47 Years and Discovering the New Me - Waterloo, ON

Having spent most of my life as an obese...

Having spent most of my life as an obese individual, when I lost 75 lbs, following 10mths of hard work in the gym and totally changing my eating, I decided I wanted to care for the hanging skin on my tummy and arms as a reward for my hard work. On a psychological level, fears of pain, recovery and worry over what people would think of me doing this to my body were real issues I needed to work through. I talked it through with my trainer--who was incredibly supportive--and some family members, I booked my surgery. Going into the surgery I was quite nervous. "Am I really paying someone to do this to me?" The staff were unbelievable! Compassionate, professional, respectful and very comforting. They worked together harmoniously like a well-formed team. They met my needs before, during and after surgery and Dr. Shenker called me at home that night to make sure all was well.

Catching up on my first week

A week ago today was surgery day. I slept remarkably well the night before and headed to the clinic 45 minutes away from my home. Within two hours Dr. Shenker had finished doodling on me for my tummy tuck and arm lift and the surgical team began their work.

My trip home afterwards went well in spite of the distance. Although I was moving slowly I felt great. Whatever drugs they gave me I should have gotten an order for the road! The biggest challenge was learning how to deal with the two drains while going to the washroom!

Day 1--Well, actually the first three days I did a lot of sleeping. I had been warned to stay on top of the pain pills which I gladly did. Didn’t really relish the idea of discovering what it would be like with no pills. The lower body garment brought tears when trying to unhook and rehook each time to use the washroom.

Day 2--Shower day! Finally! Following Dr. Shenker's advice I used a shower chair and was so glad I did! Removing all the bandages and gauze was frightening as I saw the extent of the surgery. Oh my. By the end of my 5 minute shower I was extremely light headed and the room was swimming. I somehow was able to slow my breathing enough to relax until the lightheadedness passed. I strongly recommend shower chairs to those heading into a tt.

Day 4--I was back to the clinic today for a check on progress and hoped the drains would be removed. After peeling out of my garments Julie, the nurse, rewarded me with a huge smile. She said the incisions looked great. That was encouraging. Unfortunately I went home with the drains still in. Hopefully later this week they'll be removed. I also had my first bm which was such a relief (I know, gross to read about but reality). ;)

Day 6 -- Yesterday I waddled to the drug store for some gauze. Who knew such a trip could knock the stuffing out of someone. Oh my, stars! I took a shower in the afternoon--much improved scenario over my first shower. I washed and dried my garments and squeezed my sore parts into the garments (upper arms and lower body). I was THRILLED to be able to get in them on my own. That was a big concern for me. By nighttime I was feeling very (very) sore, swollen and discouraged.

I don't have pics of my tt to post yet but will try to get some in the next few days to post.

Eating WAY off

In my review I mentioned that I've lost 75 lbs over the past 10 mths. I increased activity and significantly changed my eating. I now track everything I eat including all the Macronutrients (carbs, fats, proteins). Everything has gone well. Then...surgery! Trying to figure out how to eat while feeling like the bottom of a shoe has been a challenge. I don't want to return to old habits but being in a weakened state from surgery that is where my body feels most comfortable. I've been eating 'clean' but the caloric value has been way to low to sustain a good recovery. I texted my trainer last night who offered some helpful solutions--eat foods that pack the biggest punch in small doses. He's been such an encouragement through all this. I'm hoping to be able to turn things around. So, here goes! Would be interested to hear how other post-tt people do with this area.

Arm lift pics

Here are pics of my arms following arm lift surgery 6 days post op. I'll get tt pics as soon as possible.
Our stories are similar. I've just turned 50 and am 6 weeks post op from LBL and arm lift. After losing 40+kg Through diet and exercise alone I had the residual saggy wrinkly skin. Decided to do something for myself and didn't tell many people. I'm about 80% fully recovered! with some swelling in the tummy still remaining but the shape is coming into play and I'm excited. Back to gym full time with the only restriction being ab work, as it's still sore, but back to hard core spin classes and kick boxing. Just started sleeping in bed with no pillows or extra padding underneath and now waking up less often. Super pleased with the scarring - no breakdown and no area is raised. The first 2 weeks are the hardest - especially sleeping in a recliner :(. But I found the more I started moving around and doing things myself rather than relying on hubby and daughter the quicker my recovery was. Initially I hardly told anyone one but now I don't care who knows because it's made me very happy and I'm supper pleased with the results so far. Hope your recovery goes as well as mine. Also I was so surprised how little pain there was with the arms, especially as I have been moving them to lift myself. Only pain is mainly at the end of the scar at the elbow - which hurts if I lean on it. As a trade off though I'm loving my arms although I have lost muscle bulk and need to start building them up again. Best of luck :)
Thanks for your post. I agree--the arms have been little trouble. Today I had a bit of aching in my left arm but all in all not too bad. After my shower today I was putting my garments on and noticed a bit of puckering at the end of each incision (near the elbow). I was really disappointed. Asked the nurse about it and she said it is too early to be worried. So, for now, I won't! I'm very nervous about losing muscle mass. One of the biggest hurdles I had to come to grips with was no cardio or weight training for 6 weeks as per my PS. Well, one week down, 5 to go. Hope I make it. Looking forward to checking out your page and following your journey.

Said, "Goodbye to 'the twins'" today!

Today I was thrilled to say goodbye to my two drains. This is the Friday of a long weekend and I was disappointed to discover that the nurse who was caring for my case is off until next Wednesday. She had told me earlier in the week that when the drains were removing less than 25cc of fluid each in a 24 hour period to contact her. Today was the day that happened. I was willing to keep the drains (wasn't looking forward to the thought of them being removed) until next week. However, the administrator at the doctor's office contacted the nurse and she made arrangements to come in to take the drains out. THAT is commitment! So tonight I won't have to be afraid of yanking on the drain tubes getting in and out of bed.

I felt probably the best today that I have since before surgery. Felt like a new woman. The nurse answered quite a few of my questions and spoke with experience having had the same surgery two years ago. She said her scar looked the same as mine does now when she was one week post op. She asked if I'd like to see her scar. It was SO encouraging to see her scar. It was very light and fine. Hopefully my results will be similar.

I've been instructed to lightly wipe the incisions during my next shower in order to remove the dried glue and blood. Just the thought of that task makes me shiver. Yikes. However, if that is what they want...I'll do it.

Eating has been better today. I had hit a wall on Wednesday/Thursday not sure what to eat and feeling weaker and weaker. Thankfully some good advice has helped me bump up my calories making me feel less 'wonky'. Hopefully I can get back to my regular eating routine. I'm nervous about losing much muscle mass.

Finally some pics!

It's taken time for me to gain enough courage to TAKE pics let alone upload them. I got my drains out today and, therefore don't have any pics with "my twins" (what I called my drains). I still look so ROUND. I realize there is swelling but hope that I will eventually see some flatness. Some of you ladies out there who are post tt have some pretty flat tummies. Hope as time passes I can count myself among you.

On another note, speaking of you ladies, I want to thank you for the encouragement I've received this far. You have been so uplifting and a couple of you have really spoken into my life related to some areas where I've struggled in wrapping my mind around all the changes I've experienced this past year. Just want to thank you all.
You look great and have a great attitude. Thanks for sharing. Keep posting and showing us pics! I'm set to have a TT and arm lift this month. Just hoping having them done together along w lipo is not too much. Take care of you.
Thanks Conniesco for your encouragement. I am feeling tired, sore and a bit discouraged today. I'm the type of person who needs to keep busy but the surgery has really halted any activity and my mind has been wandering and worrying. Got to stop this. On to you... I have to say doing the arms with the TT hasn't been a huge issue for me. The arms are more of an irritation than painful, although yesterday I did have aching. You'll do fine. Excited for you.

Pressing on

Well, cross another day off the recovery calendar. I felt weary today so took it easy for the most part. Went to the grocery store with my sister to pick up a few things. Oh, my stars! Ended up holding my tummy throughout the store feeling like a wrung out dishrag by the end. Oh well. Didn't see anyone I knew so I don't care =) It felt great getting out among the living.

The swelling has been HORRIBLE today. The pain from the surgery is less than the pain caused by the pressure in my abdomen. I've never been pregnant but 'get' what it must feel like!

I also had my first, second and third sneeze today. Ouch, ouch and OUCH! Would sure hate to get a cold right after a tt. Something to be thankful for.

Question for you tt ladies: have any of you dealt with teary moments (emotional lows)? I have felt at times like I've been on an emotional roller coaster. If I hadn't had my period a week ago I'd think that is what I'm dealing with. Has anyone else dealt with this, and do you have hints to pull yourself from those times?

My 19 year old niece spent a day and a bit helping me out. Such a blessing. I told her about my surgery and she was brave enough to look at my incisions. She said to me, "When everything is done (swelling is gone) we'll have to go panty shopping." Never in my life did I EVER think I'd be be in a position to lose my cotton granny panties LET ALONE that I'd be going shopping in one of those lingerie stores for myself. This will definitely be a first for me!

One of my fears is that I'll start gaining weight back that I've worked so hard to lose. I've been told by my PS that I can't do any cardio or weight training for 6 weeks. I've read other posts from some tters that said they had to restrict there activity in the gym after their return (although my PS said that after 6 weeks there are no restrictions with him). I'm so afraid of falling back into the old lifestyle I left a little under a year ago. Believe me--From past experience I can do a lot of damage in a short period of time. It is a real concern for me. I'd love to know how others have handled this.

The other thing I'm battling is how fat I feel. As I said, I've worked hard to slim down. Looking at me now all bloated and swollen, however, I feel bigger than I did presurgery (although the scale is the same). Perhaps I'm just paranoid.

Anyway, that is how I'm feeling today. Trust you ladies have a good evening!
You sound just like me. I too was freaking out about putting on weight as a result of doing no activity - especially when u work so damn hard to get it off. I also felt like the side of a house due to the swelling - and my closest friend was my rock and support of encouragement, in that with time it would all be good. Don't stress about how big you feel because it does go down, I am now 6 weeks post op and only have about 25-30% swelling left. My waist is pretty flat, the swelling is more at the front of my tummy. And I have found the enforced break from exercise was probably good for me - as I had reached a plateau for about 12 months with my weight loss although I was working like a dog at the gym. I've lost another 2kg in the 2 weeks I have been back to the gym, doing full on cardio, spin and boxing, but still can't do a push up or sit up without pain in my abs. I think the enforced rest has jolted the body into action again once I started back. I was also very impatient and just wanted to be at least 6 weeks post op straight away. I look back and think wow 6 weeks already, that went quick. And I totally understand the discomfort of the compression suit, at times I felt I could hardly breath it became that tight with all the swelling. Keep thinking of the long term, it will all be worth it. Now I just can't wait to be 3 months post op, when I go on a cruise and show up my flat tummy to the world :). I will be posting pics this week, if you want to check them out.
Machine, I really appreciate your feedback. You indeed sound exactly like me. I'm thankful you are that far ahead so I can follow where you've been. I'm glad you've had a good friend to urge you forward. I'm learning how important that is. So far it is just my mom, sister, niece and my trainer who know of my surgery. I've been thinking I MAY tell a good friend at work once I'm back in a week and a bit. Still thinking that through. She has been a good support during my weight loss but has never had weight issues. About 3-4 months ago I commented to her about perhaps having surgery to remove the hanging skin and she laughed it off saying I didn’t need it. My mom said the same thing. However when I tried to explain it to my mom (and the tears started flowing as I shared how horrible I feel with hanging skin--crying in front of my mom at my age...how embarrassing!) my mom "got it" and could see how important it was to me. Not sure if my friend would understand like my mom did). It is my trainer who has been my biggest cheerleader. He has been my rock this past year and going 6 weeks without his input, encouragement and suggestions is going to be tough. But he, like you, has said he feels the complete break from the gym is what my body needs. As he said, "You've put your body through quite a beating this year--before surgery--and it needs time to 'regroup'." You are confirmation of what he has said. I got up first thing this morning and did my measurements in the same place as I did last night when I felt 11-months pregnant and found the measurement was the same. How can that be? =). I'm going to continue to do this each day to see if there is any change. Hopefully that will help to cement that it isn't as bad as I think! Hopefully. I was glad to read that your six weeks went so quickly. I'm praying for my six weeks fly by too. Until then I have to take advantage of being inactive. Yikes. Couple questions for you (if you don't mind):. How long did it take until coughing and sneezing didn't hurt anymore? I'm not sure if you work, but if you do work, how long were you off before returning? How was it once you went back (how tired were you)? Congrats on your upcoming cruise. Where are you going? Looking forward to see your pics. Thanks for your encouragement!
I only told a few friends as well, those you had supported me the most during my weight loss and they were super encouraging, especially in my moments of doubt before surgery. Like you my trainer and a couple of close gym buddies were the only ones who knew and they were great - never a negative word spoken. After surgery I told most people it was "womens business" and found no one pressed me any further about what I had done. However, now Im feeling and looking good, I really don't care who knows anymore. I went back to work after 3 weeks - I do 12 hour night shifts and it was a bit of a struggle but as my job is sedentary I was able to cope ok - it was more tiredness. Initially I only took 2 weeks leave but wasn't up to driving the 1 hour to work and 1 hour home, so I took an extra week off - definitely needed that! At six weeks it still hurts to sneeze - which I haven't let one rip yet fully - I still try to control them but the pain from that is getting better. Laughing is also still tender, as is coughing. It's amazing really how much you use your abs in every day life. Overall I felt the first 2 weeks were the hardest but no more so than having a C section. I've really only had my daughter and hubby for support and they have been amazing - especially as my daughter is a 3rd year nursing student. I felt mortified that she had to shower and dress me in the first week but I got over that pretty quickly as she was fantastic. Rather than seeing an improvement day by day I think it's more week by week. Before you know it you will be at 6 weeks and feeling/looking fantastic. I should be getting some pics emailed in the next day or so from the surgeon - stayed tuned. Love hearing a similar story - so glad my journey so far gives u some insight. Stay in touch :)

Small steps forward

Today was a good day for which I am thankful. I took a shower--which was amazing...first time since having my drains removed. Glorious! I also did two loads of laundry, walked a block and back to pick up the mail, and returned to my responsibility of being the main caregiver for my mom (she is 72 and we share a home together. Over the past 14 years she has battled cancer and for the past 8 years has been suffering with some type of undiagnosed neurological disorder).

It was a good day all in all but the one thing I seem to be battling is not being able to sleep. The first couple days were wonderful as I could crawl into bed and just flake out. Now...not so much. I think it is the lack of activity that is the issue. I took two Gravol last night in the hopes it would help but it took a couple hours to fall asleep (and then I was up three times before morning). I’m also struggling with jumpy legs...reminds me of restless legs. Tonight seems to be the same. Joy! I took a muscle relaxant in the hopes that this would help. So far...no change.

My arms (from my arm lift) have been sore tonight. The bruising is down considerably since my original pics four days ago. The scars look good. Hopefully the pain is just my body healing the incisions.

Today I followed nurse's instructions and began picking away the glue/dried blood left over from surgery (the dark stuff along the incisions). When she told me that this needed to be done I felt a bit squeamish. "You do realize that my scars are only a week old and I'm still in pain, don't you?!" So, being the dutiful patient that I am, while in the shower I soaped up and using a face cloth, as per her instructions, began "scrubbing" (gently) along the incisions. Oh, my stars. Perhaps that is why my arms are aching sore tonight. I got a tiny bit off but had to stop as I was beginning to feel a bit lightheaded. I'll give it another try on Tuesday. If anyone else has been through this I'd love to hear if you have any suggestions to make this a bit 'easier'.

