Panniculectomy :) - Dubuque, IA

Everything is finally set to go for Minday morning...

Everything is finally set to go for Minday morning. I'm so excited to begin a new chapter in my life, but I'm also very nervous. My husband has never heard of this surgery and he just can't wrap his head around it. He's being as supportive as he can be though. Told the kids last night and told my parents tonight. I didn't exactly tell any of them what the procedure was, just that hopefully it will help my back. Two more days, then it all changes forever!!

Tomorrow is the big day!

I can't believe it's almost here. I have somany questions but none that can be answered. I'm so curious to know what the immediate changes will be like. Will I be able to go down a pant size? Maybe two? Or even three with so much tissue being removed? My legs and back end won't change so I can't figure out how clothes are going to fit.

I will also be having the skin taken off above my navel and will no longer have a belly button. I can't imagine how it will look. I know it will look better than it is now but I hope it isn't too weird looking. Anyone else have it done this way?

Surgery Day!

I'll be going back in a few minutes, I'm so nervous with anticipation. I'm at a hospital I've never been in before so I feel a little out of sorts. ????

Surgery complete

Oh my gosh! I cannot wait to see what I'm going to look like when the swelling goes down. My apron weighed 42.1 pounds! Much of the surgical site is numb and likely will be for quite a while. Drains are working well. When I'm laying down nearly flat, I can see my FEET! There is a lot of dressing and tape which is already coming loose. The pain is very minimal with the exception of one spot near one of the drain tubes - that burns like crazy! My nurses seem to be slacking a bit. I had to ask to get up about 7 hours post surgery. I had to ask for the pain meds which I wanted before getting up and moving around. I have to ask for ice packs, pillows, water... I won't recommend this hospital to anyone for sure, but the dr was great.

Day 1 and 2 post op

Much to my surprise, the pain is very manageable. The only problem I had was some tape pulling in a sensitive area and now that I have that resolved, I feel much better. My surgeon has been great but this hospital and its staff was something else.
Day of surgery: I had to have my husband stay with me because the nurses and cna's are a joke. I had to ask to get up around 11 and again at 4:30am because the nurses were ignoring me.
Day 1 post op: The surgeon made her Ronda and was ticked off to see me still laying in bed with the foley. I keep having to ask for everything repeatedly-water, pain pills, food, my IV beeped for hours last night. I would finally get a nurse to fix it, and it would beep again before she was out of the room but she would keep on walking. I waited over 2 hours just to see how long it would take her and my husband finally went off and insisted I call her in. If it wasn't my IV beeping, it was a neighbors. It took 12 hours after they took the auto BP cuff off me before they did another set of vitals on me. I am so thankful I wasn't a critical patient as I don't think I would have had a positive outcome. So after the Dr let them have it, they decided to take the foley out. After lunch I had my 3rd set of vitals taken while discharging me. I couldn't get out of there fast enough!!
Day 2 post op: I'm much happier now that I was at home. The day was uneventful until evening rolled around. I had fallen asleep on the couch and suddenly woke up because I was freezing cold and shivering. Took my temp and it was 101.2. Took my blanket off and drank some ice water and roughed it out another hour. I was hoping maybe I had just gotten myself to warm from being all bundled up. Took my temp against 10pm and now it's 101.5. I. Sent a message to surgeon and waited. About 11:40 I decided to call her on call number as it was now 102. Very obviously work her up from what sounded like a medicated sleep. Told me it was probably just from the anesthesia, not enough deep breathing, etc and if I was concerned to go to my local er. I took my meds and decided to get ready for bed and I would monitor the fever. I used the restroom and sat down on my bed to change my dressings and clothes. When I stood up to pull my clothes up they were soaked. I called my husband to come look and he said it was blood. He couldn't see where it was coming from but did mention the drawings he put around the drain tube was soaked. So off to my local ER we go. They immediately knew what was wrong- not one of the 3 people at the hospital that showed me how to empty the drains mentioned having to strip them! They w ere clotted shut and leaking directly from the incision. They drained 210ml more off one side, 75 off the other. I was furious at the original hospital! How incompetent can they be and yet manage to remain open? I don't think they have to worry about being a top 100 hospital EVER. The ER Dr pulled my records to compare my labs and was amazed to find out they never did any labs on me. My husband says he wouldn't take the dog there!

By end of day 2 I am able to get in and out of the van by myself, get up and down from the couch and use the restroom without assistance. I do have a title step stool with a handle on it that I'm using to get up from the couch as it is a little lower and I can't get my feet directly under me. The pain is very minimal and what I am experiencing is just the skin pulling. Having all the tape gone made a tremendous improvement.

