This is going to be quite the post so if you’re in for the long haul, go grab a cuppa (or something stronger) and your blankey. It’s time to do a major recap of my Week 4 woes, let you know where I am today and wax poetic on where I go from here.
I had a chat with Sweetie the evening before my latest PS appointment, going over the list of things I wanted to address; hard questions I was going to ask… answers I really needed. As we spoke, I realized I was really sad because of unfulfilled expectations of what I had wanted my body to look like. I had also been comparing myself (again) to those sistahs with (my version of) perfect results. Because of all this (and the mirror), I still felt less-than-“normal”. As always, he listened patiently and was gentle in his counsel, helping me take the emotion out of my list. (I hate confrontations and was worried that my PS - did I mention I adore her? - would think less of me if I questioned her technique or voiced displeasure. But if I can understand the HOW and the WHY, I’m much better with the WHAT.)
I met with my PS, Susan MacLennan, last Wednesday, bang on 8 weeks PO. Do you believe it? Eight weeks ago I was a sliced ‘n diced mess feeling like I’d just gotten the biggest present ever. I still do, but now my lenses aren’t so rosy. If you’ve been following any of my posts you might have gleaned that I’m a bit of a perfectionist/ control “princess” (I could have said “freak”, but why be mean about it?!). I know I’ve suggested to many of my sistahs to loveLoveLOVE their way to accepting their newly perfect-but-not-quite bodies and I’ve tried to take my own advice. Rally ah hayave (said melodramatically with back of hand to forehead). But it’s tough. We see our bodies under the microscope every day – several times a day – applauding our tiny improvements and lamenting the teeniest stuff. Forgetting we are still healing.
Sometimes I look in the mirror… even with my Befores taped to it and think, “If only…” or “Just a little higher…” or “I wonder why it/she…” Like I said, I’m a perfectionist… although I will say that what I’m seeking is NOT to be the babe in the picture whose boobs I coveted and brought to each appointment, “Can I have these puh-lease?!” I’m far too pragmatic (and old!) to expect those beauties. But I do expect MY version of “perfection”…
Well our consultation went fabulously. All questions were answered, some even before they were asked. She did not hedge and explained fully why I had certain results and, as at Week 4, advised that things were still healing, still settling, still changing. And to be patient. Aaaarrrrggghh! Patience-smatience! I admit I may not realize I’m still in the relatively early stages of healing as I had practically no pain and my post-op recovery went so easily and effortlessly. Of course I figure I’m ready for a revision! *LOL* “No, BBB… things are still healing. BE PATIENT.”
Okay, I’ve moaned and preambled long enough. Let’s get to the “Yippee versus Meh” list…
Back at my first PO visit post (25 days PO), I made mention of all the issues that were still bothering me and just reread it so I could compare then and now.
The belly crease, that Dr M initially thought might have been due to quilting sutures, does persist. She still believes that to be the most likely cause of this anomaly (that she has never encountered before – gulp!). Apparently, quilting sutures can leave little divots or puckers in the belly from where the sutures have been used to reattach the fascia. I don’t have any of those. But she did do a row of sutures from the breastbone right to my belly button… exactly the line where the crease runs. She was firm in her opinion this visit that the crease had gotten significantly better than it had been initially. For me, it’s always there so “better” doesn’t mean much. “Gone” is what I’m holding out for. (Okay, NORMAL is what I’m holding out for… who has a crease in their belly?!) She advised to continue with massage and see what transpired at 6+/- months. Typically, quilting sutures dissolve at around that time, so I have no choice but to persevere. It will have been worth it if one day, my crease magikally disappears. Please please please.
Happily, my belly button, that seemed so hideous initially, is looking quite okay. It’s still a bit discolored from the sutures, but all of the redundant tissue has shrunken into itself. It’s not quite a divot, but it is definitely an “inny” and once it’s the same color as my belly I’ll be pretty pleased. (At least it’s not a “saddy” anymore!)
I finally understand that what I’m feeling really is swelling and not just run-of-the-mill fat. (Did you hear the “Phew!?”) I mean, I knew I was swollen… or thought I was swollen… or maybe hoped I was swollen… but because I didn’t seem to get “that much” bigger or smaller, I thought maybe this was as good as it’d get. Nuh-unh. It’ll get better. And better! Swelling is that heavy feeling at the bottom of your abdomen, usually felt at the end of the day. Swelling is also that really firm feeling when you press on your abdomen…. fat is squishy. (I can tell you all the areas I’m still very squishy!) I was wondering why I was feeling “barrel-bellied” and it’s because I’m still really very swollen. I had been concerned too when I looked at the pics of my sistahs and they were uber flat. Well, I may never be uber anything, but my belly will definitely flatten and soften (hopefully not into squishy territory) as the swelling continues to go down. (Say it with me…”I am only 8 weeks… I am only 8 weeks… I am continuing to heal…”)
The muscle repair isn’t giving me nearly as much grief as it did in the earlier days. I did find out that the repair wasn’t terribly extensive (I haven’t had children) although I was tightened from stem to stern. It still feels like I’ve done a bunch of core work when I get out of bed, but it’s now a nice feeling as opposed to one of dread.
