Its been 3 years, y’all.
I’m a 5’2” female and was 235 lbs & 45 yrs old at the start of the 2 wk liquid diet.
Didn’t lose any weight prior. I was on high cholesterol and blood pressure meds, diagnosed with fatty liver, pre-diabetic, peed every 20-30 mins, and snored like a freight train (so said Mr.)
Day of sleeve surgery: 223.2 lbs
No recovery issues, but I became dumper on sugar (still am). I got off my meds, eliminated liver and diabetic diagnoses within a month. I can hold my pee like a superhero (including not having to go once during a 9 hr flight pre-covid!), and I sleep so silently that Mr. admitted to checking on me during the night in the beginning to check if I was even alive.
I ate VERY little during weight loss phase compared to most, but it worked for ME…I didn’t suffer any medical/nutritional issues nor any angst throughout.
I tracked everything I ate/drank, weighed myself every morning and took my measurements every Wednesday (I STILL track and weigh daily - its just habit now -, but no longer take my measurements regularly)
Reached goal of 127 lbs 7 months after surgery. I had zero stalls.
I had a tummy tuck, arm lift and breast lift at 14 months post op.
Lowest weight: 109 lbs (this was a month or so after plastics, but quickly gained back to 115-ish)
I’ve basically been 115-ish +/- 5 lbs since a couple months into maintenance.
Weight this morning: 116.0 lbs even.
Happy place is below 120 and/or that my clothes still fit, LOL.
These days I exercise semi-regularly, running minimum 5km 2-3 times a week supplemented with the occasional 20-30 min strength training sessions at home (I continue to hate strength training exercises but consider it a necessary evil), and various other for-fun cardio activities. Part of me wanted to get back to higher exercise levels so I can get the “fitter” look I had back then, but I long ago reconciled myself with the fact that I don’t want it THAT badly. Maybe someday I may change my mind, but I’m cool with it for now.
I average 1800-2000 cals a day. I drink alcohol and carbonated water on the regular, use straws, chew gum, drink coffee, and eat popcorn, fried foods and carbs. I love desserts. At 3 years out, my restriction is still in effect and could probably eat about 1-1.5 cups of food in volume at one sitting before I need to tap out: some things I can eat more of (salads) than others (dense protein & fluffy bread). I will barf if I eat too much or too fast.
I have energy for days, and am more than satisfied with how I look and feel. Life is good.
Had my 3 year follow up last week and I continue to be the picture of health, and my surgeon asked again if I wanted to be on a poster. Ummmm, no thanks.
Regrets? ABSOLUTELY ZERO. Well, except maybe that I didn’t get a v-shaped tummy tuck incision vs the straight line one that I got. Just means that I can’t wear higher cut bikini bottoms without my scar showing (see the last pic in the collage below). But I mean, I’m just nit-picking at this point.
This forum has been a constant in my life for the past 3 years, and I’ve made some great connections and some actual REAL friends. Its really nice to engage with others who know what the eff you are talking about, even if its just about food porn and clothes sometimes, lol.
Hugs and Congrats to those who made it to the other side with me, and Hugs and Good Luck to those on their way.
Totally forgot about these blog entries. Its been over a year since I did a little write up about my (body) plastics, so I feel compelled to do one now, since I am seriously contemplating moving forward with facial plastics (but this is a topic for another blog entry later).
Sooooo....here we go:
Tummy Tuck: Overall, I am very happy with the results. My abdominal muscles are pretty visible at rest (more so when I'm low-carbing). No muffin top when I'm wearing tight low-waisted stuff...well, at least from the front. The area around my waistband from the back is not nearly as tight looking. I suppose if I had a full lower body lift, this would have been addressed. I kinda wish I did have a lower body lift, but then I look at my scars and think, nah, i'm cool. My TT scar is still pretty dark. At least it's flat now, thanks to 2 rounds of steroid shots, but nowhere near as UN-noticeable as others on my same timeline. I've said it before, I knew I would scar badly based on my history, but still. The scar though is easily hidden even in my smallest bikini, so I'm good. But if I wear a high cut one, you can see the ends of the scar on my hips...so, I just don't wear high cut ones. The only people who see the scar in its full glory is me, Mr. and my doc.
Now i'm going to nit pick here, but I'm allowed to since its my blog, LOL. What I am a little bummed about (just a little) is that I my abdomen is actually not a flat as it was pre-plastics. I have a visible roundess on my lower abdomen. I attribute this to the fact that all the other places have been thinned out and it just looks more pronounced to me now. Doc said this is normal because there are organs there, but still. If I am wearing a fitted dress, you can see when I've eaten. Its sorta fascinating sometimes, cuz I can actually see it get smaller as my body digests.
Today my waist measurement is 26". Which is weird because *I* think it looks smaller, but I was actually 25.5" pre-TT.
Breast Lift: This is still by far the surprising winner of my procedures. The difference (to me) is amazing. And the fact that I can go bra-less for days on end and still be perky makes me happy. The scarring is at the same level as my TT, and if I wear a string bikini top you can see the scar ends at my sides, if I lift my arms up. I LOVE that I have no "side boob" oozing. There is no excess skin spilling out anymore near my armpits when I wear a fitted tank/bra/tube top. There are times I wish I had a little bit more boob (and got some implants), but then I remember how much they annoyed me before, and it passes.
