I am about 5 and a half weeks post-op and I would say my pain/discomfort level varies between 1 and 2 (really sorry for those who have higher). Needless to say I have been in a slump and gained about 15 lbs of fat. Having read a host of Forum posts over the last couple of days, I have come to the conclusion that this discomfort is probably here to stay. I think this has helped me in a way come to terms with the fact that I need to try to get on with my life and I should count myself lucky that I can still probably be fairly active. In the past, I have relied too heavily on extreme(ish) exercise to stay in (semi-reasonable) shape and I think that taking control of my diet could prove beneficial in the long-run.
I tried a very moderate gym session today and I thought I would share the levels of discomfort from each machine:
10 minute walk to the Gym
This was actually one of the most uncomfortable parts. I’m not sure my Ibuprofen had properly kicked in. I only really have about an hour and a half max at lunch so in the past I would have tended to walk very briskly. This was a mistake I need to learn from.
Bicep Machine (Sitting)
I stayed out of the free-weights room as I thought that all of that testostorone and bravado would not help me be content with my moderate work-out and current (lack of) physique. I had tried some standing bicep curls last week at home and that DID NOT GO WELL - probably the most pain I’ve felt post op. The machine curls sitting down were OK though - probably did about 75% of my previous capacity.
Chest Press (Sitting)
This is probably the least impact on my groin/scotum area. I felt good and may try 90% of my previous capacity next time.
The second most painful exercise I did. The original weight I tried was 80% of my original capacity and I immediately felt I should stop. I tried 70% and it felt better but I limited myself to 2 sets.
Not as comfortable as the Chest Press but the discomfort was in the ab area as opposed to the groin/scrotum so not too distressing. I am not actually sure whether my current ab/torso discomfort is caused by vas nerve damage. It wasn’t really there for the first 4 weeks and may well be due to raising my activity from lying on the couch to actually moving my abs walking around pushing my daughter in a buggy.
Other Upper Body
I did a couple of sets on the pec fly, the sitting low row machine and the sitting tricep dip machine and these were OK at around 80% capacity. The low row machine probably has the most discomfort of the 3.
My lower body has always been a lot more powerful from my soccer days and cycling (which I definately won’t be doing any time soon!). I find gaining leg strength is a key way to reduce body fat for me as it is easy and I enjoy it.
The leg extension went reasonably well. I was initially fearing the position/motion so went with a low weight but I was pleasantly surprised and the lack of discomfort. I was very much working at ‘toning’ rather than muscle build level though (maybe 70%).
This was NOT GOOD. I immediately went down about 40lbs before even trying the machine due to the uncomfortable starting position. I limited my self to 1 x set of around 30 and a very low weight (<50% capacity). This was a huge disappointment to me knowing that I am very likely to lose my current leg conditioning if I can’t use the leg press but I feel I need to listen to my body and it most definately was saying ‘No’ to this one?
Walk Back and recovery
I learned my lesson on the way back to work and took it very slowly. Around 3.5 hours have passed and I’ve popped another Ibuprofen but I feel OK. I may change my mind but I think I’m in the same level of discomfort now that I would have been had I not gone to the Gym.
I will try to comment later with any update to my pain. I would be most interested to hear if anyone else has tried returning to weights. Did you regret it afterwards? Do you feel it had any long-term ramifications? Did you push yourself too hard?