Three days ago I had a triple hernia repair, right along the midline of my abdomen. Read the fun here. I went into this surgery healthy and came out of it healthy. Even as a nurse who has spent her life taking care of critically ill children, this threw me for a physical and educational loop.
Post op day one was all right. I walked a mile in the morning and another in the evening. I spectated Curt, Luc, Jenie and Dave at a 5K! But by night time…. I was one hurting puppy. I had some good medication that I was using to get through the day but as midnight rolled around, ow. My abdomen was swollen, throbbing and everything hurt.
At midnight I decided it was time to get a hold of myself. I took a dose of medication, went to sleep and woke up determined to take control of this situation. I kept telling myself…. Imagine if you were sick! I came into this in great shape and I will be back at it soon. I am just not used to not being able to even empty the dishwasher (but hey, the doc said I should never empty it again! Who am I to argue!).
I didn’t build a season of fitness in 1 week and I won’t lose it in 1 week either.
I am laughing how I thought I would be back on my bike yesterday! Thoughts of racing at this moment make me laugh, which hurts to do so please do not make me laugh.
I can’t shake the thought though….. I came into this fit and healthy. I have no comorbidities and take no medications. All I have as a surgical side effect is pain. I am up to walking four one mile loops of my neighborhood. The more I move the better I feel.
I think of everyone I have cared for over the years. Who don’t come into it healthy. Who don’t get to go home the same day they go under general anesthesia. Their biggest worry isn’t getting back on their bike, it’s how will they get home? Even though I witnessed it first hand…. I still need to be reminded.
What we get to do in this life, in our sport…. what a gift. I was raised as an athlete. I didn’t find sport by quitting smoking or going through a life crisis at a certain age. I was raised this way. It’s all I know. I have never dated someone who wasn’t an athlete, it’s no wonder I met my husband though sport.
I think sometimes we as athletes can get elitist about our chosen sports. We allow it to foster relationships and we also allow it…. to break relationships. Camps develop around these athletes versus those athletes….. and at the end of the day… does it matter?
Not only was I raised an athlete I was taught to appreciate being an athlete, and all of the gifts that come along with it. Personal issues should never develop between a start and finish line. Strength within oneself and strength between a community should. Sport is where we can learn, and for me it’s where I have developed resiliency, mental strength and the passion to follow my dreams. There is not room for personal indifference within sport for me. Life is hard enough, why allow that to cross over here?
From sport… passion to follow my dreams has bled over into my career as a nurse, in my own education and in our coaching. It’s taught me to simply dismiss naysayers, those who exist just to argue, and mean people. Period. I dismiss. And move on. Like I said, life is hard enough, we don’t need to make it harder. We are all in this together and at the end of the day….. sport continues to be our luxury.
As I navigate this recovery…. trust me within a week I will be on the bike, back in the pool and starting to run again. My body will thank me and reward me for a much needed break (I trained HARD going into this. I just don’t post that stuff on social media… it’s mine!). I will head to our training camps and I will continue the build towards nationals.
It’s now post op day four and I have significant pain and swelling, which are both to be expected with this repair. I am up to 3 one mile walks per day, I had aimed for a fourth but pain took that away last evening. Walking is one of the best things you can do post op if you can do it, trust me they aren’t anywhere NEAR a pace that I should be worried about. Pain is always a very good governor.
I am truly amazed at what our bodies are capable of. Even though I am in pain it’s a pain that will get better, it’s a pain from a repair not from my body breaking down. One day at a time.
One of my physical friends gave me this little nugget with the advice that I need to change my motto for a short time “Work up to the pain, not through it.” This time…. that fits me perfect.