At 21 I delivered a great big beautiful baby boy...
At 21 I delivered a great big beautiful baby boy after 4 months of bedrest. I also adopted 85 lbs on my 5'5" frame. Unlike most young skin, mine did not bounce back. I have had ugly loose skin on my thighs and buttocks ever since and I'm finally ready to have it go away. Dr John Ness is performing a circumferential thigh lift and butt lift on Monday Sept 29. To get the best results for the problem areas he is making the incision 3/4 or all the way around the upper thigh since that is there the problem areas are. So the incision will be in the groin around the back crease of the buttock and all the way up to the upper outer hip area. He'll remove quite a bit of skin from the lower area of the butt and the upper thigh. I'm incredibly excited and scared at the same time. More to follow!
Skin be gone!
29 Sep 2014
Day of treatment
Well today was the day and thanks to the meds, I feel pretty good laying flat. But in the recovery I went from la la R.E.M land (which is the most heavenly feeling) to quickly being brought back into reality-ville by the nurse. The pain was terrible but the IV pain meds quickly kicked in thank goodness. Not much for lipo - we were going to do the whole calves but he told me yesterday that we won't because it's too painful with this procedure because I need to walk and the pain from lipo might prevent me from walking.
I'm a little scared by how incredibly tight my skin feels but I guess that's the entire purpose, right? :) I just fear finding out too much skin was removed - which would be horrible because there's not solution (or good solution for that). But I was reassured by Dr Ness that it was the correct amount and with the strong anchoring to the bone, that we won't have a problem with popping open, migration or labia distortion. Measure 2-3 times, cut once. He's really a great, caring doctor. He takes the time and he doesn't appear to have an ego or unhealthy ego I should say.
I'm in my lovely compression garment and have no idea how things look, but I'm sure I'll see it tomorrow in my 1 day post op. He marked me extensively to keep everything within the bikini lines. The goal is to have a nice curve to my butt and a slight crease under the area closest to the inner thighs, but for the incision to smooth out on the areas as my butt leads to the hip. I don't want a big crease across the entire lower buttock or a droopy butt. Can't wait to see and will let you all know how it looks with pics. Drowsing off now … Fingers crossed everything goes well! I'll be resting for at least 4-5 weeks with no activity other than safe amounts of walking, supplements, low-sodium diet, water, no stairs, no cars, minimal sitting when the time is right. As so many of you have rightfully preached … SLOW, SLOW, SLOW.
Day 2 was okay ….
Day 2 was definitely better than day 1. That's what's nice about recovering -- generally each day is noticeably a little better. I felt pretty good until I fell behind on my pain meds, then it was tough to get back to the more comfortable zone. My sister stayed with me which was such a delight. She's a nurse practitioner which is a gift as I'm recovering, and it's just so nice having her here to reminisce, which is rare these days when we're all so busy. I had quite a bit of swelling down my legs and in my groin area (and a lot of pain in my right side of my groin where the anchoring is placed), but the swelling and pain has subsided quite a bit. Because we have so many stairs coming up to our house and inside our house to get to the bedroom, Dr. Ness and Michaela were kind enough to visit me at home last night for my 1 day post op check up. That was incredibly kind of them considering I know they have busy days and are probably anxious to get home. Dr. Ness opened the front of my compression garment and I looked down and had zero bruising (thank you Arnica and all the other factors, including a good surgeon). My legs looked so smooth and my incisions were covered with tape but looked good from what I could see. I actually was afraid to look at my legs -- almost as if I'm afraid to see how good they will look. How odd right? I haven't seen any other area but I think tomorrow or Friday I'll take a shower and get the full view then.
Day 5 PO and definitely still cautious and cautiously optimistic
Have you ever seen the film Groundhog's Day? That what my life has seemed like for the past 5 days, but I'm not complaining. Just more of the same. On my back most of the time. Getting up to walk to the bathroom and just to be vertical and then right back to my flat back in bed position. No stairs, no sitting, no bending. I've kept this surgery a secret from everyone except my husband and sister, so I'm in hiding hoping no one just stops over. I've been able to take care of myself each day since Tuesday. Just going slow. The bulbs came out on Wednesday, my sister did the deed (she's a nurse). It's nice to have them out and supposedly I can shower today, but I'm reluctant to take off my CG - isn't that crazy? I am actually afraid to see myself, especially the backside and I'm not ready to wrestle with the suit just yet. I think I'm going to wait until my Dr visit next Tuesday and let that be the unveiling in his office and with his nurse to help with putting the garment back on. So from now until then, it's sponge baths, a wild hairdo and anticipation for the unknown. All is good … my mental frame of mind is pretty good, just board and anxious for time to move a bit faster. I'm thoroughly impressed by all of you that have had the combo body lifts and had great spirits and patience. I can't imagine wrapping a number of major surgeries together including arms and legs - wowza, but I'm impressed it can be done and the you've all be strong to get through them. I'll take a photo of myself in the compression garment, but it doesn't show much. I have a very padded bum under my CG and hopefully between those two sausage casings, everything is held in place securely for a good healing. With all that padding on my bum under the CG, my backside looks just as it did before the surgery. But I can definitely tell a lot was removed. Happy to say I had a BM on day 3 and it was a non-event. I worried a bit about the CG getting in the way because the holes don't always line up properly, but it worked out just fine. So here I sit, tick tock. Just doing a lot of work on my computer and having conference calls as usual. Trying to keep up without missing a beat. It was hard to do when I was under so many meds the first couple of days. Lots of typos ;-). I'll be in touch in the next couple days if there's something more to report. Otherwise, I'll wait to until Tuesday after my visit with Dr. Ness. Cheers and thank you all for your well wishes and words of support!
