Before & After Cosmetic Surgery


Most vitamin products can be found in multiple places. Obviously, is a convenient source if a bit higher than other places. For hands-on shopping, I could get most of these at my local Walgreens.

Before Surgery -- To promote healing, start 2 weeks before surgery and continue for 2 weeks after.

  1. Vitamin C 1000-2000mg 1-2 times daily,

  2. Zinc 50mg 3 times daily.

  3. Coenzyme Q-10 - 100mg twice daily.

To decrease bruising and swelling, start 1 day before surgery --

  1. Arnica Montana - appropriate dosage programmed for each day for a week. Try SinEcch from Alpine Pharm.

  2. Bromelain - pineapple enzyme 500 mg 2-3 times per day, and continue for 5 more days post surgery.

After Surgery -- Continue all the supplements mentioned above. Add the following creams if you have had facial surgery.

  1. Dermal K- Clarifying Cream - actually for spider veins, but reduces bruising.

  2. Vitamin C cream -- Perlabella is expensive but my favorite since it also includes some E and feels soft and smooth, not greasy (Coupons available at company website).

Stuff to Take

CheTica did laundry once a week but I could request more frequent washings if necessary. Francine washed my support garment every day for me.

  1. Clothing -- 3 pairs drawstring pants in dark colors, 6 loose tops or ones that fasten in front, 5 pairs warm loose socks (Dr. Scholls for diabetics are nice), 2 nightgowns or long t-shirts (with enough coverage so you won’t need a robe), underwear (though you may not need it, depending on your support garment), 1 warm hoodie or shawl, 1 umbrella and/or rain poncho, Croc shoes (ugly but great on rainy days or in the shower).

  2. Over-the-Counter Medications - whatever you usually use for painkiller, laxative, yeast infection, allergy, itching, sunscreen, Refresh eye drops and/or evening salve if having any eye surgery, mouthwash.

  3. Ice-packs for freezer - two so you always have a cool one. (Loved the ones from Accurate, Inc @ Amazon).
  4. Heating pad (for your back, not surgical areas).

  5. Hair dryer.

  6. Neck pillow.

  7. Sunglasses with big lenses.

  8. Embroidery or cuticle scissors (even surgical ones) for clipping little stitches and strings.

  9. Snacks - beef jerky, protein-rich breakfast bars (like Atkins), nuts, microwave popcorn, any comfort food you’ve just got to have. You can get pretty much anything you want in Costa Rica, but it might be an unfamiliar brand (See a comparative shopping list). I loved exploring their supermarkets -- chocolate, coffee and tea, fresh fruit, cheeses.

Travel Tips

Buy the $25 flight insurance. Even a minor setback can require you to change your flight. With insurance, you can make as many changes as needed and not have to worry about penalties.

Tell your airline carrier that you are a surgical patient and see if you can get an upgrade to first class. Get a name for a contact person and call back often. I got a free upgrade the day before my flight and it made a huge difference -- shorter walk, better care, wider seats, great food. When you get ready to leave, tell the airline that you will need a wheelchair, even if you feel strong enough to run a marathon. People in wheel chairs go right to the front of the line in customs and at baggage claim. It may not matter much in San Jose, but it will matter at your arrival airport in the U.S.

Don’t be worried about declaring the money you are bringing in; you won’t be mistaken for a drug overlord. No one even looked at ours. Bring cash in $1’s and $5’s because you can use them as tips everywhere. In fact, you can use U.S. dollars for pretty much everything but you’ll get a little bit more for your money if you convert to colones. Your ATM account will work on most machines, but the Bank of Costa Rica inside the bank downtown will let you withdraw dollars or colones. Save back $26 cash for the departure tax due at the airport when you leave.

Costa Rican food is wonderful. Don’t be afraid to buy from street vendors or to eat in any café. Take this opportunity to enjoy the best fruits you’ll ever taste, even if you don’t know what they are called. I loved gallo pinto for breakfast, but Costa Rica also has wonderful fish dishes -- what would you expect with an ocean on each side?


Costa Rica doesn’t really have a winter and San Jose in the summer wasn’t really hot. The rainy season starts in May/June, so generally this is a cool time. CheTica, because of its elevation, is generally about 10 degrees cooler than in downtown San Jose, so plan on a jacket and a pair of warmer PJ’s even in June and July. I requested a space heater and wore socks every day in July!


Supplements & Creams

There is almost too much advice out there about supplements to take before and after surgery. It can be overwhelmingly expensive if you take everything everyone recommends. My research found certain common elements that worked well for me and were manageable.

Number 1 Tip -- Get yourself in your best possible health before surgery.  Take your multivitamins and regular supplements for women (iron, Vitamin D, calcium), monitor your protein and water intake, and walk every day. If you have any special health issues, monitor them as well. I am diabetic and had monthly A1C tests to be sure that my blood sugars were good.

Stop taking anything with Vitamin E at least two weeks before surgery. If you take any blood thinners (even aspirin or ibuprophen), discuss stopping those with your doctor as well.

Two days after surgery. Yes, that is tape on my forehead.

Perfect post-surgery pants from Woman Within.

Picture  taken six weeks after surgery, back home in Oklahoma.

Mamoncillo Red



Lymphatic Drainage Massage

The massage, at least as practiced by Magda at CheTica and the nurses and doctors at the Rosenstock Lieberman clinic, helps express excess fluids from your tissue. With clean hands and fresh sheets, the pressure pushes fluid, not blood, from your tissue and helps the layers of skin make better contact. No pressure is put on the actual wounds. Unless you have as much fluid build-up as I had, you may not even “leak” fluids.

After every massage, I felt less swollen, less inflamed, less tender -- more normal. It was easier to relax. On many nights I slept without a compression garment. Even though I had pulled out one drain, the other two were removed in four days and I had no wounds that wouldn’t close, no hematomas, no related problems.

Must have IF you have eye surgery