Saanich marathon swimmer makes light of rare surgery for ‘slipping rib syndrome’

Saanich marathon swimmer makes light of rare surgery for 'slipping rib syndrome'

Jill Yoneda says it’s a strange feeling having your ribs constantly pop out of place.

But it’s even stranger to sit post-operation staring at those ribs that the thoracic surgeon has just pulled out.

“I thought he would only take out one rib, but he took out two,” said Saanich based marathon swimmer Yoneda.

Under the influence of heavy painkillers, Yoneda posted the moment to social media, to the surprise and amusement of her friends.

“Still maybe in a morphine haze,” said Yoneda said laughing, explaining the graphic post.

The marathon swimmer underwent surgery last week to remove two of her ribs after they began popping out of place.

“Any time I would breathe really hard it was almost like one would slip on top of the other,” said Yoneda.

The rare condition is called slipping rib syndrome, where the ribs sublux out of place creating intense discomfort and pain.

As Yoneda was attempting a record double crossing of the Strait of Georgia this summer, she knew she couldn’t take the torment anymore.

“It was just unbearable. Every stroke I took the ribs would pop out of place and cause a lot of pain,” said Yoneda.

After her dark-humored painkiller induced post on social media, her friends decided to take the joke one step further.

Having been unable to eat three days post operation, the first meal they brought? Ribs.


“My friend who has a weird sense of humor said ‘I’m bringing you dinner tonight Jill, I’m bringing you ribs!'” laughed Yoneda.

“The tasted very salty to me! It was kind of funny, but I enjoyed them.”

Yoneda was released from the hospital over the weekend and is already starting physio so she can get back to the water. But this time it will be for a world record attempt.

“I’m just anxious to get back training,” said Yoneda.

Next year she’s planning to attempt an 80-100 km swim of Bute Inlet. In 2020 she’s planning for a world record swim.

“If all goes well I’d like to start training for a world record attempt leaving from Nanaimo and going over to the sunshine coast, swimming the length of the sunshine coast into Howe Sound, then Vancouver. It will be about a two and a half day swim,” said Yoneda.

But the goal of the swims aren’t the records, Yoneda’s main hope is to raise $100,000 for children at Canuck Place.

And those ribs? Well, they won’t stop her now.


Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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