Today my bust measurement is 33". It was 32.5" pre-BL.
Arm Lift: I also love the overall results of my arm lift. I always hated my arms, even pre-WLS, and getting these done was my #1 wish. While not as drastic an improvement as my breast lift (in terms of both looks AND quality of life), I am really happy with the shape and size. My biceps are more noticeable at rest with all the skin gone, but I do have to say my triceps need to flexed to be seen....but this is likely because my triceps just need some more work (I HATE tricep work...dips and extensions SUCK.) The scars here are the worst of them all, and while the 2 rounds of steroid shots have greatly improved them, there is still along way to go before they go unnoticed. I was always self conscious about the size of my arms when I was bigger (and actually even when i was "normal" sized", and then self conscious about thier flappiness when I got smaller after WLS. Now I so totally fine with wearing sleeveless stuff even with the scars. You can't see them unless I raise my arms, but I am a "Whoo"- girl, so people will see them regularly, LOL.
Today my arm circumference is just a smidge over 10". It was 10.5" pre-AL.
Would I do it all again? HECKS YA.
What would I do differently?:
Listen to my doc about NOT doing to much too soon. My stupidity probably added 2-3 months to my total recovery time.
Did more self-massages as I was instructed to break up the scar tissue. I know I did less than what I should have because it really hurt me to do it. Had I done it as prescribed, I probably wouldn't have had to have 2 sections of my scar on my right arm cut due to reduced mobility. Now these two sections where he made incisions are darker than the rest of my scar.
Asked for a V-shaped TT incision vs a straight one (so it would be hidden if I wore high cut bikinis)
Did my rounds of steroid shots earlier. I was scheduled to have it done 3-4 months post op, but then Covid happened, and I ended up getting them done 13 & 15 months post op.
Asked for some lipo on my lower back while I was on the table.
Really though, I am super happy with getting the plastics, thoroughly recommend it to anyone who is interested, and the minor annoyances of the process and 1 year results are completely overshadowed by how awesome I think my bod looks now.
I am not interested in doing any more body plastics work now (or ever, we'll see). I can live with the rest of my perceived imperfections (i'm looking at you ass, and inner thighs, and lower back).
Next UP: doing something about my face!
Ah, its been two months to the day since my plastics trifecta, and I have to tell you the past month or so has been a little rough.
On Wound Healing:
My healing progress took several steps backwards primarily due to my over-eagerness to get back into my exercise routine. I pushed myself a little too soon, a little too much and ended up opening up a few incisions. TWICE.
Add to this that my body for the past few weeks has decided to expell my sutures instead of absorbing them, resulting in more broken skin and open wounds.
At it's worst, I had 9 concurrent open wounds that were painful, oozing and stinky.
Not including the two ill-advised attempts of full-on running and strength training, along with the equally ill-advised crunches I was doing in bed, I have had almost zero exercise. Now, I do go out for 1+ hour walks every few days, but I don't really count this as "true" exercise as I don't get that exercise "high" afterwards. I consider walking more of mental health remedy, I guess.
On the Blahs:
Due to my slow healing and recurring wounds + the lack of exercise + the fact that I have been basically holed up at home for 2 months + the crappy T.O. winter weather + my self-imposed week-long lack of sleep to watch every marquee Australian Open match, and difficulty sleeping even after it was done + my noticeably increased carb (read: sugar) intake + my obsession with the swelling in my lower abdomen, was feeling pretty sh*tty for a while.
I was in full-on pity party mode and was being a total B to the fam, and picking totally unnecessary fights with them (Sorry Fam! They deserve trophies for putting up with me).
I went through a week or so of drinking my blahs away, which I put a stop to once I realized what I was doing.
I even shared an ENTIRE pack of cigarettes with BFF one night cuz I was just so annoyed and looking back, probably wanted to give an EFF YOU to the universe. Of all the things, I am most regretful of this. Mostly because I admitted it to Mr. & the Kid and while they didn't admonish me, I could see that they were disappointed. Jeez.
On Possibly Turning a Corner:
Last week, I did a much needed reality check (of which I need to thank @sillykitty for for prompting, along with the break in the winter weather that day, and the first good night's sleep I had in a while the night before).
I upped my protein (thanks @FluffyChix for the reminder), and made sure to get more sleep (thanks me!, LOL).
As of this morning, I am down to only 4 open wounds. The ooze factor of these have decreased ALOT, and they no longer stink. YAY! Though I'm going to temper my expectations because I have healed and UN-healed TWICE before and it was a definite hit to the mood.
Current PS/body results:
Swell hell continues in my lower abdomen & upper thighs. Some days are better than others. The one thing I have noticed is that if I wear my abdominal binder too high, the swelling in these areas get worse. I have been trying to make sure that the binder sits low enough, which results in lots of tugging throughout the day. I may have to invest in a full body one.
