I had my first consultation with a highly...
23 Mar 2014
10 months pre
I had my first consultation with a highly recommended weight loss plastic surgeon in my hometown. He has over 13 years experience with body lift and post-weight loss surgery, and has a stunning office only thirty minutes from my home. My initial consultation was on 3/17/14, and I was greeted and seen quickly. I was also treated with respect, dignity, and sensitivity, as dealing with issues of the body is quite personal.
Let me rewind a bit...I lost 105 pounds on Weight Watchers, I was 250 pounds, and I'm now 145. I have been at my goal weight since 8/9/09, and I am active, fit, and healthy. I am 32 years old with no serious medical history as well. I gave myself a few years to see what would happen, if anything with my skin...of course, nothing has tightened up, in fact, because we all tend to age (even me), my skin situation has become worse, I believe. I also have, what I perceive to be, very heavy fatty skin/tissue deposits on my hips and butt. My stomach skin is extremely loose and saggy, and the fat deposits on my side make it nearly impossible to find clothes...my waist is itty-bitty, and my butt is very large.
Aside from the sheer terror of going under the knife, I'm really ready and desperate to see these unnecessary saggy, fatty pieces of me go away for good.
I am uploading a video and several photos...you can see my weight loss transformation as well as my current skin situation.
I would really appreciate any feedback from medical professionals or those who have had the Body Lift procedure. I deal with extreme anxiety, so my fear of surgery is probably more pronounced and unreasonable than most. Hearing from real people in the community will definitely help me!
Also, I work a high-end retail job and will have plenty of time off work (at least three weeks)...that said, what can I expect when I return to work? I am on my feet most of the time, but my job will be more than accommodating for me to sit on a stool with clients (I sell high-end, designer jewelry and diamonds).
Second consult and financing options!
26 Mar 2014
10 months pre
So, just a quick update...I've been emailing back and forth with the AWESOME patient coordinator at my surgeon's office (at least the one I'm most likely to use at this point), and I'm feeling better mentally better about this process and the procedure. I think that, once I finally come to grips with the fact that I'm doing this for ME, I'm taking time away from work for ME, and I'm going to take as much time as I need to heal properly, everything will become easier - I'm really getting there. I'm one of those weirdos (or lucky ones) who absolutely LOVES work - I love my job, and I'm kind of attached to it, so being away from my clients and co-workers will be hard.
That said, my patient coordinator has helped alleviate so many of my fears and concerns, and, while I won't be pain-free or superwoman, I am feeling SO much better about the healing process and the incredible post-operative care this practice provides.
Also, my parents, wonderful and amazing people, are covering a HUGE portion of the cost of my surgery. While this wasn't necessary, it sure does help alleviate financial stresses - they are just so proud that I've lost the weight AND kept it off for nearly five years!
I don't think anyone ever WANTS to go under the knife, but I want and deserve the body I've worked so hard for...most people who are naturally thin who have never lost any significant amount of weight don't even work out and eat right the way I do, and they look great - I deserve it too!
More to come...
28 Mar 2014
10 months pre
Does anyone out there who has had a LBL deal with extreme anxiety? Normally mine is really quite tame, but considering this surgery and the actual procedure has really heightened my senses and made me freak out a little bit. Any advice or calming words would help! Thanks so much!
I had my second consultation with my surgeon yesterday - it went SO well, and I'm so excited! This is starting to become more and more real...it's hard to believe, and still a little bit scary...but mostly exciting.
I was so impressed with how my doc answered all of my questions, took so much time with me, and really addressed all my concerns with understanding and support. I have two more consults next month just to shore up loose ends and make sure I'm getting the necessary, professional evaluations.
At first I really wasn't thinking about doing breast work because I didn't want to be under or deal with extra pain, but, after thinking and stewing on it for a while and finally coming to grips with the reality of anesthesia and pain, I'm pretty sure I am on board with a breast lift and slight augmentation now. Obviously, everything comes down to money and recovery, but my surgeon is beyond confident that he can safely perform both surgeries at once with very little added recovery time...I guess breast work is relatively simple - I'd sure appreciate any feedback on that subject.
I'm dealing with a little bit of push back from work regarding taking time off, which is frustrating and disappointing...on top of the fact that my personal medical records have been disclosed without my consent (not good), but I'm working directly with my manager to get things squared away and make sure we're doing what's right for me and for the business - I freaking love my job and the company I work for, so my health AND my career matter!
