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Discussion Starter #1
Yo MB crew,

I know any and all opportunities to get down the ditch is one not to be squandered and at the end of the day we all gotta run our own race... So I'm just soliciting some advice, hoping to find some common experience, or perhaps some perspective that I haven't yet thought of.

I was invited on and have been planning on/for a GC trip that launches in a little less than eight weeks. During prep this summer I ... how do I put this? Was awarded with, gained, created, unearthed... an inguinal hernia, which was a proverbial harsh to my mellow. I was able to have it repaired and the recovery is mostly good, but not perfect.

I'm curious to know if I am crazy to think that I can get involved with a 12 day self- support in a long boat down the Grand this fall. Have other folks had experience of firing that up 12 weeks after a procedure like that? I've been down before on a raft supported trip, I feel mostly good with all the lines and think I can make it happen, but don't want to create a shituation for the crew I'm with.

I've been mobbing my recovery (read - staying active) and hope to get into a boat in the next week and start rebuilding the base I had to put on hold about a month ago. As such, I am re-evaluating my personal kit and trying to go as efficiently as I can, figuring that it will avoid undue strain, but maybe that's a moot point.

I'm beyond stoked to get after this opportunity, but am curious to know who else has gotten after something like this post-procedure. As luck would have it in 2019 I broke my heel 8 weeks out from a middle/main Salmon trip and was like 2 wks post recovery on that and it worked (mostly) but, it was only a beast on mandatory portages.

Appreciate any and all insight from the tribe
Mahalo
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It may depend if the repair was mesh or old fashioned stitch it back together. Ask your Doc.
Copy that - - - >
Repair was mesh and... the battle of the "ask the doc" has sauntered into "well it depends how you feel" - you're on a raft, you'll be fine... but... #notonaraft
 

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Discussion Starter #5
A doc here, but not a surgeon. I agree you should ask your surgeon. But I'd go on the trip.
Right on!
Appreciate the insight. Definitely have learned A TON about the medical professional field and have MAAAAD respect for what y'all do and are up against on the daily. I was fortunate enough to link up with one of the most detail oriented surgeons in our area... He's an active guy and very aware of my drive for boating. I've got a follow up in like eight days, so will definitely re:visit. The speedbump I've gotten into with their staff have revolved around their perception of paddling (great lakes region... e.g. flat'er water) vs... the realities of paddling a loaded boat in big, moving water.

I can't really create a full narrative, and perhaps its one that I need to create for myself, but I'm trying to find (albeit unsuccessfully at present) some semblance of 'yo... this is the PT regime you need to subscribe to, to be solid for this trip' - I understand everyone is different, but figured I'd toss this out here to see if I could cull any folks who've been there, done that.

Aside from thoroughly getting thrashed or...doing something irresponsible, like trying to shoulder a loaded 12' boat... I feel like I shouldn't be concerned about tearing those mesh adhesion points... I know the chances of getting 'made' by a raccoon may be low, but not impossible; so I want to be sure I'm not harboring some cavalier attitude, mind perception that... "you'll totally be fine" - when I still need to be quite cognizant about certain aspects of life.

Appreciate the responses and will continue to search the virtual world for PT opts and likely get involved with light paddling this upcoming week in a safe/ controlled manner.

Mucho Mahalo
 

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Sounds like you're on a raft supported trip not self support. As long as you have the option to strap your kayak to a raft if need be I'd go. However I would be very upfront with TL about the situation. BTW if your not feeling good about it as launch date approaches I would graciously be happy to take your place on the trip!
 

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maybe a little more about what you're actually capable of? What's the doc say?

8 of us did it last winter, 11 days, we were pretty much off the couch in late January. I think the hardest thing was putting my 275 lb boat on the trailer to drive to the put in. Otherwise, paddling those long boats is not hard, and it makes you paddle smoother. Pack light, paddle smart, tune up your forward stroke (you'll use it a lot...), and have fun. Good luck with recovery!
 

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I will pass on some advice I got from a local surgeon concerning boating activities.

