Marathoner’s Hysterectomy Journey – 3 weeks post-op!

I’m thinking more and more about CIM. One moment the thoughts are really positive – I’ll come back stronger. This walking/yoga/hiking will be a new kind of solid foundation! I’m so happy that I want to run again now that I’ve had this break! And then the next second I’m like…CIM is less than 18 weeks away, how will I get back to running and train for the marathon in 15 weeks? I’m going to be so slow. There’s not enough time.

Runners are crazy. We know it. Such planners. Detail oriented. Analyzers. Runners hate taking time off, for injury or whatever it may be, because we don’t want to interrupt what we build, week in and week out. I KNOW this break is serving me, but I wish I could start run-walking NEXT week, not 2.5 weeks from now haha.

On Sunday I walked 12km, that was my “long walk” and it got me to 58km for the week, exceeding the goal by a few kilometres. I had sore hips (like my hip joints, not my pelvis) and it felt like such an inefficient way to travel haha. One of my legs is longer and I know for a fact that leg-length discrepancy matters less when it comes to running because only one foot is ever in contact with the ground at a time, unlike with walking. That’s the kind of shit I was thinking about between cult podcasts.

how about that Sunday coffee view

Monday night I hit the treadmill. I tried to wear too many clothes so that I would get really hot LOL. I had on a Buff hat, a neck bandana, knee-high socks and a long sleeve shirt ahahaha I wish I took a pic. The incline varied from 4 to 8% and I carried 3lb dumbbells and did a variety of things with them to try to make it more challenging. It was okay but not as hard as I hoped. That was 4k and about 42 minutes.

On Tuesday I did the first REAL hike, because those ones in Mexico I don’t really count as hikes, aside from the long walk to/around/from that mountain bike park. I did the Tall Trees Trail here where I live and it actually felt easier than ever before, which I find extremely interesting. It took me 58 minutes to get to the top (500m+ gain) and a little less coming down.

Athletic Brewing at the top

Just about 8k round trip. Today I was going to go back and do it again but I wasn’t into the two hour commitment, so I did a 5k rolling trail and it only took about ten minutes longer than when I super-easy run it. I kept anxiously looking at my watch for HR (even though I know wrist-based HR isn’t overly accurate) and feeling disappointed when it kept reading 110ish. Regardless, some good hills, 150m gain and…WHAT ELSE am I going to do?

Can you tell I am getting frustrated. I wouldn’t say I’m feeling depressed, but very eager to move my body more aggressively and burn some energy and feel my lungs burn a bit, and what-if’ing about the fall and running. I don’t know why I’m bitching about anything, since less than a month ago I didn’t even show up to the Midsummer 8k because I was so de-stoked on running.

So I keep reminding myself:

  • I don’t want to F up my new “vaginal cuff”
  • I don’t want prolapse of anything
  • my surgeon knows what the F she’s talking about
  • I can practice being patient and keep doing other things

As of today, which is day 23, two of my incisions are totally closed, two are 99% healed over, and there is barely-noticeable tenderness in those four areas only on gentle palpation. I still have not experienced any bleeding since the day of and the day after the surgery. I have no problems with peeing or BMs, no low-back pain, no period-cramp sort of pain, no vaginal pain and no pain on movements of any kind. My brain knows that I am just over half-way through the 6 weeks and that keeps me cautious, and my body just has an overall feeling of “you’re not 100% yet,” which I am grateful for!

Walking a service road up a mountain tomorrow, I hope it gives me the “workout” I’m craving!

JK

Hysterectomy Recovery: day 18

So on the plane back from Cabo I made a vow to follow the 10% rule with respect to weekly kilometres on my feet during this no-running period. I’ll build on last week’s 50km of walking (and hiking) with a 55km goal this week. Also, I started to form a loose plan for run-walk reintroduction of running starting Monday, Aug 22. This will be a day early but hey I’m a runner and I function in weeks and those weeks start on Mondays. Since I’ll probably revise that plan as it gets closer, I won’t bother posting it now.

There’s a local trail+road race on August 20th that’s happening for only the second time due to the pandemic, and I’d really like to see how some brief jogs feel on my body that day. Last time I got first female, this time I’m just dying to participate! I wonder if 5.75 weeks vs. 6 weeks is really bad?

Today I started thinking about how little guidance was given with respect to what I’m allowed to do. Like I know I said I was told nothing with impact, no heavy lifting or aggressive twisting/pushing/pulling, no swimming and nothing in the vagina but I wish I had a chance to think about it more and ask more questions. I might email my surgeon and ask her a few things because at this point in the recovery I want to do more things!

  • is there a defined weight limit when it comes to lifting/carrying?
  • why can’t I swim once the incisions are 100% closed? Does the vaginal “cuff” take much longer to heal? (so curious)
  • if I have zero pain, discomfort, weird sensations or bleeding does that mean the thing I’m doing is ok?
  • can I road bike in a couple more weeks?

