Some may think at 52 Im too old to do this, but I...
Some may think at 52 Im too old to do this, but I am at a place in my life where it is FINALLY all about ME! I went thru a horrible marriage for 25 years, divorced and then had to care for my mom as she slowly died from Emphysema and heart disease from smoking. After 54 years of marriage, my dad abandoned her for a 29 year old woman....as Mom and I got closer and closer she begged me to do whatever I needed to do to get my confidence back after what I had been thru. She was all for me getting whatever surgery I needed and said she wished she had done more for HERSELF, instead of simply caring for a man who heartlessly left her. She made me the sole heir of her estate, but did wrangle a promise out of me...never , ever trust a man completely or marry again. I held her in my arms as she passed. I gathered up all things "mom", her artwork, sewing machine and all her kitchen cooking items and sold the ranch still fully furnished down to the sheets on the bed. I just wanted Moms Things. I moved to Arizona with my adult son and started My New Life. I had a lower face lift done in Feb and LOVE the results. Ive wanted a tummy tuck ever since I had my son in 1988. He was 10# and I gained 83 pounds. I went from reed thin to a chubster. I carried the weight everywhere, and as I exercised the weight slowly came off to reveal a sagging mess of flesh. My once perky 36A boobs (never wore a bra!) become 40C sagging lumps, and my abdomen was covered with horrid 3/4 inch WIDE stretch marks. These lovely stripes went from above my navel, all over my tummy, into my pubic hair and reappeared on the inside of my thighs. In my 30s I worked out so hard I was 137 pounds at 6'0....and still HATED my stomach, breasts and inner thighs. My wonderous ex husband used to walk up, grab my hanging stomach, jiggle it and say "You are so lucky I love you, because no other man could look at that nasty thing".....I begged for a tummy tuck, but it was out of the question. I see now it was just another way he had of controlling me. Fast forward to today. Ive been to see a few surgeons and ended up booking with the first one I saw, the one I had an INSTANT connection to. Dr R. Repta in Scottsdale. As I stood naked in front of him, his thoughts and mine were the exact same, remove extra skin, repair the destroyed Rectus Abdominal muscles, lipo the stubborn bits and bring my breasts back up to where they were pre kid. I do NOT want implants, I want my tiny perky boobs. My body type is tall and lean, long musculature wider shoulders and not much of a waist. I dont want the tiny waist and big butt that is currently in vogue, I just want my old body back. He feels we will have a good outcome due to the current strong muscles hiding under all that skin. I will post pictures today. Im doing this for MOM too! She was 110% behind me getting my body back after all the sadness and horror I went thru from 2008-2014. I know she will be floating around with me, I feel her presence every day. Her Nickname was Corky, thus my screen name. Doing it for Corky!!
Two weeks away from the NEW ME!
I woke up this morning early, realizing that in 2 weeks I am getting, to me, a life changing surgery. I have spent the past almost 29 years (Im 52) buying size XL to cover and hide my mid section, and could never find a bra that ft properly. Hell, I could have paid for this surgery twice over on the amount of money Ive spent trying to buy flattering garments! The time never seemed right to get this done, until this year. I am retired, my adult son lives here at home (hes a great vegan cook too) and I am near my ideal body weight. Even as I type, sitting here, my belly hangs out like a sack. Im SO SICK OF IT!!! I have battered myself to death at the gym, eat a strict vegan diet, done every exercise imaginable to lose this sack of meat, to no avail. My boobs? Tennis ball in a tube sock syndrome. In two weeks I will get my body put back to where it used to be. Thanks to all my Real Self sisters for the support, its priceless!
8 Days to go......
Im still not nervous...weird! I plan to get all needed items this week. When I had my lower face lift I had super high quality juices overnight shipped...lived on those for 4 days. Doing the same now, with a couple of repeat ships scheduled. My son (hes 27) is my caregiver and a fine vegan chef, so food wont be a prob. Im renting the recliner, getting a walker and stocking up on coloring books!
