Having a Panniculectomy 45 Year Old Mother of 3. 3 C-sections. After Losing Half of Me! (230lbs) East Syracuse, NY

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After five years of diet and exercise I've gone...

After five years of diet and exercise I've gone from 435lbs down to 215lbs. I feel amazing, except for back pain. Although the pain is more manageable now, it's still persistent. I carry a large pannus around me like a worn out deflated tire. The flap is heave and strains my lower back. The more active I am in a day the more pain I have.
At 5ft 3, I could barely walk under the strain. Now I love pushing myself physically. I'm stronger than I have been in my life. All aspects of my life! I hike, ride bike and swim. As you can imagine, exercising correctly is very difficult and restricting if you are doing it with an inner tube stuck to you.
I went to see a PS at Upstate Medical. He described the Panniculectomy procedure to me. He explained, because I have a low belly button, he will have to cut my pannus above my belly button leaving me, well, belly buttonless! He also said I won't have any drains. I'm happy about that, I guess?? I thought it was a package deal Panniculectomy , drains??
I thought about it and prayed and did a lot of research and prayed, and threw a little worry in, too!
After I had my thoughts in order, my fiancé and I had a meeting of our thoughts... And......I scheduled my surgery for June 25, 2014. Yikes!!
I'm excited and nervous! I don't want to look funny. But, the thing is, I can't in my mind picture what I will look like. (I don't have the funds for the "upgrades." ) Even though the Doc. had me look in the mirror while he showed me the area he would be removing. Still I can't picture it. Strange??? Not sure :)
To me, I look funny already. I'm thinking, trading looking funny for another looking funny, without back pain, is a good deal. If God's willing, one day I'll have a real tummy tuck, thigh lift, breast lift, and get rid of my bat wings. Those of us that have them know just what il talking about! ;-)
Wish me luck and pray for me. Ill post some pictures before and after.
Thanks for any comments or words of encouragement.

11 days to go!

My PS's office called to tell me my surgery is pushed back from 9am until 11:15. They also told me I won't be having my surgery done at Upstate community General hospital. Because of schedule issues ill now be at the bigger teaching hospital. I'm ok with the changes, I think.. I have a busy day today. I'll think on it later.

Almost there!

Just a few days to go. Any last minute tips or suggestions for a more comfortable recovery?
Feeling confident! :)

So close...

Almost there. The final count down. I'm feeling nervous and excited. More nervous. Does anyone know if it's a good idea to ask my PS for something to help me sleep the night before. Someone told me it might hamper healing. The day after tomorrow... Breathe breathe, I keep telling myself.
Happy healing...

Canceled until August

Family emergency had to cancel. So sad

August 6 is my new date!

Hi RS friends...
I've rescheduled my panniculetomy for August 6.
I'm having that rush of all those emotions that come right after making the final arrangements.
Let's do this! Ha
I have gotten my confidence to move on from reading so many profiles of beautiful woman that are now WOW beautiful.

Today is the day

In about an hour I will be on my way to surgery. A lil more nervous than excited today. Hate the waiting.

I made it!

Just got home from the hospital. I'm very sore and tired. I will post a few pics later maybe tomorrow. My Doc gave me a mini tummy tuck and a new belly button in addition to the panni. I'm very happy! Didn't expect it. It was the greatest happiness to find out he is a perfectionist and had to finish the job! Yay need sleep


Wow, this is a lot more intense than I had prepared for.
I don't have any drains or garmet on. I am attached to a wound vac machine. It keeps suction on my wound. It goes almost all the way around me, from hip to hip. This machine keeps the site dry and together with suction.
So very tired. Ill post more when I feel a lil' better. I'm praying for comfort and a complication free recovery...

Very rough 24 hours after Vac removed

Doc took off the wound vac for a peak at my Dr appt yesterday. More pain yesterday and today that day 1,2,3 post op. I'm swelled from my knees to right under my breast. Didn't sleep all night. Called Dic this am waitin for a call back from my PS. Praying for strength...

