What I learned about the rehabilitation and recovery process after my surgery

Published - May 06, 2022

What I learned about the rehabilitation and recovery process after my surgery

By Paulette Deckers, BCH, of Deckers Hypnotherapy

As a board-certified hypnotherapist, people come to me for many different reasons, most of which involve individuals seeking to understand their emotions or identify ways to better respond during difficult challenges or struggles that they may be experiencing.

I consider myself to be a strong and educated person. As a therapist who works with people who struggle with anxiety, fear and grief, I thought that I had a pretty firm grip on my emotions. Then again, I think that is the funny part about life. Just when we think we have it all under control, we are thrown a proverbial curveball.

This past January, I underwent surgery for a total knee replacement. Even though I had watched all of the videos, spoken to people who had gone through the procedure themselves, and talked at length with my surgeon, I was taken aback by the process of recovery. Here is what I discovered on my own journey toward healing:

  1. While it is important to educate yourself on what you may experience during your period of recovery and rehabilitation, know that you may not have all of the information that you may need to address your worries and concerns. It is OK not to have all of the answers ahead of time. You will learn things as you go along the process from beginning to end, and that is perfectly normal. It is simply a part of the journey.
  2. Mindset is extremely important to your recovery. Why? For starters, if you can keep a positive mindset during your healing process, you will heal quicker and you will potentially encounter fewer complications. Our minds are very powerful — the thoughts that we think and the suggestions that we put in our mind will make a difference in how our bodies heal and recover from any procedure. This is especially relevant during any physical therapy that we may go through. It can be helpful to engage in deep breathing exercises or meditation to raise energy levels.
  3. Be patient with yourself as you travel this road. We often have very high expectations about how we think that we should be healing or recovering from a surgery or an accident, but there are many variables that we cannot control. Our bodies will heal at the rate that they need to heal and will recover at the rate that they need to recover. The best thing that you can do is to keep your chin up and to try to do the best that you can do on your daily physical therapy and self-care routine.
  4. Listen to your body – your body does not lie when it comes to how it feels. You may have heard this from your physical therapist. There are different kinds of pain – the kind of pain that will indicate that what you are doing is not OK, and the type of pain that can be worked through. Listen to the signals that you hear, and trust your mind and body to know the difference.
  5. Take care of yourself physically. If you need rest, take it. If you need to be active, listen to that part of your body that is getting restless and needs to experience some sort of physical activity. This also goes for your mind and heart. If you need to have a heart to heart with a friend to get some worries and fears out of your mind, call them. If you need to vent to your physical therapist, they will listen and give you feedback as to how to let that worry or fear go so that you can move forward. They care just as much about your recovery as you do.
  6. Make sure that you are getting plenty of quality sleep – I cannot stress this enough. If you are not getting good sleep, this will slow down your recovery and will not help at all with the positive mindset that you need to heal. Speak with your doctor if you are having trouble sleeping due to too much pain.
  7. If you are encountering issues of any kind throughout your recovery, know that there are caring professionals available to help you. There are counselors, therapists and people like myself who will work with you to overcome any mental roadblocks that may be holding you back – all you need to do is reach out.

What I learned the most from my personal journey of self discovery along the road to healing and recovery is that I am human. I am going to experience moments of pain, I am going to feel doubt, and I am going to be hard on myself. Along that road, however, I also discovered my own personal strengths to get through those tough moments. I learned how to dig deep to find moments of small progressions toward recovery, and I learned that I don’t have to do it all on my own. There are a lot of people who care about you and who want you to succeed, including your doctor, your physical therapist, your friends and your family. You do not have to walk this road alone. I wish you all the best on your own road to health and happiness.

Start the journey back to your best self today – click here or call 425.316.8046 to request an appointment at your neighborhood IRG Physical & Hand Therapy clinic. Washington is a direct access state that allows patients to self-refer to physical therapy. Learn more about IRG Physical & Hand Therapy’s service offerings here.

Visit DECKERSHYPNOSIS.COM to learn more about the services provided at Deckers Hypnotherapy.