I've been approved for a fleur de lis...
I've been approved for a fleur de lis abdominoplasty on the NHS on the 30th June.
After huge babies (middle one was 10 lbs and transverse), 3 caesareans and a 5 1/2 stone weight loss my stomach is completely 'detached' from the rest of my torso. My muscle separation is enormous and I get significant back pain and internal aches and pains due to the lack of support. I can't run or the skin can catch and tear. It seems to be getting worse rather than better, probably because of the weight of it vs gravity!
My wonderful GP put me forward to a cosmetic surgery board after I was in for antibiotics after running and tearing again. My previous GP put me forward twice and was rejected twice, so I didn't have any hope to be honest. I was shocked when she called me back and said I had been accepted!
I had a consultation with my surgeon who was so encouraging in January. He wanted to go ahead by mid-March, but due to unfortunate theatre booking procedures, it was postponed until the 30th June. I really hope it goes ahead this time!
I went in for pre-op last week and got blood taken, HR and BP etc. All fine, so should be good to go! Also turns out my scales were weighing me half a stone heavier than I am, so that was a nice bonus.
My husband has booked 2 weeks off work, and my mum will help out if I need her after that.
I'm mainly keeping this log because when I was looking for an experience like mine I couldn't find one! It seems everyone who goes private gets liposculpture as well, and most NHS patients have a panniculectomy only. I'm having a full fleur-de-lis, but with no liposuction. The surgeon has warned me that the scar will be huge. I don't care at all.
9 days post op
So I had surgery on the 30/6 (hottest day of the decade!) and it's now the 8/7. Still sore and puffy but on barely any pain relief now. Drains came out on day 4. I had 6.5lbs of skin removed and am weighing 7lbs less than I did on surgery day. My appetite has been reduced significantly because my abdomen feels so tight.
Went for a dressing change 2 days ago, another one in 4 days. My surgeon seems pleased with progress. He has said if there are ridges or lumps he will perform liposuction to remove them, but wanted to see if it was necessary first. It goes up and down so much at the moment I don't have a clue whether I'll need it or not.
Before I took these pics I cleaned my room up and did some laundry. I am definitely swollen, but here we are so far...
10 days PO
So now I'm 10 days PO. Today I tried on lots of clothes and had a big clear out. I didn't manage everything before I was too tired to continue but really encouraged so far.
Wearing Spanx now in the day time and nothing at night. It's so hot and I can't sleep in them. I am swollen in the mornings but I would prefer that to tossing and turning all night. Sleeping on my side a little bit, but not all night. Down to just 2 pillows under my head. My wonderful neighbour made us a casserole to give husband a break from cooking - it was amazing!
I'm using a camping chair padded out with sofa cushions to rest on because the Angle is just right and because it's sort of hammocky it's giving my butt a rest from being sat on all day, lol!!
I'm taking liver capsules to build me up because I feel like my iron might be low.
Haven't needed any pain relief today for the first time. Still sore but not bad at all. There is a light at the end of the tunnel!!
2 weeks post op
2 Weeks out today. In quite a lot of discomfort today. I think I've had my binder too tight. I took it off and got awful stitch like cramps as the circulation returned. But it's such a relief on the join of the muscle repair to wear it tight. I feel a bit sorry for myself today. I'm bored, but when I try to do more I get really stiff and swollen by the evening. I feel like I've had a bit of a regression. Perhaps I did too much over the weekend :-(
I'm feelImg a lot better. New binder hasn't arrived yet but will today. I took off the majority of my tape this morning before a shower. It was just so itchy and the dried blood was forming sharp little bits of grit against my skin - yuk! Showered with a thieves blend antibacterial soap and feel so much better. Going to get my hair done this morning. I booked it last week to give myself something low effort to look forward to! When the binder comes I'll try it and let you know if it's an improvement. I'm not going to wear one to the hairdresser because sitting upright in the one I have digs in so badly.
Ive left a small piece of tape intact where my two incisions join (the T junction!) because I know that's the weakest spot. It's quite clear that my drains scars (at either end of my horizontal incision) are 5 days younger than the rest. They are pinker and more sensitive. I've stuck a plaster over the right one because it didn't feel right leaving it exposed to the seam of my pants. Might update later today after the binder comes
I'm still swelling above both incisions by late afternoon. Spending good long periods each day lying down combats it significantly. A couple of times I've pushed through I really felt like the vertical scar might split! It was stinging at the top end and I was worried. I literally lay down pinching it together for about 20 minutes. Overall I'm very mobile now and can manage a walk to town. Sitting upright and still appears to be worse than walking slowly around.
The scar is neat, although I ended up removing a stitch below my belly button that was poking through. It wouldn't come out when I tugged it but didn't hurt, so after consulting Dr Google I snipped the knot and hooked it out. It was pretty big, but that part of the incision was completely closed within 12 hours. Here's latest pictures.
I realised I never followed up on the new support garment - it arrived and it is great for preventing a waist band rubbing on my skin, but honestly I haven't worn a binder at all apart from to stop my jeans poking my scar since day 15. My recovery has been significantly easier without it. I have been less active without it, because I feel less 'secure' in the muscle repair, but the improved circulation has definitely outweighed that inconvenience.
If I walk a long way (over half a mile) i will swell later that day. A hard, swollen area just below my bra is the most uncomfortable and the incision there stings when this happens, but apart from that I just swell at 5pm every day. Regardless of what else I have or haven't done. Mystery. I've found some relief by coconut oiling the incision and then using Young Living's Panaway oil in a carrier of apricot oil. All the muscle stiffness dissolves within about 30-45 seconds and the pain relief lasts for a couple of hours. With that, I haven't needed any other pain relief at all since about day 14, and not regularly since day 9 or so. Astonishing given how I felt the first week!!