Today I am 6 days post-hysterectomy. I am feeling pretty awesome! It has been amazing how each day I feel so much better. I am still moving a bit slowly, but I am moving. Here is the run-down:
When I found out in December that I would need a hysterectomy, my first inclination was that I might as well go ahead and stop running since I was practically going to have to start over anyway. Then upon reading about the surgery, I found that I needed to be in tip-top shape, so I ran. I actually ran more the month before surgery than I had during the fall. My friends and I ran through snow and sleet and bitter temps. We ran morning runs, evening runs, and afternoon runs. Last Monday, my friend Kassi and I ran my final run together - a 5-mile presurgery run. I felt that I was in the best shape that I could be at the time. I had my classroom ready for a long-term substitute, my house was clean, my laundry was done; I was ready!
My husband and I headed for the Women's Hospital early Tuesday morning. I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be. I felt confident in my doctors, and I knew that after a time of discomfort, I would be on the road to feeling much better. I had never had any type of surgery, so I didn't know exactly what to expect. One of my doctors - who happens to be a triathlete - came in to see me and answer last-minute questions before they walked me to the surgery room. I told him that my other doctor had said no running for six weeks, and I wanted to know what he thought. He agreed with the six weeks, but said that I could probably do the elliptical after two weeks! We have an elliptical, so that was good news. He said that would help me keep the running motion going.
Fast forward three hours, and I was being rolled into my room, a room that looked like a very nice hotel room! I slept pretty much all that afternoon and evening, but not much during the night. The nurses were in and out all night. My husband stayed with me, which made me feel much better. Though I wasn't really coherent, just knowing he was nearby was very comforting. I had been told that I would only be in the hospital 23 hours, and in the middle of that night, I couldn't even imagine going home that next morning. I hadn't even left my bed! Once the nurses got me up, and I was able to shower, improvements came quickly. I was not able to pee on my own, so if I wanted to go home I was going to have to self-cath. I wanted to go home. I had the same trouble after giving birth to my first daughter, so this didn't really upset me too much; it was just inconvenient. Around 11 that morning, we were in the car headed home.
As the days came and went, I began to feel somewhat normal again. I couldn't get outside because of the weather, so I was stuck pacing my house in order to get some walking in. I waited a couple of days to tackle the stairs. By Sunday (day 5 post-op), I was able to go to church! I was so excited to get out of the house and to see people! We live in the woods, so I don't even have neighbors to see while I am home. My daughter and I were also able to get outside and walk about a quarter mile. My goal is to walk a mile by Saturday, although as I write this it is once again snowing, so I don't know how much outside time I will get. I am a little fearful of walking on the treadmill because if I would lose my balance, I could do some damage. I have to keep reminding myself that I have a lot of stitches inside. I am registered to walk a 7k race with my sister on March 12. I felt that by signing up and paying an entry fee, I would have incentive to walk. I have to be able to walk 4.3 miles in 5 weeks! I am also going to have to be able to work off the calories from all of the great chocolate I have been receiving!
So, what does all of this have to do with running? I truly feel that because I am a runner and I am in good physical shape, my recovery has been much quicker and easier. Since surgery, I have not had one time when I just felt miserable. I was sore and tired, but the pain was not as intense as I had expected. Because I want desperately to run again, I will follow doctors' orders (though I can see that it is going to be difficult), and I will work hard to increase my strength and stamina. I really don't know how it will be when I try to run again. I know that it will take time to get back to where I was pre-surgery, and that will be challenging. I also know that I have some awesome friends, and that my running friends have really been there for me. I know that when I am ready to get back to running, they will be right there ready to help me and to encourarage me when I get discouraged. There is just something special about running friends; there is a whole different level of support and understanding.
Because I had a difficult time finding any information on runners who had this surgery, I will keep you posted on the progress. I do think that one can know too much (I wanted to read everything, but found it was making me more anxious. I finally decided that I needed to make this my own experience, and I quit reading), but having appropriate information can also relieve a lot of anxiety.
Run on, Friends - and run some for me!