Excitedly Anticipating Posterior Body Lift/flankplasty with a Medial Thigh Lift - Fort Lauderdale, FL
Three years ago after having lost 55 lbs, I had a...
Here it is, 3 yrs later and I've finally found a doctor I trust to do all he can to help me achieve the results I'm hoping for. I live in AZ, but had two consults in CA, one here and a 'virtual' consultation with the doctor I've chosen in FL. As I've yet to meet him or have surgery yet, obviously I can't comment on that part of my experience yet. What I can say is I sent him photos and an email describing what I felt I wanted done and to my surprise, he emailed back within a couple of hours! He told me what procedures he felt I needed based on my photos, assured me nearly half of his patients come to him from out of state and out of the country, so he was adept at making recommendations this way. He also sent me the quote for the procedures, told me what all that included (basically everything except pre-op testing and prescription meds), told me he performs all his surgeries in a fully accredited hospital with doctor anesthesiologists. I liked him immediately.
Then I began sending emails asking SO many questions, telling him my fears with potential outcome (esp. thigh lift) and he answered every question in every email very patiently and thoroughly - usually within a couple hours of them being sent. I told him of my other two consultations and their recommendations (the very first consult doesn't count - that doctor advised I work out with weights and wouldn't do any surgery on me. It's my belief he really doesn't perform the surgeries I need and mainly concentrates his practice on his "shrink wrap" liposuction, because every other surgeon I've seen has said - you don't have a 'fat' issue - you have a skin issue and that is surgical. You need to excise the skin). Dr. Revis encouraged me to keep these consults, saying I may find a local doctor that is a great fit and that it's certainly easier to recover at home. To be honest, at that point, any surgeon I'd consult would have to blow me away with his mad skill! I questioned him on techniques he used, results he expected, exact placement of the incisions, sent photos of patients that had bad outcomes to see what his opinion on them was. I'm telling you, I've sent him probably 20 emails already (or more) and he's been patient and understanding throughout.
I had a tough decision to make. I really liked the surgeon in CA, too. He was willing to do the surgeries I wanted, I know he's a top doc, I know he's very skilled at surgeries. His price was quite a bit higher, although I didn't know it at the time yet, but I didn't feel super confident that he performs enough of that particular type of surgery as I'd thought - especially the medial thigh lift as from all accounts, this is one of the trickiest surgeries to perform well. I also really liked the surgeon I saw here in AZ. I felt he really knows his stuff and surgery after major weight loss is one of his specialties. I'd already had my virtual consultation with Dr. Revis by that point and had asked and had answered tons of questions already. My biggest hesitation with going with the surgeon here was he doesn't use the flap from the incision in the back and use that fat/tissue removed to augment the butt. I already have a flat butt and know this surgery has a tendency to make it even more flat. He said in his experience, the fat just doesn't survive- that it looks good immediately post op because of swelling, but once that's gone, so is the new butt. And that it didn't justify adding time to the surgery and expense to the patient. Again, I trust his surgical skills and know he knows what he's talking about, but that is also his own personal experience, but obviously the auto augmentation using the flap must work for a lot of surgeons as it seems more do it than not. I think that played a lot into my decision to go with Dr. Revis, but what tipped it over the edge was his saying something to the effect of my being his art project for the day... As silly as that may sound - I feel it shows not only his enthusiasm for his work, but that he approaches each patient as an individual and aims to sculpt them into a 'masterpiece'. Lol.
So, decision made, deposit paid, found a place to rent for a month (day before surgery until almost four weeks after), and we bought our airline tickets last night. So now the clock is ticking and it seems so long until Valentine's Day!! Thank God we have Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up as that always makes time seem to fly. I am scheduled for medial thigh lift, posterior body lift/flankplasty and lipo of the inner and outer thighs, sculpting of the flanks, lipo of inner knees. Excited!!! I will add before photos, but only after the surgery is done. Lol. I
I really appreciate this site - so much information here! But I have to wonder if there is a point at which there is too much information... or maybe it's just reading the stories of procedures you plan on having done. When you read someone's great outcome, you feel good about your decision, but when you start reading some of the 'horror stories' of bad outcomes or disappointing ones - it starts to gnaw at you. Well, at me. lol. There's no doubt in my mind that I "need" a medial thigh lift if I have any hopes of wearing clothes I'd like to wear again. That's not the issue. But I have to admit - I'm SO nervous and afraid of this procedure. By all accounts - it's painful and prone to complications of all sorts. At least one of the doctors I consulted with said, "I'm not gonna lie to you - it's a bitch to heal!" When I read stories about scar migration, infections, painful, long-term swelling, poor scarring, incisions opening up... just freaks me out some. Okay... a LOT. I'm just venting here. Anyone care to try to talk me down? hahaha. I know I have four months to go yet - can't imagine how many emotions I'll experience regarding this aspect of surgery in that amount of time.
Already love my surgeon!
I emailed him once again today. I sent a photo that was posted here of a medial thigh lift - fresh scars. Looks scary and didn't know if that's what to expect and he assures me that's expected and fine. I sent another of another photo posted here of an incision from the medial thigh lift surgery that shows the incision extends around to the gluteal fold. (her scars were uneven and of unequal length) I realized I didn't know where the incisions would 'end'. He told me the furthest it would extend was represented by the shorter of the two scars - no further, but that would be determined during surgery depending on my anatomy.
We've been having a discussion regarding post- surgical garments. As I'm having lipo done on my inner and outer thighs, as well as my knees, I was concerned that he uses an abdominal binder only until the drains come out, no garment. I asked if he'd consider one if it's altered to accommodate drains, avoids the groin incisions and is crotchless. (hoping not to have him throw his hands up in exasperation!). He said I could bring the one I have, and my compression stockings (his concession to me for no garments on my lower body) and that he has garments in stock, so it would be available if he felt I could wear one immediately. That'd we'd figure it out. :)
I mentioned that some women complain about having an elongated butt crack following surgery and asked if that was expected. He assures me his usually end up about the same length as pre-op. (whew! I like my short butt crack as I'm 'short-waisted and wear low rise jeans... didn't want my butt crack showing if my top pulls up!)
I also asked about the scar placement/shape in the back. Some are straight across, some are like an inverted 'v', and some are heart-shaped. Some are placed high in the back and would show regardless of the bathing suit worn if it's two pieces. He replied that they are custom - not dependent upon anatomy, but on preference.
After one of my (many) earlier emails, I thought he might be getting sick of me asking for so many details as he replied something about me not stressing so much about the minor details. I jokingly asked if I'd just been sent to time out. He laughed and said no, but he did have three young kids. (sense of humor)
And you want to know one of the most amazing thing? He replied in less than half an hour after I sent the email! He's so great with all the questions and so quick and thorough with all the answers. I replied to thank him and said, Whew! Quick and painless...thought I'd be sent to time out again ;). Sent that and a minute later he responds - No woodshed today - take care!
I mean.... how great is THAT? lol So happy he's open to all questions and concerns. Now... if only someone could make time go faster!!!! 128 days until I wake up in recovery!
13 weeks until I am released from the hospital
That said, I'll admit I went thru another controlled panic during the early couple of weeks of our email exchanges. I held off emailing my surgeon for as long as I could...hahaha...maybe a couple of weeks at best. Finally I faced the fact that I was operating day-to-day with this feeling of generalized anxiety. I thought, screw it...I'll email again and hope he's not ready to dismiss me as a patient. :) Again he responded quickly. I emailed on a friday evening and had a reply Saturday morning. He assured me he has never seen a single result like the photo I sent, added his thoughts on incision placement and sutures and somehow set my mind at ease once again. It's not that he's trying to talk me into anything- its definitely reassurance. And it's not that he's cocky, but his confidence in his own surgical skills is apparent. I just find that very comforting.
I thanked him and asked yet another question to which he responded almost immediately. I thanked him again and said I think I could take a deep breath once again to which he replied, breeeaaattthhh deeeeeeeepppp....ommmmmmm, something to that effect. I had to laugh aloud at that point and felt all residual anxiety and tension drain away. I say, thanks, Doc- I think that did it! He responds, my pleasure - part comedian, part therapist, all plastic surgeon.
I mean seriously- I really feel I've chosen the best surgeon for me! Admittedly, I'm not thrilled with going thru recovery 2300 miles from home and only two of the four weeks with my husband, but this is a one-time thing (hopefully) and worth it if he's as good as I think he is.
I'm sure anxiety remains - I had been stress eating for a time. Now I'm trying to get back in the habit of NOT eating all the time. Ugh...put on 8lbs over the last two months. :( So time to buckle down, pay attention to healthy eating once again, and getting back into some sort of regular exercise again. My husband is sick right now, so no hiking for us this weekend. I'll need to put in one of my (dozens and dozens) of workout videos. I want to see these next three months as a sort of training period- to be healthy and strong and fit, which I know will help me tremendously during both the surgery and the recovery period.
