I am a 31 year old mother of 2 kids (age 10-12). I have spent the last 12 years of my life putting everything before my health. I pushed myself to go through grad school and devoted myself to my children and my career. In two weeks, I will submit my final dissertation to my Dean and finish my doctoral program. As a graduation gift, I am taking my body back. I am not yet at my goal weight, but I have been stable for a couple of years. I am so excited to go through this process.
PRE-OP VISIT Ok, now that I have more time to...
Ok, now that I have more time to sit and type, I can give more details :-)
I just completed my pre-op on Monday. I have been cleared for surgery!!! I was worried that my iron levels would be too low because I was seriously iron-deficient anemic a couple of months ago. Just in case someone else has this problem, here is what I have done to improve my iron levels:
1. I take a liquid iron supplement called pur-Absorb. I buy it over the counter in the drugstore. I was worried it would not be effective because it is only 5mg (other iron supplements are at least 45mg). However, their research showed that the increased absorption rate eliminated the need for a higher concentration. I was skeptical, but after using it for one month, my levels increased. the supplement is simply iron rich water. I mix it in a couple of ounces of orange juice.
2. I TRY to eat a serving of lean beef twice a day.
3. I eat fruit and use spinach in my salads.
My doc told me that I am a good candidate for the MM. He plans to remove all of the excess skin from my breasts during the lift. Although I don't have enough tissue left for a true "reduction," by the time he removes the excess tissue during the lift and re-shapes my breasts properly, he said I can definitely go from the D cup that I am now to a small C cup--which is what I want
Another interesting tidbit is that I will only have one drain. The nurse said I will either have a jackson pratt or a pinrose drain. My best friend (who is a nurse) says to insist on the jackson pratt because the pinrose will stink.
Included in my pre-op instruction packet are a list of foods and beverages to avoid. I found interesting that almonds, apples, apricots, blackberries, cucumbers, grapes, pickles, straweberries, and tomatoes are on the list. Apparently, these foods affect blood clotting. Does anyone have any information/experience related to this?
I will update again soon! 19 days and counting!
Ok, so my surgery was initially scheduled for 5/31...
I have completed my pre-op instructions for the day before surgery. I have all of my supplies in place. I am going to do a final "house cleaning" in the morning. And I will join the "flat side"
I am nervous, so please keep me in your prayers. I will update as soon as I can.
POST-OP DAY 3 So sorry that it took me three...
So sorry that it took me three days to update, but I am just starting to "trust" myself not to say anything TOO medically induced! Ok, here is a re-cap:
Morning of surgery:
Surgery was scheduled for 10:00 a.m. I was told to arrive at 9:45. I arrived on time and buzzed the nurse. They immediately came to the door and told me they would be with me in just a moment.
They came back and led me to a small examination room where I had to remove all of my clothes and take the dreaded "before" pics. Afterwards, the doctor came in and drew his lines on me. While he was drawing, I mentioned to him that I would not be upset at all if after he lifted my size D breasts, they ended up being a full B or small C. He turned his head sideways and said "Hmmm... well I don't want to make you look like a boy but we will make sure you have a very nice shape" He then pointed to the fat pockets on the sides of my breasts and said "I'm going to take care of those for you too" and winked. I think it was at that point that I told hiim I loved him. LOL (I had already had a couple of Phernagan, so I was a little loopy).
The entire pre-op procedure was very fast as I was on the operating table by 10:03 a.m. The nurse. who was SO sweet, informed me that she was going to put an IV in my neck. I told her that made be very nervous. She assured me that neck IVs are less painful than other sites. However, she could not find an appropriate vein in my neck, so she put one in my arm. I have to say it was the BEST experience I have ever had with an IV. It did not hurt one bit. The last thing I remember was her saying, "Ok hun, I am going to put some medicine in your IV" The next thing I remember, they were putting my shoes on my feet.
One of my co-workers came to pick me up to take me home. I remember feeling very groggy but only a manageable amount of pain. I could not open both eyes at once. The trip to my house seemed almost instant. When we got to the house, I was very disoriented. I remember saying "I have to make sure the ground is under my feet." My co-worker made sure to remind me that I also stopped halfway into the house and told her "Wait. I am wearing pants, right?" Haha. So beware- you will be "loopy" after the anesthesia.
We went in my room and prepared for me to take the pain med as the doctor ordered. I took the pill and sat on the edge of my bed for a moment as I still felt a little dizzy. Then...you probably guessed it... I threw up. It was very painful. But I felt much better afterward. I went to sleep after that in the lift recliner that I had rented from Rent-A-Center the previous day ($86 for one month if you are interested). My friend came over later and I took my pain medicine again (Loratab). After one hour, I threw up again .She called the doctor (who was immediately available) and explained that she thought I may need a different pain med. He told her he thought it was the anesthesia still in my body making me nauseous. He told her if I threw up again, he would call me in a different med. We started cutting the pills in half. I now take a half pill every 3-4 hours and have not thrown up again.
The pain has not been as bad as I was prepared for. On a scale of 1-1-, it usually ranges between 4-6. Nothing to have me in tears or anything, but I DO have a high tolerance for pain. I think this drain is starting to bother me now though. I am definitely aware that it is there.
Ok, I came home with a nine inch compression garment around my abdomen, one drain (Jackson Pratt) and an ace bandage around my breasts. I have not removed my CG yet (too scared) but I did remove my ace bandage from my breasts as instructed by my doc. I LOVE them! They are still bandaged and gross looking, but I am excited to have normal sized breasts for the first time since middle school.
