’t sleep the night before and was unable to go to sleep the night after due to a combination of pain and noise in the hospital ward.
That meant the morning after, I was incredibly nauseated and generally feeling even worse than I was before I had gone into surgery. It wasn’t until I had a good night’s sleep that I started to feel better.
You should also be very vigilant about instructions doctors give you in regards to food before surgery. Typically, you are not allowed to eat or drink anything from the midnight before your surgery, but sometimes drinking or light snacks can be made available up to six hours before your surgery.
If you have difficulty fasting, speak to your doctor about this so that you’re not uncomfortable. Likely, during your fasting period, you will be set up with intravenous fluids so that you stay hydrated.