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James Wanless

this is where I write

Clearing cobwebs and groinal eggplants

So, when I finally sit down to write my first journal entry in more than a month, what do I write about?  Why, my recent sports hernia operation, of course – and getting out of holiday mode and back to job work and thesis work.  Truth is, I’ve got two or three partially written posts floating around, but they need more time.  I just couldn’t bring myself to write over the past few weeks due to a number of issues, so I’ll just do some reflective personal catching up, starting with my gut.

Puffy abs

sports hernia illustrationThis past Monday, I finally had surgery which has been a long time coming.  I felt the first lower abdominal pop close to a year and a half ago now on a tempo run, and have been through a complete 2008 cessation of my racing and ultimate seasons and a reduced and less effective version for 2009.  After countless examinations, x-rays, physio sessions and running with lower abdominal and groin discomfort for a long time, I had sports hernia surgery Monday.  The illustration at left shows a typical sports hernia location, though what I ended up with a day after the surgery was not dissimilar to a small eggplant jutting out of my lower abdomen with a two inch incision on top. The swelling and bruising is finally reducing and I’ve been able to stop taking the Tylenol 3s (thankfully, as pain is not the only thing they stop).  I would post a photo, but there’s no way to not make it pornographic.

The surgeon actually found two weaknesses/ruptures and dealt with them both by placing the obligatory mesh patches (but not these ones) across them.  I’ll spend the next week or so still only walking and will move to light cycling the week after, with very light short jogging the week after that.  I should be mostly back to normal within about another 5-6 weeks.  Only then will I really know if the surgery was effective.  There are no guarantees but it works about 85% of the time. And, truth be told, the surgery itself was a breeze. 30 minutes on the table with a sedative and local anesthetic. I was drinking coffee 3 hours after they began cutting me open.

Since they don’t really know what causes sports hernias (and they aren’t actual hernias either), I’m lucky enough to be taking part in a study examining the role the hip may play in their cause.  I feel there is some connection because for some time before I felt the full rupture in the abs, I was having some hip problems.  I had an MRI the day before the surgery and should get some idea if anything is going on in my hip, along with whatever they publish as a result of the study. By the way … I think the experience of the MRI was worse than the surgery. Never had one before and not in a big rush to have one again.

Other distractions

While I just finished three weeks vacation, you’d not really know it. I spent a good chunk of the time repainting all room and closet doors in my home … in our garage, in the middle of the worst heat wave Vancouver has ever had.

Between painting days were car shopping days and plunked down in the middle of it all was a four day stay at the Galiano Inn for a very quiet getaway. A beautiful room and stellar view was a little marred on the last evening by a sub-par meal, but it was a really beautiful space to unwind and my wife had a wonderful spa treatment.

Back to the grind

After three and a half weeks away from work, it can be a bit of a challenge to get your clock back into early weekday rising and following someone else’s schedule. While I’ve been doing edits here and there on my thesis proposal, this ‘mostly ready’ document still needs a few tweaks and the nod from both my supervisor and the program head, before I get into ethical review processes at both RRU and BCIT in September.

I feel kind of guilty because, while I’ll be on my own through the next 9-10 months in completing my thesis, this summer the cohort in my program (the rest of whom chose more coursework and a smaller project) have been going straight through their second residency and moving into the remaining four courses before undertaking their 6 credit research project. Later on I’m sure the guilt will be assuaged, when I’m so busy I can hardly see.

If doing the thesis weren’t enough for the next while, I’ll be moving into a slightly different role – and desk – at work, and I can already see four or five significant projects beginning to pile up to hold me over well past Christmas.

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