The first PS the general surgeon referred was...
The first PS the general surgeon referred was AWFUL! He appeared very irritated that I brought a list of questions to ask him and responded to my pre-pregnancy photos of myself that I brought, "I can't make you 18 again and I send people who bring in pics to me to other PS. Those people generally have body dysmorphia and are generally unhappy people." This devastated me as my first consultation experience and I left very discouraged, overwhelmed, and confused. I brought the pics because that is what I read on a website to do. Then I found out he had only been practicing 5 years, which is probably why he spent most of the consultation bragging about his practice and how he didn't need any marketing or a fancy website. It was bizarre. The PS I chose has a great reputation and was recommended by my mom, who is a nurse and has taken care of his patients. She said he does outstanding work. I am still overwhelmed, but a little excited, and a lot nervous!
After today's pre-op appointment, it seems more real. We wrote the check (gulp) and got my prescriptions. He answered all the questions I wrote down and REALLY emphasized the importance of not over doing in during recovery. He also told me I would be standing up straight in 4-5 days and wouldn't need the old, used recliner we bought for me to sleep in?! He then told me I wasn't going home in that binder thing everyone is talking about?! I am a little worried about that because it seems it would keep everything safe and secure, especially since the surgery is outpatient!
I am nesting like crazy, making grocery lists, cleaning out closets (pulling all my old maternity clothes I still wore and big baggy shirts to hide my pseudo-prego-belly). I reserved every season of Smallville from the library and a couple books to read! I am working this week to make my bedroom into a tranquil, peaceful environment for me to recover.
Thank goodness I have an awesome hub who has taken 2 weeks off! And a great mom and sis who will fill in the gaps when he is unavailable. I've printed out The Healing Foods Diet and have my protein shakes and Larabars ready to go. Ugh! Have I forgotten anything else? Any tips from anyone are appreciated!!! Thank you!!!
Day 2 post-surgery:I am super sleepy today....
Day 2 post-surgery:I am super sleepy today. Yesterday, the day of surgery, I didn't sleep at all?! I tried and even with pain meds, I couldn't fall asleep. I did sleep 4 hours last night, took meds, went to restroom, and then slept 3 more hours. I've only been up out of my chair to go to the restroom four times. It takes forever to pee?! I sit there for 30 minutes and when I think I'm done, I go some more. My hubs has to help me walk hunched over and helps me in and out of the recliner. The pain feels like burning fire inside. My dr. said my muscle damage worse than he thought and he had to sew my ab wall back together from the bottom of my sternum down to my pubic bone. :( He also said my skin was stretched more than he thought. So after he pulled it all down, he had to make a new belly button. I was so nervous when I got there. I tried to fight back tears but ended up crying anyway. The nurses were sooooo extremely nice, supportive, and patient with me. My dr. performed the surgery in an OR in his office, which was kind of weird. It reminded me of a labor and delivery room. After he marked all over my belly with a sharpie, I took a pregnancy test, then walked back to the OR. Seriously the nurses and female anesthesiologist were so kind, I know God hand picked them for me. They put the compression "booties" on my feet and legs, EKG monitors on me, IV in my wrist, then an oxygen mask on. I just kept taking deep breaths, using visual imagery to control my thoughts. Praise songs began playing in my head as I visualized a scene I used for natural childbirth with my 14 month old son when he was born. . . walking with him through an enchanted forest with water falls, deer, rabbits, and friendly creatures that greeted us. Then I woke up in recovery, my hubs came in, they got me dressed quickly, put me in a wheelchair and we got in the car to come home. It was all so fast?! I'm wearing surgical tape around my abdomen and I have two drains. After I got home, I got in the recliner in our bedroom and my hubs made me some raw, organic juice and brought a scoop of almond butter with apple to eat/drink with my pain meds. I also had some Breath Easy vapors, a natural organic product made by my friend who owns spa store in town. I poured some in an empty pill bottle and literally had my nose submerged in it almost the whole time. It has peppermint, lavender and eucalyptus that de-stresses the body and brain and helps with nausea. It is like gold to me right now! It is breaking my heart that I can't hold or nurse my one year old. :( He came to me this morning doing the milk sign and tried to climb up in my chair. My hubs held him to my faces so I could kiss all over him but it wasn't the same as our cuddle fests. My 3 year old was sweet this morning, wanting to cover me with a sheet and kiss my owie (which we told her a kiss on my leg would go straight to my tummy owie)! They are at my mom's for the day today.
