Just call me Houdini... - Oak Lawn, IL

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I found this site after becoming obsessed with...

I found this site after becoming obsessed with finding stories of real women who have had experiences with ps. This place has been such a great mix of all types, that I thought I would go ahead and post my story. I am a mother of a 10 year old, I work full time and am in school full time. I've lost weight, a lot of weight. My highest was 365lbs. My lowest was 163lbs. After a much needed blood transfusion, I gained 10-12 additional pounds, but have been pretty much stable throughout my journey. I HATE MY STOMACH. I am tired of sitting with mounds of belly hanging over my lap. I'm tired of lifting it. You can't tell from the pictures, but when I am upright, belly tucked in my pants and a long shirt, my shape is ideal to others, very hourglass. But it's only a façade. Once I sit, or bend, or move, or get undressed, you will see nothing but stomach. I almost never wear dresses, because I can't pull off the same hourglass façade. I want to be able to wear a form fitted dress and not tug, pull and feel insecure about not pulling off the jedi mind tricks. After a year of going back and forth with my insurance company, I received approval to get a panniculectomy (which is the removal of the skin from the lower part of the stomach). That was nice, but because of how much skin and stomach, in my heart of hearts, I wouldn't be happy with that. After speaking with the surgeon, he informed me, that the insurance company already paid for a nights stay at the hospital, I could get a full TT if I paid the difference in the addition of time in the OR. And I was fine with that. 4000.00 is what I paid out of pocket. So now I am on my way. My date is next Tuesday (2/25/2014)! It seems so surreal since I've been going through this for an entire year! I don't know how nervous I will be by next Monday night. But right now I am just in an in-between space of "peace" and the unknown. My significant other supports me because he knows this is what I desire. The few family members that I have disclosed this to have not so great opinions about elective surgery, but overall support me and will be there at the hospital with it. Thank God for that. I have my final pre-op appointment tomorrow. I hope to update after that or before my surgery.

I guess I should....

feel a bit nervous now. But they haven't quite hit me just yet. Maybe because up until Friday there was some really miniscule LAST MINUTE insurance BS that I was left out of the loop on and things weren't completely done as I assumed all of this time. For the last 2 weeks, I've been unable to really relax and take in the fact that I was actually having surgery, because I felt like there was always SOMETHING that needed to be done in order to make sure this surgery took place. I'm just a "go getter" type of person. I can't rely on someone else (doctors offices, etc) to be an advocate for me, so I work until I accomplish what I need to. And that's what I have been doing...cleaning up last minute paperwork that was supposed to be handled by my primary care doctor! Whewww....but once I go THAT finalized (and it was REALLY getting down to the wire!!) I literally exhaled a huge sigh a relief and felt at ease. I felt "okay" with relaxing and taking it in. As I mentioned before, I am a full time student as well, so it just so happens that I have my finals the same week of my surgery. So I have been busy busy busy trying to figure out how to accomplish ALL of that work before Tuesday....ummmm...pray for me :) But even THAT is not bringing me down from my ability to finally release and welcome in this surgery! I've worked hard for it and have done my due diligence!
Now, where am I mentally? Let's see...for some reason...I STILL cannot grasp the fact that this skin will be gone. I've lived with it for about 7 years now. I've stood in the mirror, pulled it...lifted it up, yanked it.....but I cannot physically imagine myself without this stomach. I've even "conditioned" myself to believe that they may not be able to get "all" of it, but I'll be happy with most of it being gone. Yes...I know...."get all of it" like that snow pile that my 5'4" frame can never seem to reach at the top of my truck....but I do manage to get the rest of the car, so I'm "happy" with that..lol Trust me, I'm completely in my right mind....it's just one of those things that run through your mind as you prepare for surgery.

I received a call from the hospital today. For the basics, asking me detailed questions about myself for pre-op prep. They even asked if I want to donate my skin. Actually that was the first question and it caught me off guard. But I am definitely donating :)

Anyway, I just wanted to update once more before Tuesday. I appreciate the inboxes and comments. They are all encouraging!

Back to school work I go!

See you on the "flatter" side :-)

Made it through to the other side...

