View Full Version : How to deal with health problems and swimming...

December 5th, 2006, 07:05 PM
This is kind of a hard topic for me to write, but I thought maybe turning to the people here at USMS might help me out.

Some of you may remember me - the former varsity swimmer at the university of chicago who posted about her trials and tribulations during her first season.

I say former, because I'm not on the team this year. Largely due to health problems. My back injury from last year has healed well, and while I'm not 100%, I'm at least back to mostly full strength...

Unfortunately... when one thing gets better it seems that other things get worse. Over the past 5 years of my life I've been dealing with problems with my digestive system. In the last 6 months it's gotten worse, which led me to finally seek out medical help. (Without going into too many gory details... I'm dealing with gas, severe pain, diarreha, low appetite, and bleeding from areas where I should definitely not be bleeding). A few weeks ago, I had a colonoscopy (and I'm only 20!). It was inconclusive, so I was referred by my primary physician to a GI at the U of C Hospitals (guess I'm at least at one of the best places for this stuff...). He suspects that I have Crohn's disease... perhaps only in my small intestine (why the colonoscopy wouldn't have found it) and after the holidays I'm scheduled for more tests to see if they can figure out what's wrong with me and begin treatment.

Naturally, having these problems has been tough for me. Between holding down my academics and school and being sick very frequently I've not been able to swim like I want to. I miss it a lot.

My holiday break is coming up and I really want to use the 3 weeks to get back into the pool again.

I guess I'm just writing this post to see if anyone else has dealt with health problems like this / overcoming this type of thing to get back into the pool. I don't know if any of you will be able to help...but I figured it was worth a try....

December 5th, 2006, 07:38 PM
Sorry to hear of your troubles. I do not suffer as you do but can only really give you a few words of encouragement/advice.

Try to find even just a little time to go swimming, but don't pressure yourself with times and distances. Make the water your escape, think about form and stretching out. I'm not saying this as a doc or therapist--just from my own feelings and emotions of being in the pool and focusing on form...it just took my mind off everything else. Good luck and hope it helps.

December 5th, 2006, 07:57 PM
Hmm? About the closest I think I ever came your situation was when I was diagnosed with a bladder tumor and I found myself off of my sportbike for about three weeks (motorcycles were one of my hobbys before swimming came about). This was about 7 years ago, I was 25, and I thought it was the end of the world. I think I was more upset about the disruption this condition had brought to my life than the reality that the tumor might in fact be malignant (it was benign after all was said and done). Coming out of surgery with a foley and having to deal with that at home did not make things any better. Things worsened when I found myself having to remove it with my wife's assistance and the on call MD on speakerphone late Sunday night due to a recurring "problem" that would cause the foley to bring about intense pain. Anyhow, after my first post surgical checkup with the MD, I looked back on the situation and could not believe how absurd my thinking had been all along.

Your undiagnosed condition might be a little more involved and require a longer course of treatment than mine did but I think that in the end, you will make things work. Be strong and just try to look at the positive things in your life, as difficult as that might be right now. I don't know what help an internet forum can really provide but if there is anything any of us can do, I am sure we will oblige. Keep us posted how you are doing.

December 6th, 2006, 01:03 PM
I'm sorry to hear of your struggles and diagnosis. I also have a Chronic medical condition, albeit not quite as intense as yours--epilepsy.

Psychologically I just have to take it one day at a time. Go by time put in the pool, not by yardage. See how you feel afterwards and adjust as needed. Each day will be different. Congratulate yourself on making it to the pool that day, no matter how far you end up swimming. Go home and take the rest of the day off and stare at the ceiling if need be.

Regarding the Crohn's...I have 2 good friends who both recently went through the surgery for it. They are now healthier and happier than they have been in decades. I hope you eventually find something that can help bring you to a level of comfort.