Tag Archives: Hiatus hernia

Why I Didn’t Run Today

Snuggle time ends when Elliot says it ends.

After yesterday’s epic bike ride with Mel, I woke up expecting to feel like I’d been beaten with a bag of hammers. Surprisingly, that wasn’t the case. Don’t get me wrong, I could tell that some of my muscles were tired1, but they weren’t in any way close to what I would call agony.

Regardless, after careful consideration I opted not to go for tonight’s scheduled run2. It wasn’t an easy decision, and it’s one that I’m sure I’ll kick myself for tomorrow. However, two things took priority.

First, almost the minute I sat down on the couch to unwind for a few minutes after work, the wee Fuzzball decided to snuggle. Except this turned into an epic snuggle. He lay there nestled in my arm with one paw outstretched across my chest/belly3 for what seemed like hours. I don’t know exactly how long this lasted, but it was long enough to make me second guess my running plans.

Post hernia surgery – approximately 11 months ago. I do not want to do this again.

Second – and I hate to admit this one because I know my mom is probably going to be on my case – is that I’m currently suffering from a freaking ridiculous bout of acid reflux. And it has been bothering me all day. It’s reminiscent of the old time-y days when I had a hiatal hernia4. I’ve been trying to figure out if it’s a result of something I’ve eaten, or if it’s a result of eating too much, but nothing is jumping out at me as the root cause. I think perhaps my stomach is just a jerk and wants to remind me it’s there.

Stupid stomach. I want to punch it square in the face for being such an annoying jerk, but I realize that would only make matters worse for me. And I like me. So instead, I’m trying to do some yoga as that often helped alleviate some of the discomfort and pain back in the old time-y days before the doctors knew what was going on and drugs had been prescribed.

So there you have it. I opted to not run because of snuggles and a jerky stomach. I think that’s my most creative excuse yet.

1 I’m looking at you back.

2 Which was scheduled to be a 10-15km run, depending on my energy level, and the temperature outside.

3 Clearly hugging me.

4 Which freaks me out because it makes me wonder if the hernia is back5. I highly doubt it is – science, medicine, capable surgeons, and probability are all on my side.

5 The surgeon did say this was a possibility, although he suggested this as a long-term possibility, not a 11 month later possibility.

For Your Reading Pleasure: Obits, Tickle Zones And Naughty Bits.

Yesterday marked my second run post surgery. I’ll give you a minute to let that sink in.

Okay, maybe that minute was for me. Because it felt so freaking good to run again. So. Freaking. Good.

My first post surgery run occurred last week. That run was short and slow – about 2.5km in 15 minutes. But it felt great. Better than great. Epic.

Ultimately, the purpose of that run was to test whether or not my body, more specifically my abs, would be up for the challenge of training for, and running another marathon in just over 4 weeks time.

Another marathon? But you just had surgery!

Too true dear reader, too true. But do you remember way back in the old time-y days of June ’11? I had just finished running my first marathon and was on a bit of a running high, and I also didn’t fully understand the seriousness of my hernia surgery (what with the moving of the stomach and the stitching up of my esophagus). Well, I may have decided at that point to throw caution to the wind and sign up for a second marathon; the Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 16th. Clearly I wasn’t thinking straight.

A diagram of where the incisions were made. The one in the bellybutton was by far the biggest, and most disgusting. Full disclosure - this is not me. My abs are not nearly as photogenic as these abs. Yet. Also, there are no greek letter tattoos.

Anyway, I won’t lie. I was tremendously nervous and uber cautious for my first post surgery run. Having just had my hiatal hernia fixed (via 5 incisions – depicted right), there was a small part of me that wondered if the stitched up bits wouldn’t become unstitched, allowing my insides to become my outsides in a very messy treadmill related death.

Eviscerated post surgery via treadmill.

Now that’s an obit! The only obit that I can think might be better (?) is this one (thank you Rick for sending me this news gem).

So, back to my second run. That one still wasn’t as fast as some of my runs, but it was a solid run. I decided to double my distance by running slightly more than 5km. I also picked up the pace – running it in just over 25 minutes. By the end, I had managed an average pace of 5:02 per kilometer. Not quite my fastest pace, nor anywhere close to a pace require to break the 20 minute mark for a 5km run, but still pretty sweet for post surgery, if I do say so myself.

Even better, my legs felt good, my lungs felt good, I still had energy, and my body didn’t hate me this morning.

