Having a Panniculectomy 45 Year Old Mother of 3. 3 C-sections. After Losing Half of Me! (230lbs) East Syracuse, NY

After five years of diet and exercise I've gone...

After five years of diet and exercise I've gone from 435lbs down to 215lbs. I feel amazing, except for back pain. Although the pain is more manageable now, it's still persistent. I carry a large pannus around me like a worn out deflated tire. The flap is heave and strains my lower back. The more active I am in a day the more pain I have.
At 5ft 3, I could barely walk under the strain. Now I love pushing myself physically. I'm stronger than I have been in my life. All aspects of my life! I hike, ride bike and swim. As you can imagine, exercising correctly is very difficult and restricting if you are doing it with an inner tube stuck to you.
I went to see a PS at Upstate Medical. He described the Panniculectomy procedure to me. He explained, because I have a low belly button, he will have to cut my pannus above my belly button leaving me, well, belly buttonless! He also said I won't have any drains. I'm happy about that, I guess?? I thought it was a package deal Panniculectomy , drains??
I thought about it and prayed and did a lot of research and prayed, and threw a little worry in, too!
After I had my thoughts in order, my fiancé and I had a meeting of our thoughts... And......I scheduled my surgery for June 25, 2014. Yikes!!
I'm excited and nervous! I don't want to look funny. But, the thing is, I can't in my mind picture what I will look like. (I don't have the funds for the "upgrades." ) Even though the Doc. had me look in the mirror while he showed me the area he would be removing. Still I can't picture it. Strange??? Not sure :)
To me, I look funny already. I'm thinking, trading looking funny for another looking funny, without back pain, is a good deal. If God's willing, one day I'll have a real tummy tuck, thigh lift, breast lift, and get rid of my bat wings. Those of us that have them know just what il talking about! ;-)
Wish me luck and pray for me. Ill post some pictures before and after.
Thanks for any comments or words of encouragement.

11 days to go!

My PS's office called to tell me my surgery is pushed back from 9am until 11:15. They also told me I won't be having my surgery done at Upstate community General hospital. Because of schedule issues ill now be at the bigger teaching hospital. I'm ok with the changes, I think.. I have a busy day today. I'll think on it later.

Almost there!

Just a few days to go. Any last minute tips or suggestions for a more comfortable recovery?
Feeling confident! :)

So close...

Almost there. The final count down. I'm feeling nervous and excited. More nervous. Does anyone know if it's a good idea to ask my PS for something to help me sleep the night before. Someone told me it might hamper healing. The day after tomorrow... Breathe breathe, I keep telling myself.
Happy healing...

Canceled until August

Family emergency had to cancel. So sad

August 6 is my new date!

Hi RS friends...
I've rescheduled my panniculetomy for August 6.
I'm having that rush of all those emotions that come right after making the final arrangements.
Let's do this! Ha
I have gotten my confidence to move on from reading so many profiles of beautiful woman that are now WOW beautiful.

Today is the day

In about an hour I will be on my way to surgery. A lil more nervous than excited today. Hate the waiting.

I made it!

Just got home from the hospital. I'm very sore and tired. I will post a few pics later maybe tomorrow. My Doc gave me a mini tummy tuck and a new belly button in addition to the panni. I'm very happy! Didn't expect it. It was the greatest happiness to find out he is a perfectionist and had to finish the job! Yay need sleep


Wow, this is a lot more intense than I had prepared for.
I don't have any drains or garmet on. I am attached to a wound vac machine. It keeps suction on my wound. It goes almost all the way around me, from hip to hip. This machine keeps the site dry and together with suction.
So very tired. Ill post more when I feel a lil' better. I'm praying for comfort and a complication free recovery...

Very rough 24 hours after Vac removed

Doc took off the wound vac for a peak at my Dr appt yesterday. More pain yesterday and today that day 1,2,3 post op. I'm swelled from my knees to right under my breast. Didn't sleep all night. Called Dic this am waitin for a call back from my PS. Praying for strength...

3 weeks 3 days PO

I'm feeling better every day. A little incision opening because of swelling. Some evenings I'm so swelled up nothing eases the discomfort. I feel great in the morning before I start to bloat.
Besides that I like the way I look in the morning. Flat tummy! Yay!! never had a flat tummy before!
Pain, comes mostly with the swelling. Some soreness where the incision has opened. My Doc started me on an antibiotic, incision was red and angry with bloody drainage. I was thinking about getting my arms done. Losing 230lbs leaves a lot of hanging skin. But I think I'm gonna learn to love my skin. The main reason is it doesn't hurt. I told my family when I can get back in the gym I'm going to build muscle to fill in some of the sag on my arms and legs. Plus, my saggy skin is a reminder that I never want to gain weight again. It's kinda like my battle scars. Ha! It was a battle to get here and healthy, that I WON!

