Under The Knife c. 2003 Susun S Weed

The Sixth Step of Healing -- break and enter -- is one we mostly hope to avoid. But even those who prefer herbal medicine and natural healing may find themselves needing -- or wanting -- invasive procedures, including surgery, when faced with serious illness.

Doctors and nurses, hospital staff and operating room personal are well aware of the dangers of surgery, but few lay people are. It is tempting to hand one's self over to the experts. It seems they should know what they are doing. And isn't it too complicated for most of us to understand? Not really. Doctors have to know many things. You only have to learn about one: your problem, your surgery.

Before surgery of any kind, protect yourself by asking questions.

Interview the surgeon who will do the actual surgery. If you do not feel comfortable with the surgeon, for any reason or even for no reason, find another one.

Interview the anesthesiologist. Your life will be in this person's hands. Discuss the specific drugs you will be getting, including post-operative side effects.

Take a hard look at the hospital where the surgery will be done. What is its local reputation? How frequently is this type of surgery done at this hospital?

Find out specifically what will be done during the surgery. Keep asking questions, or reading, or searching the internet, until you understand exactly what you are having done.

Ask for a copy of the consent form and read it before you get to the hospital. Change anything you disagree with.

Ask your most psychic friends to be your guardians during and after the surgery.

Also, check out the pages of advice in my book Breast Cancer? Breast Health! The Wise Woman Way -- from playing music in surgery to taking supplemental zinc --for those choosing surgery.

Use all six of my Steps of Healing to insure the least harm from your procedure.

A few surgery nightmares -- not to frighten but to caution us to awareness.

Anne was told fat from her belly could be used to create a breast after her mastectomy. She discussed this with many doctors. Only after the surgery did she discover that her belly muscles had been cut from her public bone, rolled up, and inserted into her chest to create the "breast." When I met her, several years after the surgery, she was still in agony from muscle spasms in the 'breast," and still mourning the loss of her ability to sit up from a lying position.

Pat was told she would be awake for her surgery, but the surgeon decided to try a new procedure and sedated her heavily. She died several days later, without regaining consciousness.

Sally's sonogram showed a suspicious mass near her ovary. The doctor suspected cancer and urged her to have a surgical biopsy. When she awoke after the surgery, he was grinning at her. "Good news! You didn't have cancer!" Her joy quickly faded as he continued: "We took your uterus and ovaries out anyhow, so you won't have to worry in the future." She had no idea the consent form she'd signed allowed the surgeon to remove her organs at his discretion.

Modern surgery can perform miracles.

A friend whose skin cancer over ran her face was restored to normal looks by deft and amazing skin grafts and surgical sleight of hand (her chin became her cheek, her ear turned into her nose.

My mother's lung cancer was found early and snipped away, never to return.

More than one of my friends now enjoys dinner thanks to having had her gall bladder surgically removed.

With care and forethought, we can journey under the knife and return from our "brush with death" to enjoy many more years of life.

In loving memory of Peggy Goddard

Peggy Goddard


In Memoriam 
Susun S. Weed 

Hey Peggy, do you remember the day we met? You stood at the door in your overalls and said with a smile: "Call me Peggy Poot." Then you introduced me to a house and barn full of adopted animals of all sorts -- but mostly feathered types.

Then there was the day -- do you remember Peggy? -- when you made a pigeon egg omelet for us. It took more than two dozen eggs and you were laughing and cackling and telling me pigeon stories the whole time.

And, do you remember, how we talked book production? You were one of the greats; I was a know-nothing novice. You took me by the hand and taught me the language of fonts and leading, pagination, gutters, bleeds, and running heads. And, best of all, you taught me to throw paper on the floor! What freedom!

Do you remember how we did the books back then, Peggy? How we pasted and pasted and pasted, correction after correction, until we finally had Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year "camera-ready" for the printer. You were tireless, zany, intelligent, and devoted to making my book (but really every book you worked on) as perfect as you could make it. I don't know how I could have done it without you.

You told me you loved bugs, do you remember, Peggy? I always thought that's why you were Slugwoman to those addressing you though email. And while one might argue that slugs are not insects at all, nonetheless, you did love creepy crawly six-legged critters.

"I'll give you anything you want if you stay up all night and paste down these corrections with me," I begged you. Do you remember Peggy? We don't know it yet, but Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way, the book I wanted so desperately to finish that night, would be the last book we pasted up on boards. Computers were about to take over.

You disappeared from my life for a while, surely you remember Peggy? Long enough for me to write and publish Breast Cancer? Breast Health! The Wise Woman Way. Long enough for book production to shift from paste-up to computers. Our separate ways were not so separate as we may have thought, for when we came together again, to produce New Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way, we were both stronger, better, wiser, older.

You had continued your love of plants and took readily to using them more and more as you learned more while working with me. You even came to a green witch intensive one summer. I'm sure you remember that Peggy! It pleased me so much to see you taking care of yourself, to see you forgoing cigarettes and drinking, to see you drinking nourishing herbal infusions and eating well. You still makes me smile, can you see it, Peggy? Can you feel it?

I remember you as a woman who was a loyal friend. Who was there for me. Who never pushed herself to the front, frequently hid from the camera, and rarely made a to-do about herself. To hear you tell it, you never did much of anything. But when you touched someone's life Peggy, they were always better off because of it.

Do you remember Peggy?

I do.

Author's Bio: 

Susun Weed, Copyright 2012

LEARN HOW TO PREVENT ILLNESS AND HEAL YOURSELF safely and easily the Wise Woman Way. Women's health forum, FREE women’s forum, weblog, and email group. Topics include menopause, breast health, childbearing, fertility, disease prevention, nutritional advice, and cancer prevention. Visit the Wise Woman Web

Susun Weed, green witch and wise woman, is an extraordinary teacher with a joyous spirit, a powerful presence, and an encyclopaedic knowledge of herbs and health. She is the voice of the Wise Woman Way, where common weeds, simple ceremony, and compassionate listening support and nourish health/wholeness/holiness. She has opened hearts to the magic and medicine of the green nations for three decades. Ms. Weed's four herbal medicine books focus on women's health topics including: menopause, childbearing, and breast health.

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