Recover With Intention - Pre-Op

Day 0 - Pre-Op Prep:

Surgery was one of the most humbling experiences I’ve ever been through.

I don’t think you can completely prepare for something so big. I knew it would be hard, I knew I would have good and bad days, and I knew that ultimately I would get through it.

I also knew other people would go through the same waves of emotion and challenge. So I decided to keep a log and track the successes, struggles and helpful tricks I learned along the way. I want to be the physical therapist on the other side someday and knew my patients would go through exactly what I did. So here are some helpful hints, motivation, reassurance and hopefully everything else you’ll need to prepare for surgery and recover with intention.

I started with pre-operation days leading into surgery as I mentally and physically prepared for the big day.

Here are quick helpful mental and physical tips to get ready.

Mental Preparation

Pre-op Bucket List

Set a list of your favorite things you won’t be able to do for a while and do them! It can be anything: walk along the lake, dance in a club, DRIVE, whatever you like that immobility will prevent for a while.

Don’t take your mobility for granted. Don’t take walking for granted. Because you’re about to get a huge reality check.

I gave this quote to a client before he started Chemo when he asked me what exercises he should do one day, and he said it made all the difference mentally. I said, "Get everything in you love to do that you won't be able to for a while." 
It is as simple as that. Get everything in you know you will have to avoid for a while and just accept that. Know that you will get back to it in time, but for now just enjoy everything a little bit more since you must give it up for a bit.

A switch of mentality will go a long way in this entire process, trust me.

My Bucket List:

  • HS Walks

  • Running with my dog Van

  • Squats

  • Deadlifts

  • Just being outside!

(You will get back to everything faster than you think and some, such as being outside, extremely fast, don’t fret)

Physical Preparation:

PreHab! Pre-operation rehabilitation. Of course, the PT in me will point out that the stronger you go into a surgery the stronger you’ll come out of it and the odds of recovering faster and better are in your favor. (May the odds be forever in your favor.)


For now, in general, with any surgery continue doing everything that doesn’t hurt your body. Be it your injured area or anywhere else. You will be very restricted physically for a while no matter where your surgery is while your body heals itself. And you need to let it heal. So before, do things that your injury can handle especially things that will help strengthen it after surgery.

I strongly recommend speaking with a Physical therapist, or coach/PT if you truly trust they are educated in their awareness of rehab. And help yourself by strengthening your body before the surgery. The strong you are going in, the stronger you come out. Anything that doesn’t hurt and is helping strengthen or stabilize get it in!

Anything the doctor or PT clears you for DO. Especially any rehab that can strengthen the area, DO! I have already started writing more about this and specific suggestions on this for hip prehab as that is what I have been through, but plan to launch a series on other body parts some day too. As well as hip post-op strengthening. As this series releases I will go through the weeks as I was allowed per-protocol to add things into my routine but have already begun releasing booty rehab for any cleared and interested in that head to __BOOTY By BOBBITT_.


DON’T do anything your doc or PT says not to. Don’t do anything that hurts it more. Don’t say “fuck it, I can’t hurt it worse” because really you can if you go too extreme. Which will mean longer recovery time and more work for your body to recover.

Be smart about your pre-hab and bucket list. If you don’t think you can be smart about it ask your PT or Doctor, let them be smart for you. This goes even more for after surgery, but we’ll get into that later.


Physical Daily Life Tasks:

Pre-Surgery To Do List:

  • Grocery shopping/Food prepping

  • Laundry

  • Cleaning the house/my room

  • Prep a resting space

    • Pillows, blankets, water bottles, snacks!

  • Take a shower the night before or morning of. Trust me.

    • Buy a shower seat if you have a lower body injury!

It won’t be too long before you can do some of the simple tasks in life again but it will be a while. So prepare and make it easier.

Cook some easy to heat up or ready to eat meals.

Make sure you have clean clothes

The house isn’t a disaster

Things are easily accessible such as water (get water bottles ready for when your ass is stuck to a couch), food, snack, clothes, entertainment (book, tv, journals….).


Prepare your HELP:

If you are like me and will not have one person taking care of you the whole time, prepare! Even if you do have that one wonderful person, maybe plan to relieve them a little and schedule some help or even just mental relief and company with friends.

Excel example for Around the Clock Care

This was my absolute lifesaver!!! I could not have made it through without the support of my amazing friends around the clock for weeks helping me and keeping me company.

Day of:

Tips on packing a post-op bag.

In a large enough, easy to carry bag put all the things you need to bring, and will want after. This was a godsend!! And if you can, pack a backpack or bag that can sling across your shoulder if you’ll be on crutches! Trust me.

I packed:

  • Any braces, boots or slings given to you ahead of time.

  • My surgery papers/protocols

  • A book + glasses

  • Water + electrolytes

  • Wallet (insurance card, id, CC, cash)

    • Bring cash just in case (to buy your post op meds or snacks)

  • Cards to play

  • Headphones

  • Snacks (everyone kept telling me I’d be Nauseous, and I was for a bit but then I was hungry, and they didn’t have much to offer me!)


And last of all just remember. The more you’re prepared before the smoother it goes after, physically and mentally. They are professionals, you will be fine before, during and after the surgery. And you WILL be back to normal in no time. Just be patient and embrace every day and challenge that comes your way because soon they will be far behind you.