3wks 3 days


Tips to a speedy recovery

What you may not realize is that some of the most important steps you can take to recovery from surgery happen before you even reach the hospital doors. One of these is being sure to bank your own blood if you’re planning on undergoing surgery that may require transfusions. I’ve been recommending this process (called autologous transfusion) as a pre-surgery precaution for nearly 25 years, and it still is good advice.

Thankfully, due to modern donor blood test screening protocols established after the emergence of HIV in the 80s, now you’re more likely to be transfused with wrong blood type than you are to contract HIV/AIDS or hepatitis from donor blood. However, donor blood still contains other various pathogens, because at any given time the body is fighting some form of infection. For some people it could be simply from a cut on the finger, gum disease, a cold, a chronic sinus problem, et cetera. But in other people the pathogen might be more virulent.

Research shows that the risk of developing any kind of infection is three times greater in any patient who receives a blood transfusion when compared to a similar patient who doesn’t. And the more blood one receives, the higher the risk of infection.

In many cases, however—hip replacement, bypass procedures, and the like—you have time to donate and bank your own blood prior to the surgery. In a University of Michigan study, individuals who didn’t receive transfusions, and those who banked their own blood before surgery, had the lowest risk of infections and, subsequently, a lower risk of dying during the 100 days after surgery.

Remember that it may take anywhere from four to eight weeks to accumulate enough blood for many surgeries, so plan ahead when possible. When you donate blood they take a unit, and you can donate once every eight weeks. Your body will replace the plasma (the fluid portion) in a couple days, but it takes the two months for your body to replenish the blood cells contained in a pint. If you bank your own blood before surgery, be sure to allow enough time between your last blood draw and the date of your surgery.

2. Supplement Program

In addition to your normal multivitamin-mineral supplement regimen, you also need to make sure you are taking certain vitamins at least a couple of weeks before and two to three months after surgery. Research studies have shown that taking as little as 250 mg a day of vitamin C after surgery cut the healing time in half.

I recommend you start taking the following supplements at least two weeks prior to the surgery: additional vitamin C (1,000 mg to 2,500 mg), bioflavanoids (1000 mg), zinc (50 mg), vitamin E in the form of wheat germ oil capsules (50 mg), and a good B-complex (that contains at least 50 mg of pantothenic acid). Also remember that zinc can become toxic if not taken with vitamin A as well as vitamin C, so it would be best to include from 20,000 to 25,000 IU of vitamin A daily.

Wheat germ oil can also help in the healing of any scars left immediately after surgery when applied directly to the scar area. (Simply puncture the wheat germ oil capsule and squeeze onto the area.)

3. Probiotics and Fiber

If you haven’t already, you should add a probiotic and fiber to your diet during the weeks preceding and months following your surgery. According to one study, patients who ate fiber and probiotics after undergoing a major abdominal surgery or liver transplant had substantially fewer incidences of post-surgical infection than patients given conventional nutrition or placebo. For example, of the 95 patients in the study who received liver transplants, 48 percent of those on conventional nutrition and 34 percent of those receiving the placebo developed infections. Only 13 percent of those receiving the probiotic and additional fiber developed infections.

Based on the results above, I personally think it should be considered malpractice for surgeons not to place all of their patients on probiotics and additional fiber. The difference in infection rates is phenomenal! This simple therapy can reduce suffering, lower death rates, decrease antibiotic use, and shorten the duration of hospital stays, dramatically reducing medical expenditures in this country.

Most people are aware of the immune system-boosting benefits of probiotics or “good bacteria.” But not as many people realize that for probiotics and beneficial bacteria to work and proliferate, they need their own “food,” also known as “prebiotics.” Fiber serves this purpose. Indigestible fiber not only helps bowel motility, but it also serves as base media for the necessary probiotic fermentation process that happens in the bowels. The vitamins and nutrients produced by this process feed the good gut bacteria and prevent infections, which would otherwise start in the area. Increasing the fiber in your diet with raw and cooked fruits and vegetables will make any probiotic work more effectively.

4. Bromelain

A couple of days before and after surgery it would be wise to include at least 1,000 mg twice daily of bromelain (the pineapple extract). It should be taken between meals with a full glass of water. Bromelain is a powerful proteolytic enzyme (meaning it breaks down proteins). In addition to its uses as a digestive aid, its excellent anti-inflammatory effects reduce swelling and bruising, speeding healing and recovery time. Even pineapple in its raw form has show to be effective when applied topically to wounds. Bromelain tablets can be purchased at most health food stores.

