Saturday, May 20, 2017

Best Tips and a Shopping List for Recovering after Surgery in San Diego

Best Tips and a Shopping List for Recovering after Surgery in San Diego

by Kathleen Lisson

I gave a short presentation at the San Diego Library’s How-To Festival 2017. 

 I introduced myself and shared that I am a surgery veteran, with ‘emergency’ surgery at 18, dental surgery in my early thirties, complicated reconstructive surgery at 37 and Moh’s cancer surgery at 42 with only local anesthetic under my belt. 

The Visualization Part

I shared a little about what Peggy Huddleston’s Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster with Relaxation and Quick Start CD: A Guide of Mind-Body Techniques is about, including the questions: 

  • How do you want to feel in your hospital room? 
  • How do you want to feel when you are recovering well? 
  • How do you want to feel when you are fully recovered? 

We can separate pre-surgery worries into two types - is it a concern your doctor can answer or is it a fear? If it is a fear, Huddleston advises to turn your attention to your fully recovered end result for 30 seconds to a minute. 

Huddleston’s book focuses on how to use relationships to improve healing, relationships with loved ones, friends, and your doctor and anesthesiologist. 

Your Shopping List

I also shared some tips on what to have in the house or hotel to help you recover from surgery. My list for post-surgery bag (if you’re staying in a hotel) includes what you would normally pack, plus: 

Your favorite Lavender essential oil, rose essential oil, orange/lemon essential oil, geranium essential oil or frankincense essential oil and a diffuser like the URPOWER 500ml Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser Humidifier with 4 Timer Settings, 7 LED Color Changing Lamps and Waterless Auto Shut-off

Laxative like Senna Plus Natural Vegetable Laxative with Stool Softener - 100 Tablets

Maxi pads 

Pee pads like the AmazonBasics Pet Training and Puppy Pads, Regular - 50-Count

Baby wipes 

Slip on shoes (I brought my slippers to show)

Foot stool like the Folding Step Stool - 11" Wide - The Lightweight Step Stool is Sturdy Enough to Support Adults and Safe Enough for Kids. Opens Easy with One Flip. Great for Kitchen, Bathroom, Bedroom, Kids or Adults.

First aid kit and bandages like the ones your surgeon will use.

Large hand mirror like the Goody Hand Mirror 27847 (Pack of 1), 11 Inch

Plastic mattress cover like Vinyl Mattress Cover Protector (Queen)

A great tip - you can use your ironing board as an extra table when you can’t bend down!

I also reminded everyone to make sure their refrigerator is stocked with easy to prepare, easy to eat foods. 

I shared that a recent tummy tuck client introduced me to Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service. 

I shared my horror story after my facial reconstructive surgery and showed everyone a great resource, Dr. Buford’s Plastic Surgery nutrition book Eat, Drink, Heal: The Art and Science of Surgical Nutrition

Saturday, May 13, 2017

My Doc Says I Need Surgery - Now What?

My Doc Says I Need Surgery - Now What?

Peggy Huddleston's Prepare For Surgery, Heal Faster Workshop in San Diego

I am teaching my popular workshop for reducing anxiety before surgery in San Diego at OASIS. Here are the details! 

Are you feeling anxious before an upcoming operation? Learn how to use your own personalized healing imagery and support from friends and your surgical team to improve your recovery. This well-researched method has resulted in patients reducing their anxiety levels before surgery and using less pain medication afterward. Based on Peggy Huddleston's 'Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster' method. 

Kathleen Lisson is a Meditation Teacher, Board Certified Massage Therapist and owner of Solace Massage and Mindfulness in San Diego, CA. She specializes in helping people prepare for and recover from plastic, orthopedic and reconstructive surgery. Kathleen has successfully recovered from reconstructive and cancer operations and has a passion for helping others get back to living their life after surgery. 

The class is on Wednesday, 08/02/17 from 10:00 - 11:30 at the Lifelong Learning Center at Grossmont CR. 

