Friday, October 31, 2008

Major milestones!

Just sneezed and it didn't hurt! This may not sound like much but I sneezed Monday and it made my eyes water. Plus, this without any ibuprofen. Also last night was the first time I could sleep on my side.

So things are looking good. Before too long I'll be back out running - ready to break something else.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Recovery So Far

It's been five days since surgery and things are going well.
  • Wednesday (surgery day) was pretty easy as all I did was sit on my butt and I was still pumped full of drugs from the hosiptal. 
  • Thursday went OK. I didn't take any hardcore pain killers, just 4 ibuprofen every 6 hours.  Walked round the block 3 times, albeit slowly and a little hunched over.
  • Friday was pretty much like Thursday, but I was walking like a 60 year old vs an 80 year old.
  • Saturday I went down to 2 ibuprofen every 8 hours and walked for about 2 miles total.
  • Sunday was just 2 ibuprofen at 9am and 2 before bed.  Walking up to 3 miles, with a reasonably normal stride.
  • Today I'm back at work and feel pretty normal.  Still definitely slow and I get athe occasional sharp pain, especially when I move after sitting for a while, but overall it's going really well.
Swelling is down, but the bruising is out of control.  Everything (and I mean everything) from the stitches down is black.  Doesn't hurt at all but looks really freakish (sorry, no pictures of that are coming!).  Apparently it's pretty common after hernia surgery and goes away in a couple weeks.

Next 2 weeks are all easy stuff.  Just walking 3-4 times/day, and I can start some gentle stretching.  I need to go have a followup exam just to check that it's all looking OK, will probably do that early next week.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The details

Time for a surgery recap for those of you that like that kind of thing......  It is a reasonably simple surgery since it doesn't involve cutting through or near any major organs, muscles etc.  Because I had a bilateral hernia (both sides) he recommended general anaesthesia VS local with sedation.  He's the expert so that's what I did.  Went under about 9:30am and came round in recovery about 11.  He took pictures for me, and this is apparently what happend during those lost 90 minutes.

First shot is the left side after the initial opening.  The cut is about 1 1/2 inches to give you some idea of scale.  The stuff outlined in green is my insides and really shouldn't be visible!  There are two layers of muscle wall that I've torn through to do that.

Next shot shows the stitching for the lower layer.  This should keep the inside bits inside, where they belong.  He prefers to do this type of open surgery with real sutures instead of going laproscopic and using mesh.  Sutures are more effective in guarenteeing things are closed and you don't have to deal with any potential side effects of having mesh inside you.  Also, as you are open he can see exactly where the issue is and remove anything else that shouldn't be these.  In my case I had a lipoma (buildup of fatty tissue) on each side which he took out.  These occur about 50% of the time with hernias and are another cause of pain, so I'm glad they are gone.

This one shows the final stitches in the top flap of muscle wall.  That bit at the bottom of the picture, held out of the way by the yellow/white strap is my spermatic cord (sounds important to me).  They pull that out to avoid cutting it by accident!

This one is the left side all stitched up - final scar is just over 1 inch long.

The right side was pretty much the same, here's a picture that shows the right lipoma!  This was over an inch long and couldn't have been helping me all that much.  The body is definitely a weird thing.

Recovery is going well.  There is swelling, which is going down a little, and plenty of bruising.  I have a percocet prescription but so far have just been taking ibuprofen.  Doctor is surprised that I am not needing anything stronger but says that it's fine if I'm OK with it.  I really don't want to be completely drugged out on painkillers, so will try to keep going with just the vitamin I.  Right now it feels like a dull ache, which to be honest is how most of my long runs felt for the last few months.  I'm meant to do a little walking if I feel up to it, so will be doing a few laps of the block today.

So it looks it's all been successful, and I am on track for a reasonably manageable recovery period.  Gonna spend today/tomorrow at home but back to work Monday.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

All done

So it's all done. It went smoothly and I was out of the hospital by 12:15. Doesn't feel too bad, just an ache like I've been kicked in the goolies. Of course, I am still full of drugs from the surgery so we'll see how I feel when that wears off.

Doctor gave me a DVD with pictures so I'll post some tomorrow so that inquiring minds can see for themselves.

Probably not going to run this afternoon......

45 minutes.....

At the hospital, all checked in, should be going to the prep room in about 10 minutes.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

All Set

Only 18 hours to go! Surgery is at 9:30 tomorrow morning.  It's usually about 40 minutes, but presumably will take a little longer since I have managed to mess myself up so well.  Should be out of the hospital by about 2 if all goes according to plan.

I am ready with my prescribed percocet but am quietly hoping that I can get by using ibuprofen.  I guess I'll find out sometime tomorrow evening when the anaesthetic wears off and the pain starts.

This is what it should look like in there.  The doctor needs to join these two bits back together.  In my case this is on both sides, plus I've managed to get through the next couple layers too, so bits of me are poking out.  He has to put all that back inside first.  Seems quite messy but I'm sure he knows where it's all supposed to go!

Weight hit a new high today at 154.0.  Up 10.6 pounds from my low in July.  I've almost plateau'd since starting to run 3 times a week, but I expect to start picking up again post surgery.  Looks like I need to eat (or maybe drink) a little less.

Friday, October 17, 2008


So I finally saw Dr. William Brown this morning, and he confirmed that not only do I have a bilateral sports hernia (tear in the top layer of the abdominal wall/oblique muscles) but I have also managed to tear through the next two layers to add a couple of regular inguinal hernias. (I guess running 430 miles in July wasn't quite such a good idea after all....).  These are the ones where your intestines start to poke out through the holes in your muscles. Pretty good stuff eh?

Good news is that he can fix it all the same way at the same time and it doesn't really make the recovery any more involved.

I'm set for surgery next Wednesday morning.  He recommends doing it under general since it's a bilateral, but there is the option for local plus sedation if I want.  He already prescribed me some percocet for the post op days.  

He gets almost all his patients back to their sport by about 9 weeks, with 95% of them pain free. The other 5% have some slight residual pain but not enough to deter them from competing.  Other good news is that out of the 300 he has done, he has only had 3 reoccurrences, which is encouraging.

The days after the surgery aren't meant to be too much fun, and he said I probably wouldn't feel too much like driving to work and being nice to people for a week or so.  Funny, I don't feel like driving to work to be nice to people most days anyway.

The 9 week rehab plan will take me to December 24th, so if all goes well, I will be good as new on Christmas Day!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Big Day Tomorrow

So tomorrow I finally go to visit the sports hernia specialist. It seems it has taken ages to get to this point, which is mostly because it has.

I am quietly confident that he will confirm the presence of a bilateral sports hernia, and will be able to operate next week. If he doesn't think it's that, then I am screwed and will be pretty depressed. I am ready for this BS to be over and am looking forward to running pain free again. It's just not so much fun running when it hurts.

This morning was my final "pre-visit" run and I decided to try a few quicker miles. Ended up running for 5, with the middle 2 miles at an average of 7:15, with a max pace of about 6:45. That would have been pretty easy a few months back, but this morning was a definite race-level effort. Heartrate got up to 182, which would have been for something like 6:00 pace when I was fit.

It's obviously going to take me a while to get back in shape, and that's assuming my injury rehab allows me to run properly.

Oh well, fingers crossed that it all goes well!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Quick Update

I see the doctor on October 17th, assuming it's surgery, that should be the next week.

I've run 4 times recently, and have felt a little fitness returning. Did 5.5 at 8ish pace this morning and it felt better than the 3.5 at 9ish pace 2 weeks ago.

Hopefully I'll be jogging again by mid/late November if all goes well.