The last day in Mexico on Weds I walked 9km before departure, then another mile from Skytrain to Sarah’s for a 10k day! The flight to Van was fine – no discomfort from the seatbelt or turbulence 😃

I walked the mile back to the Skytrain Thurs morning for flight up north, and later I did a 6k walk that didn’t feel hard enough..not as hot and no 4km hill but did my best!

I hadn’t done any yoga for a while, so got back on it today with 20 minutes on the dock. Later I did a sort of circuit, going up the steep driveway, doing lunges along the dock, single leg deadlifts (weightless) and carrying around 5 pound dumbbells. I’ve read a bunch of resources that give a 10 pound limit so I have it a try and it felt fine but I think I’d rather be conservative and use 3 or 4 pounders once I’m back at my house next week and treadmill hiking.

Today was the second time I felt notably frustrated and a bit down about not being able to run, but 23 days isn’t very long and I’ll stay creative and keep building!!! 18 weeks til CIM !

JK

Marathoner’s Hysterectomy Journey – 2 weeks post-op !

Okay so 2 weeks ago at this very moment I was dying in a hotel bed with a catheter and an IV, the most bloated abdomen I have ever had and the worst constipation I can imagine existing. I can’t believe how fast this has gone by so far!

My decision to keep so busy (as my body has allowed, thank the gods) has been the best way to deal with this whole healing thing, at least up until now. Visiting a hot place during this time has been the smartest thing I could have done. Not only has the opportunity to get sweaty marching up hills every day in 30 degree heat made me SO happy, but the weather has also helped my mood, which I can almost guarantee would be down the toilet right now if I were sitting at home in the rain or overcast, not being able to run. If you have this operation and you are able to, I would strongly recommend taking some sort of vacation to distract yourself and boost the mood!

So yesterday was a very active day for me. In the morning I did an almost 8km walk and the first half was all uphill. Very sweaty and very hot, getting my HR into the aerobic zone for I’d say at least 25 minutes. In the late afternoon, we did a steep power walk up this viewpoint hill called Cerro de la Z. It’s less than a mile up, but very steep and really got the HR going again in that blistering heat, into the threshold zone! Great view, too!

After that we walked a couple more kilometres for some beverages downtown. In total it was a 12km day on my feet. I felt pretty tired by the end of the day, but not unusually tired for walking that much in one day!

Today we got up earlier than I have so far this vacation to go do a popular tourist climb. Speaking of sleep, I actually can’t believe how late I have been sleeping in since having the surgery. This is great because I’ve stayed as active as I’ve been able, but I guess I’ve also been resting more, and generally I’m not a great sleeper! So yay for healing. So yeah, today we headed to the famous “hike” where a wicked dude named Enrique guides whoever shows up to the top of Mount (LOL) Solmar, with like fifteen dogs. I laugh because I would not consider this a mountain in any way, more like a large crumbling rock formation, but it was a very steep and technical 15-ish minute hike up with INSANE views. The way down was much more challenging for me, and I’m thankful that my brother-in-law carried my water because I needed both hands to help myself down without having to hop or jump, and to not slip. It was pretty crumbly in spots, and as I’ve said before, super thankful for upper-body strength! I do want to mention that I do NOT feel like this activity was beyond what I should have done today – it was just important to have hands free on the way down. Me and my family were the first three hikers behind Enrique and other tourists were still coming down from the top when we were back down at the gate saying good-bye. I wasn’t a hard-up post-surgical slow poke.

After the most delicious brunch, we came home and then my sister and I went for a 5km walk, stopping at a couple stores and playa el Medano. I’m leaving tomorrow and we had to go back to the ocean.

Honestly, I am feeling pretty normal. My incisions will be referred to as just scars in a couple more days. Aside from the minor tightness I feel in my abdomen a couple of inches lateral to the belly-button on both sides, and in the inguinal regions, I often forget that I am recovering. I’m a tiny bit nervous about going home and feeling that anti-climax that comes with a vacation ending, combined with the no-running-allowed thing, AND very likely some shit weather, but I’ll have my treadmill cave and small dumbbells and ankle weights!

One thing that has crossed my mind that I haven’t talked about yet is if sex will be scary at first when it’s allowed again, and also if it will be different? Will report back, LOL.

Two weeks down, four more to go…

JK

Hysterectomy Recovery – day 13

Buenas noches!

The last few days here in Los Cabos have been so sweet. On Friday I did some yoga and two 5-and-a-bit kilometre walks for 11k total on day 11! Yesterday it was cloudy and even rained a lot of the day, and I started to feel my mood get a bit low and then start to swirl about not being able to run…but I made the most of the day by doing another yoga session and then a random workout. I walked up and down the street which is a hill, and each time I got back up to the condo I would climb the 36 stairs to the rooftop patio and then do some single-leg dead lifts (no weight, obviously) and more step-ups on a much higher ledge, taking extreme care on the way down as to not create a big impact. It was only about 40 minutes and not intense, but my muscles are sore today so it was effective and I am happy about that!