My dr. didn't send me home with a pain pump or a binder. I am wrapped tight in surgical tape. He doesn't want it to come off until my post-op appointment this Thursday. He said I could order a binder but did not need one?? This sort of scares me because I hear how helpful they are keeping everything tight and secure.
Well, I am about to fall asleep. I hope to update more and maybe post pics at the end of this week.
Day 3 Post-Op:
Well I am now able to make 3 laps...
Day 3 Post-Op:
Well I am now able to make 3 laps around our bedroom when I get up to use the restroom. Still no #2 yet, but I'm not worried at this point. I've been eating only apples and almond butter, an avocado, a little bit of scrambled egg, strawberries, grapes, and oranges, plus my hubs has been juicing me kale, spinach, dandelion greens, carrots and fruit to drink all day long. I am hoping my body is just absorbing all the nutrients and that my system is not getting constipated! The pain is a wee bit better. Getting up out of my recliner, even with help burns my inside stitches. I can now feel the incision burn on my hips. I have yet to look at my stomach because it is covered with that thick, white, plastic surgical tape. I go for my first post-op appointment tomorrow afternoon where I assume the dr. will remove everything and look at it. I hope I don't pass out!
OK, question for TT veterans . . . does it take a long time for you to pee?? I go a lot at first but then will continue to go off and on sometimes for 30 minutes?! I've always had bladder issues (in college when cheering & tumbling and currently while running or doing any kind of jumping exercise). But I don't think it took this long to empty my bladder before. I'm wondering if surgery has something to do with that? I will ask my dr. on Thursday. I'm just wondering when this burning sensation inside will go away. I'm still hunched over but after I get up and walk to the restroom with help from my hubs, I can walk the bedroom laps by myself pretty good, I think. I'm wondering if I should be walking more? I am staying on top of my pain meds every 4 hours and valum every 8. I still feel really sleepy. I hope I sleep more today. My kids are home & my hubs is taking care of them because our child care fell through today and tomorrow. Any encouragement out there from TT veterans would be appreciated! Thank you.
Day 3 Post-op:
Can I just say that I am really...
Day 3 Post-op:
Can I just say that I am really appreciating all this quiet down time while recovering??? I almost feel guilty saying this but to be able to rest, relax, and recline all day and sleep when I feel tired is heavenly. Yes, there is discomfort when I get up and down to go the restroom and make my laps around my bedroom, but oh, the rest has been heavenly. Thank you God for my sweet husband who has taken care of the kids as well as my mom and sis. I haven't had this much peace and rest since, well since before kids. I love them so, but being their full-time caregiver is so exhausting at times! Especially when they don't sleep through the night. Is it weird that I am thankful for this R&R I am getting during the post-op recovery?? I am REALLY hoping my plantars faciitis heals up really well too while I am resting. I haven't had any heel pain so far which is great. Of course I'm not pounding the pavement either! lol.
My 1st post-op is tomorrow and they may take a drain out. I hope I don't freak out. I've read many different reactions from people about the drains. I am also wondering if he will tape me back up with this strong plastic surgical tape since he is not sending me home with a binder. Anybody else not go home with a binder? What did you do instead? Did you wear the high waisted bike shorts, or a spanx girdle? Thanks!
My hips and sides are so bruised and hurt bad. Is...
My hips and sides are so bruised and hurt bad. Is this normal?? My dr. said he would do lipo on my flanks but it feels like he did my hips too?! Can you bruise all the way down to your hips when you have lipo on your flanks?
Day 4 PO:
I just returned from my 1st PO visit....