My arm compression garment is no longer compressing me, despite being tailored by my mom earlier, but I wear it anyway as it helps keep my silicone tape from coming off. That and I have developed a weird security-fondness for it.
I stopped wearing my sports bra (or any bra at all, for that matter) weeks ago because of the wounds on my under-boob and side boob. The arm compression garment is doing a little lifting in that area instead.
Some Comparison Numbers:
Pre-PS Weight: 115 lbs
2m-Po Weight: 117.1 lbs
Pre-PS Bust - Waist - Hips measurements: 32.5" - 25.5" - 33"
2m-Po Bust - Waist - Hips measurements: 33.5" - 25.0" - 34"
Pre-PS Left UpperArm Circumference: 10.5"
2m-Po Left UpperArm Circumference: 10.0"
Pre-PS Right Thigh Circumference: 17.0"
2m-Po Right Thigh Circumference: 19.0"
* I didn't think to measure my lower abdomen before, but I did this morning, so I can start keeping track:
2m-Po Lower Abdomen (measuring widest part): 33.0"
I have my 2 month post op appointment with my surgeon tomorrow. He had given me homework to stretch/massage my arms at my 6 week appt, as he felt I should a fuller range of motion that I did at the time. He wanted to see me be able to raise my arms completely straight up with no resistance. Well....I CAN do it, BUT i can feel the areas between the armpit and upper tricep stretching to its limit. It doesn't hurt, but I can definitely feel the pull. I'm not sure if this is where he wanted me to be at, and I guess we'll see what he says tomorrow.
I promised myself I would not go back to my normal level of exercise until ALL my wounds have closed. This may be overkill, but I really DO NOT want a repeat of last month. Hopefully this will be in the next couple weeks.
I am going back to "work" in a couple weeks as well, so this should help with the boredom.
My surgeon will be taking pics of me at my appointment tomorrow, will see if I will post those, or take some myself...will decide later.
Edited to add update from 2 month follow up appt with Doc:
Soooo....went to my 2 month follow up yesterday and Doc scheduled me for some steroid shots next month...I guess he is not happy with my my scar healing (I was fine with it, but I guess he knows better )
He also asked me again to not wear my tape as much as I have been. I wear them basically 23 hours a day and he wants me to halve that, if not more (he asked me to do this last time, but I didn't listen...but since he asked AGAIN, I guess I should pay attention). I have been tape-less since about 6pm yesterday, and it feels odd. Almost as if the incisions are getting sore again? Only on my arms though...my boobs and tum feel the same. *shrugs*
I do notice this morning that a lot of dried skin was flaking off the (healed) incision lines...not sure what the impact of this is *shrugs again*. I slathered some bio oil on them (he did tell me to moisturize).
Wound update: I was down to 3 open wounds yesterday! BUT...this morning a new one opened on my left underboob due to another suture expelling, so my number stays at 4. Le sigh. Btw, Doc says that part of the reason why I'm expelling so many sutures is because I am "so skinny". Something about no where for the sutures to be absorbed into.
On another note: Speaking of being "so skinny", when I asked Doc about what we can do about my saggy butt, he said that I am not a good candidate for a BBL in my current state, unless I want to gain at least 10 lbs OF FAT. Um, no thanks. He also does not support nor perform implants, which left his option recommendations to:
Traditional butt lift
Some machine treatment (I forget the name), which is basically a device that simulates 100's of mini squats per session (think Dr. Ho's)
I'm gonna go with the Actual Squats
<!-- DEEP. THOUGHTS. BEGIN. -->
I put on a (new) bikini yesterday to take a picture of myself for this 6 week post op milestone. When I was cropping my head out of the picture on my phone, I was taken aback a little (okay alot) at how my body looks now. For some reason, I never noticed until yesterday how my abdominal muscles are so much more noticeable these days. I knew I had them (I could feel them under my skin), they just never stuck out they way they do now. And my new lifted arms look nice and trim and toned. My arms have NEVER been trim nor toned.
I look at this picture and find it hard to believe that its me. I have never looked like this in my life. Even when I was a thin, 105 lb teenager, my body never looked as fit as it does now at 47 years old. Crazy. Thanks WLS. Thanks Plastics. Thanks ME. I am forever grateful and only wish I did more sooner.
<!-- DEEP. THOUGHTS. END. -->
Anyway, some 6 week post-op highlights/updates:
SWELLING & PAIN
My waist has returned to pre-op measurements (thank goodness).
My lower abdomen and upper thighs are still bigger than post op. So my pants remain tight in these areas, but at least I can button them up now without feeling like I'm going to bust out of them.
My right boob is comparatively hard and swollen (vs my left boob) and I have taken to applying ice packs to relieve the achiness.
Of all my PS areas, my boobs cause me the most pain (which is fitting since they were the least of my worries in the first weeks after surgery)
There are distinct areas on my various incisions that are causing some pain due to the sutures being expelled and breaking the skin when rubbed against. These areas don't bleed, but they ooze.
I went for a run this morning and had to stop due to pain. Turns out a spot on the incision of my right side boob split open and bled quite a bit. I had to steri-strip it closed and put a large bandage on it.
