Some background: I'm currently 27 years old, 5'5" and weigh 142-146. I work out (kickboxing) 3-4 times a week and I try to eat pretty healthy. I wasn't always this disciplined. Back during my early college days, meals consisted of Burger King (1 Large Whooper with Cheese, an order of large fries AND an order of large onion rings) or Domino's (1 large pepperoni extra cheese pizza with an order of large cheesy bread) and exercise might as well been a 4 letter word to me. One day, I was at Old Navy buying bigger jeans and I was up to about 190 lbs. The bigger sized jeans fit me perfectly, but I found myself staring at the label and then myself in the mirror. I broke down in the changing room. I vowed that this lifestyle was going to end that day...that I wasn't happy at all and I was going to turn my life around. Since then, I have been losing weight and keeping it off. I did have one rough summer, as I was with a guy who made me feel like I was "over weight" and not good enough for him, and I flirted a bit with an eating disorder. Family and Friends kept telling me that they were concerned about me and one day I finally listened and dump the negative guy :) Anyhoo, even though all of this (even the stint with eating so little and over exercising) one thing has always been constant: my stomach. No matter what I seemed to do, my stomach "rolls" were always present. No matter what,I couldn't get rid of them. :( When I decided that I wanted to get liposuction initially, I told myself that I was going to up my kickboxing and the intensity of the class and really watch what I ate for one year. To give myself one last shot to get rid of the stomach myself. That didn't work.
I went to two other doctors in Atlanta, but none were as efficient and kind and impressive as Dr. Kavali and her wonderful staff. I initially wanted to get breast implants as well, but after talking with Dr. Kavali, we both agreed that that is something I should probably do when I'm done with kickboxing and sparring. During my consult, she stated she could tell I worked out and was very fit...but that, due to my weight gain, my body (particularly my stomach) had basically gone through a pregnancy. She also stated that a tummy tuck was not necessary for me. Wednesday, January 11th Day before my Surgery Unfortunately, due to work making me travel AND a week after Christmas my gym being completely closed AND many family dinners...I hadn't been working out or dieting normally for about a month :( I weighed myself at 149lbs the night before the surgery and took all my "Before" pictures. As instructed during my pre-op appointment, I had stopped taking any and all medications that were restricted (basically stick with Tylenol and you'll be okay). I had also noted not to eat/drink anything past midnight. I had also filled my prescriptions already. I got a strong anti-botic, which should be noted CAN decrease women's birth control, so take note ladies ;), I also got OxyCodone (same as Percocet), and Phenergan which helps with nausea (as some people get nauseous from the painkillers). I packed the Phenergan in my bag to take to the hospital for the next day, in case the anesthesia made me queasy.
Thursday, January 12th Morning of my Surgery
Got to the surgery center a bit before 6:30am (when they told me to be there). I filled out several forms and had to pee in a cup. Later they took my blood pressure, pulse and temperature to ensure I was well enough for surgery. My mom drove me, but they wanted me to get changed into my gown and get an IV before she came back. The staff and Perimeter Surgery Center was FANTASTIC...they always wanted to know if there was anything that they could do to make me feel more at ease and kept reassuring me that everything was okay. I changed into my gown, compression stockings, thermo socks and hair net thingy (don't know what it was actually called) and they started an IV. Then they allowed my mom to come back and be with me. After maybe 30 minutes, Dr. Kavali came back to mark me up and once again, ask if I had any last minute questions. Very kind lady. :)
As they wheeled me into the operating room (which was RIGHT on the dot of when Dr. Kavali said surgery would start), I felt oddly calm. This was only the second time ever I would have been put under for surgery (the first being when I had my wisdom teeth removed). Again, when I saw the OR table that I knew I would be on...I didn't feel that nervous at all. When the anesthesiologist asked me how I was doing, I told her strangely at ease in which she chuckled and said "Yea, that's what I thought you would say...I already slipped you a little something in your IV". We had a good laugh and I let out a big "Oooohhh". They moved me over to my OR table and she then placed the mask over my face...after about 2 inhales I was out. I woke up in the recovery room at around 9:00 am, which again, was the exact amount of time Dr. Kavali stated I would be in surgery for. When I first woke up, I had a bit of pain. Well, I won't lie...it was pretty bad. Once the staff saw that I was awake they asked me how I was doing, I stated I was in pain and they gave me some painkillers via my IV. Within five minutes, the pain was gone. Another odd thing that happened when I awoke from the anesthesia: I started crying. It was so odd, and I couldn't stop for about five minutes. They kept asking me why I was crying, especially after the fact that I said I no longer had pain...and I finally squeaked out "I don't know!". Later, I found out that it's a very common reaction...women tend to cry and they stated men tend to wake up angry. Go figure :)
They had me stay in recovery for about an hour and gave me some antibotics and a bag of fluids to finish while I was there. AFter an hour the nurse helped me back into my clothes and wheeled me out to my mom.
Thursday, January 12th Afternoon of my Surgery
When we got home, I started to have some pain again, as they stated that the painkillers they gave me in my IV were "quick in and quick out". So I ate some soup and took my painkillers. The rest of the day I was a bit in a fog and needed a lot of help sitting down and getting back up (especially when going to the bathroom). You definitively need someone there with you for the first 24 hours. I wasn't in as much pain as I thought I would be, though. My doctor and her staff also suggested mixing Motrin with the painkillers, so that when a painkillers wears off, you're not left in extreme pain. For example, if you take a pain killer at 9 am (and you are instructed to take one every 6 hours), then at 12pm you would take a Motrin, and then finally at 3pm you take your second painkiller...and so on. My bottle of painkillers says take 1-2 every 6 hours, and thus far, I haven't had to take 2 at all...one has been enough. So, I would suggest, try 1 at first. DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS!