My surgeon is pretty confident that I'll want to return to work (part time) after about two weeks - I would really appreciate anyone shedding some light on that. My gut is telling me that I'll want/need three weeks, but if I can work shorter shifts after week two, that would be great! I work retail, but I have the option to sit and take breaks as needed. Any advice?
I'm still hoping to have my procedure done late August/early September. We'll see! I'm functioning on very little sleep after so much excitement yesterday, so it's hard to think straight!
Anyway, more to come as things progress...
Putting on my Patience Pants
So, I got some pretty major pushback at work for taking time off for my surgery, despite the fact that at least three HIPAA laws were violated. That said, it looks like we may have compromised on a January surgery date. I work for a high-end retailer, and Q4 is vital for the company and my paycheck. As much as I don't want to wait 8.5 months to get this done, I will gladly take the month of January off to avoid the post-Christmas returns!!
Also, I'm an actress/singer, and I was recently cast in a local production that will consume the next three months of my life, so really, the wait isn't that long!
I think I've always secretly wished to take January off, so it really is a blessing. I will just have to really focus on occupying my time elsewhere in the meantime!
I had a physical with my PCP about two weeks ago to have some preliminary blood work done. My iron is seriously low, as usual. I'm really working on boosting my iron levels with Bariatric Advantage chewable iron tabs and boosting my protein, calcium, and B12 as a pre-op precuation (per Doctor's orders). Even though I'm still planning on having my procedure in January, 2015, there's certainly no harm in getting things where they should be now and going in to surgery as fit and healthy as humanly possible!
Has anyone had experience with Anemia or B12 deficient pre-surery? I'd appreciate any advice!
Thanks so much!
Has anyone else out there struggled with getting time off for their LBL approved through work? I work for a very small company with an unclear set of policies and procedures, so I'd sure appreciate your advice! At this point, my GM is only approving 15 consecutive days off...obviously not enough. Help! I'm so angry and discouraged!
Second Surgeon Consult
So, I went to a second surgeon for another opinion, and I was blown away, and not in a great way. This surgeon comes HIGHLY recommended and is considered to be in the top 1% of surgeons in the country. He has an office in Denver & Beverly Hills. I was extremely impressed with his bedside manner, knowledge, explanations, and his entire staff.
The thing that is boggling my mind, and maybe some if you can chime in on this...this surgeon is saying my LBL (tummy tuck, outer thigh lift, butt lift) will take 10-12 hours!!!!! That seems crazy and excessive to me - under anesthesia for 10-12 hours??! Also, he won't even do a breast lift at the same time, as that will add another 6-7 hours! On top of that, the LBL alone was priced at $35k.
Folks, help me out here. This seems absolutely nuts and excessive. I loved everything about the surgeon as far as bedside manner, knowledge, & thoroughness was concerned, but I cannot wrap my head around the amount of time he quoted or the whopping bill. Not to mention, his before & after gallery is not mind-blowingly impressive. I'm so confused!!
How long were you all under for this procedure, and what did you pay?
Got my surgery date!
So, as many of you might remember, I was having an extremely difficult time with my employer regarding this surgery request. Despite the fact that I've been a top-performing, loyal, reliable employee for the past four years, my request for time off had been denied...until the beginning of August. I finally had a heart to heart with the GM of my company, and I was nothing but honest about what and why...when I'm fully clothed, no one would ever guess I deal with the skin issues that I do. Needless to say, my GM was shocked and I could see the tears welling up in her eyes...she knew at that moment that this was something extremely important to me, and she made an exception. I feel extremely grateful.
My surgery date is set for January 13th, 2015, and I will have a full three weeks off, if necessary, and possibly more depending on whether or not I have any complications. Feeling like I was HAD to go back to work after two weeks was very stressful for me, so I'm relieved to have the time I believe I will need to recover.
Also, when I had blood drawn back in the spring, I was severely anemic. I have been for years, and nothing has worked to correct it, until now! I started taking my husband's bariatric advantage iron & b12 supplements, and my levels are now off the charts! I'm so excited...the coolest thing about getting good lab results for me was that my surgeon gave me a personal phone call the day he got the labs. I was ecstatic to hear his voice on the other line - it was just so personal and reassuring.