I wish the body lift forum was even half as active as the breast augmentation board! It's a bit lonely here. :)
12 weeks and counting
Last post I'd mentioned that it feels lonely on this board with relatively few people having similar procedures. But then somehow a shit-storm erupted- and frankly didn't mind at first. At least people were talking, I felt maybe someone read my drivel and cared enough to respond. But seriously, I have to wonder about just how supportive some of these people are. I think....I HOPE people mean well and when they say they wish you well, I'd like to believe that's true. But when the negative comments come about as a sort of twisting of your words, or take a comment you made that was a positive thing about your proposed surgery or surgeon, and then make that comment sound like it should have been a red flag instead of comforting (my original comment about my surgeon approaching this surgery as his art project for the day....I felt was a positive thing) ....well....just makes me question some people's motives. Misunderstanding something I've written is understandable- lol...that's for sure. My plea to be "talked down" - yes, totally meant as a plea for reassurance, calm my fears and anxiety. But I can see how someone could misunderstand that. It's the other stuff...I don't know. Somehow some of the well wishes just don't ring true. Not after using my own words as .... I don't know how to put it. Yes, bullying, in a way. Between the artist comment and then using what I've been told by a few plastic surgeons (it's a skin issue, not a fat/exercise issue) and having a poster try to tell me it's the people that have skin issues, not fat issues that have the worst outcomes- cosmetically and pain and health problems. Ah, c'mon. Can we be any LESS supportive? Besides, all research I've read (and that's a fairly substantial amount) supports the fact that the closer a person is to their ideal body weight, the better the body contouring surgery results are and with the fewest complications. So I'm not sure where such a statement comes from because the research certainly doesn't support that claim.
If I've truly misread a couple of these comments/poster's intentions, then I apologize. What I can say, unequivocally, is that it FEELS a bit like someone is trying to bully me, or at the very least, try to somehow persuade me what a horrible decision I've made. Again - this is how it FEELS. I'm not saying this is absolutely the case.
Who knows? Maybe lonely is better.
Less than 10 weeks now!!!
I have to get a handle on this stress eating, though. I thought I had, but can't seem to actually drop these 8+ lbs I've put on recently. I'll drop 1 - 2 and then the next day, there they are again. It's been SO long since this has been the case. Ever since my tt surgery over three years ago, the minute my weight crept up to the 130 mark, I'd panic and drop it right away. This time? Uh-uh, not happening. At this point, I'd almost break down and cry to see 120 ANYTHING on my scale. let alone 125. I'm sure stress and cortisol are playing a part. Not too much else has changed over the last couple of months. Ironically enough - this started practically the minute I'd been able to make the decision to go forward with surgery. I think that's another reason I'm thinking excess cortisol is playing a part in this.
Anyway, a few things have come up over the last two weeks that I'm still trying to reconcile in my head. I've hesitated expressing it here as there are just a couple of people on the board that seem a bit less than supportive, but disguised as concern. And maybe I'm not being fair to them, either. Maybe they really do have good intentions. But it seems once a decision is made, the option should be to support that person or shut the hell up. Not try to convince them what a mistake they're making and try to instill fear and anxiety instead of support. But you know what? This is MY blog, my story and this board is for us to express our concerns and to support one another. I mean, I'm sure there is a lot to learn here from others' experiences, too, I'm not saying that's not a part of it. But if I let a couple of people prevent me from expressing myself here - whether it's joy or concern or questions or any random thing, then what's the point? Why censor myself in case I don't like what someone has to say? So...
One of the things I'd believed from the moment of making this decision until just two weeks ago was that all my sutures would be internal. Well - except my surgeon had told me weeks ago there would be a few to be removed in the groin area. He said in his experience, buried sutures in that area had a tendency to become infected more easily and also more spitting of stitches, so he preferred to avoid the possible complications and use sutures to be removed. And the ones for the drains, of course. I was okay with that - though do NOT like the idea of having to have sutures removed from that area... that just can't not hurt some. lol. But then I came across some photos here of medial thigh lifts with groin incisions and saw all these staples. I sort of shuddered at the idea and my initial thought was - how archaic. So just to satisfy my curiosity and as I had a few more questions, I emailed the patient coordinator for my surgeon. I have literally exchanged dozens of emails with my surgeon and thought I should leave him alone as I'm sure his office personnel would know the answers to these questions.
Well, I got the answers to all my questions and was completely shocked to find out I will have staples in the groin incision. Staples. So of course I had to Google that, and wasn't thrilled with what I'd read. I mean, it makes sense to use them in that area as it's a high tension area subject to a lot of movement. But they seem to be prone to scarring a bit more if left in longer than a week. Mine will be in approx. 2 weeks, so that didn't thrill me. But after doing a search here, I came across a woman's blog that had a list of reasons her surgeon chooses to use staples in areas such as this. I wish I'd noted where I read it because it made me feel a lot better. And her surgeon disagreed with the idea they left more scars than sutures. But anyway - I went from thinking I'd have almost no external sutures to accepting there'd be some in the groin area, to finding out the sutures were staples rather than stitches. I started questioning myself - WHY had I believed they'd all be inside? Was it only because that's how my first surgery was? So I went back through my surgeon's extensive website and read a lot of the articles he's written and had links to on his site. And then I found it under the individual procedures information - it said the incisions would be closed in layers under the skin and found patient satisfaction was higher and less anxiety without stitches to be removed. Something to that effect. So I thought about it for a while and decided to email my surgeon after all - I mean, why not go directly to the source and find out?
He responded fairly quickly once again. After a couple more questions to him it does make sense. And he pointed out the information on the website is more for 'cookie cutter' surgeries like breast augmentation, tummy tucks, etc. That body contouring surgery entails a much more individualized approach and that he's found that one never knows until actually working on the person how their skin will react to various methods of closure, and that areas of differing tension require different methods of closure. And also pointed out that I'm trusting him to perform this huge surgery on me, but seem to be questioning him on his ability to choose the best method of closure. But wanted me to know that it depended on the skin quality/location/tension while still striving to leave the best possible scar. He said it way better than I did here - just didn't feel like going back to my email to check. Either way, I feel much better about it once again. Not thrilled with staples, but I can understand his use of them. OH! That was one of the things on the other woman's blog - her surgeon explained that staples hold the skin better with less tension on the wound, so he found he could pull the skin tighter, have a better result, without compromising the end result of the scar as there was less tension on the wound. Again - my own words there - not said as well as I'd read.
Regardless, it's been a while coming to accept this as it was not at all what I'd expected and apparently, I don't adjust to surprises very well. Lol. The other thing that's happened over the last couple of weeks is I got in touch with a former patient of my surgeon's. She'd had four surgeries with him over a 2 1/2 yr period about six years ago, and though she says he's an artist, and that she loves the results of her surgeries, due to a number of things that occurred, she'd not have him do the surgeries had she had it to do over. Some had to do with the surgeon, some with a variety of other circumstances. I really appreciate her honesty and openness with this, but as you can imagine, it's really given me anxiety, as well. What really matters, however, is that he's double board certified, has a great reputation, used to do this surgeries routinely as about half of his practice, loves what he does and has many, many very happy patients. But as you can imagine, even ONE person with issues against the surgeon you've chosen can add to one's anxiety. I found this person sort of by accident - just researching his name on other websites similar to realself. I took a chance, sent an email to the address given (from several years ago) and fortunately she still has the same address. We actually ended up speaking on the phone for over an hour and a half! She wasn't crazy, wasn't trying to convince me not to have the surgery with him, but merely told me her story - all the little things that added up to her coming to the decision that had she had it to do over, she'd have gone elsewhere.
So........how does that make me feel? Hmmm... I really have no idea. I mean, I believe the things she shared with me, and I also believe the things I've learned about my surgeon - both from his website, email exchanges with him, articles he's written, and other internet searches I've done. I still believe he's highly skilled, still feel at this point he's the best surgeon for me, and still feel he will give me the optimal results. But does it mean I have no fears or doubts? No, doesn't mean that at all. Any second thoughts whatsoever? Yes, of course. But when I look back at my previous surgeries, I also had fears and doubts. And looking back, I actually knew far less about my first surgeon that I do this one. But not to put any less importance on a tummy tuck or augmentation or breast lift - because I believe all of those surgeries require a great deal of skill to perform correctly and have beautiful results, but I think the level of skill might be a bit more for a surgery such as the ones I'm planning on in Feb. From all accounts, a thigh lift alone requires a great deal of surgical skill. Contouring itself might require as much of an artistic eye - sort of removing all that remains between the surface of the skin and the beauty of the human body underneath - and then to do so while leaving the best possible scars on areas prone to much tension and greater chance of infection. I'd think an arm lift would be up there with that part, too. Maybe not the difficulty level - but certainly the healing and tension aspect of it.
So - that's some of what's been going on in my head these last couple of weeks. I will say there are a couple of GREAT people on this board who've been ultra supportive and have offered a great deal of support and input and I'm SO appreciative of them. And I really hope I haven't dissuaded anyone from commenting on my stuff - just please try to keep it more positive and supportive rather than adding fuel to the insecurities. Anyone that's undergone any plastic surgery must understand there is always a certain amount of uncertainty when it comes to this. After all - it's not "necessary" for living - it's something we want for our own mental well-being. And sometimes for physical well-being.
TWO MONTHS to go!!!!
I don't think a day goes by that I don't look in the mirror, grab a couple handfuls of flesh and pull up on it, wondering if I'll truly look like that post surgery. If so, it'll be a dream come true.
