Getting ready for surgery! Improving fitness, mobility and losing weight, that lasts, with a JPouch!
Panic not! I am not advocating any fad diet or crazy, unmanageable workout plans, no quick fix or pain! This post will share how, and why, I was so determined to get my mind and body healthier, despite waiting for surgery to remove my failed JPouch and remaining anus, and having a permanent Stoma created.
When I went for the JPouch initially I made myself a promise, I promised that if I ever had to go back to the Stoma, it would be a one way street! permanent! More importantly, that I would do my best to shift any weight gained and make sure my abdomen is at its best to have a good bag seal .
4 Months to surgery!
With just a few more months to go now before one of the biggest surgeries yet, I took action and set myself the goal of getting my body and mind fit and ready, in a bid to convince myself recovery will be easier if I am!
How? when it hurts!
How do you lose the couple of stone that medications and a change of digestive system has gifted us? along with the fact exercise hurts! And I am not just talking aches and pains... I am talking 16/18 fibromyalgia point pains, Enthesitis and chronic fatigue coupled with scar tissue and ongoing chronic cuffitis and Pouchitis symptoms!
With a huge dose of ‘man up’ and kick ass! That’s how!
I decided it was time to fight back, my chronic symptoms were going nowhere and as a result were poisoning my body and mind. I had to fight my fears and work around it all.
First of all, I know I was not very overweight as many people were kind enough to point out, but I did hide the wobbles and rolls well. with no colon I was not carrying any water weight which most ‘healthy people’ do, so there was no easy, fast gain at the start. I didn’t eat many fruit or vegetables and loved all the wrong things, bread, potatoes, pasta etc...
When I was suffering a bad day, I would turn to stodgy safe food to calm my gut, or so I thought.
I suffered extreme bloating and spasms in my remaining rectum and found that healthy things made me worse and exasperated the symptoms I was already living with.
It was at the end of the summer when I saw a photo of myself that made me realise how I had given up and let go. I decided I had had enough, there was enough going on inside that I didn’t need to hate the outside as well!
My partner Stuart had been talking about joining the gym and suddenly I found the drive to join him and do it!
I had 4 months to go and with such a misshaped abdomen, I feared a new stoma would not sit well leaving me with endless issues with seals etc, the wobble needed to shrink!
This all sounds very dramatic I know, but when you don’t recognise the person you are becoming, it’s scary and taking control can help that and heal the mind as well as the body.
First step! the gym...
I joined the gym in October 2019 and hit it full on, the initial personal trainer session almost killed me, and I wondered how on earth I thought I could do it.
Having had hernias before, I was very cautious about not overdoing the abdominal area but needed something to tone it indirectly, I follow a very inspiring guy online known as Mr Crohns Colitis, he is a personal trainer and recently released a video showing indirect ab workouts that were safe to do with the type of surgery I’d had.
I wore a hernia support belt as well as knee and elbow support - I felt more like The Mummy than a gym goer - but felt it was best to be safe than sorry!
At the same time, I decided to bite the bullet and try a different diet, reluctantly I cut all ‘white’ processed products, including white bread, rice, pasta and crackers and opted for the wholemeal version. I added in vegetable bakes and stir fry’s and cut down on potatoes.
After a short transition where my output increased a lot, it settled, and I noticed I was less bloated, less gassy and all round had more energy. I restricted alcohol to weekends and in moderation and started having ice lollies as an after dinner sweet fix. Other than this I just ate sensibly, opted for lower fat products and cut my tea sugar in half.
I love the new diet and find it so much more adventurous and tastier; it means I cook more from scratch but I’m enjoying that and can cope with it.
I manage to eat what I want, just well balanced with good choices!
At Christmas I ate well and enjoyed all the treats, only gaining 1lb which I lost again straight away!
CBD and Tumeric
In order to combat the joint pain and fatigue I started taking CBD Oils daily. At first, I tried capsules with a broad-spectrum CBD but after I received advice, I swapped to a more specific brand that’s known to target joint pain and inflammation. I added in turmeric and vitamin D.
This is what I now use, 3-4 drops morning and night.
I started with a gentle routine at the gym including just 5-10 mins on the cross trainer, 5 mins on the lateral cross trainer and a selection of weight / Cables that were on very low resistance weight.
I was shown how to use the TRX to do body weight exercises and had to try to do a plank!... try is a loose term I’d use... I lasted a whole 18 seconds - my abdomen really had no strength after being sliced open a couple of times and my arms were weak.
I was given the challenge of step exercises and after lowering it (a lot) I managed a few before my knees started to burn. After 45 mins I was knackered! I knew this was going to be tough but had no idea how bad my fitness levels had got.
At this point I decided to take my measurements and photos to see how it all went!
This was my record and plan...
Weight 79.37kg - 12 Stone 5 lb High Waist 90cm
Waist widest point 104cm
Right Arm down 34cm
On Ciprofloxacin and starting to settle a flare - Pain - Aches in knees, back of the head, pressure headaches, sinus pain, fatigue.
Gym x 4 sessions or 45 mins.
I managed my first week and felt great about myself, I was trying hard and proud. I had to change the routine at the gym from the original plan as my upper strength was very poor, I took it easy but kept up the TRX, went from the machines to the suspension cables and tried the exercises I had researched for working the abs indirect. I started to feel great and empowered again.
Jump forward a month and I was going 3-4 times a week; my new diet was working well however I felt run down... I probably started too much too fast but that is typical of me.
However, I started to see results in my measurements just a little and a few lbs were starting to move. Not a lot I should add, and it seemed to be going very slow and steady. I could however manage more each time I went.
6 weeks in and I managed my first 30 mins on the cross trainer! A huge improvement from the initial 5-10 mins. It felt amazing. My knees started to work better and my general stiffness in joints was easing. I was winning at last and started to love it. I am working my abs with crunches and leg lifts and feel it is starting to tighten the scarred area at last.
I had a major setback when the inflammation in my elbows started - it came on over a few days and felt like someone had poured glue on my elbow joints, they were hot, bruised, tender and hurt to touch.
It escalated throughout November causing me to stop all weight work and just focus on general training.