Day 4 PO:
I just returned from my 1st PO visit. I'm sorry to be a little negative but I feel discouraged. I almost want to cry. I feel like I have regressed a few steps back. Yesterday was a turning point for me in that I began to be able to get up and down from my recliner without assistance and walk myself to the restroom. I could walk laps around my bedroom with ease, hunched over of course. This morning was even better as I was able to dress myself carefully and even put makeup on while sitting in my chair. I drank a fruit, avocado, and spinach smoothie with brewer's yeast, flax, chia, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds. AND . . . still no BM. When we got to the dr's office, I was feeling pretty confident about my healing progress. I had gone from 3am-9am with only one pain pill. Then the nurse took off my surgical tape bandage. Ouch. That stuff was like cement on my skin. Then she rubbed some oil on it to remove the sticky residue which hurt because she rubbed directly on my bruises. I couldn't look down at my incision or drains because I knew it would make me sick. I kept my nose stuffed down in a pill bottle full of aromatherapy salts made by my friend (eucalyptus and lavender) and just kept snorting the fumes. She showed my husband how to clean the drains and wrap with gauze. Then the dr. came in. He said the surgery went great. I was less bruised than he expected (really?!!! because I look black and blue down my sides and hips!) and he said not to worry about the skin puckering and gathering at the incision because it will all flatten out with time. He said he took way more skin than he anticipated because it was so stretched out, making my stomach really tight. He also said the gap in my ab wall was about 4 inches wide that he closed together. He suggested I do slow stretches but no sudden movements or lifting. He also said I should really have a BM by now and I should do what ever it takes to have one. (Hmmm, 3 Colace a day isn't enough??) Then he said I could wear bike shorts as long as they aren't too tight and Monday when I come back, they may fit me for a binder. He said I need to be walking around more (really?? I thought I was walking alot already?!) but to not over do it. I began to get really nauseated and woozie just looking at my stomach. It was NOT pretty. I knew it wasn't going to be, I just didn't know how bad it would gross me out. :( I had to really snort my relaxation vapors to keep from passing out. I couldn't NOT believe he was sending me home with it exposed and not covered by a bandage or strips or anything?!! He also said to expect little sharp burning sensations or like bugs crawling inside my skin?!!! Gross! He said this is good because it is a sign of healing. I have already felt it since coming home. I do have slight pain where the drains are now that were not there when I had my surgical tape on. I am feeling a little depressed and almost regretting I did it.
Ok, please someone tell me if it's normal to hurt...
Ok, please someone tell me if it's normal to hurt where the drains are??? I got my bandage off today and there is nothing compressing them down so I feel them every time I move. And even in my recliner, they feel like they are throbbing. Anyone? Anyone experience the same??
Still discouraged. After the bandage came off this...
Still discouraged. After the bandage came off this morning at my first PO appointment, everything is more painful. Getting up and down from my recliner and any slight movement I can feel those drains and sharp, stinging sensations deep inside. My stomach is so ugly to look at. :( I have no bandages over my incision or belly button, just gauze at my drain sites. My hubs continues to change the drains but cleaned the drain site for the first time since my appointment this morning. He has to help me again get up and down from my chair. I did have a BM today though! Yay! My dr. said to do whatever it takes, enema, suppository, whatever. I drank prune juice, miralax, and took magnesium supplements, and wah-lah! I did what the dr. ordered! :) I think I am sending my hubs to get some arnica to help with the bruising on my flanks and hips. It is so tender. Has anyone had luck with that supplement? I am going to stop taking Valium so I can resume nursing my one year old. The last one I took was almost 24 hours ago. I hope to start nursing him tomorrow night or the next morning again. I miss it. :( I am uploading pictures of before, after, and of today's visit. I sure hope it gets prettier with time. My dr. said the puckering will smooth out eventually and swelling will reduce. I am crashing after this because I'm so tired. Still sleeping in the recliner, but standing up more straight now, thankfully. Hoping tomorrow is better!
Day 5 PO-
Hint: ALWAYS keep your drains pinned to...
Day 5 PO-
Hint: ALWAYS keep your drains pinned to something, your shirt, pants, binder, band around your neck. Don't just carry them in your hands when moving around. Last night, I got up to use the restroom and had them under a pillow I pressed against my stomach. One dropped out and OUCH!!!! It felt like an IV was being yanked down in my skin. It is still sore this morning. :( I will pin them at all times from now on.
Day 6 PO-
Feeling stronger and more energy each...
