I have my surgery scheduled with Dr. Pousti on...
I have my surgery scheduled with Dr. Pousti on November 20th. I'm nervous and excited! I have been wanting to do this for 5+ years. I did a Lot of research and think Dr. Pousti is the Best. His staff is very friendly and knowledgeable. I think I know what to expect, but I'm open to hearing from women who have gone through it already. I'm most concerned with getting my husband and 15 year old son prepared for what they can do/expect. My husband went to the pre-op appointment with me and is totally onboard to do what is necessary. He has a high pressure job though and can only take off for 2 days. Should I hire a nurse? We have no medical background. I had breast reduction surgery 4 years ago and went through that while he was deployed. I made it, but I don't ever want to have to do anything like that again. Plus, I know this is Much different? Any advice?
9 Days to Go!
Talk about Nervous! and excited :) In just 1 week I have my last pre-op appointment. My surgery is scheduled for the 20th. So far, I have prepared by buying 2 moo-moo style gowns and gotten pillows for my back and knees. I understand I'll basically be living in my electric recliner for at least a week after I get home. I still need to purchase a walker.
Can anyone comment on how long it actually is before I can shower? I know the drains have to come out. Some websites say 2 weeks - some say a month. What about walking up/down stairs? I live in a 3 story townhome. The main living level of my home is on the 2nd story (which is where my living room, kitchen and 1/2 bath are located). I bought a shower caddy to hold soap, wash cloths, toothbrush, etc.
My mind is reeling! 4 days to go..
Wow! This is all happening so fast! Sure, it's been many, many years that I have been contemplating this, but the actual surgery date is coming up so soon! All I can think about is preparing. I'm an over planner actually, but sometimes that is good. I think I have bought everything I am going to need - walker, compression garments, things for downstairs bathroom, etc. I'm paying bills ahead of time, because I know I may not remember later. But with a family to 'run', I still feel like there is so much to do. I'm a bit of a control freak, so I'm trying to plan everything out that I possibly can. It doesn't help that Thanksgiving is a week after my surgery. I'm also trying to plan for my mom to come. I need to consult with a nurse to help me at home since I'll be coming home right after the surgery. My husband will have a couple of days off (one day back at work and then the weekend off). There just seems like there is still a lot to do. It doesn't help also that I keep watching YouTube videos of people's recoveries. eek!
Had my Surgery on the 20th!
My surgeon and his team are amazing! They made me feel so comfortable and made things go as smoothly as they possibly can. My husband, despite having bronchitis, has been waiting on me hand and foot. Thanks to those who have and are supporting me.
On a side note, I found out from the head nurse at the surgery center that I have a very low tolerance for pain. Hmmm, and I always thought I was such a trooper! After reading online, people are posting that they feel great a day after surgery and they can't feel their abs. How is that possible?! I have a pain pump and Percocet and I feel nothing but constant pain. I haven't slept more than 2 solid hours since I woke up and quite frankly, I didn't know a person could be in so much pain and still be alive! Ouch!
My doctor's office has called me 3 times to check on me - they are so sweet! I told them I'm in some pain, but didn't go into complaining because I figured this is normal and I just have to suck it up. We'll see how I feel tomorrow.
On a positive note, I have been able to get up several times and go to the bathroom, shuffle around a bit in my walker and brush my teeth. All good things!
Another day in - the pain keeps coming
Ok, I'm turning into a big fat baby right about now. But my one woman pity party is going out with a bang because this is the last evening I'm going to allow it to continue! The incision site hurts, the abdominal muscles ache, the tiny bit of lipo this 5'1" 113 lb woman had is making me feel like I got shanked on both sides and my lower back feels like it was in a bar fight and lost. Whaaaa! But after tonight, that's it. I'm going to wake up with a brand new attitude.
It's time to re-adjust my focus and remember my projected outcome. I promise to add before photos as soon as possible. I'll have to get them from my surgeon, but once I do, I'll post them here.
Feel free to comment or leave questions if you are about to go through something similar.
What day is it???
