Well, here I am, starting a blog like I wish I had...
Well, here I am, starting a blog like I wish I had years ago. I wish I could go back and read my thoughts from December 25th - yes, Christmas!- in 2011. That was the day I decided I was going to lose 10 lbs. Yes - 10 lbs - not 110 lbs. At the time, I only wanted to lose the weight I had gained during the job I had started 5 months prior.
Today I gave my plastic surgeon's practice $300 to hold my surgery date. It almost seems real now. I am going to let them slice me open, hip to hip, and pull off this terrible roll of skin that has been plaguing me for what seems like forever. Even while I was in college, around 210-220 lbs, I remember being sad when it went from "hoodie" season (spring) to "t-shirt" season (summer) because my hoodies would hide my tummy.
Today I sat down with my surgeon for the 2nd time. He was the first surgeon I had met with and, after 5 other consultations, I had a list of questions I wanted to ask to make sure he was "THE ONE." Needless to say, he is, and he will be cutting into me on February 7th, 2014.
February 7th will be my 30th birthday. Yes, happy birthday to me, please pass the 10-blade. Cake? No thanks, I'll be having a protein shake if anything. But it's okay - I can have my birthday party the night before - oh wait, I'm going on a liquid diet at that point. And when I get back from my next trip on December 8th I'm going to be laser focused on losing as much weight as possible, so my awesome party will likely consist of a Sharks game and a salad. Sounds like the verdict is that this will be a very boring - and stressful - birthday. At least I get a new body as a present :)
I am terrified. Excited, but terrified. What if I don't wake up? What if something weird happens during surgery and I bleed out? So many times on Grey's Anatomy an otherwise normal surgery winds up going wrong... (Yes, referencing Grey's Anatomy makes me feel silly...)
I'm also worried that I'll have a complication, even though my surgeon's record is excellent. I worry that my scar will be too high, even though my surgeon seems to have some great scar results. I worry I'll gain the weight back and stretch my skin out again - something that I realize is completely in my control.
I find myself lost in the tummy tuck blogs and reviews online in the middle of my work day - not good, since it keeps me in the office later with legitimate work that needs to be finished. I play with my skin almost every night. Lift it up, pressing it down, trying to imagine what I'd look like without it. Well, there is only one way to know.
Another first - first bikini EVER!
So here is something you don’t really think about when you decide to have a tummy tuck – that first bikini is closer than you realize.
My doctor told me I should wear a bikini bottom when I arrive for surgery so they can mark my skin around it. He wants to make sure the scar will be hidden under those bottoms.
I went to the trusty Land’s End website, where I have been buying swimsuits for years and years. I have some serious boobs (34 DDD) and their one-piece and tankini swimsuits offered cup sizing and enough support to keep me happy. It turns out their bikinis… well, not so much.
With the droopiness in the skin, I have trouble staying in bras and evidently, bikini tops. I need a high “gore” (underwire rise in the center) to keep them in place. Otherwise they drift out of the cups and to the middle. So after trying 2 styles of what seemed like the most likely to fit and 3 different sizes, I gave up on Land’s End, at least for now, and headed to the mall.
So there I was, trying on bikini tops in a dressing room – that was a “never though I’d ever be doing this” moment and finally found one that worked for me. The catch? It was $80! For the tiniest piece of clothing I may ever buy! So I skipped out of there and spent that night trying to find the same top for cheaper online. No dice – the designer must fix prices. So, tonight I went back, tried it on again to make sure it was THE ONE and bought is – $87 after tax. It better get a lot of wear. (I skipped out on the $50 bottoms. It’s a plain back top so I’ll grab a plain black bottom at Target to get marked up in. Then I can go buy that same black Target bottom in the right size after surgery.
Before & After Weight Loss Pics
265 lbs to 155 lbs
December 2011 to July 2013
Thursday morning was my pre-op appointment. It was 22 days before my procedure.
I got to the office and signed off on all of the release forms. Then I was given my pre-op books that lists all of the pre- and post-op instructions and a copy of the forms I signed.
Then I met with my doctor again and he went over all of the risks and answered a few questions that I had come up with since our 2nd meeting a couple of months ago. He did an exam, with both general and tummy-specific stuff, said everything looks good, and I got my "before" pictures taken. If I have some great results, I'll see if I can get a copy of them to post once I have "after" pictures. I am still very nervous about posting tummy pics online.
I took my prescriptions to the pharmacy yesterday to get filled - 7 prescriptions, thankfully none are too expensive:
-Norco (narcotic pain killer - hopefully won't have to take this as I'm also getting Exparel during the surgery)
-Anti-nausea suppositories (thankfully only have to be taken if I am throwing up and can't keep pills down)
-Lovonox injections (To be self-given the next 2 morning after surgery to reduce the likelyhood of DVT/PE)
-Hibiclens soap (To wash with daily starting 3 days before surgery)
-GoLytely bowel prep (To be used 2 days before surgery and then a liquid diet until the night before)
I have also stopped drinking alcohol as we're within 3 weeks now and I'm taking a multivitamin and vitamin C every day. I picked out my surgery day outfit - a big baggy t-shirt that I'll be able to sleep in easily and drawstring pants. My mom is arriving 2 days before the surgery and staying for 2 weeks to help with my recovery.
