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Riding after woman specific surgery

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  • Riding after woman specific surgery

    Hello all, I have a laparoscopic myomectomy scheduled for January and would like to get some input from other riders as to when I can expect to ride again. I am in my mid 40's, riding dressage. I understand that everyone is different and a lot depends on the circumstances - but I cannot ask my doctor as she has no idea about the impact of riding. Would you mind sharing your experiences? I saw an old topic from 2010 - but since surgery procedures and riding has (hopefully) evolved, I was looking for more recent experiences. Thank you so much.

  • #2
    Maybe someone can help you with more recent experiences in that, but I will say, generally, any time they cut into muscles around the abdomen, there is a real chance of herniating, so they recommend 4 weeks of light lifting or any other strenuous activities.
    I think active riding, more than walking around, could be considered in those activities.

    Always better to err too long then risking an unnecessary injury.


    • #3
      I had a myomectomy 3 years ago. It was not laparoscopic though so my healing will be different. I️ was VERY sore for 2 weeks. No stairs. One floor living. Week 3/4 was much better. I was better, but not great. Was able to start doing barn chores and cleaning stalls... but SLOWLY. Went back to work at 4 weeks. Started part-time for the first week. I think i started WALKING at 7 weeks but was still tender. 8 weeks was better. 12 weeks was basically back to myself but I️ would be aware of surgery site at random times.


      • Original Poster

        Thank you. I am pretty anxious. I am working so hard on getting better in my riding and this kind of puts a kink in my efforts - but healing is indeed more important!


        • #5
          It's really not helpful to compare a laparoscopic myomectomy to a non-laparoscopic myomectomy. For instance my dad had a non-laparoscopic gallbladder removal and he had six weeks of very painful recovery. Later my MIL had a laparoscopic gallbladder removal and barely noticed it.


          • #6
            I'd ask the doctor. Surely she is smart enough to watch a quick youtube video to get an idea of what riding dressage is like.
            "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."


            • #7
              I am 52 years old--today, actually--and had a radical hysterectomy (complete removal of uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes) in November 2016 that was done laparoscopically, but some or all of the "parts" were removed vaginally. I think technically this would be considered a laparoscopic vaginal radical hysterectomy. Can't remember if it was robot-assisted or not, but I'm not sure that makes much of a difference in terms of recovery.

              I was told that I would be out of work for two to three weeks, no riding for at least a month, and no lifting more than 5 pounds for at least a month.

              I didn't have a tremendous amount of pain afterwards, and after the first few days, didn't even take the prescription pain meds they gave me.

              Five days after surgery, I was bored to tears and had to get out of the house for a couple of hours, so I went to Target.

              Eight days after surgery, I carefully got on a friend's horse for 5 minutes and walked around (Um, don't tell my doctor).

              Ten days after surgery, I was back at work, but my job is not physically strenuous and I worked shorter days for a week.

              Two or three weeks after surgery, I went on a "walk only" trail ride for about 45 minutes.

              Five weeks after surgery, I rode in an all-day obstacle schooling clinic (walk and trot only).

              I'm not super-fit either in the riding sense or in the "regular world" sense. I'd consider myself to be of average fitness. I've ridden all my life, but at this point in time, I'm pretty much a casual weekends-only rider.

              Hope this gives you some practical information to gauge your potential recovery time by!

              Jennifer Thomas Alcott
              Culpeper, VA


              • #8
                I had major surgery for ovarian cancer 3 years ago followed by rather a lot of chemo.
                I found that riding was helpful because:
                a) I have good core strength;
                b) I have a good awareness of my body (how it affects the horse, balance etc );
                c) horses teach you patience;
                d) I was determined to get back on a horse.

