Wednesday, January 5, 2011

when your insides fall out

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.


mj said...

i hesitate to tell you things will work out only because i was told that many a time through the first part of my current trial and it just wasn't the case. i will, however, wish you all the luck in the universe, send prayers your way, believe you when you say you will work ever-so-hard at returning to an active lifestyle, and tell you to listen to your body. you're a smart, hard working, spiritual woman. and you'll make it through, no matter the outcome. you can get through this and you don't have to do it alone. thank goodness.

oh, and it's okay to cry. :)

jena wise said...

you WILL run again. you are Molly. you are strong and running is part of you. I don't know anything about this condition besides what you've said, but I wish that your (our) doctor didn't downplay it. you need advice AND reassurance from her, not just reassurance.
be careful of what you read on the internet in terms of horror stories. you are fit, young, and healthy, so you will get through this much better than a lot of others who don't start out fit, young, and healthy. and motivated. and strong.
let me know if there is anything I can do to help. sending hugs your way - things WILL get better.

Julianne said...

It's not life-threatening, but it is hard. You have every right to mourn. And you will make it through.

Thanks for being real, and positive.

I'm praying for you too!

Julie Laughlin said...

i have never heard of this before. but you have already done so much to figure out how to conquer it. and you are one of the most determined, motivated people i know, so I have faith that you will overcome or at least figure out how to deal with it the best way you can. you got through the crazy itching with graham right? totally different, i know, but a trial at the time i think. thinking of you and wish i could see your cute babies!

and i agree with maren -- it's okay to cry!

Anonymous said...

I've heard the surgery does work. Sounds like you need your doctor to get you to a urologist or ask for a second opinion.

Hang in there! Now you got me worried (having twins and all)!

Holley Williamson said...

Oh Molly! I'm so sorry. When we are going through trials it is so easy to ask Why ME? It totally sucks. This is so unexpected and crazy. I know you are so strong, but I think it is okay to be sad, worried, depressed and to give yourself time to adjust to this change. I hope you do get better and I will pray for you. Sending you lots of love!!!

Ashley said...

Oh my gosh, how crazy and awful! I hope you are going to get a second opinion STAT. And yes, I agree with the person who said be careful about what you read online. If anyone can outmatch this thing it's you.

nicole said...

So sorry to hear about this! All the previous comments sum up my thoughts, I just wanted to let you know I'll be thinking about you!! Good luck!

whitney said...

dude molly, you. are. awesome. ditto on what maren and jena said. i have a friend who had this same condition and she ended up having the surgery. let me know if you want her email if you want to ask her any questions. she's not a runner but maybe she could still give you some good insight.

Rach said...

I wasn't going to post a comment because everyone has said such great things and I don't have anything important to add...but then I thought I wouldn't pass up the chance to tell you that I think you are amazing. I am thinking about you and praying for you.
(And I still sometimes wet my pants when I run :) Is that tmi??)
Wishing you all the best!

Courtney said...

molly! I'm so sorry! when you were describing how it would feel to never run again I totally understood, I would feel the same way. I totally get why you feel like mourning, but don't give up yet! You don't know what the outcome will be so as long as you stay positive miracles can happen. I'll be praying for you <3

The Bundys said...

Hey molly my sis in law had the same sort of thing happen.....and she was and is an avid runner (four babies).
But everybody is hopefully like her you'll get back on your feet. (email if you want me to check out what she did to get back into the game)

Jenni said...

I'm very sorry that you have to deal with this. In hopes of lifting your spirits a little, here's something to keep in mind. All the stories you read about it online are going to be horror stories. Nobody is going to post their story about how they had it and it was no big deal. So, since all the stories will be horror stories, it might make you think that that's how it is for everyone. But, hopefully there are even more people out there who have your same problem and it was such a small deal that they didn't need to share online. Everyone is so different. Maybe for some people it is a big deal and a big problem, but I bet that for a lot of people it isn't a big problem. I hope you're one of the latter.

Tamra said...

I'm a little late on my comment, but I am so sorry, Molly! It's amazing to me how things can change our lives. And it's easy to say things like, "Just have a positive attitude about it, and you'll make it through," but it's hard to GET that positive attitude in the first place! But I know you will, no matter what. You're determined and strong. You're a Doer. Best of luck with everything. I'll be praying for you!