Less than a week....its getting REAL
Well, I have less than a week now. Its a weird feeling....I have 2 huge closets (one you could literally park a car in) and they are stuffed with Fat Clothes. You know the deal...long tops to cover the gut, everything a size XXL, even my jeans are a 16, and none of those fit anyways...tight in the waist, cuts off circulation when you sit down....all the Victorias Secret that do not fit....ugly (but expensive) underpants in size 8....I realized 80% of it will get donated...the amount of money I have WASTED...sickening. I could have paid for the surgery! After I heal I plan to get a WARDROBE. Good pieces of clothing that fit, and are attractive. Ive never had that, I just slop together whatever I can cram myself into, and I am miserably uncomfortable all night....And bras????? Dont even get me started! I had a 36A pre kid...no problem. After my son I had a 38-34C, and my boobs are wide apart, so nothing fit. The bands dug in around my ribcage and on my shoulders...agony. I tried getting fitted, and the gal at Victorias S even said..I cannot for you! I can not WAIT to get back to a little 36A, do not even need a damn bra (AKA torture device)
The thought of not having to shop in the Plus Size dept! I am a 16, and thats a bad size to be, too big for Misses size 16, too small for Plus size 16.
Two more days.....
Its Saturday morning at around 3;30am. Ive been on this thing the past year where I awaken at an ungodly hour...wide awake...so I just get up and make coffee. Its a very peaceful time of the day, can open the windows and smell the soft night air, see the moon glowing, and feel peace. Its so quiet.
In 2 days this time I will be showering for my surgery. My son is going to drop me off, and then go play 18 holes with his friends. He was willing to stay, but I think he should go have some fun...no reason to sit around for 6-8 hours while I have surgery. He was ambivelent at first, but I want him to not stress out, and since I am the only surgery he would be sitting there alone. He will then pick me up in my car (with the 2 pillows, thanks Real Selfers!!) and take me home. We collect older Mercedes Benz cars, have 7 pre 1984s and 3 new ones, and only ONE would be comfortable enough to go home in! I realized the "car dilemma" a couple of days ago. The oldsters are all sedans, kinda low to get into. Two of the new ones are super low sports cars (and SLS AMG roadster named Oscar (MINE!) and my sons ,manual transmission SLK roadster). The only one of all these cars that is even reasonably good for this task is my GLK...glad I bought it. I call it The Grocery Cart hahah.Time to buy a damn truck again LOL.
As soon as I get home its ice, and the recliner. I am going to go thru Net Flix today and compile a list of shows. I am NOT a TV person at all, but I will need to watch something....I am a voracious reader, so I have a giant stack of books to devour. I also love arts, and the new Adult Coloring craze is right up my alley!
As far as Compression Garments, I think I am just getting a garment that wraps around my lower abs, and of course a surgical bra. Did anyone else buy Spanx? The thought of peeling that sausage casing like garment over a fresh surgical site leaves something to be desired....
I cannot believe I am doing this.,,
Well, here are the lovely "pre" pics. As you can plainly see, my skin was destroyed.
Jack is waiting for me!
2 May 2016
Day of treatment
My dear sweet 4 legged soulmate Jack is sitting in my rental chair waiting for me to get home from my surgery. He even loves swimming in the pool with me
I'm here, getting a little scared
2 May 2016
Day of treatment
My son waited as long as he could...I'm here alone. It's kinda scary. I feel so lonely, wish someone was here with me.
Flat (and painful) side
2 May 2016
Day of treatment
Made it, 7.5hours. Worst part is the damn corset, feel like I cannot breathe!!! I have a "snot snake" hanging down my trachea, can't get a deep enough breath to dislodge it !!! Waaaahhhh!!!
My blood pressure tanked and my heart rate was in the 130s. My normal hR is in the low 60s. Apparently I am now anemia. The "compression Garments are like a size 6. I CANNOT BREATHE. There is a large lack of concern going on for me. Every time I go to stand up the room whirls and I feel nausea. This is 2000x worse than I ever thought it was going to be I had surgery Mon (7 1/2 hours) and here it is Thursday and I still feel in able to walk much due to the dizziness.