I have no idea, but who cares! I feel like a Million Bucks! $$ Especially compared to how I felt a few days ago. Somewhere long after, "Please don't let me die" and just before, "Kill me now" I thankfully found solid ground. Hallelujah! and by solid ground I mean, a happy medium between being basically incoherent and in significant pain and , "ok this is tolerable, I now know what to expect discomfort/some pain". I am a very emotional person as well as being a big baby. Hence, I avoid pain and discomfort in all imaginable ways. Which is the thought crossed my mind several times - "why did I do this to myself!?" And as you can see from my previous post, I knew I had to change that attitude or it would do me in! I am a firm believer in life being 90% attitude and 10% aptitude. My attitude was stinking and it was really messing with my recovery - change the attitude & change the outcome :) I'm so glad my surgeon believes this as well. He is so right when he says this is an emotional roller coaster and most of the real work is done out of the O.R. - when you are home recovering. I've read so many blogs here from fabulous ladies giving all sorts of advice and support. You are all great! I've also read a lot of stories of women pushing themselves hard and fast, trying to get through this with little support, anxious to see the results and frankly, doing things that could jeopardize their recovery. Ladies, I'm only 5 day s into the post-op & by no means Any kind of expert. Even with all of my planning aside, I wouldn't be feeling so safe about my health and recovery if it weren't for the words of my doctor (and his amazing staff, who very evidently support and pass on to patients). This is an emotional roller coaster! Not just a physical one! Have someone (or many someones) who can take care of you for an extended period of time. Be prepared for the mental and emotional ups & downs. Go easy on yourself and try not to be superwoman. It's hard for us women to do that, right? We can put our capes back on in a few months ;)
1st Post Op Today!
Whew! What a day! I had my 1st post op appointment today. The healing process is coming along beautifully. I didn't get my drains out like I had hoped, but they are in good shape and hopefully will come out soon. The fluid isn't quite below 20 cc's in a 24 hr period yet. It was really cool to see myself without the bandages. The excitement is building! :D
Here are a couple of my before photos.
After (still on operating room table)
These two photos were taken while I was still under and on the operating room table. I'm so glad my surgeon took them because they help give me a vision of what I can look forward too.
I was right. I wasn't fooling myself after all
Looking at my before pictures is shocking, not because I have anything to compare myself to (yet anyway), but because in a way, I didn't think I saw myself like that. The fact that I went through with this major surgery just goes to prove that I did (if nothing else but on a subconscious level). To see myself in those photos, you'd think I was significantly overweight. As I've said before though, I am 5' 1" and fluctuate between the same 4 lbs - 109-113 lbs. Most of me is stick thin. Of the few people at work who knew I was going through with this surgery, most of them asked me, "why? you're so thin! where are they going to take it from?" I said, "you'd be surprised". We get adept at hiding behind our clothes, don't we ladies. Well, this is for you. I'm sharing these photos for you as much as for me. If you are thinking of having this surgery, think long and hard, have a strong stomach, staunch will, lots of Love for yourself 1st! and lots of people to take care of you afterward ;) If you can say yes to all that, it's definitely worth it!
I have so much to be thankful for. I am especially excited that I will be sleeping in my own bed tonight for the first time in over a week! I know that sounds weird, but we all know we have to do what's practical for our recovery after a surgery like this. As a result, I've been sleeping/living in my recliner since my surgery. I'm going to brave the trip up to the 3rd floor tonight and sleep in my own bed with my honey :D Yah!
Almost 2 week mark
Wowza! I can't believe it's been 2 weeks already. I got my drains out yesterday! That was definitely the highlight of my past 2 weeks. YAH! Technically, they were ready to come out last Friday/Saturday, but the office was closed Friday for the holiday, and I didn't know that the office was actually open on Saturday- bummer :( I called them Monday and said, "guys, I'm coming in and I'm going to sit there until you can see me." Of course with my sweetest-patient-ever voice. They were like, "ummm, you don't need to do that... we can see you at 4:30" hahaha! So in I went & drains came out! I'm feeling pretty good. I have a lot more energy than before and it lasts a little bit longer each day, but I still wear out fairly easily. I think my back hurts the most from hunching over, but my surgeon tells me, "protect that incision line!" so hunch over I will! haha. So far, I have slept in my bed 3.5 nights. It feels weird. I think because I have gotten used to my recliner - plus the drains made it awkward. I slept on my side in the fetal position last night, but I woke up twice and I was in a lot of pain. I gave up and came back downstairs to my recliner and slept like a baby. I wonder how much longer this will go on. :( Guess that will be my next hurdle to overcome - sleep the night in my own bed, with no pain.
One more try in the bed...
So, I stayed in the recliner again last night :( Going to give the bed another shot tonight. I got a new compression garment today and tested out lying down with it on. I felt pretty snug, so I'll give it a whirl. Headed to bed in a few... wish me luck!
Day 15 Photos!
Ok ladies, here ya go! I got off my butt and took some photos. They are kind of funny looking because I am still hunched over and there's still a lot of swelling, but I'm very happy so far. You should have seen me trying to angle to take these pictures - it was hysterical! I know a lot of people are walking upright already, but I don't think I could if I wanted to..haha! My muscles are so tight!