Day 3 post op

Feeling good, still quite tired and napping every few hours. I'm sleeping sitting on my couch so as comfy as it is, it doesn't make for a full nights sleep. I tried the bed and it felt good but after about 2 hours I couldn't stand it anymore. My entire back side was tingly numb from not being able to move. Maybe another couple days will make a difference there. In the meantime, I'm happy my couch is comfy :)
I'm very bloated and swollen but took a couple pics to show you. Right now it looks disappointing but so, so much better than where I started. I have a long road in front of me to loose the excess wait and get to a healthy state but I knew that going into this. My legs will need a lift when done as that skin is beyond return as well. I will deal with that when the time comes. Initially I was kicking myself for not pursuing that at the same time, but happy now j didn't. I think one obstacle at a time is enough!

Please be kind about the pics, it's hard enough to share as it is. The 3rd pic shows the tremendous swelling I'm having. Ironically, the left was always my smaller side before! The scar looks like it's together really well and no dog ears! I hope I'm not speaking too soon.

Let me know what you think.

Days 4 & 5

Day 4
I finally got to take a shower! Oh how good it is not to smell like hospital!! We grabbed pizza last night and went to a friends house to watch a movie. I needed to look at someone else's walls for a while lol. I'm getting around really well, needing very minimal help. I've noticed the glue pulling more after the shower so no sudden movements.

Day 5
Woke up this morning and discovered that pizza last night was NOT a good idea! I am so swollen I can hardly bend my toes -ouch! I've still been sleeping sitting up on the couch which I know is less than ideal but I can take care of myself this way. I can't lay flat on the bed for long until my body hurts. So I grabbed a couple wedges and layer down on the bed and propped my feet up for acouple hours. This seems to have helped some. We had a parade to go to today so I will prop myself up again when I get home. Maybe being out and walking will help as well. The big feat for today- I was able to get my socks on by myself! It took 10 min but I did it by myself!!! I've also been able to get up and down on my lawn chair which surprised me. I thought for sure I would need a crane to get back up lol!

For anyone contemplating a panniculectomy, I would recommend doing your research and asking questions but don't worry about the "after". It was nothing like I expected it be. It's so much easier and so much less pain than I expected.

Days 4 & 5

Day 4
I finally got to take a shower! Oh how good it is not to smell like hospital!! We grabbed pizza last night and went to a friends house to watch a movie. I needed to look at someone else's walls for a while lol. I'm getting around really well, needing very minimal help. I've noticed the glue pulling more after the shower so no sudden movements.

Day 5
Woke up this morning and discovered that pizza last night was NOT a good idea! I am so swollen I can hardly bend my toes -ouch! I've still been sleeping sitting up on the couch which I know is less than ideal but I can take care of myself this way. I can't lay flat on the bed for long until my body hurts. So I grabbed a couple wedges and layer down on the bed and propped my feet up for acouple hours. This seems to have helped some. We had a parade to go to today so I will prop myself up again when I get home. Maybe being out and walking will help as well. The big feat for today- I was able to get my socks on by myself! It took 10 min but I did it by myself!!! I've also been able to get up and down on my lawn chair which surprised me. I thought for sure I would need a crane to get back up lol!

For anyone contemplating a panniculectomy, I would recommend doing your research and asking questions but don't worry about the "after". It was nothing like I expected it be. It's so much easier and so much less pain than I expected.

I'm very swollen and it standing up completely straight in this pic. My surgeon does not have me using any compression garments. I think I would look and feel better with it but have not been up to shopping to find something that will fit properly. I might have to break down and order something online. Any opinions on that? She told me to just wear snug undies when I questioned it.

1 Week post op

I have an appointment this afternoon for my one week follow up. I can't get the swelling in my legs and feet to go down. My stomachs is still very swollen as well and lots of fluid output. I'm drinking a lot of water hoping to flush it out but no luck so far. I think I will specifically ask about some compression hose and again about compression to the site. I think I would have been so much more comfortable with some support instead of this "hanging free". The fluid on one side has finally become clear and yellowish, the other side is still pink but mostly clear now. The glue and scabbing is starting to come off too.

Days 8-11

Ended up at the ER again on day 8. I was running a temp of 102.9. After 2 days I was transferred to a higher level facility. My blood pressure was running in the 80/50 range, tachycardia, the high temps and hemoglobin dropping. Finally on day 11 my hemoglobin hit 6.9 and the transfused a unit of blood. Hemoglobin rose a whole point! My blood pressure is now in the 100's/60's and heart rate has decreased. I have not spiked a fever in 48 hours. Cellulitis is still persistent so I will will likely be her for a couple more days.
Mercy Hospital Dubuque

Horrible place, worse service. When we had to go the ER the same day as discharge because of their lack of care I was in tears. I was afraid to go back. We ultimately decided we were better off going to a different hospital and starting completely over. I'm upset that my insurance company is going to pay for something I really didn't receive.

1 out of 5 stars Overall rating
1 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
1 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
1 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
1 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
1 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
2 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
1 out of 5 stars Wait times
Was this review helpful? {{ voteCountOthers + ' other' + (voteCountOthers == 1 ? '' : 's') }} found this helpful