Another thing I've been thinking about a lot lately, too. When I had my first surgery - although I didn't broadcast it, it gave obvious results. I mean - the boobs were obvious. But it changed the contours of my tummy, too, and I had both a flat tummy and a nice definition to my waist that wasn't apparent prior to surgery. There was a lot of ... idk how to put it... outside recognition? I swear I was treated differently and I still feel that way. People look at me differently than prior to surgery - mostly for the better. There are sometimes "those looks" from some, but I can deal with that! lol.. Kind of flattering in a way. And I'm sure a little bit of that is also from the way I carry myself now and the way I view myself - I think people pick up on self-confidence. But with this surgery? Really won't be noticeable to others - I mean, my clothes will mostly look the same on me (although I'm hoping the tushy looks better in jeans after). I might look as though I've lost a couple of pounds - assuming he lipos my icky thighs enough before. I'm not even sure what I'm trying to convey here - something about how the pain was easy to take for the most part knowing the benefits were so darn obvious. I guess like a face lift maybe? Most people probably wouldn't assume you had a face lift, but would more than likely notice how healthy and vibrant you're looking. But with this surgery, for the most part the results won't be 'seen' by others so it's just a little different somehow. Not in a bad way, just different, if that makes any sense whatsoever. lol
The other thing I wanted to talk about is a scar treatment I've just discovered and wondered if anyone has used it - bioCorneum. My surgeon recommends ScarGuard MD and I did buy some already, but after reading up on this stuff, I was convinced I need to give this a shot. It's pricier than the ScarGuard, that's for sure. I think it was $120 for 50g. I had contacted the company after reading some stuff on this product and wanted to find out what the ingredients were. I knew it was silicone and I knew there were sunscreens in it (not so critical for my particular surgery - at least if my doc does his job well and all scars are within the bikini lines), but didn't know if there were other ingredients and what the percentage of silicone is. ScarGuard MD is 12% silicone. It also has hydrocortisone and Vit. E in it. But it's also something like $23 for .5 oz.
So get this - the COO of the company actually was the one to respond to my email. Lol. It turns out it's 88% silicone - the balance being three sunscreen ingredients. Okay - that would also explain a bit of the price difference. Plus a 50g bottle is 1.76 oz., so it would take 3 1/2 bottles of the ScarGuard MD's to make up one of the bioCorneum. So that's about $80 instead of the $120, but I'm hoping the percentage of silicone makes the difference. It would be difficult to use silicone strips in some of the areas for my incisions - almost impossible to keep them on the groin incisions w/o tape or something, I'd think. That's why I'll be using the gel. The company has published clinical studies with over 2,000 patients that used this product and it's the only scar treatment with FDA approval, as far as I know. I know research studies are expensive and the approval process for the FDA is also hugely expensive, so it makes sense the product costs more. I will probably need 2 of the bottles to complete treatment for the suggested three months - but I also have silicone strips that I'll probably use on the incision going around my pelvis to my butt. Once I can begin using scar treatments, I think I'll use the ScarGuard MD once a day and the bioCorneum once a day at first as bioCorneum doesn't have the hydrocortisone for itching and redness. I realize I might seem overly concerned about scarring here - it's just if I had massive amounts of excess skin - the trade off to be rid of all of that would be worth any scar. But since I have a 'relatively small' amount of excess skin compared to most body lift patients, I'm hoping for really nice scars since my goal is to not only look better in shorts or dresses or a bathing suit, but frankly I want to look better naked, too. I hope that doesn't come across as rude or ... idk... I just hope it makes sense.
As for the health aspect - I'm now trying to really start taking better care of myself again. I'm upping my protein a bit already and am trying to make sure I eat lots of veggies again. Strange how I seem to get away from that and don't realize how crappy I'm starting to feel until I start eating better again and immediately start feeling better. lol. And I've managed three weight lifting workouts this week so far and already feel a difference in my body. Right now it just feels heavier and .... idk... just like all the cells are all filled up. I'd say 'solid', but that's not right as I'm flabby as ever. I'm sure I'm retaining water - that always happens when I begin an intense exercise regime. If that's the case, I should be feeling less heavy and bloated within days. But it's amazing how optimistic you start feeling once you start working out again. So those damn 8 lbs? They WILL be history. (I hope!!!)
Wow. I just realized I'd made the decision to go forward with this surgery on Aug. 15th, so four months has already passed since that day! Now it's down to 2 months left!!
Before my tt/bl/ba, I had a really difficult time picturing my breasts being full, perky and round. I just couldn't wrap my mind around it. Funny though- I could picture my tummy pulled tight. Now I'm having the same inability to picture having thighs I like or imagining a butt I can stand looking at. I can't even imagine what it would be like to catch a glimpse of my backside in a mirror and not automatically shuddering at the sight. My husband is a big Alabama fan. I was online shopping for gear and saw a cute pair of women's shorts. Immediately I thought- how cute. Too bad I'll never be able to wear something like that. And a few minutes later I thought- well....maybe one day! I'm still doubting that, but hell. You never know!
The nicest people!
And Merry Christmas to those of us that celebrate. Happy holidays to those that celebrate other things! :D
Unbelievable!!! And with 7 weeks to go, too :(
So I'm understandably upset. I mean, yes, I don't wanna die on the operating table or anything, but damn. And I'm really hoping the major stresses we've just had over the last week or so contributed to this. Won't go into details right now, but suffice it to say this Christmas had a few really great highs and some really deep, deep lows with a lot of stress and tension thrown in for good measure. And the partying and staying up til 4:00am a few nights. Anyway, I'm scared (more that I can't have surgery than anything is seriously wrong with my heart), upset, depressed, anxious... all kinds of stuff rolling around in my head. I mean, how is it others can drop a couple hundred pounds, some people not even exercising, and no issues with health. Me? A mere 55 lbs, decent diet and exercise - and hell, we just did a 9 mile desert hike last weekend and going again tomorrow. But I may not be healthy enough for surgery? Wow. As if that doesn't add to the stress level.
Anyway, found a cardiologist nearby that can see me Monday. I know they'll repeat the EKG and probably perform an echocardiogram. But other than that, I'm not sure what tests they'll run, and how long it may take for results. I'm just freaking out about this. I'm SO prepared for surgery - already asked and had answered a million questions, bought tons of supplies, scar remedies, vitamedica vitamin pack, gelzone, a couple of compression garments, couple pairs of compression hose... not to mention having paid for a month of living in Ft. Lauderdale at the beginning of high season, bought and paid for our flights, paid my 25% deposit for surgery (which is refundable under this circumstance)... but still. UGH. So please pray for me? Send good juju out there, do whatever it is to send good thoughts to someone for me.... please?
Anyway.... the great news is I PASSED!!! The doctor was pretty cool, too. He comes in, introduces himself, asks some questions, asked why I was there. When I answer no to all the questions like - any dizziness, heart palpitations, etc. He says, I'm sure you're fine! I think it's RIDICULOUS your doctor sent you here. You have NO symptoms, you're obviously pretty healthy, active, you took a 10 mile hike a couple days ago .... just crazy. I said yeah, I agree. I think he just wanted to cover his ass. The doc says yeah, but you know I could clear you and you could still drop dead on the operating table. Lol... I said yes, I was aware of that. He looked at the EKG the nurse had just performed a few minutes before and said - you're free to go. And good luck with your surgery! Then walked me out - talked about the surgery being in Florida and that he loves Disneyworld and I should go. hahahaha... I said I doubted I'd be in any shape to do something like that, but thanks anyway.
I walked out of there feeling 20 lbs lighter! OMG. It's like I can suddenly breath again. I started imagining and feeling all sorts of things. I even took my bra off before I left for the appointment because I felt like I couldn't breath, like my chest was a big barrel. I know I do suffer from anxiety and Lord knows, it's been pretty crazy around here for a while. But still... all I have left are the results from the blood work done today and I'm cleared for surgery. IT'S GONNA HAPPEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 6 1/2 weeks to go!!!
Thanks to some very, very special people here on RealSelf!!! Love you all!
Still loving my doc!
I wanted to say once again how much I just love my doctor. I sure hope I can say that once I'm on the other side! Lol. I'd emailed him last week after the crappy EKG results and told him about being referred to a cardiologist and asked if he was a praying man and if so, would he pray for me. He reassured me that I was probably fine, not to worry about it and then said he IS a praying man and he prays for his patients daily. :D I just found that so reassuring! I emailed him once again yesterday after the appointment to let him know the cardiologist said I'm fine and good to go as far as he is concerned and minutes later he responded with Fantastic!! (must have caught him between surgeries or at the end of his surgical day) I've gotta say, as much as I love my first surgeon- both demeanor and skill - I can say I've only talked to him on the phone once and pretty sure his office manager answered any emails I sent. I do love this about my chosen surgeon - he definitely gives you the impression he's invested in you and your care and concerns.
How can you get such GREAT news and such CRAPPY news in the same day???
Anyway... long story short, my dermatologist - one of the most highly respected in the state, said she was sorry this had happened, but she didn't know of one thing she could offer to try to treat it. That she'd have to think long and hard. She took out her magnifying thing and looked closely and said - yes, I'm sorry. You have both hypopigmentation and scarring. There's a slight chance the hypo areas may re-pigment... when was this? I tell her a year and a half ago. Her face falls. She says, I'm sorry - there's not a lot of hope that will re-pigment, either, then. And the scar tissue can't.
