March 2016

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So today I’m not working, I’m not taking the kids out, in fact I’m not supposed to be doing much, but put my feet up! Who would have thought I would be complaining about having to rest, but I am, It’s so boring resting!!  5 days ago I had my hernia repair, so I am now recovering at home, trying my hardest not to lift anything (fun with a toddler) or do anything too strenuous. I’ve been dreading this so much, not being able to deal with the kids normally, look after the home, run or exercise, etc. Putting my feet up is actually really hard to deal with, weird huh?

It feels a strange topic to write about, but having not found much info online myself on this type of hernia, I thought someone might appreciate reading my story. One of my misconceptions was that it was only men who got hernias, so I felt a bit of a wierdo when I realised I had one! And then, there I was sat in my hospital ‘pod’ awaiting my surgery. Yep, Not a ‘room’ but a ‘pod’. It was very strange sitting there for hours in my glass fronted ‘pod’ waiting for my turn to be repaired. Even up to the last minute I almost changed my mind. It was the recovery I was dreading more than the procedure itself. Although that wasn’t exactly a barrel of laughs.

The first symptom I experienced was when I was doing sit ups a few months after having my daughter in summer 2014. I was trying to get back in shape post baby (as you do) and noticed this cone shaped thing poke out of my tummy when I did sit ups. I didn’t think much of it at first, so just got on with things and ignored it. In fact I ignored it for about a year, as it never bothered me and only poked out when I did sit ups, so I just stopped doing sit ups!! Simple.

The second thing I noticed after some time, was that my outy belly button that I got when I was pregnant, was still there over a year later! I’d never had an outy belly button before, so thought it was a bit odd, but just put it down to my new mum tum appearance! I had had two kids after all, I couldn’t expect it to look the same as before.

As time went on, probably well over a year after first noticing something, I started experiencing some discomfort in my tummy area. This included mild pressure after a long run and a straining feeling after lifting my daughter. Over a few months the pain increased and then this small bulge started popping out of my belly button and I discovered I could poke it back in. This was a very strange sensation indeed! This strange bulge got worse when I had a bad cough. Every time I had a coughing fit, the bulge poked out and I was bent over in pain. I found I was constantly poking this bulge back in and the more I did, the more it hurt. I had started googling about it and came across ‘hernia’ but mine was right in my belly button, which I thought was very odd. By now it was October 2015, about 16 months after I had first noticed something was wrong.

This was when I decided to see the doctor for the first time about it and they confirmed my suspicions that it was a hernia, and the doctor referred to mine as the umbilical kind, which I’d never heard of before. We talked about surgery, but the doctor didn’t seem too concerned and said it would probably get better when the cough got better and if it wasn’t really bothering me after that, it would be best to just leave it be. I was more than happy to leave it be, as the last thing I wanted was any surgery!

So I Ignored it for a while, and carried on running, I even managed a 10k in the November.  But even after my cough went, I was still experiencing increased problems. We had now reached Christmas 2015 and I was finding the hernia was becoming more painful every day and my tummy was sticking out a lot more than normal (and it was’nt just that post Christmas bulge). The hernia was popping out on a daily basis, sometimes more than once, it was horrible. I Put it off for weeks but in the end I had no choice and went to the GP again. It was really effecting me at this point and I was experiencing constant discomfort from it. It had started effecting my daily life, for example not being able to pick up my daughter and struggling to move around normally. And so I was referred to see a surgeon.

What I found strange was that it was day to day life, not exercising, that made the hernia symptoms worsen. I hardly experienced any symptoms running and going to the gym. But when I lifted my daughter or if I rushed up the stairs, then the hernia would become painful. But this also meant I couldn’t avoid it either as it really impinged on my daily life as a mummy.

When I saw the surgeon in February 2016 he straight away recommended surgery. I was a bit taken aback as I thought there would be more of an investigation and options discussed. But he took one look at me and said ‘yep, that’s and umbilical hernia and we will need to operate’. Simple as that. He said I had ‘classic mum tum’ (I know, charming) where my muscles in my tummy had seperated and that had caused me to have a hernia as there was nothing there to keep it all in. We discussed more significant surgery whereby they stitch your separated tummy muscles back up, but he said my mum tum wasn’t too bad (such flattery I know!), it was more major surgery, the scar would be bigger and the recovery was double. I was immediately put off, although secretly a small part of me was tempted to have it all stitched back up! The surgeon booked me in for the 24th March, there and then, to have my hernia repaired.

So on the 24th March I had my umbilical hernia repaired with mesh, via key hole surgery (very clever indeed). I was expecting just the one hole but ended up with at least 4 all down my left hand side. Don’t worry, I won’t post any pictures, it’s not pretty! A day case turned in to an inpatient stay, as I had an asthma attack caused by either the general anaesthetic or the ibuprofen, there not quite sure. I had a reaction to the GA before when I had my emergency c-section 6 years ago. It’s a rather scary experience.

