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I am not sure if this is the right place to post this, but "med tent" sounded like medical issues. I'm assuming that there have to be others out there who have gone through a similar experience as this surgery is fairly common. 5 months ago I had my gallbladder removed laparoscopally. I started running 4 weeks post op, and had a lot of pain, so stopped; and the pain did subside. I am a triathlete, and eventually was able to get up to being able to do a sprint triathlon after 3 months post op. I am plagued by pain below my main incision (umbilibcal) from time to time. I have no started to increase my milage in attempt to train for a 1/2 marathon and notice a definate "dose-related" increase in the pain with the increased running. And I'm not talking about a little bit of discomfort - I'm talking about curled up in a ball, lying in bed, missing work pain. It is now 5 months since my surgery. One physician examined me and felt the pain was "musculoskeletal" (although it feels "inside", so I don't know, maybe an adhesion or something from the surgery?) and that maybe I am doing too much too soon. I don't have pain during the activity, usually not until the next day or so. I've had a CT scan, and apparently everything in there is okay! From what I read, this surgery is supposed to be a piece of cake and you are supposed to be able to resume your activities by this time. But some people tell me that sometimes (egged on by insurance companies), we aren't always encouraged to let our bodies fully heal, and are sometimes led to believe procedures, etc. won't be as bad as they are.
Unfortunately I, nor my surgeon; no anyone who does the type of activity I do. So, I am wondering, are there any of you runners, triathletes, cyclists, who have had this surgery; and what has been your experience/s with recovery? Has anyone had the type of problem I am having?
Any advice, experiences, stories, encouragement is welcome! On one hand, I am hoping it is just that things are still "healing", because that would imply it will get better.
I can't help with your specific problem. But I had a badly sprained ankle once and ended up in PT for several weeks. A year later it would still ache after runs and at random other times.
Here's my thought . . . Despite the surgery being a laproscopic, they still have to cut through the muscular layer of your abdominal wall. At the very least, and even in a healthy person, this is going to cause some pain and some trauma to the area. First some questions: You mention you're a triathlete, so I know you know how to push your body, but does it hurt on the bike too? Swim? Does it hurt when you're not running? Can you "stretch it" by reaching up to the sky or by hyperextending your back? When you touch the area, what do you feel (ii.e. a lump?) is the site tender?
With regards to adhesions, it's not terribly likely it's an intestinal adhesion because they didn't have to go through the intesines. I'm making an assumption here, but if it's a sharp pain, it could still be scar tissue from your lap site, interfering with the ability of your abdominal muscles to to effectively hold you upright while running--aka core strength. As the area heals and the scar tissue forms, you may have a small area with a slightly compromised blood flow or a small area the muscles don't exactly work right. Also the abdominal fascia could be adhering to another layer in the abdominal compartment. None of this would be very visible on CT scan.
If it's anything like what I've described, this will likely heal. It just needs some time. You may need to take some (gasp!) easy time, or if you can manage, some time away from running, and doing some biking or swimming, or doing yoga to help stretch out that area instead.
You mention it's dose-related to when you increase your mileage, does it get easier between times if you don't increase your miles? I know, NOT increasing mileage isn't always an option.
Does that help? Keep us updated?
Chocolate Thunder: thank you for all your insight! Too bad I just stumbed on your reply tonight!! Its been awhile and a long saga - but - turns out you were right - re: adhesions (most likely).
Now, 2 years later, I'm still having horrible pain, but; after 4 GI docs (never give up!), I think I finally will get some help. Turns out I had/have 2 separate issues - 1. GI, it turns out I was bleeding in my upper GI tract from inflammation (although they didn't figure this out until Dec 2008 when my primary care doc finally referred me to a GI specialist (after telling me for months I had "irritable bowel syndrome".
