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Author Topic: [Medical] Hernia Advice  (Read 607 times)
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rickfc
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« on: October 17, 2011, 04:59:59 PM »

So, it seems that the over-exertion of Tough Mudder gave me a hernia - an inguinal hernia to be exact. I have an appointment with a general surgeon for this Thursday, as I understand that surgery is the only "cure". This is the first time in my life that I've had anything like this happen to me, so I'm a little unnerved.

Have any of you ever had any experience with this, especially recently? My main concern at this point is being able to continue with my fitness schedule (Insanity and the like), and hopefully being able to continue doing events such as Tough Mudder. For the first time in my life, I am truly active and was in the process of getting in the best shape I've ever been in.

Any advice is appreciated.

Rick
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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2011, 05:04:23 PM »

I've had hernia repair surgery, but I can't offer much advice regarding staying active... mine was concurrent with some other medical issues so I was unable to resume my workout schedule for several months.

I think the general rule of thumb is no exertion for two weeks, then work back up to your previous level of exercise.  Though it is my understanding that certain types of hernias are well-suited for laprascopic (sp?) surgery, which should reduce your recovery time.
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2011, 05:35:34 PM »

My brother's best friend had a more major hernia surgery and it's been horrible for him. His wife had to help just use the toilet (#2) for a long time. But his doctor sounds like a mess. Some co-workers who had hernia surgeries at my old newspaper job a few years ago really only needed maybe a week or so before they felt pretty much normal.

I'd bring up all your exercise concerns with the doctor. If he sounds flippant or just sort of brushes off concerns and says "oh you'll be fine," I'd consider getting a second opinion. Or at least do some research online at WebMD.com and the like. The more you know going in, the less chance you'll be surprised, imho.
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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2011, 05:51:59 PM »

Quote from: Laner on October 17, 2011, 05:04:23 PM

I've had hernia repair surgery, but I can't offer much advice regarding staying active... mine was concurrent with some other medical issues so I was unable to resume my workout schedule for several months.

I think the general rule of thumb is no exertion for two weeks, then work back up to your previous level of exercise.  Though it is my understanding that certain types of hernias are well-suited for laprascopic (sp?) surgery, which should reduce your recovery time.

Laproscopic surgery should make recovery and return to normal activities much easier. They usually tell you when they schedule a laproscopic procedure that there is always the possibility that they will need to make the big cut though.
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rickfc
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« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2011, 05:58:55 PM »

Thanks guys. From what I can find, the doctor to whom I was referred is well-respected and has a good track record, as far as I can find.

I guess it's more just nerves about the fact that I'm more than likely going into my very first surgery after 33 years of relatively good health.

Blackjack, I have been doing a fair share of research on the subject, as I didn't even really know exactly what a hernia was until I my doctor told me I had one.
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« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2011, 06:22:17 PM »

Quote
I guess it's more just nerves about the fact that I'm more than likely going into my very first surgery after 33 years of relatively good health.

Would it make you feel better if I performed the surgery on you?
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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2011, 01:02:10 PM »

My dad had a hernia repaired and they actually had to cut him open.  he was restricted from heavy lifting for about a month.  If they do the surgery laparoscopically you will be up much quicker.  I had a laparoscopic procedure on my abdomen and felt fine a few days later (take off a thursday friday back at work monday.)

The key is definitely making sure the surgeon isn't a schmuck (or CK).  With all that being said, surgery is surgery and has risks.  Good Luck
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rickfc
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« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2011, 01:42:15 PM »

Quote from: papasmurff on October 18, 2011, 01:02:10 PM

My dad had a hernia repaired and they actually had to cut him open.  he was restricted from heavy lifting for about a month.  If they do the surgery laparoscopically you will be up much quicker.  I had a laparoscopic procedure on my abdomen and felt fine a few days later (take off a thursday friday back at work monday.)

The key is definitely making sure the surgeon isn't a schmuck (or CK).  With all that being said, surgery is surgery and has risks.  Good Luck

Thanks. I have my appointment on Thursday, and I'm thinking I'm going to schedule whatever procedure I need to have as soon as possible. I'm starting to feel more and more discomfort every day.
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« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2011, 05:40:31 PM »

I had the exact same type of hernia when I was in my late teens.  I was very active in sports, but that's not what I think caused it.  I think it was from carrying around a marching snare drum for 3 years on my highschool's snare line.  The lifting up and down of the harness + snare over and over again. 

