Monday 7 March 2016

Never give up without a fight

Never give up without a fight.

The first time I felt a stabbing pain in my abdomen, it was on Jan 3, 2016 and I was running the florida marathon. The pain came in around the 30k mark and it stayed with me for about 2k and then faded.

Over the next two weeks I didn't run much and then I ran the Mumbai marathon on Jan 17th 2016.   I don't remember experiencing pain during that run but the pain kept getting worse whenever I did my gym workouts.    It really hurt when I did my crunches.  It hurt to an extent that I stopped doing crunches.

In February, I started Comrades training and the pain started coming about two hours into my long runs and more specifically on the down hills.

I knew I had to get this checked out.  My general practitioner diagnosed it as a possible hernia and asked me to do a sonagram.

The radiologist had no doubt that I had an inguinal hernia.  He opined that it was a very small tear.

The surgeon at ambani hospital said that I was sitting on a "time-bomb" and wanted me to do the surgery asap.

I told him I want to run a 89km race in the mountains in May  and he said no problem. He opined I will be up and running in one weeks time after the surgery.

Dr Anant Joshi sent me to another surgeon after personally calling the other surgeon and explaining to him that he was sending his friend for consultation.

Dr Anand , the surgeon, explained the problem to me in great detail and said that when there is a hole in a fabric its best to stitch it when the hole is small.  I remembered the stitch-in-time bit but I explained to him that I really wanted to run comrades.

Dr Anand made me lie on the bed and with a pen marked the exact spot where the tear has taken place.   He suggested that if I can protect that spot by applying pressure (example :by wearing compression shorts or a belt) I would be fine.   He said that if I did surgery it would take a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks to be up and running.  After all they would be putting a foreign object (mesh) in my body.   All my personal research on the net had also led me to a similar recovery time frame.  

In my personal opinion the ambani doc just wanted a patient.  Screw the running.  For him that was something to explore at a later date.

Of course I realised that not doing surgery immediately would mean a day to day existence.  

I have to step out on each day's training run not knowing if I will make it through.

I know that in the more than two months of comrades training to follow , if the pain were to increase, it would mean that the tear has increased and I would certainly stop at that point and say goodbye to comrades and get the surgery done.  At that point I would have no regrets for I would have tried my best.   I don't have a death wish.

But I agree with my friend Smita who pointed out that lots of athletes get injured without any notice and I'm actually fortunate that I can at least mentally prepare for that possibility.

I realise that I do have many blessings.

I went public with my injury right after it happened and a lot of well wishers advised rest and recovery. .  That thing about "health being paramount" and such.   I appreciate and am truly grateful for that advice.

At the same time, I truly love this Comrades Ultra Marathon and I want to run it.

I know there will come a day when I willingly decide not to run it.

Today is not that day.

Earlier Today I ran a 51k in lonavala in 6:00 and took a small step towards that Comrades start line.

I ran the 51 km wearing compression shorts and a hernia belt.  

I think that it was the easiest, most controlled, run I've managed to do in the last 9 years.

I also called my homeopath Dr Divya and asked for her help.  She said that she was happy to help and asked to schedule an appointment.

I have this deep desire to be on that road.  
I don't intend to give up on it without a fight.
I will not be beaten into submission without a fight.
I will search for each ray of light.
I will take every possible chance.
This is my life.
I want my heart to be filled with laughter.
This is my life.
I want to delight in it.

"Your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dark submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you."
(A Laughing Heart -  Charles Bukowski)

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