A few weeks back when I knew I needed my appendix removed, I asked the surgeon what to expect after the surgery and how long it would be before I could get back to doing normal workouts. In this blog, I outlined what might be expected for me.
Before Igive you details of what I did, I want you to understand this is no recommendation for anyone else. It is just the details of my recovery. I know there are plenty of people that take longer and probably some that take less time as well.
That written, all workouts below were aerobic. The early workouts were what I would call uncomfortable, nothing was painful. I expected some discomfort early in the game.
Surgery Day –The surgery went well and I was home a little over 3 hours after heading out to the hospital. I took ½ of a narcotic pain medication to bridge a gap until I could take ibuprofen. Obviously no workouts today.
Day 1 – Ibuprofen only, no narcotic meds. No workouts.
Day 2 –Ibuprofen, 30-minute walk.
Day 3 – Reduced levels of ibuprofen, 30-minute indoor trainer ride. (This felt fantastic and seemed to help removed some of the CO2 bubble below my diaphragm.)
Day 4 – No more ibuprofen from this day forward. Did a 40-minute indoor ride followed by 10 minutes on an elliptical trainer. The elliptical experience was enough to know I don’t want to run yet. (After this workout the CO2 bubble was gone. Hooray for getting the blood moving.)
Day 5 – Didn’t feel like an aerobic workout so did a 20-minute walk.
Day 6 – 45 minutes of indoor cycling followed by 3 sets of walking lunges and 3 set of squats (body weight only).
Day 7 – Very easy 90 minutes on the road bike. (Outside, yeah!)
Day 8 – 38 minutes of a run/walk combination. I felt better at the end of the session than at the beginning. It seemed that my abs needed to be stretched out a bit and get some blood moving into them – which didn’t seem to be happening on the bike.
Day 9 – 75 minutes road bike.
Day 10 – 60-minute swim and 30-minute run later in the day.
Day 12 – Road bike to Estes Park, one way, for a total ride time of 2:40. (This is half the distance and a bit over half the time of what was “normal” for me on a weekly basis prior to the surgery. No, I don't ride to Estes each week, but similar distances and times.) I capped intensity at the top of Zone 2 on this ride and felt great the entire time. I had no issues whatsoever.
Day 13 – Had the post-surgery exam and everything looks great.
Additional items I did that may or may not have helped: I wore travel compression stockings through Day 3 since I wasn’t doing much moving. I consumed fresh pineapple (for the anti-inflammatory properties) through Day 10. I supplemented with Branch Chain Amino Acids and L-Glutamine through Day 10 (and four days preceding the surgery). Though no fun, I iced my belly Day 1. They did recommend ice on the day of surgery “if I feel like it” – I didn’t. I suspect this would have helped with healing the stretched out abdominal muscles even more, but…
I was sleeping around 10 hours per night the first five days and taking a nap each day. Sleep is critical to recovery. I will say I didn’t sleep “well” until Day 8.
I’ll stay away from lifting any weights until after Day 14. When starting back to weights, I’ll keep it light. (The concern is getting a hernia.) There are no restrictions now on mountain biking, skiing, running or riding.
If you have to do some type of non-emergency abdominal surgery, consider going into the surgery not exhausted from training. Don’t view your last few workouts as an opportunity to binge on volume or intensity because you’ll be off workouts for awhile.Instead, go into surgery well rested so you can get back to workouts more quickly. When you visit the surgeon, let him or her know what is normal for youbefore the procedure and what you might expect afterwards.
If you’re reading this prior to heading for a procedure, all the best to you ~
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