I have another week until I return to work. I'm going to try going in tomorrow for a couple hours when no one is there (its a holiday) to do a few things and see how well I fair. Time will tell.

Trial Run for a Return to Work

Today I returned to work to do a few odd jobs and see how I fair going back next week. Because it is a holiday I didn't have to worry about being overrun with requests. I made it through the day but don't feel overly tired. There was method in my madness...I'm hoping I'll be zonked come bed time so I'll actually sleep. Last night I had restless legs again and the 2 gravol didn't work their magic. After two hours of tossing and turning I was fit to be tied. Tonight I will also take a muscle relaxant. So...Here's hoping =)

I took my compression sleeves (for my arm lift) off this evening to get a break. They are incredibly itchy and in certain places there's pockets of swelling. Quite interesting. The bruising is down considerably. I'll post pics in the next day or two. My tt incisions are looking good. The swelling actually feels like PMS bloating.

Tomorrow is another day. Small steps forward. B=)
Wmac, your pictures look great. Congrats on returning back to work today. Did you have to avoid any questions, comments? I crossed over to the flat side on Friday, glad to be over.
Hi Sexy4life. Thanks for your message. I've been reading your posts with interest. So glad you are here on the flat side. Congratulations and welcome. Your tummy is so flat. I still have quite a bit of swelling. I have my 2 week post op appointment tomorrow and hope I'll see the doctor so I can ask him just how flat I will be. His nurse said I may not end up as flat as I envisioned. I'm hoping his response is what I had in mind. I really hope your sore foot issue is resolved quickly. You have enough you are dealing with in recovery without worrying about your foot. Work went okay. I was just preparing a post about what happened when I got your message. I was back in this morning for a couple hours and saw some of my coworkers (technically I don't need to be back until next Tuesday). I snuck in so that I could get to my desk, do what needed to be done and out again before I started having people wanting me to do work for them. My friend's desk is right inside the staff entrance and she called me in to chat with her. I had told her I was having surgery but didn't feel free to share details. She honored my wishes and didn't pressure me. She has checked with me throughout my recovery and has been very supportive. After receiving, reading and thinking through your messages as well as comments from Yogagirl I decided I would share with her in confidence. Sexy4life, I so appreciated your encouragement and frankness. It helped me to look at my situation through different eyes. My friend was extremely supportive. She said she had figured out that I had had reconstructive surgery. I was stunned--how did she know? She said she was proud of me and supports me in the decision. She also shared with me one of her 'body issues' that she has always wanted to fix. Telling her this news has taken our friendship to a new level that probably wouldn’t have happened if I hadn't received your message. So, THANK YOU. Trusting your recovery continues to move smoothly.
Glad you had that personal conversation with your friend. Remember that sometimes God may put people in your life so that you can help others. Your procedure may give your friend the courage to do something about her 'body issue'. You are a strong and amazing person. Good job. Keep me posted .

Confiding in a Friend

The day before my surgery I mentioned to a friend at work that I was having surgery. I mentioned it merely so that she knew why I would not be at work. I told her that I preferred to not tell her any details and hoped she'd not push for answers. She honored my wishes.

Throughout my recovery she has texted me several times to check in and to see how I was doing. Today I went to work for a couple hours and had a chance to talk with her. Since my surgery I have had a chance to think through whether I should be sharing my news (about tt and arm surgery) with anyone and, in particular, with her. A couple RealSelf bloggers (Sexy4life and Yogagirl) have been a help as I worked through this process.

For me, the decision to have surgery was difficult. Although I knew this was something I desperately wanted for ME, as a 'people-pleaser, I was concerned with what people would think. People form opinions and judge so quickly without having all the information and I didn't want to set myself up for that. However, my new RealSelf friends helped me to see two particular realities that really hit home. First, people are going to judge and make uninformed comments about anything and everything...you can't control that. Second, the thing I CAN control is who I tell and the information that I share.

As I sat with my coworker this morning and she asked how I was doing, I decided to tell her about the surgery. To my surprise she had already figured it out. I was so thrilled by her support. She said she was proud of me and wished me well. (She also said I looked tired and pale; oh well--if you can't trust a friend to be honest to your face who can you trust) =) I'm just glad I had a chance to download on someone I trust. I doubt if I would readily be transparent with my other coworkers (although I have a good working relationship with them all). I'm glad that I had the courage to trust at least one friend. Just a little something else I've gained as a result of my surgery and the encouraging friends on this Site.

More arm pics

I took some more pics tonight following arm surgery. I'll hope to upload tt pics later this week.
You seem to have a nice waist to hip ratio (hour glass)! Lucky you!! I see you still have lots of swelling but at this stage of your recovery that seems to be pretty normal for most. Too bad you had to return to work already. In my opinion all tummy tuckers should have at least a month of due to the fatigue that's experienced. Your arms are looking good and will only get better. You'll notice a big improvement overall in just a few more weeks. You don't seem to have nearly as much bruising as me. Happy continuous healing!!
Thanks again for your encouragement BBNM...you are great! I've never been told that I have an hour glass figure but sure feel encouraged by that. I've been overweight all my life (well, a year ago I was technically morbidly obese, then a couple months later just obese, then overweight and then, two days before surgery, I did my body fat/lean body mass at the gym and was told I was normal weight....what a feeling!) so the thought of being flat is very foreign. Looking forward to it. I was very fortunate in the bruising department. My arms were the worst. I had very minimal bruising on my stomach...doctor didn’t need to do too much lipo. Thanks for your encouragement. Really appreciated! Take care and keep looking good!

Two Weeks Post Op Appointment

Today was my two week check with the PS. He seemed very happy with the results so far. I've been cleared to begin scar cream and massaging the incisions. My arms (from the arm lift) are still swollen and bruised with a few hard lumps. Apparently the more you massage these areas the looser things will get and the incisions and skin will spread out and heal. I can't say I really relish the idea of rubbing areas that I've protected and babied over the past two weeks but...doctor knows best!

I was a bit discouraged when I asked the nurse and then the doctor about my mid-drift area. I still have a pouch of skin that I was under the impression would be removed during the full tt. The nurse indicated it may not flatten but I need to wait until the 3 mth visit to see how things are going. The doctor came in after the nurse left to check on my progress and when I asked him about the pouch he said it may flatten but, if not, that I may need a second surgery in a year to remove the little bit of excess skin--something he indicated happens sometimes with people who have lost a lot of weight. I'm discouraged by this possible development and praying that the pouch disappears soon. I realize it has only been 2 weeks since surgery. Has anyone else experienced this? Am I worrying too early? I've posted some pics to show the "pouch".

Having said this, I still believe my PS is quality and has my best interests at heart.
I'm really keeping my fingers crossed for you and will say some prayers that it flattens for you!!! I'd really hate for you to have to go back in! Try and stay positive, easy for me to say I know :)
Thank you Fnygyrl. I appreciate your encouragement. I can’t say that I see much change in the area of concern but I’m still hopeful. Will know a bit more after next Monday’s PS appointment. I haven’t seen him since 2 wk PO so I’m hoping he is pleased with results thus far. You asked about recliners. I was one of those who did not have a recliner. My PS said that you can recline on your sofa or love seat so long as you have pillows elevating your legs. I found this comfortable enough. At night I slept in my own bed, again, with pillows propping up my legs and my upper body (so I laid like a U). It did get a bit sore after a week or so on my tailbone but in time I could maneuver and change positions a bit. My bedroom was on the second floor so I also was going up and down stairs from day one which is also do-able. I read your posts with interest. I see that you are a food junkie. I can certainly relate to you! I’ve been overweight/obese since I was 8-9 yrs old and for a time was morbidly obese, topping the scale at 270 lbs when I graduated from college. I won’t go into a lot of detail but believe me when I say, “I get it”. In my teens my doctor prescribed diet pills for me. After college a different doctor encouraged me to consider stomach stapling. I’ve tried WW eating plan, gym-diet plans, fad diets… NOTHING changed my desire for food. I could stay on target for a day or two and then the cravings would kick in BIG TIME and I’d say to myself, “Oh, I need to eat this or that…I’ll make up for it tomorrow and be really careful.” Then I’d grab and binge on anything that I wanted—usually sweet and salty carbs. Then the next day, when I was supposed to be careful, I’d feel so negative about what I’d done the day before that I’d be discouraged/depressed and need to eat. It was a horrible cycle that I could not break. While I was able to get some weight off through light exercise in my 30s and early 40s, my eating was out of control. Finally last August something just seemed to click in my head. I realized that so much of my life had passed me by. I had never dated (let alone married) and was feeling so very alone and embarrassed by how I looked. At the time I was obese at 222 lbs and was so ashamed. I thought to myself, “Okay, it’s now or never. I’m either going to make the last half of my life the happiest, or I’ll stay obese and unhappy the rest of my life. Either way…it’s my choice.” I had started with a new personal trainer (I had trained with 7 others previously and each kept quitting and moving to different jobs) and this time was different in that my new trainer seemed to REALLY care. He was blunt and honest and didn’t hold anything back yet was incredibly encouraging and supportive and was available whenever I needed to bounce concerns/questions off him. He told me what he thought and never lied to me. I knew that although my friends and family would soften their comments so as not to hurt me, he would tell me like it is. The truth is that no one can do this for you. That was a harsh reality that he shared with me that hit me square in the face. I had to find the inner strength to say NO when sweets and salty foods called my name—which they still do to this day. In 11 months I dropped 80 lbs and went from a size 16/18 clothes (I previously wore size 24) to a size 6 jeans a week or two ago. While exercise is important, about 80% of weight loss success is eating so I had to get a grip on that. I count all macronutrients that I put in my body every day, I take supplements that help my body to absorb the nutrients that I need so that my body works the best it can. I keep a food journal and give it to my trainer every week. I choose to be honest with myself and him by recording everything—good or bad—and that alone helps me to not eat the bad that I WANT to eat. When you have to write something down and give it to someone who is going to hold you accountable, believe me…you think twice before eating something! I’m not sure if this is a help to you at all, Fyngyrl, perhaps I’m just babbling and it doesn’t resonate with you…and that’s okay. Just know that you can do this. You may have to distract yourself (go for a walk or get busy doing something) or find foods to replace your comfort “go to foods” that call your name when you are having cravings. For me (chocolate lover that I am) I mix chocolate protein powder with greek yoghurt and it works well to cut the craving. Also, I LOVE Quest bars (available in GNC and some other supplement stores or check them out online). They are very low in carb, high in fiber and protein and they taste awesome (especially the cookie dough and oreo cookie version). These are my go-tos! The feedback I’ve received from friends and family has been overwhelming. I’ve had some negative comments from well-meaning people who think I’ve gone too far (too strict in my eating) but, frankly, I know what got me to be morbidly obese and I refuse to let that be a factor any more. I still struggle to wrap my mind around all the changes that have taken place in my life this past year with the weight loss and my tt/arm lift surgery. However, it has been a journey that has one HUGE regret for me…that I waited this long to make it happen. Hoping that some of this will help you as you are on your journey. Looking forward to following you. Please keep in touch!
Wmac......your response hit home like you wouldn't believe and actually made me well up with tears! Weight struggles are terrible and those that have never had an issue with food have No idea! Outsiders just view us as lazy and weak and that's so not it! I'm beyond happy for you that you have been so successful and are finally doing You!!!! I am praying for your appointment tomorrow and am anxious to hear what the ps has to say. Best of luck as you deserve it more than anyone! I know the struggle us real and I know how hard you've been working! Thanks So Much for your amazing words of encouragement and opening up about your own struggles. I appreciate it more than you know! Xoxo

Introducing walking into my day

Yesterday at my post op appointment I was cleared to do some "walking". When I asked what they meant by "walking" it was made clear to me that "walking" means a leisurely walk around the block...nothing strenuous. My normal routine is to do a 5 km walk/run most nights so not being able to get out because of surgery has left me climbing the walls. So tonight, with great joy, I threw my headset on, opened the door, waddled carefully to the end of my driveway and was off for a wonderful 15 minute walk...much shorter and slower but it felt wonderful nonetheless!

Earlier today I drove an hour to visit my two nieces and treat them to lunch out. Another opportunity to see some"normal" creep back into my life. Wonderful!
You look so tiny. It's hard to compare with no before pics but you look great. Two weeks really is too soon to worry. Your body went through a lot. It's going to take months to heal and resettle. But everyday it's changing and getting better. It's so hard to be patient during the healing process.
Okay...you are officially my new best friend! I am definitely not used to being called small, tiny, thin...but I certainly COULD get used to it! LOL I wrote Blubberbelly No More and was telling her that my doctor called me 'thin' (not sure what dictionary he uses but not the same one I use!). At any rate, thank you for the compliment. I truly appreciate it. I (stupidly) didn't take any before pics as I was hoping to forget those days and I hadn't come across the RealSelf web site at that time. Regrets! I'll have to see of my PS will send me some wallet size pics of the dozens they took before surgery so I can post a few. Hmmm...may be able to use one for my Christmas card this year. Okay...perhaps not! I've really appreciated the feedback of those who have gone before me on this journey. I've read so many blogs where the results were almost instantaneous and yet I look at my pic and don't see much change. My internet was down most of yesterday and while it was killing me not being able to go to RS or to check emails, it was an excellent break for me to calm down and to not obsess. I've decided to try and relax about my results thus far. I'll be the first to admit that I've learned I'm not a patient person. Something for me to work on! Thank you for your encouragement. I'll try to be more patient! :)
You're doing amazing!

Question for tt recoverers

Just a quick question for those of you have had tt and gone before me. I have been having a feeling like dozens of pins and needles in my swollen abdomen. It can get quite painful. Has anyone else had this? Any idea how to handle this (or should I just 'suck it up'?). Thanks.

Plugging along

Today was a fairly good day. I went for two walks each about 1km. I took my time and found I was a bit winded by the end. I walked (slowly) around the mall today for a bit too. Tried on some clothes--and bought a size SMALL top at a regular women's clothing store (a year ago I was still shopping in 'big girl's stores--oh what a feeling!). My arms (following arm lift surgery) were extremely sore pulling clothes over my head.

I've been having the feeling of pins and needles jamming in my swollen/numb abdomen for the last couple days. Not sure if this is normal. Hope so.
Yes, be proud of yourself! As for pinching loose skin, I can pinch it a roll of it below my stomach, under my bra, and like you in the middle, and I am very petite and only 125lbs. However, like you I had so much excess skin to begin with. If you look at my profile, I am very flat standing it, and I don't take pictures of myself sitting or pinching my rolls. I didn't expect it, but I am otherwise so pleased that I've decided to ignore it. Besides, my PS said wait till 6 months... but I don't expect suddenly tighter skin after 4 months po. Hang in there and focus on the before and now!! I find most of us continue to look for imperfection when we weren't perfect ever before lol! You will be so much more pleased by 2 - 3 months because the result DO continue to improve for many weeks to come !!

