Oh Endorphins, How I’ve Missed You

So the last time I wrote I told you that I would talk about my liver surgery; I don’t want to bore you with all the details, but essentially I had a non-cancerous (but uber dangerous) tumor, known as a hepatic adenoma removed from my liver on November 6th.  The tumor itself was about 5cm x 5cm and I’ve been told that it was caused by taking the birth control pill.  Scary, right?  Moral of the story: think very carefully before putting chemicals in your body that alter your hormones – chaos may ensue.  No seriously, I really do think hormonal birth control has provided huge benefits to women the world over in the last few decades, but altering the normal cycles of your body is scary shit…won’t be doing that again!

Anyway, the surgery was a success, but the recovery part kinda sucked.  I was in the hospital for a week and unable to do much of anything for quite a while after that.  Despite the fact that my surgical team removed such a large chunk from my liver, the liver itself was fully regenerated in 2 or 3 weeks.  Crazy stat, I know.  So it wasn’t the liver that caused trouble, it was the incision.  My incision is pretty big – it runs from just below my sternum to just above my belly button, and then over to the right about 5 inches.  Basically, they cut through my abs in two directions.  It’s healed up really nicely and I’ve been using Mepiform self-adhesive bandages to reduce the scaring, but it’s still REALLY obvious.  Maybe I’ll post a pic someday when my belly is back to looking sexy enough that I’m comfortable sharing it on the internet.  For now? Not so much.

endorphinsAnd there lies the rub.  For a month after my surgery I wasn’t allowed to do ANYTHING – no yoga, no circuits, no running – it was awful.  I’ve been able to do some things for the past 4 weeks, but I’ve had to take it really easy.  Yup, definitely got a little softer in places than I like to be.  I know I can get back to smaller pants, defined arms, and a flat tummy with some healthy eating and hard work, but it really sucks to realize how much strength I’ve lost.  On top of that, if you read my last post, you will know that this has been a pretty dark time in my life.  It’s incredibly tough to go through that much suckiness and not be able to use the one outlet that actually makes me feel better every single time.  Exercise = endorphins, and endorphins rule…so not being able to experience them made me want to rip my face off.  I found myself being sad, and a little bit crazy – A LOT, and the one source of achieving an endorphin rush that I was able to access wasn’t exactly healthy, or even very regular for that matter.  I’ll leave that one alone for now, but I will say that I’m pretty pumped to be able to access endorphins through exercise, and as a result get back to the happy Chrissy I much prefer to be.

So onward and upward from here, right?  Yesterday – January 1st – was exactly 8 weeks post-op for me, and therefore the date where I’m allowed to start working myself back up to full workouts again.  I’ll be honest, I got a little drunk for New Year’s Eve, so didn’t exactly get up at 6am to fit in a workout yesterday, but that’s just fine.  Today is a new day, right?  Operation get happy and feel sexy starts right now.

Quickie Update

Hello my lovely blog readers!

This will be a super quick update post, since I still have hours of homework to do, and I plan to go play softball with some friends after dinner.  Lots has happened this week, and like usual, I’ve been too busy to write about it…plus my husband has been home since Monday night, so forgive me if I felt like spending my free time with him.  He goes back to work tomorrow morning for 3 more weeks.  Sigh.

I got in quite a few good workouts this week, and Rob even came to take my class on Thursday morning!  That made him realize that he is getting out of shape, so he promises to start working out again at the gym in his work camp.  He stopped going to the gym when he started working out-of-town, and that hurt my heart a little bit, so it’s good to see him getting back into healthiness.

On Wednesday, I finally got to see my liver specialist about my second biopsy results.  We have confirmation about my tumor, and it’s not what my doctors originally thought – it’s the worse of the two possibilities*.  It’s called an Hepatic Adenoma, and it has to come out.  Apparently there is a fairly high risk of it becoming malignant later on, and I certainly don’t want to mess around with that!  Because it’s growing so rapidly already, there is also a pretty significant risk of it rupturing if it gets too big…especially if we get pregnant, which we were working on before the liver tumor reared it’s ugly little head.  Anyway…surgery is planned for September, and I will be out of commission for 8 weeks, and then will have to take it easy for about a month after that. 8 whole weeks!!!  Poop.

I am not looking forward to that 8 weeks.  Even when I am so super busy that I don’t have time to breathe, I still fit in workouts.  Exercise is pretty much a necessity for me lately.  Life was pretty sucky when I hurt my back and had to take it easy on the exercise front – and this won’t be “take it easy,” it will be “donothing.”  Double Poop.

My doctordidtell me that I would be able to do some light walking after a while, and that I could probably swim and maybe do some light yoga after about a month, but I have to be very careful not to do anything that will put strain on my abdominal wall.  I guess I will be improving the front crawl and all of the leg work in my standing poses.  I will also get to read, and maybe spend some more time writing, without the stress of work involved…so there are definitely some positives involved here!

*worse of the two possibilities is still pretty good by comparison.  A cancerous tumor would be much, much worse, so I am VERY thankful to be dealing with this little setback!