I'm beyond confident that I have chosen an excellent surgeon for this procedure, and I'm very, very excited for my big day...albeit a bit terrified as well.
I'm still debating having the girls done as well - I'd really love to do it all at once, but it's all a matter of finances.
Anyway, that's the scoop...I'll be posting more as things progress!
Hey all! So, I'm 99% sure I'm going to do the breast work at the same time as my LBL. I'd really appreciate any advice or recovery information from people who have done both. Thank you so much!
Date booked and down payment PAID!!!
I had my third and final consult with my surgeon yesterday, and I'm so excited!!! I'm doing the breast work as well - they only say about a week recovery for breast work anyway, so it's minor when combining it with the lower body lift. I will also have LOTS of help post-op. I will have a nurse with me around the clock for the first two days, in addition to my wonderful husband and mom! My brother will also be coming down from the mountains to make sure I'm okay (he's a paramedic/EMT/firefighter). I have the BEST care team on the planet, and I believe I have the best surgeon around!!!
This process has taken quite a bit longer than I anticipated going in to everything in March...I apologized to my surgeon and the patient coordinator (who have been unbelievable through all of this), and Dr. Nick gave me a big hug and said we just want to make sure it's right! He's a doctor, very matter of fact, but he has a soft side and understands that some of us crazy women need that!
Also, the patient coordinator and I were playing with implant sizers before Dr. Nick came in the room - I was feeling really awesome about the size I chose, and snapped a few photos. When Dr. Nick came in, he looked at me with a big smile on his face and said, "Are you stuffing your bra?" Having a great sense of humor is also tremendously important to me. I was so pleased with yesterday's appointment!
My surgery date is set for January 6th, 2015! I'm counting down the days!
Pre & Post Op Instructions!!
I got a huge packet in the mail detailing my procedures and my pre & post-op care. This is happening! I'm so excited and a bit scared. Thanks for all the support! I love this site!
So, ladies, what can I anticipate as far as post-op clothing is concerned. I'm having a LBL and BL with augmentation, so am I correct in assuming that I won't be able to pull things over my head for a while? Should I buy a size bigger than usual to compensate for swelling? I'm planning on wearing cozy loungewear (albeit stylish, because that's how I roll) and a hat because I won't be able to wash my hair for at least a few days. Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated!
Also, I rented a lift chair for the first month post-op - should I purchase additional pillows for comfort? Do I need an elevated toilet seat?
I can't believe how quickly this is coming...I'm so excited, albeit a bit nervous!
Well, I've started my protein boost, I've purchased a few recommended items (coccyx pillow, go girl female urinal, extra pillows, neck pillow, medical lift chair (rental), water bottle with straw, meditation music, movies, books, etc.), and I'm counting down the days until my big day!! I had a dream last night about my procedure and that I healed very quickly, despite initial discomfort. I'm hoping this comes to be...I'm not nervous about anything but the recovery - I'm an impatient workaholic, so being down for a while will be tough.
My official pre-op appointment is December 15th, and I couldn't be more excited! I have a few lingering questions, but nothing major.
Ladies, I need your advice...
So, I've got my surgery and all my pre & post-op necessities covered financially. For those of you who have gone through this procedure, what "surprise" expenses did you have? Is there a budget I should prepare for after the surgery? Obviously I'm hoping and expecting that all will go well, and I won't have issues that end up costing more, but that's always a possibility. That said, if all goes well, what advice do you all have for post-op expenses? Thank you so much for your help! Surgery is exactly one month from today!!!
Friends, I'm not sleeping...certainly it's a combination of nerves, excitement, and fear, but it's making me dysfunctional at work and in my personal relationships. I haven't slept more than five hours a night in over two weeks. Help!
My "to do" list keeps growing...
Well, I'm exactly a week out...this is crazy! I can't believe my big day is almost here! Regardless of how prepared I thought I was, my "to do" list keeps growing! I feel like I have so much to do in so little time...and work is BUSY, BUSY, BUSY!!! Everything is good, despite the fact that I've been surrounded by sick people for the past five days, but I'm hoping my nutrient stores and extra, pre-op supplements will help keep my immune system up! I am so anxious, nervous, and excited...this week is going to fly by, and I still won't have everything done, but I'm grateful for my support team! Tick, tick, tick...
