Goodbye to the Pouch, and the Batwings While I'm at It - Chicago, IL

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First of all, I am 27 years old and after losing...

First of all, I am 27 years old and after losing around 150 pounds (on my own, no surgery), I have decided to get a tummy tuck and an arm lift. I lost the vast majority of the weight within a 2 year span and have kept it off for about 4 years. I've put on a bit here an there, I've plateaued around 185 after getting down to 155 at one point which was incredibly unhealthy (I looked like a melting skeleton----keep in mind that I'm nearly 6 ft tall). It goes without saying that I have a significant amount of loose skin that really impedes my lifestyle. I haven't been able to comfortably wear anything that would fit at the waist (due to the unsightly hanging pouch) nor have I been able to wear garments with anything less than a 3/4 sleeve due to the batwings. It'll be nice to finally be able to dress appropriately for outdoor activities and general summer weather. I may even get the nerve to put on a bathing suit without wearing a loose shirt over it!

Anyway, I had my initial consult on July 18th. My PS and her staff were completely awesome and made me feel very comfortable. She told me that both procedures combined will take around 5 hours and I should expect great results. Also, apparently I don't need any lipo (like I expected I would) as she commented, "You already did that for me!".

As for preparation, I've bought a few loose sleeveless sundresses to wear whilst healing and I've picked up a shower seat. Any suggestions as to other items that would be helpful during recovery?

Admittedly, I'm a bit nervous as this will be my first surgery ever---and what a doozy it'll be! I've never even had stitches! Well, I guess I'm jumping right into the deep end, eh?

I went in on Monday to pay my physician's fee and...

I went in on Monday to pay my physician's fee and order my garments. An order was also put in for my pain meds, so I should be picking those up today!

Other than that, I designating today as a big cleanup and prep day---we're cleaning the apartment until it's spotless, making it a bit more gimp-friendly ;), and making a run to Target for some necessities----new bedsheets, a TV tray, antibacterial soap, etc. I've already picked up some new towels, new pillows, some comfy PJs, moist towelettes, and a shower seat.

I also took care of some more serious issues such as putting my fiance as POD on my bank accounts. It may be a bit morbid, but in the very slim chance that something does happen, I'd like things to be able to be managed with relative ease.

I've been told all the basics: no eating/drinking after midnight the day before, shower the night before and the day of with an antibacterial soap, etc. My surgery is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. on Monday, but I have to be there at 6:30 a.m. The surgical center is in the center of downtown Chicago, so I'm not looking forward to that traffic (thankfully my fiance is driving)!

That's about all I have pre-surgery. I'm nervous as all hell, but I'm assured that it'll be okay. My PS told me that if I can handle extensive tattooing (which I can and have), I'll be able to handle this pain with no problem. I think that she's just trying not to worry me! :)

Yikes. Less than two days! Heck, closer to a day...

Yikes. Less than two days! Heck, closer to a day and a half, really!
I picked up my prescription yesterday----40 325 mg oxycodone/acetaminophen tablets. I sure hope that'll be enough!


P.S. I've also uploaded an icky "before" picture of the tummy.

A couple days post-op...oi. The surgery went...

A couple days post-op...oi. The surgery went smoothly, but both procedures combined took about 8 hours (they expected it to take 5). A little soreness here and there, especially where my rectus muscles were tightened. Overall, the worst part of this has been the nausea---it has brought me to tears a couple times. It's probably partially the after-effects of the anesthesia, partially the percocet, and partially the fact that my shoulders are really sore from being upright all of this time. I have my ginger ale, crackers, bread, rice, gatorade...everything I could need. Plus, my fiance has not left my side (he's even sleeping on the couch with me). I really don't know what I'd do without him.
We tried to get me into the shower today, but I wasn't really up for it. I started to feel nauseous, so he just wiped me down with a cool cloth. We took the compression garments off of my arms, at least, and wiped that area down. I haven't taken a look at my abdomen, yet. We'll try the shower again tomorrow.
I have my follow-up with my PS on Tuesday, I believe. Perhaps some of these obnoxious drains will come out...

I'm on my 6th day post-op. Not much pain at all...

I'm on my 6th day post-op. Not much pain at all and I haven't had any nausea for a couple days. I'm switching out my pain meds----ibuprofen during the day, percocet at night (to help sleep).
Today I had my first proper shower and it was absolutely wonderful. I didn't want to leave! Before that, my fiance had been giving me sponge baths because I'd get really exhausted quickly, especially when my abdominal compression garment was removed. The shower was magnificent, though. Even the mere act of washing the areas that were under my compression garments was like heaven----it was so itchy!

I also saw myself without any bandages/garments for the first time today. My arms----I nearly cried because they're so tiny. My belly, it's still pretty swollen but....I have hips! I'm so excited! I can only imagine how tiny my waist will be once the swelling goes down.
The swelling, admittedly, did disenchant me for a brief moment, but I kept telling myself that it will go down significantly.

As said before, I'm anxiously anticipating the removal of my drains. Ugh...they're so unnerving.

Drains removed yesterday! Yay!

Drains removed yesterday! Yay!

Oi. Wound separations and popping/spitting...

Oi. Wound separations and popping/spitting stitches seemingly all over the place. Seeing the PS on Wednesday---hopefully everything is okay...

I will add a bit of detail about my...

I will add a bit of detail about my situation:
Last week at my one week follow-up, my PS noticed a few small separations along my tummy incision and in my armpits; the one in my left armpit is a bit bigger. She gave me Silvadene cream (a silver sulfa antibacterial ointment) and instructions to clean and dress the wounds 2-3 times daily. Also, she suggested that I keep the areas dry.
Recently, the one in my left armpit starting weeping discharge. It's slightly yellow and bloody, but it's clear and does not have an odor. I don't have a fever, there's not spreading redness, and no real pain. After consulting some nurses over the phone, they think that it's serous (or serosanguinous) fluid---especially since I just got my drains removed. I calmed down a bit since I was worried that I might have an infection.
Today, I got up and my fiance noticed a spot of fluid on my compression garment at the back of my arm. We removed it and he remarked that another separation had formed----at least two stitches popped with one in between.
Needless to say, it's getting frustrating. On the bright side, my drain holes are nearly healed. We've graduated to large band aids instead of gauze pads. It's encouraging.

A goodly number of my wounds have healed with...

A goodly number of my wounds have healed with exception to the large/deep ones in my armpit and abdomen. As per my PS's instructions, we've been packing those and they do seem to be getting smaller.
Though, good news comes with bad: I've developed a seroma below my belly incision---it started draining on its own last night through a new hole in my belly incision. Ugh. When will the complications stop?
Dr. Julie Park

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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