Running and an inguinal hernia

It has been a long time since I wrote about running. Last spring things were going well, but over the summer I had some minor problems again including mild Achilles tendinitis. It never seemed to get worse so I simply started running more.

From August 2019 to April 2020 I averaged around 40 miles per week with no problems (the Achilles tendinitis disappeared completely within the first few weeks.

Sometime in late April I developed a pain in the groin while running. It would go away after the run, so I assumed it was some sort of pulled muscle. It was also intermittent (in retrospect it makes sense why that might be the case now I know more about hernias) so I just kept running.

In the first half of May I had a 4 day weekend and ran every day. I had no problems at all on those days. The following day I took the kid to play soccer at the park and the pain was back. Again, it eased, and the following day I ran again. This time the pain got gradually worse during the run, and in the shower after I noticed the bulge in my groin.

I was convinced it was a hernia so went to the doctor and had it confirmed. The doctor wanted me to get a CT scan, and insurance denied it (because an ultrasound would be sufficient), so there was a delay. I never got an ultrasound sorted out, and simply contacted a surgeon because I do not need referrals with my insurance.

After that consultation it was unclear how long I would have to wait for surgery. Hospitals were backed up, and more restricted due to covid-19, which meant that the earliest chance to get it done would be with an open surgery at a surgery center, instead of laparoscopic surgery (which would have to be done at a hospital).

This whole time I could not run, and any activity could cause me problems – one short walk ended with having to be picked up and driven home. Any walk or bike ride would result in a day of nausea.

My surgery was scheduled for June 23 – one day under 6 weeks from my last run.

In the week leading up to the surgery I had to get blood work and an EKG, and then a covid-19 test. I was pretty confident I hadn’t been exposed, but I was still paranoid that things could get delayed if it came back positive. I was anxious to get the surgery over and done with and be back on a path to getting back to running.

I hadn’t been under general anesthetic before, so that was a new experience. I expected to get that countdown from 100, but I must have been out pretty soon after the IV went in. People have different experiences coming round after (according to the nurse) but I came out quickly and with no side effects. I expected to at least be drowsy.

No visitors were allowed at the center, so they called my wife to pick me up. I was told to have someone with me for 24 hours, but in my case I needed a bit more than that. The hours after I got home were pretty rough. The main problem was trying to get in and out of bed (the only place to go was the bathroom, but that was needed fairly frequently). On one attempt to get up I twisted in such a way that was very painful, and resulted in me throwing up (which was also a painful experience). Although I felt nauseous several times over the nex 24 to 36 hours, that was the only time I threw up.

The surgery was on Tuesday and Thursday evening was the first time I ventured downstairs to eat with the family, and on Friday I was joining work calls and checking email (from my bed) but only for half of the day.

Things are gradually improving. The discomfort is decreasing a bit each day, and I’m not quite as tired (the first few days of this week were exhausting and I probably should have taken more time off in retrospect.

Yesterday, 8 days following surgery, felt like a bigger improvement. I am under orders to not drive or lift anything (even a gallon of milk) until my follow up with the surgeon on Wednesday.

I plan to keep this blog up to date with my recovery and return to running, whenever that may be.

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