Prep, prep, prep
Well, laundry is done, lift chair is in, house is clean, I picked up some super-sale pajama pants and hoodies at the outlet mall this afternoon, walked for three hours, and packed my surgery bag: meds, go-girl (female urinal), neck pillow, diaper pads, etc.. I'm strangely relaxed and peaceful. Hubby and I had a wonderful date night dinner out, and we're planning on doing it again tomorrow night! This is all so surreal and exciting! I'm so stoked to finish this chapter in my journey and finally feel comfortable in my skin!
Today's My Day
6 Jan 2015
Day of treatment
I'm absolutely shocked and amazed, but I slept through the night...with a little help from my friend Xanax. Hubby & I got in to a little tiff last night - he's been sick, and I think he's more nervous about all this than he cares to let on. We're fine now, but please send him healing energy and prayers as we go through this together! I'll do my best to post when I'm lucid! Thank you all for your support, advice, and well wishes!
I'm in recovery!!
6 Jan 2015
Day of treatment
Surgery went perfectly! I'm very sore up top, but I'm doing okay! I need to get home to sleep, but I'm alive!!
6 Jan 2015
Day of treatment
I can't believe how quickly my surgery went. Dr. Nick said it went better than he ever could have predicted, and that I'm going to be so pleased! Still, I'm in quite a bit of pain - it's about an 8/9 right now. I made it up the three stairs going to my house though, and now I'm in my lift chair relaxing a bit. First post op is tomorrow morning. Gotta be honest, the car ride was fine, but getting IN the car was excruciating. Once I get through these first few days, I'll be quite happy!
I'd be lying if I said thus wasn't excruciatingly painful. However, it is bearable. The hardest part has been getting up to potty. I believe it's the lipo sights that are on fire when I move, and my breasts are extremely sore & tender. I will likely ask for a stronger pain medication at my first post-op appointment Wednesday at 11:30. Sleeping in the recliner has been a godsend. I have no idea how I would get in and out of bed without motorized assistance. I'm seriously hoping the pain starts to subside very soon. Right now, I'm just trying to stay positive, take my meds on time, and pray.
So, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has had to cough right after this surgery because of all the mucous from the breathing tube...my question is, how the hell if you manage this without making your abs hurt for days??? Ice tried holding a pillow on my stomach, but no luck! Ouch! Help please!!
Post op day 2
What a difference a night makes! I still feel like I got hit by a bus, but my pain is finally managed, and it's much easier for me to get to the bathroom. My bowels are waking up...tons of gas...and it feels smashing! I am going to attempt a shower today, so hopefully I'll have some pics to post!
I'm bfreling better every day aside from a little hiccup todsy! I'll post more when I'm not totally high!
I am so unbelievably pleased with these girls, I can hardly stand it! Only two days post! Woohoo????
Over the hump!
Well, the first few nights were less than awesome, but I've now managed to really stay on top of my pain! I took a shower yesterday, and that was a bit too much for my body to handle, but I was able to brush my teeth and wash my face today! I feel pretty decent! It's a marathon doing just about anything, but I'm so pleased with where I'm at mentally and physically, that I'll just take it one day at a time.
Still no #2, but my bowels have definitely been responding with gas and gurgling - hopefully #2 will come tomorrow!
I haven't been out of my CG much, so pictures will come later. In the meantime, enjoy this before and after!
So, there's nothing quite as special as waking up with one of your drain tubes twisted and pinching your labia. On top of that, hubby had to get a flashlight to untwist the tubes, which was hysterically humiliating. In addition, I managed to get the hiccups sitting on the toilet while trying to poo...thanks goodness I'm four days out, and it didn't hurt as badly as it would have a few days ago. Speaking of the almighty #2, nothing yet - tons of gas, and no bloating or pain, but nothing solid yet. We're going to get some smooth move tea to hopefully help things along.
Anyway, happy Saturday!
Hey all! So, my hope was to post several pics of my "after," but it requires so much effort and truly knocks the life out of me to get in and out of this garment, that I just haven't had the energy. What I can tell you is that I am THRILLED with what I'm seeing, and I cannot wait to heal enough to show off my new bod! Thank you all for the encouragement, and I'll post images as soon as I have the energy!
