First let me be completely honest for anyone contemplating this procedure: it hurts a lot. It is difficult to imagine the pain as well as recall it fully. The only thing close to it I remember is passing a kidney stone in the wilderness. So this is serious stuff, not to be headed off by denial or ignorance. Be informed as much as possible.
Having said that, I also state from the vantage point of day 6 that I already see changes in my abdomen that I like. Maybe I wasn't so crazy after all.
Things did not go well for me from the get-go. My anesthesiologist had to puncture me 7 times to get the IV line in, and said I had small veins. That's the last I recall until awakening in recovery and immediately needing to vomit. That continued for 3 days and was the worst of it. Also my ureter was swollen from the catheter and I could not empty completely or without pain. The pain along the incision was minimal and the meds controlled that well. On day 3 I was pretty alarmed and wanted a mulligan!
However, I am now over the nausea, UT inflammation and can say I am seeing progress. I look down at myself and definitely see much less abdominal mass.
My surgeon and assistants are top notch in my opinion and have done a very fine job. This is a medical miracle they have wrought. They anticipated and planned very well for the problems and have been right on top of them all. Pays to choose experienced people all the way.
My advice to those contemplating is:
1. Read reviews and real experiences to get some taste of what surgery entails. This forum has been a godsend!
2. Be prepared to understand and execute some rather complex instruction and plan to fully comply. Don't be oppositional-defiant on your meds or you will hurt more than you need to.
3. Don't go for the lowest bidder.
4. Plan to get some real round-the-clock help for a week. I still need meds (and food) every two hours and without my wonderful boyfriend I would be in despair.
I see past the swelling now that there lies a flat abdomen in my near future. It will be worth it, for many reasons, not just vanity. They have pulled off a miracle here!
The drains are a complete nuisance as well as that naughty little compression garment, but both are absolutely necessary for good results. I believe I have had very minimal bruising, and that is amazing in a fair skinned redhead.