What can I do to physically prepare for SDR?
Stretch and exercise as much as you can; the better shape you are going into surgery, the easier your recovery will be. I found it was helpful to work on core exercises in particular: A strong core will help support your back muscles as they heal, and it will help you stay upright while you’re working to build strength in your legs. Take a look at the Exercises and Useful Equipment tabs for some ideas.
Also, some people have to build strength or lose weight in order to qualify for SDR. Other surgeons’ criteria may vary, but Dr. Park typically requires his adult patients to have a healthy BMI before having surgery; extra weight puts more stress on the body and can complicate an already difficult surgery and recovery.
Other surgeons’ requirements may vary, but if you’re pursuing SDR in St. Louis, be sure not to schedule any Botox injections in the 3 months prior to surgery. Wean off of oral baclofen by 3 weeks before surgery and the baclofen pump 3 months before surgery. Consult with your doctor to do this safely, as it can be dangerous and uncomfortable to stop all at once. Other medications may also need to be stopped, and your surgeon can offer guidance on this.
Also be sure to stay as healthy as possible, because if you come down with a bad cold before surgery, your surgery may need to be rescheduled.
What can I do to mentally prepare for SDR?
Everyone prepares differently, but for me, it was helpful to connect with others who have been through it. If you’re 18+ and seriously considering SDR (or have been accepted), contact me if you’d like to join our private SDR Adults Facebook group. Also, take a look at the Stories page to read about others’ experiences if that’s helpful for you.
One of my coping mechanisms is researching, too; whenever I have surgery, it helps me to comb through the statistics and learn everything I can. If you’re the same way, check out the “SDR Science” tab. 🙂
Children may be helped by reading this picture book about SDR, Sir Dr. Park and the Dragon, Spasticity.
For me, it also really helped to meet my surgeon in person in the days before my SDR. The pre-op evaluation put my mind at ease and reaffirmed that I was where I needed to be.
I think it’s also important to mentally prepare for the journey ahead by managing expectations. SDR isn’t a quick fix, it isn’t a cure for CP, and there will probably be some really tough days ahead. Be patient with your body and remind yourself that SDR recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. Your journey is your own; it may not look like any of the stories in the Stories section, and that’s okay.