Preparing for Hand Surgery – Thumb Arthroplasty



Hello Ahimsa Lifers!
Well the time has come, I am going to have Thumb Arthtroplasty in just a few weeks.
If you are a follower of The Ahimsa Life you know I have struggled over the years with Diverticulitis, Micro Colitis (Specifically LC) and Arthritis. Arthritis seems to be very common in those of us who suffer from an IBD, and to make matters worse I spent much of my career working with my hands.

I have arthritis in both thumbs. I have had cortisone injections in both hands for years, I caved in and started taking NAIADS as well, but having an IBD, it might have helped my hands but it irritated my LC (Lymphostetic Colitis) so I had to stop taking them. I have done braces, ice, heat creams and more. My doctor has been offering me the surgery for about a year now, and I really just didn’t want to do it. Last year I tore a tendon in my right thumb and was in a cast for 6 weeks, the memory was fresh and I did not look forward to being in a cast for that long again.

Fast forward to today, well, I changed my mind. Long story short, over the last year the pain has gotten worse and nothing seems to be helping.

Knowing what its like to be in a hand cast so long, I am starting my preparations for both surgery day and after to make things easier. Here are my tips.

Surgery day –

Wear sweats, not leggings. They say be comfortable and last time I went in I wore a big sweatshirt and some leggings. I was thinking the leggings would be good since there was no zippers or buttons to have to fasten and they just pull on. Was I wrong! I still needed help getting them on because they are so darn tight, they do not seem tight at all when you have two working hands. This time I am opting for a loose pair of sweats, easy to pull up on my own.

As for the sweat shirt – The arm hole barley fit over my dressing. The soft cast you leave with is bulky, really bulky, you are sore and swollen. This time I plan on wearing one of my work out tanks with big loose arm holes and bringing this nice blanket scarf I just recently purchased in case I get cold. Its just like wearing a blanket, I got mine on Amazon for $25. I love it and wear it all the time.

Shoes – you will not be able to tie your shoes, you can have some one else get them on for you and tie them, but this time I will just wear a pair of slip on indoor/outdoor slippers I have for tooling about the yard.

I don’t bring my purse or any thing important. I give my husband my id and insurance card to hold. Last time I didn’t even bring my phone. This time I think I will, but only because I want to up date all of you on the procedure and want to take pictures. Speaking of which, I plan on posting here, but if your going to get this procedure done there are quiet a few Youtube videos up of people who have had it done.

Once you are home –

You are going to want to take it easy. I created a deep clean list for the house for the week prior so its all clean and pretty when I get home. I am the kind of person who, if there is a mess tends to want to get up and clean it. So, doing this in advance will help me relax once I get home.

On that note, I am pre making some food for the freezer. I tend to cook for every one here since I enjoy it so much, and with one hand its not going to be an easy task, between every one pitching in and the premade meals it will be much easier to get through these 6 weeks of recovery and be able to eat healthy home made cooking instead of eating out.

Showers – I went to Walgreens and purchased a cast cover that just pulls on to keep my cast clean and dry when I shower. You still can’t really shower like you could with two arms, but it makes things much easier. Last time I toyed with wrapping it in saran, or tying a garbage bag around it, but those tend to be sloppy and hard to handle, and I ended up getting the cover at the very end instead of messing with a DIY project every time I wanted to shower – its worth it. Here is another option on Amazon.

Hair- OK, so if you know me, you know I used to work in  the hair industry, and I like to do my hair every day. I decided this time around to prebook appointments with my hairdresser to get my hair washed and styled at least every week. My normal routine is wash dry and iron, and I will not be doing that on my own for the 6 weeks of recovery.  If you are a wash and go person, and if you can do your hair with one hand, then no need, for me this is a spurge, but I think it will make me feel better.

Lots of sweats and easy clothes – I cleaned out my closet yesterday – part of my deep clean to get the house ready for after surgery and took the time to pull out easy clothes to wear while in the cast. Getting every thing together before hand will really help.


That is what I have doen so far, I will make sure to update after my surgery and during the recover process. If you have any thing to add to my prep list I would love to hear it.




Juice of the Week – Ginger tummy tamer

This recipe is easy to whip up on those days when you are not feeling your best.

Pineapple is loaded with amazing enzymes that help with inflammation, they also help boost digestion.

Vitamins A, C, E and K as some of the nutrients found in papaya. The fruit is also a rich source of folate, potassium, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and dietary fiber.

Ginger- we are all familiar with mom bringing us a ginger ale when we were sick, but whole Ginger is much better for you. Ginger reduces inflammation in a similar way to non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen. It also can help with motion sickness and morning sickness.

Over the years of battling my IBD I have tried many things. Here is my favorite safe nutritious way to clam any upset stomach.

Ginger Tummy Tamer

3 cups pineapple cut into cubes

2 cups Papaya cut into cubes

2 inch piece of Ginger


Make sure you wash all your ingredients prior to prepping them for this recipe. Toss them in your blender till smooth and enjoy!

Tip – I like to freeze a baggie full of the ingredients so its easy to pull out and blend when I need it, you can thaw it out as much or as little as you like, blending frozen make a great slushy texture.


Healing Macrobiotic Tea

I have not been feeling well at all. I have been sticking close to home, so the rest of my symptoms have been easier to deal with. I just had a GI appointment, and while waiting for my next colonoscopy I just kept thinking there is no way I have tried every thing, so I looked for some new books to read on the subject.

This weekend I read not one, but two books on gut issues. I read A New IBS Solution Bacteria the missing Link in Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome by Mark Pimentel M.D.

And Controlling Crohn’s Disease by Virginia Harper


I don’t have Crohn’s, I have never been diagnosed with it. But since some of the symptoms are same ones I deal with, I thought it might have some things I could try in the book.

In Controlling Crohn’s Disease, Virgina Harper, suffering greatly one night calls up Michio Kushi, talks to his wife and gets a recipe for a healing tea, which he says will sooth her inflammation and help start healing her digestive system.

After reading about Virgina’s story I felt It was definitely worth a try.

First off – the ingredients may not be that easy to come by.  I eat mostly vegan,  so they didn’t seem too weird to me, and I knew exactly where to find them. If you have a natural foods store or a Whole Foods near, you will be able to find what you need. Other wise you can order from Amazon.

I started drinking the tea today, I will update you on my progress, but I wanted to get the recipe out in case any one wanted to try it along with me.

Macrobiotic Healing Tea

1 Umeboshi Plum chopped into small pieces

1 heaping teaspoon Kudzu Root

3 to 5 drops Shoyu

1 cup Water

Directions Dissolve Kuzu in 3 tablespoons water. Pour mixture into saucepan with 1 cup water and Umbosi Plum. Bring mixture to a boil over high flames stirring constantly. Reduce flame to medium low and simmer until mixture becomes thickened and translucent. Remover from heat and add Shoyu, gently stir, drink while hot.

I will update soon with how its going, I would love to hear from you as well.