Helpful Tips for pre-ops
Byon 23 Jan 2013
Hi pre-ops! Like you, I once scavenged this site for every shred of information I could about what to expect, how I'd feel, how I'd heal, what I needed to buy and the best part - what I might one day look like. I wanted to compile a short list of things I wish I knew about surgery and recovery for all of you. This is not practical advice- like, "buy this special lotion or take this pill," it is advice on preparing yourself mentally to face this mountain. Without further adieu, here goes: - Don't be scared going into surgery. It is highly likely that everything will be perfectly fine. Yes, I know you've never had anesthesia. Yes, I know you are afraid of dying on the table and orphaning your kids. Yes, I know you feel guilty about the money and the time you are spending selfishly and what if it all goes horribly wrong? Trust me - odds are very very good nothing will happen to you. Your anesthesiologist is a sweetheart, and will make you feel so comfortable, you won't worry a bit. - When you wake up, your first reaction will not be to check your results and celebrate. In fact, the next day and the next few days you probably won't give a flip about what you look like. You will be exhausted, in minor pain or major discomfort, totally rocked by the fact that in a 3 hour time span you were reduced to little more than a disabled and dependent old woman. You will probably not be crying tears of joy or pulling the bikini out of your closet, so ditch that fantasy. You will only be concerned with how to keep yourself somewhat comfortable, medicated and healthy. You will have your "OMG I can wear that outfit that I always wanted to wear!", moment in the following weeks. - Be prepared for the worst outcomes and read up on them: necrosis, infected scars, ugly sutures, bad results, dog ears, seromas. Accept in advance that they might happen to you. Know that any problems can likely be reversed or cured. - You will heal faster than the other girls... or you won't. You will start working out at 5 weeks... or maybe 12. The worst week for swelling is week 3, or 7, or maybe 10. If you are more fit, it'll be easier...unless it isn't. Take bromelain for swelling, or wear your binder, or don't wear one, or sleep sitting up, or go back to work PO week 2 or wait 7 weeks. Eat cucumber or raw honey or green tea or prune juice or no carbs or all carbs. The point? There is absolutely no predictor of your pain level, healing time, results, swelling, and return to normal life. None. Don't listen to anyone who tells you differently. You can increase your odds of doing well by having a good surgeon, being healthy and strong, but there is still never ANY guarantee, or magical formula to heal faster. Deal with it. - Don't freak out about everything. OMG - look at how uneven my scar is! OMG - look how swollen I am! OMG - I'll never stand straight again! OMG- is THIS normal? Look at this puss or white discharge or red lump or puckered scar or fat butt - what has happened to my body?! Most of these panic attacks are short lived, and by doing a little searching or a call to your PS, you can quell your fears. Or better yet - just keep your spanx on for 6 weeks and try not to look at your ever changing belly, because you are just making yourself nuts. - You will have to learn to accept kindness - people being emotionally supportive and encouraging, people waiting on you like you are a child, allowing someone else to mother your children or fill in at work. They know you appreciate it. Stop feeling guilty about it and be babied...you can make it up to them later. - You will not be perfect. You will not look perfect. Even if you have the most dynamite results with your belly, you will suddenly realize that you have a huge backside, or that your boobs are droopy, or legs are veiny. Know in advance that what you are trying to achieve is improvement, not perfection. - You can tell yourself over and over that 'this is a process, that the road is long, that it's all worth it in the end'...but they are just words until you are living it. Find a strategy to stay interminably, stupidly positive and focused on the future so that when you hit an ugly patch where you are cursing your surgeon, or trying to convince yourself that your tummy wasn't "that bad" before, or "Help me Lord I just want my life back!" - you have an arsenal of positive thoughts and long term perspective to keep you from taking the bridge. Overall, I just hope that you know that the best things to do with your feelings is to share them with a dear friend, therapist or on realself. The husbands and the mamas don't get it...don't try to make them get it. Be strong and be brave and be PATIENT. Godspeed.