Well guys, no poop...I've been taking my colace, eating fiber gummies, drinking smooth move tea, etc. - all that happening is gas...really bad gas (TMI). I don't even feel like I have to go, and I'm post op day 5. Ugh! Other than that, I'm feeling pretty great. My incisions look great, my boobs look AMAZING, my tummy is flat, and my pain is almost non-existent - just a ton of stiffness when I wake up. My drains are putting out little to nothing, so I'm hoping to have those out sooner than later. I'll post pics when I have the energy to get in and out of my garment - it's a workout!
I pooped. I took an hour. I gave birth to tiny twins and sang the Hallelujah Chorus afterwards.
In other news, everything else is just fine. No real appetite, keeping my sodium very low, drinking tons of fluids, and I'm now eager for another shower.
Post op day 5
Ladies, I don't know how you have the strength and energy to get in and out of your garments for photos, but I managed a few tonight! I am so thrilled with the results so far, and I know it will just get better and better!
Feeling a little down...
So, I know I'm only six days out, and I really think I'm doing pretty well, but I gotta admit, I really thought I'd be farther along and more independent by now. With how healthy I was going in to this surgery, and how overly prepared I was, it's frustrating to still feel so dependent on my husband. I can't take a shower by myself, I get winded going up and down stairs, my lower back absolutely KILLS me if I stand for more than a few minutes, I'm still taking my Valium & pain meds because I'm beyond stiff and sore if I font, etc..
I'm 32 years old, no kids, a very active & healthy lifestyle, and I really thought that I'd be more independent by now...
I'm just feeling blue and kinda helpless. I really want to start feeling like I can handle this, despite knowing that it's a long recovery regardless.
Any advice will be helpful!!!
I feel so empowered today! Everything was SO hard for me up until today, but I made it to another turning point and was able to shower with minimal help from my mom, I explained how my garment and padding worked, I was able to lotion lotion myself on my own, and I even blow-dried my hair!! I didn't even feel winded or tired after any of it! I did take a nap when all was said and done, but I feel SO good being clean, comfortable, and a bit more independent than I was yesterday! Today is such a good day!!
2nd Post Op
So, I had my second post op yesterday, and it went so well. I had all my bandages removed, and my surgeon, nurse, and perioperative massage therapist were all shocked at how quickly I'm healing. They all said my incisions looked more like someone who was 3-4 weeks out instead of 1-2! This was such good news! Yesterday, however, did totally wear me out, and I'm definitely completely exhausted today. I am hoping to shower and totally conk out for the rest of the day. I'm so sleepy, I'm having a hard time focusing! Anyway, I will try to take some photos today! I hope everyone is well!
9 Days Post
Y'all, I could not be happier! This is EXACTLY the result I was hoping for. Boobs are still swollen and are a bit bigger than I thought they'd be, but I LOVE them. My scarring looks awesome too! Hooray!!
Well, I'm post-op day 11, and I can honestly say I feel my strength returning little by little each day!
Yesterday, hubby and I took our 7-month old puppy to her favorite dog park (she's our youngest of four dogs), and it was a blast to watch her run and play and even more rewarding for me to be outside enjoying some fresh air.
Getting in and out of cars is still very slow-going for me - I have not attempted to drive yet. Perhaps I'm being overly cautious, but I'm listening to my body, and I just don't want to push it.
I was seriously hoping to return to work on Tuesday (day 14 post), but I'm still not driving, and I still do need narcotics every night to keep my pain and stiffness a at bay - it's definitely not horrible pain, but I still take 1/2 Vicodin at around 2am when the stiffness and pain wake me up. I don't take narcotics during the day - ibuprofen takes care of that.
Yesterday I also took a blissfully long shower and my hubby helped me shave my legs! I feel like a human again! My thighs are still quite tender and bruised from the lipo and lovenox injections - when hubs was helping me put lotion on my legs, I almost jumped at how tender my thighs are.
The bruising on my back and above my front incision is fading beautifully. Obviously everything is still tender, but it's looking and feeling good!
My boobs look great! I was a bit concerned about their size at first - they seemed much bigger than I thought I wanted, BUT I tried on one of my favorite button-down blouses, and, even with some swelling, the blouse still fit perfectly!! I haven't tried any pants or skirts on because I'm in my super padded CG most of the day - based on looks alone, my swelling is so minimal that I'm guessing I'm still my trusty 6 or possibly a 4 because I no longer have a bubbly, saggy rear end or huge saddle bags! It'll be interesting to see how things fit once I'm able to be out of this garment and not so tender!
