I had Gastric Bypass in June 2015 and have lost...
I had Gastric Bypass in June 2015 and have lost 160 pounds. Excess skin removal is a must and as my PCP and Bariatric Surgeon said "the icing on the cake after all the hard work". My dietician has said I need to wait until at least 2 years post-op, but my PCP, Bariatric Surgeon and therapist (from bariatric surgeon) all say they see no reason to move forward, so here I go!
I first discovered Dr. Peter Fisher of San Antonio on another website for weight loss surgery patients. (I live in Dallas, so San Antonio is about 5 hour drive away which seemed doable). I then researched Dr. Fisher on this site and have found nothing but great reviews and found his procedure for lower body lift to help maintain waist and hip ratio and not a boxy lower body to be the reason I wanted to pursue his services. I first saw him on May 25 and liked him immediately. (He told me even with all the extra skin that I had a good figure! What's not to like?! :0) ) I originally scheduled for September but had to change due to job change and now I am just over 2 weeks away and excited and nervous all at the same time!
Dr Fisher's plan for me is Stage 1 - LBL (which includes Extended Tummy Tuck, Butt Lift, Mons Lift and Outer Thigh lift likely with some lipo) and an Arm Lift. Stage 2 (no less than 3 months later) will be Breast Lift & Augmentation and Lateral Thigh Lift (including inner thighs). I do not have the 2nd procedure scheduled yet but hoping I can go in February or March of 2017. Stage 1 surgery is approx. 8-12 hours long. I will stay 2 nights in the hospital and then stay at an extended stay hotel for at least 2 weeks post-op. I am HOPING I will be able to drive myself home on the 28th, but that remains to be seen. I will have family/friend help from day of surgery (Thursday) until following Tuesday and then on my own for a few days before another friend joins me on Saturday/Sunday and then on my own again. I have gone through many major surgeries with only a couple days of assistance (4 shoulder surgeries, Hysterectomy, Gastric bypass, bi-lateral kidney stents and MANY kidney stones), but this one makes me a bit more nervous as I just don't know what to expect with drains and compression garments and such. Depending on when post-op appts are scheduled, I may have to take a taxi or Uber to the drs office but that will be ok. It is very close. (Maybe there is a shuttle at the hotel? I will ask.)
I have rented a lift chair/recliner, bought a toilet seat riser and walker and grabber stick. Ordered my Stage 2 compression garment (capri length then up to under my breasts with suspenders) and arm sleeves for after the bandages come off. (Not sure if these are right but best I can figure for now.) I will go down for pre-op on Monday and then stay a few days getting settled including grocery shopping and whatever else I forgot.
I have complete confidence in the dr and his staff. The length of time of the anesthesia concerns me the most (and my family sitting out in the lobby enduring 11 or 12 long hours). I just wish I had more knowns so I could have better expectations, but that's not how this stuff goes I guess. The 2nd stage will be easier just because I will know better what to expect.
Anyway, I have gotten so much advice and courage from others posting here, so I thought I should start a review of my own in hopes to help people with same questions I had. I cannot say I will be brave enough to post pictures, but I MIGHT be willing to send a private message to someone if they really wanted to see the results (and they are as spectacular as I anticipate they will be). I will cross that bridge when I get there... Any advices from fellow Dr. F patients or those who have gone through LBL and/or Arm Lift are more than welcome! I will keep this updated as I go through the process.
Pre-op & Marking DONE!
So I had my pre-op appt today. Quite odd standing there naked and having skin pushed and pulled and drawn on and erased and drawn again PLUS taking of pictures. He is certainly a perfectionist and what else could you ask for is such a surgeon?! Truly an artist's eye. It was awkward but actually much less so than I thought I would be. Dr. Fisher and Joann (his nurse) are so wonderful. I know I am in good hands. I would be lying if I said I wasn't anxious but Dr. Fisher said he would consider it odd if I wasn't nervous. I just changed in to my pjs for the night and had forgotten about the marks until I saw myself in the mirror. What a shock! Ha! I am quite a sight!
Dr said he felt quite sure that I was going to recover really well and get great results. I can't wait! Here's hoping the next 2 days go by fast.... Will update all as soon as I can after surgery to let you know how it went.
3 days post-op
Surgery went really well. Dr was very happy with the results and told my family I was the "perfect case". The pain isn't really that bad as long as I don't move. Moving on the other hand is a different story. I got terrible itching from the morphine and eventually had to get them to discontinue that and move me over to Percocet. I have a TINY bit of itching on Percocet but nothing like it was. I take bendryl or I go the dr to write a prescription for Hydroxine HCL (Attapex?) which help with the itching a lot.
