Age has caught up with me
Last year I had the best national results ever in track racing and was looking forward to this season, because I'll be in a new age category (65-69), which improves my chances to collect some medals and stand on the podium. Last fall I did some heavy yardwork on my property, which entailed felling some trees and cleaning out brush and roots. There was a lot of lifting and pulling involved, and at the time I felt some soreness and fatigue, but nothing out of the ordinary. After all, I was very fit and strong from track racing, which requires a lot of strength and power training. Then around Thanksgiving time, I began to notice that my lower abdomen on the left side of the groin area was bulging significantly when I went to the toilet and stood up. I thought little of it at the time, since there no pain, and began my fall / winter training regimen, which includes a lot of weight work in the gym. Anyways, about a month ago I started to feel significant soreness in the area, which would spread to the inside of my upper thigh and lower back on the left side. I went to the doctor last Monday, who referred me to general surgeon. The general surgeon told me that I have a direct inguinal hernia that is still reducible, meaning that my intestine is bulging through the hernia, but can still be pushed back into the abdomen. However, it definitely requires surgical repair before it becomes critical with the intestine getting trapped or strangulated in the hernia, which would become a medical emergency. He also told me that I actually have a double hernia, but the one on the right side has not progressed as far, so it's not bulging. He said that I've probably had these hernias for a long time, possibly even childhood, but that over time they have weakened and my yardwork finally caused the left one to get worse.
OK, so I need surgery, but I can't afford it right now, because I'm retired and don't have decent insurance (I just have a catastrophic medical policy with a very high deductible and co-pays). However, in three months I turn 65, which means I can sign up for Medicare, which is much much cheaper in terms of premiums and fees. The surgeon told me it was safe to wait until then, provided I don't further aggravate the hernia damage with any heavy lifting or hard efforts. I can still ride my bike and use light weights for toning, but no hard track training or racing. Once I have the surgery, I'm not allowed to do any heavy lifting (not more than 10 lbs, which is nothing) for six weeks, which basically means that my racing season is over this year, since my master's national championships are in early August.
So there you have it. Age has finally caught up with me. This will be the first non-accident surgery I've had since early childhood, when I had my tonsils removed. Fortunately, my overall health is excellent, which should result in a rapid and uneventful recovery. Thank god we still at least have Medicare in the USA, and that this did not occur when I was younger during a time of unemployment.