Perhaps about a bit too soon

Today I needed to take my mom out. Normally...not a problem. However, she uses a wheelchair. Seeing as how she had been cooped up since my surgery (July 24) I wanted to give her an opportunity to get out of the house. Well, getting the wheelchair out of the trunk of the car was not too much trouble (thanks to gravity!). Getting it INTO the trunk afterwards...not so easy. I took my time and moved carefully and slowly and DID get the wheelchair in but I think I'll give it another week before I try it again.

Today I went for three glorious 1 km walks! It's pretty slow going but feels good none the less. By the end of this week I hope to bump up the distance by 0.5-1 km. We'll see how that goes.

My incisions are looking fairly good. I am getting used to being able to see my BB. Pre-surgery it sat so low that I couldn't see it unless I pushed my stomach in and moved my rolls of skin out of the way. Now, I just look down and, "Hello!" 'dar she blows...quite cool. My arm incisions (from the arm lift) are looking really good (if I do say so myself).

Tomorrow I head back to work following two weeks of 'vacation'. I've only shared the news of my surgery with a good friend at work so the challenge will be to keep news of it under wraps. Some of my coworkers might understand but I don't have the time to clearly articulate my reasoning and, frankly, I shouldn't have to explain. So...I choose not to share the news.

Today I took my measurements just out of curiosity. To my surprise, my hips and bust are the same size. I THINK that means my measurements are what I’ve heard referred to as an hourglass. You could have blown me over with a feather when I realized that. I could get used to this ;-) Pre-surgery I resembled more of a stopwatch...round!

Hope you ladies all have a good night. Thanks for your support.
Hope you have a successful day back at work tomorrow. I will be thinking about you.
Thanks for the best wishes. I'm actually looking forward to getting back at it. I've been bored sitting at home. Of course, once I'm back I'll wish for a break. Oh well...Labour Day is coming! Glad to read you are doing well Sexy4life.
Good luck going back to work! It's up to you who you tell and don't worry about that! And girl! Take it easy! So sweet to get mom out of the house but don't lift anything until you are 100 percent! Keep getting better!!!

Back to Work Success

Hello ladies, today was my first day back to work following my two week "vacation" (translation: surgery recovery). All in all a good day. I was able to work quietly at my desk with basically no interruptions. Sheer heaven. Having my surgery in the summer was part of the madness in my method as many in our office are away on vacation so it is less busy. Tomorrow is another day ;-)

After work I took a walk and then after supper another walk. I've found that the walking is helping me to sleep better at night (that and taking Benadryl). It's only 7:25 PM and I'm ready for bed! I'll try to hold off until 8:00 (oh, I lead such an exciting life!)

I took some more pics tonight as I've not posted any recently. The arm pics seem a bit scarier than I think they really are. I've been told that massaging the incisions and the bruises (and swollen welts on the back of my arms) is very important and that using the scar cream will thin out the incisions lines and cause them to lighten. This is something I need to focus on.

On my arms and tt area I've got a couple spots that are bleeding so I need to be careful with the scar cream. You can really see how swollen I am in my tt pics (with my CG on). I’m trying to be patient and give the swelling time to go down.

Ta ta for now!
Good for you and well done. If you can survive work then you're certainly on the road to recovery. Little walks help with the swelling and alleviate the stiffness. Onwards and upwards :))

Ups and Downs

Today was an up and down day, or should I say a down and up day. This morning I had a lot of pain at work and although I tried to cover it up so no one was suspicious, I discovered my one coworker (the only one I've told about my surgery and is sworn to secrecy) was keeping an eye on me. She caught my eye at one point and mouthed the words, "Sit down!" with a stern look on her face, so I sat down. What she didn’t know until I told her later was that I had had a dizzy spell coming down the back stairs in our office. Everything tilted and was floating around in my head as I descended the stairs. I kept one eye closed to lessen the dizziness and managed to get to a vacant office and "collect myself" before I ended up on the floor. I have NO IDEA what caused it (things like that don't happen to me normally) but it only lasted for a few minutes. I went back to my office and had my morning snack which seemed to help. When "little mother" (my friend at work) found out about my spell she gave me a lecture and made me promise to call her if I needed help. Tonight she texted me and said, "You looked a bit rough today...you okay". I explained that I have good days and bad days and this morning was "bad".

After lunch, however, I was doing better to the point that I was able to take a couple walks--1km before supper and 4 km after supper. I was quite surprised by the longer walk. I kept a slower pace but felt really good by the end and probably could have gone another 1km. I'm slowly getting back to my previous-surgery activity. I'm bumping up my walks (I normally do 5-8 km a night, 3 times a week/10 km each day on weekends) and am eagerly looking forward to getting back to spin class and weight training. I just hope I don't pay for all my activity tomorrow.

I'd be very interested in knowing from recovering tt ladies how you went about integrating activity back into your schedule. I know everyone is different and you have to listen to your body, but I'd like to know, especially for gym goers, how slowly did you get back to squats, Deadlifts, lunges, core workouts, etc., how far along were you in your recovery when you initiated the various movements/exercises. Please do let me know. I'd like to make a plan from now until 6 wks (when my doctor said I can return to the gym) so I don't waste time getting back at it. Thanks ladies!
I waited 4 weeks to get back to be gym and then it was only the spin bike, which I still felt tightness and soreness in the waist but powered my way through it. Started weights at week 6 - not heavy, but not too light either. I'm 7.5 weeks and still cannot do a sit up, but that's about all I can't do. Dead lifts and squats ok because he have to focus on using the correct muscles and try not to engage the abs. Started running last week - only a few km at a time. Started kick boxing at 6 weeks but had to be a bit careful with the arm scars. With over a month off exercise I was surprised at the muscle loss in my arms but the cardio fitness only dropped about 20%. The test will be getting back to obstacle racing - which can be a bit brutal on the body I don't have the next one planned until October so I should be right by then. Keep up the walking but please take it easy if you're getting dizzy. Sounds like you have a great friend at work looking out for you. :))
THANK YOU. This is so helpful for me. I want to make sure that I've planned things through well so that I can get back at it ASAP but not jeopardize recovery. The walking feels great and I found the more I walked the better I felt yesterday. I feel good this morning so today will try to repeat the same distance I did yesterday. Thanks Machine for your response. Hope you have a great day!
You're welcome. Enjoy your walk :)

One Foot in Front of the Other

This morning I was wondering how I would feel after so much walking yesterday (I did 1 km and then 4 km an hour later). I felt great! I didn't feel any more swollen than I have been without my walks. So...today my goal was to give it another go. After work I came home and took a 5 km walk then had supper and went for another 1.5 km walk. I feel like I could go further but am restraining myself. I was having some pain at work but found that once I got moving it seemed to lessen. By the time I had walked 3 km I didn’t feel any pain (or very little).

It feels amazing to get out walking...albeit a bit on the cold side. It felt like 14 degrees C (that's 57F). Good thing I bought a spring/Fall jacket last week!

Thankfully no dizzy spell today. Still not sure what that was yesterday.
I love reading your post/journey. Not only is it inspiring, but you answer a lot of questions I'm having. Thanks so much!
Wow...what a wonderfully encouraging message to wake up to. I am so glad you enjoy the posts. This past year has been quite the journey for me....nothing like the journey you've been on. You should be very proud for all you've worked through. You beat me by a half a pound of skin/fat removed during surgery. Pretty tough way to lose weight ;-). I wish you continued success and encouragement as you move forward. I'll keep an eye on your post to follow your journey.
I need to verify my total skin and fat removal. My husband swears that's what Dr said but it sounds like a lot to me. I was on heavy pain meds half out of it when it came up. My tt was my "gift"to myself after reconstruction. I'm more than ready to be healed and back to my life. :)

Crashing Down

Oh boy...yesterday was not my best day! On a physical level I had enough pain to warrant taking a couple Tylenol X Strength. However, it was the emotional roller coaster that took its toll--and it isn't even "that time of month!". I've been battling the roller coaster off and on since surgery and have read and been told by other wonderful RS emotional-survivors that it is part and parcel of the surgery...which I appreciate knowing.

What frightened me was that I just felt like rolling over and giving up. Is it really worth all this? I'm still swollen, bruised and enduring pain and have not seen signs of "flatness"--after three weeks. I felt so emotionally discouraged (not only by the lack of improvement from my surgery but by comments that a couple well-meaning coworkers made about me being too thin). I’m hearing these comments at a time when I am swollen from my tt: what are people going to say once the swelling goes down and I’ll (hopefully) appear even thinner. For those who have seen my pic, I am not a skinny minny by ANY stretch of the imagination. I’m about 149 lbs (5’6”) and I frankly don’t know what all the alarm is about. I’ve spent the last 40 years (I’m 47) of my life as an obese (and for a time a morbidly obese) person struggling to lose weight and worrying because people were saying I was too fat. Now, I’m a whack lighter, trimmer and feeling the healthiest I have ever felt and finally proud of my accomplishments and I’m still worrying—because people are saying I’m too thin. Good grief… I can’t seem to win! :-) (Sorry…I got side tracked…)

ANYWAY…last night I ended up walking 9 km in an attempt to work off pent up emotional frustration. I spent most of it in tears as I tried to work through all of this garbage. I walked as I normally would have before surgery and remember thinking, “I don’t care if I hurt tomorrow!”

This morning I woke feeling no worse for wear. I haven’t had excessive pain as I somewhat anticipated after such a long walk and this morning, as I looked at myself in the mirror, I saw what I THINK is the beginning of some flatness. My measurement was down about a half an inch compared with what it is normally post-surgery in the morning.

All this to say, I guess, is that surgery for me has been a whole lot more than having someone cut into my body to make needed adjustments. To me it was a necessary part of my transformation. My trainer said to me about 5 months back something that really impacted me. He said, “It has been a blessing watching you come out of your cocoon and morph into a butterfly.” Now, I’ve never had a body building champion make reference to me being like a bug, but in this case I took it as a huge compliment. Has it been a smooth ride? No. And last night was another ripple in the road that will hopefully propel me forward. With chin up, eyes set upward, I’m moving forward!
What doesn't kill us makes us stronger!! Losing weight wasn't easy, dieting wasn't easy, surgery certainly wasn't easy but it's made us tougher and strong enough to face any challenges coming our way. I've have also started getting the comments of your getting too thin, even before I underwent surgery...WTF!! I've been overweight most of my adult life - don't tell me I'm too skinny and don't need to lose any more weight - you don't see me without clothes!! It's my journey and I'll decide when it ends. Geeeez! With our stories being sooo similar, the only difference is I didn't not have the emotional roller coaster. When I got down and upset about the swelling, I'd look back at old pics of myself and tell myself it's still early days. I've been generous and given myself until Xmas to FULLY recover and see the true result of this surgery, combined with further dieting, exercise and some body contouring. You're doing wonderfully well...stay positive, it's soo easy to believe the negative thoughts we have. :)))
Thanks so much, Machine. It is so helpful to hear your perspective. Our stories are indeed a lot alike. I think it is just challenging because I haven't seen much change (flattness) and I'm so eager. I think I'm supposed to be learning patience through this experience. I just wish I'd hurry up and finally get it already! ;-). Thanks again for the encouragement you've shared with me and that you've been to me so far.
Looking forward to the next update :)

"Now, That's a Bit Better!"

After a pretty rough day yesterday I had a bit better day today. I was able to talk to my one friend at work today (who knows about my surgery) and told her about the emotional roller coaster ride yesterday. She has undergone two surgeries (for health-related issues) herself and remembers well the emotional ride she was on for both. It was a help to verbally be reassured that what I'm experiencing is "normal". Machine (an awesome RS) friend, was a tremendous encouragement to me as she and I have similar stories about large weight losses and the stupid comments that onlookers make. This has certainly made me more cognizant of comments I may make (as well-meaning as I may intend them to be, people may not take them the way I meant them).

ANYWAY...today was a better day. My tt incisions are as itchy as all get out. That is a sign of things healing. I'm also incredibly itchy elsewhere from my CG. You'd think I had fleas or something! I'm going to start moisturizing my arms and tt scars in order to cut down on itching and, in the case of my arms, to lessen the pain. It's hard to describe the pain but it feels like the skin is being stretched in a not so nice way. Also, the edge of my garments sleeves cut right across the incisions in my arm pits causing incredible pain. I've tried stuffing a sock between me and the garment as a protection...no luck. I've also tried kleenex, and two different kinds of gauze. Kleenex are the cheapest and easiest although the relief is very short lived. Perhaps I should buy those fancy-dancy kleenex with the lotion built into every tissue.

Tonight I went for a 12 km walk. It was perfect walking weather--bright sunshine, cool air--so I wanted to take advantage of it. I didn’t feel worse for wear after last night's 9 km walk so...I pushed the envelope a bit. I don't believe I could do much more in a day at this point. The concern I have is that my body will grow accustomed to this and it will be less beneficial to me from a fat loss perspective. I need to return to high impact interval training but I KNOW right now I can't handle that much intensity. I'm trying to figure out when best to plan a return to the gym. Thanks again, Machine, for sharing with me how you planned your return to activity. Most helpful!

More pics

I took some pics before my shower and thought I'd share. I took one also with clothes on.
You are looking great!!! I totally understand up and down days! My PS told me I would be fine after 2 weeks.... Not so!!! Everyday is a new day and a chance for a good day! You are not alone in this my RS sister!!!! Sometimes you have to give in to your body and take it easy. I'm sure in a few weeks you can get back to your old exercise. How are you treating the scar? My PS has me on silicone sheeths but wondering about the creams etc.... Lots of love and positive heeling your way ;)
Thanks for your kind words and encouragement. It is good to know that I'm not alone in the emotional roller coaster! As if being a woman (dealing with hormones) isn't enough. I guess I'm being hard on myself. My coworker (who knows about my surgery) has said a couple times this week that I need to give myself a break. So what you are saying is confirmation. I've decided to give myself a break with the walking today. I'm incredibly tired today and my arms, in particular, are very sore. They feel like sausages that have been cooked too long and the skin is ready to split open. I've started putting lotion on the scars to lessen that feeling. The scar gel is going well. It is produced by skin media. It is the 2 oz package. I don't see a name on the tube other than Scar Recovery Gel with centelline. The website is: http://www.skinmedica.ca I've not heard about the sheets. It's amazing how the treatments change from PS to PS. Thanks again for your encouragement. It is a day to day journey! I trust your healing continues by leaps and bounds!
You're a week ahead of me but I totally get the emotional "downs" of this recovery. The scars(speaking about my own) are still just ugly and it's hard not to look at them and think Ugh!!But they will go away, they are just new. What scar cream are you using? Do you like it? I haven't started it yet because most the glue on my incision is still on- is yours completely off yet? I peeled a couple of large chunks off this morning but don't want to remove much because PS said it strengthens the incision- I have opposite problem of yours- worrying my skin was pulled too tight!- so I don't want to do anything that might weaken the incision. So, just pulling very small pieces each day. As for feeling lightheaded on the stairs- that's an easy one- you are a normal weight now so your body can't handle skipping meals, getting dehydrated, etc. like it could when you had more fat stores. I have always been susceptible to that if I skip even one meal or don't drink enough water. As for people saying you've lost too much weight- when you lose a lot of weight you can look a bit "drawn" (too thin in the face-?) for a while- if you are in your 40s rather than your 20s. When I was in my early 40s I l lost about 12 lbs. and people started commenting I was too thin, I was still about 12-15 lbs. heavier than in my 20s and 30s so definitely was not too thin! after a while my face filled out a bit and people stopped saying I was too thin, It's just different when you get older. You might ask your PS but I think removing the small amount of excess skin is a relatively easy recovery- some do it in the office. I know there is no way I could pull ANY excess skin anywhere between my braline and my knees right now because the skin was pulled up and down so much. Seems unlikely your skin will be as tight as you want with that much left over. Have to wait and see.

