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incisional hernia

captdave's picture
captdave
Posts: 168
Joined: Feb 2012

I went to my surgeon yesterday four and a half months after my surgery with a concern. I had developed a "bump out" about the size of a my fist along the lower portion of my abdominal incision. He determined it to be a hernia on the incision. Which is what I had expected. This was one of the things I was warned about the possibility of after my THE.

Has anyone else here had this happen to them?

Anyone who has recently had a THE may want to take note of this and exercise due caution in how strenuous you are in your activities for longer then you think after the surgery. It is quite discouraging to have had such a great recovery and now to have this pop up out of the blue. It feels like a big set back to me and has me a little frustrated that it happened and that I'm now facing another surgery and recovery. I know however that it is just a small thing especially compared to what everyone else here is dealing with. My main purpose in posting was to make people aware of the possibility of the incisional hernia and to see if anyone else had experience with it.

Everyone here is an inspiration to me and a hero!

jgwright's picture
jgwright
Posts: 252
Joined: Oct 2011

Stinks, don't it? I had a hernia once, just bit of outpatient surgery with a mesh. I don't think I'd be real happy to have a fist-sized bulge "popping out" of my incision.

Hope all goes well for you, pal. I think I'm adopting Gilda's attitude... "It's always something..."

Your companion in the world of "Some Times Things Just Suck".

--Jerry

captdave's picture
captdave
Posts: 168
Joined: Feb 2012

Jerry, Thanks for the encouragement. It is a bit frustrating to have something go wrong after such a great recovery but, considering everything that I could be facing this is pretty damn minor in the grand scheme of things. So now just time to suck it up get a good attitude hit the work out a little harder and get ready for surgery.

It;s great seeing you on here you're an encouragement to me and a real warrior. Thank you.

Dave

captdave's picture
captdave
Posts: 168
Joined: Feb 2012

William, As you point out the hernia is at the best possible place to have one post-op if you're going to have one. They will be opening up the hernia site as it's located right on the incision and repairing it with mesh and then reinforcing the original incision. I will be hospitalized for at least one day after surgery and worse case up to three days. The surgery only takes about an hour. Looking forward to getting this behind me.

My surgeon says that this isn't a common problem but one that they do see from time to time.

Dave

JReed's picture
JReed
Posts: 463
Joined: Nov 2011

Dang it Dave - you were doing so great too! Hopefully this only a minor setback and you'll be up and at it again.

When is surgery planned? Will this be outpatient or will you need to stay due the THE surgery not that long ago?

What do you think caused this?

Curious as all get out,

Hugs and FEC,
Judy

captdave's picture
captdave
Posts: 168
Joined: Feb 2012

Judy, I just scheduled my surgery for June 8th. Edie gets home from Minnesota and Wisconsin on the 7th from visiting family, attending graduations etc... The same surgeon that performed my THE will be doing the repair work. I will get to stay at the hospital for at least one night and at worst up to three they say. The thing I'm not liking is the projected two months off work to let everything heal really well and being limited to lifting nothing over six ponds for that two months. Tell Don to be careful with his exertion and not to blow a seam like I have. I think of him and that Hog and worry about all the lifting force he may be using once he is cleared to ride again.

I'm not sure what caused the hernia. I cant go back and think of anything in particular. Our (mine Edie and the surgeon) best guess is hitting the driving range very aggressively and playing lots of golf due to the use and torque that puts on your core. Mulligan also believes that my connective tissue may be inherently weak and need extra time to fully heal and get to maximum strength.

Hope everything is going great with you guys! Don looks wonderful in the photo's of him I've seen that you posted.

Dave

JReed's picture
JReed
Posts: 463
Joined: Nov 2011

Hi Dave:

The golfing may well have done this - you would naturally torque your core doing that. Your post is a wonderful heads up to completely heal and like you, I worry about him rocking that bike up also. AND today I went out to the back deck to place an outdoor rug and found out that he has taken some of the deck furniture out of the pool storage shed - that umbrella stand is heavy! - let alone the chairs and table, etc.

I did send you a private message - so hopefully Don will talk with you soon. I hope Bob Hazelton is reading this too - he's been all over on his bike. The riding part is fine - but still they have to back up and that uses a lot of 'belly' muscles.

Thank you so much for the word of caution - I'm sure you've helped a lot of us with this one.

Guess you'll have to settle with a putting rug in your family room and putt away. (You men!)

We'll be waiting to hear how you are doing from your next surgery and praying that all goes very well for you.