Sign up here:

Buy the book and tape here:

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Klose Lymphedema Conference 2017

Klose Lymphedema Conference 2017

by Kathleen Lisson, CMT, CLT

MY CLT Certificate! I am a Certified Lymphedema Therapist

I am looking forward to attending the Klose Lymphedema Conference this weekend! I will learn about treatment for head and neck lymphedema, lymphology, pelvic oncology, risk reduction for breast cancer related lymphedema, lipedema, dercum’s disease, obesity and lipedema, multicausal lymphedema, aquatic exercise for those with lymphedema, and lymphatic imaging.

I will post my top A-Ha moments soon!

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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Book Review: Taking Charge of Cancer by Dr. David Palma

Book Review: Taking Charge of Cancer by Dr. David Palma

Taking Charge of Cancer Dr. David Palma

As an oncology massage therapist, I want to make sure my clients have all the answers they need and feel like they are a partner in their medical care, not a disease to be treated. I recently read an advance copy of a book that makes the process of being an informed patient easier.  

In this easy to read book, radiation oncologist Dr. David Palma gives advice on how patients with a cancer diagnosis can ensure they are getting the quality medical care they deserve - care that maximizes both survival and quality of life. This book provides guidance on what questions to ask during your initial consultation with a surgeon, medical oncologist or radiation oncologist, detailed step by step information on how to read your medical records, checklists to make sure you understand the most important aspects of treatment, proven tips on how to choose the best surgeon and lists of questions to ask your doctor about your surgery, radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

Taking Charge of Cancer confirms several things I had been suspicious of with respect to cancer diagnosis and treatment. In the book’s forward, Dr. Anthony Zietman puts it plainly when he states, “physicians prefer to do what they do.” This may mean that a surgeon may recommend surgery and physicians may recommend only treatments that are well covered by health insurance. His wisdom for patients with a cancer diagnosis? “Ask questions, get different opinions, read wisely, and then, after discussion with family and friends, make thoughtful, informed decisions.”

Taking Charge of Cancer can be a valuable resource if you are a patient who wants to take charge of your medical care or a caregiver or trusted friend who will accompany the patient to doctor visits and offer a kind ear to listen and comfort, particularly if your loved one will receive palliative care.

I received an advanced copy of Taking Charge of Cancer for review through NetGalley. It will be released July 1, 2017 an is available to preorder at Amazon: Taking Charge of Cancer: What You Need to Know to Get the Best Treatment

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

How to stop leg, knee and arm swelling in San Diego while on vacation

Swelling can stop a fun San Diego vacation 

in it's tracks! 

by Kathleen Lisson, CLT, CMT

When I am on vacation, I always end up trying to jam in a week's worth of activities into only a few days. San Diego in particular is a hard city to vacation in - how can we visit Balboa Park AND the Beach AND learn how to stand up paddleboard AND ride bicycles around the bay AND swim in the ocean AND watch the surfers AND try out fish tacos? If there are kids on the trip, it might extend into Legoland and Disneyland, which means time in a car and walking around all day in the park. 

The result: just tired feet if we're lucky, but more often - swollen feet, legs and knees. 

On vacation in San Diego? If you have an old injury or a mild case of lymphedema after cancer surgery you may find that the increased lifting, walking and cabin pressurization that comes along with a vacation can cause swelling in the arms and legs. A swollen leg or knee can mean skipping spending time with family members or not participating in many of the touristy things that make vacation so memorable. 

I'm Kathleen Lisson, a Board Certified massage therapist practicing in San Diego. I specialize in a type of massage called Manual Lymphatic Drainage, which reduces swelling from lymphedema or after surgery or injury. 

The solution may be a relaxing treatment from a massage therapist skilled in Manual Lymphatic Drainage. I have provided massage to clients with lymphedema and orthopedic injuries and have seen the positive difference it makes in their bodies, especially after a few days of standing, walking and riding bikes to explore our beautiful city. 