I still cannot raise my arms to its full extension. There is no pain, just tightness. I need to practice raising them more often.
SCARS & SILICONE TAPE
I have been using silicone tape for almost 2 weeks now. I take them off to shower and put them back on when I'm dried off.
I prefer having silicone tape on my incisions than none. My incisions feel less "tight" (especially in my armpits); the tape holds down any wayward sutures, as well as protects them from any rubbing from my clothes. I don't put tape on any areas where the skin is broken.
I put some tape on a couple old WLS keloid scars and I swear they are flatter! They are still dark, but they are not as raised as they were. I guess this stuff works.
The areas that have not split nor rubbed raw are healing nicely (no keloids!).
There are no raised areas except for one end of my tummy incision, at the exact spot where one of my drains were. And this was the drain that I had accidentally pulled on a and caused bleeding (and PAIN!) while I was still in hospital.
FOLLOW-UP APPT with DOC
Pleased with my healing, told me that the aches and pain and wounds and oozing is normal. Just keep washing my incisions with soap and water everyday.
He applied some silver on all the areas where the skin was broken and it STUNG. But then he applied some silver on the part that I split open during my run and OH MY GOD it HURT. I cried. It's been 5 hours already since he put it on me and it STILL HURTS. I even took a pain killer and I still have to hold the area whenever I move.
Told me not to wear the silicone tape all the time, and that I should have about half the day when they are uncovered.
No need to wear compression garments anymore...told him I like them, and he said I can wear if I want to, but to have some time (half the day) not wearing them.
I am cleared for all "controlled" exercise (lifting, yoga, running, etc). I am not to participate in any contact sports or activities with sudden movements (for some reason zumba falls under this category, lol).
Apparently I have not been massaging myself with the correct degree of "firmness". He showed me how hard I should be applying pressure and OH MY GOD, the amount of pressure he applied HURT. I was not massaging anywhere close to that level. I don't even think I can! Speaking of massages, he said I can go get regular ones with my masseuse, no adjustments necessary.
Told me I MUST stretch my arms more, as he was not too happy about how far I could raise my arms without feeling tightness. Told me I was in no danger whatsoever of undoing any stitches so I need to aim to stretch further and further and would like to see me have full range of motion by our next appointment in 1 month. Guess i have some work to do!
The no swimming, nor submersing in water ban continues.
That's all for now.
Oh, and here is a side-by-side body comparison pic:
Had my 3 week post op follow up with my surgeon tonite. Before he came by to check me out, one of his PA's took all my steri-stips off, and I finally got a good look at all my incisions. I was glad to see that they are pretty flat, considering. About 80% of them have some sort of scab in varying states (newish, crusty, peeling, etc.. or whatever).
When Doc came by to check me out, he said he was happy with the way I was healing, among other things:
NOT cleared for regular exercise. He said I could walk as much as I want and can do lower body (i.e., leg) work, but that's it.
NOT allowed to submerge my body in water yet (i.e., no swimming, baths, hot tubs, etc.)
NOT allowed to expose my healing incisions to the sun (which I can't do anyway since I'm to keep my garments on...see below)
I am cleared for sex. LOLOLOLzzz...I didn't even know I wasn't allowed. Ooopsies.
With the steri-stips now off, I am to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
Am to keep the compression garments on at all times (save showering) until I see him again in another 3 weeks.
I asked about the silicone tape (for scar maintenance) and he said ideally they should be used at least 6 weeks after surgery. Apparently the body is supposed to do some healing first. I will be given a supply at my next follow appt.
He gave me my "before" pictures he took of me back in June 2018 and holy moly, I look different!
Here is a bit more detail organized by each procedure site:
The arm incisions seems to be the scabbiest of all the areas. It is also the "raise-iest" incision, specifically in the armpit.
Doc said I am still pretty swollen there, which is a little surprising, because I thought it was normal sized. So I asked does this mean my arm will get even smaller, and he said I could probably expect to see a bit more shrinkage, but that I can also expect the skin to loosen a bit as well, so net result may be zero from this point. I'm pretty happy with the size right now...so I do NOT want it to get smaller...thought I wouldn't mind a bit more definition (can't wait to be cleared to work em out!)
I can wear deodorant if I want to.
He asked me to make an effort to lift my hands up as far as comfortable every day until I get full upward extension, but to be careful as the armpit incision is statistically the most likely to separate and become a wider scar.
BREAST LIFT w/ SIDE BOOB EXCISION:
As the title says, I ❤️ my boobs! The whole lifting aspect of this was supposed to be secondary, but OMG, I love my boobs! They are a lot smaller than pre-op WLS, but may actually be bigger than I was pre-op PS (I think I'm a 30C now) but, they are so perky and stand-at-attention-y, LOL. They have fullness at the upper part now, I won't need a push up at all anymore. Actually, I probably don't even need a bra, they handle gravity all by themselves. And my nipples! After my breast lift correction: reduction many years ago, my nipples looked stretched out and flat. Now they are perky too and pop out a bit in a nice way even when I'm in a "non-aroused" state...or maybe I'm now perpetually aroused, LOL.
