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!

Marathoner’s Hysterectomy Recovery – day 6

When I woke up this morning I felt noticeably different than yesterday. I slept really long and only got up once, and even sitting up in bed I didn’t feel as fragile or cautious.

I had a super legit shower but was still careful not to blast my abdomen with water, took off the dressings that I replaced on Friday morning, and patted dry/air dried the incision sites that still have the tape covering the dissolvable sutures. Feeling minimally bloated, which is great. I do feel very weak in the abdominal muscles because it doesn’t feel safe to fully engage them, so I have more of an anterior pelvic tilt than usual, but will work on it over time.

After coffee I did 20 minutes of yoga/strength – again, single leg standing, lots of stretching and thoracic extensions, side walking, penguin walks, walking grape-vines, deep diaphragmatic breathing, slow bird-dogs.

I did three walks today, one being almost an hour but pretty relaxed as I was visiting with friends. Total walking distance today was 7.8km. Since it’s Sunday I decided to tally up the walking kilometres for the week as well – 19.6 km! Today I have a big air pocket near my diaphragm and it’s making it hard to breath from the low belly. Hopefully it will pass. I also had a couple random, very mild aches at the incisions here and there, but it was towards the end of the walking and I am done for the day now.

After Cam Levins broke his own Canadian record in the Marathon today in Eugene at Worlds, I started to get really fkn pumped. I think in a few weeks when I’ve healed up a bit more, the combination of long efforts of uphill walking, yoga, single-leg strength stuff, hikes and whatever else I come up with is going to set me up with a half decent base for CIM training. It feels so good to be seeing this recovery process as a project. It’s encouraging diversity in movement, patience, and simply the mindset of “do what you can.”

All that being said, I repeat what I will say probably every day, which is that I will not rush. I won’t fk up my body. I won’t disregard my surgeon’s orders. But I do feel like my mind and body is going to be ready in some new ways when it comes time to start running again!!!

This is fun in a way.

JK

Marathoner’s Hysterectomy Journey – days 4 & 5

Guess what. I’m bored.

So the first night’s sleep in my own bed on Friday night was decent for sure, I had to get up to pee once or twice but that’s my normal anyway. It felt good to get some real rest and not have such disruptive bloat-pain.

I’m really happy that after that last dose of 1mg hydromorphone on Thursday night at the hotel, I have only taken 1g of acetaminophen a couple of times. Period-cramp pain I can handle, pressure and pain from a backed up GIT, I cannot.

Yesterday, Day 4, I started going about my morning as I usually would, having coffee in bed and then I started very slowly and gently putting things away from the wedding/surgery trip and placing a few things, one at a time, into the washing machine. I watched some TV and did some shit on my computer, my mom came for a visit and then I started feeling sorry for myself. After she left I had a hard nap, which surprised me because I didn’t expect that just easily moving around the house over the course of the morning would tire me out to that extent. Have to remember that healing is energetically expensive!!!

When I woke up I needed air and I needed to move. I set out to walk outside for 40 minutes and ended up getting in 3km in 39 minutes. It felt good, and uphill is feeling better than downhill. I held my abdomen on the downhills again. I did some single-leg stands in the mirror (to ensure no hip-drop) for 45 seconds/side x 2, some thoracic extensions on the wall because I feel so hunched, and a bit more stretching. The fact that I can squat down to the floor to sit down, and stretch out my hamstrings and adductors amazes me. I have zero pain in the general crotchal region whatsoever – pretty much just tender from the ovary area to the belly button.

I don’t have much of an appetite still and I was scared of how my GIT would react if I tried to put down a whole chicken breast, so I had about a third of one, some rice and some salad and everything was fine. Still feels like period cramps, bloating is way down, just feel mildly tender at the abdominal incisions and I feel very paranoid about coughing/sneezing/laughing hard.

Walking really does feel fine, but I feel unstable. It doesn’t feel safe to totally engage the core so I’m not walking with a totally normal gait and I don’t feel like I can go very fast, which fine for now, obviously. But, I do look forward to feeling less sore/floppy/guarded through the abdominopelvic region as a whole so that I can ever-so-slightly increase the intensity of the walking.

Today I walked 4km. It also felt great. It’s hard to breathe diaphragmatically but I’ll keep working on it as time goes on. After a few visitors and some reading, I did ten minutes of very easy “yoga” – really slow and controlled bird-dogs, thoracic extensions, single-leg kneeling and making big circles overhead with my arms, diaphragmatic breathing on my back with hips and knees flexed, and then some side-stepping along the length of my house to keep the lateral movers of the hips awake and engaged.

It’s funny because I don’t actually feel like running still – my running burn-out seems to still be a thing – but because I’m not allowed to, I keep tricking myself that I “want to so bad.” I have to keep reminding myself that the break is good, I can set different goals for now, and once my abdomen doesn’t feel freshly stabbed and super vulnerable, I can start building up to really long walks on incline on the treadmill. I know I’ll be able to run CIM in December, and I actually feel pretty confident that my body will permit me to run it well, but this is just based on optimism and feeling better than I thought I would on the 5th day.

This is weird. I’m tired.

JK

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