As far as sleep goes, I’m pretty much back to my “normal”. We tend to be early- to-bed for a multitude of reasons. I’ve found that if I’m in bed and asleep by 10-bells or so, I sleep through the night. If I’m in bed closer to 11, my insomnia kicks in… weird, huh? Sweetie is up at 5:00am every morning, gym rat that he is, so we like to get to zzzzzz early. Besides, it takes me 35+ minutes to complete all the massaging. That will be a red-letter day… when I no longer have to massage anything! Sleep is delicious, both on my sides and back, but the lipo’d areas continue to be quite tender; on the sides of the breasts as well as the flanks.
Now for the girls…. There is still unevenness right-to-left. It’s the first thing I see and the first thing I look at when I look in a mirror. Yes, they were always different. Yes, I know. But I didn’t BUY the initial versions! I did buy these puppies! *LOL* Dr M had said to wait a full three months before I started getting critical as they were going to continue to change and there was still a lot of lipo swelling under my arms. At two months, the swelling has gone down significantly, especially on my left side, and indeed there has been some rounding-out of my left breast. But to my eye, it still looks rather like a Torpedo Tit pointing downwards… whereas the right one is more a Lovely Orb, although that areola points a bit outward for my liking. And both of the areolae are uneven… the left larger than the right. ?
I was pretty pointed in my questions regarding the disparities and Dr M answered them calmly and fully. It was even in the literature… that exact shapes and sizes cannot be guaranteed. I did begin with “sisters rather than twins” in two different sizes and shapes so it’s difficult to make them exactly the same (even with her expertise). And while the areolae are cookie-cut into the correct and equal diameters, sometimes stretching occurs, or unequal healing. Again, she anticipates a significant amount of change to still take place and said she wouldn’t even contemplate next steps until we knew what we were left with after all was said and done. She did caution me to not purchase too many bras as the size would inevitably change (did she hear about my newest addiction? Wine, Chocolate and Victoria’s Secret!) Oh, I neglected to mention in my “bra ‘n panties” post that I actually purchased three new VS bras. I’ve found the Body by Victoria ones lovely and soft against the incisions (especially their lounge bra) so you may want to give them a try.
So I’ve gained about four pounds over the last month. No doubt due to eating waaay too much – and we’re not talking fruits and veggies. I’m attributing it to inactivity (except on weekends) as well, resulting in a slow return to cravings and giving in. I was cleared to return to full activities (although slowly and carefully with core work). So I guess there is no absolutely no excuse to not get back on the elliptical (sloth maybe?). And then back to the Daily Method (my go-to) in a couple more weeks. I know regular exercise will feel soooo good and will help me view myself in a different (better) light. My measurements increased by ½-1” overall too, no doubt due to the previously mentioned food-without-exercise.
Dr Sue also advised that I can start to wean myself off my garments altogether, although to continue intermittent use when swollen or working out. Yay! I had stopped wearing anything at night at Week 7 (nekkid sleeping!) so this is another big step. I actually went to work without Spanx on Thursday… talk about freedom! Not to mention record-time bathroom breaks with one less layer. But the swelling did increase, so I’m back into my girdle when just hanging out at home… or writing RealSelf posts.
Scars are all healing well. She removed a few spitting stitches and an ingrown hair that had caused inflammation at my TT scar, so now *fingers crossed* I’ll be good to heal. I continue with Bio Oil in the morning and coconut oil in the evening. I might use the silicone sheets that she recommended one day, but at present am rather consumed with all the massaging and really don’t want to add another thing in. (Can’t take away from fretting time either, don’t cha know!)
Just wondering whether everyone been advised to massage your scars twice daily for six months? I haven’t heard a lot of discussion re: same.
Oh yes, I can now sneeze or cough without grabbing a pillow and doubling over… and it’s fine. Sneezing! Who knew it could be so pleasurable?! And I can do a morning stretch in bed again without succumbing to muscle contractions… sweet!
My next visit will probably be at 6-months PO so I’ll try to content myself to play wait-and-see and loveLoveLOVE my new body until then.
I do believe that’s it for my War & Peace post. If you made it through, you’ve earned yourself another cuppa…. naw, go for some chocolate! I don’t expect I’ll have a lot to report prior to my next PO visit although you never know… I do love yakking!
Big hugz Sistahs! What would I have ever done without you? xo