47 Years and Discovering the New Me - Waterloo, ON

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Having spent most of my life as an obese...

Having spent most of my life as an obese individual, when I lost 75 lbs, following 10mths of hard work in the gym and totally changing my eating, I decided I wanted to care for the hanging skin on my tummy and arms as a reward for my hard work. On a psychological level, fears of pain, recovery and worry over what people would think of me doing this to my body were real issues I needed to work through. I talked it through with my trainer--who was incredibly supportive--and some family members, I booked my surgery. Going into the surgery I was quite nervous. "Am I really paying someone to do this to me?" The staff were unbelievable! Compassionate, professional, respectful and very comforting. They worked together harmoniously like a well-formed team. They met my needs before, during and after surgery and Dr. Shenker called me at home that night to make sure all was well.

Catching up on my first week

A week ago today was surgery day. I slept remarkably well the night before and headed to the clinic 45 minutes away from my home. Within two hours Dr. Shenker had finished doodling on me for my tummy tuck and arm lift and the surgical team began their work.

My trip home afterwards went well in spite of the distance. Although I was moving slowly I felt great. Whatever drugs they gave me I should have gotten an order for the road! The biggest challenge was learning how to deal with the two drains while going to the washroom!

Day 1--Well, actually the first three days I did a lot of sleeping. I had been warned to stay on top of the pain pills which I gladly did. Didn’t really relish the idea of discovering what it would be like with no pills. The lower body garment brought tears when trying to unhook and rehook each time to use the washroom.

Day 2--Shower day! Finally! Following Dr. Shenker's advice I used a shower chair and was so glad I did! Removing all the bandages and gauze was frightening as I saw the extent of the surgery. Oh my. By the end of my 5 minute shower I was extremely light headed and the room was swimming. I somehow was able to slow my breathing enough to relax until the lightheadedness passed. I strongly recommend shower chairs to those heading into a tt.

Day 4--I was back to the clinic today for a check on progress and hoped the drains would be removed. After peeling out of my garments Julie, the nurse, rewarded me with a huge smile. She said the incisions looked great. That was encouraging. Unfortunately I went home with the drains still in. Hopefully later this week they'll be removed. I also had my first bm which was such a relief (I know, gross to read about but reality). ;)

Day 6 -- Yesterday I waddled to the drug store for some gauze. Who knew such a trip could knock the stuffing out of someone. Oh my, stars! I took a shower in the afternoon--much improved scenario over my first shower. I washed and dried my garments and squeezed my sore parts into the garments (upper arms and lower body). I was THRILLED to be able to get in them on my own. That was a big concern for me. By nighttime I was feeling very (very) sore, swollen and discouraged.

I don't have pics of my tt to post yet but will try to get some in the next few days to post.

Eating WAY off

In my review I mentioned that I've lost 75 lbs over the past 10 mths. I increased activity and significantly changed my eating. I now track everything I eat including all the Macronutrients (carbs, fats, proteins). Everything has gone well. Then...surgery! Trying to figure out how to eat while feeling like the bottom of a shoe has been a challenge. I don't want to return to old habits but being in a weakened state from surgery that is where my body feels most comfortable. I've been eating 'clean' but the caloric value has been way to low to sustain a good recovery. I texted my trainer last night who offered some helpful solutions--eat foods that pack the biggest punch in small doses. He's been such an encouragement through all this. I'm hoping to be able to turn things around. So, here goes! Would be interested to hear how other post-tt people do with this area.

Arm lift pics

Here are pics of my arms following arm lift surgery 6 days post op. I'll get tt pics as soon as possible.

Said, "Goodbye to 'the twins'" today!

Today I was thrilled to say goodbye to my two drains. This is the Friday of a long weekend and I was disappointed to discover that the nurse who was caring for my case is off until next Wednesday. She had told me earlier in the week that when the drains were removing less than 25cc of fluid each in a 24 hour period to contact her. Today was the day that happened. I was willing to keep the drains (wasn't looking forward to the thought of them being removed) until next week. However, the administrator at the doctor's office contacted the nurse and she made arrangements to come in to take the drains out. THAT is commitment! So tonight I won't have to be afraid of yanking on the drain tubes getting in and out of bed.

I felt probably the best today that I have since before surgery. Felt like a new woman. The nurse answered quite a few of my questions and spoke with experience having had the same surgery two years ago. She said her scar looked the same as mine does now when she was one week post op. She asked if I'd like to see her scar. It was SO encouraging to see her scar. It was very light and fine. Hopefully my results will be similar.