Day 6 PO-
Feeling stronger and more energy each day, but man it doesn't take long or much to run out of fuel! Ha! One trip down the stairs in my house and a couple hours of sitting and I am wiped out. I still cannot stand totally straight. My skin feels soooo tight. Does anyone apply a special lotion or Vitamin E oil on your stomach to help with the tightness?? I started applying Arnica cream on the bruises and on the bulge where my abs were sewn together hoping it will relieve a little of the pain. I get light headed and short of breath too when I sit up or stand up too long or try to talk in length to someone. Is that normal??? I can stand straight if I tuck my hips under, but that looks weird. Ha! I'm going to try my hubs bike shorts today since my dr. didn't give me a binder yet. I just dread the hassle of them when using the restroom, since they are so tight. I finally nursed my little guy today for the first time in 7 days! He was so ready. I made sure Valium was out of my system for about 60 hours. I piled the pillows and boppy around me though to protect everything. I think we will be able to continue as long as he doesn't move around too much. I so wish I could shower and shave! ha! I'm really looking forward to these drains coming out so I can feel clean and refreshed again. Thank you for all the encouragement and responses. The support really helps!
Day 6 or 7 PO? - tomorrow will be one week from...
Day 6 or 7 PO? - tomorrow will be one week from surgery date!
So I woke up at 4:00 am like usual (I guess my body knows exactly when a new round of pain meds is due) and I am whimpering in pain. I realize that one little part of my incision is stuck to my cotton pj pants. It was like ripping a band-aid off when I got the nerve to pull it loose. Then I got all weepy and started crying (first time yet), feeling guilty about all the work my husband was doing taking care of the kids full-time and being my nurse. Then I felt guilty about the money we spent and the vacation time he took all for me when we could have used both resources so many other ways. I think I'm having the post-surgery blues everyone talks about. I feel gross because I can't shower and I keep looking at my stomach thinking it looks so barbaric & ugly. I know I need to just have patience and trust my doctor that it will all flatten out with time. But what if it doesn't? My skin looks like a gathered ruffle, all puckered & gross. He said it would smooth out, but geesh. My imagination is not that great. I just don't see it. He said he had to pull my skin from the sides to the center like that because my skin was so stretched from pregnancy. I just don't get why my body was so jacked up from pregnancy. I gained 40 pounds with both of mine, exercised and ate really healthy. Lots of women gain 60 pounds or more, have multiple pregnancies (more than 2), and don't have to have this done to get their bodies back. I just don't get it. :(
Day 6 PO-
Does anyone know what the red stringy...
Day 6 PO-
Does anyone know what the red stringy bloody things are that come out in your drains? Is that a blood clot?
Also, I found one of my Walmart girdles that is like a tank top that scoops under the bra line and wore it yesterday and last night. I took it off today because I got so swollen where it cut off above my hips and hurt where I bruised. I think I am trying to do too much, even though it doesn't feel like a whole lot. Even sitting up in a chair or bar stool in the kitchen seem tiring and makes it difficult to breathe. I sat at the computer for about 3 hours this morning, taking frequent breaks to get up and walk around and I got so swollen. So I've been in my recliner for the rest of the afternoon. Drain sites still hurt, but I don't think I want them removed yet. My hubs empties about 15-20 (whatever measurements) in the morning and 15-20 in the evening. I certainly don't want them out too early.
ONE WEEK PO-
I went for my 2nd PO appointment and...
ONE WEEK PO-
I went for my 2nd PO appointment and got one drain taken out!! Yay!!! And it was SO not as bad as I was expecting?! I barely felt it! I had worked myself up so much, holding my hubs hand, smelling this aromatherapy stuff with the other hand, taking deep breaths, then my hubs said something funny to distract me and it was all over. I barely even felt it!
This Friday I go back to get the 2nd drain removed.
Dr. said he wasn't worried at all about my swelling or bruising or puckering of skin on my incision. He and his nurse did make me stand up straight, which felt like it was pulling my skin soo tight. They made me stand there a while and it felt like I was working out, like I had to breathe deep in and out. It literally made me so tired just to stand up straight. And it feels like a big fist, or a knot is right under my ribs.