CG photo day 6
Still haven't seen myself without the CG but here's how I look with it on.
Day 7 and WOW … I just came back from Dr. Ness office for the first unveiling!
I have been trying to prepare myself for the worst when I finally have my CG removed. Preparing for jagged incision lines, incisions that are too high or too low, or A-symmetrical incisions on each leg and bum, or puckering with dog ears, or problems with the shape of my bum, but today I was really able to see myself fully and I was completely amazed at how beautiful everything looked in every direction. I didn't have any bruising which could be from taking arnica a few days prior until today, or it could be from some surgical technique. Dr. Ness made beautiful incisions and closed everything with dissolvable stitches, long lasting derma bond glue and finished it with strong medical tape to help provide additional support of the incision area. All of that should begin to go away in 2 more weeks. And that's just at the surface. Below the surface of the skin is reinforcement of the fascia and superficial fascia and anchoring to hold everything in place long term, so I don't have any change in my labia area or migration or widening of incisions. I have been in an ankle to waist CG with protective padding on the bum since surgery. I have to believe a CG is another key ingredient to success because it holds everything in place - securely and safely during the most critical times. It definitely has helped with any swelling - swelling has been minimal. And considering I have an incision that goes around each thigh completely, that's pretty impressive. So far so very good. I've been cautious as everyone has instructed me to be. No stairs, no sitting, nothing strenuous for 7 days, but walking about in my room and on our upper level floor where I've quarantined myself for the past week. Keeping everything very clean and dry. Good nutrition and low sodium, good fiber and stool softeners, Arnica, Bromelain, +++. I know I'm not out of the woods yet regarding infections, popping open, swell hell, and all … but today I'm counting my blessings that everything's working so far. And I am thrilled that Dr. Ness has done such a remarkable job!! The rest is up to me. Take it slow and easy - but carefully increase my activity. Inch by inch. I'll try to take photos later today. Thank you again and I hope everyone is preparing, recovering and being well!
photo of my new bum at day 7 sans the saggy skin
The tape has blood still from the day of surgery so it looks rough but it's actually really smooth incisions without any bleeding.
Lots of markings on me still
Still so pleased on Day 12
Beside the lack of mobility and frustrations from not being able to bend over very far, I'm doing really well. The moments seem to go really slow, but the time is going incredibly fast … if that makes sense. I've almost completed my second week and am beyond thrilled with the results. Having a scar wrap around my entire thigh circumference isn't ideal, but in order to get a really good lift of loose skin all the way around my thigh, this procedure was the solution for me. And so far my incisions are very thin fine lines, although they are all covered with tape which on the sides and the back are rather discolored. A few areas of my med tape are starting to lift and I'm just trimming it but letting it take its course. Im assured the glue is still try much in place and keeping me sealed, secure and clean. I'm using the stairs now very carefully and have a much greater range of motion each day. I'm doing everything I can to continue that fine balance between moving and advancing my activity and range of motion, without pushing it too far. I am still wearing my CG and will for another 3-4 weeks, but at least I've removed the butt padding out of the backside so I don't have quite the profile that I had. Patience is key. Today I will finally go out of the house with my husband to the grocery story for a quick outing into reality. On October 29th I will need to fly to LA for work so I need to be in good form by then. Inch by inch is definitely my motto. But I can't tell you how excited I am to put on a pair of shorts or a bathing suit with my new legs and my new bum!!! I can't tell you how excited I am to begin choosing an outfit without obsessing over which clothing will hide my 'tissue issues' well enough. All that wasted time can now be spent on a little more life and a greater sense of freedom. I'm thrilled, thrilled, thrilled. During these long days, with pain, lack of freedom, hibernation, inconvenience and my impatience to be done, I remind myself of all the emotionally painful and wasted time worrying that someone will see my awful legs and bum, and I remind myself of the inconvenience of my loose skin. I think about all of the beaches I've wanted to walk on but never been able to do without a long sarong on or all the times I haven't been willing to swim …. even though I absolutely LOVE swimming and being near or on the water. Although I'm an incredibly happy person and love my life and who I am, I've also simultaneously had 27 years worth of that pain, discomfort, inconvenience spent worrying about my thighs and bum. Therefore when I get impatient with the healing process I think, "What's a couple of months in the big scheme of things, when the outcome will change the rest of my life forever? Chill!" So thank you Dr Ness!! And thank you RS contributors for allowing me to read your journeys and weigh out the risks, the rewards, and the options -- for allowing me to walk into this enormous decision much more educated.