3 weeks 3 days PO

I'm feeling better every day. A little incision opening because of swelling. Some evenings I'm so swelled up nothing eases the discomfort. I feel great in the morning before I start to bloat.
Besides that I like the way I look in the morning. Flat tummy! Yay!! never had a flat tummy before!
Pain, comes mostly with the swelling. Some soreness where the incision has opened. My Doc started me on an antibiotic, incision was red and angry with bloody drainage. I was thinking about getting my arms done. Losing 230lbs leaves a lot of hanging skin. But I think I'm gonna learn to love my skin. The main reason is it doesn't hurt. I told my family when I can get back in the gym I'm going to build muscle to fill in some of the sag on my arms and legs. Plus, my saggy skin is a reminder that I never want to gain weight again. It's kinda like my battle scars. Ha! It was a battle to get here and healthy, that I WON!

3wks 3 days


Tips to a speedy recovery

What you may not realize is that some of the most important steps you can take to recovery from surgery happen before you even reach the hospital doors. One of these is being sure to bank your own blood if you’re planning on undergoing surgery that may require transfusions. I’ve been recommending this process (called autologous transfusion) as a pre-surgery precaution for nearly 25 years, and it still is good advice.

Thankfully, due to modern donor blood test screening protocols established after the emergence of HIV in the 80s, now you’re more likely to be transfused with wrong blood type than you are to contract HIV/AIDS or hepatitis from donor blood. However, donor blood still contains other various pathogens, because at any given time the body is fighting some form of infection. For some people it could be simply from a cut on the finger, gum disease, a cold, a chronic sinus problem, et cetera. But in other people the pathogen might be more virulent.

Research shows that the risk of developing any kind of infection is three times greater in any patient who receives a blood transfusion when compared to a similar patient who doesn’t. And the more blood one receives, the higher the risk of infection.

In many cases, however—hip replacement, bypass procedures, and the like—you have time to donate and bank your own blood prior to the surgery. In a University of Michigan study, individuals who didn’t receive transfusions, and those who banked their own blood before surgery, had the lowest risk of infections and, subsequently, a lower risk of dying during the 100 days after surgery.

Remember that it may take anywhere from four to eight weeks to accumulate enough blood for many surgeries, so plan ahead when possible. When you donate blood they take a unit, and you can donate once every eight weeks. Your body will replace the plasma (the fluid portion) in a couple days, but it takes the two months for your body to replenish the blood cells contained in a pint. If you bank your own blood before surgery, be sure to allow enough time between your last blood draw and the date of your surgery.

2. Supplement Program

In addition to your normal multivitamin-mineral supplement regimen, you also need to make sure you are taking certain vitamins at least a couple of weeks before and two to three months after surgery. Research studies have shown that taking as little as 250 mg a day of vitamin C after surgery cut the healing time in half.

I recommend you start taking the following supplements at least two weeks prior to the surgery: additional vitamin C (1,000 mg to 2,500 mg), bioflavanoids (1000 mg), zinc (50 mg), vitamin E in the form of wheat germ oil capsules (50 mg), and a good B-complex (that contains at least 50 mg of pantothenic acid). Also remember that zinc can become toxic if not taken with vitamin A as well as vitamin C, so it would be best to include from 20,000 to 25,000 IU of vitamin A daily.

Wheat germ oil can also help in the healing of any scars left immediately after surgery when applied directly to the scar area. (Simply puncture the wheat germ oil capsule and squeeze onto the area.)

3. Probiotics and Fiber

If you haven’t already, you should add a probiotic and fiber to your diet during the weeks preceding and months following your surgery. According to one study, patients who ate fiber and probiotics after undergoing a major abdominal surgery or liver transplant had substantially fewer incidences of post-surgical infection than patients given conventional nutrition or placebo. For example, of the 95 patients in the study who received liver transplants, 48 percent of those on conventional nutrition and 34 percent of those receiving the placebo developed infections. Only 13 percent of those receiving the probiotic and additional fiber developed infections.