Prescription for the day: REST!

Today when I woke up I had grandiose ideas for my day. On the top of the list was to cut the lawn. Joy. I last cut the lawn right before surgery so it is starting to need a clipping. However, as my morning unfolded (and pain set in) I quickly decided against "dancing" across my front and back lawn with my push mower! And decided to take it easy. I did some shopping this morning but felt extremely tired. I figure my heavier walks this week have caught up to me. My tt incisions are a bit sore and the arms are achy. So...rest is the order for today!

During my shopping trip this morning I went into a couple clothing stores. A year ago I shopped in "big girl"-only shops. This morning I shopped in a regular store and I put on a size 5 and size 7 jacket. Normally the sleeves would have been too tight, not to mention my waist. However, it slid on as smooth as silk. A year ago I wore a size 18. WHAT a huge step towards victory.

I've had some ask about the scar gel I was given by the PS. The name is Scar Recovery Gel with centelline (2 oz.). I searched on the web and this is the address:.http://www.skinmedica.ca

Quick question for you garment-wearing women: I'm really struggling with itchiness at night. Last night was horrible. I ended up with hives under my garments and had to use cortisol cream for relief. I figure it was caused by my underwear under the garment. Has anyone else experienced this (or am I in a camp on my own ;-).?

Have a good rest of your day!
That's so sweet WMAC. Maybe our paths will cross one day..... Glad to hear that you're giving yourself a break - sometimes we are our own worst enemy. I remember when I first started losing weight all I wanted to do was fast forward 6 months to see some noticeable results - the same seems to apply with surgery. Patience, patience patience :)))
I've always struggled with patience but this time I'm impatient with myself...quite different from being impatient with others. I agree...knowing what 6 mth's results will look like would give me a bit more peace. Until then I guess I just have to sharpen my patience-skills.
Firstly, thank you for your kinds words, I'm soo happy to be of help. I also had some itching while wearing the garment, even though it's winter here. I took an over the counter antihistamine for about 10 days, which helped immensely, as I felt itchy under the skin, if that's make sense. I also had a left over cortisone cream, which i used for a rash that developed on my lower back while wearing the garment. Now, how good does it feel to try on clothes that previously would have been totally impossible to wear. To find something you think might fit and it does and looks good is such a great feeling, and only gets better when the swelling goes down even more - just wait, it will be worth it. I think we all forget this is major surgery we have undergone and quite traumatic for our bodies, we need time to let our bodies recover, and remember we are not 20 year olds either. Although we are probably wiser, most of us are certainly more impatient. Your pictures are great, and when in doubt take a look at those photos you have before you started your weight loss journey - remember, it's a journey, not an overnight occurrence - we put the weight on over years, it's not going to come off tomorrow. Have a great day :)

Going Garment-less

Last night I only made it about four hours before I had to take off my sleeve garments (used following arm lift) as the edge of the sleeves were cutting across the incisions in my arm pits. As soon as they were off I felt a huge relief from the pain. Glory! Tonight I'm considering going CG-less depending on how itchy it gets. My PS's nurse actually told me at my two week follow up that I didn't need to wear either garment any longer. I guess I just feel a bit more secure in it and a part of me hopes it will make a difference in the long run. We'll see.

Today I walked 10 km (from two walks). I’m hoping that means I'll sleep better tonight. A girl can dream.
Hi! I'm not sure what type of compression garment you're wearing on your arms - I didn't have any problems with mine. I had a compression sleeve for each arm called a tubigrip - not sure if that's what you call them in the US as well. Basically it's a sleeve made out of compression bandage material that you just slid up the arm to cover the scar and aid in swelling. I keep these on for 6 weeks, didn't really need to after 4 weeks, but it helped keep the silicone tape in place and not peel off. Most physiotherapists would have this type of bandaging, as it comes in a roll and you just cut off the length you require. Might be an alternative for you. If you're not sure, I can email a pic to you if you like. Hope you sleep well tonight :)
Thanks Machine for this. I Googled the name you sent and saw a pic of it. That does look comfortable. My garment looks quite different...and no doubt feels different (not as comfortable). I found a pic of mine and will post it. Quite different. I slept well last night--itch free.....GLORIOUS! I may give yours a try and will check out a medical sales store to see if they have any. I appreciate seeing what you use....As always you've been helpful. Thanks.
I'll post a photo on my page. Plus the material is rather soft, you don't really know you're wearing it. :)

Compression sleeves

For those interested here is a pic of my compression sleeves. No, that is not me in the pic; I'd need more surgery (lots more!) to get to looking THAT good ;-)

Let's try that again...

Too early in the morning...hit the wrong button and posted instead of attaching pic. Round #2!

Good Night's Rest

Well, last night I went garment free. No tt garment and no compression sleeves. I slept amazingly well. Didn't even get up to use the washroom. Of course that meant I had to wring out my mattress in the morning! Hard to do after surgery.

Thanks to 'Machine' (an RS friend) I had a better day thanks to some compression sleeve alternatives she suggested. I've complained here before that my garment sleeves rub on my incisions in my arm pits causing a lot of pain. She recommended tubigrip and it works well. Thank you, Machine.

This morning at work I had to go into our archives storage and pull some material. Joy amongst all joys! Funny, but my tt incisions cause me very little pain. At least that was until I started lifting heavy boxes, and twisting trying to find a place to put them down. My arms, however, took the brunt. The sleeves and some Tylenol helped.

Tonight I walked 11 km. Feeling a bit worn out. Heading to bed. Good night ladies.

Only 6 KM

Today I only walked 6km. Did I say 'only'? A year ago I had just started walking and couldn't barely do a couple kms at a time. Now, a year later, I'm 80 lbs lighter, have had what I hope will be life-changing surgery and am preparing for the rest of my life. Not bad for a year's worth of investment.

I've noticed that for the most part I'm feeling pretty normal. (Goodness--this surgery IS wonderful as I've never been 'normal' in my life. I have family that would attest to that. (But I digress) There are times when I'll go to do something and my incisions will scream out by shooting pain that reminds me I'm still recovery.

I've managed to keep my surgery hidden from my coworkers and friends. At work I was quizzed by my supervisor one day last week. I had arrived early to work and he was already there. He noticed me moving slowly up the stairs which is unusual for me (I usually go up them 2 at a time). He's a great guy and not one to pry so when he started asking questions (asked how I was feeling; if I was sore; where I felt sore) I was afraid he had picked up on something. I carefully answered his questions being as vague as possible and when it played out it turns out he thought I had been at the gym and was sore from a hard work out. Whew.

At church a week ago an older woman (friend) came to talk with me and compliment me on my weight loss. I had decided to not wear my garments sleeves for the first time that day. I felt naked without them. She patted me on the back and gave me a sideways hug then began rubbing the back and inside of my one arm (like a kind grandmother might do). Shivers of pain shot through my body. I couldn't wait to get away. All I kept thinking was, "Can she not feel the 'railroad tracks ' of incisions going up my arm? Guess not. Quite an experience. I'm careful and try not to put myself in a situation where that may happen again.

I find I still get tired easily. I said I only did 6 km tonight but that was because at about 4 km I began feeling very tired. I decided to listen to my body and only do 6 km.

Onwards and upwards.
You seem to be doing quite well now, having walked almost 7K. Fatigue is all part of the healing process so just continue to listen to your body and don't overdo it. Looking forward to updated photos.
How are the pins and needles in your tt area? That is usually a good sign that your nerves are regenerating. When I had my facelift, I had a lot of pins and needles, which indeed is uncomfortable, sometimes downright painful, but all the feeling in my face came back after several months. However, at almost 5 months PO for my TT, I haven't had any of that, just a numb as day 1, but I am used to the numbness already, so I can live with that forever if it remains. Please continue to take it slow, you will be continuing to heal for weeks to come! Go Girl, You Rock!
Can't say I've had any pins and needles...sounds delightful! (okay...perhaps not :) I am very numb. When I put my walking clothes on I have to say the "baby bump" (swelling below my bb which makes me look pregnant) drives me nuts! However, I know it is swelling so I'm not sweating over it. I should actually get a couple pics of it before its gone! Thanks for the heads up on the pins and needles. I'll have to keep an eye open for that. Also, thanks for the reminder that I'm still healing. Its easy once back to work and the daily grind to forget that I had surgery less than a month ago! (well, a month tomorrow :) There are moments when it feels good to have the surgery as an excuse to just relax when I don't feel up to doing the regular "stuff" of life. Almost like having permission to take a break! Pretty sweet!

Am I losing it?

Last night I KNOW I began a post for the day. I remember starting it....and commenting on having walked 7 km....I remember being incredibly tired and thinking, I've got to finish this before I fall asleep and forget to post. I also remember, through droopy eyelids clicking on the "Post Update" button. Now, however, I'm not sure what happened as the post isn't showing. Am I losing my mind?

Well, I will say that I had a good day yesterday. Obviously from what I've already written I walked 7 km and was very tired last night. I've noticed the feeling that the swelling seems to be going down overall. Yesterday, however I did swell up in the evening and today, my ”Aunt FLo" is coming for her monthly visit so I will have a couple rough days ahead. She WOULD have to be like clock work now of all times!

Today I celebrate 4 wks since surgery. I fondly think back to the day of my surgery. I felt incredibly peace heading into surgery, no doubt because of the confidence I had (and continue to have) in my PS. I've NEVER been as confident in a medical team as I am with my PS and his staff. I was impressed as I met each one of them. They made the entire process an incredibly experience. A friend of mine had a breast enlargement done a couple years back and I 'picked her brain's a couple weeks before surgery about her experience. I thought she was right loopy when she told me it was like going to the spa. I thought, "I don't know where you go to get YOUR massage and 'spa stuff' done, but it must be some horrible place!" Well, I quite agree with her assessment, although I've never been to a spa. I remember the pre-op room and operating room being filled with bright sunshine and it was incredibly cheery...just like the staff. And amazing experience.

At any rate, today I mark a point where I can technically begin to implement more into my day...AND the gym is just a couple weeks away! Look out!!!

(Now that I KNOW I am awake I will click the "Post Update" button. And here I go...)...CLICK

Picture Time!

As promised I've uploaded some pics. I struggle to get good pics as I'm trying to take them by myself and I can't zoom out far enough to get a better perspective especially where lots of skin is showing. Don't want to be accused of burning anyone's retina with too much "skin". ;-)

Today I was a bit sore and the start of my cycle only added to the pain. I'm quite swollen today (again probably a little bloated too...hard to tell the difference). I did 6 km right after work and felt amazing. I had read how other ladies felt better after working out.

My arms were achey today. I'm faithfully putting scar cream on them but struggle with massaging them. I find that still quite painful. I can massage the TT incisions with no major issues but the arms...not so much.

Although I'm not as flat as I've seen in other reviews I've read (I’m hopeful that things will still deflate and flatten), I have noticed one cool thing. Every time I would sleep on my side, I'd touch my stomach with my hand and feel a large roll. The other day I touched my stomach and only felt the 'baby bump' (my term for the swollen area below my bb). I smiled when I realized 'it' was gone. (Thank you, Dr. Shenker!). Also, when I run downstairs I no longer feel--or hear--the excess skin on my stomach slapping against my legs. I had just noticed slapping skin phenomenon since losing a lot of weight. It grossed me out when I heard it the first couple times. Now...no more slapping.

Feels good to be able to move forward. Have a good night.
You've got such a nice waistline! The swelling just above your incision will surely subside eventually! Takes a lot of patience. Great that you were able to run up a hill so you're obviously getting stronger daily! Must be so nice to be free of that slapping phenomenon! I can only imagine what that must have been like! Keep up the good work exercising when you can! I'm always amazed when I read about massive weight loss stories as I myself have always found it so difficult even losing ten pounds. I had hoped to get my weight down from about 150 to 140 on the day of my revision and in three months I was only able to lose 5 pounds, a weight that has remained since the revision. I simply MUST exercise almost daily to maintain that weight though!!
Thank you for the encouragement, BBNM. Your comments always make my day special. Thanks. When I look at my profile I usually try and imagine my"baby bump" (swelling above my incision) gone. That helps to keep me "up". Thanks for the compliment on my waistline. I wore a black pencil skirt today with a shirt tucked in (have NEVER been able to wear a straight skirt let alone with a shirt tucked in). I felt like a million bucks! I was blessed with the weight I was able to lose this year. Guess it was my time. My fear is putting it back on.. Now that I'm down to 140-150 things have really slowed. I, too, will need to be careful not to gain. Such is the life for women ;-) Thanks again for your encouragement...you have no idea how they brighten my day.
You are looking beautiful! I haven't gotten to the massage scar part of this journey yet but I do remember having to do that with my breast reduction. I'm not really looking forward to it especially my arms cause man those feel soooo thick. Congrats on doing so well and being so faithful to walking. I'm kind of disappointed to know you don't walk w your shirt pulled up but whatever.... Ha! Keep smiling!

"Excuse me...do I know you?"

Today was a very full day. I was up and out the door by 7:30 to attend a funeral 3 hrs away. It was for a former boss who passed away (82 yrs old).

It felt like "homecoming" as I saw people I hadn't seen for some time. I was surprised by the number of people who didn't recognize me, due to the large weight loss. I had a conversation with one woman and she seemed oddly cool to me, which was weird because she normally would greet me with a hug. After I left her, I signed the guest book and headed into the auditorium. She then came over and apologized, gave me the hug that I had been expecting previously and said she recognized my smile but nothing else. My guess is she checked the guest book to see who I was right after I signed. She came back with her hubby, whom I had worked with several years ago and we got caught up on news. The same scenario unfolded for several other people. One woman I had worked with for over 14 yrs and we were good friends. She was speaking with someone else so I waited my turn. When there was a lull in that conversation I waved and smiled. She smiled back and told me afterwards when we were talking that she whispered to her sister who stood beside her, "There's a woman smiling and waving at us and I don't know who it is." We hugged and in the embrace she asked who I was. I told her and she groaned from embarrassment. "Not a problem," I said. The best response came from my former supervisor whom I had worked closely with for 10 yrs. I waved at him when he arrived at the funeral, and he just smiled back. Again, not the response I was expecting. After the funeral, I caught his eye and he came over. I could see the realization come to him. He looked me up and down in shock. He said to those within listening range, "She was my assistant, well, this is only half of her. The other half of her is gone!" He looked shocked. He then asked how much I had lost and said he was proud of me. Pretty cool responses.

For me I felt a keen sense of accomplishment not because of the glowing comments received (although they were encouraging), rather it was how I felt. I wore a new high-waisted black pencil skirt with a coral-colored shirt tucked in. For some of you "skinny minnies" out there, you need to understand that:

#1--I would never be able to wear a pencil skirt, let alone a high-waisted pencil skirt. My tt allowed me the opportunity to wear something that I'd never been able to do before.
#2--I wouldn't have been able to tuck in any shirt prior to my tt.

I returned home from the funeral had supper and went walking (9km). More than ready for bed tonight!