It's best to search for a person who has experience in using Manual Lymphatic Drainage, and ideally choosing a Certified Lymphedema Therapist (CLT) if you have or are at risk for lymphedema. 

Please visit my website for more information and to book an appointment (I make housecalls!): http://www/

About Kathleen Lisson (CAMTC #70128)
As a Board Certified massage therapist with advanced training in Manual Lymphatic Drainage, I help women and men in the San Diego area reduce the tight, full, heavy feeling that comes with swelling after facelifts, tummy tucks, liposuction and other plastic surgery operations. I make housecalls! To schedule a treatment, please visit

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Feeling Anxious Before Surgery? Learn from my mistakes!

How to Reduce Anxiety Before Surgery in San Diego

By Kathleen Lisson, CMT, CLT
(CAMTC #70128)
Anxiety Before Surgery
"Basal Cell Carcinoma" 

Those three words spoken by my dermatologist as she shined a bright light and peered at my right cheek felt like loose sand being stolen from under my feet by an undertow. 

"I'll take a biopsy to make sure"

Carcinoma, I thought dully. Carcinoma. Both my parent's had died from cancer, so I knew what the word meant. 

I had skin cancer. 

The next ten minutes: scraping of the pimple that had never healed on my cheek, then an explanation of how I would book surgery that went over my head. I asked if it would be written on a sheet of paper - "I'm just not thinking clearly right now." My Derm smiled, "Yes." 

I didn't know that that sheet was just the beginning of the paper trail that cancer created. Even a simple skin cancer, the 'no big deal,' the 'we get hundreds of cases a month' it's just surgery type of cancer. 

It was decided - I would get an outpatient procedure, booked in the late afternoon, an operation called Mohs surgery. No chemotherapy, no radiation. 

One day I would have cancer, the next I wouldn't. 

Maybe I would have been fine, maybe I would have been as relaxed as other people who take a small operation like this one in stride. Maybe.

But I made one big mistake - I Googled Mohs Surgery. 
Then I waited until it was late at night, after my concerned, loving husband had gone to sleep and I searched on Youtube for "Mohs surgery cheek."

That's when the anxiety started, an empty levitating heaviness in the pit of my stomach and pressing tightness in my heart. 

All I could think of was being permanently disfigured. 

Instead of imagining a healthy recovery, I was mentally preparing myself for the worst - and giving myself a huge case of anxiety.

Post-op visit to my dermatologist after skin cancer surgery

Hello, my name is Kathleen Lisson and I am a Meditation Teacher and Board Certified Massage Therapist in San Diego, CA. I specialize in helping people prepare for and recover from plastic, orthopedic and reconstructive surgery. 

Why do I have such a passion for helping others get back to living their life after surgery? I have had both really good operations and much more traumatic surgery experiences, and I spent time last year thinking deeply about what happened differently in each situation to make my experience so different. 

I had reconstructive surgery almost a decade ago after a skiing accident and felt completely at ease because I intuitively had positive thoughts about my recovery. In contrast, the 2016 surgery to remove skin cancer from my face didn't go so well because I spent time looking at worst-case scenario Youtube videos instead of thinking positively. 

A few weeks after the Mohs surgery in San Diego

Whenever I have a traumatic experience, I try to find a way to use it in a positive way to help others. After my surgery and recovery were underway, I searched for the answers I didn't find before my operation - how can people facing surgery reduce anxiety and keep their mind focused on healing?

I was very fortunate to find Peggy Huddleston's Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster with Relaxation and Quick Start CD: A Guide of Mind-Body Techniques earlier this year. Huddleston's method of focusing on positive imagery before surgery has resulted in patients reducing their anxiety levels before surgery and using less pain medication and recovering faster after their operation. The power of focusing on personalized positive imagery has been documented in research studies at the Lahey Clinic (Tufts University Medical School), New England Baptist Hospital (Tufts University Medical School) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Harvard Medical School). 