You know... I think I KNEW all of this. None of this was really a surprise to me - it's what I've felt from the beginning when it started to appear. But to get confirmation from a doctor I trust, one that is highly respected in her field... well, it's just a little all too real for me at the moment. So damn.... super HIGHS... Yay!!!! Going forth with surgery!!!! Then realizing I'll still have to try to cover my skin as much as possible. The only makeup I've tried so far that even comes close to masking it a BIT is Dermablend. But that stuff gets on all of my clothes - regardless of setting powder. And it would be almost okay to deal with that aspect, IF it covered it! But it doesn't. So anyway. Like I said. Highs and lows and it's a damn roller coaster ride that I just hate. Sorry for the downer post here.
And a BIG shout out to Alexa at Dr. Revis' office
FIVE weeks and I'll be waking up in recovery!!
I know I wasn't very nervous about my first surgery, but some of that was just ignorance. Lol. I really had no idea all of the possible outcomes and possible issues from the surgery. It wasn't until later that I realized how fortunate I was to have found the surgeon I went to (Robert Cohen in Scottsdale). I hadn't seen a lot of bad tummy tucks and worse breast lifts, and belly buttons that end up looking like a bull's eye (Google images - both my friend and my enemy!). Another reason I wasn't that nervous is because I didn't already know what to expect as far as pain goes. I know I was utterly shocked when the pain meds/anesthesia wore off those first two days - couldn't believe a person could feel pain like that outside of childbirth, maybe. I have probably researched a bit TOO much for this surgery. I know it's a very complicated surgery to perform well. It takes a completely different set of skills than a tummy tuck or a breast lift does. The possibility of wound/healing issues is much greater. Patient satisfaction is lower. The potential for worse scarring is higher. There is a very fine line between a 'perfect' correction and pulling or cutting too much. This is a surgery you want your surgeon to err on the side of caution - yet by doing so, you risk not getting the best possible outcome. I know most of this applies to the medial thigh lift - that is definitely what has me most concerned. I'm really not that worried about the posterior lift or flankoplasty as my surgeon calls it. I'm concerned about the scar, of course, but not so much the procedure or outcome for that part of it, other than figuring out how to do things without stressing the incision. The thighs... that is where my concern is.
Now, the upside! I'm really excited that I get this opportunity to fix an area of my body that has always been a problem area. I realize how fortunate I am to be able to do this and I really hope and look forward to having good results. I feel I've established a good rapport with my surgeon and his 'go-to' person in the office. I feel we communicate well and he is aware of my expectations and feels he can meet those. Although it's nearly impossible for me to imagine, I look forward to being able to wear a pair of shorts in this extreme heat of the summers here. There are company sponsored trips to beach locations every couple of years and I look forward to being able to go on the next one and not dread being seen in a bathing suit by my husband's co-workers. I look forward to wearing dresses again! Mostly I look forward to catching a glimpse of myself from behind and not grimacing or walking away from my husband nude and feeling confident, rather than trying to back out of a room! hahaha. He is SO sweet and so loving and swears he only sees what my issues are when I point them out. He thinks I'm gorgeous and hot and I couldn't ask for a better husband - and this is after 26 yrs of marriage. So I know I'm a LUCKY, LUCKY woman. And somehow just ranting here about my deepest fears to my most grateful parts, I've managed to quell some anxiety.
Four weeks to go!
So I have had all my tests - the surgical clearance exam with family physician (story there!), sent to cardiologist because of a funky EKG. Got cleared there (with a laugh from the doc who wanted to know WHY I'd been sent there as I'm obviously healthy enough to hike 11 miles). Lol. Went for my blood draw. I was told all lab work came back within normal parameters. Yah! Set for surgery - now just cough up the big bucks, right?
So I know the family physician's office is ...uh... S L O W..... and .... well, the office staff is probably among the worst I've come across for any medical establishment. We generally like the doctors and PA's there, but the staff... ugh. So when Alexa from my surgeon's office told me she hadn't received the medical clearance form from the family physician's office yet, but had from the cardiologist's office, we each contacted the office to ask for clearance to be sent over. I'm not a big doctor-going kind of person other than for female stuff/hormones/etc. I just rarely need to see a doctor. I really am pretty damn healthy overall. So I've only seen the same doctor maybe twice the entire time we've been going there - prob 15 yrs or so - you get who's available. So when I went for the surgical clearance, it was with a new doctor to their practice (but older than I am) that I'd never seen before. He's the one that sent me to the cardiologist's office.
I had to contact Alexa regarding payment and forms and stuff, and asked if she'd gotten the clearance from the doctor's office yet (assuming, of course, she had as the appointment was in late Dec. She emails back and get this... " We received cardiac clearance which will be fine; the family doctor's notes indicated that while he would not provide clearance the cardiologist's would suffice." Can you believe that shit?? Uh.... WHY would this family physician refuse to send over a clearance form??? UGH... I really feel like giving them a piece of my mind. At the very least, find out what the basis for this was. At least, thank God, the cardiologist's clearance will suffice. WTH??
Other than that, I'm still gathering information and supplies and trying to decide what to pack and take and what to buy there and what/when I'll order my stuff from Amazon. The owner is super cool and said to have my stuff sent ahead to his warehouse and he'll put it aside and bring it when we meet for keys and stuff. So I'm gathering as much info as possible and trying to get organized - one of my biggest downfalls. I'm a crazy anal list maker, but unorganized as hell. lol For instance, I'm sure there was a reason I was updating this today rather than tomorrow... but can't remember why! So if I update again tomorrow, you'll understand.
25 DAYS! Days... counting in DAYS now.
I remember having times - still occasionally today - of looking in the mirror following my tummy tuck, breast lift and augmentation and feeling I look as if I've been patched back together again. I needed a full lift- so I have the lolipop scar on my breasts. I had my nipple size reduced when I had one of my implants switched out a few months post op, so there's a scar around my nipples (that honestly, you'd have to really be looking for it to even notice at all). I had the full tummy tuck with the hip bone to hip bone incision... and because I didn't get to the point of morbid obesity, my skin wasn't as stretched out as most women having a tummy tuck. He could only pull my skin down so far. I have a vertical scar from the tummy tuck that's about 1 1/2" long, and about the same distance below my belly button. Of all the scars I have from surgery - that little 1 1/2" long one is the one that draws my eye most. Makes me feel more "patched back together" again. When I cover it with my finger, I don't feel the same way. I know... it's SILLY. And the fact is, I actually scar pretty well from a surgeon's standpoint, and Dr. Cohen's scar placement and skill is impeccable.
I know some women view these scars as badges of victory, of conquering the weight issue. Those same women generally seem very comfortable sharing pictures of their former 'fatty' self, too. I look at my fat pictures with shame, with .... almost loathing. And NOT for simply 'being fat'. For wasting precious, precious time and energy and YEARS of my life being fat, feeling miserable in my own skin, hating getting dressed in the morning trying to find something to hide my rolls, cover my arms, feeling self-conscious when naked, avoiding situations where skin exposure would come into play, avoiding social situations when I felt particularly fat - hell, even getting out of a free trip to Hawaii because I was too ashamed to be seen in a bathing suit.
I AM proud of myself for being where I am today and realize that it's an accomplishment. It's simply that I ask myself - was I ASLEEP for all those years?? Was I even conscious as I moved through the days, through my life? Who ELSE did I cheat by being heavy and miserable. PLEASE note - I said heavy AND miserable. I know there are many people who can be heavy and NOT be miserable, NOT feel ashamed or self-conscious. And you know what? I see that as More Power to Them! Really. Because they didn't let their self-image mess with their self-esteem. Maybe I'm not as strong. Maybe many of you think I'm 'wrong' to feel this way. But I think feelings are just that - feelings, not right or wrong, just feelings. Of course, how we react or respond is quite another thing altogether.
So I go into this surgery knowing that I will most likely have issues dealing with my scars. They don't look bad at all and I'd share them if they wouldn't end up on Google images! lol. But I know that's me - that I see these scars and about 99% of the time, I know and FEEL the trade off is more than worth it. Seriously. I wouldn't take back that surgery for anything in the world. That 1% of the time? When I look at myself and my scars and feel despair? That sucks. This surgery? I can only hope and pray the results will be good - really good. Because having to deal with the scars this surgery will leave me with would really, really suck if the results were not as hoped for ... as expected. My biggest fear (after a distorted labia issue! lol... regardless of the reassurance my PS has given me on that issue, it's STILL a major concern!) is that I will have this surgery, the recovery, the pain, the expense, the fact that my (overworked) husband is using his vacation time to tend to me, the aggravations of the medial thigh lift, hopefully avoiding as many of the issues that happen with this surgery as possible, the being alone about the time when depression might be setting in, alone when wound issues seem to occur - to get through all of that - and be disappointed with the results. To still have a 'buck-shot' ass and lumpy, cellulite ridden thighs with excess skin issue and have that groin scar which I'm SO not thrilled about. Yet I'm educated enough on the subject to NOT expect perfection. But when I'm being honest with myself, the closer to 'perfection' the results end up being, the less misgivings I know I'll have. In the end, if I feel happy about the decision, about the scars about 80% of the time, I think I'll view this surgery as a success.