Surgery happened at 9:00 am on Tuesday. I still never got that nervous feeling in pit of my stomach. Can you believe that the insurance drama that I mentioned in my previous post came back to haunt me! I spent the entire morning before surgery, fighting with the company because of their mistakes! And was really at risk of this surgery being cancelled :-( So I never really got the chance to get in nervous mode, because a I mentioned, there always seemed a though I had something to do in order to insure it actually happened. Wheww! But, anyway...I made it baby! Hard to believe that im on the.other side! Because my surgeon is so meticulous with his stitching, he told me id be under about 5 hours. That number was the only thing that made my "The Rock" eyebrow raise for a.moment o.O. That seems like such a long time to be under...surgery began at 9:20....the surgeon was out to update my loved ones close to 3:00. Meanwhile I was in recovery and surprisingly very alert...hada great.conversation with the nurse :-)
The pain you asked? First...let me say...im not average and tolerance for pain is rather high. Many of the nurses who visited throughout the and night couldn't believe that I had been up, walked momentarily and sat in a chair. A few things factored into that....for 1....I was very uncomfortable...and in pain....but I had great pain meds. Im not a fan of taking meds at all...but my aunt, who is a nurse, convinced me to take them even atthe slightest sign of discomfort(for a few reasons) and I took heed. Also....I wanted to take zero.chances at developing a blood clot! That drove me to walk. Although the hospital was very preventative with blood clot control,nothing is better than moving your body, if you can.

I spent 1 nd a half days in the hospital. Yesterday's pains rech some heights that had me stalking the pharmacy crew to get my pain meds. I was sent home with pain meds, antibiotics, a softgel to ease my bowel movements and syringes filled with meds to help prevent clots. I have a binder on and my drains.....and im in my trusty recliner! Such a life saver...rent on for your recovery people!

Sorry for the typos, just wanted to quickly update you from my phoneas iI head out to see my surgeon...he removes bandages today...I attached my last before picture (the morning of surgery) and my binder/drain pic.....see you in a few flatter weeks ;-)

1 week and 1 day....

After surgery, and I must say how @$&#$&!/@=@=$ tired I am of injecting myself with this damn Lovenox!!! This shit stings!!! Ive only had to do it for 7 days following surgery, but because it stings so much, I skipped a day or 2 I think. Argh!!!
Ok...just had to release that frustration. Ill update about my progress after my doctors appointment tomorrow....night! :-)

They are OUTTTTTT!!!!!

Yes! My drains were pulled today and to say that I am HAPPY would be a huge understatement. *queue Pharrell "Happy"*! Whewww, okay...let me back up a tad. The last week has been interesting as far as getting to know my new stomach. Of course, immediately following the surgery, I was overly critical about how my stomach looked. Yes (I mentioned that in a previous post that I am a normal person who totally grasp facts, but periodically has the most interesting thoughts that don't always coincide with what I know is reality, right? Mkay...good...keep that in mind). I did tons of research and was prepared for swelling, but in my mind,I'd still come out with "instant fix a flat stomach" and it would be more lean in appearance. Nope, it was VERY swollen and tender the days following surgery. The pain was manageable with pain meds. Although I am one who hates taking medication of any kind to "control" any part of me, I welcomed those meds with open arms. The soreness and discomfort can be a bit much. The site where the drains where, was also painful. I have been a hunch back (or a little old 100 year old lady) since the day of surgery. He REALLY pulled that tummy TIGHT (which my surgeon keeps boasting about) and it's wrecking havoc on my back. I've read where a lot of people take off their binder, but I've lived in mine. I've only taken it off to sponge off, because in my mind, the more firm the binder, the more everything will stay in place and form my shape (that I was faking just a few short weeks ago). I even bought another, so while one is in the washer, I can still remain wrapped up. I had an impromptu gathering at my house the day before yesterday, for my mothers birthday. Nothing huge, just a few of us, cake, pizza and lots of laughs. I didn't make it to the pizza, just salad.....my stomach swells and makes me even more uncomfortable when I eat anything heavy or that includes bread, so my meals have been limited. The laughter almost killed me! I love my family, but realized that after about 2 hours of doing a "half way" sitting up position (even with pillows) and doing my breathy laugh(because laughing completely took my stomach into pain), that it was entirely TOO much for me. I was worn out and needed pain medication ASAP! So I left them in there, retired to my recliner in the bedroom and popped my pills. I think it took me into the next afternoon to recover from that. Anyway, today was my 2 post op appointment. I was praying that at least one drain got pulled today, because they were the bane of existence. Besides, they have both been producing 10 cc's or less over the past 2 days or so. I also kept in mind that before surgery, my surgeon reminded me that at the LEAST, he keeps the drains in for 2 weeks. When I got their today, he said, "you've been wearing your binder! This is great and these drains can come out, they have done their job"! Boy....I almost jumped for joy until he started to remove them...OH MY GOD! That PAIN (no , not discomfort, but PAIN) is horrible. It doesn't take long, but I was traumatized! We had to take a break before he could come back and remove the 2nd. My word! BUT, once they were out, I felt better instantly! The site will need to be cleaned with an anti-bacterial solution until they close, but I feel MUCH better! I still have a hunch back and super tight tummy, but I feel less "plugged in" and restricted with a twist of pain. :)
Oh....and more importantly....I finally feel FLAT!!!! Yes...I'm swollen....but I just had surgery last week....it's to be expected. But I feel flatter than I ever have in my entire adult life! I can't wait to start treating the scares....but overall....it ALL has been worth it! I promise.....