I shaved my legs today for the first time in a week, ha! And gave myself a sponge bath before my dr.'s appointment. I still haven't washed my hair yet, which makes me feel sooo gross. Maybe after the kids go to bed, my husband will help me wash it in the sink.
DAY 9 PO-
I woke up this morning to my hub's...
DAY 9 PO-
I woke up this morning to my hub's alarm at 6 am and could not go back to sleep. I have been sleeping in the recliner since my surgery and I think it is getting more and more uncomfortable. Finally, I decided to try lying down in my bed and I actually fell back asleep! It was the first time to lie flat and it felt sooo good on my aching, bruised, hips and back! Now getting up out of bed, that is a whole new art that needs to be learned.
I am down to 2 extra strength Tylenol during the day, and 1/2 my pain pill at night. I still feel so swollen and my skin hurts to stand up straight. I feel like I've been in an ultimate fighting championship game . . . beat up and bruised.
The best thing about my day today, is I WASHED MY HAIR!!! First time in 10 days. Sick. I know. I just haven't had the strength or energy or courage to do it until tonight. I did take my pain pill right before. I think it made a HUGE difference. I actually got in the tub, sat on my knees, filled it up to mid-hip, and let my hub spray my back and head with the shower head. Oh. My. Word. It felt like a luxury spa treatment. I had only taken ONE sponge bath since my surgery, so this felt divine. I guess I was so freaked out about getting water in my drain opening & getting an infection somehow in my incision that I was too scared until now. I think we will make this a nightly ritual. It was so therapeutic.
I still cringe when I look at my torso though. :( It is so thick, swollen, & bruised. It looks distorted and mangled to me, like a monster. I know I need to give it time and think happy, positive thoughts. My hubs is so encouraging and tells me it looks so much better everyday and better than it did before surgery. Thank you Lord for him.
Day 12 PO-
I got my last drain AND stitches out...
Day 12 PO-
I got my last drain AND stitches out yesterday!!! Whoo! Hoo! I feel like a new woman. :) It was SO not bad at all. Just felt like a little vibration under my skin. AND I met a new surgical tech I haven't seen before in the office. She took my stitches and drain out and gave me lots of advice. She works with another PS in the office and suggested I wear a girdle at all times. My PS made it sound like an option, did not send me home with a binder, and said I could wear high waisted bike shorts if I needed more compression. Yesterday, he did recommend however, I wear compression/girdle as much as I could to reduce the swelling since I don't have drains anymore. I brought every girdle I owned with me and tried them on for the tech so she could suggest which one was best. I am SO glad I did because she chose the Spanx. I had been wearing my hubs bike shorts that hurt across the top sort of between my ribs. Since I've been wearing the Spanx, the swelling is AMAZINGLY better?!! I'm such a slow learner. I know I've read that compression helps swelling 100x but I guess I was wearing the wrong kind of compression. My scar doesn't look like a muffin-top or mushroom ballooning over the stitches anymore! I still look and feel like a TREE TRUNK but the swelling isn't as painful anymore. I have been in my bed the last several nights, able to slowly roll from one side to the other. Sleeping with a pillow between my legs helps too. My energy is coming back but my dr. said to still take it easy and even if I feel like do "extra" things, don't because it will set my healing back. I can even "flex" my abs a little and it doesn't hurt! He suggested not doing that though. :( And sneezing, coughing, and laughing are not excruciating anymore!
My hubs and I actually went on a date last night, dinner and a movie, after my dr's appointment and it was great. I was hurting though by the time I got in bed. But getting out never felt better. Tomorrow is a big day, my first day back at church. I hope I don't over do it. Thank goodness Monday is a holiday and I will have my hubs around. Tuesday he goes back to work and I'm on my own! It's me and the two littles-14 month old and 3 year old. I hope it goes smoothly.
16 Days PO-
So I made it through my first big...
16 Days PO-
So I made it through my first big outing on Sunday. Went to church and had a helper carry my little guy to his class. Then on Monday, the whole family went to the zoo! I was able to actually enjoy this amazing weather with my 2 kids and my hubby on Labor Day. It was awesome. I found myself reacting though, without thinking, wanting to pick my kids up to see the animals, or chase after my 3 y/o daughter if she strayed too far. I'm not taking anything for pain right now. Coughing, sneezing, laughing is actually just uncomfortable now, not painful.