Based on the results above, I personally think it should be considered malpractice for surgeons not to place all of their patients on probiotics and additional fiber. The difference in infection rates is phenomenal! This simple therapy can reduce suffering, lower death rates, decrease antibiotic use, and shorten the duration of hospital stays, dramatically reducing medical expenditures in this country.

Most people are aware of the immune system-boosting benefits of probiotics or “good bacteria.” But not as many people realize that for probiotics and beneficial bacteria to work and proliferate, they need their own “food,” also known as “prebiotics.” Fiber serves this purpose. Indigestible fiber not only helps bowel motility, but it also serves as base media for the necessary probiotic fermentation process that happens in the bowels. The vitamins and nutrients produced by this process feed the good gut bacteria and prevent infections, which would otherwise start in the area. Increasing the fiber in your diet with raw and cooked fruits and vegetables will make any probiotic work more effectively.

4. Bromelain

A couple of days before and after surgery it would be wise to include at least 1,000 mg twice daily of bromelain (the pineapple extract). It should be taken between meals with a full glass of water. Bromelain is a powerful proteolytic enzyme (meaning it breaks down proteins). In addition to its uses as a digestive aid, its excellent anti-inflammatory effects reduce swelling and bruising, speeding healing and recovery time. Even pineapple in its raw form has show to be effective when applied topically to wounds. Bromelain tablets can be purchased at most health food stores.

5. Sunshine

After your surgery, try to get a bed next to a window that lets in the most sunlight.

Although the public has practically been brainwashed into believing we would be healthier without sunlight exposure, nothing could be further from the truth. Moderate exposure to sunlight is essential to optimal health, and research shows that exposure to sunlight after surgery can help make the recovery process less painful.

In the study, researchers observed the effects of sunlight exposure on the amount of pain medication needed by 89 patients who had recently undergone spinal surgery. Medication use was compared to intensity of sunlight in each of the patients’ rooms. Patients staying on the bright side of the hospital unit were exposed to 46 percent higher intensity sunlight. These patients experienced less perceived stress and less pain, and took 22 percent less pain medication per hour than those on the dim side of the hospital. As a result, their cost of pain medication was 21 percent lower.

I see no reason why one wouldn’t experience similar results while recuperating from an illness in a home setting. During your convalescence at home, try to get 15–20 minutes of sun a day either by sitting outside or at least by a sunny window.

Even though surgery and the subsequent healing process are often frightening and painful, following these five steps will go a long way toward helping you make a quick and full recovery.

Four weeks three days PO

It was 90+ degrees here yesterday. I had a lot of errands to run in that nasty humid heat. So swelled from my feet to my rib cage. The only think I can fit in is my workout clothes and they are fitting too close. Sighhhh, I can't wait for the swelling to go away. Besides the terrible swelling I'm feeling good. I do get tired very easy. Since losing the 230lbs I've been very active. I even had the cable tv shut off three years ago. No more miss couch potato. I don't like having low energy. My PS said I have a huge incision. My sister measured it, 35.5 inch scar. Takes a lot of energy to heal, let my body rest when I need it. I'm just worried about gaining too much weight. Doc said 4 more weeks before I can get back in the gym. I take short, 15, 20 minute walks in my neighborhood by the water, at least once a day, some days twice. This surgery is no joke. Have to take my Doc advice and rest rest rest.
My fiancé has been so wonderful through all of this. I don't know what I would have done without him. He is doing all of the housework, always asking me if I'm ok, or if he can do anything for me. Rubbing my head while I complain about the swelling. He has even gotten up out of bed at 2:30 in the morning to pace up and down the hall with me, I couldn't sleep, I was miserable from the swelling pain. I feel bad because he works long days with his business. Good thing he is in GREAT shape. Fit and ripped :-) he keeps telling me he is taking care of me like he knows I would take care of him if he was almost cut in half.... Haha love that man!
Good luck to my RS friends that are approaching their surgery n happy healing!

