Wednesday, May 14, 2014 Rather, Pain Update

Here it is, almost 9 months since I last posted. Hum, so what's been going on you may ask? Well, it's funny you should ask.

My last post had something to do with me returning to the gym and the pain I was having. I have to admit, between working nights and having two kids in school, and buying a new house, I've been fairly busy and the gym was very hit or miss for about 2 months. Then the holidays came, and that was it. No more workouts for me. But I was feeling really good. No pain at all.

I then decided to do some burst aerobic training where you do 4-5 exercises with great intensity for 45 seconds, then rest one minute and repeat until 3-4 cycles are done and you're absolutely exhausted. The exercises  I chose to do were jumping jacks, burpees (push-ups with a jump mixed in), squats (with no weights), lunges, 10 pound kettle-bell shoulder press. Again, I started out very conservatively since I was in the worst shape of my life and I didn't want to kill myself or aggravate the PVPS. All was going well. I had done them for about 2 weeks with no pain (mainly because there was no straining in these exercises, I was taking it real slow).

Then after Christmas, I was putting a box of decorations back in the garage when it happened. I'm not sure exactly what it was, but let me try to describe it. I was carrying a very light box (~5 pounds) into the garage. I stepped down one step into the garage when something exploded in my right inguinal area. It felt like something ripped away from inside of me. The weirder thing was, it felt like a "square shaped patch" of something ripped away, it had a definite shape to the sensation. So I immediately dropped the box to the floor and stumbled back inside to the kitchen table in desperate pain - it literally took my breath away, just terrible.

A few minutes passed and the pain seemed to subside just a bit. I had that pain for the next 3-4 days before it went away. I stopped exercising again - because of the pain. Then a couple weeks later, I turned the wrong way while bending over to pick something up and then WHAM! the pain came back.

This process has now repeated itself too many times to count. I can't say I know exactly what's going on. I did have an inguinal hernia repair when I was like, 23 years old. Perhaps, the mesh has pulled away, or maybe some scar tissue has come loose. I just don't know, and I'm not sure there's a test to tell what's going on, without actually having surgery to take a look inside. 

I don't really want another surgery down there, for fear it will aggravate the PVPS. For all I know, this could be some weird sensation associated with my PVPS. I just don't know.

My wife made a comment to me back when I was 28 years old, she said, "Why don't you ever get sick, you're the healthiest person I know." Back then she had got her second winter cold, meanwhile, I was free and clear and hadn't had a cold in several years. I laughed and told her, I had just always been a very healthy person.

Since then, I ruptured a disc in my back, had a vasectomy, got diagnosed with cardiomyopathy (weak heart), had chronic epidydimitis, had a reversal, suffered from PVPS, and now can't exercise, work-out, or do any heavy lifting around the house.

I'll admit it now, to the world. "I am no longer healthy." There, I've said it. Now maybe things will turn around for me. It just sucks to be unhealthy. My wife hates it, my kids hate it and I hate it.

So now what do I do? Do I get this pain checked out? Do I suffer in silence? I really just don't know what to do next. There are no doctors up here where I live that I trust and I can't really afford to travel back to Dallas and see a doctor down there.

I know I can rely on God to get me through this, that is not the question I'm asking. Rather, it's the logistics of it all. How will it work out? Am I doomed to be one of those guys that looks healthy on the outside, but I've got a handicap sticker for my car because I can barely move without being in pain all the time? Just continued frustration over how things have turned out these last ten years. This is not how I envisioned life, to say the least.

On my knees I go, praying to the one who can make it all better and work out the details for me.  

It seems like when I try to work things it, they just fall apart. So I'm relying on you God, yet again to help me. I'm sorry I can't do it on my own, and I know, I don't want me to do it on my own, but I just hate to bother you with this kind of stuff. It's very embarrassing and hits me at my core, my pride. Please forgive me for feeling this way. Guide me and lead me I pray. Amen.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Unexpected Source of Pain

So I cruised through the summer and almost, I said, "almost" forgot I even had PVPS. I would get a few reminders from time to time, but this was by far my best 3 months since my reversal. With that being said, I did what any other normal guy would do when they're feeling better, I became more active. I returned to the gym 2-3 weeks ago and started slow and easy. The treadmill and recumbent stationary bike were the two pieces of equipment I used for cardio. That was it, just these two. No weights, no long endurance routines, just simple low intensity cardio.

I spent all of about 5 minutes on the bike for a warm up and then crawled my way to a 35 minute treadmill workout at a very slow mph. It felt good to get up and move again. I really felt reinvigorated. The next day, I did notice a little inguinal ache on my right side, but didn't think much about it. Then I noticed the ache didn't go away, but continued into the next day.No big deal I thought. Probably just a random thing.