Today I wore my tt CG but because it was humid and I was wearing a dress jacket, I opted not to wear my compression sleeves. THANK GOODNESS I was wearing long sleeves! Two people I spoke with on two different occasions grabbed my arm--one gripped my arm between my elbow and shoulder (right where my incisions are located) and squeezed it (yikes) and a woman took my arm and rubbed the inside up and down...over the incisions. Had it not been for the jacket I was wearing I would have been beside myself!!!

I felt very confident today, a by-product of my surgery.

Wishing you all a good night.
Wow! What a great day for you!! ( the deceased not so much ) I bet it felt like a second chance for people to see everything that's changed and you have shown them you had to power to do it! I'm very envious you wore a pencil skirt. I don't think I could ever do that! That's a huge step and I'm glad even after that long day you made time to walk!
Thanks, Connie, for your comment. I tend to be rather shy in gatherings like this. I'm usually wanting to get there early, make a bee-line for the first available seat, do as little visiting as possible, and get out afterwards. I know this is because of my weight issues in the past. I don’t like a lot of attention (as it is usually negative related to being so heavy). Now that I'm not as heavy anymore, old habits are hard to break. I forced myself to visit a bit both before and after the service and I sat at the very back by myself (more so I could be close to the washroom...having my cycle and all!). I didn't stay for the food they served afterwards (another 'hold over from my fatter days...I struggled with eating in social, settings as I felt people always watched how much or what the 'fat chick' was eating. Now I have people watching to see what I'm eating even though I've lost weight....not just paranoid...I actually went to a restaurant with our staff and their spouses in June and one woman specifically pointed out she wanted to know what I was going to order.) I clearly need to work on some issues. ANYWAY...sorry for rambling. I felt really good to be there in the shape I was in (no longer a round shape ;-) and the surgery helped cement my feeling of accomplishment...even though I still have some swelling. I'm considering wearing my skirt to church tomorrow. Perhaps an opportunity to work on some of my "issues". (Note: I thought I should point out that I WILL be wearing a top with the skirt...not JUST the skirt! ...felt I needed to point that out to you, Connie, as I recall in your last comment on my post you were disappointed that I didn't go walking with my top up as I pointed out in one of my picture descriptions) ;-)

1 mth post. Happy 1 mth anniversary

Had a rough start to today as my tummy wasn't overly happy. My eating was off yesterday because of 6 hrs in the car and I may have played the price today. I cut the lawn this afternoon but didn't get it all done. My manual push mower didn't like the long grass in the back so I'll have to get the weed Wacker out tomorrow. I was concerned about pain from my arms or tt area but it went well. managed to do two walks this afternoon totaling 17 km between the two. Felt great getting out into the fresh air. I'm totally exhausted now. Such is life. Ready for bed.
I still can't believe u cut the grass !!! And u call me tough;) u look amazing woman!
Too funny! I can check "Cut grass using one hand/arm" off my bucket list! I tried (in vain) to hold my stomach while pushing the manual mower with one arm. I'm sure it was quite a sight for my neighbours. I was just about in tears by the time I got to the backyard. The grass along the fence and in the back corner was about a foot long and I didn't think it wise to even attempt that. The mower kept jamming on me in the 6-8 inch high grass. Yikes! Needless to say, I got the white flag out and will have to use the weed whacker to "finish 'er off". I did the majority of the lawn, however. BTW, you ARE one tough cookie! ;-) Thanks for the compliment! Hope you have a super-splendid-hunky-dorey day! (No...I'm not into my pain pills ;-)
Just checking in on you and you are looking great. I love how your incision is low, thin and goes downward at the hips. Good job on your progress, wish you continued success with your recovery.

Finally able to post!

Well, I've tried posting from home but, alas, my computer (tablet) isn't cooperating. It's probably thinking, "Good grief! Why don't you buy shares in RealSelf--your on that site so much!" Well, I figured out a way around the tablet...post an update at work! So...here I am. Several days late. So...here it is in a nutshell.

Sunday—(Realized that TODAY was actually one month since surgery; yesterday was just a practice run); went to church (wore my pencil skirt outfit from the funeral I attended Friday and felt pretty svelte—by the way, svelte is my new favourite word...describes how I feel on most not-so-swollen-day; walked 14 km; felt pretty good all day

Monday—felt winded most of the morning; have NO IDEA what is causing that feeling; reminds me of how I used to feel when I was a couch potato after walking up a flight of stairs. Only lasted for the morning. Not sure if it is weariness following walking the day before but I get it every once in awhile (since surgery). It was worse right after surgery (probably because of being pulled tighter and the shock to the system...I'm no medical person but that would be my guess). Walked 13 km after work.

Tuesday—So far...so good. It is supposed to be "stinking hot" outside today. I may use today as my "rest day" from cardio. I'm trying to keep my arms lubricated and massage them when I can but it is painful. The incision is now a red line with puckering (although if my eyes don't deceive me, the puckering seems to be lessening) and I faithfully put on my scar cream morning and night.

Invite to a Picnic

Well, yesterday I was invited to a picnic. The only draw back was that I wasn’t TOLD I was to be the main course! This morning I woke up following my 11.5 km walk last night to discover large welts--mosquito bites--one being only a few inches from the incisions and thick area of swelling on my right arm. Good to know that the blood thirsty (literally!) mosquitos were able to enjoy a free me "on me" (pun intended). I've tried hard not to scratch as the last thing I need is infection.

I discovered something quite soothing today that I thought I'd share especially as cooler weather is around the corner. Today at work I had my desk-top heater on (no...I'm not insane; I just really feel the cold since losing weight). I've been trying to remember to put lotion on my incisions a couple times a day to keep the skin moist (I find that my arms in particular feel like sausage kins about to break open because they've cooked too long). I put the bottle of body lotion in front of the heater for a few minutes and it was lovely and warm. Really felt luxurious!

Tonight walked 12 km. Hopefully the mosquitoes were dining at home tonight! Tomorrow is 5 wks since surgery. One more week until I'm clear to return to the gym. I hope to post updated pics tomorrow. Until then, have a good night!
I just read all your posts and I am so grateful for them. Congrats to you!!!!!! Whatta journey! I am also an avid workout person, planning a MM in 8 weeks and biggest fears are pain and emotional roller coaster from lack of physical activity/physical outlet/endorphins/etc. Would love to hear how your return to squats and HIIT training goes. Also, curious what foods did work for you post op. I have prepped a simple meal plan for my first few days but figure things will go a bit haywire without the workouts and appetite. Anyway, thanks for sharing your journey. you're a good writer and I'm so happy for your many success!!!
Hi “50 and GoingForIt”: Thanks for your message. Pain and the emotional roller coaster were real for me. As far as pain is concerned, I was actually surprised how easily it was to cope. As long as I kept on top of my meds (made sure I wasn’t in severe pain before taking something) I didn’t really have pain I couldn’t handle. In fact, I still have several pills left from the original prescription. The doctor said the two days after surgery would be the “roughest” and he was right—although it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. The emotional roller coaster was more of a struggle. I would start crying for the stupidest things. Of course, I had my sister staying with me to help which was part of this (she is going through a divorce and NEEDED to keep chatting about it; all I really wanted to do was be alone by myself and “sleep it off”. But I digress! :-) You sound like me as far as using exercise for a physical outlet. I feel a fair amount of stress between home and responsibilities at work. The gym/walking have for me this past year been the main pressure valve for my stress. The thought of not having it to fall back on after surgery was (frankly) terrifying! I voiced this concern to my trainer before even agreeing to the surgery. I could feel myself almost getting panicky. He said, "Your body needs time to heal and you must allow it that time. Push your recovery too early and you jeopardize delaying your return longer." His answer wasn't doing it for me. I pressed further--what can I read? what types of goals should I set for my return? how can I prepare for when I get back?...on and on I went. I felt I needed to keep my “head in the game” as it were. My biggest concern was gaining weight. After all, it had not even been a year since I put a stop to the lifestyle/habits that got me to being obese in the first place! I share his comments in the hopes that you may find a nugget to help as you come to terms with not being able to go to the gym for a time: 1. In my case I have put my body through incredible change this past year (totally revamping my eating, doing grueling workouts with him 3 x week and heavy HIT cardio 4-5 times a week). As he said, “Frankly, I think the surgery is the best thing for you right now as it will reset your body and give it a chance to catch up with all that it has been through.” 2. He said if I gained weight it would not be difficult to get it off fairly quickly. 3. (in response to my concern about stress-release) he said I needed to find a different outlet for relieving my stress; sort of like another tool in my stress-relieving arsenal. Although I may not have liked his answers, in hindsight I know he was right (although I won’t be telling him that ;-). I will say the time has zipped by much quicker than I thought it would. I DO look forward to telling my trainer I’m down 5 lbs since surgery—instead of being up as I feared! I know you didn’t ask specifically about how to handle the emotional roller coaster but as it really impacted me I thought I’d share. Not to say you’ll have an issue with it, but as we seem to share the same need for a physical outlet, I hope there is something here beneficial. I will definitely let you know how the return to the gym next Thursday goes, although I don’t expect to be doing anything too aggressive. As far as food is concerned, eating was a challenge. For the first 1.5-2 weeks I didn’t have much appetite, but it is important to eat. I got to the point where I felt so weak from not eating. Scary place to be. I went into recovery focused on eating as I had pre-surgery. Ideal but not realistic. Protein is big to get it in wherever possible. I have an awesome whey protein powder that I use and love. I had 2-3 shakes a day especially when the thought of food repulsed me. Try to eat “real food” with the protein shakes if you go that route. My trainer suggested (no salt) cashews (nuts), beans and legumes as they have a good balance of fat/carb/protein and pack quality nutrition punch; I’d have a shake and some nuts. He also suggested grazing on small amounts of food throughout the day. I normally have 5-6 small meals but because you may not be able to stomach the thought of small meals, eat throughout the day to keep your strength/energy up. Some meds also must be taken with food so you’ll need to work around that. I also ate greek yoghurt with my protein powder mixed in. Low sodium soups may be easy to get in. Some on this site suggested pineapple to help with swelling. I didn’t see that information until much of my swelling issues were over but I would suggest that as well. Not sure if any of this is helpful. It certain is a long response to fairly easy questions. I’m now 5 weeks since surgery. A couple days after surgery I thought, “There’s no WAY I’d do this again!!!”, but that has changed—I would do it in a heartbeat! It was a very good experience for me. Sounds odd to say this, but enjoy it! Allow yourself the time to be lazy (my greatest fear going into the surgery), and focus on you (being a mom, you probably have struggled with doing this!) Wishing you well…keep me posted! I look forward to following your progress. Any more questions…just ask!
Hiya! Very, very helpful response and I see myself through your journey description. Glad you have such a wonderful trainer, and as a trainer, I agree, the rest and reset will be fantastic for you....and me as well. I just have to live through it!!!My doc will be using Experel (sp?) on me in surgery. This is a 3 day Novocaine type med for the muscles so that is supposed to handle the tough first three days, then I hope arnica and OTC will do it for me. I hate to be in pain, but

Looking Up At the Worms

(5 weeks/1day post op). Had a very full day today and although I'm not sure why, I feel as though I'm looking up at the worms! I took my mom 3 hrs away to visit some friends over lunch and then we returned home. The visit was okay (no surprises) but I feel out of sorts. I feel fairly swollen and numb tonight so that could be part of the reason. Because of the travel I didn't get a chance to do any walking and my eating was off--additional reason to feel off. I tried massaging my incisions while driving but that proved difficult and painful. Also, I'm not sleeping well so perhaps that compounds the issue. I'm hoping tomorrow will be a better day! Just needed to vent a bit.

While out today I went panty shopping. I've mentioned my need to ditch the dreaded granny panties and today I took my first step. Being heavy all my life, shopping for underwear was fairly simple. "Will that by white granny briefs, pastel-colored granny briefs, or would you like to take a walk on the wild side and go for granny briefs in bright, bold colours?" Today I wandered through a couple stores looking at the various styles and colours of regular-sized panties OH, MY STARS!!! So many choices! I could almost feel myself hyperventilating..."Where do I start? What size? How do you wear this one (thong)? WHY would I wear this one (thong)? Where's the rest of this (thong)? I found a cute pair of teal underwear, held them up and thought...these won't fit! Knowing what my hip measurement is, I got out a tape measure to see if the elastic would fit my body. The measurement of the undees was smaller than my hips but they LOOKED like they should fit...so I bought them (on sale!) I got home, went to my room and tried them on. They seem to fit...I think. I'm not the best judge of undees fitting...to me grannies are the way to go...keep you tucked in from your breastbone right on down to your crotch! I'll post a pic in case anyone is interested and can enlighten me. (By the way, I went through this about 3 mths back when I went bra shopping for the first time in a lingerie store. You know you are off to a rough start when the clerk asks your size and you say you don't know! Thankfully the store clerk helping me was amazing when accommodating this 'virgin-bra-shopper'.)

-only 5 more sleeps ;-) until I'm cleared to return to the gym
-walking has been a lifesaver; as of yesterday I had walked 178.5 km (approx. 110 mi) over the past 3 weeks
-first time panty shopping went fairly well with no psychological damage (I think; I'll have to see if I end up dreaming tonight of giant thongs chasing me through the mall)
-friends we visited were very complimentary about my 'results' (chose not to tell about my tt but they said my arms looked good following arm lift surgery)

Update 5.5 wk post surgery

Today I decided to take some pics of me in clothes. I know...quite a change from the skin pics. I don’t feel confident that to download swim suit pic...never wanted tt in order to wear a bathing suit...just to feel more human. I was at work and decided to take a break and do some photos in the washroom...it's much brighter there than my home washroom. The one pic (arms up) shows my arm lift scars a bit. I'm quite happy that they are fairly well hidden (except when lifting my arms--and I don’t intend on lifting my arms unless someone is robbing me!)

Today I felt really drained. I headed out for my first of two walks late afternoon but quickly decided to listen to my body--go back home, kick my feet back and sit on the deck in the sun and read a book. I felt luxurious doing that. That never happens! The one thing surgery has helped me do is to listen more to my body. The days of being lazy (as in a couch potato) are gone and I need to sense when my body has had enough rather than pushing myself. Yesterday's walks (total distance: 20km) was, in hind sight, too much. Today, my body told me so. I did go for a walk after supper. Although I only did 7km I am content with that.