I remember feeling the exact same way.  Unnerved is a great description.  I was also concerned about being able to resume physical activity since I was in the process of competing for a Marine option ROTC scholarship, and needed to back and ready as soon as possible. 

This was many years ago, but the procedure they did was more aggressive than what they typically said most doctors would do.  Instead of placing a metal screen to stengthen the lining (to hold back the intestine), they opted to reconstruct or rewire all of my muscles in that area.  It's a better procedure, but has a longer recovery. 

It took a good 4 weeks before I could start doing anything near the level I was before.  During that time I couldn't drive, pick stuff up that weighed more than 10-20lbs, and I had to take it easy just doing basic things.  It felt like my muscles in that area were all knotted together (which is kind of what they did), and I had to walk hunched over for about 3-4 days.  I looked pretty silly.  Surgery in that area is no joke, even seemingly simple procedures. 

I understand that the mesh screen method has a much faster recovery window, with less discomfort.  One of the reasons they opted for the muscle reconstruction was because I was so active, and they were worried that the mesh screen wouldn't hold in the long run.  It took about 2 months before I really felt like I could go all out with exercising and sports, and even then I was nervous about it happening again, or coming back. 

It never came up again, and i was able to play sports in college, and serve 8 years in the Marines without issue.  I don't remember anything about the operation itself.  They put me to sleep, and then I woke up in recovery feeling doped up and groggy.  I thnk it took 3 hours.  An older veteran was having the mesh screen approach done at the same time, and he opted for a spinal rather than general, and he was done in an hour and was heading out the door with his wife when I woke up.

Hope that helps...   
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rickfc
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« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2011, 07:18:47 PM »

Quote from: Roguetad on October 18, 2011, 05:40:31 PM

I had the exact same type of hernia when I was in my late teens.  I was very active in sports, but that's not what I think caused it.  I think it was from carrying around a marching snare drum for 3 years on my highschool's snare line.  The lifting up and down of the harness + snare over and over again. 

I remember feeling the exact same way.  Unnerved is a great description.  I was also concerned about being able to resume physical activity since I was in the process of competing for a Marine option ROTC scholarship, and needed to back and ready as soon as possible. 

This was many years ago, but the procedure they did was more aggressive than what they typically said most doctors would do.  Instead of placing a metal screen to stengthen the lining (to hold back the intestine), they opted to reconstruct or rewire all of my muscles in that area.  It's a better procedure, but has a longer recovery. 

It took a good 4 weeks before I could start doing anything near the level I was before.  During that time I couldn't drive, pick stuff up that weighed more than 10-20lbs, and I had to take it easy just doing basic things.  It felt like my muscles in that area were all knotted together (which is kind of what they did), and I had to walk hunched over for about 3-4 days.  I looked pretty silly.  Surgery in that area is no joke, even seemingly simple procedures. 

I understand that the mesh screen method has a much faster recovery window, with less discomfort.  One of the reasons they opted for the muscle reconstruction was because I was so active, and they were worried that the mesh screen wouldn't hold in the long run.  It took about 2 months before I really felt like I could go all out with exercising and sports, and even then I was nervous about it happening again, or coming back. 

It never came up again, and i was able to play sports in college, and serve 8 years in the Marines without issue.  I don't remember anything about the operation itself.  They put me to sleep, and then I woke up in recovery feeling doped up and groggy.  I thnk it took 3 hours.  An older veteran was having the mesh screen approach done at the same time, and he opted for a spinal rather than general, and he was done in an hour and was heading out the door with his wife when I woke up.

Hope that helps...   

Thanks Rogue...I will obviously need to discuss all options with the surgeon, but that gives me a decent idea of what to expect...
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« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2011, 08:04:27 PM »

Not a hernia surgery, but I did have an emergency (non laparoscopic, dammit) appendectomy a few years ago, which I believe is fairly similar in terms of where/how they would do the incision.