.I told Doc that I feel there is still a liiiiiitttlbe bit too much skin left in my left upper side boob for my liking. He said if after 3 months, it doesn't work itself out, OR I am still displeased, he will do some maintenance in that area under local anesthetic. Bonus.
I can wear regular bras now if I want, but if I want to wear an underwire, to make sure there is some foam or padding around the wire.
First thing Doc said when he walked into the room was "Look at your waist!" (I was naked save my panties on the exam table/recliner). That made me feel good despite the fact that my waist is actually bigger now than it was was pre-op, as is my lower abdomen. But it is super smooth and tight now
When I told him about the size increase, he and the PA said that I can expect there to be swelling for up to a YEAR. Wtf?! This is the first I've heard this. Granted my stomach is not so very big in the grand scheme of things, but it IS much bigger than it was before. Le Sigh.
I told him that I am generally standing upright, except for the little while after I get up after sitting down for a while. He said what I figured he would: get up more often. I don't have to get up for long, just lots. "Its better to go for 10 minute walk every hour than a 60 minute walk every 5 hours"
That's all for now.
I'll try to post some pics tomorrow now that my steri-strips are off...
I stood up straight today! But then I sat down in front of the TV for an hour and I "re-hunched" myself. So I guess I need to move more often
I also walked outside for 10.6 kms today! Mind you it took me 2+ hours over 3 separate trips, but I did it! So long as the weather is reasonable, I've made it a short term goal to do 10 km outdoor walks until I can start running again.
Now that the front of me is looking pretty good due to the PS, by backside (read: my butt) is looking even worse by comparison. So I also started doing some squats today I hate them, but its really the only exercise I can do given my current recovery state. We'll see how long I can keep this up, LOL.
I really, really, really, want to see how my incisions are doing, but the steri-stips are firmly staying in place and will not be changed (if at all) until Jan 8 at my next follow up with my surgeon.
Swelling is still an issue, but I think I'm the only one that notices it. My pants continue to be tight at the waist. I am really looking forward to getting out of these joggers and hoodies I've been sporting...especially as its Mr & my anniversary next week and I wanna wear something nice to dinner at least!!
I didn't tell many people that I had WLS (just Mr, the Kid, Mom, Sister & BFF). Those NOT in know were told that I ate much less, chose healthier foods, cut out carbs and exercised every day to lose the weight. I've been in maintenance for a while now, so being the main topic of conversation at family parties has lessened. My weight loss is no longer interesting, thank goodness.
These past couple days, showing up at the various Xmas parties this season hunched over from my TT, I decided to let those who asked that I had plastic surgery to remove excess skin from massive weight loss. I was surprised to get the comments and questions most on here get from others when they share they had WLS! I got:
"Why didn't you just do it the real way?"
"Cutting your body parts off is a little drastic, isn't it? Why didn't you just go to the gym and turn it into muscle?"
"I think if you just dieted more, your skin would have shrunk just like your body did"'.
"Plastic Surgery is cheating".
"Wow, that's pretty vain of you".
After attempting to explain to the first two or three busy-bodies that skin cannot turn to muscle nor shrink with massages or lotions (!), I gave up.
I always knew people are sometimes stupid, but man, extended family seems to always raise that bar of stupidity to new levels. Should have stayed home and kept my mouth shut. Le sigh.
To add insult to injury, I didn't even get to dull the drone of their yapping with alcohol. I am on a regular date schedule with my new friend, BENEDRYL to keep the itching at bay, and have yet to finish my round of antibiotics, so I figured I should refrain. Which was too bad, as I'm sure a couple glasses of wine would have made these people much more funny and much less annoying. Le double sigh.
Poop Watch 2019 continues...
Today marks Day 12. I am carrying TWELVE days of poop in me, people.
Mr. (he's a keeper) assisted me with suppository insertion this morning. After no less than 2 minutes, I felt the sweet, sweet urge to push. So I skipped (skipped!) to the toilet and out came........a partially melted suppository. That's it. Are you effing kidding me.
Now, the instructions on the box said not to use more than once in a 24 hour period. It also said that it should have worked within 15 mins to an hour. So I'm going to try it again at 6pm tonite, which is 12 hours after this morning's attempt as I figure I basically pooped the suppository out before it even melted and do its thing. In the meantime I ate 2 prunes. Good News is that it didn't make me sick, Bad News is that I am not a fan of the taste. I am also drinking water like a crazy person.
Miraculously, despite my backed-upped-ness, I don't have any pain nor cramps. Just a feeling of absolute bloat. Ugh.
In other news...
Haven't weighed myself since the day of surgery (I was 115 lbs even 10 days ago). Out of curiosity I stepped on the scale earlier and surprise! I am still 115 lbs even. However, I was fully clothed, along with wearing an arm compression shrug & abdominal binder, am retaining fluid to the equivalent of a 4.5" increase in waist circumference, AND have 12 DAYS OF POOP in my belly.
Arms continue to not comfortably raise higher than my shoulders.
I am not yet standing up straight.
Hands continue to deflate and my forearms no longer make me look like Popeye (I'd say they are maybe 85% to normal)
The v-jay is no longer sore (but is still looking up at me!)