My hemoglobin was at7.4. I went into this at 14.5. For the first time in my life I had to get a transfusion. I'm now in the mid nines. Wow this has been hard.
Couple of pics
Will detail later, bad internet connection
I am unbelievable bruised. Looks like I did a round with Manny Paquio!
Thanks to everyone, sorry I was MIA
Its Tuesday, and my surgery was 8 days ago. I tried to post a couple of pics, but between bad internet and almost dying, I was a bit busy. I due to see my surgeon today at 10. I am NOT a happy camper, to put it mildly. I paid $33,000 for this surgery and I am sure another jarring bill will be forthcoming from the 5 days in the hospital...my bet is a minimum $5000 (thanks so much Obamacare...) My self pay insurance BCBS is $850 a month and had sky high deductibles.
1) Why, when I paid well over twice what I have seen anyone else pay, have I not been offered lymphatic draiage/ultrasound/hyperbarics?
2) Why was I sent home without a nurse to make sure I was stable when I LOUDLY voiced I "could not breathe"?
3) Why did the MD not show up in the ER the night I was admitted? Ive worked a lot of ER and every time we had a plastics patient "go bad" the Dr was at bedside "protecting" his patient.
4) Why was I allowed to remain with a hemoglobin of 7.2 for TWO DAYS???
5) Why didnt he listen to me when I frantically begged to have the compression garment removed from my chest, as it was waaaaayyyyy too small and did not allow any diaphragmatic excursion and my SPO2 was at 91-91%, PROVING what i said? I am a life time nonsmoker! If it had stayed on much longer i would have had the mother of all pnuemonias. Remember, I am 6 ft tall, 175 pounds, and this compression garment they crammed me into measured roughly a size 6....and was made for a normal sized female, think 5'5-5'6, so the bottom of the garment was crammed around my ribs, not under the ribcage where it should have been. It was like a giant tourniqet around my body. The arm holes cut so deeply into my underarms there are still dark red lines, my bruising is horrendous. I ended up just taking the thing off myself, and the first few breaths hurt so bad I almost passed out, I could hear crackling in my chest as the alveolar beds reopened. I ASSUMED that the people who 'dressed me' post op (I was uncounsious) would have selected an appropriate size, or ordered one in, as I am NOT a normal sized female.
I feel angry, hurt and confused. I thought I had the perfect Dr, but at this point, I am not so sure. I will bring all these items up today, and I am hoping for some honest answers. I am going to end up spending over $40,000 when this is all said and done, and, as of today, I would say it is definately NOT worth what I have gone thru. This opinion may change, pending my appointment with my Dr. I am just being 100% honest here.
Here are some photos from 5/9/16
As promised, an update. I was really woozy when I got there, (I did not drive) and Dr Repta was very kind. He seems to think I had a "Vaso vagyl" episode post op. I can see that...but the transfusion still concerns me. He put a nice soft foam board between the compression garment and my poor sore tummy. There is some redness, but nothing crazy. He seemed honestly very concerned about my wellbeing. My drain will remain until Friday. I talked to him about my difficulty pooping, and apparently it's fairly common. I'm a vegan, so I figured I would not have so much trouble with constipation..oh well...guess I was wrong on that one!
Coffee NEVER tasted so good....
Its been since a week ago Sunday that I was able to have a cup of my coffee. I swear it is orgasmic. My cat Jack was thrilled that he got to have a drop of cream too. Im up, sitting in the recliner, sipping coffee. Amazing.
Slept pretty well. I plan to go out to my garages and say hello to all eleven cars and my motorcycles . They are all climate controlled....if anyone is interested i will post a pic of the herd of cars.
Some of the cars
My son and I are lovers of all things Mercedes Benz. We find them and restore them. The one I show (didn't need resto) is Oscar the SLS AMG roadster. 563BHP naturally aspirated, forged internals.
