Warning: This post talks about womanly parts and postpartum issues. If that makes you uncomfortable, feel free to stop reading now. If not, please read on.
This is a serious post about a topic that has caused me much grief in the brief 3 days I have known about it. I am on an emotional rollercoaster every day. I wouldn't normally post about something like this, but I want to educate others about these things, since I wish I had been more mentally prepared.
Three days ago I developed a cystocele. What's that? Well let me tell you since I'm learning all kinds of things about my body that I honestly wish I never had to learn.
"A cystocele occurs when the supportive tissue between a woman's bladder and vaginal wall weakens and stretches, allowing the bladder to bulge into the vagina." (Mayo Clinic)
In other words, your insides are threatening to fall out your va-jay-jay.
When I discovered my problem, I freaked out a little thinking my uterus was going to fall out (yes, this happens to people). When I went to the doctor later that day, I was relieved to hear that what I had discovered was my bladder wall and not my uterus, and she made it sound like it was no big deal. "Just do kegels and with time it will tighten back up." That was all she said about it. No big deal, right?
After doing my own research, I discovered this is hardly the case. I have yet to find one case online in which people just did kegels and the problem magically fixed itself. I've been reading through support groups online (the existence of which is the first indication that this is not "no big deal"), and for many people, the problem never fully goes away. Some people go to physical therapy. Some people opt for surgery. Most people end up adapting their lifestyles in order to avoid magnifying the problem.
Many avid runners never run again.
Let me repeat that: Many avid runners never run again.
I just about lose it every time I start to think too much about it. That's just a little too much to take in right now.
I may not be very good at expressing it here, but I feel like I'm going through a mourning process. I know there are worse things that could happen to me, but being active is a huge part of my life. It's what I look forward to. Running up a trail on a cool morning. Breathing the fresh air. Hearing the birds. Spotting a rabbit or deer as I run through Rancho San Antonio. Dodging salamanders on a wet morning on the Sawyer Camp Trail. Racking up mileage on the Los Gatos Trail. Breathing hard after a track workout. Not walking. Running.
The thought of not doing that any more tears me apart.
My babies are worth it, but it's a sacrifice I didn't know I might have to make.
I know there are much worse things that can happen in life. This is hardly life-threatening or anything to be depressed about, but it is certainly a speed bump for me. I will, of course, do everything I can to return to my previous lifestyle and not let this impede me. I already ordered a highly recommended pelvic floor physical therapy DVD. I'm trying to stay positive and only read posts by people who have worked hard and returned to their active lifestyles. But I still worry. I often have good intentions but fall short of my goals. Do I have what it takes to work through this? Am I patient enough to do months of physical therapy and slowly work my way up? Can I deal with the discomfort and get back into running?
I will try to be positive. I will put in the hard work. However, I'm realistic enough to know that only time will tell. Looks like I won't be running the US Half Marathon in April, but hopefully I'll be back in the game later this year. Wish me luck and tell me I can do it. I think I need all the encouragement I can get right now.
3 years ago