After reading her book, I jumped at the chance to personally train with Huddleston and I now offer a workshop in San Diego based on the methods and research in Peggy Huddleston's Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster with Relaxation and Quick Start CD: A Guide of Mind-Body Techniques. This one hour program provides San Diegans facing surgery with the many of the tools we need to use personalized positive imagery to help reduce anxiety before an operation. 

I know how anxiety-provoking surgery can be. Invest an hour of your time to learn how to use personalized positive imagery, family and friends and your surgical team to improve your recovery from plastic, orthopedic or reconstructive surgery in San Diego.  

To find a list of upcoming workshops, visit

Buy the book here: Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster with Relaxation and Quick Start CD: A Guide of Mind-Body Techniques

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Chair Massage for Charity in Rancho Penasquitos!

Rancho Penasquitos Massage Therapist

Offers Free Chair Massage in Exchange for

Donations to San Diego Nonprofits

Kathleen Lisson, a Board Certified Massage Therapist with a mobile massage practice based in Rancho Penasquitos, raised funds for local charities by giving complementary chair massages at the Rancho Penasquitos Farmers’ Market.

Lisson will be at the Rancho Penasquitos Farmers Market every Saturday from 9 am - 1 pm, and a different San Diego charity will be featured each week.

Past donations include $65 to the Rancho Family YMCA.

Her business, Solace Massage and Mindfulness, provides lymphatic massage for clients after plastic, orthopedic and reconstructive surgery. For more information, contact Kathleen Lisson at

Monday, March 27, 2017

Why get Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage after surgery?

Should I Try Lymphatic Massage after Surgery?

by Kathleen Lisson, CMT, CLT (CAMTC #70128)

san diego massage
Lymphatic Massage in San Diego

Exams. Surgery. Medications. 
You've been through enough already.

Would you rather spend another hour at a medical office or enjoy the expertise of a CLT and the caring hands of a massage therapist in the comfort of your own home? 

No white lab coats. No machines.

Just a warm smile and a well-trained, compassionate set of hands using a European technique for effectively reducing swelling, introduced in the South of France and perfected in Germany. 
Our goal: reduce swelling and tightness after surgery and get you back to living your life again and spending quality time with your family.

Hello, I am Kathleen, a 42 year old meditation teacher and Board Certified massage therapist living in San Diego. I specialize in manual lymphatic drainage, a type of massage that works with the power of your lymphatic system to reduce the effects of post-surgical swelling ( plastic and orthopedic surgery ) and lymphedema. 

I also hold workshops on reducing anxiety before surgery with the proven relaxation techniques detailed in Peggy Huddleston's ''Prepare for Surgery, Feel Better' book. 

For more information on preparing for surgery and enhancing your recovery, visit and email me at or call 619-880-6538.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

What is the 61 Point Meditation?

What is the 61 point Meditation?

By Kathleen Lisson, CMT, CLT

I discovered an excellent version of the 61 point relaxation meditation by Karina Ayn Mirsky of on Insight Timer recently and it has become my preferred way to fall asleep at night.

If you have Insight Timer, I recommend you check it out! It is relaxing and research has found positive effects for those with stress disorders.

The study titled ‘Effect of '61-points relaxation technique' on stress parameters in premenstrual syndrome’ found that the practice is “effective in providing relief from PMS and may be a useful adjuvant to medical therapy of PMS and other stress disorders.” Read more about the study here:

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Reducing Anxiety and Worrying - my top three tips

How a Meditation Teacher Combats Anxiety and Worrying

I remember the night I found out my life was changing. I had finished my workday in a career I loved with a supportive family of coworkers and was watching an episode of Longmire on Netflix. My husband received the phone call he had been waiting for and, after hanging up, walked downstairs to tell me the news:

"I got the job"

We would be moving, away from my friends and 15 year career in public service, away from snowy winters and trips to New York City and visiting family in Boston. We were moving to San Diego, and a new career for me as a massage therapist. 

I absolutely love the beaches and warm winters, but for me they came with an almost daily anxiety about succeeding in my new career and life. Can I start over and make a difference in only a few decades?