What does all of this mean? It means that I’m going to continue my marathon training. I’m not saying for sure that I will end up running a full marathon on October 16th, but it does seem that it’s still within the realm of possibility. And that also means that my weekly long distance run will be increasing in length a bit faster than normal. Of course, I will be doing this as safely as possible. I don’t want to get close and then have to drop out because of a stupid injury that I sustain from running stupid. Running stupid is the worst kind of running.

I shall keep you abreast of my progress. Regardless of what happens, I’m just stoked to be running again.

Despite What You May Have Heard, I Am Not A Gremlin

I'm sure I'll be looking just like this post surgery. After all, I will be on drugs.

Today is the big day; the day that my hiatal hernia gets kicked to the curb. But don’t feel bad for it; it has been an unwanted, obnoxious, and unruly resident of my torso for the past 2+ years, clearly over-staying its welcome.

In prep for surgery, I was informed that I had to stop eating solid food after midnight (which I did). Apparently the doctor feared that I might actually be a gremlin in disguise, and I guess operating on a gremlin is not covered by his malpractice insurance. Plus, that means I would have had to make a pulsating green cocoon for myself such as seen in the movie Gremlins, and I’m all out of pulsating green goo for which to build said cocoon.

I was permitted to consume clear liquids such as water and tea until 5 am. After that, however, I wasn’t allowed anything, not even water. Because clearly dear friends, a large bowl of air is truly the breakfast of champions.

If you happen to be reading this post around 9 am, I will be in the process of getting prepped for surgery. As far as I am aware, this includes getting hooked up to various IVs, heart rate monitors, and other machines that go bing. Machines that go bing are the most scientific of all machines. They are the ones to pay the most attention.

The big show – also known as the grand slice and dice – doesn’t occur until 11 am. What exactly does surgery involve? Well, I could get all technical and describe the details of moving my stomach, stitching up a few things, and performing various other acrobatics with my innards, but it’s much easier to point you to this link to get all the gory scientific information. Plus, I’m feeling lazy. That happens when one is only allowed to consume air after 5 am. But I digress.

Following surgery – and that could be as late as 1:30 pm – I shall be moved from the operating room to recovery. There I will slowly make my way from the magical land of anesthesia back to reality. And likely this is when I will realize that my abs have just been sliced and diced. From there, I will be moved to my room where I shall stay until the doctor is convinced that I can process solid food. That’s fancy medical jargon for a number 2. I’m sure there are other things that will determine when I can leave the building, but that was one of the main criterion the nurse told me about during pre-op last week.

Anyway, I’ll do my best to keep you updated on my progress (I have a few posts pre-written just in case I’m too smashed post hernia to write). Since I’m not allowed to bring any electronics to the hospital, I will try to take pen to paper to record my deep thoughts, my profound observations, and my life-changing experiences. Or I’ll just record whatever gibberish that comes to mind while I’m floating on a self-administered morphine cloud. Either way, I’m sure it will be entertaining.

File Under Naiveté

My doctor is not Dr. Nick.

Apparently I’m rather dumb. Or naive. Likely both.

Anyway, I’m sure that I’ve mentioned that I’m going to be getting my hiatal hernia fixed. Specifically, next Friday, August the 5th I’m going under the knife. And while this has been a long time coming, I was still a bit floored today when I went for my Pre-Op meeting.

Before we get to why I was floored, understand that in my head, hernia surgery is not a big deal. In fact, it’s a non-issue what with modern medicine being all modern and medicine-y like. Knowing that, it should come as no surprise that I had assumed that this would be a day surgery event, followed by a few days of feeling like a big bag of smashed hammers, and then a slow but steady return to fighting form (read no running and biking for a week or so).

Author: National Institute of Diabetes and Dig...
Image via Wikipedia

Flash to me in the nurses office discussing the procedure. It was today that I learned (or maybe finally understood) that I could be in the hospital for 3 days – depending on how the doctor believes I’m healing. It’s not so much to monitor the incisions (although that is part of it), but it’s to make sure that my stomach is functioning properly and that I can actually eat solid food. Keep in mind that my stomach has decided to migrate through my cardiac (or lower oesophageal) sphincter. Hence the doctor has to pull it down, perform some funky acrobatics with it to help prevent future migrations, and then return it to its rightful place. I guess that might upset it, and make it not function the way it should. Gah!

