Here are some details about the surgery process itself. The evening before the surgery I went to my surgeon's office and he spent an hour drawing on my body as I stood in various positions. This way there would be no time wasted the next day as the surgery is so lengthy. He asked me to put my underwear at the level I wear it normally so he could make the incisions as low as possible. The surgery was about nine hours long which seems pretty unbelievable to me but that is how much precision and detail is involved. When I woke up I was not in any pain at all and was surprisingly calm and level headed. I was wearing minimal bandages and already had my the binder on me which I was required to wear for two weeks before I could take a full shower and then for another four weeks as the incisions continued to heal. I waited in recovery with my mom until I was picked up by an ambulance and taken over to the aftercare facility. My surgeon recommended two nights at the surgery center but I stayed for three since it was a weekend and I wanted to make sure I had the best care possible. The first 24 hours were as pleasant as could be. I had a liquid dinner, took meds, watched TV, walked around a bit, slept through the night, had visitors the next day, etc. The pain was surprisingly under control. It wasn't until the next night that I began to really feel it. It must have been that the anesthesia wore off and the nurses were waiting to give me meds until I asked for it. It was strange because I didn't feel sharp pain so much as agitation and a dull constant pain that I barely noticed. The night nurse I had was great and she made sure to stay on top of the pain with the recommended dosage every four hours. Once I was on that schedule with my meds, it became less scary to me to think about leaving the facility and going to my parents' house. They prepared me a lot by having me walk around more and more each day, emptying my own drains, etc. The drive to my parents' place wasn't too bad but it was definitely extremely challenging getting in and out of the car and up the stairs to my bed. It's amazing how much you use your stomach muscles. My parents had purchased a lot of things from the local CVS that helped- plastic steps to get in and out of bed, a bar to pull myself up in bed, bars around the toilet, etc. I was also propped up with a lot of pillows. Even with all of those things it was difficult to get up and down and I was using the restroom a lot. My first night at their place was pretty awful. The next day my mom had a reclining chair brought over from a medical supply company. We rented it for a month. This was my LIFE SAVER. I was able to get up and down very easily and it reclined in the perfect position to get sleep. Time went by fast and I was on to another follow up appointment with my doctor. He took off some of the bandages and I was able to finally take a shower! That first shower was the best feeling in the world. It was weird how quickly I wanted to put my binder back on. It was almost like I felt like I'd break in half if I didn't.
I really just waited out the time- watched a lot of netflix, hungout with my family. I was starting to take less and less pain medication as well. Pretty soon I was ready to get my stitches out. I really wasn't prepared for that whole process! The stitches underneath my skin that kind of zigzagged below the surface were pretty painful as they came out. But honestly, after all I had been through up until this point, I was becoming a lot braver than I ever expected. It was a manageable pain. The incisions were healing really nicely. All I had to do was put medical tape on them and I could shower as much as I wanted now.
About four and half weeks after my surgery I went back to work and about two weeks after that I went back to my own apartment. Shortly after I was able to take off my binder which was incredible exciting. My doctor told me I was allowed to get back to working out which was amazing news. I had been missing it so much. I did some elliptical that night. It only took a week or so to get back into my workouts. The swelling was not too bad either. It seemed to be worse after workouts or at night but nothing too bad.
Time really has flown by. It's been four months since my surgery and I couldn't be happier with my results. I can't believe this is my stomach. I can now see all the hard work that I put into losing the weight and keeping it off. I'm wearing clothes I never had the confidence to wear before and just feeling more and more like myself. This surgery has changed my life. It's been more than a physical change. I have grow so much emotionally through this experience. It's hard to explain but I feel like a stronger, better person. It's amazing how this whole process made me face certain things about myself that I was ignoring or pushing aside. I am proud of where I am and how I've gotten here.
P.S. I will add a few photos soon. I won't have a before photo until I go to my appointment next week and get it from my doctor. I wasn't really wanting to take pictures at that point in my life!