4wk 3 days

Five weeks three days PO

Almost five weeks. The swelling is still Hell. My pubic area is still swelled because he lifted lifted it. It hurts hurts. I'm swelled from my ribs to my feet. My incision is being pulled right at the mons because of the horrible swelling. Not sure what to do about it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! I'm feeling better every day. I still have discomfort inside. Remind you I have a three foot scar because he lifted my butt some too. It goes almost around me. I still have to take Advil in the evening because of the swelling pain. My back pain is gone. Thank The Lord! I can't wait to get back to the gym, the warm pool and hot tub are calling me! No swimming until my incision is totally closed.
Crazy but I can't fit into any of my pre-surgery clothes. My butt and my thighs are so swelled I get get them over my hips. I'm following Dr orders to help my swelling, but I'm finding little relief. I know by looking at my self I have a workable canvas now! When I'm back to feeling close to normal and back in the gym, I'll build this body to something I'm proud of. I'll lose 60 more lbs and build lots of mussel to fill some of my flab. I'm excited for normal! Even More excited to have another chance to make my body feel good and look good. I'm blessed, not everyone gets a second chance. I've got more work to do, but I'm getting there!!!


Should read, almost 6 weeks.

Two large seromas and a second surgery for me.

I'm 8 weeks PO. A week ago Saturday I woke up feeling dizzy and faint. In addition to the horrible swelling I've had from about 8 days PO, I hadn't moved my bowels in 7 days. I felt like a blow fish ready to pop. I called my PS , I was told to go to my local ER. A CT scan confirmed I had two large seromas. Oh yeah, it was my first CT scan ever. I had an allergic reaction to the CT fluid they injected in me. I got so itchy, felt like bugs were crawling all over me and my chest felt tight. I had to have IV steroids as Benadryl. I felt much better after the IV bag was almost empty. Whewww...
The seromas were on each end of my incision. They went from my back to almost my belly button but didn't meet. I was sent home with pain meds.
My local hospital forwarded my test and results to my PS in syracuse. The next day I had to go up to syracuse for additional tests. The neat day I was to arrive at 11am for my 1pm surgery to drain the fluid and give me two drains. Mind you, I still have not moved my bowels. All of the fluid was giving me a bowel blockage. If you looked up miserable in the dictionary, you would have seen a picture of me..! :(
I'm home now. And feeling better. It took two days for my bowels to straighten out, finally relief on day 2. Wheww :)
When they I erred the drains they removed two 1050 ml of fluid, more than a large bottle of soda, from my right seroma and about 800 ml from the left. They are still draining between 50 to 90ml a day. I have a appt. on Tuesday to have them removed, if the amounts are under 20ml in 24 hour period. I'm not quite as miserable as a week ago but these drains are painful and just a pain.
We have a love hate relationship ha! As most of you know.
The good news, my vaJay is not swelled up any more, and my incision is almost all healed now that it isn't being stretched from the horrible swelling. Woohoo!!
I lost 9 lbs the day they put the drains in! No joke 9lbs of fluid!!
I'm feeling better than before but I'm so tired and drained.
I've said before, this surgery is no joke. Trust and believe, this will be my last plastic surgery. I have a new love for my saggy skin. Even my bat wings. Mostly because it doesn't hurt ;-)
I feel a bit dumb for putting my perfectly healthy body thru all of this. Live and learn.
I hope everyone is doing well.

Huge drainage bag

Can't wear clothes with these things. Can't hide them. Took a quick trip to the grocery store, mostly for the walk in AC. People were looking ate strange. Some acres strange like they thought I was sick and they could catch something from me. Hmmm

Never posted pictures of me before my weight loss.

Here they are... Still can't believe that was me. I don't even know that person any more.

Drains are gone!!!