Not only that, but the nurse informed me that I might be off work for up to 6 weeks. Six. Weeks. What the what? Anyone who knows me will realize immediately that I have a really hard time sitting still for any length of time. It’s not that I can’t relax – I can, and I do, and I love it – but this won’t be sitting around in a relaxing manner, and that is going to drive me bat shit crazy. I repeat, bat shit crazy!

Even better; I naively informed the director of my department that I’d be off Friday and maybe Monday. How stupid did I feel this afternoon when I sent him a follow-up email to inform him that my maybe 1 or 2 days off might turn into a few weeks. Gah!

Ultimately, this is going to throw a wrench in a lot of my summer goals. The yoga challenge, the marathon, the century bike ride, climbing more mountains, travelling every month. Gah. Gah. Gah. Gah to the freaking Gah.

Clearly the universe is trying to remind me that I am in fact human. And that I should probably listen to the best advice out there and take the time to fully recover so that I can get back to training and doing the things that I love instead of pushing myself too hard and screwing my body up further, thus prolonging any necessary down time. Stupid universe reminding me that I have limitations. You do not amuse me. In fact, this reminds me of something my very wise friend Aqleema recently wrote (and when she writes, one should read, because her writings are often hilarious, profound, thought-provoking, and full of awesome):

‎When the universe tells you ‘No’,

there is only one thing left to do.

Bitch slap it.

I really want to bitch slap the universe right about now. Instead, I’ll take my medicine and be a good little patient and be stronger for having done so. But that doesn’t mean I won’t still hope that this is all just a ‘worst case scenario’ situation, and in the end I’ll heal up super quick, super strong, ready to fight in no time at all. Then again, if that shan’t be the case dear readers, be comforted knowing that I’ll likely post more ramblings as I’m going to be undoubtedly bored to tears.

Oh, and for those who have asked – I’m going to do what I can to film or photograph whatever I can of the surgery. Be prepared :)

In somewhat related news – the Pre-Op visit has provided me with confirmation that my resting heart rate is in fact 48 beats per minute (as documented here). This however does not answer the question as to when one is considered a Zombie. Further research is clearly needed.

The Sloth Is Dead And Other Bric-A-Brac: An Update


The sloth is dead. Or is he?

Just over a week ago I commented on my downward spiral into the pass-out-on-the-couch, do-nothing-and-whine-about-it world-o-fun that is Sloth.  Truly I was so full of seven-deadly-sinfulness, that Kevin Spacey‘s John Doe would surely have considered replacing his original drug dealing victim with me1.  Or not.


Regardless, one of my goals last week was to get back on my regular wagon; walking, running, biking (I wish – stupid return of winter), yoga, and recording my food intake.  The former activities were required simply to continue my preparations for the upcoming full marathon in May; item #105 on my Not-So-Bucket-List list. The latter was to prevent any further weight loss due to my stupid, stupid hiatal hernia. Hiatal hernias being the stupidest of all hernias.

As promised, I’ve decided to update you, dear readers, on my progress. Mainly this serves as a way to ensure that I am accountable for what I have or have not done. So here goes.

Since March 21st, 2011 (up to and including March 30th, 2011) my results are:

  • running ~12.00km (gah – that is TERRIBLE)
  • walking ~48.00km (not bad, but not good either)
  • biking ~0.00km (stupid winter – I shake my fist at thee)
  • yoga ~320min (not bad, but much improvement needed)

My average net daily Caloric intake was 1617.8, although I didn’t actually record my Calories every day.  Gah!  Super fail.  Regardless, the average compares to my required value of 2253 Calories (which would maintain my weight at 145lbs; I am however not 145lbs – I am 137lbs, which clearly requires fewer Calories to maintain, assuming I have not lost further weight.  I should consider purchasing a scale).  This means on average, I was under by 635.2 Calories per day.  And that’s with as little exercise as I’ve been doing.  Not good.  Not good at all.  How am I supposed to become a buff young stud if I can’t eat enough?  LOL.  I’m not sure what is funniest about the last question: buff?  young?  stud?  Or the ridiculous combination of all of these – buff young stud – to describe myself?  Hilarious.

Additionally, I spent a total of 43 hr 12 min sleeping over the course of the 10 days between March 21 and March 30, which gives me an average of 4 hr 20 min of sleep per night.  Hmm, I have to work on that too.

Anyway, while things have improved slightly, and I’m not the lay-about that I was, I’m still not satisfied with the result.  Much work to do.  Clearly.

1 If you have no idea what I’m talking about, see the move se7en, with Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kevin Spacey. If you like messed up movies, you are sure to love this.