My tummy is 4 times as big as it was right now. In fact I look 7 months pregnant! The bloating is so horrendous and heavy like carrying a baby. I’ve read this is pretty normal. It’s pretty tough, for someone who’s normally so active and fit, to literally sit and do nothing. Thankfully I’ve got strong pain relief and my husband is doing a good job at taking care of everything (not to my standards, but not bad!). My son and daughter are getting used to be flinching every time they knock my tummy by accident and my husbands getting used to me being more bossy than usual. ‘I know what needs doing, I don’t need you telling me’ he says ‘I’ll do it all in my own time’. God this is torture! 3 weeks of work and I should be able to run again in 6 weeks. I’m still aiming to do a half marathon in the not too distant future. But for now, the trainers are having a bit of a rest and I’m putting my feet up and should be making the most of it!

 

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Better late than never as they say! It’s absolutely amazing that I find myself in March 2016 already! But yet here I am and retrospectively reflecting back on the weeks and months that have been and gone. It’s been a manic year so far personally and at work. I feel like we have crammed so much in and the year ahead doesn’t seem to be letting up any time either! But that’s how I like it, life’s more interesting when it’s busy!

January highlights

1. Discovering a new baking recipe! For New Year’s Eve I baked a gorgeous chocolate and banana cake with two different chocolate icings, for my friends New Year’s Eve party. I love baking and trying new things. With this cake I hadn’t a clue what I was doing really, just made it up as I went along and I was quite impressed. I might share the recipe one day!

2. My friends New Year’s Eve party. We all went up to my friends to stay for New Year’s Eve this year. We normally always spend new year with our friends, it’s become a kind of tradition now. This year they held a party for all the kids and adults, with lots of fun party games (including the brilliant ‘pie face’) and a lovely spread of party food. I took my chocolate and banana cake to contribute! Needless to say a few drinks were enjoyed and we danced the night away!

3. My January fitness challenge. I was lucky enough to work with Sportsshoes who set me a running challenging which I undertook during January. This was just what I needed to kick start the new year, it really motivated me to get out there and run. For each week in January I had to complete one treadmill run in the gym and one outdoor trail run and write a diary about how the different activities made me feel. You can read all about it here My January Fitness Challenge

4. Going out to a fancy dress party! Well, I can’t actually remember the last time I danced all night…hang on a minute, yes New Year’s Eve of course! So it sounds like I’ve done a lot if partying in January doesnt it?! Well at least it cured any January blues! The hubby and I had a great laugh getting dressed up as Fredfie Mercury and Brittney Spears for some friends birthday party!

5. Making a fool of myself! I had a classic ‘you’ve been framed moment’ in the park with my sister, brother and all the kids. So for a laugh I decided to get in the baby swing and when I got stuck the laugh was at my expense! My lovely siblings instead of helping me, they filmed the whole thing! I might share the video one day!

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February highlights

6. Celebrating our anniversary. It was our 7th wedding anniversary this February (although we’ve been together 20 years!). So we planned a date night at our local tapas bar. We nearly chickened out and stayed in and had a takeaway instead, as we’re so exhausted. It’s an effort making an effort sometimes isn’t it?? But we did go out and we had such a lovely evening, full of wonderful food and cocktails. I am so glad we went out and didn’t cop out!

7. Visiting my very special friend. We so rarely catch up considering we only live an hour away from each other, but when we do catch up its like we e never been apart! I went to stay with one of my oldest and dearest friends in February, a well over due catch up. It was lovely to see her and her gorgeous family once more. We had a lovely evening with wine and a takeout and just chilled out perfect! Hopefully it won’t be so long next time.

8. Celebrating one of my best friends birthday. We were invited for another night out to a party for one of my best friends birthday celebrations – have just realised how much we’ve been out recently, considering we’re parents! My friend held a lovely house party with lots of food and prosecco and fun. My friend always puts on a great party and always makes so much effort for everyone. It was great catching up with everyone and having a drink or two!

9. Reminiscing with photos. Time shops great isn’t it? I love how it reminds you of the good times from before. I loved seeing this through back picture of my son and I, 3 years ago! We were at Paignton zoo on the train and my little boy was only 3! How cute does he look?!

10. Messing around taking selfies. My son and I have always had so much fun taking selfies, pictures and video. In fact, this has kept him amused for ages, when it’s been rubbish weather and we’ve been stuck in! Well we had one of those days! So we had such giggly and silly fun taking lots and lots of silly face selfies, with his sister trying to join in too! So funny! Here’s some pics!

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A Cornish Mum
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So to kick off the new year I was set a very exciting January running challenge by Sportsshoes.  This couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’d rejoined the gym just before Christmas to start getting fit again,  but had only managed a couple of workouts inbetween work and mummy duties. I knew January would be ultra crazy at work, so needed an extra push to make time to exercise, for my mind and body! I took up running at the beginning if 2015 and have run a couple of 10k’s, so a running challenge was right up my street!

So the challenge was set and for each week in January I was challenged to complete one treadmill run and one trail run. At first I wasn’t sure what a trail run exactly was! Thankfully I was sent some information on trail runs including a link to a trail running hub, that came in useful! A trail run was described as ‘a run anywhere in the natural environment’. Ok, I thought, I live in the countryside by the beach, so that shouldn’t be too hard! I could immediately think of lots of places to run, it was quite exciting really! Before and after each run I was asked to write a diary of how I felt mentally and physically and what I thought about during each run.  I couldn’t wait for January to come and to put my trainers on and get going!

