Monday, August 31, 2015

Fitness Goals w/c 31/08/15

One thing I've really missed since April is being able to exercise and work out. I've gotten used to living a very active lifestyle with roller derby training for 6 hours most weeks, bouldering (climbing smaller heights but without a safety harness) for 2 hours a week and pole fitness for 1 hour a week plus a full time job, social life and other random adventures (including trying to do Insanity and T25 DVDs by the crazy fit Shaun T)! I'm not good at sitting still and resting in general, so I make a pretty terrible patient! One of the things I love about exercise is the way it lifts my mood and how pumped I feel afterwards. It improves both my physical and mental wellbeing as well as being a great way to meet new people and make friends. 

It's just coming up to 5 weeks post major surgery now and it's possibly a little early but I've decided it's about time I made myself some small fitness goals. I say goals as I appreciate that in very much feeling how I go and seeing how my body reacts to the slow introduction of exercise. I will listen to what it tells me and if anything pulls at my abdomen at all I will stop immediately. 

My goals are vey small to what I was capable of before, but I'm testing the water and am expecting some of these may be too hard while others not too much of a problem. I have very low energy levels so need to make sure o give myself 2 rest days a week to recover my energy and let my body heal. I don't want to push things too hard and burst something internally (hernias are really common with stomas in particular). I've decided to limit myself to 5 goals per week and I'll use this week as my baseline and adjust from there. 

1. Go to a swimming pool and attempt to walk (kind of bounce walk!) at least two breadths of the pool. The water will make a nice bit of resistance for me to push against whilst supporting my body. The biggest challenge here will be wearing a swimming costume or bikini in front of people with my stoma bag attached underneath...

2. Walk at least 1 mile on two separate occasions in the week. I aim to not do this on consecutive days. 

3. Try seated Pilates or very gentle Yoga and aim for one 10 minute session maximum of either. 

4. Try wall sits (photo below) and hold for a minimum of 20 seconds. Try and do this once a day for 5 days in the week with 2 rest days. 

5. Body weight squats (photo below). This is how I pick things up or lower myself to the ground anyway so I don't ever bend at the waist unless completely unavoidable. I've had to be very disciplined with this especially when it comes up picking up one of my 3 cats! My aim is to do 2 x sets 10 reps for 5 days of the week. Once in the morning and once in the evening. 

So wish me luck and let's see how it goes. I'll report back next Monday with a summary of what did and didn't work and a set of new goals which may very well be the same goals depending on how this week goes...! 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

How it all began...

So how did this all begin and what is the point of this blog... Well it's a slightly complicated story but I will start with what has happened this year. I started getting nasty, sharp pains on my right hand side at the front and back around where my kidney was. One day I was ok and the next day I wasn't. I went to see some clients in Cambridge just before the first Bank Holiday and collapsed on site. They arranged a taxi to take me to the local A&E hospital and had someone stay with me the while time I was being assessed. 

To try and cut this short they were expecting to find kidney stones, but instead found two lumps on each of my ovaries when they completed a CT scan. I was admitted to the gynaecology ward and that's when things really started to get moving. I have been complaining of stomach/bowel and kidney pains for literally over 20 years and was told it was IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). I have also had very heavy periods that caused me to pass out and have to miss working days due to severe dizziness and pain. It turns out after two visits to A&E and being admitted to hospital both times that in fact I have a very severe case of Endometriosis. I have popped a couple of diagrams below that give an idea of what this is but am happy to answer questions. 

Endometriosis as well as affecting 1 in 10 female reproductive systems and your monthly cycle also can have implications on the kidneys and bowels which is what has happened to me. My left kidney had pretty much packed up due to the endometriosis cutting off the ureter (the tube that attaches the kidney to the bladder). This meant that nothing could leave the kidney and it shrank and filled with water. The right kidney was also affected and was working overtime during all of this and it was a long term internal process that had been undiscovered inside me for many years. My bowel was massively impacted and damaged. When the lining of the uterus formed outside the womb each month, as well as forming around the ureters and kidneys, it also formed around my small intestine. Some was reabsorbed by the body each month leaving a lot of damage and scar tissue.

All of this has led to me having 3 life saving surgeries to try and put stents in both ureters to try and open them up and allow the kidneys to function (3 surgeries in 6 days in June 2015). I am waiting on test results to see if my left kidney can be saved still or needs to be removed. I also underwent major open surgery in July 2015 that was a joint procedure between urology, colorectal and gynaecology surgeons. They removed all 4 ovarian cysts, a "chocolate" cyst, all the endometriosis that was scattered throughout my pelvic and abdominal cavity, they disconnected one ureter and reconnected it to another part of my bladder as well as replacing the stents and had to remove around 10-15cm of my small intestine. This has left me with a stoma (what is called a loop ileostomy). Basically my large intestine is a loop connected internally to my rectum and is not part of my digestive system at the moment. My small intestine comes out through a hole in my abdomen to the right of my belly button and I have to wear an osmotic bag which needs emptying a number of times a day and completely changing every 1-3 days. I was not told that this was going to happen beyond a quick it's very uncommon so you don't need to worry about it and it has been a nightmare to adjust to mentally and physically so far, but I am trying my very best.

Anyway that's the basics of my surgery. This blog won't be particularly witty to read and may have some photos and descriptions that people may find disturbing as they will possibly be of a sensitive surgical nature. What I am focused on though is getting back to peak fitness and hopefully surprising where I was pre surgery. I was very active and enjoyed playing the full contact sport roller derby where I was a jammer as well as indoor climbing and bouldering plus pole fitness. It is my intention to be able to do all of these sports again and far more both while I have my ostomy and hopefully after it is reversed. This will be my journey back to health...