This past October I took BEST IN SHOW, which is one hell of a victory given the Lambos, Mercs, Ferraris and other exotics there
I popped in to see Dr Repta, my drain started acting up in the middle of the night. Turns out I must have yanked on it while I slept. He had to replace the drain, which he did carefully. Almost no pain. Oh well, maybe next Wednesday
My surgical site is healing pretty well, all things considered. I took some yummy scab pics, the very center is a bit compromised, but I am a good healer.
The drain from HELL
My original surgical drain was bothersome, but not painful. Apparently 10 days post op I must have yanked on it in my sleep or something and it needed to be replaced. The Dr could not use the original hip insertion point, and had to make a tiny hole in the semi healed incision. No pain.....but at the very end of the procedure I felt a horrid sharp pain at the far end, not the insertion point.....I went home and suffered thru the weekend, and Monday....today is Tuesday and I am not due to see him until tommorow. Im not sure I can make it that long. It feels like a hard straw is ramming around in my left lower quadrant, and it is not only painful but making me INSANE. Its positional, and depends on how I move, and them WHAMMO it triggers horrid muscle spasms and agonizing pain. Why have I not called my Dr you ask? I do not want to land in the hospital AGAIN. So please send me some calming thoughts so I can gett thru until tommorow and the damn thing comes OUT.
The drain is history, and I can sleep on my side again
The drain got pulled and I dont think I have ever been so happy. I got a new, tighter binder, and was instructed to wear it 48 hours and NOT remove it. OK, I can do that. Im so happy to have that drain gone!!!
I should have mentioned this......Ehler Danlos Syndrome....
I realized this morning I neglected to mention I have a serious genetic disease called Ehler Danlos Syndrome. I did not figure this out until I was 48 and had a ($15,000) blood test. there is only one lab in the US to send blood to for genetic testing. I am missing a gene that helps the body to make connective tissue, and the problems with that are rampant. I always knew there was "something wrong with me"....ALL the symptoms were there bit no doctor could ever put the pieces together. I had 21 degrees of lumbar sacral scoliosis that went untreated, horrible eyesight (20/800) gastroparesis, a right atrial septal anyrysm, RIDICULOUS hypermobility (at 52 can still wrap my feet around the back of my head), constantly dislocating bones, weird low blood pressure, no visable veins ANYWHERE, CPK (blood test for systemic inflammation) norm 5-15, mine never lower than 67, ALL the signs were there, and yet nobody connected the dots. Do you want to know what Dr actually asked about getting me tested?? A PODIATRIST. Yep. She looked at my bizaare thin feet with long thin toes, able to pick a dime up off a wood floor kind of toes...and asked for me to get tested. My insurance refused to pay for the test (shocking, I know) and my son and I both got tested. We both have Ehler Danlos syndrome, Classical type. To FINALLY know what the hell was wrong with me, after all those years, I broke down and cried like a baby. I cried for all the pin I had suffered, all the nasty looks from Drs thinking I was a hypochondriac, I cried for the fact my beautiful son had the damn syndrome too, for the fact any grandchild I might have would have a 50/50 chance of it as well. After I cried, I got MAD, When I get mad, things happen. I wrote a ling letter, with the test copy attached to all the damn Drs who treated me badly. I let them know that perhaps they need to really LISTEN to a patient, The biggest problem with Ehlers is that we look so healthy! In fact most of us look very young for our age. If you know a young person who shows any of the signs of what I described, please talk to their Dr about it. I know the genetic test can be only $100 if you fall below a certain income bracket. I try to spread the word about this horrible syndrome that has a 1 in 4 suicide rate due to the agonizing pain we live in every day. If I could save ONE young person....
My Dr did know about the Syndrome, and so far, so good. My healing is going along fairly well. Should I have gotten a major, invasive surgery knowing I had this syndrome? Probably not, but I was so desperate to lose the horrid stretch marks and hanging skin (another sign of Ehlers, paperlike skin...surgeons say it is like sewing butter) that I would do anything.