I ended up on a GC float with a bunch of serious fractures including a cage inserted over 4 vertebrae

After months of rehab I ended up back home going to a highly recommended local spine surgeon for follow up.

By that time I was able to describe to him a very basic demo of a kayak roll. He stopped me instantly and said words to the effect "I know you are a athletic and strong willed person, if you do any kind of kayak roll and tear something, do not call me. I want no part of the repair"

I took him at his word and no hard shell kayak rolls for me since, probably no more.

Describe what paddling 12 days through some of the most challenging rapids most of us ever see. Even on flat water considerable torso strain.

See what your surgeon says.

On the other hand, if you decide to go and if you have a working SAT Phone on the float, the rangers do a first class job of getting you out of the Canyon up to the rim. Then depending on the situation, commercial helicopter transport to Flagstaff Major Hospital complex. Where there are world class surgeons and support people there to help you.

Your decision, no one else
 

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I have no experience or advice as too whether you should paddle post op, but something that I would hope are thinking about, what influence will this will have on the rest of your party. Even if nothing happens will they be a little more on edge knowing that you are one weird twist or move away from a helicopter evac.

If you do need to be taken out by helicopter, what will that do to your trip?
If this is a self supported kayak trip, how is your gear coming out?
The helicopter is not hauling it. Your crew not only will have to deal with a guy who has an internal injury, organizing a helicopter rescue but then needs to deal with getting your gear out of the canyon.
Once you get flown to flagstaff and taken care of, then what? Where is your car? is that part of the group shuttle?

The grand is a magical place and everyone should go on many trips, but will you going jeopardize the rest of your trips experience.
just my .02
 

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Just to clarify... You have raft support right? If that's the case then my take is I would go....It's certainly depends on you as an individual. What kind of shape were you in before surgery is important.... Unfortunately for me in the past two years I had in inguinal hernia surgery & a L4-L5 herniated disc surgery & I'm in my sixties & I was back rock & ice climbing, mtn biking, & whitewater kayaking at three months after both. now I was in very good condition prior to both & maybe a bit lucky. But doing well regardless..... I feel the trip is within your grasp.... But Just be mindful of what your body is telling you.... take a rest day if needed, don't over aggressively lift, tug, etc. when setting up/tearing down camps. Be smart & you should be fine. Over the years I have known multiple men who have had hernia surgeries & have done just fine being 3 months out of it. I think being back in action is fairly common after that much time...But.....I am not a Doctor though. ha. just a body abuser.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Do YOU feel you can do it?

would a small cat be a better option?
Given the crew being all in hard shell 10-12' kayaks... I think I might be more of an anchor on the planned mileage. Mentally, I know I can stay ahead of the game. There's just enough junk show in the seasonal shuffle that has me a little nerved on getting back into physical prowess.

I was on track with my training up until last month when this shut me down... Been slowly building back up since then.

In that - hard tellin - not knowing full state of being... but I'll edge forward like a bawss to get there.

Thanks for the response
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Sounds like you're on a raft supported trip not self support. As long as you have the option to strap your kayak to a raft if need be I'd go. However I would be very upfront with TL about the situation. BTW if your not feeling good about it as launch date approaches I would graciously be happy to take your place on the trip!
Ha! Right on Whip!!
This is not a raft trip as it were... I was on a raft support 5 years ago, so I had the advantage of paddling a mostly empty boat through all the goodness...

This go will be in a 12' river boat - I'm pretty hellbent on going fairly light, but it'll still be a bit of weight. I'm just gathering as much data as I can to make a good choice.

I'll get this on the TL's radar ;-)
Mahalo
 

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Just to clarify... You have raft support right? If that's the case then my take is I would go....It's certainly depends on you as an individual. What kind of shape were you in before surgery is important.... Unfortunately for me in the past two years I had in inguinal hernia surgery & a L4-L5 herniated disc surgery & I'm in my sixties & I was back rock & ice climbing, mtn biking, & whitewater kayaking at three months after both. now I was in very good condition prior to both & maybe a bit lucky. But doing well regardless..... I feel the trip is within your grasp.... But Just be mindful of what your body is telling you.... take a rest day if needed, don't over aggressively lift, tug, etc. when setting up/tearing down camps. Be smart & you should be fine. Over the years I have known multiple men who have had hernia surgeries & have done just fine being 3 months out of it. I think being back in action is fairly common after that much time...But.....I am not a Doctor though. ha. just a body abuser.
Right on!