I'm really starting to get nervous about hitting the gym on Thursday. I've looked forward to it since surgery but now that it is so close my stomach does flip flops whenever I think about it. Will I be able to get back to where I was? Will I have the stamina? Will I cause any harm to surgery sights? I know it sounds a bit trivial but these are real concerns. I'll have to pace myself, drink lots and pray I don't get dizzy or black out! (I've come close before!)
You look fantastic! What a journey you've been on! Thank you so much for sharing, as I have many questions (and fears) about how much I can do each day. Even during my 2nd shower today, I was hesitant about washing too much. Is that possible? I'm most hesitant about bending. I know I can do more, I can move slowly, but finding that "breaking" point physically can mess with you psychologically, so there's a fine line! I'm encouraged by all your walking!! Was driving uncomfortable when you first tried??
Okay…I just did something really stupid. I had a nice long response ready and clicked off my page and lost my response. So…here goes again :-) Thanks for your encouraging compliment. It has been quite a journey. The psychological journey has been actually more challenging than losing the weight in the first place. What a challenge to wrap your mind around having a slim body after being overweight 40 or your 47 years! I’m still really struggling with this but am slowly coming around mentally. Congratulations on your weight loss. We are similar in a lot of areas. I too have been extremely closed-mouth about my surgery. I’ve only told two non-family members and only very close family about having surgery. I normally say TOO MUCH to people but have been very careful about whom I share this with. We are also similar in our size (I’m 5’6” too). When I graduated college I was 270 lbs but was able to whittle it down to 220 lbs as of last August. Since that time I’ve worked with my amazing trainer and he has helped me get down to 140ish. I’ve never (ever) been this small and it feels wonderful! You are on the money in your view about not being able to fix certain things—I discovered that as well. In tears I would talk to my trainer about my horribly flabby arms and rolls of fat in my stomach. He’d just look at me and with great kindness say, “There isn’t anything I can do about that.” He was right. When I went for my consult the PS actually said, “Your thin. Not a lot of fat to lipo at all…just lots of excess skin.” That confirmed what my trainer has told me. You asked about washing too much. My PS said to me, “Soap and water never killed anyone.” I’d say, “Have at her!” At 2 weeks I was told to start lightly rubbing (with a facecloth!) the incisions to remove the glue/dried blood. The thought of it creeped me out but now is not a problem on my tt incisions. My arms are more tender so I massage them more. Walking has been my saving! I need to keep moving and sitting indoors watching tv drives me nuts. I started slowly but bumped it up. The only way to know if you’ve done too much is to experience what too much is. I’d suggest listening to your body. Learn what is too much pain and what pain you can tolerate. Sometimes I’d be walking and think, “Nope…this doesn’t feel right.” I’d go home and rest and realize it was the best decision. Other times I’d set a distance goal for my walk, reach the goal and think, “I can do more”…so I do. It is a matter of trying to push the envelope but don’t jeopardize your recovery. I did listen to my PS as far as his advice. I asked him up front: when can I go back to the gym? He said, “6 wks”. I asked him: when can I do walking? Knowing the kind of walking I was referring to, he said, “6 wks”. Today is 6 weeks for me (to the day) and I’m celebrating by…going to the gym! (yippee) I felt fine to go back at 4.5-5 weeks but he said 6 so I stuck it out! Driving was interesting. I was given the green light to drive at one week post surgery. I first drove at 8 days post surgery. It was to get my drains out and I had a 45 minute drive (give or take). I took a flat cushion with me in the car and put it between me and the steering wheel. (In fact, the cushion was my buddy throughout my entire recovery…still use it at night sometimes.) It created a buffer and I could press into it a bit when going over potholes, railway tracks, etc. I highly recommend that. Make sure you don’t take any prescription pain meds before going out the first time. It felt liberating driving myself…and was a lot easier than having to endure someone else driving (they always seem to aim for all the potholes and rough spots…don’t they?) Hope you are encouraged. Now that you are drainless you’ll have a bit more freedom. Feel better and have a great day!
Looking great!. Don't worry too much about what you will be capable of doing at the gym. Your body will tell you. Won't be long before you're back to doing everything you could do before your surgery. Just takes a little patience.

Week 6 Update--Return to the Gym

Well,have 6 week anniversary to me! That's right, 6 wks since surgery. I took the day off to celebrate (Note: I worked Labour Day so I could have today off). I Started the day off at the gym--first time in 6 wks. Went fairly well. The butterflies I'd been feeling for the last couple of leading up to it went away as soon as I got busy. I met up with my trainer--an amazing man and body building champ. I wasn't sure what his response to the surgery would be. He was supportive of me having it but standing there in smaller clothes, I felt conspicuous. He didn't say anything initially but I did sense him watching closely at my movements (to see if there were any restrictions). His response came after our first set. He said, "You look incredibly healthy." That just about melted my heart. I teased him that he hadn't asked where the scales are regarding my weight (his weekly question). He said he'd love to know how much the PS took off in surgery. I told him I could answer that for him and I told him how much. He said he was surprised as it looked like quite a bit more had been removed. Wow...two compliments in one session. As far as out workout is concerned, I did split squats (12 reps each legx4sets) alternating with regular squats (12 reps x4sets). Then I did heel touches (12 each leg x 4) alternating with regular standing lunges (12 each leg x4). Does not sound like much or very difficult but I was perspriring a fair amount and feel exhausted tonight. I noticed that the split squats pulled slightly on my left tt incisions near my hip. All in all an excellent workout. So tired...ready for bed! I'm dealing with restless legs tonight. Hopefully it won't be "one of those nights!" Good night all!
Back at the gym...woo hoo!!
Wow! It sounds like a lot! I'm so in awe of you! You are a major inspiration! Congrats on diving back in and doing great!

Rest: Almost the sweetest word in the English language

Well, day 2 going to the gym. Today I decided to try and get back to spinning. I normally go to two spin classes a week but decided to try on my own to slowly get back at it. I had no issues with pain from incisions. However yesterday's lunges and squats have left my legs very sore and achy. Almost forgot what that pain felt like. It made spinning a very painful endeavor! However I pushed through the pain and did 40 minutes. Tonight I walked 3 km and ended up trying to outwalk a severe thunderstorm that came up fast. Near the end of the route is a rather large hill and I ended up having to run up it as well as about a half a km to keep ahead of lightening. I am happy to report that I AM EXHAUSTED! It's 9:10, I'm in bed and am SO ready to call it a day!

One more thing...This morning I forgot that I had had surgery. What? How? Well, I was sleeping on my side with my arm under my pillow and I rolled over and slid upward on my sheets. Normally I remember about the surgery and move quite carefully. That sally movement just about sent earlier into orbit in pain. Didn't think I'd ever forget about my incisions! Yikes.

Sorry...fell asleep....better click POST UPDATE before it's too late.

Heading to sleep. Have a good night, Ladies!
Your arms look Beautiful!
Thanks, Bella. When I remember what they were before I'm thrilled! I wished I had taken before pics but I remember that when they would be at my side and I looked at them there were horrible wrinkles--like a sha -pei or mastfiff dog's face. MUCH improved. Now toning begins at the gym!
I understand all too well how you feel,i got mine lipo'd and goodbye saggy skin. I am glad you are Happier now with them. Have fun at the gym. I need to get back to the gym.

One for the calendar!

This morning after 6 weeks I FINALLY was able to shave my armpits! I know...not a big deal. However since my arm lift surgery I've not been able to do a good THOROUGH job. Each week I've grown more and more uncomfortable with the irritating hairs along my incisions. When I first saw my incisions I was concerned because of the heavy "puckering" in the pits. They were not even close to being flat and appeared as a ridge. I've tried shaving but the thought of cutting the incisions prohibited me from getting close enough to do the job. The other day I tried to suck it up and get the job done but ended up nicking myself and, ew the pain...just like a paper cut! This morning I tried again and DID IT--nice and clean! I no longer resemble an ape (okay...perhaps not that bad!) Definitely a great "first" following surgery!

Yesterday I was back at the gym and the spin bike. I'm trying to increase my time and was able to do 45 minutes. Today my goal is 50 minutes. I had some twinges in my tt and bb areas but I pushed through it, removing some bike tension when needed. I also got in a total of 10 km of walking. My quads/hamstrings are still sore from my squat/lunge workout on Thursday. Shows me how being away from gym for 6 weeks does impact the body!

I still have some swelling and numbness. To be expected.

Trust you ladies all have a great day.
Glad you finally got those arms shaved.....I wouldn't want to see that on the street....oh my! Ha,Ha. I know a beautiful lady who looks like a model from Germany and she never shaves her pits. It looks like a mans armpit. I know I will feel the same as you when I get my arms done.

I thought pain was behind me!

Last night for some reason my tt and arm incisions were sore--achy. I've also found not having as much fat (since weight loss and lipo) that it is difficult to get comfortable in bed because of a lack of padding (translation: I'm more boney). I can actually feel my hip bones when laying flat--something I've never been able to do before!

Today I experienced another first. Every Monday I take my mom to her 3-hour physiotherapist appointment. My mom has neurological disorders that resemble a stroke (slurred speech, difficulty walking, double vision, tremors, etc). . I usually help with her walking and exercises at her appointments but decided to cancel her appointments until my recovery was well on its way. Today was the day we returned. Over all it went well although at the end of 2.5 hrs. my arms were pretty sore. Having to put her wheelchair back in the trunk was more challenging than other times we've had to go out since surgery. My arms have been aching ever since. I'm considering wearing my CG sleeves tonight.

I did spinning very early this morning (trying to get back into shape before I return to spin class) and walked 5.5 km tonight. Ready for bed!
You are doing great! It's nice to see that recovery is a reality (haha) and that although things come slowly, it does come. Hope you're having a blessed day!! :)
Thanks, SBG! Recovery is indeed a reality. I had my moments where I would wonder what "normal" felt like. You'll get there... God has been teaching my patience and surgery was one HUGE learning curve that really tested that. I had days where I felt like I was looking up at the worms. Thankfully there are a lot of mile markers in the recovery process and I learned it is important to rejoice at each of them--whether they seemed insignificant at the time. Then, when you look back, you can see each of the mile markers you passed and can be reminded of just how far you've come. Trust you'll hold fast and keep looking forward!
You're a sweetheart - thank you!!

More pain...and just shy of 7 weeks post op

Well, I'm not sure why but yesterday was another day of soreness—to the point that I needed to take a couple extra-strength Tylenol--first time in a couple weeks. My tt incisions were sensitive and then mid-morning my bb started throbbing. My arms have also been sensitive. Not sure what is going on. The pain made me nervous as I knew I would be heading to the gym and I didn't want to cancel my workout.

At the gym...oh, my stars! My trainer put me through the wringer. When he told me what he wanted me to do (and then SHOWED me) I felt like saying, "Excuse me...do you remember me?—the woman still recovering from surgery?" :-) Not once did he ask for my permission to beat the tar out of me! Geez! (Of course, I guess by showing up that is all the permission he needs!) I did side step-ups (onto a 1.5 ft riser while carrying a 20 lb weight), side squats (my hips are still screaming from those babies!) and, the "pièce de résistance" leg press (set at 208 lbs). I was very conscious of the incisions ready to stop at a moments notice should I feel any pain. HOWEVER, nothing! No pain at all. Totally bizarre. The only thing I noticed at the end of my workout was that after the leg press I had assumed the bent over walk which everyone goes through while recovering from a tt. Didn't last long...just until I could walk it out a bit. After a fairly active day, I opted to limit my walking last night and only did 3 km.

This morning I'm not feeling any surgery pain to speak of...thankfully. However, I have the Tylenol standing by just in case!

(Note: I have to say my trainer was a HUGE encouragement to me throughout surgery. Before surgery he listened to me weighing my options and was, frankly, my biggest cheerleader encouraging me to have the surgery, and calming my nerves about possibly gaining weight while off; the evening of my surgery he texted me to see how I was and he kept in close contact via text throughout my recovery. Biggest heart in a body-builder you'll ever find!)
That sounds like a hard core Butt Kickin'! I hope you feel good today and rest your muscles. Happy Hump Wednesday!
Thanks, Bella. The scary thing is that I'm doing well--no sore muscles with the exception of the hips. I expected that I wouldn't be able to walk by today but...no problem. I'm in for another beating this afternoon :-) I honestly believe that the walking I've done up until now has helped to "grease up" my joints and prepare me for the gym. Trust you are doing well! Have a great day!
You're my inspiration :0) I MISS those type of workouts. I need to just do it! Keep up the great work,you're so disciplined. I MISS that too,lol. Have a Great NIght!

Another Whooping in the Gym -- 7 wks post up as of today

Today was a bit better pain wise than earlier this week. I did have some pain but not bad enough for pills.

This afternoon was another weight workout--this time my arms. Using the TRX straps I did biceps and then triceps. Unlike machines, using straps means you must engage your core more for proper form. The biceps were not too bad. The triceps--another story entirely! The first couple attempts were, we'll, horrible. I had to tighten my core (ab muscles) and that started mini spasms. (Incidentally, has anyone else suffered with ab spasms? I get them usually when I'm in bed and it starts with an involuntary stretch that I can't seem to stop. My ab muscles tighten and spasm...very uncomfortable --especially when recovering from tt surgery! But I digress!). ANYWAY...The spasms only lasted a few seconds but it was difficult to keep form. I tried to hide it from my trainer (as I'd rather 'suck it up, buttercup!" but finally told him the abs were still tender. He said, "I know they are still some sore but we need to strengthen those muscles back up." (I've read RS posts from tt patients who said they had the surgery so they didn't have to worry about their abs any longer. That could be a bit naive thinking--just because the PS stitches your abs tight doesn't mean they are going to have the strength you need to do certain strength-building exercises let alone everyday tasks.) By the end of the workout I was happy with my accomplishments and not as sore as the beginning of the work out. Next session issues Monday.

One thing I've noticed is the swelling is still lingering. Joy amongst all joys! Hopefully it passes...soon!

Here we are--almost 8 wks post. --. 7 wks 5 days post op

It's been a few days since I've updated my review so here goes.

It is hard to believe I'm almost 8 weeks post op. I'm amazed at how quickly the body recovers after such trauma. Talk about being fearfully and wonderfully made! Every once in awhile I'll have an off day and am quickly reminded that I'm still recovering.

I still struggle with taking my mom to her Monday morning doctor's appointments. She has two in two different buildings which means lifting her wheelchair four times out of the car trunk--engaging the core muscles. At the one appointment (physio) I help her with walking (she holds onto my arm as she tries to walk) and I find it is a real work out for me. She isn't a 'light weight' and having someone who is unbalanced and unable to walk, weave and wobble while I try to support her and make sure she doesn't fall is very challenging especially on my arms and abs. I noticed last week (her first appointment since my surgery) and again yesterday that it starts the incisions areas aching. Thankfully pills help ;-).

Today I was back at the gym killing my legs. I did a spin warm up and then squats and lunges and leg extensions. Tonight I did a 6 km walk. It has been rather cool (perfect time fall weather) so I enjoyed the walk. I haven’t returned--yet--to spin class. I want to be able to do at least45 minutes of spinning on my own before I get back again the class. I spoke with the spin instructor today (she knew I was away for 6 wks because of surgery) and she encouraged me to take my time and not rush back. I'm anxious to return which is good incentive.

Not sure if anyone has battled with increased appetite following surgery (weeks after, not days). I've noticed that I wake in the middle of the night hungry. I usually eat half a protein bar and try to go back to sleep. I spoke with my trainer about it and he made a couple changes. I asked him why the increased hunger. His answer was surprising to me: you are still recovering and your body needs extra nutrients to heal. I'm also doing a fair bit more activity since surgery (and being off for 6 wks). It didn't surprise him and I'm still at my new weight of 140lb (80 lbs lighter since last August).

Tomorrow I see my family doctor for the first time since my weight loss and surgery. Not sure if she'll even notice I've lost weight. She has never put any pressure or even mentioned my excess weight (which frankly boggles my mind). Hope the appointment goes well.

Have a good night ladies!
You're doing so much already! I know when I work out (before TT), I would be ravenous! Working out always increases my appetite! If your family doctor doesn't notice your weight loss you might suggest a seeing eye dog! (I kid, but seriously!) You look wonderful!!! :)
Thanks for the update,glad all is going well. Love the discipline&workouts! Sweet Dreams!

