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Cylon357's Hernia repair - Intro

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by , 02-26-2019 at 11:51 AM (6923 Views)
I'll be posting the details, observations and other (almost certainly boring) information about my hernia repair. But first, a little history...

I had Lumpy (my hernia) for about 25 or 30 years or so. It was a ventral / umbilical hernia (the doc used both terms) centered about an inch above my navel and about a half inch to the right. It was maybe 3/4 of an inch in diameter. It normally didn't cause me any problems but would occasionally get irritated. Most of the time (at least in the past couple of years), my body fat percentage has been in the 20%+ range, so it wasn't even visible. When I got leaner and flexed my abs, you could see it. I'm a desk jockey so it never impacted my work but did sometimes mess with my workouts.

About 2 weeks ago, I irritated it doing my dead lift warm ups. Nothing bad or anything and it didn't really impact the rest of my workout. It was enough to make me think 'well sh!t, I guess I need to go ahead and fix this.' I had discussed fixing it with a good surgeon about two years prior but held off at that time. Something about surgery freaked me out. Still don't like the idea of surgery in general but wanting to get stronger and in better shape, especially now being on HRT, made me decide to remove Lumpy as an obstacle.

I'll be posting daily info, experience, etc as replies to this post.


  1. Cylon357's Avatar
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    The Day Before Surgery

    Ok, so those of us that have had to have a colonoscopy know where this is going. Yep, the day before procedure, was BOWEL PREP day. Hooray! For those that are fortunate enough to never had to do this, you basically take a liquid laxative (in my case, magnesium citrate) to sort of RotoRooter out the majority of the poop in you. Some of us are more full of sh!t than others so it might take longer for you, I'm no doctor so I can't say for sure. Also, this was a liquid diet day - clear liquids only like chicken broth... well, come to think of it, I had mostly chicken broth that day. Jello and Italian Ice were on menu, too.

    This isn't as bad as it sounds, though I DID get tired of pooping. I mean like, 'damn, I have to poop AGAIN.' But, by the end of the evening, I was done. From midnight on until after surgery, no foods or liquids of any type.

    I had a friend that had this procedure done a few months ago. They did not do the bowel prep but instead took stool softener for 5 days prior and a few days after their surgery. Maybe if you end up going down this road, ask the doc which is better.

    So the day before was a do nothing day, basically. Total vegging, pooping and thinking crazy sh!t like 'hmm, how many different chicken broths are there?'

    Day Before - Done.
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    Updated 02-26-2019 at 04:02 PM by Cylon357
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    The Day of Surgery

    Really, there isn't much to tell here as I was knocked out for the procedure. The doctor opted to do a laparoscopic mesh repair, this is pretty standard in this type of hernia. Mesh repair lawsuits that you may hear about evidently typically involve vaginal procedures.

    The doctor explained the procedure. They were going to make a total of six small incisions. Two on either side of my abdomen, one in my navel and another right above my navel. They explained what each was for but I don't remember all the details. One was for the camera, one I think was for an air hose, some other stuff I'm not remembering.

    Eventually, my time comes and they wheel me back to the OR. I move from the cart I was on to the operating table. They slip a mask over my face and tell me to breath deep....

    The next thing I remember, I'm in recovery area and getting a bunch of questions like do you have any pain (yes, actually), do you feel nauseous (yep), do you need another blanket (yep to that as well). Groggy as f@ck but coming around. Eventually, the surgeon makes his way back to check on things. I have a little bit of bleeding from my naval incision, so they dress that and eventually we are on our way.

    The rest of the day wasn't too bad. In fact, I was up walking around fairly easily but not like normal. And there was pain but not too bad. I knew trying to get in and out of bed was going to be a bitch and require pain killers (it did) so I was prepared for that. I had to start an antibiotic and pain killer regimen. I'm alternating Percocet and Advil every 3 hours.

    When I go to bed, I put two doses of pain killers on my night stand. One was for about a third of the way through the night when the pain wakes me up (which it will and did) and another for two thirds of the way through. This helped.

    Also, evidently some portion of this procedure impacts your ability to urinate. When I left the surgical center, they gave instructions to call if you can't pee in 6 hours or so. This came back slowly during the day and then returned with a vengeance during the night. The urge to pee likely contributed to waking me up as much as the pain did.

    Edit: Two additional items. First, during pre-op prep, they shaved me from just below my pecs to right above my pubes. I'm like damn, I hope those are good clippers lol! This might not be an issue for BBs but I was like NOOOOOO! I know what you are thinking, it's just hair, it will grow back. I'm like have you seen the top of my head? Second, I started kombucha with the antibiotics just to keep a good gut balance.