For some reason my skin on my face is FABULOUS. I suspect this is due to: (1) not wearing make up for 10 days (2) all the water I have been drinking (3) all the sleep I have been getting (4) swelling???
Been wearing too-big clothes for comfort and ease, and am totally looking forward to putting something cute on and going out. BUT. MY. PANTS. DON'T. FIT. Le Triple Sigh.
Actually went Costo shopping with Mr. this morning for some last minute pot-luck parties shopping. The greeters asked if I wanted one of these motorized shopping cart-moped combos, and while I was tempted just for the fun of it, the point was to get some walking in, so I declined. It was the most exercise I got at one shot in 5 days. I was pooped...went home and took a 2 hour hap afterwards.
Had my first follow up with my surgeon this afternoon, and he is pleased with the healing, etc., etc.
The swelling I continue to have is normal. Suggestion: drink water, move around, it will get better.
The itchiness I am experiencing is normal. Suggestion: drink water, stay cool, take Benedryl, it will get better.
The dizziness I am experiencing is normal. Suggestion: drink water, move around, eat more, get up slowly, ease up on the narcotics, take the prescribed Iron, it will get better.
My tight feeling va-jay-jay is normal. Suggestion: apply ice packs as needed, it will get better (He also said does not look odd to him. He says I may not be used to the way it looks because I can actually see it now. Before the TT, there was excess skin above it the hid it lower between my legs.)
I am now free to shower.
Any steri-stips that fall off or get loose are to be covered over with a new steri-strip until my next appt on Jan 8th.
Am to continue using my arm compression garment, sports bra & abdominal binder.
When the tech was changing my dressings, I started to itch really badly. It seemed to get worse as the appointment went on. By the time we were walking to the car in the parking lot, it was so bad I was almost crying. Mr. drove us to the closest pharmacy and bought me a rapid-acting liqui-gel Benedryl. Within 10 minutes I was feeling better, and in another 20 minutes the itchiness was gone. BENEDRYL PEOPLE. BENEDRYL IS YOUR FRIEND. (but it does make me quite sleepy).
My long-awaited shower was a tandem one, as Mr. insisted he be there in case I pass out or something. I didn't pass out. But I did have him wash my hair.
I am anxious to stand up straight as the sore back is screaming at me. And I thought I would be able to do so by the time our annual 5-xmas-parties-over-3-days party marathon kicks off tomorrow night but its looking like its not going to happen...
More micro-improvements today. Reaching a little higher, standing a little straighter. Getting up and down from a seated/laying position is no big deal, and apparently I'm speed walking. The Kid called me "Energizer Grandma" when she saw me high-tail it to toilet hunched over with my cane cuz I had to pee so bad after a nap.
Took a narcotic pain med this morning, and I think that is the last of them for me. Gonna just stick with the Tylenol now, not just for the minor aches, but for this non-stop dizziness I'm still experiencing. Been doing laps around the kitchen every hour and that seems to help both the achiness and dizziness, but the head spinning comes back soon after I sit down (unless I lay down) and the achiness comes back if I stay too still too long.
My right arm & hand is no longer swollen, but my left forearm still is, and the left hand just barely...but at least now I can see the wrinkles on my knuckles again! My va-jay-jay is also feeling so much less tight, but is still looking up at me when I look down in a seated position. I did not notice before, but my thighs are actually a little swollen. My boobs continue to be a non issue.
My drains are draining very little now. One drain has collected maybe 10 mls since 9:00pm last night (about 21 hours) and the other one has collected even less in the same period. Both are coming out tomorrow, so I'm definitely looking forward to that.
I was feeling this unbearable itch on my left shoulder blade under the ace bandage wrapped around my boobs and Mr. went digging under there to scratch it for me. He found what he thinks is a popped blister right underneath the velcro that was touching my skin there. He put some gel on it, covered it with a band-aid and put a piece of cotton bandage between my skin and the Ace. I'm now thinking I've got a bunch of blisters under all these bandages.
Can't wait to see what the incisions look like when they change my dressings tomorrow...one more sleep!
So some info I forgot to share since getting discharged yesterday:
During my last in-hospital chat with my surgeon he mentioned the following tidbits:
I was the smallest, if not the smallest person he has performed body contouring on. (but not the smallest person he's performed any surgery on because he also does alot of reconstructive surgeries on burn patients ). He and the team kept exclaiming how "tiny" I was all throughout registration, and throughout the lead up to the surgeries.
A total of 400g of skin & fat was removed, though he said it was mostly skin.
There was only a "little bit" of muscle tightening done on my abdomen
There was minimal lipo on my flanks and pubis, and no lipo on my arms nor stomach.
He ended up performing some corrections on my left nipple as well as my right. My right nipple was in a weird state from a previous breast reduction: there was thick scarring or something with a fold that sort of inverted one side of it. Anyhoo, he said he fixed the right nipple, and that he also made the left one smaller so that it would match in size (the left was already bigger than the wonky right one going into this round of surgery, and the fix made it look even bigger, so he addressed the issue by resizing it).