                I found it necessary to listen carefully to what my body was telling me. I could lift and drive quite quickly but it took more than 12 months before I could ride. Partly I lost some of my desire to ride because I was constantly tired.
                But time heals all things and I have just had an excellent week trail riding in Sicily with up to 7 hours in the saddle.
                "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths


                • #9
                  I have had pretty recent surgery - three weeks ago. Mine was laproscopic day surgery. I arrived at the hospital at 7:15 am and was on my out of the hospital at 2:30pm. I had both ovaries and tubes removed as well as a large cyst. I am a bit older than you. I was back on my horse 2 weeks after surgery. It was only 2 weeks because I promised the doc I wouldn't get on until I saw her for my follow-up. I honestly felt great by 4 days post-op. I may be the odd one, but I took no pain meds after whatever they may have given me during surgery. Surgery was on Thursday. I drove to the barn on Saturday. I slept most of Friday I was working from home by Wednesday.


                  • #10
                    It's not always a matter of if you can do something but rather if you SHOULD do something.
                    I wasn't always a Smurf
                    Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
                    "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                    The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


                    • #11
                      The time of year your surgery is scheduled may impact your decision. If you are cold, you may tense your muscles, may be more uncomfortable for you. If your horse is cold,, s/he may be more of a rocket than you need at this time.


                      • #12
                        I a fibroidectomy in early 2015 that was all done vaginally, no incisions. For that particular procedure, they knocked me completely out, and it felt like they wrenched my legs up over my ears while I was under. I barely remember any restrictions from that procedure, but I think it was lift nothing over 10lbs for a few days, and nothing strenuous for 7-10. Since they did such a number on my legs and hips, I didn't even feel like riding for about that long.

                        Then I had the robotic assisted radical hysterectomy where the uterus, fallopians, ovaries, and cervix were all removed in September 2015. I had five small incisions, and everything was removed out through the vagina. I was told no riding for 6 weeks post surgery. For me, that ended up feeling about right.

                        I was told to wait at least a week before driving, and broke that rule by driving a 30 minute round trip to get break my dog out of doggie jail. Other than that, I stuck to the one week for driving. The main thing with that had as much to do with where the seat belt would hit in the event of an accident.

                        The sticky part of laparotic surgery is that you may FEEL better than you actually are. Your body will still be healing from the inside even after you think you feel fine. So I totally felt fine enough for walk riding probably at about 2 weeks, but I held off with what my doctor said of 6 weeks.

                        Just keep remembering that your insides are healing, and that sometimes you can overdo it without realizing it. I knew I had the "nothing over 8lbs" rule when I stupidly went to open a garage door at the barn, one of those with nothing mechanical to help it ... didn't even occur to me that I was lifting a weight, but holy OUCH batman. No long term damage that I'm aware of, but it was a reminder that I wasn't healed yet.

                        Good luck with your surgery, and make sure they biopsy what they remove!
                        I've never understood the insult calling a person a "fruitbat." It's not much of an insult to the person. More often than not, the person’s behavior proves it to be more of an insult to the fruitbat!


                        • Original Poster

                          Thank you everyone. To follow up from my experience: I had my surgery on Jan 11. I was driving to the barn Jan 20 but it was rough! Then started back at work January 29 (working from home earlier already) and had my first walk on a horse Feb 3. I also took a walk lesson this week and I have been doing gentle Yoga hip and leg stretches. I strongly agree though with just because you can doesn't mean you should. I can feel I am pushing the envelope - but wanted to share my experience for what its worth. I am also lucky that I have a very steady eddy Clydesdale lease horse who I trust to go on a walk with.


                          • #14
                            Thanks for coming back with your experience. It sounds like you are healing and on the road to recovery. Good to hear!
                            "So relax! Let's have some fun out here! This game's fun, OK? Fun goddamnit." Crash Davis; Bull Durham


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post
                              I'd ask the doctor. Surely she is smart enough to watch a quick youtube video to get an idea of what riding dressage is like.
                              I remember the first time I took my 2 daughters to watch a 'real' dressage lesson. They were in schock. They had never seen anyone work harder riding a horse! And non-stop for the eternity of 45 minutes!

                              Sorry I'm late to the thread but this made me laugh. Glad the OP is well on her way to spring time riding in her near future.
                              The cue card kid just held up an empty cue card. For a minute there I thought I had lost my sense of humor. --- Red Skelton


                              • #16
                                Glad you are handling it well, OP!
                                "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."


                                • #17
                                  Good for you! Hope you continue taking care of yourself