REALLY???!!!!!! REALLY???!!!!! Supposed to leave here in 16 days and now THIS??
Okay.. so I knew I was bleeding before I left, but assumed it was similar to before. And I'm pantie shopping, squat down to see the ones on the lower row and suddenly feel a gush of blood. (I'm assuming 99% of people reading these blogs are female) Ok, not so good. And of course I have no tampons or pads with me. In fact I used one of the two I had in the house that I begged off my visiting daughter. So I decide pantie shopping was going to have to be postponed for a bit. So I run over to the grocery store to pick up the few necessities I needed for dinner and rush home. And find I'm a bloody mess. So (I realize... TMI... but I'm going somewhere with this) clean myself up, thank God I bought tampons at grocery store, start fresh and wonder what the hell that was about. 90 min. later I was glad I also had a pad on. WTH??? An hour later... same thing all over again.
In the meantime, I'd emailed my PS and mentioned this and he emails back that it'd be better for me to have the uterine ablation now and to keep having levels tested. And that I need to have my hematocrit at 30 or above or we'd have to postpone surgery. OMG. Okay, our airline tickets are non-refundable, the house we're leasing for a month is paid for, vacation time cleared for hubby for work, payments made, etc. Everything is set. So this... well dammit to hell. This sucks. So over a span of four hours, I went thru as many tampons and overflowed onto pads. That's damn near hemorrhage worthy. So I put in a call to my gynecologist and reach the answering service. I tell the operator (male.. of course) the nature of my emergency and say I'm near- hemorrhaging and he takes my info and says the doctor on call will return my call within 40 min. A couple minutes later my phone rings and it's the answering service. He says, The doctor on call said if you are near hemorrhaging, you need to go to the ER. I said - are you kidding? I'm NOT going to the ER for NEAR hemorrhaging... that's ridiculous. He said, Then you are to call first thing in the morning.
I have to admit - I'm pretty damn pissed that a DOCTOR ON CALL wouldn't call me himself and ask a few questions. What's the point of having a doctor on call?! So hmm.. Guess I'll call first thing in the morning and find out if I can get in ASAP and have this damn ablation. I started taking iron supplements tonight, too. Not something most post-menopausal women w/o bariatric surgery would normally have to do.
This friggin' drama and tension. Good Lord I wish I had some Xanax.
If this is the kind of freak out I have NOW... omg... what's it gonna be like AFTER??
I get to my doc's office... always nervous for ANY doctor appt. Lol. Blood pressure always high and lord knows, with all the crap that's gone on recently, I knew it would be. Fortunately they used my measurement I'd taken at home (and had pics to prove it! lol). Debbie hands me some forms to go read, says she'll be back in a few and I look at the forms and think, what the HELL are they signing me up for? It's at the surgical center, all the rigamaro about hair/skin products, to wear certain clothing, etc. etc. And Debbie walks in and I say, Uh... I think you guys have me signed up for something I wasn't asking for. I tell her this was supposed to be an in-office procedure, I was under the impression it was a 5 - 10 min procedure for the actual surgery part of it, etc. She says, hmm... hold on then, I'll go call the doc and ask him. But that was after I'd already pretty much blown it and was losing it emotionally and saying this isn't what I was expecting, etc. I said, if it's in the surgical center then I also have the anesthesiologist fees there (and in his office if there, but probably cost more in surgical center?) and the surgical center fees. I just had to cough up $1300 for the procedure and had assumed that covered everything. Nope. Just the surgery - not anesthesia/center fees. I'm freaking. First of all, it's a lot of cash when you're just paying for the balance of an expensive surgery the same week. Secondly, it was pretty much a rash decision - like made last night! I'd not had bleeding issues at all prior and then this. And the truth is, if I were not about to have this surgery on the 14th, I'd probably wait a bit to see if the bleeding resolved itself. But I can't take chances that it'll continue and compromise my blood levels so decision made. Debbie leaves the room to make the call to the doctor.
I try to calm myself down and realize I'm going to cry. I HATE crying - at least in front of anyone. And then I realized how freakin' crazy I must be coming across, etc. I try to calm myself and I start looking at the little bit of paperwork there. First thing says to take Motrin every 6 hrs for two days prior to procedure. THAT makes me start to cry. I can't take anything like that 2 weeks prior to surgery. I read something about heavy bleeding following, not really seeing it says menses. I read limit physical activity for first 48 hrs - dammit, there goes hiking. At least for Sat. That's been my sanity. And THEN I see no swimming (ok), no bathing (ok), no intercourse for 2 weeks. WHAT????? No sex for the TWO WEEKS prior to my surgery when I'm fully expecting to have no sex for 8 weeks minimum following... possibly up to three months because of the location of those incisions. Okay... NOW I'm crying and trying to fight back the tears. I already had been dreading that part of having surgery. Seems silly, but our sex life is such a big part of our lives... empty nest and all that finally after 26 years! We take advantage of that opportunity whenever/wherever we want knowing an adult child isn't about to walk in the door. Lol. So Debbie comes back in, asks if I'm better now and can she explain what's going on. I say yes, and apologize for my craziness, but that it's just been too much - all the things that have been going on and then this on top of everything else. AND I don't take well to surprises - even good ones, so I know I reacted poorly. So she said she talked to the doctor and he said he'd do it in the office if the anesthesiologist would agree to come in (not his scheduled time/day) and that Brenda was contacting him now and we'd know in a few minutes. Well praise God! Anesthesiologist agreed, surgery set up for Thursday at 7:30, arrive at 7:15. So as much as I hate losing it and becoming an emotional mess - this time it actually worked in my favor.
I again apologize to her and we talk a few minutes. I hold out my arms for a hug and she accepts and hugs me pretty good. Said she's on my side here and to please, please please relax before surgery. Doesn't want my blood pressure thru the roof on Thursday when I get here. Hands me two scripts - one for nausea and one for Norco. But she said she'll have the doctor write a prescription for Percocet that morning and fill it if the Norco isn't strong enough. She said most people combine the Norco with the Motrin, but since I can't have Motrin she'll ask doc to write it.
So again - I seem to start really freaking about having the surgery and shortly thereafter something comes up that could prevent it and then I realize how badly I want to have it! Geez. The human mind (at least MY human mind!!!) Can you IMAGINE the freak outs I'll have POST SURGERY??!!! lol
Typically they have you take Motrin every 6 hrs for 48 hrs prior to the surgery, give you a shot of Toradol at the time of surgery (and knock you out briefly with Propofol) , and you continue taking Motrin for two to three days along with pain meds. They offer Norco, which I didn't realize was hydrocodone (Vicadin) until I went to pick it up the evening before surgery. That shit gives me nausea and horrific nightmares. And Betsy, the nurse, also said since most people are on Motrin and have the injection of Toradol, that's usually sufficient pain management with Norco. But said without those, I'll need Percocet.
Now when I'd seen Debbie (melt-down) for pre-op, she warned me I'd have a LOT of cramping after this. I said, oh, that's okay... I'm ALREADY cramping. And she said, uh.... no honey, hate to tell you this, but it'll be a LOT more cramping and pain. But we'll give you meds. She's the one that had told me the sonohysterogram wasn't a big deal (some women say it's horribly painful) and for me, it wasn't. Slightly uncomfortable, one sharp pain actually due to the wand and not the rest of it. So I thought... this MAY hurt. So we get there bright and early and the girl at the desk says - you need to leave a urine sample. OMG. Whatever (uh... just had sonogram). Then I'm called back, strip down, the anesthesiologist comes in, introduces himself and asks if his student can observe the sedation process. Ok, I'll be asleep. In walks this CHILD. hahaha.. Okay, she was probably 20, but still. The doc comes in, explains everything again, I tell him about the hydrocodone and he says he'll write it for Percocet. IV is started, I got that nice little relaxing feel and that's all I remember. It's a short procedure... like 15 - 20 min. Then I'm being wheeled into this little waiting/recovery area with a recliner. And a pregnant woman on a monitor, which was kinda cool... listening to her baby's heartbeat. Betsy says she'll go get my husband and all of a sudden the pain hits. Like pretty hard. And coming on in waves. And soon I'm moaning... and I apologize to the pregnant woman for disturbing her. She's nice about it. Husband comes in and I tell him - honey - I'm really hurting here.. like more by the second. Please see if they can give me something? Just then my doc walks in and I tell him I'm feeling a good amount of pain and getting worse. Can he give me something? He says, we don't have Percocet here. I'm sorry - we knew without the Torodol injection and the Motrin it was going to be worse. The Percocet will help. So I say, okay - can I go home NOW? He smiles and says, sure, you seem pretty lucid. (pain will do that) They take me out to the truck in a wheelchair and by now I'm fighting real tears. Gave up the fight a minute later and cried and moaned and rocked and tried everything I could think of to get less uncomfortable. It's a 25 - 35 min. drive without traffic and hubby drove at 75 mph most of the way home. I seriously thought I was gonna die. Thank GOD I had a few Percs at home left over from previous surgeries. Took two of them. Hubby ran to pharmacy and came back with more and with some anti-nausea pills. What was most surprising to me, other than the sheer intensity of the pain, was that the pain in my thighs, the quadracepts was KILLING me. My uterus hurt - for sure!!! but the legs?! Wasn't expecting that at all. And getting worse by the second. I stood, I lay down, I crouched, I tried leaning over the bed, the sofa, walking, rocking, curling up in a ball, stretching and unstretching my legs and body. Full on crying and sobbing and the kind of short, sharp breaths you seem to take when you can't breath without pain. And with each exhalation was a moan. I mean... it was ridiculous! If it didn't hurt so f---ing much it could have been comical. Or sound like a cheesy porn movie.
