As someone who has now undergone over 50 operations, I am accustomed to bouncing back after both minor and major surgical procedures. As i’ve just recently had a larger operation, here are my hints and tips for how to recover or keep yourself occupied during your recovery.

Before Surgery

Whenever I have surgery, I always increase my training to the point where I think ‘Oh thank goodness….a rest has arrived!’ At the same time, I also spend my time getting everything into place so my recovery is much easier - whether that be preparing food ahead of time, taking things down from shelves for easier access or sorting through my inbox.

Stage 1 - REST!

Now if you’re reading this, it could mean a couple of things: 1 - You’ve just had surgery and you’re bored, 2 - You’ve completely been hooked by the title or 3 - Your’re about to have surgery. If number 3 is you, please please please ensure that you rest after your surgery.

I say this from personal experience as straight after my first amputation, I was back in the gym after just a few days. While I was not in any pain, I failed to recognise that my body needed the rest from the anaesthetic and the trauma of an operation. Be prepared for the first few weeks to just do absolutely nothing - i’m sure your brain and body will appreciate a rest after the build-up to surgery!

Stage 2 - Active Rest

This is the stage where the anaesthetic fog starts to lift and you can tolerate the company of others without falling asleep or being in agonising pain. Perhaps this is the stage where you start to become somewhat bored or fidgety. To keep yourself occupied, here are some activities that you can start to think about:

Stage 3 - The Danger Zone

This is the wonderful stage where you are starting to feel better and perhaps back to normal, which is the most dangerous stage. Speaking from personal experience, it’s very easy to think ‘Oh I can do that, no problem’ or ‘my doctor said 3 weeks off but after 2.5 I feel fine and that’s okay.’ Now stop!

Taking extra time to recover may feel frustrating but aftert needing a further 2 amputations due to silly errors during my danger zone recovery section, take the time - you’ll easily make it back!

Stage 4 - Back to Normality

Perhaps you can start getting back to your gentle activities - a few miles of walking or running, a swim, some yoga. Again, be very careful in this stage not to push it too hard. Instead, take the time to perhaps take care of your body in a better way than before surgery, most likely through stretching.

I’d reccomend following your surgeon/physio/doctor’s reccomendations with regards to recovery and just stick to the programme. When you’re ready to fly, you’ll know it.

Stage 5 - Did I really just have 6 weeks off?!

Before you know it, you’ll be back in the swing of things and flying through your next training block. The weeks that you spent recovering will feel like it went in the blink of an eye and you’ll be back stronger, fitter and ready to conquer your next challenge.

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Jamie Gane

Teacher of Mathematics from Basingstoke

Age group: 25-29

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