"Excuse me...have we met.?" Post 7 wks, 5 days

Well my doctor's appointment (family doctor) went very well. I had to get some paperwork done (won't bore you with details) and I wasn't sure if my doctor would even notice I'd lost weight. I last saw her in April and she didn’t say anything. Today, quite different. I told her that I have lost 80 lbs and 19% body fat since last August and she smiled. She said, "I knew you were coming in today because your name was on my patient list. However, if didn't have that list I would not have recognized you." I threw my head back and just laughed. She made my day! Not sure what her reaction would be to my tt and arm surgery. Never shared that news with her ;-)

I am finding my arms really sensitive to touch. Yep--I have touchy arms! The other issue I'm experiencing is a sore hip bone. Pretty weird. When in bed and sleep on my side it digs into the mattress and hurts something fierce. Today it ached. I had read or heard someone say that when doing lipo this may happen if they hit a bone. Weird. Has anyone else experienced this?

I'm falling asleep...up in the shower at 4:00 a.m., off to work by 4:3o, home for breakfast. Have a good night!
You are a major inspiration!! Congrats and thanks so much for sharing your story!
So glad my journey has inspired. Its been quite a ride. Looking forward to completing the journey!
Yes, I too have experienced a sore hip issue just like yours. No hip pain until I lie on my side/hip then an intense deep hip pain. My doctor said it was bursitis. He told me not to lie on the affected side--which of course is the side that I favour. He gave me a cortisone shot which ended the pain that I had had for about a year. I doubt if when your doctor did lipo that the needle would have gone right to the bone, but I could be wrong. If your hip pain persists ask your doctor if it could be bursitis.

Swelling Like Crazy and Mystery Pain (8wks)

It's interesting how even 8 weeks post surgery how my body still groans a "friendly" reminder that I've had surgery. My natural tendency is to think, "Suck it up, buttercup!" and push myself to do more. However The last couple days I've been greeted with pains that have warned me to be careful.

Yesterday Aunt Flo came for her regular monthly visit and the swelling was really bad. I've had the feeling of pins and needles/numbness as well. The "pain" intensified yesterday to a sharp pain in the left side of my abdomen as I tried to lift a heavy box (of catalogues) at work. Unfortunately there was no one around to get help from so I carefully carried the box out to my car and then into my home through the garage (I had no choice as the supplies HAD to get home so the work could be completed--believe me--I thought about just forgetting it!) There were about 15 boxes that needed to be moved (not nearly as heavy as the first box) but I only loaded about half of them. This morning I am really swollen and the numbness/pins and needles feeling continues. Not sure if my cycle has intensified the situation or perhaps this is just normal this far out from surgery. Perhaps it just me. It could also be from my workout Thursday when I did biceps. I had to engage my abs which was challenging and somewhat painful. I'm going to take it easy today (aside from getting a good walk in) so hopefully things will return to normal.

I haven't posted pics for while so I'll see about getting some up in the next little while.

Have a great day!
Sorry to hear about the pain:( Your body is telling you to slow down for sure!
Good to hear from you...thanks. I've taken it "easy" the last couple days. I've kept the walking up (12 km yesterday and so far 9 km today and 30 min. of spinning) and no pain. I'm thinking it was from lifting the boxes and the ab work on Thursday. It scared me and I know I don’t want to go there again! My body wins ;-). Show have you been doing? How goes work?
I am so sorry you had to lift all those boxes. Many people have your issues months out and some just take longer to heal than others. I hope next time there is something heavy to lift or do that God would give you someone to help you. Thinking about you and having to work...xoxoxo

Answer to Prayer (post 8 wks, 4 days)

Well today was back to work with many of the boxes that I took home on Friday. I took several trips to the car and didn't feel any pain or pulling this time (thankfully!). When I got to the office I took my purse in first then went out to start unloading the boxes. Before I could say anything to my coworkers I had three people offer to help unload my car. What a huge answer to prayer! Only one of the three knew I had had surgery. I will have a couple of the heavy catalogue boxes to cart home next Monday but will make sure I get some help.

I took it "easy" on the weekend. I walked 12km Saturday and on Sunday did 30 min of spin and also walked 9km. I find if I have any pain, walking helps to eliminate it. I did sit for a bit and watch TV (but I get bored easily with that). The pain from Friday/Saturday has not reemerged to the same degree. I had to pick up jugs of water (2 x 5 gallon bottles) on Saturday and felt a slight pull but nothing too significant. Everything seems to have resolved...although I will be careful just in case.

This a.m. I did 20 minutes of spin, followed by squats and lunges and all seemed to go well. The lunges do tax the abs a bit but today I did pretty well. Actually "forgot" I had incisions to worry about. Tomorrow morning its off to spin class--my first one since surgery. I've been working to build myself up so that I can survive a full class. Haven't managed to do 60 min at one time so I'm not sure how tomorrow will go. The instructor is aware I've had surgery (just not sure what type of surgery) and she has already told me to take it easy and don't rush things. She will be forgiving if I have to leave early.

Hope you all continue well in your recovery. For those awaiting surgery, enjoy this time of your life. It is well-worth the investment in YOU!
Happy 2 Month&4 day Anniversary! Your workouts inspire me,you go girl!
You are just doing amazing! I'm betting you so great in spin class. You have such an amazing drive and spirit! Hugs!
Yes, answer to prayer! xoxox

Life is Normal (9 weeks, 2 days post)

It's been a few days since I updated so here goes. This week I have been dealing with itchy incisions and sore lumps near my arm incisions. I guess I'm not massaging as much as I need to. Will have to step that up. I'm still dealing with numbness and the swollen area below my bb is harder than the rest of me. Guess that is normal (she says hopefully).

My activity has been a bit less than I like this week as I spent most "free time" doing a wedding cake for a friend for today (in addition to doing a birthday cake and 60 cupcakes....I do cake design as a 'hobby' in addition to working full time). I did manage to do weight training on my own twice (along with some spinning) and I went to my first spin class since surgery. I've walked about 29 km this week as well. Now that the wedding pressure is off I'm hoping to knucle down and get back to some more activity. I miss it.

I've gone back to wearing my arm sleeves a couple days this week as it helps to lessen the pain. It also protects for times I bump them by accident. All in all life has returned to normal for the most part.
Spinning? Really? That's a butt-whoppin' for me when I'm at my peak!! :) Sounds like you're doing fantastically well and I'm happy for you! You look wonderful!! I would love to get into cake decorating. Did you take classes or is this self taught? Be blessed my friend!!
Hi SavedbyGrace: I indeed got my butt whopped on Tuesday morning. I went to my second spin class since surgery and my regular instructor (my fav) was back. OH MY STARS!!! By 15 minutes into the class my ab incisions were beginning to hurt on the ends. I survived the class but was in pain throughout the day off and on. Goodness. I passed on this morning's class (it is the high intensity version and my momma didn't raise any fools! :) I was, however, in the gym by 3:15 this morning. I woke up off and on through the night unable to sleep and finally decided I may as well do something productive with my time rather than lay in bed and worry about this, that and everything else. I did an arm and lower body work out plus a bit of spinning. I'm sure I'll be ready for bed by supper but hopefully that will mean I'll actually sleep tonight! I took some cake decorating cakes through Michaels with a desire to just have fun with it. I took the basics I learned and along with some other instruction videos (YouTube) I've added to the base and enjoy doing specialty cakes for my coworkers on their birthdays (i.e. a cake that looks like a camera, one that looked like a box of Glossette raisins, another that looked like a bunch of asparagus, etc.) Loads of fun. A tad bit stressful while trying to work full time but fun to let the creative juices flow. Have a great rest of your day and thanks for your message.
You always have the best responses, thank you. I apologize for just seeing this. For some reason, I don't get notifications - I was just reading your latest update and comments and saw that you'd responded! I agree with everyone else - take it easy friend. You are an exercise machine! (3:15am????) But remember, you have the rest of your life to exercise. :):) And thank you for the cake decorating info. Such a neat thing to do customizing your cakes according to interests. Love it! I hope you're feeling better and having NO more pain at all! God bless you and here's a big ((((((HUG))))) for you!! :)

"Where are those pain pills?" (10 weeks)

Another week has come and gone. I continue to struggle with swelling...some days are much worse than others. The last couple have been much better. My activity has been a bit higher than last week. I hit the wall during spin class on Tuesday. The regular instructor (my fav) was back and 15 minutes into the class I was done energy wise. I pushed through and completed the class but felt pulling in the sides of my incisions. The rest of the day was a challenge. Needless to say, I decided to pass on Thursday's class (which is the high intensity version of her spin class....my momma never raised no fools!) ;-)

My sleeping has been off. I've woken with pain in my abs off and on which I haven't experienced for a couple weeks. On Thursday this week I woke up at 2:30 a.m. and rather than tossing and turning for several more hours (which is what normally happens) I thought I might as well get up and go to the gym! So, at 3:15 I walked into the gym for a workout. It was great--had the whole place to myself! I warmed up with spinning and then did an upper body work out and some squats and lunges, followed by some more spinning before calling it quits. I've mentioned before about the emotional roller coaster I've experienced since surgery. Well, at post 2 mths, I'm still experiencing the coaster, although not to the same degree as a couple weeks after surgery. Part way through my workout the tears started and I struggled to gain control. The workout was causing pain in my abs but I felt the need to push through. After all, you have to push your limits if you are to increase strength in the abs. The tears were not because of the pain but rather from frustration. I keep thinking that I shouldn't be having pain as I'm so far from surgery. However, my friend at work who knows about the surgery, and my trainer today have both reminded me that I've had significant/major surgery and healing is going to take a long time (they also tell me to cut myself a break). I'll keep pressing forward and will cut myself some slack, as difficult as I find that to do at times.

This morning I had an accute jab of pain hit (right side about 2-3 inches above incision). I almost doubled over from the pain. It came from nowhere and lasted for a couple hours off and on. I took a pain pill but am at a loss to know what it was! I'm fine now and hope it was an isolated situation...hopefully ;-)

I started using Bio Oil the other day. That stuff is great! Hoping it will lighten the scars.

Trust you are all healing well. Wishing you well.
Naughty girl - you're not listening to your body. Just because you may feel better than you did a few weeks ago DOES NOT mean you have recovered. Major surgery takes time for the body to heal. You could very well be delaying the healing process by doing too much too soon. You know I will always tell you how it is and you need to back off. Remember how I said it took years of abuse to get our bodies to the point of changing our lives by losing weight and going the healthy route. The turn around is not going to be in a matter of weeks nor with surgery. I thought I was impatient but you take the cake. I'm 3.5 months post op and still getting ab pain on some exercises, so I compensate and do something else. Your body needs to heal to get the best result - give yourself a break and don't be so hard on yourself - your body, and mind, will thank you in the end. Hugs and kisses xo
I agree also but please remember we are saying this out of love. I think you need to take a step back and not do so much exercising. You do not want to cause a set back...listen to your body please. I know it is hard for you because exercising is a big part of your life. It is easy for me to say stop exercising so much because in all honesty I do not exercise and hate it. But I get why you are trying to get back to what you did before! Big hugs for you going through this time.
I agree with Conniescso! You are probably pushing yourself too much. It is counterproductive. Have you talked with your doctor about the pain? If it's that bad, that should be your first phone call tomorrow morning. Hang in there. You have come so far to cause a self-induced setback!

Message Received (10 weeks, 5 days)

Hello Ladies—First, I want to thank the ladies (Fitbug1966, Conniescso, Azsunshine, Fullcirclemer, Machine) who “spoke” to me the other day concerning my last post. I appreciated your concern and the care and love in which it was spoken. I read (and re-read) all comments received and have been mulling them over. So, thank you all! The united message was received loud and clear. Now, what to do to put the advice/suggestions into action.

I had a good talk with my trainer yesterday and shared some of the comments I received as I wanted to get his read on the situation. I voiced my concern that I just don’t know when I’ve pushed too far, as I don’t always feel pain immediately. How do I know when I’ve crossed the line? I don’t want to be a wimp and not keep pressing forward. As I said to him, when a child learns to read a book, he has to continue to move on to more difficult books if he is to progress. Otherwise he’ll be in college and still be reading, “See Dick and Jane run”! I see it as the same when working out and getting mobile after surgery. You have to push the limits a bit in order to get further down the road to recovery. But it’s a fine line between pushing forward and facing a set back because you’ve gone too far.

My trainer said, “Part of the reason why I love training you is because you push yourself. But, when you feel pain you HAVE to pull back. It’s not worth risking an injury and more surgery.” We’ve set some achievable parameters where spinning is concerned and I will be cutting back a bit on the walking. As far as weights are concerned, he reads me very well and knows when I feel pain so I can’t hide it from him even if I choose to.

As for the pain that started on Sunday, I still do feel it although not as intense as it was at first. It is on my right side about 2 inches above my incision (2-3 inches beside my bb) and is intermittent (usually just when I move). I have a PS appointment later this month and if it stays as it is now (twinges now and then) I’ll address it with him. If it gets worse I will contact him and get in to see him. There’s no bulge and it isn’t more swollen than anywhere else.

I also recognize that my body is under a lot of stress as I'm not sleeping well (again!) and I'm working a lot of overtime to prepare for our organization's annual convention which is quickly approaching. Perhaps it is just everything hitting at once...all the more reason to back off a bit on activity.

Thanks again for the interest and concern expressed. I appreciate it very much. Although I’d love to keep pushing it, right now I see that I need to listen to my body (as Connie reminded me I’ve told others to do…). Thanks, Ladies...you are all very special!
Try to do what you can can and not overdo it. Hope you feel better Relax&have a good night.
First of all, I am so glad you are listening to us! Even though we've not met, we care. What we MUST remember is just because we feel good on the outside, there is still a ton of healing going on in the inside. The skin has to reattach to the muscle, that does not happen quickly. The muscles have to heal where they were stitched. That does not happen quickly. The fastest healing is on our outside skin. So when we appear to be healed, we think we are all healed inside. Yes, we need to listen to our body, but even when it's not talking, we have to keep in mind how much is going on behind the scenes. Please don't get angry with this, but I am thinking that a trainer is not the best source for how much to push after MAJOR surgery. Unless he's medically trained and knows surgically what goes on in a tummy tuck, I recommend asking your doctor or maybe a physical therapist. Glad you are going to relax a bit. We want to see you feeling good!
Hi Sunshine. Thanks for your message and the "tough love". This is such a huge learning process I never would have imagined I would be in for all this. I found what you wrote today interesting--about the speed of healing inside compared with the outside. I'm not at all knowledgeable where surgery is concerned and the body's ability to recover. Trying to read up on it really is challenging too as everyone is different. I'm not angry with what you said about seeking advice from medical people. As knowledgeable and experienced as my trainer is, I know he doesn't know everything. He said yesterday that being in my 40s and being a woman (with female issues each month) makes this more of a challenge and I need to pull back and be aware of how my body is reacting. I know he would support any decision I made and even suggested contacting the PS for guidance especially if the pain continued. I have a friend who is a physical therapist so I may pick her brain too. I have pulled back (actually "passed" on my spin class this morning to give the incisions a break) and am taking things a bit slower. It's just about killing me...but I'm doing it! On days when I feel less pain I may do a bit extra but will be careful especially until I see my PS later this month. Thanks again Sunshine. Will continue to plug along...with greater care!