I'm also driving myself around now. And taking showers. :) I feel just pockets of minor pain sometimes if I move too fast or twist my body a certain way. I can feel little hard spots on my sides and stomach. Not quite sure what that is though. I do feel the little "electrical currents" or shooting sharp pains under my skin that my dr warned me about. He said not to worry because they were signs of healing.
I love my spanx. Since I got my drain out last week, I've worn it day and night for compression. Most of my energy is back and I'm so ready to resume "normalcy" again. But I know I need to listen to dr's orders and continue to take it easy. He said recovery is like a roller coaster. It will go up and down . . . as I feel better I will start doing more, over do it, then plummet down to feeling bad again. I'm just wondering when I can start running again. He said that my skin reattaching to my muscle is the biggest concern because it is like a moving target. It is never completely still because of breathing and of course moving around during the day.
Overall, I feel awesome and can't believe my surgery was only a little over 2 weeks ago. The scar is flattening out and starting to scab over. Soon, I will be able to start massaging and using the vitamin E oil and special scar creams. Dr. said to begin all that at week 4.
A friend told me tonight that my stomach looked like it had melted off. :) She said I looked really great and "alot thinner." Makes me feel validated for going ahead with the surgery. :) Glad I did it.
18 days PO-
I wore my skinny jeans and a fitted...
18 days PO-
I wore my skinny jeans and a fitted T-shirt today for the first time in over 4 years! It felt awesome. :) I took my kids to the park (my mom went to help with my 14 month old) and I went to the mall by myself. My energy is about 80% back and I feel so close to being almost normal again. I want to exercise so bad. I'm ready to start running in this awesome weather. I don't know if it's just my imagination though, but sometimes I feel like I can feel my skin pulling away from my muscles like velcro or a sticker peeling off something. I know. . . gross. But that's what the sensation reminds me of and then I want to make sure I DON'T overdo it. Resting is so hard, but I know I need to in order to make sure I heal properly.
Day 19 PO-
Weird thing . . . today is Saturday...
Day 19 PO-
Weird thing . . . today is Saturday and last Thursday I woke up feeling nauseous. I made it until noon and then had to cancel the rest of my plans that day to lay down. I don't know what caused it exactly. I'm wondering if it was the anesthesia "detoxing" out of my system? I know 2.5 weeks is a long time and most people say it would be out by then, but my body is different in that I have some auto-immune issues. I have an allergy to gluten so any time I eat it, it takes almost a week to detox from my body. I also was tested at a naturopath's office and she said my liver (or kidney) was not detoxing properly. She could tell I still had Tylenol in my body that I had taken a week earlier?! Soooooo, just wondering if anyone else has experienced anything similar. I also felt a little nauseous today. I'm wondering if I'm doing too much because I feel so good. It's almost too good to be true, you know? And nausea is my body's way of saying "slow down?" I just don't know. I know I am NOT prego though! Ha! I just finished my period last week so THAT'S not it, I'm sure. :)
3 Weeks PO yesterday!-
I can't believe 3 weeks...
3 Weeks PO yesterday!-
I can't believe 3 weeks ago they sawed me in half! Ha! I really feel so good I feel it's too good to be true. I know I'm not supposed to but I have been lifting my little guy, mainly using my arms to get him over baby gates and off furniture. I don't feel any pain at all. Today I felt like I was preggo and the baby was moving around inside my tummy. That sensation of an elbow or a knee rolling around is what it felt like weird. My belly button is shrinking . . . yay! And all the scabs have fallen off (gross I know). It looks so much better than the tea cup saucer it looked like after surgery. My incision is slowly flattening out. The "wrinkles" and puckering are smoothing out. I thought that would never happen. I literally thought my skin looked like ruffled fabric up until now. I still have hard knots above my belly button and on the sides I think where he pulled my muscles around to tighten them together.
I am definitely starting to get more attention now from people telling me "wow, you look great! What have you been doing?" I don't want to say I had surgery, but feel guilty for not saying it. It's really no one's business and I have worked VERY hard up until this point after both babies were born. It just amazes me how much of a difference it makes taking off skin and sewing those muscles back together! It makes me very glad I did it.