still thrilled ... better everyday
Hi all! I've written this post twice already and managed to accidentally them before submitting. So now, unlike the first two attempts, this will be short and sweet. I'm thrilled with the results of my full thigh lift. THRILLED! But I won't consider myself free from harm (popping incisions and getting infections for another 5 weeks). So not quite ready to dance the victory dance but I'm definitely happy and cherishing the success so far. Keeping CG on 24/7. Easier to use the staircase everyday ... going down is easy. Going up is a bit of a side step still. Sitting in lounge position is okay. Getting more flexible and mobile but still cautious. Have to travel for work in 2 weeks. Hope I can manage it. If not I'll cancel. Not worth the risk. Thanks for all of your support, advice and kind words. Inch by inch .... :)
Hello swell hell ....
It was inevitable wasn't it? I made the mistake of not taking mine, my PS, and many of your advice and I undid my CG while I slept. All of the little swell hell cells finally got to have their freedom. And although I'm in my CG again, I'm much more swollen than even the picks I posted yesterday. So swollen it hurts for me to walk. I feel like it is hurting the anchoring areas that are deep in my groins. Then of course i worry or wonder if I'm having any separation in the groin incisions, but so far i don't have any signs of weeping or fluids. I'm using ice packs, drinking green tea, taking bromelain, and keeping legs elevated and I've continue to keep sodium to a minimum. Today is my "blues" day (probably my first of a few). I'm still thrilled I did it I just hope I don't have any complications ... and unfortunately today I feel like I'm back to day 3 :(. Ugggh. Also my hubby looked at the front of legs photo (the same on that I posted yesterday), it's really the only thing he's seen of my legs in person or in photo since the surgery and his only comment was my legs look chubby. Not good for my emotions right now but he didn't know that would make me feel bad - I'm sure he's referring to the swelling in that photo. These roller coaster emotions are part of the package. Despite all of that, I'm keeping my chin up ... and my feet too. I don't have any desire to take my CG off again even for swell hell photos. I'll post in my next phase when I experience it ... hopefully a better phase. ;.)
A set back :-( ....
I was so certain I was going to get through the thigh lift unscathed. But I'm beginning to wonder if that's actually possible. Last week I had two issues happen at the same time and didn't think anything about. 1) I was feeling so good that I had rolled onto my stomach to stretch my back in a different direction than what it had been in for 2+ weeks and when I did that I accidentally as a reflex kicked my left foot backward to make more of any arch in my back. And when I did this, I think I tore a small part of the underlying anchoring tissue that my PS created that holds everything in place. I could feel a moment of pain and thought that I probably shouldn't have done that but it went away in a moment so I wasn't worried in fact i forgot about it completely. Then, 2) that night I undid my CG to my knees while I slept. I must have unknowingly felt some constriction and subliminally opened up for more space. Well that was the perfect storm leading to swell hell mostly on my left leg and almost unbearable walking due to the tear in my fascia or tendon, without meds. I'm so sad I just can't get over that that tiny little moment created this spiral affect. So far no openings on the external excisions that I've seen, but I just don't predict anything anymore. I was planning on walking near normal by now and I yet today i can barely walk ... and unfortunately when I force myself, the swelling gets far worse. It's a catch 22. Nothing I can do but wait this out and hope I can walk better someday soon and hope that all of this swelling doesn't recreate a saggy leg and bum again. Please take heed: when anyone says it would take a lot to damage these things, that's not necessarily the case. The smallest movement in the wrong direction happening too soon, can create a snowball affect. Lesson learned. And who's to say the lesson is over for me. I saw Dr Ness yesterday in his office which was very nice because it was Sun and he assured me time will heal just keep moving. He also said the swelling shouldn't affect the results and I'm hanging on those words but I also know at 21 my skin never bounced back and at 50 I think it's less likely. My legs haven't been this large before ... ever. I'm keeping my chin up but it's painful and scary. Tears inside or outside on the surgical canvas ... I'm not sure which is worse. I'm hoping I don't experience both. Not really worthy of a photo this week. I'll post when I have better news. Hope I'm not scaring anyone but this is the unfortunate realities that we need to share and hopefully learn from. Clearly PSs know far more about the procedure than we do, but those who have been the patient have a valuable knowledge a surgeon will never have. That's why it's good to have both ... all of you who have learned the easy or hard way from experience coupled with the knowledge of a good plastic surgeon. Neither should ever discount the value the other one brings to all of us. If you've read this, you'll be far more ginger than I was. Cheers to you.