I decided not to post pictures today because I just got a fresh re-wrap and didn't want to remove....but next update...I will :)

- No more Houdini

I'm on a emotional rollercoaster..

Welp, I guess it’s time for an update. I have been extremely hesitant about updating because I just haven’t been in the mood. I’m on an emotional roller-coaster going into my 5th week out from surgery. But, that’s what this sight is all about, right? You want to travel the journey with me…so I’ll take you there. The ONLY reason I decided to go ahead and update, was due to the fact that I came back to this site and looked up the person who originally inspired me to start journaling my experience. Although her story is 2 years old, I found GREAT comfort in reading her 5 month update, to find out EVERY SINGLE THING THAT SHE WROTE WAS EXACTLY what I am experiencing this week! I mean to the letter! So I didn’t feel so alone and like my journey is like no other (although I strongly suggest that you NOT attempt to mirror your journey with anyone else’s…it’s yours and yours alone).


Mkay….soooo where do I begin? I’ll start here, as you have read in my previous post….I am a totally sane person…who comprehends very well….sometimes my thoughts just don’t correspond..lol Now…with that being said, I did my research on this surgery. I KNEW it’d be “swollen” afterwards. I knew the healing process would be quite cumbersome. During week 3 I went out of town (yes I know it was soon…but hell…I got tired of sitting around the house). I took it somewhat easy…was gone for 2 days. The flight was about 2 hours long. Once I landed back home, I went to the airport restroom and lifted my binder. It…along with my underwear were sort of soiled in the front. I thought something was oozing from my new belly button. But once I sat down…a drip started to happen. I was leaking from the middle of my incision site. It was a lot…but enough for me to call the surgeons office. Coincidentally, I had an pre planned appointment already set for the next day. When I went it, my surgeon checked me out and assured me that I was fine. My body was still going through the process of elimination (draining). There wasn’t an odor nor did I have a fever etc (signs of an infection. So he suggested that I put a non-stick bandage over it and allow the body to drain. It drained periodically after that day…but not much at all. It has slowed, but I still keep a bandage on that site just in case.  But beyond that, I was mentally not prepared for either. Everything that I do physically, reminds me that I am not completely healed (getting out of my car, etc). I am no longer in “pain”, but have discomfort so to speak. In week 4, I started sleeping my bed because I wanted to return the recliner that I rented. I felt like I was ready to not be so depended on the chair. Now….getting into the bed was a process, but I made it. Laying on my sides irritates my incisions (some days one side more than the other). So I SLOWLY (because movement when horizontal is still a bit much) rotate sides thoughout the night. It’s manageable…and is getting better.


