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Blog: Blog2

Unbreaking Nemo!

My operation took place on 22nd February. Everything went well and the surgeon was able to remove Freddie laparoscopically, despite him being attached to my bowel in 2 places. I woke from the surgery feeling remarkably well, and was able to go home the day after. My tummy was extremely sore (no surprise really!!) but I didn’t feel anywhere near as bad as I thought I would.

That first day home, I managed a 20 yard walk up the road and back. I got home exhausted!!! I was sore and petrified that I may have done myself some damage. Of course, I hadn’t, but the health/recovery paranoia was starting to get a grip and would haunt me for the first 6 months of the recovery process.

Mission "end-of-the-road" was my first self-set assignment! I slowly built up my walking distance until I ecstatically reached the end of the cul-de-sac after 7 days!! It was both empowering and humbling… on the one hand I could feel myself slowly getting stronger, on the other hand I was no longer the sort of person who casually ran marathons! I didn’t feel like the sort of person who would ever be able to run a marathon again! It was devastating to feel how weak I had become and how far removed from my old self I really was. It proved a real struggle to maintain a positive outlook and my moods swung wildly from day to day.

I had been advised that low impact activities and gentle swimming could return after 6 weeks, and that more vigorous activity could start to be added in from 12 weeks. What levels of activity constituted light, what ‘heavier’ and where and how to begin, was not, however, made clear! Discussions on Hysterectomy forums indicated that no-one was being given any solid advice on what to do/not do - I was just going to have to feel my way forwards.

In the early weeks my focus was just on increasing my walking distances, which built quite well so that by about 5 weeks in I was walking 5km. In theory, I should have been feeling happy with my progress and feeling positive about my projected (graduated) return to work at 7 weeks. But truth be told, I was getting more and more depressed from the lack of social contact and lack of proper physical activity. My weight was sky-rocketing, and I was sick of staring at the same four walls for most of the day. I really wasn’t in a great place so I booked for us to head to Turkey for a week of sunshine and R and R. I had to rely on Dory for lifting and shifting the baggage, but otherwise coped well with the journey, although it did tire me out somewhat having to sit upright for so long. On our third day in Turkey, I hit the 6 week milestone and was able to head into the swimming pool for a gentle few laps. My body felt odd and I kept things short and easy to ease my way into it (and soothe the recovery paranoia!). We started going for longer walks, with me taking regular sit-breaks on the benches along the sea front. It was definitely the right call for me mentally, with the sunshine restoring my mood, although my skin was still hyper-sensitive to the sun (a side effect of major surgery/trauma apparently – it has calmed down somewhat since).

With the six week milestone hit, I felt ready on my return from holiday to start doing some really gentle workouts. But where, and how to start? Initially, I spent a couple of weeks doing 10 minutes per day of exercises compiled specifically for women who were recovering from C-sections and hysterectomies. This was manly core engagement work with gentle stretching and mobility and some gentle leg strength work. These exercises felt hard but really weren’t giving me the buzz of my old running and cardio regimes! I was eagerly awaiting the day when I could slowly re-introduce running into the mix. I decided that I would start a couch-to-5km run/walk programme at the 12 week point. In the meantime, I gradually added in some Les Mills Body Balance (a combination of Pilates, Yoga and Barre workouts, which I adapted where needed to not overstress the core region) and built up to being able to exercise for 30 minutes. I was getting stronger and feeling more and more ready to try running.

4 weeks to go became 3, then 2, and …1 … and running I was coming to get you!

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