Hernia Surgery

I’ll admit, this one is a little embarrassing. I had a hernia for something like 8 years. This was an inguinal hernia, which means that it’s in the groin area. It just looked like a little lump right above my groin. It didn’t hurt, and it started out small, so I just kind of let it go.

Over time though, it got bigger, and once in a while it would hurt a bit. My doctor noticed it one year and told me that it could actually be dangerous. She explained that a hernia is when there is a hole or opening in the abdominal muscles, and a bit of the intestine starts to poke through. As it goes untreated longer over time, the hole gets bigger and more of the intestine starts to stick out. The intestine could get trapped in there and burst, which is pretty uncommon, but if it were to happen it would be life threatening.

Surgeons and doctors getting ready to do surgery

My doctor explained that the surgery would be done with a laser, and would only be minimally invasive. They would place a small sheet of mesh over the hole so that the intestine couldn’t get through anymore. Over time, my body would heal by growing muscle through and around the mesh. The recovery time would only be about two weeks.

I’ve talked (well, written) before about how much I dislike having surgery, but in this case it seemed pretty necessary. There doesn’t seem to be any other way to get rid of a hernia, and they don’t exactly go away on their own. So finally I agreed to go ahead and have the surgical procedure done.

I remember trying to sit up after the surgery. Big mistake. My abdominal muscles would be sore for a while, because the doctors had to tease the muscle fibers apart! I would have to baby my belly muscles, and find creative ways to move myself around.

Recovery

I’m a baby when it comes to pain, but I’m even worse when it comes to pain medicine. I took my medicine as prescribed, but I really didn’t like how it made me feel. However, when the pain subsided enough that I could switch to the over the counter brands, I noticed something. Even though I hated the feeling of pain meds, it was really hard to come off of them! I was a sweaty, emotional mess for a couple of days! No wonder so many people develop a problem with addiction these days. Especially people who struggle with chronic pain. This experience really helped me to develop more compassion.

After a couple weeks, I was pretty much back to normal. I had to continue to be careful not to lift anything too heavy for a while longer. Overall though, I was able to resume activity and work pretty quickly. While having surgery is not my favorite thing, in this case, it was definitely worth it!

Our Parents

We love our parents. They’re still together, and that’s super rare these days. Of course, we remember them being as spry and energetic as they were when we were younger. Unfortunately though, that’s just not the case anymore. We asked our parents if it was okay with them for us to share a little bit about the struggles they’ve been facing lately. They agreed on two conditions. One, that we don’t use their real names or pictures – so we’ll just refer to them as Mom and Dad. Second, they asked us to omit certain details that they were worried might identify them. No problem. So if I get a little vague, just know that it’s to protect my parents’ wishes.

older couple taking a walk outside
These aren’t my real parents, per their wishes. But they do love to take walks outside too!

Our mom used to smoke cigarettes for a long time. She’s quit now, but she did some serious damage to her lungs. She’s been having trouble breathing for a while now. It’s pretty scary for me to think about. I mean, imagine not being able to breathe fully, and feeling short of breath all the time. If you’re reading this, please don’t ever smoke cigarettes. It’s not worth this fate.

Mom has been doing really well lately with taking better care of her health. She is watching what she eats, and trying to take walks more often. She’s also getting serious about getting her breathing back on track. She is seeing her pulmonologist (lung doctor) regularly now. They’re considering a surgical procedure that will help her gain back more of her lung capacity. I’m hopeful that my mom will be around for many more years.

My dad is a different story. He has knee and hip problems. He has already had one hip and one knee replacement. Now his other knee and his other hip are bothering him. His doctors have to strategize with him to help figure out which procedure he will need to have done first.

To make matters worse, my dad has pretty bad hearing loss. I don’t know whether he went to too many concerts or something in his younger years, but it’s gotten a lot worse as he has grown older.

On top of that, my dad has had a lot of issues with back pain. Thankfully he’s doing a lot better now. They had to use radio frequency waves to kill some of the nerves in his back that were causing pain. This has limited his mobility to some extent, which wasn’t very high to begin with. However it was well worth it to make sure that he’s no longer in such terrible chronic pain.

My dad is a pretty good sport about all of this. He always chuckles and says, “it sucks getting old!” I hope that I have fewer health problems later as I age – it inspires me to take much better care of myself now. I love my parents and I hope to have both of them around for a long time yet!