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.


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.


Marathoner’s Hysterectomy Journey -Day 3

Okay, 2nd night’s “sleep” was WAY better than the first, though not great. I got in a solid four hours, but then I kept getting out of bed every two hours to walk around and try to get my GI tract moving. Having no catheter or IV was very freeing and even though I was still very uncomfortable, it was okay. I haven’t taken a narcotic pain killer since last night around 9pm. F yeah.

I’ve still had some off-and-on extreme “period cramps” type of pain all day, but it’s definitely manageable and comes and goes, it’s not always terrible. My husband had to go pick something up from Home Depot before we left Prince George, so while he stepped out I went for a walk and managed 2km in half an hour! I wasn’t trying to push it or anything, I just wanted to try moving for 30 minutes and it felt great, and the kilometres took me about 15 minutes today instead of 16-17 minutes yesterday.

At the hotel breakfast I had some Shreddies and a mandarin orange, and then I started having some good burps so I ate two more oranges and it felt good to put down some food and to expel some air. Coffee was good too. No BM today, but since I haven’t eaten much at all since Monday I am feeling okay. The gas bubbles that are trapped in what feels to be the areas both above and below my diaphragm are still there and I can hear them (and so can my husband) when I’m deep breathing. There is no pain from this but it’s not comfortable.

We decided to really, REALLY take our time getting home (it’s an 8 hour drive) and to stop for the night if needed, wherever that may be. But, we stopped for real about every hour, and I fell asleep three or four times quite deeply, and it went by pretty fast and I didn’t have any problem with coming all the way home. Most of the stops I walked around for at least five minutes. The pillow from Lisa is so amazing and I felt relatively comfortable in the truck with it cushioning my abdomen. The few bumps in the road had me bracing myself, but I didn’t have pain, it was more guarding just in case.

Once we got home, I had a shower! I mainly let the water hit my back only, and stuck my face in the water to wash, but it was nice to have a rinse. I took off the dressings to have a look at the tape bandaids, which I have been told need to stay on for one week. This is how it looks – I am in disbelief that this is the extent of the carnage on the outside LOL.

Still pretty bloated and my low back and hips are so achey, but I feel so lucky that I can walk and get dressed, etc. Also, still rocking paper manties. I think I have 2 pairs left haha.

My surgeon wants me to come back to Prince George for a follow-up appointment in early September, and in the meantime, any concerns I have will be directed to my GP. I can’t remember if I mentioned it yesterday, but no driving for two weeks, simply due to having major surgery, but she did okay me to go on a plane…so I am looking at flights to go visit my sister who recently moved to Mexico. What a good place to go walking.

Crossing fingers for 4+ hours of uninterrupted sleep tonight and for more gas bubbles to leave my body in any way possible as time goes on. Tomorrow I want to try two walks, some calf raises and some time spent standing on one leg at a time for hip strength. I’ll try some gentle stretching, too, as long as it feels safe, but if not will abort mission.


Hysterectomy – the rest of Day 2

Today basically kept getting better. An intentional 15 min walk outside, a bit of real food (toast with some sort of prune potion that my nurse gave me), another BM and more walking with a friend, Gillian, who has experienced far more when it comes to gynecological surgeries than I have, and a nap.

Still feeling bloated but nowhere near to the degree of last night and this morning. I was able to get in and out of the truck without help, the seatbelt pillow that Lisa gave me is fantastic, and I even went to Lulu, though they didn’t have what I was looking for. I would not have been able to try on clothes but I know my sizes there.

There was one last nurse visit where she gathered all the gear and equipment, gave me more of my new favourite outfit (see mesh manties below) and took the IV out of my hand since the earlier bloodwork showed no need for antibiotics. I was officially discharged from Hospital at Home but we are spending another night in the hotel – the though of driving home today was out of the question. If you have this surgery or one like it, I would not travel the next day!

I feel so thankful that I went for two purposeful walks today, both about 1km. They were slow and I did feel a little soreness after the first one, but I think this is pretty good for the day after the operation. I used my Garmin to keep track so that I can build on the time spent walking and also, in time, the pace at which I’m walking.

Good night, I’m gonna get some legit rest tonight I believe.


Marathoner’s Hysterectomy Journey – Day of, that night & morning after

Wow. I will start by saying that the last 12 hours were some of my worst ever.

My husband drove me to the hospital for 11am yesterday and the check-in process was smooth and easy. Once we got to Day Surgery, I was changed into a gown, booties and some massive gangster shorts almost immediately and had to pee in a cup, which I found out later was for a pregnancy test. After I was weighed (58.1 kg, interested in keeping an eye on this since I have only had a smoothie so far and I am not hungry) and my height measured, I said bye to Husband and settled into a recliner to get prepped.

They took my blood pressure, which was actually really low and freaked me out that I would faint as soon as it was time for any poking or prodding. A temperature monitor was stuck on my forehead. An OR nurse came and gave me a heparin (anti-clotting agent) in the abdomen and it stung pretty bad but wasn’t too big of a deal. Then an amazing med student working alongside the anesthesiologist screened me and decided we would wait until I was in the OR and laying down to put the IV in. My surgeon came to visit and confirm what was happening and tell me a few things about recovery. No lifting heavy things, doing heavy house work or twisting motions, no swimming (FML) or running for 6 weeks, firm. But I asked about increasing walking speed, walking up hills, etc and she said that is fine, and can start run-walk intervals at 6 weeks and build by feel.