Comment on Post-Op photos
Those lines under my belly button are from the compression garment ;) My stretch marks are all gone except for the ones in a place you can't see haha -
These are my words...
and today I need to remember them
"Be prepared for the mental and emotional ups & downs. Go easy on yourself and try not to be superwoman."
Surprising... I feel better now that I can put on my elastic jeans, lol. No more PJ's all day long.. ;)
On the upswing
So, I went through a small bout of depression last week. My energy level wasn't matching my mental attitude and it was really frustrating me. PMS might have had a little to do with it too.. lol I had my weekly post-op visit on Wednesday. My doc was very supportive. Great news, I got my tape off that day and was able to shower that night! I can't believe I went 3 weeks only having sponge baths and washing my hair in the kitchen sink! It felt really, really good! My incision is healing nicely and I am even able to walk around a Lot better! I can stand up a little better even though I'm not trying to go fully erect - still watching out for that incision. I think it's because a lot of the feeling in my abs is coming back and the muscles are relaxing just a little bit. Yesterday was by far my most active/productive day. I drove out to see a couple of friends and that did a lot for my spirits. Yesterday my 'baby' turned 16! and we had some of his friends over for the night. That about did me in. I stuffed the boys with scrambled eggs, bacon, cinnamon roles and oj and sent them out with honey to the movies to see The Hobbit (as the birthday fun continues-lol) I'm relaxing and watching some football with my feet kicked up! Oh, and more great news! I got a letter from my job that, not Only did they approve me out of work for 8 weeks! I am getting 100% of my pay! and I only thought I'd get 80% ~ feeling blessed!
New Pics ... 27 days post op
The actual scar looks pretty thin. I only took my first shower 5 days ago so there us still a lot of sticky bits and glue.
Just felt like sharing...
We swap advice and tips all the time, so I thought I'd share which compression garment I found that works best for me - after some trial and error. :) This link is directly to the Maidenform website, but I got mine online at JC Penny - with coupon and discount $17 each (bought 2 so I'd have one as backup while washing the other one).
One Month Post Op
Still think this is the Best present I have ever given myself! Every day gets better and better! I have more energy, my emotions stabling out and I have a really good idea of what my final results are going to be. I'm really looking forward to Christmas too :) We have some friends coming in town and are going to go to Disneyland for a day while they are here. I'm bummed that I can't ride my favorite roller coasters though - yes, I'm a huge kid! :)
It's been 7 weeks already?!
14 Jan 2014
2 months post
I'm getting ready to go back to work next week. On one hand it feels like it's been a million years.. on the other, it was just yesterday. Funny how time works. I'd still do it all over again and I still love my doctor. I'm also missing my job and the mental stimulation it brings. It feels as though I am at a cross-roads, between the life I have "settled" into during my recovery and the world I'm going back to. In reality, there is no cross road. It is what it is. Change isn't my strong suit and I can already feel that unsettling feeling I get when things are about to change (like when I was about to have my surgery). I will continue to be strong, and I will be confident. It's new; it's different, and yet it's the same ;)
10 weeks into recovery!
It has been a while since I've updated my post. Mostly because I went back to work on Jan 20th. I was blessed to have the time off, but duty calls :) I have a desk job where I sit all day and I am grateful to work with an amazing group of people, that said, I am so much better off for having taken the time I needed to heal. Even still, I've probably about 75% of the way there.. every day gets better and better! Here are some pics from December (way late, I know). Still, I couldn't be more ecstatic with my results!
The photos didn't upload - here they are again.. way overdue (from December) lookin' and feeling better all the time!
Upper Ab Muscles Are Relaxing - OUCH!
11 Feb 2014
3 months post
About a week ago I started to experience some discomfort in my abdomen that quickly turned into pain. Just when I thought I already knew what to expect -another surprise! It's been almost 3 months. I should be an expert on this recovery thing by now. Wrong! I tried sitting more - hurts. I tried standing more - hurts! I tried wearing my spanx, switching to the wrap around compression garment, going without anything, different types of pants, different types of underwear, platform shoes (once-lol-that was big joke day) flat shoes, no shoes! I thought it was maybe my incision, but I knew it wasn't. This is different! FINALLY! I may have figured it out... it's my upper abs - they are relaxing. and shit! it hurts. Maybe for some people, it wouldn't, but for me, it does. I was in tears on Saturday and my husband encouraged me to call the PS office. They were already closed. I then caught a bad cold and have been home for 2 days. Of course, I didn't want to go near there with a cold- not with the surgeon who operates and all the people trying to recover. I will have to call tomorrow. They are so wonderful! I know they can help me out. Stinker me! for trying to be so tough.. lol