My surgeon & nurses say I'm way ahead of the healing curve, which is great! I just have zero energy and am quite, quite tender that I don't know how realistic returning to work is just yet.
Overall, everything is awesome! I'm beyond glad that I had this surgery, and I can't wait to start feeling a bit more like myself to get back to my normal routine!
I find my CG to be absolutely hysterical, and I'm wearing undies because Aunt Flo arrived and I needed a little extra barrier. Anyway, I tried on one of my size 6 skirts that had always been a bit snug in the hips, and it was at least two inches loose - with my swelling and over my CG. I'm so stoked! Anyway, I'm off to dreamland! Have a great night!
I can't believe I made it to two weeks! I'm still slow and taking pain killers at bedtime, but I'm doing okay and getting stronger every day. My swelling is pretty minimal and doesn't fluctuate much, but I am slightly bigger mid-day to evening than I am in the morning. I did get my final drain out yesterday, and that feels great - tons of nerve action today! It's insane! Overall, things are pretty good - ups and downs every day.
Day 15! What a difference a day makes! I got some new pain meds for bedtime, and I feel like a new woman today! I did laundry and even folded it and put it away...and my washer is in the basement and master is on the 2nd floor! I climbed the stairs six times! Woohoo!
Anyway, by request, here's the rear...I'm definitely still hunched, so I look crooked, but I'm VERY happy with my results so far!
So today, I managed to wash my garments (up and down stairs a few times), shower, walk about 1/2 mile with my mom, and pick up a bit around the house. Now I'm chilling out in my recliner watching Friends...again.
Weird thing - my hips, especially my left, hurt like heck when I walk sometimes. It just tweaks out randomly. I'm hoping it's just nerves reconnecting and me using different muscles than usual to compensate for the muscles I can't currently use. I'm a runner, so I'm a little tweaked out about it.
Anyway, other than that, I've had a pretty great day again, and that's awesome!
I went in to surgery at 149, and now I'm 140 - still a bit swollen and retaining fluid as well!!! Here's to eating a low sodium diet and having all my SKIN gone!!!!!
Need Advice - Help!
I just transitioned from my lift chair to my bed last night. I can get in and out of bed, but laying flat on my back (two pillows under my head) caused SO much pain and pressure to my butt that I could barely handle it. I toughed it out, but I had to readjust every two hours or so and take 1/2 Vicodin three times. I ended up putting a pillow under my butt, but it still didn't do the trick. Any advice on how to stay comfortable? I don't think I would have needed the pain meds if it weren't for all the pressure. Thanks!
Well, I slept in my lift chair again last night, and, while I felt a bit defeated, it really is the smartest choice right now given the fact that I have four dogs who sleep in our bed and make an unintentional habit of stepping all over hubby & me. They're small, with the exception of one who's 30 pounds, but it's still dangerous and oh so painful since everything is still so tender.
I fell asleep around 10:30 last night (took my 1/2 Vicodin & Valium at 9pm), woke up at 2am for 1/2 Vicodin, and then slept until 6:30. I got up to pee and decided I was still tired, so I slept until 9am!!! I actually feel like I got some rest, and I may take a nap this afternoon. The cool thing about the lift chair is that I can have the pillows under my butt for support, but I can recline the chair to a nearly flat position so I'm still getting a stretch - I'm standing much, much straighter these past few days, although I have to be very intentional about it.
Today I woke up with more swelling than I've had since day 2. I'm not really sure what that's all about, but I'm not concerned - a lot is changing, and it's obvious it's swelling at not something serious or any indication of a final result.
I am so pleased with my incision placement - I really didn't think it's be that low! At first, before surgery, I was considering getting a belt tattoo to cover the scar, but I'm totally reconsidering that since it will truly never be seen except in the gym locker and by my hubby...and possibly the dressing room (I'm a singer/actress/dancer in Denver).
Aside from the weird muscle spasms and total-body tenderness, I'm doing great! It's apparent, however, that some people's pain and stiffness clears up at VERY different rates - I'm still dealing with it, which is frustrating, but it does get better every day.