What happened yesterday was, IUD removal, total hysterectomy (uterus and cervix) and bilateral salpingectomy (fallopian tubes). I told my surgeon to promise me there was no way the ovaries could get taken by accident and she assured me that would not happen haha.

Once I went to the OR, I felt nervous but okay, it was really bright and chilly in there and it was an all-girl crew and they were all super nice to me. Getting the IV sucked, my usual Arnold Schwarzenegger veins were not great as I was starving to death and very dehydrated, but they got it into my left hand on the 2nd try and then it was time to go to sleep.

I have never had general anesthetic before so it was so wild opening my eyes and being told that I was waking up from surgery! I definitely bit my lip hard at some point because it was sore and swollen and my throat was a bit scratchy from the airway that had been in. Grogginess was high and my lower back and hips were so, so sore. I kept nodding off and apparently holding my breath, leading to O2 to dip too low, so I had to stay in the recovery room longer than they thought but it wasn’t that long. Maybe two hours?

Husband arrived to pick me up and I was pretty fucked up and very overwhelmed so I started to cry a lot and didn’t love the wheelchair ride, but the drive to the hotel wasn’t too bad and getting into the bed with the catheter (or “golden purse” as my favourite nurse says it’s called) wasn’t too bad. But my back was excruciatingly achey and it felt like my ovaries had a blow torch on each and worse period cramps times 100. About 20 minutes after we had settled in, the first nurse from Hospital at Home came. He had me on a saline IV all night and a low dose (1mg) hydromorphone every 4 hours for pain. I would doze for about 10 minutes after a dose but the pain from the carbon dioxide gas that they inflate you with was too much and I just kept getting up and not sleeping all night. It truly fucking sucked to be honest.

Finally by 6am some of my puppy poses and one leg up on the bed at a time for modified wind-relieving pose allowed the passing of a bit of the gas and the beginning of an urge for a bowel movement. Funny how when I’m talking about running I say poomergency but in this case I’m being all medical. LOL. That was a bad night.

A new Hospital at Home nurse came this morning and she removed the catheter (not painful in any way) and disconnected the IV. She also tried to take blood for a CBC but my veins were’t cooperating so the next nurse will do that. She left me a “sombrero” to pee in that measures the volume and unless you can void about 250ml and not retain too much in the bladder (they ultrasound to check) then they have to put the catheter back in! But, don’t want to brag, but I just peed 400ml so I think I might be in the clear.

I did a short walk down the hall to the elevator and back and if felt good to move. I was side stepping and walking forward and backwards last night but with all the riggin I couldn’t really go anywhere. The very gentle yoga poses and simply getting out of the bed often was all I could do to feel a tiny bit better, it fucking sucked. But as of right now I just feel a bit bloated and like I have period cramps and an achey back. There is also carbon dioxide gas trapped around my diaphragm and I can hear it when I’m doing deep-diaphragmatic breaths and it’s making my right shoulder hurt a bit but apparently that’s normal referral pain from pressure on the phrenic nerve..

Time for bladder ultrasound and another short walk. I feel like it can only go up from here, fingers crossed. PS, get yourself a spouse like mine. Wow.


Marathoner’s Hysterectomy Journey – morning of

Good morning!

I’m sitting in a massive bed at our hotel and just took my final sip of (black..) coffee. At 11am my husband is taking me to the hospital to check in and we both have to sign a consent form for “Hospital at Home.” Hospital at Home is, what sounds like to me, an awesome program where eligible, medically stable patients get hospital-level care in their homes (on in my case, hotel), instead of staying in the hospital. Medical team members care for the patient using both in-person home visits and virtual visits (phone and/or video). They also use technology to monitor you. Hospital at Home care is short-term (average 3-7 days) and is available 24/7, and 365 days a year. Northern Health is currently trialing Hospital at Home in Prince George, through the University Hospital of Northern BC, which is where I’m having the procedure today. I hope it all goes smoothly!

I swore I was going to get up early and run this morning, but this king bed is pretty comfy. Maybe I’ll go for a little shake out when I’m done writing this.

All there really is to do this morning is not eat (since midnight) or drink anymore clear fluids (since 8am), take my one prescription medication which I’ve done, and have the final shower. I’m feeling pretty nervous, I always half-faint when I get blood drawn so I’m scared that having such an empty stomach and lower blood sugar is going to make me freak out at the hospital, but I’ll just have to get through it. I’ve never had an IV before and they gross me out. I’m also scared of how much pain there will be after.

The extremely nice gentleman who called yesterday from the Hospital at Home program was very thorough, and he reminded me that even though I’m a H@H candidate, if the surgeon decides for whatever reason that it’s safest to stay a night in the hospital after all, she can make that call. So I packed a light over night back just in case but as long as all goes well my amazing husband will come and get me once I’m done in the OR recovery.

Here we go. Talk as soon as possible.


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