This week I'm going to get the info on renting a recliner from Rent-A-Center and going to pick up at least 1 pair of yoga pants. I have one pair of exercise capris that I think will be good, but if I am not comfortable in jeans or khakis when I go back to work, I will need full length yoga pants or leggings to wear under longer shirts or sweaters.
No sure if there will be much more to report until I do the lovely bowel prep. Months ago I bought tickets to a San Jose Sharks game before I knew I'd be doing the bowel prep the same day, so my plan is to wake up early and start the bowel prep. Then hopefully after it's done it's thing, I can take a nap, and then head to the game with a maxi pad in my undies. TMI? Maybe :P
Bought a Recliner!
Today I bought a recliner for $160 at Cort Clearance Center. Not the highest quality piece of furniture but it was only $50 more than renting one from Rent A Center for a month and this one I can resell on Craigslist and to get some of my money back.
Tomorrow I am having an early birthday party since my surgery is on my birthday and next week I'm going to track down some yoga pants. We are 12 days away now!
One week to go...
I am terrified. Sometimes I get anxious to the point of being nauseous. But I know I have to take care of my tummy problem - I am only 29 years old and I've worked so hard. I deserve to be able to wear a bikini!
I feel like so many people here have complications and it scares me. It is comforting that my PS has only had 1 single complication and that was bleeding due to the heparin shots he used to prescribe for longer than he does now. I need to stop reading reviews, it's making me sick.
Tomorrow - rock climbing with the hubby
Sunday - more rock climbing, super bowl party
Monday - massage after work
Tuesday - open for last minute things
Wednesday - bowel prep, mom arrives, Sharks game if I can manage it
Thursday - last day at work (half day?) shop with mom
Friday - SURGERY!!!
Well here I am - the night before. The bowel prep was tought but I made it through! I went to the Sharks game last night and they won! Feeling pretty good, except kind of weak from the all-liquids diet for the past two days.
I took some before pictures and now I'm going to read my book, maybe watch some TV, and try to get to bed early. If I don't post again tomorrow morning, know that I'm thinking of all my friends here on RS and please keep me in your thoughts!
Anesthesiologist Just Called :)
Feeling better now that I spoke to him!
Wow I feel helpless. And it hurts! I am usually good with pain but this is the most uncomfortable I have ever felt. So glad I didn't go for a breast lift, too! Popping 2 pain pills and going back to sleep...
Recliner and Walker
These have both been priceless for me. The recliner I bought for $160 and the recliner was rented for $24 for a month. Don't skimp and pass on these!
2nd night post op
Had a much better night last night. Instead of waking up every 2 hours I slept from midnight to 4 am then went right back to sleep without a pain pill then woke up at 6 am to my alarm because I had to take my antibiotic. This morning was the last of my heparin shots - thank god. And now I'm just chilling, hoping to stick with 1 pain pill every 4 hours instead of 2, like yesterday.
I'll be wrapped up until I see the doctor in 2 days so no progress pics yet.
4th Day Post Op - Feeling Good!
Feeling so good today - CAN'T WAIT to go to my first post op appointment and get a look underneath the binder and then take a shower! I have been more active every day, still hunched and using the walker, but can walk further than before. I can even open and close my manual recliner by myself now.
I have been taking 1 pain pill every 6 hours along with my antibiotics but if everything goes well with at the appointment today, I might try to switch to Tylenol. I ate half a Chipotle burrito last night, which feels like progress. Today I had a egg and hasbrowns for breakfast and will have the other half of my burrito later :)
Really I feel like I have all the pieces of the puzzle, just need the doctor's option that things look good to him, and then I'll be flying high :)
More Day 4 - Doctor's Appointment, Errands, and Shower :)
Went to the doctor today and he says everything looks really good. He showed me how to apply prescription cream and then called it into my pharmacy. He took some pics and made follow up appointment for next week.
Then I went to the DMV and got my handicapped parking permit. It's valid for 1 month and will really help me get back to work next week. Normally I park on the 3rd floor of a parking garage 200 yards aways.
Then we went to Target and picked up even bigger underwear - my doctor thinks my "big" underwear aren't big enough! It was nice using my handicapped parking permit and then a mart cart - until the mart cart died in the middle of the store and I had to walker my way out :P
Finally we picked up my prescription cream and headed home. It was a big outing!
At home I had something to eat and took a short rest before getting into the shower. Oh, and what a shower it was. I washed my hair twice then conditioned it and washed my body with dial antibacterial. Then I used the prescription cream and covered by incision with gauze. Then I put my foam pad and binder back on and here I am in my recliner - phew! I think I will sleep well tonight!