5. Sunshine

After your surgery, try to get a bed next to a window that lets in the most sunlight.

Although the public has practically been brainwashed into believing we would be healthier without sunlight exposure, nothing could be further from the truth. Moderate exposure to sunlight is essential to optimal health, and research shows that exposure to sunlight after surgery can help make the recovery process less painful.

In the study, researchers observed the effects of sunlight exposure on the amount of pain medication needed by 89 patients who had recently undergone spinal surgery. Medication use was compared to intensity of sunlight in each of the patients’ rooms. Patients staying on the bright side of the hospital unit were exposed to 46 percent higher intensity sunlight. These patients experienced less perceived stress and less pain, and took 22 percent less pain medication per hour than those on the dim side of the hospital. As a result, their cost of pain medication was 21 percent lower.

I see no reason why one wouldn’t experience similar results while recuperating from an illness in a home setting. During your convalescence at home, try to get 15–20 minutes of sun a day either by sitting outside or at least by a sunny window.

Even though surgery and the subsequent healing process are often frightening and painful, following these five steps will go a long way toward helping you make a quick and full recovery.

Four weeks three days PO

It was 90+ degrees here yesterday. I had a lot of errands to run in that nasty humid heat. So swelled from my feet to my rib cage. The only think I can fit in is my workout clothes and they are fitting too close. Sighhhh, I can't wait for the swelling to go away. Besides the terrible swelling I'm feeling good. I do get tired very easy. Since losing the 230lbs I've been very active. I even had the cable tv shut off three years ago. No more miss couch potato. I don't like having low energy. My PS said I have a huge incision. My sister measured it, 35.5 inch scar. Takes a lot of energy to heal, let my body rest when I need it. I'm just worried about gaining too much weight. Doc said 4 more weeks before I can get back in the gym. I take short, 15, 20 minute walks in my neighborhood by the water, at least once a day, some days twice. This surgery is no joke. Have to take my Doc advice and rest rest rest.
My fiancé has been so wonderful through all of this. I don't know what I would have done without him. He is doing all of the housework, always asking me if I'm ok, or if he can do anything for me. Rubbing my head while I complain about the swelling. He has even gotten up out of bed at 2:30 in the morning to pace up and down the hall with me, I couldn't sleep, I was miserable from the swelling pain. I feel bad because he works long days with his business. Good thing he is in GREAT shape. Fit and ripped :-) he keeps telling me he is taking care of me like he knows I would take care of him if he was almost cut in half.... Haha love that man!
Good luck to my RS friends that are approaching their surgery n happy healing!

4wk 3 days

Five weeks three days PO

Almost five weeks. The swelling is still Hell. My pubic area is still swelled because he lifted lifted it. It hurts hurts. I'm swelled from my ribs to my feet. My incision is being pulled right at the mons because of the horrible swelling. Not sure what to do about it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! I'm feeling better every day. I still have discomfort inside. Remind you I have a three foot scar because he lifted my butt some too. It goes almost around me. I still have to take Advil in the evening because of the swelling pain. My back pain is gone. Thank The Lord! I can't wait to get back to the gym, the warm pool and hot tub are calling me! No swimming until my incision is totally closed.
Crazy but I can't fit into any of my pre-surgery clothes. My butt and my thighs are so swelled I get get them over my hips. I'm following Dr orders to help my swelling, but I'm finding little relief. I know by looking at my self I have a workable canvas now! When I'm back to feeling close to normal and back in the gym, I'll build this body to something I'm proud of. I'll lose 60 more lbs and build lots of mussel to fill some of my flab. I'm excited for normal! Even More excited to have another chance to make my body feel good and look good. I'm blessed, not everyone gets a second chance. I've got more work to do, but I'm getting there!!!


Should read, almost 6 weeks.
Dr. Prashant K Upadhyaya, MD.

4 out of 5 stars Overall rating
2 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
3 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
2 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
2 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
4 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
4 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Comments (81)