After about an hour, hour and a half of this wracking, intense... unbelievably intense pain, two Percs... maybe I'd taken a third by then... my husband called the doctor's office and asked about getting the Toradol injection now - that he's never seen me in this much pain. They said to call my plastic surgeon first, if he cleared it, they'd administer it.
Let me digress a bit. I know I do NOT handle pain well. But I HAVE had my share of it. I've had four miscarriages, 3 D & C's, emergency gallbladder removal, two children - both home births without anesthesia. And my previous plastic surgery which included the tummy tuck (that I found excruciating). As far as intensity of pain goes, the ER's doc arm up my whoohaa trying to manually remove pieces of a stuck placenta was WAY up there. And I'd had so much blood loss that the morphine they'd injected did very little if anything for the pain as my blood was barely circulating. (Hematocrit had dropped from 32 to 12 during hemorrhage, BP was 40/0 at one point). So that probably hurt a bit more than this... but I was about to be completely anesthetized, so wasn't laying in pain for hours on end. Gallbladder hurt like hell, but was kind of like labor contractions where it's intense as hell, followed by moments of absolutely no pain. Not this. This was unrelenting and escalating.
So hubby calls PS, he says no problem, let them do it, and that means getting BACK in the car to drive another 30 min. in absolute pain and unable to hold still. And crying. My poor, poor husband... I felt so bad for him. Nothing he could do for me, though God knows, he tried. We get there and thank God only wait about 2 min. when Betsy takes me back. Says, I'm sorry... I knew it was going to hurt a lot more without the Toradol and no Motrin, but you said you couldn't have them. I said, I know, Betsy. But this?? I feel like there's something WRONG. (you know when you have that feeling) She assured me nothing happened during surgery, my doctor had told me in recovery it had gone well (Oh, and I knew I have a tipped uterus, but didn't know it is also heart-shaped :) but I just couldn't imagine this pain was 'normal'. She says, I'm sorry... it's gonna sting. I lean over and she gives it to me and I just stayed leaned over for a second. The pain... omg... NOT from the injection. Just the pain. She looks at me and says, Did it sting? I'm sorry. I said I don't even care right now... as long as it does SOMETHING for this pain. How long will it take to work? And she said, oh.. probably 15 - 20 min. Unfortunately, we are now trying to play catch-up with the pain meds. So we drive back home (I've now spent an hour and a half in the car while in incredible pain, plus however long between). Pain actually is worse by the time we get home. I take another percocet, and then an hour later, another. I think by this time I've had either 5 or 6 Percs (5 mg... not Cookie's horsepill 10 mg ones), the shot of Toradol, two aspirin and finally take a Xanax, too. And about 40 min. after the Xanax, I finally fall into a sleep - heating pad on thighs, hot water bottle on belly. And wake up an hour and 40 min. later and text my husband (downstairs doing work from home unexpectedly - we thought he'd drop me off and go to work) and ask if it's been 2 hrs. yet. We'd decided I'd take one Percocet every 2 hrs instead of 2 every four hours once they'd finally kicked in. That seemed to work fairly well. He asked if I could hang on 20 min. and it wasn't that bad. Nothing like earlier, for sure. So I just stayed as medicated as possible all day and night and actually started feeling like I wanted to live again by last night. And no longer wanted someone to at least cut off my legs. (ironic, isn't it?? lol)
So... that's my update and thank God I feel SO much better today than yesterday. And hopefully be 100% by Sunday or Monday. Did it scare me that THIS procedure hurt THIS much, knowing what I'll be facing in two weeks? Oh HELL yeah. But I have to keep in mind I've had the other surgery and though parts of it were hell, I was kept fairly well medicated at the beginning. It's SO much easier to keep pain at bay than to remove it once it's started. I'm more worried that my husband is already dreading taking care of me again in a couple of weeks. I know it's so hard for him to see me in that kind of pain and not really be able to do much to alleviate it. This stuff just ain't easy!
My Bloody Valentine ... (thanks, Cookie!)
I knew when I wanted this surgery that I also wanted the heart-shaped incision across the top of the butt. I think it helps make it look 'rounder' or fuller or something than a straight across incision or a a V incision. I also chose to have the surgery done on Valentine's Day. lol. Figured I'd always remember what I got for Valentine's Day from my sweetheart that way and the timing just worked well. And well enough time for recovery before it gets hot here. My surgeon has also assured me I will have his undivided attention that day. :D
As I mentioned in previous post, I had a lot of sudden bleeding issues. Not a good thing in a post-menopausal woman, so had that investigated. All was fine but the bleeding didn't resolve and I had the surgery (from hell!). When my ob/gyn came in to tell me about the surgery, he said he hoped they'd been able to reach all sides, but that my uterus was heart-shaped (making it difficult for a balloon to fill out entire uterus completely). I said oh, wow. When I was pregnant with my son I told my doctor that it felt like I was pregnant "on one side". He just sort of nodded and finished his remarks on the surgery.
Once I'd finally gotten the pain under control and felt like a human being who actually desired to live again, I Googled "heart-shaped uterus". For the hell of it. And sure enough, it's a bicornuate uterus! lol... The dip in the top heart acts as a sort of division in the uterus. Mine isn't completely divided, apparently. But I just thought it was funny as it fits in with the heart-shaped fascination. When the bleeding started (day before surgery and finding out it's heart shaped), Cookie mentions something to the effect of hoping I don't wake up in a pool of blood the next morning. She's imagining a scene from My Bloody Valentine. Lol! As Onedimsim (my Cookie) has pointed out - there seems to be a theme here! Tomorrow I may add a picture of some of the heart-shaped rocks I've picked up on various hikes (cause I KNOW y'all can't wait to see 'em). Some are tiny, some are a bit bigger. I'll point them out to my husband as we're hiking and say, Look, honey! It's heart-shaped!! And half the time he'll just shrug and pick it up. Other times he'll tell me that no...it looks like Texas! (hahaha). A couple of weeks ago I found a beautiful one, pretty large. Probably a good 5 lbs or so. I point it out, he looks around and says, REALLY?? You have to find a rock at the absolute FURTHEST point in the hike?! The man makes me laugh (we actually left that one behind... he was too funny).
We hiked today - actually did 8 miles. Wasn't expecting to even be able to (and yes... I asked my doc on Thurs if I'd be able to hike on Sun). No heart-shaped rocks worthy of carrying back home, but it was nice. Crampy here and there, but not much different than the last couple of weeks. No sex for 10 days - gotta have SOME of life's pleasures to enjoy, right? I need my stress relievers!
So the next several days I'll go over my lists of things to bring with me, gather as much together as possible, probably place a couple of Amazon orders to be delivered once we arrive, and finalize my questions for the doc. Any input on questions?
Supplies (so far)
A week from now...
Nearly 19 years....
We've had this kitty since she was a old enough to be adopted. My youngest daughter was about to begin kindergarten. That daughter is now a college graduate and has since moved on into her own apartment. Our son the same and has begun his career with Boeing in Huntsville. Other than our children's babyhood, this kitty has been her with us every step of the way. Amazing.
I'm sad, very sad. But she was so ill and obviously not doing well at all for quite some time and recently began to go downhill fairly rapidly. Too old and too sick to board somewhere and I knew we really needed to put her down, anyway. No way could I ask a friend to take care of and clean up after her - I won't go into the kinds of messes she made here towards the end. But I hated the idea of putting her down and feeling like it was for my own convenience since I didn't have anyone to take care of her. Finally I asked my daughter if I could take her over there while we are away (no pet policy) and she agreed. Almost from that moment I felt a freedom to actually decide if it was time for her to go - instead of feeling guilty about it. Yesterday I realized how bad she was and that if she was still here on Monday we would take her in. She has given me so much love and comfort over all these years and even now, she somehow managed to take care of her own death and relieve me of the guilt involved. Some might think this is horrible timing - days before major surgery. But I see it as one last gift to me. I'll miss her so much, but I know she is in a far better place now. Rest in peace, Ali-girl
I'm leaving on a jet plane...