Better but still in swell hell -- big left leg and left butt cheek j
I thought I post a ray of sunshine compare to my last post. I'm feeling emotionally much better and have more energy ... which is an incredible improvement in and of itself. So I'm celebrating that. Onedimsim told me about Wobenzym N which I think has made a difference in my recovery. But unfortunately my left leg and left buttock swelling still hasn't subsided. I'm walking very carefully but the swelling increases so its a bit of a catch 22. But the other good news is that my incisions are healing really well and remaining closed through all of this long term swelling. Very happy with that and a testament to Dr. Ness's masterful work. My right leg is great. It feels healthy, flexible and strong. Which is how both legs would be if I hadn't pulled the tissue in my left leg/groin. Inch by inch is my daily theme. Other things you may want to know as I'm nearly at 4 weeks: I still stand at the toilet for all my toilet activities, I wear my CG 24/7 (its a love hate relationship but more love than hate), I'm wearing the next smaller size which is great for right leg and like sausage casing on left leg, I'm not sitting because of groin and swelling on left leg, but I can lounge well, keeping groin creases clean is critical ... Using water and hibecleanse mixture 2xday with qtip, and am putting soft gauze in creases to wick away moisture and help with chafing on swollen leg and groin, I am definitely on low sodium diet since surgery and will continue to until well past swelling, I'm a clean eater anyway so not much change in diet, bananas, salads with vinegar dressing, no sugar, very little carbs, red pepper hummus, vegan protein drink for breakfast with almond milk and banana. Trying to do sedentary leg exercises so I don't have complete atrophy. Will start using arm weights again this week to keep upper body strong. I have an inversion table in our bedroom so I lay on it and go slightly inverted a few times a day and I rock slight inverted on it as well. It feels great and is a nice alternative to laying. Always keeping legs elevated and still alternating ice and slight warmth on left leg. I can stand completely straight but left leg isn't super comfortable straight ... I need to work on that. I'm still not going out much so going a but stir crazy. Not traveling this week as I was supposed to be. I think it would have been pretty uncomfortable even if I didn't have the set back. That's all for now. Hope you're all well!
Two of my favorite tools in recovery
I've meant to share a couple of my favorite tools during recovery. 1) This short ladder has been fabulous for me to climb in and out of my relativrly tall bed everyday since I've come home from surgery. Put the ladder alongside your bed at an angle toward the bed where your legs and feet will go on your bed. Lean against your bed where you want your butt to end up on your bed and then one step at a time place your feet on the ladder and step your legs on each rung until you can get your legs onto the bed. Using your arms behind you on the bed is your strength to help you pivot your body onto the bed as your legs climb the ladder to bed height. Hopefully that make sense as I'm describing it. It's been amazingly helpful since day 1! I've also switched the side of the bed I use each week so I balance out my strength on each side of my body. If I used only one side of my bed for 4 weeks, I'm sure I'd be more weak on the other side than I am. 2) My husband's grandmother's trusty cane with sticky duct tape on the end when I need to pick something up from the floor. When I needed help walking with it after I tore my groin muscle I took the sticky tape off of course. But the cane is great because of the hook side to pick up clothes or towels I might have dropped and the sticky duct tape end allows me t pick up paper and almost anything (ie lotion bottles etc). It's amazing how much I drop in a day!
Those two simple handy tools saved me from lots of pain and frustrations during my recovery.
A heartfelt callout to Dr. Peter Fischer ...
One last post for the day .... I just want to post a sincere thank you to Dr. Fischer who I consulted with pre surgery. I was quite sure having the procedure by him in San Antonio and spending that much time away from my home office wasn't going to be a possibility for me, but I coukdnt help but call him knowing that TLs was his specialty. I am so incredibly grateful for his phone call back and for his time, advice, knowledge and concern. Before calling him I had read posts about him and was thoroughly impressed with his approachability, knowledge and generosity of time, in addition to his great surgical results. And I agree with those reviews. He has a truly caring, calming and patient disposition which I experienced in my first phone call and in his follow-ups to see how I've been doing post surgery. I know he has an extremely busy practice but he makes the time to check in with his patients and in my case, a non patient. This personal attention in most industries is unheard of today, but this is his trademark and I'm grateful I've had the pleasure and benefit of meeting him through this experience. A huge thank you goes out to him. No wonder people speak so highly of him!