Liver Woes

Liver biopsy #2 was yesterday.  It was sucky, but not nearly as sucky as liver biopsy #1.  The first time around, my blood pressure plummeted to 77/27 (which my Grandmother pointed out is in the death range – thankfully THAT didn’t happen!). They had to hook up my IV and drug me up real good to prevent further complications.  It was actually a little scary for both Rob and I, especially since the nurse who put in my IV when I first arrived told me that “they won’t even need to use it – it’s only for emergencies or if something goes wrong”….so when the biopsy nurse said, “I’m just going to hook up your IV now,” I was all “WTF?!?  I thought it was only for emergencies….what is wrong???”

My super artistic rendition of what my doctor explained about my liver biopsy.  Sometimes I think I should start selling art for money.Anyway, I was kinda nervous for biopsy #2 considering that the first one didn’t go very smoothly, and this one needed to use a bigger needle (turns out #1 didn’t actually provide the necessary info, so I had to be subjected to this little ordeal all over again – whoo hoo!).  The bigger needle part sucked more – and I’m WAY more sore today than I was last time because of it – but my doctor was more prepared for me this time around.  When I arrived in the biopsy wing yesterday, the doctor was all “I remember you” and smiling (I probably made his day a little more exciting, or something, the last time – ha!).  He hooked up my IV and gave me some meds right from the beginning, so I was more chilled out.  They were different drugs than last time (I was a total drugged up mess the first time around, and was still groggy two days later), but they dulled the pain and took the edge off for me, so that’s cool.  I was also MUCH less hungry afterwards than the first time – they didn’t let me eat or drink anything after midnight the night before, and then wouldn’t even give me water until 3 hours after the biopsy.  I am pretty much always eating, so that was torture, but apparently an IV is kinda like eating, so yesterday wasn’t nearly as bad!

Because the needle was bigger this time, I have more discomfort today, and I will also need to lay off any type of lifting or exertion for a whole week.  I wasn’t expecting that, since it was only two days off last time, so that news kind of throws a bit of a wrench into the fitness classes I need to teach this week.  Hmmm….what to do about that?  Not running the classes isn’t really an option, so if any of my fellow instructors out there have tips for running a class without demonstrating moves or doing any work myself, I’d be much obliged.  I was thinking about setting up a circuit and just sort of doing the drill instructor thing, but I can’t even lift the equipment I would need to set up.  Bummer.

I sort of had this “Oh, I’ll be fine – they just say that I have to lay off for a week, but I’ll really be able to do a lot of stuff” mentality floating around in my head until a couple of hours ago.  I took my dogs for a walk with my Mom (who is super sweet, and took me to the city for the biopsy and then stayed with me overnight because Rob is working away for 3 whole weeks).  My dogs are usually pretty good, and walk really well on a leash, but today there was a rabbit.  Holy mother of Gawd!  Jax saw it and lunged for the bushes and I sorta thought I was going to die.  Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but it REALLY hurt.  You see, it’s automatic to contract your core muscles when your large dog lunges at a rabbit, and that doesn’t feel so awesome when someone stuck a big needle through those muscles and took a hunk of meat out of your liver the day before.  Good thing my mom had Naava, because if I would’ve been walking both dogs, I probably would still be lying in those bushes crying my face off with my dogs trying to eat and kill the Easter bunny.

Emerging from the Hibernation

Hello lovely blog readers!

I have not gone into hibernation, I promise – although I’ve certainly been away from you for far too long, and the gorgeous weather of late reminds me of hibernating creatures waking from their slumber and stumbling out into the glorious sunshine.  Sincerest apologies, but sometimes a mini hiatus just cannot be helped.  The life of a High School English teacher (who has zero prep time) simply does not lend itself to blogging daily.  Especially during progress report time.  In addition, I’ve been dealing with some other “time suckers;” I believe that I mentioned some medical issues a few posts back, and they are exactly what I’m referring to.  I’ve got two entirely separate, but fairly serious medical problems right now.  One of them I am not quite ready to speak about publicly (but it is not life-threatening, so please don’t worry!), and the other is a tumor on my liver.  Now, I know that the word “tumor” can be awfully frightening, so let me start by telling you that my specialist DOES NOT believe that my tumor is cancerous.  He does, however, think that it needs to be surgically removed.  I had a biopsy this past Friday so that we can learn more about the mass, but I don’t have the results back yet, so I am still not sure when I will need to go for surgery.  I don’t imagine that the surgery will be scheduled immediately, as Cancer patients with more pressing needs will obviously take priority, but other than that, I have no idea about timelines.

What I do know is that the recovery period from such a surgery can be a rather lengthy process, where intense physical activity must be avoided.  That likely means no running, no yoga and no weight training.  Yuck.  Now is not the time to stress about these things, though – I will cross that bridge when I get to it.  For now, I will focus on being as active and healthy as I can, and I’m sure that everything else will fall exactly into place in due time.

With all of that being said, I hope that you can forgive me for not posting in over a week.  While life in the next while will still be nutty for me, it looks as though it will slow down at least a tiny bit.  I will try to post at least every 3 or 4 days from now on…and if I don’t, well, I think you can handle it.  🙂

I hope the rest of your week is fabulous!