I had my appt. with my PS yesterday, he removed both drains and I can not be happier! We live a lil over an hour away from my PS, it was a beautiful sunny day for the ride. My fiancé took another day away from his business to drive me and I'm so glad he did.
When we got there they called me right in. Even before I finished using the restroom. The NP came in to look at me, she usually comes in first. She checked out my swelling issues and asked a ton of questions. I had a few tough days after I pulled out one of the internal stitches for my drain. I was right on track to have the drains removed, less than 20ml in 25 hr until I pulled the darn stitch. I was adjusting my garmet didn't realize I had the small part of the drain and Rip... Ouch. I didn't know then that I ripped the stitch. Later my drainage increased and turned back to red bloody. Uggg, I was upset thinking I night night get them out.
The Doc came on pulled and tugged, lol, on my tummy and said he was going to remove the right drain. I told him what happen, pulling the drain. He said I ripped it and that's why the drainage increased and turned red. So he said it was safe to remove them both. Yay the NP said she would be right back, she went and got all the things to remove the drains. The Doc stepped out, then I got nervous. Almost into a panic. My fiancé gave me a stern talk, they have to come out, calm down, it's gonna hurt more if you are all worked up. Lol sometimes I'm my own worst enemy. He calmed me down, the Doc and NP came back in. He had her remove the external stitches, she was so very gentle. My fiancé held my hand and kept talking to me about work issues that I knew I had to give him answer, it was about billing. He kept me focusing on him before I knew it the left drain was out. She moved onto the right drain where there was a problem with the internal stitched. The Doc came back in and one, two three, it was out. The right one was a little more tender. Then the Doc said it was picture day. He asked if my fiancé wanted to come and he said yes. I'll see my before and afters at my next appt in one month.
The ride home was amazing! The sun shining, I rode home the whole way with the window down with the wind blowing in my hair. Such relief to have the drains out. No infection almost no pain except for the soreness where the stitches were removed. I was on cloud nine! My fiancé was in high spirits too. I just love that man. I can't wait to be his wife... :)
I got home jumped on RS read quick. Had a bite to eat then settled down to take a nap. Crazy I slept for 13 hours straight. I haven't slept for more than 3 or 4 hours straight since before my first surgery, two months ago. Crazy... I can't believe I slept that long. My fiancé said I was sleeping so sound he just let me sleep. I didn't wake up until he was up and ready for work this morning. I think I must have been a lil tired haha.
I woke up today feeling really well. I'm still sore but I felt well enough to meet a friend do a little grocery shopping with her. I have dinner in the oven and did laundry! Normal here I come. I'm not going back to work until next Tuesday. I'm going to get my home routine back to normal before I go back to work this time. After my drain sites heal up I can get back to the gym. I'm thinking about 10 days or so. I'm going to start out in the warm water pool and consult with my amazing friend and physical therapist on how I should proceed with exercising. I don't want any more set backs. I really feel line I'm on my way to a full recovery! Thank you my RS family for your support and encouragement. I can't imagine taking this journey with out you. Happy healing and huggs:)


I don't know why I think I'm super woman sometimes. I went back to work PO day 5. I know I know. I so wanted to get normal back. Here it is ladies. Don't push yourself after major surgery. It usually doesn't end well. I work in an office, a lot of up and down but mostly sit. Ughhh the sitting for hours at a time did me in. Still I pushed myself.... If I don't feel I can make it a half day come Tuesday, I will make arrangements to do my work from home at my own pace. Just has to be. I woke up a little more swelled today than yesterday. I think I'll take my walk early today, looks like it might rain.
Have a beautiful day my friends.

Feeling sad

I noticed yesterday I was more swelled up than the day before between my bb and my scar. This morning I woke up even more swelled. I tried to call my PS, their office is closed for the holiday. I'm so hoping he can asperate in his office and I don't need to have the drains put back in. My CG, that I live in 24/7 is so tight it's making me burn. I'm just so sad. I'll call him tomorrow. I feel like I'm hoping for the best while preparing for the worst. Another surgery and more drains. It makes me want to cry.
Dr. Prashant K Upadhyaya, MD.

4 out of 5 stars Overall rating
2 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
3 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
2 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
2 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
4 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
4 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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