Due to my tremendous, immediate, post-op weight loss, my surgeon recommends I not shop for new clothes for several months as I'm likely going to lose another 3-5 lbs of fluid and take on a whole new shape! This is annoying and awesome at the same time - I love to shop for clothes, but I want to clothe my finished product and not waste money on anything temporary (with the exception of an extra couple support bras and cheap, soft pants to wear to work).
Anyway, I'm rambling! Happy Sunday!
Back to work!
Well, yesterday was my first day back at the office, and I got winded quickly. I was only there for two hours before I thought I was going to fall asleep at my desk...I quickly realized I didn't have anything supporting my back, and my abs have been out of commission for three weeks. I was sore and sleepy as heck by the end of the day.
Today, I brought a support pillow, and that made all the difference in the world! I'm also walking much, much straighter and faster.
When my nerve action starts happening, that's when walking gets tough, and it's getting better every day. My nerve action tends to happen in the evening, which is totally annoying because I'm trying to unwind and relax. Nevertheless, I feel like I've made HUGE strides over the past two days being back in real life!
I also submitted my video audition for a world premier musical here in Denver! I was amazed I had the stamina, but I'm pretty happy with it!
Anyway, feeling better day by day is making me so hopeful!! Yay!!
Well, this week has been full of fun, new events, and today is my 33rd birthday!!! My co-workers spoiled me, and hubby is making a delicious, low-sodium steak dinner for us...oh, and he's going to shave my legs and give my legs a deep moisturizing lotion massage!! I'm a hairy mess not having shaved for several weeks...I can't reach just yet!
You'll see from the pics that I'm standing MUCH straighter. My boobs are definitely bigger than I anticipated, but I believe there's still a bit of swelling, and they'll be fun for the hubs...all of my button-down blouses still fit fine, so I'm sure I'll acclimate once they're fully healed.
Anyway, things are good. I still tire quickly at work, but it's getting better each day!
Surprise Borthday Party!
Well, hubby threw me a surprise party tonight with many of my best friends! I had NO idea!! It was so good to see my friends and have a taste of normalcy again! My husband is THE BEST!
Anyway, here's my newest selfie!
Roller Coaster - Read This for the "bad & ugly" side of recovery - it ain't all peaches & cream!!
Well, the advice is definitely true that this recovery is a roller coaster ride. I have never experienced such dramatic mood swings in my life! One minute I can be feeling pretty great, and the next, I'm down in the dumps.
Physically, I'm healing beautifully. My incision is already fading, I've only had one tiny area just at my tailbone that is taking a bit longer to heal, my breasts are starting to settle and fluff (and I think some of the swelling has dissipated as well, so they're looking more size-appropriate), and I've truly had zero complications, knock on wood.
The thing I will point out in expressive detail is that this recovery is NOT for the faint of heart. There are plenty of testimonies on this site of folks who have healed very quickly, and I need to emphasize that they are the EXCEPTION and not the rule. I was 32 when I had this procedure, no kids, and in pristine physical condition, and I'm still tender, swollen, fatigued, tight, etc..
I'm lucky to have a relatively flexible job - I get very tired very quickly at the office, and I basically work from a desk all day. It helped to flip over a trash can under my desk to elevate my feet - the worst part of this recovery, aside from feeling helpless, has been my lower abdominal swelling. When I swell, I can't stand up straight, and everything gets very, very tight. Perioperative massage along with a very low sodium diet & drinking 3L of water minimum per day helps, but it's not a cure-all.
I am so grateful to have such a wonderful surgeon & clinical nurse who have answered all my questions, seen me when I've been freaking out, and constantly reassuring me that I'm doing great! On top of that, my surgeon is truly gifted - I have an unbelievable shape now along with a very clean, low, and even incision. Dr. Nick is INCREDIBLE!!
The story goes that people take an upward turn around week 6 - I just passed my 4wk mark, so I've got a little ways to go yet. I'm hopeful for continued, healthy healing along with increased strength, mobility, & energy!!!
Well, I don't want to speak too soon, but I think I just rounded a major corner! My energy levels are up, pain & discomfort is dwindling, stiffness & swelling hit around 3pm, but dissipate when I get home from work with ice and rest, I'm down 12 pounds since surgery, and my mobility is dramatically improved! Anyone running or exercising at 3-4 weeks makes me nervous...I'm not allowed any cardio other than walking for at least 8 weeks - BE CAREFUL!
