Hernia surgery results showed good news and potential for bad news.
The follow-up visit with my hernia surgeon went as well as can be expected.
Dr. Reger explained that there was a split in the ‘posterior muscle wall’ (the inside layer) which allowed my guts to push out between them. Those muscles tensed and scrunched to the sides. The ‘anterior muscles’ (the outside layer), however, did not break, but stretched and gaped with the pressure of my guts. Voila, the pot belly. Through the incision, Dr. Reger had to reach in and grab the contracted muscle and forcibly pull each side back together, stitch, and reinforce with a strip of mesh. He illustrated all of this with his hands in the air, so I do not have a good visualization myself, let alone a diagram to share with you. However, I do trust Dr. Reger did an excellent job.
I got two pieces of news, good and bad.
The good news first– Healing from the surgery is on track and everything looks as it should by now. Activities I can participate in include walking, hiking, taking it easy and wearing a compression belt (affectionately referred to as my girdle or belly bra) to keep my guts in place. After one more week I can add:
– more walking and hiking
– light swimming, to keep muscles stretched
– light stationary bicycling, again to keep muscles stretched
– light weight lifting
– taking it easy some more
In six more weeks, I will add activities as my body tolerates like bike riding, lifting, strengthening and other exercises light on abdominal use.
The bad news – The fix should be sturdy and strong, however, we do not know what caused the incisional hernia in the first place. Dr. Reger cautioned that the stoma incision next to the hernia incision (closed up on July 14, 2012) could give way to another hernia. In other words, I should watch for signs of a hernia over the next two years. When the hernia repair was done a few weeks ago, the tention added to bring the split muscles back together could add to any weakness at the stoma incision. If, he says, a hernia is caught early, it is an easy fix. If it does not happen in the next two years (!!), then it probably won’t happen.
ACK, I say! That’s two years of paranoia! Ie. “What’s that I feel?”, “Is this normal?”, “Should I call the doctor about this, or will it go away?”, etc. When I thought all of this worry and anticipation was over, it has been delayed! Well, it is nothing new given the past year’s worries. Besides, I will take that over cancer concerns anytime.
Dr. Reger has a very conservative approach. I admire this and chose him for that reason. Therefore I will stay on the conservative side of recovery because to face another surgery is unappetizing, and, boy, I do not want to start over on insurance deductibles if I can help it!