18 Sep Working Out After An Open Myomectomy
At the end of the 6 week recovery period following my open myomectomy surgery, I was 18lbs lighter. I know most people’s initial thoughts are “that’s great!” and while I’m not complaining that I went down a couple dress sizes, I also wasn’t ecstatic about the weight loss either. Why? Because I was so weak, and I felt frail. I hadn’t just lost fat, but also muscle, and I was not a fan of that at all. Despite the fact that I’m not necessarily a “gym rat” I have always been pretty strong, however, my body was feeling the repercussions of doing nearly nothing physical for 6 weeks.
So when I reached the end of my gynecologist mandated 6 week recovery period, I decided to jump headfirst into a workout regimen to gain my strength and endurance back. After all, I had already lost weight, now I just needed to focus on strength and conditioning, right? Wrong.
My goals: train for a half-marathon and build a six pack with a nice set of chiseled biceps and triceps to match. As an avid runner (okay “avid” might be a strong word, but I run fairly often and have a few 10Ks under my belt) I just assumed that I’d still be able to get back out there and run a few miles without any significant issues. Now don’t get me wrong, I knew that my run time would be slower, after all, I did just have an incision cut into my abdomen, but I still expected to be able to (slowly but surely) complete the mission. Wrong again.
Apparently, although 6 weeks is the medically suggested recovery time, it’s not the total time needed to get back to feeling completely like your old self. This may have been obvious to you guys, but it was news to me. I can’t begin to explain to you, just how frustrated I was that I couldn’t finish the workout. Honestly, I barely even started! About a quarter of a mile into the run I became winded, worn out, and just completely exhausted. I had to take a moment to lean against a tree and gather myself, while I deliberated on whether or not I would try to continue the mission I started, or abort and head back home.
I aborted. I walked the quarter mile back home feeling a bit defeated, until I decided to give myself some grace and acknowledge the fact that I had just had a serious surgery. I had to remember that just because I couldn’t finish the run today, didn’t mean that I wouldn’t be running soon, and it definitely didn’t mean that I wouldn’t be able to train for the ultimate goal of running a half-marathon. I knew that if I wanted to meet my goals I had to make a plan, and so I did.
The Plan: Crawl Before You Walk, Walk Before You Run
6 week Recovery Period
During this time you honestly need to be giving your body the time to heal and recover. If you’re anything like me, then reading that probably makes your skin crawl, but it’s necessary. I didn’t do much of anything the first week following the surgery (well let’s be honest, I couldn’t do much) but starting the second week I started making attempts at walking around my house. I would literally walk up and down my hallway for 5 minutes until I could increase the walk time to 10 minutes. Once I could comfortably walk for 10 minutes then I started walking around the block in my neighborhood; I kept that progression until the end of my 6 week period. The walks were slow and steady, but at any point that I felt pain or exhaustion I stopped. Once again, this is the recovery period, it’s not the time to push your limits.
6-8 Weeks Post Surgery
After my first run failed, I decided to do interval running and walking. I would run for short time stints and then walk as a means of recovery. For example, I would run for 3 straight minutes at a moderate pace, and then walk for 2 minutes. Doing this helped me to build my endurance, and I really started to see a lift in my energy levels. I also incorporated other workouts like squats, and push-ups on my knees. Workouts that primarily engaged the core, were still off limits for me because of the discomfort that they caused my abdomen.
8 Weeks & Beyond
When I was finally 2 months post-surgery, I really started pushing myself. I ran my first non-stop mile and added weights to my workouts. I incorporated pull-ups (well I give them my best effort, because I’m not that strong yet) and light core workouts, and I’m focusing on increasingly challenging my body to get better and stronger.
I am currently 3 months post-surgery and honestly, I still don’t feel like myself. I’m nowhere near my pre-operation run time, I still tire easily during my workouts, and sometimes I find myself coddling my surgery incision due to fear of hurting myself. However, I am seeing major strides in my progress, and I’m extremely encouraged by the results. This journey isn’t over, but I’m hopeful that in the end I’ll be crossing the half marathon finish line with my six pack abs, and Angela Bassett-like arms!