Just five things: Surgical Edition

Five things that make my Spoonie life just a little easier or better… after surgery.

If you're a regular reader or listener of my podcast, then you may already know this, but for those not in the know, I am going in for spinal fusion of my C6 and C7 vertebrae on Thursday, July 18.

I received word on July 8 and scheduled the surgery immediately. So, I've been trying to prepare by recording extra podcast content in advance, sending my partner on a large grocery shopping excursion, and prepping for surgery and life post-op for the past several days.

It seemed fitting, then, that this month's edition of Just Five Things should be released earlier than initially planned and should include five things that will make my spoonie life a little more bearable while I'm in a hard collar, unable to reach, bend, stoop, lift, or carry for two full weeks, minimum.

Yes, that means no showering and bathing for two weeks! On that note, let's get this party started!


These disposable, no-rinse bathing wipes.

Since I am not allowed to reach, bend, or raise my arms for two weeks, I wanted to make sure I was stocked up on hygiene essentials. Luckily, I used these disposable bathing wipes after my spinal cord stimulator implant back in December and still had plenty left because they come in packs of 25 for under $10! They're nice because they smell pleasant, but the smell isn't overpowering, even for someone like me who is quite sensitive to scents. I didn't feel a gross film on my skin after using them, either. I didn't notice any irritation or allergic reaction to them, either. (I have gluten and corn allergies, and you'd be surprised at what contains both of those ingredients!)


Monat The Champ Conditioning Dry Shampoo and disposable shampoo wipes.

Full disclosure: I use Monat hair products exclusively on a regular because my podcast co-host is a consultant. If you use my referral link, you'll save $20 and so will I. I had tried other dry shampoos before, and it was a hot ass mess. It made my hair feel gross; oftentimes I'd have white powdery residue on my hair that I was trying to brush out and blend in, and it smelled way too strong. The Champ Conditioning Dry Shampoo is my favorite because it works. It's that simple. It's also free of parabens, sulfates, and all that other junk that people don't want in their products.

Dry shampoo can only get you through so many days, though, and I found these disposable shampoo wipes incredibly useful after my last surgery. My friend Bridget tipped me off that such things as disposable bathing and shampoo wipes existed because she had to use them after surgery to correct her Chiari malformation. Again, the wipes are pleasant but not overpowering in scent and helped me feel just a little less grimy during my last surgical recovery. Like the dry shampoo, these wipes are sulfate and paraben-free, and cruelty free.


My custom drink tumbler and straw.

Hydrate or Die-Drate, Spoonie friends!

Listen, I’m not here to tell anyone what kind of straw is right for you. I use reusable straws on regular days, but I’ll probably be using extra long bendy straws after surgery. Why? Because I already have them, for one, and have for years and I’m trying to use them up. I do rinse and recycle them, so don’t come at me. Secondly, I’m going to be wearing a hard collar for two weeks, so I won’t be able to tip my head back to take a drink, nor will I want to, I’m sure, as that is already painful for me, pre-op. On normal days, I use my stainless steel reusable straws, but those aren’t safe for everyone, so let’s try not to be so freaking judgy, shall we?

Now, on to my fabulous freaking custom tumbler. I use this whether I'm having surgery or not, but it seemed especially worth highlighting here because hydration is so vital for Spoonies and surgical recovery.

My gal-pal Jacqui and I met because of our local ladies book club. Her sister, Tricia, makes the most fantastic quality custom tumblers I have ever seen. I have had epoxy tumblers made for me in the past, and quite frankly they were crap. There were rough spots in the epoxy that distorted the look of the tumbler, and eventually, the epoxy separated from the cup and ruined it altogether. This cup looks like glass! It seriously has almost a 3D effect to it where the decals are because of the types of glitter she uses and the care she puts into the whole process.

I sent Tricia electronic files of my Nerdzilla and Mechanerdzilla and told her that I hoped to have both of them on the cup, along with sharing my brand colors with her and otherwise gave her artistic license and freedom. Please, if you are in the market for a custom tumbler, consider supporting this fabulous lady and her small business! If you follow her on Facebook, you can even watch her Coffee & Craft Time videos LIVE, which I love.

I have had three different versions of backrest pillows to use on the couch and in bed in the past two years. All three of them had come apart at the seams and begun to shed their stuffing when I stopped using them. Knowing that I'll be in a hard collar for at least two weeks, I wondered how I might sleep. A friend who has had this same surgery suggested that I sleep in a recliner — Womp womp. I don't have a recliner, and sitting upright is my biggest pain flare trigger. So, my mom suggested that I try to find a more grown-up version of the backrest pillow to use in my bed and prop myself up.

Enter the mittaGonG backrest pillow, stuffed with shredded memory foam, equipped with a removable neck roll, and pockets on the arms to hold water bottles or, in my case, my spine remote! Also, the arms are legitimately supportive and not just there for decoration.

Much like our DreamCloud Sleep mattress which arrived in June, the mittaGonG comes in a tight roll and has to be set free from its plastic binding to fully expand over 48 hours. It is very supportive, and having the removable neck roll appears to be quite helpful when sitting upright on the bed. I also used it by itself as a lumbar pillow for a short while on the couch, and it worked well in that capacity as well.

I am 36 years old and have adult acne. I’m also a skincare consultant. I can’t afford not washing my face.

If you don't know by now that I am an independent consultant with Rodan + Fields, here's your official notice. It is just one of the ways that I have found to think outside the box and generate some income from home. I can do the work laying on my back whenever necessary, right from my smartphone. (And it doesn’t feel like work!)

As a skincare consultant, my skin and face are the main points of advertisement! I also live with adult acne, and being in my mid-thirties and walking around with breakouts and a bright red, oily face, did not help my confidence. So, what's a gal to do about washing her face when she can't bend over a sink to do so and doesn't always have the spoons to get upstairs to the shower?

She washes her face on the #businesscouch with Cetaphil cleansing wipes! Here's why I choose Cetaphil:

  • No perfumes or harsh smells or ingredients, they are gentle enough for my sensitive skin and don't bother my allergies

  • They are incredibly affordable! I got a two-pack of 25 wipes for under $9.

  • Cetaphil is the only brand I'm aware of (and have been advised by the nurses in the corporate office as such) that do not counteract or interfere with the medicinal ingredients in the rest of my Rodan + Fields skincare regimen! Huzzah!

  • On the super high pain days when I don't have enough spoons to go through all of the steps of my skincare regimen, I know that I can at least wash my face.

That’s it for July’s edition of Just Five Things!

I hope you find the product suggestions here helpful. I’ll be back in August with five more! Thanks for reading and indulging me.

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