He had predicted pre-surgery that I would not need to have the drains in very long due to my size. On discharge day, he said the drains could probably come out the next day, but it being a Saturday, and he not being available, he said I can wait until Monday. Boo. Too bad because I hate these things.
Some MacGyver tips:
My mom gave Mr. her cane to let me use for a couple days when he came to pick me up at the hospital. That thing was/is a life saver! Not that I needed it to actually walk, but it was cool to have to lean on and hold my body weight when my back got strained and I needed to take a break mid-walk. As an aside, if I could have got my hands on a walker it would have been better as it would be more stable, but I still love me this cane.
Travel neck pillows are awesome to use to make the transition from sleeping incline to reading/laptop-use incline much easier, and not have to re-arrange so many pillows (I didn't need to stay in a recliner after all, just the bed with pillows was enough)
A low stool at the side of the bed also is useful to get in and out of it
My ace bandages were making me itch on my arms, so I put on a compression garment on and then wrapped the bandages on top. The plan was to return these garments because i think they are little too big on me as the shoulders keep sliding off and then the arms slide down. But I guess its good I didn't get around to returning them yet because putting it between my skin and the bandages has eliminated the itch problem. It does however, now fit nicely across my chest (it didn't before) because I've got ace bandages wrapped around my boobs. I'll probably ask my mom to tailor them since I've used them now.
I am pleasantly surprised that I can feel me getting better with each passing day (if not hour!). I am sooooo much less hunched over today! And my arm movement range has also improved. Still can't reach the second shelf in the cupboards, but this morning, I could brush my hair (just the sides and back though, lol)
I do have a near constant (mild) feeling of dizziness though. I think its the pain meds and all the laying down. Am making myself do laps around the kitchen every hour and will just take one narcotic today (vs. the two), hopefully the dizziness improves.
I am not all that hungry and haven't really eaten much since the day before surgery. I'm likely sub-400 cals for the past 3 days. I am also not getting in as much water as I'd like to.
I am going on 5 days poop-less as of today.
I had meant to write the entry below as a blog entry at first, but I ended up posting it to the thread "A Tale of Two Arm Lifts (rs & ms.sss)" yesterday instead.
Anyway, I am now including it here as originally planned
Get comfortable, this is a long one...
So here is the additional backstory info to my PS journey:
So I ended up getting a last-minute Tummy Tuck two days ago (Dec 18), along with my arm and breast lift. Back in June 2019, when I initially scheduled my procedures, I was going to get an arm lift, a breast lift (to address side boob skin), and a tummy tuck. The tummy tuck was actually partially covered by provincial insurance. Basically the panniculectomy part was covered and I we only need to pay out of pocket for muscle tightening or any required Lipo.
But sometime around August or September, I decided to forego the tummy tuck because I thought that I could live with the state my stomach was in, and I didn't want to have more surgery if I didn't really need to. So I called my surgeons office and let them know.
Fast forward four months later and I'm at the registration desk at the hospital on surgery day. I'm signing all the papers, and one of them is a confirmation surgery procedure form and lo and behold the tummy tuck is still on there. Apparently, the fact that the tummy tuck was removed was not properly communicated to the hospital. (As an aside, this is a perfect example of why confirmation of surgeries is necessary at registration!!)
I had a discussion with my surgeon: he said the OR is already booked and set up for all three procedures including the tummy tuck. So if I wanted to, we could go ahead as originally planned back in June, or not. Whatever I decided was fine with him. If I didn't want the tummy tuck, there would be some paperwork to do beforehand, but it was doable since the OR was booked for all 3 procedures, and there was time to do the paperwork/system corrections and still complete the arm and breast lifts in that time. So now I had a discussion with Mr.: It wouldn't really cost much more, and they were all set up for it already anyway, so why not? It's funny because the decision making process felt like when you're in a grocery store line and decide to buy that pack of gum at the checkout.
It's been almost 48 hours since the completion of my surgeries...here's what's happened so far:
Got to hospital at 7am and all the above happened. I got on the operating table at 9:30am, and don't know what time I woke up at recovery. The surgery was supposed to be 4 hours. All I remember was that it was 4pm when I got rolled into my room. That first night after the surgeries was relatively pain-free as I was drugged up and in bed the entire time. I slept a lot but not for very long periods of time. They put these leg type massagers on my legs that work kind of like a blood pressure cuff. Each one inflates a chamber with air starting from ankle to thigh, to squeeze my leg nicely and then deflates. Then the other one on the other leg does the same thing. Its to promote circulation and prevent blood clots. I've had them on the entire time (except when going to bathroom or taking a short walk) and I LOVE THEM. I want to buy one of these contraptions for home! The nurse said that I am the first patient she's met that likes these things. Which I find hard to believe because these things are awesome.
Didn't eat anything all day, other than Water, a cup of tea and 1/2 an unsweetened apple juice box.
Now the next day I felt the pain for the first time when my drugs wore off and I had to get out of bed to go to the washroom (they took my catheter out). Oh. My. God. When I twisted my body and put my foot on the ground, I felt like I was being stabbed in my hip with a large knife. It was so painful that when I walked I couldn't put my heel down. I had to do I sort of walk–tiptoe shuffle to the toilet. So first lesson: do not twist your body.