First, let me just get this out of the way - it's going to hurt like a mother f'er for at least a few days after surgery.  Any significant movement will feel like a shock to the system.  Now unfortunately I learned during this time that I am allergic to Vicodin, so that certainly exacerbated my pain.

My surgeon told me after surgery that I'd be able to do a cross country flight on Monday (surgery was Friday evening).  I decided mid-day on Saturday that she was out of her goddamn mind.  I actually recovered pretty well within a week and hopped on a plane a week later and had relatively minor issues.  You definitely walk hunched over as Rogue mentioned, though for me it felt like I was like that for more like 10 days.  You gradually get more upright, but it's difficult.

After about two weeks I was moving along OK with just some minor pain doing every day activity.  I didn't feel ready to do anything beyond that until well after a month, and again as Rogue mentioned it was sort of nerve wracking to do anything strenuous for a while.  After a while though, both the mind and body recovers and you get along just fine and get back to normal.  I wish I could remember how long that took... maybe three or four months.
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rickfc
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« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2011, 08:41:35 PM »

Quote from: gellar on October 18, 2011, 08:04:27 PM

Not a hernia surgery, but I did have an emergency (non laparoscopic, dammit) appendectomy a few years ago, which I believe is fairly similar in terms of where/how they would do the incision.

First, let me just get this out of the way - it's going to hurt like a mother f'er for at least a few days after surgery.  Any significant movement will feel like a shock to the system.  Now unfortunately I learned during this time that I am allergic to Vicodin, so that certainly exacerbated my pain.

My surgeon told me after surgery that I'd be able to do a cross country flight on Monday (surgery was Friday evening).  I decided mid-day on Saturday that she was out of her goddamn mind.  I actually recovered pretty well within a week and hopped on a plane a week later and had relatively minor issues.  You definitely walk hunched over as Rogue mentioned, though for me it felt like I was like that for more like 10 days.  You gradually get more upright, but it's difficult.

After about two weeks I was moving along OK with just some minor pain doing every day activity.  I didn't feel ready to do anything beyond that until well after a month, and again as Rogue mentioned it was sort of nerve wracking to do anything strenuous for a while.  After a while though, both the mind and body recovers and you get along just fine and get back to normal.  I wish I could remember how long that took... maybe three or four months.

Thanks gellar...I'm thinking that the psychological side of it will probably be the hardest thing to get over...
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« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2011, 12:33:50 AM »

I remember being really paranoid about the procedure not working, and went back a few times over the next few months to my doctor to check to see if they felt anything.  They just sent me home and told me it was just the muscles healing.  There's definitely a psychological aspect to the recovery.

Gellar's right, I think it was closer to 7-10 days walking around hunched over.  I looked like an old man.  They must be doing something different today because I hear about people that have hernia repairs and they are back to work the next week.  Maybe it's a different type of hernia.

I would've thought my doctor was batshit crazy if they had ok'd me to fly after 3 days.

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rickfc
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« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2011, 11:19:18 AM »

In surgery pre-op waiting to get sliced.
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« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2011, 01:02:20 PM »

Good luck Rick, I'm sure you'll be back on your feet in no time.
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« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2011, 01:08:50 PM »

Good luck and I hope your recovery is fast & painless
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« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2011, 02:21:43 PM »

what?  you didn't want me to do it?  but I got my exacto knife and melon ball scooper extra dirty just for you and bought a brand new roll of duct tape!

well, good luck anyways biggrin
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« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2011, 02:45:19 PM »

I hope the procedure goes smoothly and your recovery is quick.  Let us know what they decided to do.  Are you part cyborg now?
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« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2011, 02:55:45 PM »

Best of luck!
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« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2011, 03:08:53 PM »

When you wake up, be sure to check that you still have both of your kidneys.
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« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2011, 03:40:12 PM »

Quote from: Laner on October 31, 2011, 03:08:53 PM

When you wake up, be sure to check that you still have both of your kidneys.
Hopefully he didn't watch last week's episode of Community.
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rickfc
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« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2011, 04:16:58 PM »

Thanks guys! Surgery went well and I'm already back home. I'm going to take a nap and hopefully get up and walk around a bit after.
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