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Hernia, any experience/ advice?

Hello all.
2 or 3 years ago I got home from a ride and noticed a lump near my groin. After some Googling, it looked like it could be a hernia. Went to my GP who referred me very quickly to a specialist. He wasn't sure on the first visit and said it could be a strain or pull. Second visit he confirmed it was a hernia, and that if I chose surgery I would be off work for 8 weeks, have a 3 inch scar, and would have some discomfort for life.
He did not advise me that it 'needed' to be done so I took the coward's way out and left it at that.
My job is quite physical and involves heavy lifting and exertion. I'm now getting to a point where work is causing me sharp pains and soreness.
When I cycle ( about 6 hours a week) I don't really feel it. In the past I was training with weights, but I have had to stop because it was making matters worse.
I know that surgery is the answer and I am preparing myself for it, but I would really like to hear other people's experiences. Things like at what point did you decide to have surgery? how was the op and recovery? Have you had any further issues or failures since the surgery?
I did read about one guy who was doing crunches when his hernia burst and sprayed up the wall. Yep that one stuck with me  1
Look forward to any comments/advice.


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