Rant over =0)
Itchy scabs and other things
I went out golfing Saturday with my son. I just drove the car and walked a little of the green, no serious stuff. It was a delightful warm and super windy day, spirits were high and we have a great time. I even got a little bit of sun. Im of the school of thought that a bit of sun every day is good for you. In fact, I have given my scabs 10 minutes of sun, and a lot of the redness is now gone. Sunbathing nude is normal to me, never have been bothered by it. I was amazed when I was in Italy, 85 year old ladies topless and just enjoying life. I did not see the body shaming over there like it is here, in fact, men seem to prefer females with CURVES. As I age Im starting to notice a lot of what is perceived as "sexual" is just confidence in ones body habitus. I also noticed one more weird inexplicable thing since my surgery......Im "softer"....more feminine, just nicer. I guess I wore a mantle of hardness when I felt so ugly. WEIRD. I didnt even notice it, it was that insidious. I now feel more like I did pre child, sweeter and kinder and more flirtacious. My son and I got teamed up golfing wiht a couple of men around my age, and they both were flirting outrageously with me, and I returned the favor. It was so FUN. I forgot what it feels like to feel confident...even though I obviously was not going home with either of them, I knew that IF I WANTED to, I would feel good about how i looked naked (of course right now the scar and flaky skin would be an issue LOL). To be perfectly frank, I have not been with anyone since my divorce in 2008 (not even a DATE) and before that the last time I was with someone besides my (abusive jackass) husband was 1985. Yep. You read it right. 31 YEARS since I have actually had fun and romped about with someone beside the King Jerk (who was really bad in the sack). Soooooooooo I am ready to heal up and start a search for a guy who wants to enjoy like. I dont need his money, will NEVER remarry, and just was a great friend with benefits!
The thrill of aspiration.
Well, today did not go as planned. I went to see my Dr and I evidently had a good bit of fluid trapped in my lower abdomen. He had to needle aspirate it. NOT fun. I have been over doing it, and he put the fear of God in me by saying if I had still more fluid this coming Friday I get a drain out back in. Since I would rather roll in broken glass, salt, razor blades and leeches than get another drain, I am staying in bed, knees bent and compression garment on TIGHT. He made a mark on the belt where he wants it and I'm keeping it on as rights a sausage casing. I get up to pee, otherwise no standing. He drew off quite a bit of fluid, four of those large (50cc?) syringes full of dark red fluid. My RS friends, please send me healing and no drain thoughts! Also, take your own healing super seriously don't push it.
Singing along with Steely Dan and getting reopened....
This past Friday Dr Repta said I needed to be reopened a bit to evacuate a probable seroma from my lower abdomen and to remove a bit of slough tissue from my incision. We needed to do it the same day. I asked if we could use Local instead of general......I promosed him I would be a model patient. He looked at me for a bit and agreed. I went back a couple of hours later, and brought my tiny Ipod....He and I went over what was going to happen and I told him I would only pipe up if I felt pain. We got started and I was listening to Steely Dan....I couldnt help myself, I started quietly singing along. Dr R and I chatted a bit, I felt no pain, only some pushing about of things, and then the suction canister started sucking and MAN there was a lot of fluid in there! He mentioned it was starting to thicken up and that removing it would greatly reduce my recovery time. I then switched to Frank Sinatra and started signing along again... "Nothing But The Best Is Good Enough Foe Me' hahahah...It was a breeze, sat right up off the table and fely fine. Son drove me home and I have been a bedbound creature....only slinking to the toliet, otherwise feet up to take tension off the sutires. I saw post op how flat I am/will be. My thougt is that my hospital admission right after surgery was catostrophic to my healing. Nobody "helped me up" nobody ensured my legs were bent and I think all that ( SIX LITERS) of fluid found a happy home in my lower abdomen. I see Dr R Wednesday, will keep you guys posted.
I could not have gotten thru this without my 4 legged soulmate Jack. For 23 days he has only left my side to relieve himself and to eat. Otherwise he is right next to me.
The joy continues
Well, after removing the dressing from my adventure Friday, it appears I may be developing Fat Necrosis. The skin is PINK and it looks very inflamed. I will be doing dressing changes BID and am to see the dr Friday. Also we changed up the antibiotic. I'm feeling very discouraged and sad. It seems I can't win for losing. There is one soul who hasn't given up on me, my cat Jack. He "holds" my hand.