Two days later, back to the gym for a repeat of the previous workout. I had the same ache the next two days. Then I took 3-4 days off because of work and a busy life before returning to the gym. During that 3-4 days, I began to feel good again - no pain! This time I ramped up the warm up and the mph on the treadmill. The next day, I was in even more discomfort and pain which lasted a full two days. Well, I guess you can see where I'm going with this.

It appears that when I do my rather pedestrian cardio workout at the gym, my PVPS gets aggravated. This really surprises me because I've heard other guys say that working out helps them. Increases blood supply and all that.

I suppose I have a choice to make. Do I keep working out in spite of the pain or just try to push through; maybe incorporate some light stretching to see if that helps. I believe I'll opt for that last option. Part of the challenge with PVPS is loosing the feeling of normalcy and riding the roller-coaster of pain and frustration. Veering away from activities you normally love to do because the pain is too much or the threat of pain is too daunting.

My mindset is going to need a shift as I try to move forward. I believe I'll tell myself the pain I'm experiencing is just 'normal' muscle pain that everyone gets after they work out, you know, from the build up on lactic acid. For all I know, that could be exactly what is happening in my inguinal region. So with this potential excuse to return to the sidelines banished from my thinking, I will return to the treadmill and suffer through the normal consequences of a workout, pain.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Summer Ends and Time Marches On

The new school year is once again upon us. I like times like this as they help to organize my year. Holidays, breaks from school, and birthdays are great signposts and reference points from which to measure the passing of time as it relates to life. For instance, I don't remember the exact day my dad past away, but I know it was about a week before Christmas. I don't remember the exact day we moved to Washington state (the second time), but I know it was during the Texas State Fair or roughly three weeks before Halloween.

So it is that I measure progress or pain with my PVPS. It was just as school let out in June when I was having a surprising, albeit brief, pain episode. Now here we are at the beginning of school and I've just realized that was my last bout of pain. That's almost three solid months with no pain, outside of a twinge here and there. Those twinges were brought on by moving boxes into our new home.

I told my wife that it is during times like this when I feel that I've been cured of my PVPS pain. That the reversal surgery did it's job. But since the pain was brought on by the reversal procedure, I'm not sure I can really say that. So why is my pain so much improved? Good question.

I think the Lord has done a lot to bring me relief. Do I believe he healed me from Heaven? Partly. But mostly I believe the Lord has helped me to live with the pain, to accept it and move beyond it. I could be having pain every day and I may just not be noticing it because I'm no longer hyperfocuced on my groin. Does that make sense?

It's like the more you notice something, the more you'll notice it. From an emotional and spiritual standpoint, I'm in a far better place. I no longer play the victim card. Life is too short and nobody likes being around that kind of person anyway. So yes, I believe I've been healed. And yes I believe I've been brought to a point where post vasectomy side effects are no longer my primary or even secondary concern.

It's kind of funny, but I just realized that I've been employed now since January of this year, right after New Years. In my job, I have to lift patients, squat and bend over, take the stairs frequently, and basically be an active individual. I used to be scared of how my body would react to the sudden workload. I didn't know how long I'd be able to work. Well, here I am (9 months later) and all seems to be going well. I can do my job without fear of the PVPS consequences.

That's it for my update, but for those courageous few who want to read on about how God has helped me, please read on.  

                                              * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I've said this on the blog before, but I feel extremely blessed by God. He has done so much in my life these last couple of years, I can't even begin to tell you. But take it from me, God is good. He answers prayers and listens with a father's heart. Give your fears and anxiety and pain to him and he'll make it better. Maybe not in the way you hope, but in a way that will glorify himself and blow you away.

One of the biggest things I've learned this last year is that God doesn't need me, but I sure need him...for absolutely everything in my life. Whether it be my job, health, relationships, finances, outlook, attitude, etc, I need him. Oh, I can get by on my own, but I'll just screw it up as always.

Funny, but God has always worked in my life and he is always working in yours, although you may not be able to see it. I certainly couldn't always see it and I'm a 'Christian'. But looking back in the reflection of my life, I see where my Lord Jesus was there for me. And it wasn't until I faithfully and honestly started praying for help (trusting Him), that I began to see his hand upon my life in real time.

I know this won't make sense to you if you don't believe that God sent Jesus. Perhaps if you are willing, you could read the Book of John in the bible (The 4th book in the New Testament). The first 5-6 chapters kind of talk about what I'm trying to say here.

Well, I guess that's about it. I just felt like I needed to say something in these last couple of paragraphs. Who knows, maybe God is trying to get your attention which is why you're here reading this now. Anyway, thanks for reading. I hope this helps.

God bless.