Today has been good so far. Slept better last night and took a shower after having pancakes for breakfast. My doctor has me showering and cleaning my incision twice a day, which is a lot of work when you can't get around so well! I put special cream and gauze on it, then put my foam and binder back on.
I found some bruising last night which I think is new. I snapped a pic and sent it to my doctor. He says it's normal and suggested arnica pills to help it clear up faster. I am seeing him Monday for my next check up anyway and if it's still an issue, he has a product for me.
One other issue that I have is a small area of numbness on my thigh. My upper thigh is fine; the numb area is right above my knee. Doctor says it should wake up but it could take months. It's not completely numb, just not normal is the only way I can describe it. I'll try to keep you posted on that, too.
Otherwise feeling good! Going out with my mom for a little food shopping today then getting some middle eastern take-out for lunch. I tried to go without the narcotics yesterday but needed one at 6:30. Today I am trying to stay ahead of the pain with 2 Tylenol every 8 hours.
Not much news. I laughed a lot last night and I think I am more sore today because of it! Nothing light laughing and crying from the pain at the same time! Still love my family though ;)
I am very impressed with the variety of chairs I have been able to sit in during the last few days. First I made it to the kitchen table and ate there on Wednesday night instead of someone bringing my food to my recliner. Thursday at lunch we went to a quick service place and I ate on a hard chair sitting outside - but it was SO NICE to sit and eat outside. Then yesterday, my FAVE food truck was in town (it's normally 45 min away in SF or Berkeley) so my Mom and I drove to the food truck meet and I sat on a bucket! Not that it was the most comfortable thing, but I really wanted this special food truck food :)
Still taking 2 showers a day - so hard to get up and deal with that 2nd shower when you haven't done anything that would require a shower. I also am dying to sleep on my side and need to wash my binder. I'll ask about these things when I see my PS on Monday.
Today I weigh less than I have ever during my weight loss journey - 152.4. I was 13 years old the last time I was in the low 150's. My previous low was 152.8. Is it greedy to hope that I still have swelling and will be able to get to 149 as I recover?
I am feeling pretty good and see my doctor again tomorrow. Then Tuesday I am planning to go back to work.
Day 10 - with news!
I went to see the doctor today and everything looks good - except the incision on my left hip wasn't healing nice so he fixed it up and stapled it back closed today. Now I have a bunch of staples on my side covered by a tegaderm. I am quite happy he is proactive about my incision but the staples kind of freak me out. I am already looking forward to having them removed on Monday.
Otherwise everything looks good. My binder is in the wash right now so this is my first time sitting without it - I miss it! Tomorrow I go back to work, maybe for a shorter day than usual.
Day 17 Post-Op Visit
Went back to the doctor's office today and got my staples and stitches out! Everything looks really good! I was cleared to walk on the treadmill, but not jog. Today I start using bioCorneum cream twice a day to help the scar heal up nicely. Next post-op visit is 4 weeks from today!
Almost 4 weeks PO
*achievement unlocked* I wore jeans yesterday! They are a size larger than my pre-op jeans, but is more from the foam and binder I am still wearing every day than my body. I am pretty sure without the extra stuff I could wear my pre-op jeans. I am hoping when swelling goes down I will be a size smaller than pre-op :)
I still can't sleep in my bed comfortably. I'm hoping that changes this weekend maybe :)
6 Weeks PO Follow-Up
Things have been going really well and there is nothing much to report. I still look almost exactly the same as I did in my 2 weeks pictures since I'm not posting any scar pics.
I have been given the go-ahead to stop wearing my binder - yay! - which means I can wear my pre-op jeans. They are actually a little big in the waist and back so I might need to buy a different cut, although my hips and thighs aren't any smaller.
I can do basic exercising, including ab work, but no indoor rock climbing. I can run, I can swim, I can take baths and go in the ocean! In May I am going to Las Vegas and will wear a bikini!
I am still using BioCornium twice a day and will continue to do so. My next follow-up is at 12 weeks so I'll try to update again then.
And maybe some bikini pics from Vegas in between ;)
Took my first bath tonight!
It was awesome! I hope it is warm this weekend so I can go in the pool :)
1 Year Update
I just wanted to quickly update you with some great news. The feeling has slowly been coming back to the numb spot on my leg. I would say it is about 80% back. So for anyone that finds a weird numb spot after surgery - please don't worry - the feeling can come back! (Just like my doctor said, but I was worried he was just trying to calm me down...)
I was reminded to update here because I got some nurve "zings" tonight - it is the feeling of the nerve repairing themselves. Almost like someone snaps you with a rubber band. Not pleasant, but I am so happy to have them because it means I am still healing and even more feeling will come back!
In other news, I managed to gain 30 lbs in the 2nd half of last year and have since lost 15 of them. So I am 15 lbs up from my lowest. Weight will be a constant battle for me for the rest of my life, but getting this surgery is motivating to stay healthy so I can show off my bikini belly!