Because of the tummy tuck, I have to walk hunched over and this quickly puts a strain on your back. So second lesson: walk with the help of your IV pole/cane/walker/buddy.
I have 2 drains in my tummy, which are mildly annoying. I forgot about them once when I got out of bed and pulled on one a bit which caused some bleeding. Boo.
I was surprised that I could move my arms relatively freely and pain free. I could even put weight on my arms to lift myself out of bed, type on my laptop, feed myself, and go to the washroom by myself. I may not have been very efficient, but I could do it. Also, I could brush my teeth but not my hair. Nor could i adjust my head pillows. Basically anything where I have to raise my arms above shoulder height is a no-go.
My boobs didn't/don't hurt at all. As if nothing was even done there.
I got to see all the work done when the nurse changed my dressings. My arms are tiny. My boobs are nice and perky with matching nipples (my previous breast reduction had one of the nipples wrinkle/fold over at the outer edge and my guy fixed it). My tummy is wrinkle free and my new belly button looks better than the old one. My inner thighs from the front has been smoothed out! This was an unexpected bonus My va-jay-jay, however, is quite "perky". When I look down sitting in bed it stares right up at me. My nurse said she noticed it was swollen. She said it is a combination of being yanked up and the use of the stomach binder. Didn't show it to surgeon this first day, but will remember to bring i up when I see him before I leave.
Today I had a cup of coffee, 1/2 a chicken breast and some beef Jerky.
Now today I feel exponentially better. I got an a good seven hours of continuous sleep. When I woke up I could feel that my pain meds had worn off but I was able to get out of bed and walk to the washroom just fine. I can tell I'm walking much faster now and am much less hunched over. I could probably skip the pain meds from now on but I think based on @sillykitty's comments, i'll take them for another day or so. Mr. has already filled my prescriptions, so I may as well take them. I'll play it by ear.
I find that the only real pain I get is from twisting my torso. I can easily do a sit up or leg lift motion pain free, but if I twist in any way, I get a sharp pain. Everything else is bearable. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd say my pain level is about 1.5. Compare this to the pain of WLS recovery, which I would have given an 8 at its worst.
They took the IV out this morning because my swollen hands were basically embedding that entry thing into my flesh and it was starting to hurt. They tried to put a new one in twice but couldn't find a vein because I'm too swollen. They asked if I was OK with them trying a third time, and I was all, No Thanks. IV insertion hurts, man! So they are off finding an alternate antibiotic to administer without an IV.
I'm supposed to be discharged sometime today but honestly I'd rather stay because I love these leg massager things. Plus I like the adjustable hospital bed!
Anyway just hanging around now waiting for my surgeon and next instructions.
P.S. I ate 1/2 an omelette & a peach yogurt cup so far today.
So today is my 1 year post-op anniversary. Happy Anniversary to Me! (well I guess it would be more appropriate to say Happy Anniversary to me AND my sleeve...couldn't have got to this point without it).
I started off at 235 lbs at the beginning of my 2-week pre-op liquid diet, and this morning I clocked in at 113 lbs even. That is a total loss of 122 lbs, or over half my original size (51.9% total body weight lost, thankyouverymuch). Most of the weight came off in the first 7 months when I reached goal. I lost another 15 or so lbs after that while I adjusted into maintenance. I am very happy ecstatic with where I am and have been maintaining more or less between 115 and 120 lbs for the past 4 months. (NOTE: as I write this I am a little bit under my desired range, but I have a cold so that's ok ).
Here are some stats. I have kept meticulous records throughout this process, because well, I love spreadsheets, and I'm totally anal like that:
You can see some pictures of me before surgery as well as some more recent pics in the "Albums" section/tab in my profile here at BariatricPal. I have an shock-inducing side-by-side before and after pic in just my underwear, but I'm not willing to share that with the world, LOL. Just trust me that you would totally go OMG. Hahahhaha.
I was very strict with my diet during the weight loss phase. I kept carbs verrrrrrry low. I exercised almost every single day. I tracked every bite of food in MyFitnessPal. I drank at minimum 2 litres of water a day. I weighed myself every morning at the same time. I took my body measurements every Wednesday. Now, 4.5 months into maintenance, with the exception of the strict diet and low carb intake, I still do all these things. It became habit. A good habit.
My restriction, while still very much there, is a lot less restricted than it was before. I only dump mildly now if I have too much sugar (while before I would barf/diarrhea explosively and basically need to lie down or pass out, now the discomfort is limited to a racing heart and an upset tummy). However, I still get the need-to-barf feeling and the foamies if I eat too much or too fast. While not as slow as before, it does still take me 45 mins to an hour to eat a proper meal.
I believe my maintenance calories is around 1900-2000 a day (anything less than that, I notice the scale moving downward...a benefit of both weighing myself and tracking my food every single day).
I feel like a totally different person now, and yet at the same time, am the exact same person that I was pre-surgery. I'm still me, just smaller, healthier, less irritable, more active, more CONFIDENT. I love to run, to go out with friends and family, to try new things, to go SHOPPING.
Life is Good.