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Week 1

Treadmill

My first workout in week 1 was a trip to the gym for a treadmill run. It was exciting to get my trainers on for my first gym session, but an effort at the same time after a long week at work! It felt like ages since my last visit, probably at least 8 weeks (if I’m honest!) so it did feel a bit of a struggle and I was really nervous too! There’s something about the gym that makes you feel quite self conscious, when you’ve not been for a while or when it’s your first time. Once I was there it was fine and I soon got in to it and focuses on what I was there to do. It felt great running on the treadmill and I immediately felt better. Work was on my mind still, and I spent a lot of time thinking about it and then trying not to!

Trail

I was so excited about my first trail run and where it might take me. I’ve been road running for about a year and have really developed a love for it. But trail running was something I’d not really done before. I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to mud if I’m honest! I decided to take myself off across the fields around where I live, just outside my front door – easy. I definitely felt more motivated compared to the treadmill run in the gym. I don’t think I’d realised how muddy it was going to be though! But it didn’t put me off (surprisingly) and off I went! At the end of my run I felt amazing and such a sense of achievement.

Week 2

Treadmill

I felt quite motivated to go to the gym and run again, but when I got there and started running it felt like a bit of a chore. I kept thinking ‘how much longer!’. I think I’d had a long day at work and I felt really tired. Thank god for my music to keep me company and keep me going! Music always does the trick!

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Trail

My week 2 trail run was very exciting! I’d been feeling a little poorly so it was a bit of a struggle, but I’d already arranged a run with my brother, so that gave me the extra push I needed to get out of bed! We met down at the beach and ran between the beach and the ley. It was a bit of a dull grey morning but it was still beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I actually surprised myself by running 4 miles! My brother ran a lot faster than me but it was great having someone to start with and wait fir me at the finish! This is a photo of him in the distance running further away from me!

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Week 3

Treadmill

During week 3 I still felt a bit under the weather with a cough but I wasn’t going to let that stop me! The challenge really helped me to feel more determined about exercising and getting out running. I managed to run a bit further than my last treadmill run, which was great and I felt a lot better afterwards. It’s strange how exercise gives you more energy than you had before!

Trail

I was at my mums house for my trail run this week, so didn’t know the area as well. My run today included some road running, which I enjoyed and I did managed to find a bridal path and some fields to run through. It was quite fun not knowing where the run was going to take me and I managed 5k which I was really happy with. Look how happy I look!! When I finished I felt like I could have run further, I had so much energy.

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Week 4

Treadmill

Week 4 was delayed due to my cough not letting me go unfortunately. As an asthma sufferer it can be more challenging exercising but running is particularly good at strengthening your lungs.  After a week off I was keen to get back running as soon as possible! It felt good getting back in the gym again, I was quite enjoying it now.  I found I felt more motivated, may be because I had to have a week off, but I was definitely more motivated this week.

Trail

For my trail run this week I was back out running around the fields where I live and enjoying it more than ever! I could run 5k quite comfortably now and really enjoyed the different terrains and weather conditions, I’d had sun and rain today! Once again I felt line I could have run further and really picked up my pace at the end.

My thoughts on treadmill running

Ive always enjoyed the gym and have been visiting the gym on and off for the last 20 years! It’s great to switch off and have some time out and do something for myself. The flexibility of the gym compared to a fitness class suits my lifestyle as I can fit it in when I like. It’s hard sometimes to self motivate though and I need some strong willpower to get me there at times! On the whole I enjoy running on the treadmill, but it can get a bit boring after a while. I find I run a bit faster on the treadmill compared to the road or a trail run and I try to alternate the incline to make the effort more variable. 30 minutes is probably the max time I can run on a treadmill, which is about 3 miles for me and I’m normally knackered afterwards!  I’m better if I’ve got my music plugged in as I find music keeps me going and helps set my pace. I’ve been lost before when I’ve forgotten my iPhone! I’ll probably always go to the gym as I love the variety of weight training and CV training it offers me and I can go when it suits me. I found that treadmill running helped keep my fitness up and increase my distances when it was winter and the weather was not so good outside. Really useful right now!

My thoughts on trail running

Trail running was a change for me as I’ve always run on the road (which I love!). I had to think about where I could go, but soon came up with lots of ideas (some I haven’t tried yet!) and it became really exciting! Running outside is great for the mind and body. I felt more able to switch off from my day and just take in the outdoors. There’s something really great about being outdoors in the fresh air surrounded by nature. I really enjoyed looking across the fields and countryside, it sounds really corny but it makes me really appreciate life! Running across the different terrains makes running more challenging and you have to concentrate a bit more and think about where your putting your feet! I’m glad I have a separate pair of trainers for the gym, as you can’t worry about getting your trainers dirty on a trail run! The only thing I found was I kept stopping to take photos of the scenery and the sky! Like this photo of a rainbow! There’s only so many photos you can take of a treadmill…

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*Collaborative post with Sportsshoes

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