Stretching and gentle yoga have changed my life! I only take Tylenol & ibuprofen once before bed and then maybe twice during my work day.
I've been Patty Perfect with my sodium intake & clean diet, so I know that is helping to minimize swelling - sodium is in EVERYTHING!
Anyway, my mood is dramatically better now too since I stopped taking my 1/2 Vicodin at night...that is a terrible drug with awful side effects - even on low doses. If you can, get off it before I did!!
Left breast is still taking its time to settle, but I'm learning patience!
Anyway, here's my 5-week vs 3-week pic!
What a difference a week makes! I'm feeling about 75% healed, and I'm so happy with my shape! My left breast is still taking its time, and I've had some muscle spasms and tenderness, but I'm working with my post-op massage & physical therapist to help with the new, added weight. Overall, I'm feeling like a new person - I've still got a ways to go, but I'm so, so happy!
6-week Follow Up
I had my six-week follow up appointment with my surgeon and nurse today, and they could not be more pleased with my healing and overall result. It's still very early, and I have a bit of swelling after working a long day yesterday, but I'm feeling so, so much better!! My surgeon was so pleased, we even took photos! Apparently I'm well ahead of the curve as far as wound healing and implant settling - my left breast is still sore and a bit high, but it's getting there! I'm doing weekly physical therapy and perioperative massage to help with pain, tightness, swelling, and implant mobility and settlement - I cannot express enough how important this has been in my healing. I cannot imagine getting through this without the amazing therapists working alongside my surgeon to help me attain the best physical results with the least amount of pain possible!
This continues to be an interesting and emotional journey, and I am so, so grateful - I have zero regrets, but I'm glad on I'm on the upslope! I had a hypersensitive pain response initially after surgery which was debilitating, and I did not bounce back to "life" nearly as quickly as anyone would have imagined. It took me a solid 4-5 weeks to finally feel like myself mentally, and I'm still coming around physically...although, I have to say, I feel a million times better than I did even two weeks ago. The tightness and stiffness comes and goes, but it's manageable now and doesn't make me want to pass out from exhaustion!
I've been given the all-clear to bathe and resume low-impact exercise. I'm very excited about this, but I'll need to do a bit of shopping for very supportive sports bras. I went from stuffing my loose-skin boobs in a 34D, and now I'm likely a solid 34DD with the implants, so I've got a bit more to support up top. I'm so happy I went with the size that I did...I am now a 36", 25", 36"...pretty incredible to have those pinup measurements!
I can't wait to see what the next several months have in store for me and my healing! This has been such an amazing, terrifying, yet beautifully rewarding ride!!!
Photos, scar, and almost 7 weeks!
Physically nothing is new, although I've been much more swollen this week having worked many more hours. I'm keeping up with my massages and feeling pretty good...still waiting on my left breast. It feels like it's taking forever! My muscles are just very tight and sore on my left side, so they get special attention at my massage sessions - kinda strange having my boobs massaged, haha! It just needs to soften up.
I'm very pleased with my scar - I do scar work daily to break it up and help it flatten out, and it's easily concealed with just about any underwear. My surgeon did a fantastic job!
Overall, I'm slowly learning patience and releasing control. My body and God are in charge, not me!
Swollen - 7 weeks
Today was a pretty great day - I wore heels for the first time since surgery! I only made it four hours before feeling very stiff & tight, but it felt great to be back in some of my normal clothes!
Here's the extend of my swelling at the end of my work day along with taking my puppy to the dog park.
Just shy of 8wks - BACK AT THE GYM!!!
I woke up at 7 this morning and felt so good, I laced up and hit the gym! It was my first time back since before surgery, and I feel great! I managed 35 minutes of low-impact cardio and 20 minutes of strength & resistance training! My chest muscles are still very tight from the breast work, but they're improving every day. Also, my size 6s no longer fit...by a lot! Crazy!!!
One of my besties bought me adorable crop tops for my birthday! I'm having fun with my new look in fun, new clothes!
Two months & comparison shots!
I can't believe it has been two months since my surgery! The first few weeks were rough, but I'm feeling great now - only a few, lingering aches and pains from time to time. I still swell a bit in the afternoon or after I've been very active, but it's manageable.
I'm just in awe of my surgeon's work and my amazing, powerful, healing body!