Today it got nice again and it was “long walk” Sunday! I power marched the almost 3k hill to this mountain biking park nearby that has really sick viewpoints and hiked a loop before coming home. Ten kilometres total! It was so hot out and there were some steep parts and my HR was so high at times it was awesome – such a good workout!!!

In the afternoon we went to playa Chileno and these bandaids stayed put today! I went in the water just up to my thighs and walked the beach, napped and tanned. The breeze was amazing.

When we got back I washed the incision sites and had a closer look. Bandaid tans are so hot right now. My belly button literally looks normal! It just has a new wrinkle in it ahahaha

I’ve started to feel a bit of tightness in my abdominals and inguinal regions from what I am guessing is the healing process forming scar tissue. It’s not painful and it doesn’t restrict my movement, but I notice it. Maybe it’s because I feel so much more normal than I did earlier in the recovery and I’m just moving without as much caution. Anyways, when I feel like it’s safe to stretch out the area (couple weeks?) I’ll work on some upward-facing dogs, standing backbends and generally stretching out the obliques and the rest of the lateral chain muscles.

Almost two weeks of healing complete! I can tell that not running is going to get harder and harder as I feel better and better…but I am having fun diversifying and doing this pre-marathon training thing differently than I have before!

JK

Marathoner’s Hysterectomy – Day 10

Hi!

Yesterday I arrived in Los Cabos to visit my sister and the plane ride was totally fine, though it feels like I have to pee more often than normal? Not sure.

After some relaxing by the pool, I went for a “fast” 7km in the hot evening! The whole first half of the walk was uphill and it was awesome. Overall HR for the walk was 116 bpm!

Today we took a closer look at the bald incisions. The one in the right lower quadrant is almost unnoticeable, the belly button one just looks like a clean vertical slice, and the two in the left lower quadrant are more obvious but nothing crazy. I find it insane that after just 10 days this is all I’m dealing with, visually.

Today we walked 60 min in the heat of the late morning and it was another >100 HR walk sesh – 123 bpm. Tomorrow I’m definitely going again when it’s hot!

For poolside, the bandaids don’t stay on very well because it’s so hot and I’m so sweaty, but since I am not moving around much they’re good enough. The belly-button bandaid would fall right off so I just put a cotton ball in there LOL.

We spent the evening in San Jose and it felt okay walking around wearing real clothes, but I did feel a bit bloated being out of the high-waisted leggings or shorts I’ve been wearing straight-time. I also ate a bit too much at dinner and I had a few aches in my right-sided incisions when I took deep breaths, but nothing “painful.”

I also got into and out of a jacked-up Dodge without any help. I find that having upper-body strength has been really key because I can focus on isolating my arm muscles instead of engaging the core and straining to pull myself up, or change position or whatever it is I’m doing. Thankful for my job and swimming which has kept my upper half very strong!

Honestly, I wouldn’t have expected to feel this human just 10 days later. If you are someone who has this procedure in the future, I so, SO recommend working on physical fitness in the lead up, if it isn’t already part of your regular routine. Imagining what it would be like if I didn’t have the strength and endurance that went into it with… is not something I want to think about actually!

JK

Hysterectomy Recovery – Days 7 & 8

It’s been a week already! I can’t believe it. At this time last Tuesday I didn’t know if I was gonna survive, but today I’m kicking ass haha.

Yesterday I walked 5k at a medium pace and it felt totally fine aside from the mild low back ache from what I’m confident is just overall pelvic instability. It took less than an hour! I also did 25 minutes of the slow yoga/strength that’s been happening daily since late last week.

TODAY I felt so good that I decided to kick off Week 2 with a legit power walk, as tolerated, of course. My body felt awesome, no aches or pains, no sense of guarding or aprehension about movement (aside from the constant reality that I indeed still have 4 incisions in my stomach that have sutures covered with tape). I walked 6km quite fast, under 10min/km and under an hour total. I pushed it a bit up the steep hills around my neighbourhood and felt fantastic.

I couldn’t get my heart rate to stay above 100 bpm unfortunately, but I think some long efforts with sustained incline on the treadmill might do the trick.

Barely any period-feeling discomfort whatsoever today and it feels like my GIT is functioning at 80-90%. I did a weigh-in first thing in the morning and I’m 4 pounds lighter than on surgery day, which isn’t really a surprise since I haven’t had a real appetite until today. I ate a full restaurant dinner with my mom just now and I’m not having any bloat or pressure. The pressure and air sounds by the diaphragm are gone. I didn’t use the pillow in the car today. Beyond thankful for how this is going!

This is a really cool science experiment and I look forward to trying an inclined power walk in the morning at the hotel I’m staying at tonight. My surgeon said it’s fine to fly, so I’m going for it and continuing this walking/yoga/napping recovery routine in MEXICO for a week at my sister and brother-in-law’s !!!

Woop!

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