I stay quite active and was feeling quite prime time pre-procedure. I've been working back into the fray with recovery, but also being real about how the body feels and my limits. I have a feeling as the next few weeks shake out, I'll have a little better gauge and... if I have to opt out, its just some $$ and a journey not present on... It can fuel the fire for the next round ~

I'm vibing on your spirit and will be woking hard (within my limits) to get back at it.

Mahalo
 

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What comes to my mind for a question is your age (did I miss that?) - not to be personal. Not alway's the case, but age tends to delay healing ability. Also, 12 days seem's pretty quick for a fall trip when privates are allowed around 21 days (unless motor assist trips). Have fun and enjoy.
 

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What comes to my mind for a question is your age (did I miss that?) - not to be personal. Not alway's the case, but age tends to delay healing ability. Also, 12 days seem's pretty quick for a fall trip when privates are allowed around 21 days (unless motor assist trips). Have fun and enjoy.
Que Onda Chief !?

I just breeched 35 on the odometer and no frets on that inquisition... Part of me feels a little abashed b/c I thought hernias arrived later in life, but I'm an old soul / its not the age, its the mileage right?

The trip length was determined by the crew based on the self-support kayak nature and that precious cargo space that will be inhabited by each paddler and their personal boom tube. There's a mix of mostly seasonal working folk and some other "9-5" specialists that can only be away from work for so long.

Given those parameters... The crew locked into 12 days which will average around 28 mpd (due to a few exploratory days along that route. If rafts were involved we'd take longer... but as such it should be a good shake from top to bottom promoting the majesty of that place whilst simply living outta boats...

Wanted to vet the community that has undoubtably had more experience down there than myself and see what elements I might be overlooking...

Appreciate the response
- Mahalo
 

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'a'ole pilikia - dynamicwaters
Makes sense, yak's book and make time for sure from what I have witnessed -never kayaked myself. Great for a number of reasons to have a participant with advanced medical know how along when possible. I am "pulling" for you.
 

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I haven't read everything but just want to throw out the possibility that even if you get to ride on a raft through rapids, or are paddling a boat, what do you think would happen in the event of a swim? Would you become a liability to the rest of the group? Imagine having to pull yourself onto a raft in a rapid, or hanging onto a kayak doing self rescue. Would those be likely to aggravate the hernia repair?
 

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Yikes. Sucks that it will be so down-to-the-wire.

Would be easier if it were any other river and easier to drop/add a participant nearer to the launch date.
 

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Not the same experience, but similar, so maybe this will be helpful...

I had an inguinal hernia a few years ago (also in my early-mid 30's), had the mesh repair surgery, and a planned San Juan raft trip about 4-6 weeks after the surgery. I was worried about the strain of rowing a loaded gear boat but wanted to go. My crew was gracious in letting me largely ride along and not carry heavy gear to and from the river. As the trip went on I noticed a few things: 1. Rowing or paddling a raft caused less discomfort than I expected--I've also been a guide and on the water for a long time, so lot's of muscle memory. 2. Carrying items to and from camp caused more discomfort than I expected. 3. I was prepared for a swim as swimming was one of the activities I did for rehab so I felt comfortable with that possibility. This was also a shorter San Juan trip, so nowhere near the volume or force of water to fight against in a swim.

In the end, I went because I felt comfortable with the water, the crew, and I had a way to take it as easy or hard as I needed. The last point was key and an option it sounds like you may not have.

That said, I'm pretty sure I was back to guiding on Clear Creek and other rivers at about the 12 week mark. There was some stretching and soreness in the surgery area, but nothing tore. My surgeon was also aware of what my goals were so we had those conversations along the way. In fact, the main reason he suggested the surgery was to prevent worsening the hernia during raft season or on a multi-day.
 
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