On my post op papers, the doc wrote that he removed 7.5 pounds of skin and over 1500 cc's of fat. Whew! That is a lot! I know that I am very swollen right now but I can still see a difference. I hope to upload some new pics soon. I took a couple of shots this morning with the CG still on. I know how important those before and after pics are, so i will get on that as soon as i can. More updates to follow...
Here are my first pics. I know they are not very...
DAY 4 POST OP: Today has been very conflicting....
Today has been very conflicting. While better in some ways, it was worse in others. I woke up this morning feeling less pain than I have felt so far. Yaaay! I actually did not take my first (half) dosage of pain meds until after noon. Yesterday, I had to take a half dose every 2-3 hours, so this was a big improvement. On the other hand, I was so swollen today, I felt I could hardly breathe! I have heard people talk of "swell hell" and I assure you, they are NOT exaggerating! I know it will be worth it in the end, but the swelling is very uncomfortable.
Today I have walked completely unassisted. I have not had to use the walker, and I can stand more upright. I do not stand fully upright because my post op instructions say to walk stooped over for at least 5-6 days. However, I actually feel that if I wanted to walk upright I could.
I have heard people say that day 4 is a "turnaround" day. I think I agree. Today I feel like I can be independent again and that I WILL get on the other side of this surgery.
DAY 10 POST OP What a difference a week makes!...
What a difference a week makes! I have had so much going on this week. Many ups and downs. I hope my experiences help someone. :-)
Somewhere around Day 5 I had my first BM. I know that this is a huge milestone for most, and I was worried that I would have problems with constipation and become miserable. However, I took a stool softener every day (Colace) and ate apples daily. It worked.
I have had a couple of "scares" this week, but everything turned out fine. Around Day 5-6 I started noticing a funny smell. I thought it was the drain, but it turned out to be my BELLY BUTTON. It was leaking, and the smell was bad but not overpowering. After cleaning the bellybutton with peroxide and applying fresh gauze, it still leaked a little but it stopped after 2 days.
I went for my first follow-up appointment on Day 6. The doc told me that he was not ready to take out my drain but to come back in 3 days for re-evaluation. He thought everything else looked great, and he assured me that my bellybutton was not infected. He also cleared me to drive as long as I refrained from using pain meds before driving. I went to a couple of stores after the appointment, so I was absolutely exhausted that afternoon.
On Day 7, I reported to my job for a 2 day planning and preparation session for the summer program I am directing. I had to report at 9 a.m., so I had to get up at 7 a.m. to compensate for how slowly I move :-)
I got a good tip from someone on this forum about wearning scrubs when having to go out during the first couple of post-op weeks. I must say that was a wonderful suggestion. The scrubs are light and cool, and they hide my drains. They are also more professional looking than a T-shirt and yoga pants! I bought 7 pairs of scrubs to wear during the summer program until I feel comfortable wearing dresses. I did ok on my first day back. I was moving VERY slowly and still walking stooped, but I did not have to do much. However, I felt myself getting really drained around the 5th hour. I stayed from 9 until 4:30 so I was extremely tired when I left. I was shaking so badly when I made it to my car that I actually had to rest my head on the steering wheel for a few minutes before I could drive home. When I got home, I had to stop at the kitchen table because I felt too tired to walk into the bedroom. My 12 year old came in and put his hand to my forehead and said "You feel hot, Mom. I think you need the thermometer." He then went into my room to get the thermometer and demanded that I take my temp. And he was right. my temp was 100.8. I took 1000 mg of Tylenol and felt much better. I also let my son and 10 year old daughter "cook" dinner (by heating up a pre-prepared meal). They were so proud of themselves! I went to sleep right after dinner.
I returned to work the next morning and again felt very tired around the 4th-5th hour. I had a sandwich for lunch and got really nauseated after eating half of it. The nausea stuck with me for the rest of the day. I did not eat dinner when I got home. I was a little surprised at how tired I was at work because I work at my desk. However, I understand that I just had a MAJOR surgery and that recovery will take some time. I had another low-grade temp when I got home.
While I was resting on that 2nd work-day afternoon, (Day 8 post op) I noticed that my gauze on my incision (in my pubic area) was getting soaked. I got up and changed the gauze and noticed that the drainage had a slight "fishy" odor--almost like menstrual blood. The incision continued to drain at what seemed to me to be an alarming rate. I could actually watch the fluid pour out of the incision. I had to change the gauze pads every hour. I finally called my doctor because I was so worried with the combination of the low-grade temp and the increased drainage that I had developed an infection. My doctor asked questions about the color and odor of the drainage and asked how my JP drain was performing. He concluded that I did not have an infection. Instead, he said that my body was attempting to drain extra fluid and had found another site from which to drain. He told me that my drain may have to stay in for a few additional days.
The next morning, I felt extremely nauseated when getting dressed. I broke out into a cold sweat and began shaking. I sat on the bed and sipped cold ginger ale until I felt a little better. I went in to see my doc that morning (Day 9 post op). He looked at the area in my incision where the drainage was occuring and looked at my drain. He concluded that he could remove the drain (did not hurt but felt weird--like something crawling from your body). He also removed the stitches from my bellybutton and said the drainage would be better in that area. I felt SO much better leaving that office without that cumbersome drain.
When I got home, I realized that I had forgotten to talk to the doc about the nausea. I called the office and spoke with the nurse who informed me that a stomach virus was circulating our area. She immediately called in Phenergan for me and told me to begin taking it ASAP because the idea of having a virus after an abdominoplasty is terrifying. I agreed!
I am attaching several pictures. I want to warn you that some are gross, but I hope they help someone else. :-)
Dr. Cochran is an amazing doctor. He does not talk much or spend very much time with you, so make sure you know EXACTLY what you want to ask when you talk to him. His staff is very friendly and professional. I would recommend him over and over again!