I Was Risking My Life Every Time I Went For a Run and I Had No Idea.
Okay, maybe the title is a tad dramatic, but not entirely untrue. For the last few years, I have been pushing through pain that was a sign of something much more serious.
It first started to nag me when I was marathon training. At first, I ignored it. When ignoring it offered little relief, I decided to google it which lead me to believe that I was suffering form histamine intolerance. At that point, I eliminated even more from my already very limited diet only to still be suffering a majority of the time. I was miserable, I was bloated, some days, I could barely move.
Fast forward to May of this year. I woke up at 1 AM with searing pain in my upper right quadrant. All signs pointed to a gallbladder attack so I drove myself to the emergency room only to be tortured in search of a diagnosis yet left with very little answers. It was horrific.
About a month later after switching docs demanding a HIDA Scan, I was told that my gallbladder was only functioning at about 20%. During the operation to remove it, my surgeon discovered that my “diseased” gallbladder was only part of my issue – what was really plaguing me was my incredibly redundant colon. So redundant, in fact, that it was twisty, loopy and seriously pushing on my gallbladder. The surgeon advised that removing the gallbladder would only resolve half of my issues – in order to get real relief, I would need the extra colon removed.
After coming out of surgery and hearing all of this, my immediate plea was for them to just remove it, take it out like they did my gallbladder…nip, tuck, throw it away, say hasta la vista to it. Of course, it was not that simple.
That was in July. We are now in January. In these last six months I have been on a slew of medications to help with what is known as slow transit constipation. Basically, I have really crappy motility in addition to having a super redundant colon. I can thank my genetics for the redundant colon – the lack of motility just comes along with it.
These medications included 290 mg of Linzess, 24 mg of Amitiza, Trulance, Lactulose and Miralax – all for chronic constipation which truthfully DID NOT work. They all would either work for a bit then not at all or just not work, period.
Appointment after appointment I would tell my doctors that the meds weren’t working, that I was in pain – constantly sick to my stomach and so bloated that it hurt to even wear pants….so full that I could barely breathe.
Finally, I decided to document everything – both on paper and with pictures.
One look at these pictures and they referred to me a robotic surgeon.
After MONTHS of waiting to get in, I finally saw him last week. As he sat down with me and reviewed my chart he explained to me that the report from my gallbladder surgery was very concerning. It described a very loopy, floppy colon that was so torturous that all the extra was pressing up against and pinching my gallbladder…which probably didn’t need to be removed in the first place.
As I spoke with him I explained I had a family history of emergency resections due to the issue, I showed him these pictures and explained how bad it hurt to even walk, let alone run somedays. I told him how poor my quality of life has been, how every day I struggled to function.
His reaction to my pictures was pure horror….at first he asked jokingly if I was sure I wasn’t pregnant then he went on to explain how much danger I was really in. He said that I was already at a HIGH risk for my colon to become twisted just due to my anatomy and my family history but I was at an even HIGHER risk because I was a runner.
He warned that every time I was going out for a run and jostling my organs up and down with every step that I could have ended up with a volvulus (twisted colon which results in a bowl obstruction) without knowing it right away then all the sudden being in so much pain that emergency surgery would have been imminent. For lack of a better term, I’m a ticking time bomb.
He also explained that those moments when my belly would bloat like it did that I was already partially obstructed. He advised that I get surgery as soon as he could get me on the schedule – which he did. On February 13th, I will be saying BYE FELICIA to the loopy, floppy, non-functioning part of my colon and having a subtotal colectomy performed – which will NOT require a bag.
Most people would be terrified but I am stupid excited. I cannot wait to finally be able to literally breathe again.
The recovery is about 3-5 days in the hospital and then 6-8 weeks of getting back to “normal”. I am not nervous – I have been here before. I have rebounded from abdominal surgery three times (2 c-sections and gallbladder), I will do it again.
I will come back stronger than I’ve ever been, I have no doubt and I plan to document it as I do. Obviously you won’t be seeing strength or running workouts from me for a while but I will be sharing my journey on how to get back to being a badass after major abdominal surgery.
I write those words down as a promise to myself and also so you know what to expect from me in the following months. It might be a walking workout and a smoothie recipe at first but gradually (which is the smart way to do it), I’ll guide you through how I will regain my core strength so I can get back to the speed workouts and strength workouts with the Ultimate Sandbag I love so much.
If you have been through this and have any advice for me, I would love to hear <3
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