    Day of Surgery - Done.
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    Updated 02-26-2019 at 04:00 PM by Cylon357
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    First Day after Surgery

    Well, I woke up a couple of times during the night but had pain meds on hand for that. I did make one blunder, though: I didnít have anything for getting out of bed in the morning. Sh!t. Just laying there, the pain is not too bad but since the trauma from the surgery is in your core, EVERYTHING you do is a wake-up call. The pain was more than yesterday (Iím guessing because the surgical anesthesia had completely worn off). My wife, loving lady that she is, went and got me a Percoset. I took that laying in bed and in 5 minutes, I was able to get out of bed. I will be honest here: I didnít just jump out of bed. No, it was that ďdrunk looking sort of roll to one side then the other, maybe I can get a knee and / or an elbow under me, well shit I guess Iíll try something else until I find something that worksĒ routine. Anyhow, I eventually get out of bed and start the day.

    Now, I had been told that the day after surgery was the most painful and to go ahead and get a jump on the pain with narcotics if you got Ďem. I try to stay away from pain meds and I had already taken one, but I was like damn, this really does hurt more today. So, I took another Perc and eventually the pain went down enough to not be a bother. The doctor had said to take one or two, and I decided two was the better call right then.

    I took the dressing off to get in the shower and get a good look at the navel area. Itís not particularly pretty but not as bad as I have seen. There is a pic attached. Note that there is some swelling going on here and you can see the slightly seeping incision above the navel. The dressing had stuck to it in the overnight and caused it to ooze some but not too bad. I hit the shower being careful not to get that area wet. The 4 incisions on my sides are not stitched but glued and there is no problem getting them wet.

    EDIT: could not upload pic, may figure it out later.

    Started the day with oatmeal, strawberries and a banana. Trying to take my diet real easy until all systems are go. We had made some beer can chicken Saturday night and that went into homemade chicken noodle soup. That has been a staple over the past couple of days.

    Today started a little rough but has been trending better. I will probably take two Percosets before going to bed to see if I can sleep through the night.

    I have a follow up with the doctor on Thursday (in two days) and we will evaluate from there. He had originally said two weeks would be all the down time I needed. We will see if that is true or not. That two weeks is away from the weights time, I can start walking before then and he thinks I should be able to drive Thursday. We will see.

    I may not update until after seeing the doc on Thursday as there hopefully wonít be much to report.

    First Day after Surgery Ė Done.
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    Second, Third and Fourth days after surgery.

    Ok, so I'm rolling some things up because there really isn't much to report.

    Second day after surgery (Wednesday)
    Felt better but still bruised as hell. Mostly able to get in and out of bed on my own without pain meds. Still a basically do nothing day.

    Third day after surgery (Thursday)
    Went to see the doctor. He wanted to see me sooner than normal because a) I had some VERY minor bleeding when I came out of surgery and b) he is out next week. He took the opportunity to give me a fairly minor once over, commented on how well I was getting around, and booked a follow up in 2 weeks. Hopefully, at that time I will be able to get back into the gym.

    Also, this was the first day I pooped since The Great Bowel Purge on Sunday. Constipation is evidently a thing with the surgery drugs and narcotic pain killers, but I kept my diet reasonable and took a stool softener daily. Listen, I get it: nobody wants to hear this sh!t lol! I wouldn't want to hear it either, UNTIL I need to know. Then, it would be awesome to know "Ok, I'm going to be blocked up like the Hoover Dam? When this thing blows, I don't want to be dropping bricks, so let me do what that cylon guy did". Anyhow, enough about poop.

    I tried to stay off the pain meds entirely on Thursday but found it a bit out of reach given that I was running around to the doctor and such. Still, only took one dose of advil and one percocet at night.

    Fourth day after surgery (Friday)
    Feeling better still but way off from being ready to hit the gym. My navel area looks bad and feels bad if I try to do too much. I did get out and run some errands today. Getting in and out of my Explorer and the looking over your shoulder to change lanes, back out of a parking spot, etc kind of irritated things a bit. Ice, a couple of advil and relaxing seem to bring that under control. I'm going to try to take a walk tommorow (Saturday), maybe only a half mile to a mile, just to test things out and keep from going stir crazy.

    Update complete.
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    Fifth and Sixth days after surgery.

    Fifth day after surgery (Saturday)
    This was not a bad day. Still sore but getting much better. Took an EASY one mile walk. Felt ok on that. Diet approaching normal. I might have taken a couple of Advil but can't remember for sure. Still unable to sleep on my stomach, which is a pisser for a number of reasons. First, I am a stomach sleeper, so that is messing with my sleep cycle. Every time I roll onto my stomach, the discomfort wakes me up. Second, I snore like a damn freight train when I am on my back. Not quite wake the dead snoring but definitely wake myself and The Wife snoring. At any rate, definite progress.

    Sixth day after surgery (Sunday)
    A good day. Still sore but constantly improving. Took another 1 mile walk and brought the stopwatch along. Don't do this when you are recovering lol! It is a pisser to see how slow you are moving. One slight issue today: a sneeze snuck up on me and hit me before I could brace for it. That hurt. Like REALLY hurt but subsided pretty quick. It also gave me a reason to take the last percoset so small favors, right?

    Update complete.
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    Ten days after surgery.