Can't believe how small my arms are and big my but is! :) Sleeping in a recliner but I have no issue with that. Very glad I rented the lift chair, brought a toilet seat riser and a walker. I wouldn't survive these first few nights without! I still have someone with me for 2 nights and then I will be alone a few days before a friend comes for he weekend and the alone again. I think that will be all the help I need until time to go home (will need help packing and lift the luggage as well as driving).
Can't wait until the swelling goes down and I can really see the results but it is already 1000% better so just can't wait until 3 months down the road when the swelling is so much better!
5 days post-op - Swell Hell!
Hi all! Still doing pretty good here. The pain isn't unbearable. I mean, don't get me wrong, I need the pain med, but all in all, really less pain than I thought. The swelling though - OMG. I had no idea. And I don't mean "oh look my pants don't fit", I mean " seriously if I accidentally get stuck with a sharp object, I may spew and fly all around San Antonio like a deflated balloon cartoon"! Man that part is really uncomfortable. It pulls the skin SO tight. Dr. Fisher is still a top doc (and even more so now). He gave me his cell number to text him and I hesitated to use it but finally asked at what point I should be concerned about the swelling - I mean is my skin really going to rip apart like it feels? He texted me right back saying he would call in Lasix and within minutes, I had a call from the office confirming they had called it in to the correct pharmacy. What service! He even then texted me this morning checking in to see how I was doing and making sure I had my post-op appointment. The Lasix seems to be helping a little (but I have only taken 3 doses at this point). I know it will improve, plus I know I am not drinking enough which may be part of the problem.
The drains are looking great and I have my first post-op scheduled for Friday. Will be very excited to talk to him on Friday and hopefully get the drains out and first compression garment put on. (I am still wearing the binder given to me at the hospital. I wear it pretty much 24/7 except when I just need a break before I break in half. Most of the time I don't even notice it is there.
I am on my own now (my last help left at 6 p.m. yesterday) and honestly it was a relief to finally be alone. Love my friends and family but too much noise! :) Still sleepy but not awful. Spending my entire time in my lift chair recliner rental which I HIGHER recommend (could not have gotten through without). Also, the toilet seat riser is a must have especially if you are my height - 5'10". I am staying at Homewood Suites Extended stay and the toilets are VERY low. :) Hotel is clean and quiet. Lots of things close by. My friend walked to CVS yesterday to pick up my Lasix - less than 1/2 mile.
And forgive me if I have said this before (I cannot remember and did not read earlier posts) but my a$$ is AMAZING! :) I'm talking Kim Kardashian booty! He said it will drop a little but for now, I am loving that! Can't wait to see what it looks like in clothes! The saddle bags are gone and I almost cried. I have stood in a mirror nearly my whole life (seriously since I was a teenager) and held that skin up and thought "couldn't we just cut that part off". And now it is gone. Again, I cannot wait to see how I fit in jeans not to mention yoga pants! (I have high expectations here! :) ) And my arms? Well I did cry. Another part of my body I have always hated and have always avoided wearing shirts with too shot of or nil sleeves. By next summer, I will be rocking sleeveless tops! Cannot wait!
In the meantime, I rest and try to heal and sleep and just trust each day to be a little better.
Don't hesitate to send me any questions. And PS - if any vets out there have swelling solutions, I am open to them ALL. I have tried ice and heat but Dr. Fisher wants you to be careful with those since the areas are numb and I won't be able to feel if the skin is getting damaged by ice being too cold or heat too hot.
8 days post-op - Making great progress
Got 3 drains out today! Only 1 remaining. The drains are such a personal thing from patient to patient and he cannot estimate how your body will handle certain things. We are, after all, all individual human beings. :) I am thankful to have the ones out that I do but also thankful that he is attentive enough to leave in 1 if medically necessary - and it clearly is. We will see how much output by Monday and then decide next step.
Dr says everything looks great. He is very pleased and was also concerned if I was pleased. I am. Very. My butt skin was truly awful - not just ugly but so uncomfortable. At only 8 days post-op, I already have better quality of life with this change. I cannot begin to imagine how much more so it will be in 2 months or even a year!
I am still so sleepy but Dr said it was totally normal. There was a LOT of surgery and best I can do is rest and give my body time to heal. I am praying for no openings, so even more reason to rest. (Well that and I truly cannot keep my eyes open sometimes. Seriously every time I turn on the computer, I fall asleep mid-typing.... It will get better.)
Have I mentioned lately how great his staff is too? I took Uber to the appt today (first time I have used Uber - very handy). Anyway, being alone (and well maybe she would have done this if I wasn't alone) but Joann was kind to carry my bag, help me change clothes, etc. I feel very cared for in this place.
Ok see I fell asleep and lost my train of thought so I don't know what else I was going to say.... :D Will come back and post more later if I can remember...