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You are lookiking good to me! How about ice on the swollen mons pub area for the tenderness.
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Thank you! I'm getting there!
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Congrats looking Good...
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Good for you you look so happy I can't wait to get mine done
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You look amazing
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Thank you!! You too!
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Thank u for sharing ur journey and u look wonderful.. good luck and God bless
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Thank you! This truly was a blessing for me. Not only did I get rid of my gross tummy and my back pain, this surgery forced me to quit smoking cigarettes. I have tried for years to quit. I didn't want complications so I somehow found the strength to quit. I'm now an X-smoker!!! Woohoo I don't really miss it except when I get stressed out. Then I go for a walk or wait a few minutes and the craving passes. I always thought I was a strong woman. Being a single mom, raising three children alone after my divorce when my youngest was 1 year old. My oldest daughter is in medical school my middle daughter is in management and my youngest, my son is going to graduate Highschool this spring. All things happen for a reason, I believe this was part of God's plan to have me around to one day see my grandchildren and great grandchildren! :) still can't believe I quit, I empress myself sometimes! Ha Thanks again!
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RE: Tips to a speedy recovery. I was specifically told NOT TO TAKE any vitamin E (along with ibuprofen, asprin, narosyn type products) for 7 days prior to surgery. It can affect the ability of your blood to clot. There are also a lot of multi-vitamins that contain other vitamins and minerals that contain blood thinning abilities. Please be careful.
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I copied this from webMD... Mostly for the probiotics and pineapple info. I was told what you said above but I think my PS said 2 weeks prior. My sister is having shoulder replacement surgery 9/9 I'm doing lots of research for her. Of course, always follow the advice of your PS, doctor.
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Yeah...I was told 7 days...but I stopped taking my multi vitamin two 2 weeks ago (mainly because I ran out and would rather be safe than sorry) It is amazing how something that is supposed to be good for you could actually end up being very bad for you. The pineapple I love to eat anyway...so I am glad it has a good anti swelling component to it. ;-)
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Do you know that ur PO time is reading incorrect, I was a bit confused at first but now I see u had a sx date change.
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Your pics in the tank look awesome! It's too bad about the incision opening....but time will heal it. As for your arms....what I see in the pics don't show them to be that big. I am going to get my arms done...when I get the $$$ saved up. Mine are just too huge...I have to get shirts with loose sleeves or they will never fit my arms in them :-( I love to make fun of them....I call them my chicken wings...and they are just as gross as my abdomen.
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I'm gonna learn to love my bat wings. As I affectionately call them... Ha! At this time I don't want any more pain or discomfort. I can't wait to feel normal! I miss the gym. My body craves those intense 3 hour work outs. It's so funny, I have many many nieces and nephews. Every time I see one of them they say, you're so skinny! I love it. My butt and my thighs are so swelled all of my saggy skin gets filled up with fluid and they aren't saggy any more. Sighhhh, now I want my saggy back. I remember when my thighs were that big. See I'm learning to love my saggy! Woohoo... A week n a half. It will be here in a blink! How did your appt go with the infection doc?
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It was good...no current active infections and they gave me a special soap to use in my belly button to keep that infection free and some instra dry material to keep under the belly flab to keep it rash free. It feels weird cuz I keep thinking my panties have rolled down under my gut! LMAO I have seen lots of complaints about the swelling and I guess I understand it..i had bad swelling for a couple weeks after my hysterectomy..but now I think about it, why aren't water pills given to help with the swelling? I think I will ask about it before leaving the hospital, IF I remember. LOL Good for you for wanting to learn to love your arms. I wish I could...they are more bothersome to me than my gut is! Well, in a cosmetic way they are. The gut is a medical thing. I can't wait to see how much better my back is going to feel, and my hips. ;-)
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Are you going to have drains? My back pain is gone. Well the back pain I had pre op. It gets achy when I get swelled up and have to walk hunched over. I had 3 c-sections and had my gallbladder removed, never felt swelling like this. I know this will pass and I have to be patient, sad to say patience isn't my steins suit.
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Yes, I was told I will have drains. My surgeon also said I will have the vacuum thing attached for at least 48 hrs after surgery. I also had my gallbladder out with an open incision and really didn't have swelling from that. With the hysterectomy I did have swelling...it was not fun for a few weeks. I have a couple herniated discs, and spinal stenosis...so the idea of just not having this huge gut pulling on the back anymore is a dream. We shall see when all is said and done how much it helps.
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I was just reading ur Dr.'s review and I am sorry u had to endure that type of treatment. I would definitely write a letter to the board of plastic surgeons, the hospital president and the BBB. Good luck
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Hello how are u feeling today are u still having pain where they removed the wound vac
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I'm doing much better. A lil' better every day. Thanks How are you?
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That's wonderful , I'm doing good just itching like crazy
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hi girl ... I am so so afraid I am suppose to do minni tummy tuck and replace my belly button place... am afraid the pain would be so terrible am so so afraid , there is no going back I must do that I am 32 and never ever tried a bikini on !!!
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The swelling is awful I did not wear the garment for three days I weigh 5 lbs more but got garment on today peeing a lot
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Now I see why it is called swell hell. This too shall pass, just wish it would hurry up and pass. I guess the reality is it might be this way for quite some time. How long PO are you? My doc didn't say how long I might swell. What did yours say?
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