As far an the “emotional” part….whewww, it’s a doozy! I KNOW I am swollen…but I keep looking at my stomach like…”is THIS what I fought my insurance company for? Did I pick the right surgeon?? Stomach is lifted off of my who hah…but on most days I look about 6 months pregnant L” THEN I began my cycle and I REALLY flew off of the ladder.  About 2 days before I started, I woke up feeling semi FLAT! I was like….looka there….I’m kinda flat! Let me enjoy this because once I start walking….I’ll be pregnant again! The next day…I woke up swollen! Spent the day swollen! Stomach was just upsetting me! And I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t have any relief for the day….my lil piece of sunshine that reassured me that, yes….you did the right thing and NO you won’t look pregnant forever! It took my partner to say…”babe, but aren’t you due for your cycle any day now”? I have been SO consumed with healing and the look of my stomach that I have COMPLETELY forgotten about my cycle!!! Boy….did he talk me down from the ledge! But yet and still…..I quickly went back to those “whoa is me, I’m impatient and ready to be flat and STAY flat, RIGHT DAMNED NOW”!!!! Ugh!


I religiously wear my binder, except for in bed because it’s just too uncomfortable and shifts. This week I started back to work. I was kind of nervous about actually wearing pants. I have worn pants since surgery but they’ve all been stretchy material and not as restrictive as my work attire. It’s been quite a cold winter here, but it just so happens that my first day back, we broke the 60 degree mark, so I was excited! That meant no pants, I can wear a dress! Now I went shopping for spring dress shortly before my return….and I’ll tell you this….for a person who shied away from dresses because I couldn’t quite create the illusion that I needed to (like when I wear pants), I wasn’t finally in an “WOW” state! Although I was very swollen, my shape in those dresses looked GREAT! It was truly svelte. I’m hippy but now it ALL hips and booty…lol. So much so that I think I’ve gone from an hourglass to a pear shape..who knows. But I certainly had a really happy moment in that fitting room…..I almost NEVER experience that when trying on dresses. Now…my second day at the office, the temp outside was about 40…so somehow, some way, I had to make “pants” work. I pulled out the largest size that I could find in my closest (size 10) and put those on. Initially, it was quite tight, because again, I wear my binder religiously, but by mid day, the pants had given in to the extra room in the waist…and I was no longer feeling as tight as I did that morning. I haven’t taken any pics this week…or last. I believe the above pics are from about my 3rd week.


I hope that this is helping those who are reading :-)Chat with you soon!


So many typos above...but one thing I wanted to edit ws the young womans journey who I read...I went back and reviewed her 5 "week" update...not month!


JUST A really quick update! I'm a few days short of two months post up. The aches and pains have mostly subsided. I had some severe burning sensations on the left side of my stomach about 2 weeks ago. My surgeon explained that the stitches were still dissolving and that may be causing the burning sensation. He prescribed these medicated pads used on people with shingles....whewwwww..what a life saver! I used them once... haven't had an issue since. I can lay in my bed comfortably...although it still takes more effort and calculation to get out. My incision is healed..still an insy bity sore in the sides...but nothing horrible. Swelling continues!! Most days I'm alright while getting ready for work...but after taking that walk from the train station and to my office....I start feeling the stomach tense up...swelling starts and before 11am...I look all of 6 months pregnant :-\ So...I really haven't had a complete day of flatness...but I know that this is all a part of the process.
I attached my day if surgery photo and an after from this morning...chat soon :-)
S/n...I'm sorry about the many typos in my previous post....it was done from my phone (like this one)and I rarely go back and proof read...we need an edit button :-)

A few days shy of three months post op

Quick update...a bit shy of three months post op, I still have slight reminders of my surgery...sitting straigh up from laying in a flat position feels like I've done 15 quick sit ups. When I lay in my sides for an extended amount of time, my sides begin to ache. My biggest quirk is still the swelling...almost any activity makes me swell...walking for an extended amount of time... belly laughs....slight exercise...and boom...pregnant belly. There has not been one day since surgery that I've gotten a chance to enjoy a "flat stomach". Even if I start out that way, 10 times outta 10, I'll be swollen within the hour. So my idea of surgery, then instant flat...yeah ..not realistic...
Although it does feel great not to have the belly laying on my thighs!

Ill update soon....pictures are attached (day of surgery, two days after surgery and then about three months post op.

1 year later

I promise to come back and update you on my journey over the lasr year once i get to a computer. But here are my before and afters (ill also get a more thorough pic of my scare etc. :-)
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