Hugs and FEC,
Judy

BobHaze's picture
BobHaze
Posts: 157
Joined: Sep 2011

Hi Judy & Dave:

I’m not a golfer, but it sounds like thee torque from swinging the club could be Dave’s culprit. I was the perfect patient for 3 months after my surgery, and I had the MIE while both Don & Dave had the THE, which I understand includes a much bigger abdominal incision than I had. I didn’t drive at all for 6 weeks, and when I first tried I found that when I turned around to look over my shoulder it pulled on my abdomen, so I stopped for a couple more weeks until it felt better. The 2 big cautions my surgeon and PCP both gave me early on were not to lift anything more than 5 lbs for at least 8 weeks, and after that to try more physical things but DO NOT strain my abdomen. I started working out in the gym with a trainer in January, about 18 weeks post-op, and I was fine with everything except the abdominal machine, which hurt even with only 10 lbs, so I didn’t do it for a couple more weeks. After that my abdomen was sore but I didn’t feel like it was straining, so I eased into it, and now it’s fine. Still sore sometimes, but no more strain.

As for riding the bike, my first ride was in December, 3 months post-op (with my surgeon’s blessing), and in the middle of the ride, while doing a slow U-turn I dropped the bike onto the crash bars. I ride a 900 lb. Harley, and my first reaction was to try to stand it back up, but I caught myself in time and one of the guys I was riding with came running over, yelling at me to leave it alone (he knew about my surgery) and he picked it up for me. As Judy and Don know, the way you stand up a bike is to back up to it and use your legs to lift, not your abdomen or back, but still it would have been a very bad idea for me that day to even try.

Judy’s right: we men tend to over-do it sometimes with the cheap physical stuff. I’m 62 now, and even before my cancer many was the time in the past several years I’d go out in the woods with a chain saw, or digging in the yard or whatever, and would carry on even after my back or legs started to hurt, and by the time I came in I was beat, and sore, and it took days to fully recover. It’s just the way we tend to be. So even after major surgery – which we surely had – as soon as I started to feel better I had to remind myself to take it easy and wait. Even before I rode the bike I thought one day about taking it out to wash it, but that would have meant pushing it back into the garage backward which, as Judy said, uses the belly muscles, so I cancelled the wash. It’s hard, but we really have to rein ourselves in while we heal. I can see where golf must have seemed benign enough, but evidently it wasn’t. Bummer for you, Dave, but a lesson for others, I suppose.

At least you don’t have to wait long for the repair surgery, Dave, and it sounds like it’ll be a much easier recovery than from the THE. I had a hernia repair with a mesh patch several years ago, and it really wasn’t a real big deal. I’ll be thinking about you and wishing you a speedy recovery.

FEC,
Bob
T1aN0M0
Dx 8/3/11
MIE 9/23/11

captdave's picture
captdave
Posts: 168
Joined: Feb 2012

Bob, Thanks for the encouragement. I appreciate it. I tried to be the perfect patient as did you. I waited the full three months to start doing anything to physical. I even forsook skiing at the end of the season after I was cleared for it. I'm not sure exactly caused the hernia but as best we can figure golf is the most likely culprit. I know that after the warranty work to repair it I will be taking it VERY easy for quite some time. Don't want to have anything else go sideways.

Dave

dwhite0002
Posts: 130
Joined: Jan 2010

I had a hernia, also. It wasn't as large as yours, but was present.

I had to have something else taken care of a year or so later, so I had them fix it while I was under. It hasn't caused any problems since.

captdave's picture
captdave
Posts: 168
Joined: Feb 2012

Thanks for the info! Nice to know that I'm not alone with this issue. I wish I could wait a year but the Doc rolled his eye's and said "really, really!" when I wanted to wait until September. He thinks it's something to get taken care of right away so I'm scheduled for June 8th for surgery. Hope that I have as great an outcome as you did.

Thanks for posting. Like I said nice to know I'm not the only one who's faced this issue.

Dave

sandy1943's picture
sandy1943
Posts: 883
Joined: Jun 2010

I have an abdominal hernia at the top of my scar. It will stick out about the size of a fist after eating.My doctor said it is common after any kind of abdoman surgery. For now they are leaving it alone. I didn't do anything that would cause it and I don't have pain with it, so it is something I live with for now,
Sandra

captdave's picture
captdave
Posts: 168
Joined: Feb 2012

Sandra, Thank you for the information. I'm glad that yours does not give you any problems. I knew it was a possibility but like I've said tried to do everything according to Hoyle to avoid any of these types of complications but, here I am. How long have you had your hernia?