I've been instructed to lightly wipe the incisions during my next shower in order to remove the dried glue and blood. Just the thought of that task makes me shiver. Yikes. However, if that is what they want...I'll do it.

Eating has been better today. I had hit a wall on Wednesday/Thursday not sure what to eat and feeling weaker and weaker. Thankfully some good advice has helped me bump up my calories making me feel less 'wonky'. Hopefully I can get back to my regular eating routine. I'm nervous about losing much muscle mass.

Finally some pics!

It's taken time for me to gain enough courage to TAKE pics let alone upload them. I got my drains out today and, therefore don't have any pics with "my twins" (what I called my drains). I still look so ROUND. I realize there is swelling but hope that I will eventually see some flatness. Some of you ladies out there who are post tt have some pretty flat tummies. Hope as time passes I can count myself among you.

On another note, speaking of you ladies, I want to thank you for the encouragement I've received this far. You have been so uplifting and a couple of you have really spoken into my life related to some areas where I've struggled in wrapping my mind around all the changes I've experienced this past year. Just want to thank you all.

Pressing on

Well, cross another day off the recovery calendar. I felt weary today so took it easy for the most part. Went to the grocery store with my sister to pick up a few things. Oh, my stars! Ended up holding my tummy throughout the store feeling like a wrung out dishrag by the end. Oh well. Didn't see anyone I knew so I don't care =) It felt great getting out among the living.

The swelling has been HORRIBLE today. The pain from the surgery is less than the pain caused by the pressure in my abdomen. I've never been pregnant but 'get' what it must feel like!

I also had my first, second and third sneeze today. Ouch, ouch and OUCH! Would sure hate to get a cold right after a tt. Something to be thankful for.

Question for you tt ladies: have any of you dealt with teary moments (emotional lows)? I have felt at times like I've been on an emotional roller coaster. If I hadn't had my period a week ago I'd think that is what I'm dealing with. Has anyone else dealt with this, and do you have hints to pull yourself from those times?

My 19 year old niece spent a day and a bit helping me out. Such a blessing. I told her about my surgery and she was brave enough to look at my incisions. She said to me, "When everything is done (swelling is gone) we'll have to go panty shopping." Never in my life did I EVER think I'd be be in a position to lose my cotton granny panties LET ALONE that I'd be going shopping in one of those lingerie stores for myself. This will definitely be a first for me!

One of my fears is that I'll start gaining weight back that I've worked so hard to lose. I've been told by my PS that I can't do any cardio or weight training for 6 weeks. I've read other posts from some tters that said they had to restrict there activity in the gym after their return (although my PS said that after 6 weeks there are no restrictions with him). I'm so afraid of falling back into the old lifestyle I left a little under a year ago. Believe me--From past experience I can do a lot of damage in a short period of time. It is a real concern for me. I'd love to know how others have handled this.

The other thing I'm battling is how fat I feel. As I said, I've worked hard to slim down. Looking at me now all bloated and swollen, however, I feel bigger than I did presurgery (although the scale is the same). Perhaps I'm just paranoid.

Anyway, that is how I'm feeling today. Trust you ladies have a good evening!

Small steps forward

Today was a good day for which I am thankful. I took a shower--which was amazing...first time since having my drains removed. Glorious! I also did two loads of laundry, walked a block and back to pick up the mail, and returned to my responsibility of being the main caregiver for my mom (she is 72 and we share a home together. Over the past 14 years she has battled cancer and for the past 8 years has been suffering with some type of undiagnosed neurological disorder).

It was a good day all in all but the one thing I seem to be battling is not being able to sleep. The first couple days were wonderful as I could crawl into bed and just flake out. Now...not so much. I think it is the lack of activity that is the issue. I took two Gravol last night in the hopes it would help but it took a couple hours to fall asleep (and then I was up three times before morning). I’m also struggling with jumpy legs...reminds me of restless legs. Tonight seems to be the same. Joy! I took a muscle relaxant in the hopes that this would help. So far...no change.

My arms (from my arm lift) have been sore tonight. The bruising is down considerably since my original pics four days ago. The scars look good. Hopefully the pain is just my body healing the incisions.