I combat my tendency to worry in three ways: meditation, listmaking and relying on friends.

For me, worrying starts as soon as I wake up. I sometimes feel this jolt of adrenaline in my body shortly after opening my eyes. I used to immediately pick up my smartphone and check my emails and Facebook to see if I had to take care of any emergencies, which would fan the flames of my worrying. Now I reset myself before I look out into the world. I have found that lying or sitting for a few minutes and watching myself breathe helps to clear the adrenaline and helps me face the tasks in my day in a calmer mood. 

I also have a master to-do list that helps calm my worries. If I need to do something, I immediately write it on the list next to my bed. If I am away from home, I text myself a note and jot the task down when I return home. Getting all my tasks on paper makes me more productive and I'm using less energy trying to remember everything on my schedule in my head. I also have a long term monthly task list so I can keep on track with long term projects.

The third trick I use to reduce worrying is to share my worries with my husband or a friend. I find that saying my worries out loud lets me recognize if they are overblown. I focus on sharing my emotions rather than brainstorming ways to solve my issues. Taking time to feel my emotions and receive compassion from others helps calm me down.

How do you reduce worrying?

Monday, February 20, 2017

IPSB-trained Massage Therapists in San Diego

IPSB-trained Massage Therapists in San Diego

by Kathleen Lisson, CMT, CLT

I learned massage and also had the pleasure of teaching meditation at IPSB college in San Diego, which was one of the oldest massage colleges in the United States. If you have ever had an IPSB massage, you knew it. The touch was deeper and more connected to both your body and your soul.

Unfortunately, IPSB closed in 2016, but there are a few practicing massage therapists who still use the old ways to massage their clients. Here are a list of IPSB-trained massage therapists practicing in San Diego. IPSB grads, please consider referring to your fellow classmates to ensure they get the 'Enter, Center and Connect' IPSB experience from their massage!

Wendy Bennett - Therapeutic Massage by Wendy 619-772-2202

Jasmine Cherry - 442-242-5851

Sandy Cole - 858-750-0041

Carly Delso-Saavedra -

Debbie Derr -

Kristi Douglas, CMT, BCSI Certified Massage Therapist & Board Certified Structural Integrator -

Vika Golovanova 858-692-3994

Rhonda Grace Everyday Grace Massage - 888-774-7887

Shari Grayson, HHP, CMT, MBA. Healthy Touch Massage and Therapeutic Bodywork -  858-384-1141,,

Bill Herr - 760-310-7469

Cara Holland- 858-999-7389

Elizabeth Jacobowitz - Embodiment Arts 619-417-2373

Carly Janine at Nautilus Bodywork - 619-630-8447

Nathan LeBlanc - Rolf Structural Integration

Joannie Lee - Two Hands Mobile Massage

Kristie Lara - (Mexico City, Mexico)

Melissa Lee -

Beverly McDonald - 619-772-3306

Samantha Mecklenburg - 619-363-1569

Alice Nelson - Massage Green Spa Scripps Ranch 858-689-1700

Kiley Shepherd Ring - Massage by Kiley 619-246-0988

Suzanne Runo - 619-772-0456

Michelle Ruppert - 619-890-0111,

Rebecca Larisa Schulman -

Valentine Songeur - (760)707-8312

Michael Rypins - (760)815-2393

Rosa Valdez, A.S.,HHP, CMT 619-322-1720

And last but not least, Me!

Kathleen Lisson - As a Board Certified massage therapist, with advanced training in Manual Lymphatic Drainage, I help women and men in the San Diego area reduce the tight, full, heavy feeling that comes with swelling after facelifts, tummy tucks, liposuction and other plastic surgery operations. To schedule a treatment, please visit or call 619-880-6538

Best Tips and a Shopping List for Recovering after Surgery in San Diego

Best Tips and a Shopping List for Recovering after Surgery in San Diego by Kathleen Lisson I gave a short presentation at the San D...