I do believe I'm nearly ready. About to go shower now so I can then pack those items, too and say I'm good to go. House is somewhat clean... hahaha... if you stay downstairs that is! Attached a note to my visiting kitty's new collar. She's been visiting me for months and months - she's my 'other' kitty. I know she's got a real home because she's HUGE. Unless she just hops from house to house and finds willing people like me to feed her, comb her, play laser tag with her and give her water. :D So I bought a collar and taped a note to it, wrapped around the collar - Your beautiful kitty has been cheating on you with me for months now. I'll be out of town for a while and doubt my husband will feed her, in case you wonder why she's suddenly so hungry. ~ a neighbor. This cat is gorgeous. So much fur that even her tail looks about 2" longer than it should be. lol.. She's a lover. Anyway, hopefully the owner sees the collar (left the stupid bell attached because the collar absolutely disappears in her fur), finds the attached note and reads it. lol
Now it's just last minute stuff - make sure we have our chargers for all our devices, turn the water off to the house (always have plumbing issues here!), make sure I have my lists/notes/etc. boarding passes... all the crap that goes with having this surgery 2300 miles from home. Sure hope it's worth the inconvenience!! Got the call from Revis' office confirming my pre-op appt. tomorrow, then a call from the hospital as a sort of pre-admittance things. Just a bunch of health history, emergency contact #, directions, things like that. I'm even taking my Bromelain already - that's three days before so thank God I remembered to start it yesterday! .. Think I'm good to go!
I'm not actually nervous at the moment at all. That weird sort of calm that I halfway expected to feel, but think I feel that way now because of all the travel considerations. No time to focus. I'm sure I'll get nervous once we're on the way to meet the surgeon. And then those damn 'before' pictures that so many of you don't feel uncomfortable with but I sure do! I guess I feel that if I was THAT comfortable with my body that I didn't mind naked photos being taken of it, then maybe I wouldn't feel such a 'need' for surgery! lol.. That's MY take on it, anyway. I don't think I'm necessarily shy with my body - just don't like what I see! God knows, if this surgery works as well as I know in my head I hope it will, then I'd probably be a damn exhibitionist! ;)
Wish me luck, people. I can't express how incredibly important this site has been to me for months now. I love the people I've met, the incredible friendships already formed, the sharing of feelings, fears, knowledge, questions... It's truly been invaluable. So to those of you that have read my crap and encouraged me along the way, THANK YOU!! Say a few prayers for Friday morning for me, too, if you would! I'll update as soon as I can. I'll have hubby text a couple of people and they can post I'm alive and well for me if I'm too loopy to type. Which, I pray to God, I AM!!! I don't want to have any sort of PTSD crap from the pain I had a couple of weeks ago. Right now I think that's my biggest fear - that by doing that surgery w/o anti-inflammatories, it somehow triggered a weird pain response. I just don't want to wake up in pain freaking out and looking for relief. Fingers crossed, okay?? xoxo
this is it!!
I'm alive (and swollen)
I can't give any impression on how I may look as I'm so swollen. I'm hunched over like a tummy tuck, though. In fact, I feel more hunched over after this surgery than I did after the other one. In not sure why. And my ass feels huge, but sure that's the swelling.
Not to scare anyone off of this surgery, but so far I'd say it hurts more. Getting up hurts more than I can say. So does sitting back down. we ended up buying a recliner from Costco. There's no way I could get up and down on the bed. It's on this low platform... Can't do that.
I'll update tomorrow probably, but one thing I would say is- do not have surgery at Broward General Hospital. They totally sucked and treated me (ignored me) far differently than they treated other patients. And I was stuck in recovery for 7 hrs because they didn't have my bed. More later.
At the hospital I had to ask for pain relief and most took their sweet time bringing it. I'll save my issues with the hospital for later. In short, more than half of the time I was in pain. Once released I found the dosing schedule too far apart to keep pain at bay. Finally emailed my surgeon and he agreed to more frequent dosing for back spasms and suggested 800mg ibuprofen every 8 hrs for five days. So finally - between 4 hr dosing for pain/muscle and the ibuprofen I woke up knowing I'd had surgery, but not completely wracked with pain. Idk why I seem to burn thru the meds, but this schedule helps so much! I see my doc tomorrow and am hoping to get a couple of the (six) drains out. I have two super producers, two with small output and two with negligible output.
I'll update more later.
finally feeling human
I cannot believe the swelling. A good 10 lbs worth. My waist is now 2" larger than pre-surgery, hips 2"+, Lord knows abdomen... probably more than 3", thighs are bigger by a good half an inch. So what all that meant is my garment is a medium instead of the small I was expecting to fit into. And it is tight!
It's been a kind of rough recovery. First catching up with the pain that the assholes at the hospital refused to really respond to in a timely manner. I actually ended up needing 10 mg percocet and some muscle relaxers every four hours for a number of days just to stay somewhat comfortable. A lot of times it felt as though my thighs were in a tourniquet at the torso. And the skin feels stretched to the max. I think it's the lower back pain and the inability to lay down on anything other than a recliner that have really been aggravating. Good thing my husband insisted on buying that recliner from Costco! I'd have never made it to the bed as low as it is.
About a week ago, my husband and I kept smelling something ... off whenever I had to sit on the toilet. Honestly, I thought it was the toilet or the bathroom or ... I don't know. Finally realized the smell was ME. Omg. Had appt. with my doctor the following day. My husband and I assumed it was a vaginal infection since I'd been on antibiotics and recently had the uterine ablation.Yeast infection sounded most likely. My doc gave me a prescription for Fluconozole - one pill immediately and the other one 48 hrs later. The smell didn't go away. I took a few pictures of the area, close ups and saw...infection in the groin incision! ;( I know the area isn't considered 'clean' from a surgical standpoint and now I understand why. The labia swell up to about the size of an index finger (each)! And they are smashed together so the vagina feels fuzed together (haha), but what also happens is the outer portion of these huge labia are now touching the (swollen) inner thighs. So that leaves a narrow, dark and moist channel - perfect breeding ground for infection! I'd swear if it weren't for the lips being so swollen and touching the thighs, the area wouldn't be that moist or that dark.
The following day I had another follow up appt. (Tues) and showed the doc the infection. This was the appt. where he pulled the drains. Weird feeling, but one stung for a second and I said I think that has some tissue attached, and another one (outer thigh) burned like hell for a few seconds. Otherwise, pretty non-eventful. He took me off the antibiotics I'd been on since the day before surgery (due to drains, he said) and then put me on another antibiotic to try to treat this infection. I had one dose last night, checked this morning and it's actually worse than it was before. Sent pic to my doc and he said I'm already doing what I can do for infection - I wash the area with antibacterial soap every time I use the bathroom, pat it dry, then blow dry the entire area, put a piece of rolled up gauze in the 'channels' and am on antibiotics. So... guess it's a wait and see game. Ugh. Then my doc sent another email and said he hadn't tried it before, but if I was willing to try it, to go ahead. There is a polysporin powder that he said to sprinkle a little here and there to try to keep the area a bit drier. Willing to try anything but turns out this is difficult to get your hands on. Finally Walgreen's said they'd order it for me and hopefully it'll be there by Friday or Sat. This morning it looks slightly better, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed it'll knock this infection out.
Other than that, I think I'm healing pretty well. Tried to go without pain meds yesterday. We'd planned on driving to the beach and getting out and walking a bit, but wanted to fill the prescription for the powder first. After two Walgreen's and standing forever there waiting, I said I couldn't make it to the beach. We stopped at the grocery store to pick up a couple of things and I was hurting so much by the time we got back. Popped a pain pill and a muscle relaxer and took a nap. Won't try that again for awhile!
This morning when I got up to pee (and the long ordeal after of washing, drying, blow drying, etc..) I felt 'thinner'. Took my measurements and no :( Waist is still a couple inches larger, hips too. My thighs are just about the size of pre-surgery now, so hoping they'll shrink a couple of inches from here. I still have a lot of swelling in thighs and back and abdomen. I can't wait to see where it ends up though.
My biggest complaint (other than pain and swelling) is there is a weird folded area at the top portion of my butt crack. It freaks me out - but my doctor swears it will all fill out over time and most likely by the three month mark (!) Of all things going on, this is my biggest fear. I don't know how to describe it other than maybe a puppy's docked tail. It's not like pleating or piecrust incision as it's more like the butt crack, itself at the top. Before I leave here for home I will ask him again what happens if it doesn't flatten out...is this a surgical thing? I hope not - hope it just disappears. He said a lot of 'his' butts look that way right after surgery.
I have a few 'on the table' shots my surgeon took and they're pretty cool. I might actually post a couple of them. I really hope I look like the one of me on my back all sewn up once all the swelling is done. I like the hips/waist contour and love the fact that my thigh fat isn't sitting down next to me! lol I'm trying to keep that picture in mind when I look at my currently bloated and swollen self.
A pretty good day!
When we got back I grabbed my bikini (I guess I brought it thinking I would wear it for the mark up to see if the incisions would be covered) and put it on after I showered. Just wanted to see if it would cover and it did! I had to make sure the back was pulled high enough. My doc says all incisions have a tendency to drop a bit from gravity anyway, so this one may settle where I was hoping it to be. Regardless, the bikini worked and my husband was so very complimentary! I was actually blushing. lol. He grabbed his phone and took some pictures. I know no one knows my husband, but if you did, you'd realize how out-of-character this seems. He seemed genuinely happy with the results and said, Now I can say this surgery is worth it! That'll make ANY day a good day, huh?