Listening to my Body and Moving Forward

Hello Ladies: It's not been quite a week's time since I last posted. I've stepped back from my activity to give my body a time to "catch up" with where my mind feels I should be at this stage :) The pain I reported a week ago in my right side subsided over a day or two and I've been somewhat pain-free since then. I have continued some "lighter" cardio (spinning and elliptical and some walking) and did weight training one day since I last wrote. When I get twinges of pain or pulling I slow down or stop the activity. Yesterday (over the period of 3-4 hours) I did two 45-minute sessions of cardio with a light walk (3 km) in between. I feel good this morning--no pain--so am relieved.

It is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada so we have the extra food. I was over my calories a bit yesterday (by about 150) but didn't feel deprived. I changed up the menu a bit to accommodate "cleaner" eating (sweet potatoes instead of potatoes, pumpkin cheesecake for dessert--I hate pumpkin [shucks!] so had healthy gluten-free PB, choc chip cookies for my treat. The extra cardio helped to offset the extra eating...and some :-)

All in all, I'm listening to my body and am moving forward—conscious that I've had surgery and need to be careful, but definitely not sliding backwards nor racing forward!
You sound very disciplined in your choice of Thanksgiving dinner food! I wish I could say the same. I gained a couple of pounds over Thanksgiving so now I have to work hard to get them off again, but I don't work-out as hard as you do! I admire your determination!
Thanks BBNM. I guess I'm fortunate right now to be under pressure at work (we are hosting our annual conference which is coming up in a couple weeks and I'm extremely stressed...at work most mornings by 5:00 for a couple hours, then home for breakfast and to get my mom up--I'm her main caregiver--then off to work for the day, home for supper and off to exercise so I can sleep at night.). The gym is my stress reliever and I find that the more stressed I feel during the day the faster my legs seem to go on the cardio equipment or when I'm out walking. Whatever helps to keep me active. However, Thanksgiving is only one meal out of your life so, as my trainer said to me, don't sweat it if you indulge a little. It's one day, then you get on your regime the next day. So not to worry, BBNM, you'll get those couple pounds off. How are you doing these days?
Doing great although with the weather getting colder and more temperamental I'm not getting as much exercise. I'm an outdoor exerciser (hate the gym) so now I'm not riding my bike or hiking as much as I should. Still I watch what I eat and try to maintain my weight.

Finally Starting to Like Me... (2 days shy of 3 mths)

Hello All:

I tried updating the other day and after I finished typing my computer pad refused to upload and I lost everything so here goes again.

I continue to plug along. I was back to weight training yesterday after a bit of a break. My trainer had pneumonia and other things wrapped into that so I took the opportunity to give my body a wee break--from weights! I bumped up the cardio significantly to help in the meantime. The break helped me to see what actually CAUSED some pain and what weights I can do "safely".

Last week was a rough week eating wise. I had two Thanksgiving meals (spread apart in the week thankfully) and a luncheon at work I had to attend. It was a struggle as I'm concerned about gaining weight. I cooked the first turkey dinner and so there were no extra special bells and whistles with the meal (low fat cooking and no desserts for me). THAT I could control.

The luncheon was a struggle as they ordered in--Greek food. However, here too, I was very careful what I ate. I had one chicken skewer, salad, a half a potato and a small spoonful (less than 1/4 cup) of rice. I thought I did pretty good...until my coworker (the one who is a beanpole and knew about my surgery) told me after lunch she was surprised by how much I ate. "I've never seen you eat that much." I thought back to what I ate and still have no idea why she said what she did. I used to eat GOBS more pre-weight loss so I am still struggling with that comment. I felt extremely self-conscious eating in front of my coworkers as they all know of my weight loss and "eye" just what I'm eating. Growing up I ended up a "closet eater" in my teen years because I was so very concerned with people judging what I ate. I'd be at a youth group meeting after church and when everyone was endulging in chips and goodies, I stuck with a pop lest anyone judge me. However, I'd go home and more than make up for it. I see this is still the case, although to a much lesser degree (I don't do the endulging). Something I'm going to have to work at.

The second Thanksgiving was a real challenge. My sister does not like fat free or low calorie cooking (and you can tell!) so I knew I would need to be careful. I offered to bring the dessert and a salad. At least in those areas I could have control. I made two apple crisps--one low sugar/low gluten and the other regular. I agreed before arriving that I would loosen up a bit and not be too stressed about the extra calories I would eat because of her way of cooking (although I became worried when I saw all the butter and table cream she added to her mashed potatoes....OH MY STARS! I kept thinking, "Wait...I gotta eat that!"....) Anyway, I survived the day, went home, changed my clothes and headed to the gym for some intense cardio! I more than made up for the extra calories I ate that day.

All in all, I survived my week or eating challenges and ACTUALLY lost 2-3 pounds! Ye-haw!

I've had some twinges of discomfort here and there but nothing I wouldn't expect at this stage. I'm very pleased with the scars--they are fading (at least in my mind they are :-) The bio oil has really helped especially my arms where scars have been more noticeable. They seem to be softening and lightening in colour.

Next Monday I see my PS for my 3-mth check up. I haven't seen him since 2 weeks PO so I'm hoping he will be pleased with the results. I do have some questions/concerns but overall I'm doing well.

I think back now to pre-surgery and the decision whether to proceed with this or not. I year ago I would NEVER have concerned tt surgery…never, EVER. However, this year so much has changed in me that by early summer as I saw the sagging skin I thought, “Could I?” After meeting my PS and hearing him say, “You are thin…” (a statement which still shocks me!) I decided I had to see for myself just what HE saw! As my trainer texted to me the night of my surgery, “I’m so proud of you. I do not believe you would have made this decision a year ago which shows how far you’ve come as a person…not just your physical self.” This is a growing process and, like a butterfly coming from a cocoon, I like what I’m discovering and the person that has been hidden by years of obesity. For once my outer self is starting to get in line with my inner self…and I like it!
Yeah you!! Onward and upward. How's the swelling these days? Please post recent pics!
Hi Fit: Thanks for your message. I HAVE to get some pics uploaded. I've been super busy these days (lots of overtime at work) and trying to relieve stress at the gym. Will try to get some in the next day or so. For the most part swelling has not been an issue. Tonight is another story. I'm feeling particularly numb and swollen tonight. Could be because of doing extra exercise and weights the last 24 hrs. Will monitor this. How have you been doing?
Back with trainers this week... It went really well, a good kind of sore and NO cramping, which was my fear. I love the running most of all. I seemed to settle right back in, yeah!! I thought it would take so much longer to build back endurance. Swelling is massive this week. Very uncomfortable. I realized I wasn't eating quite enough calories when I revised my diet, so I upped my protein shakes. My stomach is so darn bloated it's hard to eat food, but being back in the gym requires a few more calories! I can't wait to see your pics.

Visit to the PS tomorrow; and MORE PICS... Finally!!! 3 mths PO

Well, tomorrow I toddle off to my PS for my 3 month check up. I haven't seen him since 2 weeks post op and I'm hoping he feels all is going well. I have an area of concern that I mentioned in an earlier post (early Aug) that I hope I receive positive news on. I also hope he can give me an idea of expectations related to some pains I've been experiencing. I just want to know if they are part and parcel of the recovery or if perhaps it is something else.

When working with my trainer the other day we were doing back exercises and I was having pain from the surgery area (abs). He was a bit puzzled as the exercises should not utilize those muscles at all. After some experimenting he came to the conclusion that I was compensating for my back when doing these exercises by using my ab muscles. That probably explains the strong pain I felt in early October that just about caused me to double over. We are now focusing on making sure we stabilize the ab muscles so that they are not used in the exercises. I will talk this all through with my PS tomorrow.

Tonight my back has been pretty sore and my right side abs are sore too, probably because I did weights today. It feels awesome getting back at it. I did shoulders and biceps and tonight when fixing supper I felt muscle soreness radiating from my shoulders as well. I get excited when that happens as I know it means results are coming. I'm in a toning phase so the weights are heavy and I'm starting to see shape and definition. Love it. The arm lift has provided me an opportunity to finally like my arms--scars and all!

We'll, I FINALLY took some more pics! I didn't post earlier as I haven’t seen much change. I would say "enjoy" but one does not get much joy from looking at school someone else's surgery scars...I don't think, anyhow.

Happy healing to all!
Oh yes, def can see changes... Tummy is flat (less swollen?), scar lighter, and incision flatter/less puckering. Looking great!! Glad trainer is helping to solve mystery. Super easy to compensate without realizing it. As frustrating as it is to use lighter weights for me now, I'd rather do that than develop bad habit of doing exercise incorrectly. Hang tough!! Remember, you're my hero. Cannot wait to hear PS comments. hugs!
Wow...thank you for the huge compliment—so glad SOMEONE can see changes! I see myself all the time so really don't notice much change. I THINK I'm still swollen although the doctor says to wait and see. Hard to tell with being numb and all. My trainer has been a gem trying to work around the surgery limitations. I get SO frustrated (and he can tell without me saying anything!) and I want to be able to just push forward as if I'm not in recovery. Oh, to be normal again! Right now, however, I see this as a huge opportunity to learn how to train my body to alienate one part while strengthening another part. When I went for my consult before surgery the PS seemed surprised by my abs. Said they were strong. I didn't think anything of it at the time but now am thinking that perhaps they were stronger because I've been using them all along instead of giving my back the good workout it needed when doing back exercises. As you say, it is super easy to compensate without realizing it. So, I see now as the time to learn. I also struggle with not being able to lift heavy weights. I think I should be able to lift heavier but he assures me that he would rather I lift a bit lighter weights and get the full benefit (burn) than lift heavy and have improper form. Of course, even pre-surgery I was pushing the limits wanting to lift more and he would pull me back to make sure I wasn’t sacrificing form for weight. Thanks again for your encouragement. At this point I feel like an old lady compared with those who are starting out on their tt transformation but the encouragement received at this stage means just as much if not more. It feels good to not be forgotten at 3 mths after surgery. :-) Thank you!!!
I feel ya! It's still a healing process...and will be for quite a while, both physically and emotionally. One technique my trainer uses with me which helps a lot as I move around the circuit, is to touch the muscles I am supposed to be working. that way I can concentrate/focus on that muscle. He may remind me to "keep my core tight", but it is particularly helpful when working on back muscles. Hugs!

3 Month Check in with PS

Hello All: I had hoped to post yesterday about my PS appointment but ended up running out of day! So…here we go.

I had my 3 mth PO appointment with my PS. All in all he seems pleased with the results thus far. I asked if my “baby bump” (swelling under my BB) would go away and he said he’s not sure; we’ll need to wait and see. I’m hoping it WILL go away as it makes me feel a bit pregnant (although I’ve never actually been pregnant :-)

My greatest concern has been a pouch of skin that is between my breastbone and BB. I pointed the area out in an earlier picture (August 6th post). There has been no change in the area and I’ve noticed when I am seated wearing something with a waistband that a roll gathers…not what I was expecting. He took a good look at it and said that he had had the option of doing a fleur-de-lis tt rather than the traditional tt (for those of you not familiar with this, it would give you an upside down incision going down the centre of your tummy and then along the tradition tt line like mostly everyone else receives; this allows for skin to be pulled down to the vertical incision AND pulled from the sides horizontally.) He decided against this as he felt it was far less invasive a procedure. He suggested we wait until the 6-12 mth post-surgery mark to discuss it further when my results will be better known. I asked him what the solution would be and he said he would do another incision and remove about 5 inches of skin…hokey stink that sounds like a lot! When I explained that a roll appears when I’m sitting he gave me the impression that he “got it”, nodding his head and agreeing that it would bother me. So…I’m in waiting mode. As he said, “Let’s sleep on it.” I plan to do just that. I’d love to know that I am completely flat and won’t have to go through another surgery (and recovery), which I assume will be much less than the original surgery, but that is not the case. I need to decide over the next 3-6 months if this is something that I can live with and, if not, I’ll revisit the issue with him.

I am normally not a patient person—I want instant results (like many other people). But, frankly, my body has been through so much change this year (both mentally and physically from the surgery and large weight loss) that I need to become better acquainted with the new ME.

My arms are healing nicely so that was all good.

The pain I’ve been experiencing is part and parcel of healing. I asked if there is anything exercise wise that I cannot do and he said, “No!”…so I went to spin class today and killed it and will do weight training later today. I asked a few other questions and he said nothing is different than what he has heard from other patients so I’m confident that all is going smoothly.

Because I didn’t find this site until after my surgery, I wasn’t brilliant enough to take before pictures (I know…really stupid). I was of the mind that I wanted to FORGET what I looked like! However, it would be nice to compare before and after. I asked the PS if I could get copies of the pics he took and he said “yes”. So…I left him a jump stick and will have some pics after my next appointment (early January…again, I’m putting patience into practice!) I'm eager to see how my body has changed for the better. I'll post the before pics when I get them....if I'm brave enough. Heck, with all I've been through this year I'll definitely post them! :-)
Wmac, you are looking so great! I am trying to catch up on RS posts. Way behind. I have been having a bit of a rough patch. I see some of myself in your posts. While I am not as much of a gym freak as you are - LOL - I am a fanatic about my diet. And so conscious about every pound - gained or lost. I have maintained my weight for over 5 years now, but it is a daily struggle, lemme tell ya. Also, I am 11 weeks post op and having a lot of ab pain in the past couple of weeks. Yes, I've been more active, but some days I feel like I am moving backward instead of forward in my recovery. Today was one of those "did I really do the right thing by having this surgery" and "will I ever feel sort of normal again" days....I know this feeling will pass and hopefully these pains too! But I can relate, girl. Keep up the good faith - and I promise to do the same!
Aw Dazz, sorry for the low day. It will get better, you know it girl. Put on a cute pair of bra and panties and take a few pics to remind yourself how far you've come! Hugs!!
Thanks for your message Dazzlady and encouragement. This is a day to day battle...against the bulge, in our recovery and in setting our sights on a healthy future. This is something that will "for life" for me. Congratulations on maintaining your weight for five years. That is huge! You give me hope that I can keep the weight off. Things happened so quickly for me that my brain is struggling to take in all the changes. As for the pain in the abs I definitely hear you--and I'm posting 3 mths! Today my hips were really bothering me (doctor says that is normal) and I'm having increased pain from when my abs involuntarily stretch...sort of like a muscle spasm. I usually have this 1-2 times a day but today...yikes. Every time I stood up at work I'd have to bend over a bit to relieve the tension on the abs. I'm also really numb today for some reason. I had the same thought as you today--I'm going backwards! Tonight I was with my trainer. He had my laying on my back doing chest work out with 20 lb weights in each hand. I had to drop down to 15 (reluctantly) as it was too much strain on my abs. Overall, though, I know this will be temporary and I'll grow accustomed to the numbness and my abs will get stronger. Countless women have gone before us and we will have the opportunity to press forward beyond what we feel is possible at this point. Things will get better--of that you can be assured. Your surgery has opened up a new world for you. The pain is short lived in comparison to the exciting going things that lay head for you. Hang in there. Have a good night's rest and remember that tomorrow is another day. Take care...
Waterloo Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Shenker was my surgeon and came highly recommended. He was very thorough and gave me the impression that I was the most important patient on his docket. He seemed excited by the potential he saw in my case and had my best interest in mind. Post surgery he called me at home that evening and answered my questions. He left me with his home and cell number with instructions that if I had any concerns I should not hesitate to contact him. I was, and continue to be very impressed by him and his staff.

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