Your Health Detective: September 2014

A Doctor’s Experience after Plastic Surgery for Removal of a Mole Went TERRIBLY WRONG…

Let’s face it. No one wants surgery. Going under the knife is scary, not to mention risky with all the onslaught of antibiotic-resistant bacteria floating around in surgery centers and public places. No one wants surgery, however, when it’s necessary, the following is what I found helps the most for a speedy recovery.

Thankfully, with natural intervention, you can reduce discomfort and healing time. The following is what assisted me recently when having what should have been a “routine”  small mole removed on my arm (the size of a pencil eraser) and then plastic surgery for the basal cell carcinoma that was diagnosed. That “routine” surgery ended up developing into a serious antibiotic-resistant infection known as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), also known as flesh-eating bacteria.

If any surgery site or wound looks like its infected, have it checked immediately and insist on a culture BEFORE you agree to a standard full-spectrum antibiotic that may not be the correct one for your infection. The prescribed antibiotic for me was the wrong one and the surgeon refused to culture the site even when infection was “exploding” from the surgery site on my arm. He insisted that if the infection wasn’t resolved after the full course of antibiotic then he’d culture it to see which antibiotic was indicated for that infection…I still can’t believe the arrogance and that he was gambling with my health and life.  

I took matters into my own hands and had another doctor culture the site and it was what I suspected, MRSA. YOU are in control of your own health and healing, don’t allow anyone to dismiss your symptoms or bully you because you request a test he/she is not willing to do at that juncture. Had I waited to have the surgeon culture it after the round of the wrong antibiotics, I hate to think what could have happened. I share my personal experience in the hope it can help educate and save you from a similar one.

Vitamin C is a necessary antioxidant and important in healing because it helps you make connective tissue, or collagen. It is also a good immune booster and helps fight infections and bacteria. It even wards off staph infections—a common and serious complication of hospital stays and surgery rooms. To assist recovery from my plastic surgery fiasco on my forearm, I not only took high doses of oral vitamin C (2,000 mg twice daily) but also had I.V.’s at an integrative medicine clinic.

Yes, good nutrition is imperative for proper wound healing. Immediately after the injury or site of surgery, the wound site has an increased level of free-radicals that are ready to invade your immune system. According to Life Extension, your body in response to the wound reduces blood loss to prepare for healing. Then, lymphocytes and other immune cells arrive at the site of the wound and clear damaged debris, engulf and digest unhealthy bacteria. The long term healing begins afterward by the skin forming new collagen, which is the basis of the scar tissue that forms.

Vitamin C generates collagen and provides that extra strength and stability to those important collagen fibers. As an important antioxidant it fights against free-radicals that are health-depleting to overall health. Yes, you can normally get a good dose of vitamin C from your diet of fresh fruits and vegetables like citrus, strawberries, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes and broccoli. However, after surgery its best to also supplement with a good professional quality high potency vitamin C powder. For a link to the professional vitamin C powder I use and recommend in my practice, CLICK HERE. Be sure to take it in warm water and drink through a straw to avoid damage to teeth enamel.

Vitamin A is not only good for eyesight, it also helps wounds heal faster. The epithelial cells form a layer of skin as well as the outside surface of cells that form skin and veins. In order for epithelial cells to form, the body needs vitamin A. The liver effectively stores a good supply of vitamin A absorbed from foods and it converts it to usable forms. Foods rich in vitamin A include; cod liver oil, butter, egg yolks, and bright orange vegetables like carrot, spinach, kale, pumpkin, squash and sweet potato (yams).

Zinc reduces healing time. It also makes some of the enzymes your body needs to repair injuries. Zinc helps decrease wound size, makes protein, and boosts your immune system to fight off infections. Deficiencies are pretty common so make sure you’re taking it before and after your surgery. You’ll find the highest doses of zinc in seafood, beef, spinach, and pumpkin.

Bromelain: This plant enzyme in pineapple helps with swelling and repairs tissue damage. Bromelain is like NSAIDs without the liver damage and other scary side effects. It reduces bruising and tenderness. Surgery patients who take bromelain need less pain medication than those not taking the enzyme.  It is easily available at your natural health store.

            Vitamin B’s

B1: Breaks down carbohydrates and proteins and a deficiency of B1 results in less collagen production needed for wound healing.

B2: Supplies oxygen to cells and produces antibodies to prevent infection while assisting to heal burns and wounds.

B3: Used to treat a severe deficiency called pellagra caused by malnutrition and a deficiency also results in slow wound healing.

B6: Used for enzyme function to break down proteins and then use the amino acids for growth. Proteins help in regrowing vessels and forming collagen necessary for wound healing.

Be sure you understand the difference between a vitamin B complex and a B-50 or B-100. In a complex there are very small amounts of each B. In a B-50 or B-100 it is a full complement of each B – all in the same amounts along with the recommended amount of folic acid for best utilization, which is 400 mcg. Most adults benefit from a B-100 if they weigh over 150 pounds. Be aware that vitamin B’s can disturb sleep if taken late in the day. Therefore, take them before 2: pm and always with some food for best absorption.

                        Honey: I don’t usually recommend sugars. That said, Honey is unique. It can remove damaged tissues, speed up the healing process, and reduce scarring. It is reported to even prevent infections. It’s important that you get the right kind. Leave the “Grade A” stuff on the grocery store shelf – it’s practically high fructose corn syrup. The most powerful honey you can buy is Manuka honey from New Zealand – it’s SO effective at killing bacteria it’s considered medicinal grade. I recommend eating it and using as a topical application. Honey should be used sparingly. But before you do anything, consult with your doctor. You may need to stop taking certain supplements as much as 1-2 weeks before surgery. And some may interact with medications. You can find a distributor on the web.

If you’re planning a surgery for the near future, make sure to begin taking proactive steps BEFORE and have everything you’ll need handy. If you have an integrative health professional who can provide I.V. support, schedule it beginning the day after surgery.

Many of you know of my disastrous surgery and are asking if I will write more details and show photos. Yes, I will AFTER all the healing has taken place and the entire event is behind me, not before. The wound has healed but inflammation and inability to carry anything heavier than about three pounds or use my arm for extended periods of computing or raising it still exists. I am dominant right-handed so my writing commitments have to slow down for now but blogs and articles will continue with the same regularity…thank you all for your concerns and prayers.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

John Riedl

Simply put that’s why I’ve gone down the health journey of research and creating health brands.

Our gallery
Scroll to Top