I think my infection just might be getting a little better! I don't want to get too excited about it yet just in case I'm wrong, but this is definitely the first day since it started that I know it didn't actually get worse than the day before. Progress! Too bad I'm pretty sure it's messed up my chances of having some nice scars along the front of my body. The way parts seemed to open with infection makes them look a bit more like they're the tops of my thighs in areas rather than in the groin crease. I hope I'm wrong and I'll heal nicely...but I doubt it. Right now the important thing is to heal and get those sutures out as soon as I can. Hopefully BEFORE I return to AZ. I have no idea who would tend to them otherwise. Anyway, all things considered, today was a really good day overall. :D
And now it's a waiting game
The good stuff:
1. If this is really swelling and I end up looking like the table shot, I'll count this surgery as a major success.
2. At this point, my legs are tight and smooth, but I don't want to put too much in store there as I know with swelling, these imperfections are hidden.
3. According to my surgeon, he cut off about 7" or 8" in the back! That may not seem huge to some, but for someone who 'only' lost 55 lbs, that is a lot of excess skin that was hanging down.
4. He also said he removed something like 8 cm from my inner thigh skin. That's just over 3"!
5. My surgeon removed the stitches today - one of my fears of returning home with stitches still there no longer a concern :D.
6. He did NOT use any staples which I think was really cool of him as he knew how much I really didn't want to have staples.
7. I am feeling human once again. My husband and I went to the beach a few times and actually felt like a vacation. (well... a vacation that included major surgery and massive pain and aggravation! lol)
8. I still don't know the cc's of fat my surgeon removed, but he said he lipo'd the front of the thighs from about halfway point, around to side/saddlebags, to the back where he had to leave areas so there would be healthy, strong tissue to sew together. He did my inner thighs (I think...but if so, lower...maybe mid thigh down to knees) and said he lipo'd my flanks. I'm excited about all of that and still am hoping this will result in a 2" loss in each thigh eventually, and it'd be awesome if I lost that much in my waist, but I'm not counting on it! Lol. With that 1 1/2" gap between rib cage and hip bones, that would be a tough thing to accomplish.
9. My surgeon is very compassionate when it comes to pain. I asked for another refill of my meds, even though I know I'm feeling better, but I still have pain after being up and about too long. And at night - assuming because I'm tired. I'm still in a recliner and this makes my back tight and ache, but he refilled the muscle relaxers for me, as well.
10. At this point, I still love my surgeon! I pray I will say that in a couple of months when the healing and swelling have run their course. He'd teased me the other day in an email about working the application of polysporin ointment into my "OCD routine". lol. Today he mentioned he is OCD, himself. You know? I think that is a GOOD quality in a plastic surgeon since I think it contributes to being meticulous.
1. The potential for some pretty bad scarring. I believe I would have scarred fairly well had this infection not occured. This does bum me out a great deal.
2.Probably up there with my biggest disappointment is the feeling the two fat pockets I have just above the mid inner thigh area (the MAIN reason I accepted the inner thigh incisions to begin with). They have been the bane of my existence since I lost the weight 3 1/2 years ago. Nothing seems to make it go away - squats, lunges, cardio, weight training, hiking... I was SURE the surgery would take care of that. The other day they showed up :( Maybe not quite as defined as before, nor as full... but there. Disappointed as I know I'm still swollen and if that's the case, will it look worse again once the swelling goes down? And for this I suffered the nasty infection and scarring - now probably not good scarring. :( Major disappointment.
3. I'm not loving my butt. I think it's mostly the strange folds at the upper part of the butt crease which I think may actually be flattening out some. I guess I'd also hoped for a perkier ass and damn... pulling up 8" you'd think would do it! Of course I still have to fluff and drop and the swelling on my lower back doesn't help the shape aspect.
4. I still have NO idea what I'll look like as I'm sure I still have those 10+ lbs on me from surgery. I'm hoping this is because my body is still battling infection, thinking it will try to hang onto the extra fluid to protect itself - much like muscles do when you begin a new workout. At this point I can't imagine fitting into the couple pairs of 'inspiration jeans' I have at home. Both were way too small in the thigh area for me. Maybe? Hopefully?
Other than the things mentioned above, I'm doing really quite well, all things considered. The beach has been lovely. Unfortunately antibiotics make you very sun-sensitive and I have a pretty funny looking sunburn. My husband would dig a hole for me to stand in and then lower me onto a sand chair. I love his ingenuity! But as I can't lay down, and the sun is where it is in the sky this time of year, my right leg got the brunt of it. Normally I tan ... a little TOO easily. I've ruined my skin with all the years of sun exposure. Sometimes I'd get a light sunburn, just sort of pink but would look tan the following day. Not this one! lol
That's all for now. My husband left for home yesterday early evening and I'm alone until Friday when Cookie comes for three days! :D Really looking forward to that. Too bad Chica couldn't make it also. Anyway, it's about 7am and I have not been to sleep since 7am yesterday. Probably a combination of all the sleep from the first ten days or so of recovery (than God for that!) and my mind running a thousand miles an hour as I reflect on the surgery and wonder about the outcome. I have a feeling the Percocets also end up messing up sleep patterns, too. Strange thing is I took a 10 mg. one before going to bed, AND a muscle relaxer since we had such a long day. And not one bit of sleep. I finally got out of the chair around 4am and made coffee. Now I'm sleepy and may try to nap a bit.
What a day!
The weather was kind of grey and humid...no beach for me. I decided to go to Walmart to pick up a few things. Also the first time I've driven since surgery so it seemed a bit of an accomplishment. I ended up spending probably two hours there! I went by the clothing thinking I should pick up some panties and ended up browsing thru all the racks. Now I know it's Walmart, but thought I'd find a t-shirt or something. I saw a pair of shorts that look like the foldover yoga pants I love. Hesitated, thinking why bother? I haven't worn shorts in probably 10 years. But hell, they were black with a hot pink leopard print foldover waist band...and only $5. Why not, right? Then saw a pair of pj shorts that looked cute, so I threw those in the cart, along with two pairs of lacy boy shorts/cheeky style panties, a black cami, a hot pink lace racer back tank and even a cheap pink bikini. Didn't try anything on- the compression garment makes that a pain in the ass. Did the rest of the shopping and went out to see it had poured rain while I was there. Found my way home, unloaded the bags and put things away.
Decided to wash my garment again (daily!) so I grabbed the shorts to try on in front of the mirrored sliding doors. And.....OMG! I had "A MOMENT"! I looked at my reflexion and almost cried! From JOY!!! I looked OKAY! I mean seriously okay! Won't win any contests here, but my thought was - I could wear these shorts! I can join the rest of the shorts-wearing public and not stand out! My legs look fairly smooth and acceptable. You have to realize what an incredible moment this was for me! I live in AZ. For probably 9 months of the year it's either hot or unbearably hot. Yet I wouldn't put on shorts - even in the comfort of my own home...even when the temperature exceeded 115 degrees! THAT'S how much I've hated my legs. This was .... simply ... incredible. I wanted to cry, to laugh, to sing!!
I texted my hubby and a few close friends and then I wrote an email to my surgeon. My subject line was, I'm having a moment... Now, as I've mentioned, I've emailed my doctor dozens and dozens of times over the months. And he's got a pretty good handle on my personality by now. So I say something like- hold on...this is a GOOD moment (he's so used to my anxiety about this or that and asking hundreds of questions. I told him I wanted to share that experience with him and told him what happened. And thanked him for being able to practically perform miracles. I did mention that I hope the lumps and bumps don't reappear once the swelling goes down, but to be prepared for a giant hug next week. He's such a cool guy and ALWAYS responds to emails. Sure enough, not long after he replied thanking me for sharing "my moment" with him. And said that makes him feel good for both of us! I just thought it was cool for him to recognize my absolute joy of the moment.
I really hope this bubble doesn't burst. Hope like hell the crappy stuff doesn't show up when the swelling goes down. What a day!
As I mentioned earlier, I haven't met Dr. Revis in person yet. It feels as though I have because of the many (many) emails sent back and forth so far. He is double board certified, and though the majority of his practice is now devoted to fixing bad boob jobs, he performed hundreds of body lifts over the years. They made up roughly half of his practice until FL changed medical coverage for major weight loss patients several years ago, no longer a covered expense, and that part of his practice dropped off considerably. He assures me he still performs 1 - 2 of these surgeries per month, though. *UPDATE* I have to say I still love my doctor. That may say a lot as I'm currently in the throes of a nasty infection in the groin incisions, but through no fault of my doctor. He is 'real', approachable, easy to talk to, and knows just how to tease me about my 'attention to detail' nature. :D He comes across as very knowledgeable without being too cocky. I've sent literally dozens of emails and he has responded to each and every one of them. Sometimes just to tease me. I appreciate his sense of humor, as well. Another thing I dearly love about him is that he seems to try to do what he can to make the patient happy. He knew I was very much against the use of staples and had planned on using them in the groin crease incisions. At some point during surgery he made the decision to forgo the staples and use sutures as I'd hoped! I was so happy to find that out!! I asked if he would take intra-operative photos for me and he did. He allowed me to use a compression garment following surgery as it had a large enough crotch opening and was easy off as it all Velcros together. So as a plastic surgeon, I feel he is still flexible in his approach. My only gripe so far is his choice of hospitals! I'd definitely see him for more plastic surgery, but have to admit, if it could only be performed at Broward General I might have to find another surgeon. That was such a horrible ordeal - one I never want to repeat.