Thursday, January 12th Night of my Surgery
I started to get a bit more sore and I was still not used to getting up/sitting down without using any of my ab muscles. So, getting into bed was an ordeal that lead to some pain. I would suggest sleeping at a great incline...that seemed the most comfortable to me and it leads to a bit easier getting up in the morning. So, maybe a 30% decline with your pillows.
Friday, January 13th 1 Day after Surgery
I was in less pain, but more sore and swollen the day after. Because I was more sore and swollen getting up and around was a bit harder. My mom came over again, but I made sure that I was up and walking around at least every 45-60 minutes. I found that the longer I sat the more stiff I would be and the more uncomfortable I would become...it's odd, you start to feel a bit better when you're walking around. I only needed help getting up about 40% of the time and I had finally figured out a "system" for going to the restroom by myself (but I had someone stand outside as I was still a bit light headed). Had some slight bruising coming in around the top of my thigh and my pelvic area.
Saturday, January 14th 2 Days after Surgery
Felt much better the next day and was able to walk to the mailbox and back completely unassisted. Still quite sore, so I didn't want to take a shower yet (as we have a tub shower that is pretty high, and I didn't want to attempt to make that stretch yet). I had called my doctor first, to ensure that there was no medical reason why I would NEED to take a shower that day (as the leaflet they gave me stated I would be able to take a shower by that day). They stated that because I didn't have any drainage with my incisions, that was fine to wait another day until I felt a bit less sore. So, I washed my hair in the sink. Still taking my meds as prescribed. And I have a lot more bruising and swelling on my legs and pelvic area know. I had also, accidentally, forgot how much sodium was in soup and ate too much..and I felt like a tick shortly after. So, definitely watch your salt intake.
Sunday, January 15th 3 Days after Surgery
Getting around much better on my own. Even was able to take a short car ride to Target with my boyfriend today to get a new microwave and curtain rod. Still have a lack of appetite (I always do when I'm on pain killers) but doing my best to eat with my medications. I also, at Target, had to buy some Ex-Lax (TMI, I know). Dr. Kavali and her staff already warned that sometimes painkillers can constipate patients, and she was not lying. They had suggested that I start taking Stool Softners, which I had started Thursday night, but things still weren't working correctly yet, so I bought some ex-lax as well to take tonight. We'll see how all THAT goes. Also, took my first shower today. I was too embarrassed to have my boyfriend help, so my sister came over. When she started to take my compression garment off, it literally felt like she was ripping off my skin. It was the strangest feeling. I would also HIGHLY suggest that you have someone help you for your first shower for many reasons...one of them being that you can get quite light headed when your garment is off for the first time. The staff stated it's because the blood flow had been so restricted for so long to that part of your body, that the blood then "rushes" to that area. I was sitting down, but still felt my knees go weak. When you take a shower, have the water me warm and not too hot, as your skin is VERY sensitive. Also, just have someone outside the shower, just in case you start to feel light headed again.
Putting the garment back on was a little tricky as first, as we both had to remember where it was initially and how tight it should be. Again, this is where having someone else comes in handy, as putting it back on is quite uncomfortable. I would suggest, also, to start at the bottom and work your way back up. And again, because I didn't have drainage, the doctor stated all I needed to do is cover my stitches with bandaids (and that's just to ensure that they don't catch themselves on your garment). I didn't wash my garment yet, as the label stated that it can't be dried in the dryer, so I need to buy another garment at my post op appointment on Wednesday. Once it was back on, I felt soooo much better.
I'm now able to get up, sit down and even get into and out of bed completely on my own. I still walk fairly slowly due to my swelling and bruising, but my BF said it's night and day how far I've come :) I also took some more pictures to see my progress...and even though I know I'm REALLY swollen, I can really see a difference in my "pouch" area (the area under my belly button and above my pelvic area) since my "before" shots....that really helped brighten my spirits! I think a challenge is going to be to stay patient and positive during my recovery, but so far, I'm on the right track...mentally. Let me know what you think of my recovery so far :)
Monday, January 16th 4 Days after Surgery
Still woke up around 4 am this morning (around the time that my painkiller wears off) and needed to take another one. I'm hoping the night comes soon that I wake up at my normal time and don't need that extra pill to carry me through the night.
One thing to note, I went ahead and took this whole week off as well from work, but I worked out a deal with my manager that, towards the end of the week, if I feel up to it, I can work from home. So, I think I may start that Wednesday, just so I don't eat up so much of my vacation time. I finally was able to go to the bathroom during the morning and afternoon yesterday (yes, I'm talking about a BM) but it was pretty uncomfortable, so I'm hoping the stool softeners AND Ex-Lax I took yesterday will kick in soon. I think I'm also going to try and take an Epsom Salt Bath today, as my doctor stated that can help with bruising and swelling. I'm also really wanted to try and get back to working out ASAP, so I'm going to start small with walking to the end of my neighborhood and back (I think it's close to a half mile).
Tommorrow, I'm going to try and drive myself to the store...as yesterday, I noted that sitting straight up is still pretty uncomfortable, and I want to ensure that I can drive the 1 hour (round trip) to the doctor's office and back by myself (if not, I may ask my mom to drive me). I'm anxious to hear how she thinks I'm doing. And if I will need to have the lymphatic massage or not (I hope not)