It's one month and one day since my surgery. My tummy wound continues to be problematic. I saw Dr Repta today and we agreed to leave the drain in (sigh) and to continue to let the wound granulate in. It's a slow process. I'm a very clean and fastidious person, I sure wish I knew why I have had so many problems. It's hard not to get down and depressed. I hope I don't end up with an ugly nasty scar. Here's a pic of the wound this morning.
No improvement. Not happy.
I go see my doctor in the morning. I need some answers as to why my wound will not heal. I'm on my third round of antibiotics, have been reopened once, have done exactly what I've been instructed to do and my wound is not getting any better. I even (gag) am eating turkey for the protein, and drinking high protein shakes. There is nothing more I, as a patient, can do.
Looking even WORSE
I go see my Dr in 4 hours and 16 minutes.....been up since 2am crying my eyes out. I need some answers! For a healthy, clean person to have something like this happen is really odd. I'm not leaving his office today without a PLAN to cure this mess up. I'm 5 and a half weeks post op, still have a (non producing) drain and a roughly 6 inch nasty seeping wound. This is NOT acceptable! I am putting a pic from this morning, it's getting worse...fast.
Drain *FINALLY* gone, wound is s l o w l y improving
I spoke to a dear friend of mine who has been a CCU RN since 1980. She advocated the use of sterile saline as a cleansing agent. I found some in an aerosol form, you can slowly trickle it or BLAST it from the container. My TID dressing changes I used this marvel and it blasted loose a lot of the yellow crud and then I let the saline dry and covered the wound with sterile dressings. The wound continued to leak claerish/pink fluid and I just kept blasting it with saline. I went to the Dr yesterday and it is well on its way to healing...best thing the %$%^&*&%$#^&* drain was removed. That was SIX WEEKS with a drain. So now I just have to affect complete healing and then he and I will discuss what can be done to remove as much of the scarring as possible. On the happy side, my boobs look like they did when I was 16. I keep looking in the mirror and smiling at them. They are perky, yet full and the nipple area (which he reduced by half) 'sticks out' a little even when the nip is soft, and I like that. I will get some pics up soon. I use my IPhone for pics, and its linked to our home server, and I dont want my naked pics showing up when my son is showing one of the car pics off the server to someone....!
Here's a pic of me before and at the 3 week mark.
On the mend
I've finally got this damn wound under control. Sterile saline spray helped it a lot. It's still pretty gross, but much improved
Lovely scab and my nice looking boobs.
This morning I was thrilled to find a nice Amber coloured scab on my wound. No more yellow opaque gooey mess, but a semi crisp scab!!
I'm so happy with my breasts. Dr Repta did a very good job on the lift. It's "all me" and I like that.
Almost completely healed
I am thrilled to state that my messy incision that has plagued me is now almost completely healed, small hard dark scabs, no longer seeping. I'm so damn happy !!
Every day now I notice changes in my body that I love. I do have some swell hell but it's not terrible.
A little over 2 months since my surgery
14 Jul 2016
2 months post
It's been pretty uneventful since I was reopened and the Seroma was drained. My belly has healed up nicely and I'm in my second set of Embrace. I still wear my CG pretty much all the time. Sometimes I loosen it in the middle of the night. I'm happy with my results.
So, its been since 5/2 that I had my surgery, 5/20 since I had to be "reopened" due to a good sized seroma....and Im healing very well now. Ive been cleared for the gym, its been so nice to see the muscles start popping out again. I also have been wearing "wife beater" Tshirts every day pretty much (its been over 100 degrees for a couple of months). I would not have been caught dead in one of these tops pre surgery. m stunned by the amount of Man Stares I am now getting. Talk about confidence building! I always smile back. Day by day my self confidence is slowly returning. I went to our Country Club yesterday and after a massage walked thru the ladies area totally nude. No towel over my bod, no head down scuttle of shame to my locker. I walked proudly, head up, shoulders back and dammit it felt GOOD