Dave

sandy1943's picture
sandy1943
Posts: 883
Joined: Jun 2010

Dave, My surgery was four yrs. ago and I saw the hernia about a year ago.It hasn't enlarged any and I forget about it most of the time.
My doctor said a lot of times, if surgery is done, it will reoccur. Since I don't want surgery, I hope he knows what hes talking about. Mine is in the top of the scar. Maybe the location has something to do with his diagnosis.

Sandra

Guigna
Posts: 71
Joined: Feb 2012

the doctors won't bother fixing it; they told him he is "allergic" to surgery. I tend to agree with them. it happened because my husband's protein levels had gotten so slow he did not knit properly. That is what they told us.

captdave's picture
captdave
Posts: 168
Joined: Feb 2012

Thanks so much for the info. Every little bit of information I can get helps me get a better picture of whats going on and how to help prevent a recurrence post repair surgery.

It's good to know that I'm not the only one that has had this problem. I was feeling like the lone ranger there for a little while.

Dave

captdave's picture
captdave
Posts: 168
Joined: Feb 2012

Had my hernia repair surgery Thursday evening and everything went well. I stayed over night in the hospital and was released around 1:30 Friday afternoon. I think that the hernia repair is actually more painful then the THE i had in January. It was six months to the day from my THE to my hernia repair. My surgeon says that I have what he called weak connective tissue. Not sure exactly what that means clinically but, I know it means no golf for at least six months and very light activity level. Have my follow up in a week and a half so will find out more details then. Will try to pass on all that I learn so that anyone else experiencing this will have some info and to hopefully give others the information to prevent this type of problem developing.

Dave

bingbing2009
Posts: 179
Joined: Feb 2011

Dave,

I am so glad to hear that the surgery went well. Hate that it's been so painful, though. Be sure to follow the doc's orders and take it easy. Keep us posted on how you're doing.

Melinda

DX October 2009: T3N1M0
November and December 2009: chemo (Cisplatin and 5 FU) and radiation
February 2010: Ivor Lewis surgery

sandy1943's picture
sandy1943
Posts: 883
Joined: Jun 2010

Dave, Glad this is out of the way.Too bad you are going to be limited on what you can do for so long. Praying this will be the last set back, and it will be smooth sailing from now on.
Sandra

BobHaze's picture
BobHaze
Posts: 157
Joined: Sep 2011

Dave:

Glad to hear the repair went smoothly, at least from the surgeon's point of view! lol Now it'll be some more R&R for you, after which you'll be back in the saddle. Sorry this happened, but glad to hear you're back home and on the mend.

Bob

JReed's picture
JReed
Posts: 463
Joined: Nov 2011

Dave;

Holy cow dude - more painful than the THE - OUCH! I hope you heal up quickly - so sorry you had to go through this - I wonder if it hurt more than the THE because of the THE?

Wishing you nothing but the very best recovery. You sure didn't need this - and you were doing wonderful. You will do wonderful on this one too - we're praying for you.

I do worry about Don on that big bike - but so far he's doing very well and the smile on his face is priceless. All I can do is hold my breath for him - I don't want him to go through what you did.

Take it easy (seems to be a hard thing for men to do!). Give Don a call when you're up to it.

Be talking with you soon!
Hugs and FEC,
Judy

mardigras's picture
mardigras
Posts: 196
Joined: Sep 2011

Hello Dave,
I don't catch all the posts, as I only log in sometimes, but I see you were due your surgery four days ago. I'm sorry I missed your original post and really do hope that all went well for you and that the surgery was straightforward.
Thank you for posting about it and I will make sure that Rob reads this post. He is three months out of surgery and tries to lift things that are way too heavy. Your post will be
the proof that I don't nag him without a good reason.
Praying that you will be back to normal again soon and can look at this phase as a little set back.
Prayers, love and hugs Dave.
Marci x

captdave's picture
captdave
Posts: 168
Joined: Feb 2012

Marci, There were two reasons I posted about my hernia. One was to see if anyone else had experienced one and if so what their experience was. The second reason was to make everyone aware of the possibility of this happening. These hernias are nothing to take lightly or to fool around with. I will be off work with this surgery as long as I was with the original THE! I will be restricted in my activity level for six months minimum! My surgeon has already told me no golf for at least six months. If I cant golf I cant do much else.
Please tell Rob not to push it. I had my THE four months before I developed the hernia. Tell him to take it easy and let it fully heal. He doesn't want to end up back in surgery and be even more restricted then he was. Just an example, I cant lift anything over six pounds for two months.
Thanks for the prayers, hugs and, love they're very much appreciated.
Best wishes and prayers for you and Rob,

Dave

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