    Yes, I skipped some days - they were all pretty similar and can be generalized as follows. Every day has seen gradual improvement. Bruising and swelling are greatly reduced though not 100% gone. I am able to get in and out of bed without issue. I can not lay on my stomach without discomfort just yet, this is kind of frustrating but is improving, too.

    Diet is back to normal.

    I walked 2 miles today in almost my pre-surgery time. I'm still limited in the weight I can lift (no more than 10 pounds), so all my walks are without my vest but still improving. I'm thinking I may add some Tai-Chi to give me a bit of variation. No, I've never done Tai-Chi but it seems gentle and probably a good option for now.

    I must admit it is frustrating as hell to not be able to hit the weights. I mean really irritating. My mood will likely improve when I can get back in the gym in full force.

    Speaking of getting back to working out, my guess is that it will be 6-8 weeks before I am comfortable with the big compound movements. I may start using some machines after 4 weeks, starting light and gentle. So, my plan as it stands right now is:

    March - walk, eventually swim and maybe some tai-chi or something else gentle.
    April - walk, bike, swim, weight machines. Will probably also include some body weight exercises (burpees, chins, dips, push ups, etc) towards the later part of the month.
    May - ease back into the free weights.
    June - normal workouts.

    Hopefully, those are conservative numbers and I will be able to accelerate that timeline some. We will see how it plays out.

    I go back to see the doctor in 1 week to get these frackin' stitches out. I have two, one that keeps getting caught on my shirts. Ready for them to be gone. This is also when I expect to get the green light to resume light weight bearing exercises.

    Update complete.
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    Seventeen days after surgery.

    I went to see the doctor today. They finally took the stitches out. I'm so happy. Actually, I only had two and one was absorbable and in my navel so I really didn't notice it. The other was about 3/4" of an inch right above my navel. THAT one was annoying as fack. It was not the absorbable type - in fact, it looked like fishing line. They took it out... it doesn't sound like much and really it wasn't, but it kept getting caught on my shirt and I had to sleep with a small bandaid over it to keep it from catching on the sheets.

    The doc also said that I can start lifting weights REAL easy, but nothing that engages the core just yet. 'You know, you can start doing curls and other light things that don't engage the core." I was like "what are these 'curls' you speak of? Cylon deadlifts, squats, overhead press, bench, dip etc. When can Cylon do these things?". The short answer: another 4 weeks before I can begin those and have to ease back into it then. That's kind of sucky but a little ahead of the schedule I had in mind for myself so I think it will be 'fine'.

    I CAN go ahead and start jogging real easy, biking easy and other exercise like that now. I can also swim at the 3 week point so I'll work that in, probably on my first day back at the gym.

    Nineteen days after surgery.

    My walking is now back to normal. I did 2 miles outdoors in a few ticks under 30 minutes, which is not bad for a guy with a 29 inch inseam. I still can't wear the vest because it is heavier than they really want me handling right now and I pretty much have to overhead press it to get it on. I may take some weight out to take it from 40 pounds to closer to 10. Truth be told, I'm tired of walking and ready to do something else (especially now that I have the doc's clearance to do so.)

    In general, I feel TONS better. There is still some soreness in the area but it is really more like a tightness, kind of like the mesh is drawn taut. That is getting better too, so I'm sure in time it will fade. Sneezing is still a touch or go thing. I have to brace the spots where they invaded the internal muscle layer (one spot maybe 4 inches to the left side of my navel and and a second right around the navel.) The left side is healing up pretty well, the navel seems to be a little behind but is coming along well, too.

    Update complete.
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    3 Weeks after surgery
    I went back to the gym for the first time this week. Yay! Kept things super light and just used machines. As long as I donít strain too much, everything is ok. Still some issues when I sneeze but it is getting better.

    4 Weeks after surgery
    Am able to jog without problem now. I have incorporated my semi-HIIT once a week training along with walking jogging and twice weekly gym sessions. I have begun squats and overhead presses with an EMPTY bar only. This does not present any pain. I tried dips and chins but the new skin feel in my core wonít permit it (or at least I donít want to risk tearing anything.) Sneeze pain gone now. Iím still aware that something is a little different in the repair area, not bad just different. This is probably the new normal.

    5 Weeks after surgery
    I did my first chinup, hooray! It was a single and things felt taut but not bad. I didnít want to push it. I also am able to do dips now, both on the machine and in the regular stand. I only did 3 sets of 8 but it felt good.

    6 Weeks after surgery (This week)
    On Tuesday, I did squats with a single ten on each end for an awesome total of 65 pounds. I super setted my squats with overhead presses (same weight) and body weight only chin-ups (5 reps on the chins, 10 on the others). There is still just a slight amount of tautness by my navel when Iím stretched out and core engaged (like in chins) but it is slowly going away. Will I be back to normal in 2 weeks? Probably so. I think it will be close enough to call it done at that time but we will see.

    Generally speaking, I feel like I am almost there. Just have to hold off on heavy weight lifting for another 2 weeks, then I will up the poundages but still start easy. I'm thinking at that point I should be good to go.

    Update complete
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