Well, that got better, but the horrible pain and basically every GI malady (I'll leave out the details) continued. I was given many many drugs which I think often made me sicker. Last year somehow I trained and ran a half marathon but it was painful. I guess it didn't click, but the GI dysfunction makes me very prone to getting dehydrated. Even though I didn't feel well, the doctors just kept telling me I had "irritable bowel syndrome" , so I just kept trying to push myself. I then did a tri, got out of the water, fell down 3x (felt really light-headed, weak), which is unusual; because I'm a strong swimmer and have never had trouble with the swim. When I went to get on my bike, felt a little "discoordinated", but got going, after about a mile; I remember feeling light headed and starting to lose control of my bike.
Next thing I remember people were standing over me, someone was sticking an IV in my arm. I said "if you could just help me get back on my bike......". I very nice man said: "that's probably not a good idea right now". So, I passed out on the bike going about 20 mph, which they attributed to dehydration. I never had anything like that happen before. Had a concussion, lots of lacerations, contusions, stitches on my face (I had fun with it for awhile, you know, people kind of look at you and look away; wondering, "what happened to her?". So, I would just look at them and say "bar fight" (I weigh about 100 pounds), and they'd look a little nervous!
So, that ended my athletic endeavors for awhile. Well, those injuries healed, but the GI stuff continued on, especially this horrible burning pain right by my navel. Well, a week ago I saw a new doctor, and she said within 5 minutes she knew what was going on. She diagnosed it as "myofascial nerve entrapment". She said "you have adhesions", prob pressing on a nerve (I'm a physical therapist) and this was always my thought, because burning pain is usually associated with nerve, I never bought the "irritable bowel", I just didn't fit that pattern. In the past year the pain had gotten so bad I didn't do much but lie on the couch. I have watched more mind numbing television in the last year than I have in my entire life! I believe I have dropped 30 IQ points! So, the first thing she said was, "we have to get your pain under control". I could have jumped up and kissed her (up until then I was told I have to live with it. To answer some of your questions - yes, I feel a "firm" area where my pain is localized. The pain increases with activity (sadly), especially anything involving forward bending (dr said this is prob impinging the nerve). And you don't realize how much you bend over until it hurts! Everything, it seems - laundry, cleaning (I've had to become a total slob), shopping.... So in the past two weeks, after 9 months of couch lying, I started to get moving. I was referred to a pain clinic, they are going to try nerve blocks , I had the first one last Friday, its was wonderful the pain was gone, for the first time in 2 years!!! I rode my bike, it felt great! It only lasted 2 days. I can now run 1 mile and it hurts.
Biking is horrible. Today I rode 14 miles, and I was laid out on the floor. Actually, extension doesn't bother it, its more forward flexion - like on the bike!.... so, another sleepless night (another nice side effect of being in pain) ... BUT I know I Friday I'm going to get that needle again, so I'm just going to keep doing what I can! (the Dr. said "don't look at the needle", I said, "I don't care how big it is, if its going to take away this pain, you can stick a butcher knife in me!"
So, we'll see what happens. I'd like to be able to do a sprint tri by the end of the summer, but I'll just have to see what happens. I learned the hard way that you can't keep pushing your body when its not healthy. So, I will try to be active, but I'm not going to force it or have any expectations. If I can just ride my bike that would be nice. I certainly have a whole new level of empathy for people who are limited from doing things by their body. I never had to think about "not being able to run", I was limited only limited by my endurance and desire. Hopefully I will be able to get to the point of being active and pain-free.
Thanks again for all your wise comments! Hope you've had a better 2 years!!
oh, I see you are a nurse - hence your knowledge! Its funny, the medical "community" seems to really make lap. surgery seem so benign, they give you the brochure that says you'll be "back to your regular activity in 3 days!!!! Yeah, if your "regular activity" involves sitting in a chair! My mom is a nurse also, and reminded me like you did, that they are still cutting through the muscle, the incision may be tiny, but they are putting in retractors and blowing you up with gas and sticking a tube in there - I mean, who know what could get "dinged'. So, after being told by MANY physicians and other medical personnel that "you can't get adhesions from lap. surgery"; we know better!