Today I followed nurse's instructions and began picking away the glue/dried blood left over from surgery (the dark stuff along the incisions). When she told me that this needed to be done I felt a bit squeamish. "You do realize that my scars are only a week old and I'm still in pain, don't you?!" So, being the dutiful patient that I am, while in the shower I soaped up and using a face cloth, as per her instructions, began "scrubbing" (gently) along the incisions. Oh, my stars. Perhaps that is why my arms are aching sore tonight. I got a tiny bit off but had to stop as I was beginning to feel a bit lightheaded. I'll give it another try on Tuesday. If anyone else has been through this I'd love to hear if you have any suggestions to make this a bit 'easier'.

I have another week until I return to work. I'm going to try going in tomorrow for a couple hours when no one is there (its a holiday) to do a few things and see how well I fair. Time will tell.

Trial Run for a Return to Work

Today I returned to work to do a few odd jobs and see how I fair going back next week. Because it is a holiday I didn't have to worry about being overrun with requests. I made it through the day but don't feel overly tired. There was method in my madness...I'm hoping I'll be zonked come bed time so I'll actually sleep. Last night I had restless legs again and the 2 gravol didn't work their magic. After two hours of tossing and turning I was fit to be tied. Tonight I will also take a muscle relaxant. So...Here's hoping =)

I took my compression sleeves (for my arm lift) off this evening to get a break. They are incredibly itchy and in certain places there's pockets of swelling. Quite interesting. The bruising is down considerably. I'll post pics in the next day or two. My tt incisions are looking good. The swelling actually feels like PMS bloating.

Tomorrow is another day. Small steps forward. B=)

Confiding in a Friend

The day before my surgery I mentioned to a friend at work that I was having surgery. I mentioned it merely so that she knew why I would not be at work. I told her that I preferred to not tell her any details and hoped she'd not push for answers. She honored my wishes.

Throughout my recovery she has texted me several times to check in and to see how I was doing. Today I went to work for a couple hours and had a chance to talk with her. Since my surgery I have had a chance to think through whether I should be sharing my news (about tt and arm surgery) with anyone and, in particular, with her. A couple RealSelf bloggers (Sexy4life and Yogagirl) have been a help as I worked through this process.

For me, the decision to have surgery was difficult. Although I knew this was something I desperately wanted for ME, as a 'people-pleaser, I was concerned with what people would think. People form opinions and judge so quickly without having all the information and I didn't want to set myself up for that. However, my new RealSelf friends helped me to see two particular realities that really hit home. First, people are going to judge and make uninformed comments about anything and everything...you can't control that. Second, the thing I CAN control is who I tell and the information that I share.

As I sat with my coworker this morning and she asked how I was doing, I decided to tell her about the surgery. To my surprise she had already figured it out. I was so thrilled by her support. She said she was proud of me and wished me well. (She also said I looked tired and pale; oh well--if you can't trust a friend to be honest to your face who can you trust) =) I'm just glad I had a chance to download on someone I trust. I doubt if I would readily be transparent with my other coworkers (although I have a good working relationship with them all). I'm glad that I had the courage to trust at least one friend. Just a little something else I've gained as a result of my surgery and the encouraging friends on this Site.

More arm pics

I took some more pics tonight following arm surgery. I'll hope to upload tt pics later this week.

Two Weeks Post Op Appointment

Today was my two week check with the PS. He seemed very happy with the results so far. I've been cleared to begin scar cream and massaging the incisions. My arms (from the arm lift) are still swollen and bruised with a few hard lumps. Apparently the more you massage these areas the looser things will get and the incisions and skin will spread out and heal. I can't say I really relish the idea of rubbing areas that I've protected and babied over the past two weeks but...doctor knows best!

I was a bit discouraged when I asked the nurse and then the doctor about my mid-drift area. I still have a pouch of skin that I was under the impression would be removed during the full tt. The nurse indicated it may not flatten but I need to wait until the 3 mth visit to see how things are going. The doctor came in after the nurse left to check on my progress and when I asked him about the pouch he said it may flatten but, if not, that I may need a second surgery in a year to remove the little bit of excess skin--something he indicated happens sometimes with people who have lost a lot of weight. I'm discouraged by this possible development and praying that the pouch disappears soon. I realize it has only been 2 weeks since surgery. Has anyone else experienced this? Am I worrying too early? I've posted some pics to show the "pouch".

Having said this, I still believe my PS is quality and has my best interests at heart.

Introducing walking into my day

Yesterday at my post op appointment I was cleared to do some "walking". When I asked what they meant by "walking" it was made clear to me that "walking" means a leisurely walk around the block...nothing strenuous. My normal routine is to do a 5 km walk/run most nights so not being able to get out because of surgery has left me climbing the walls. So tonight, with great joy, I threw my headset on, opened the door, waddled carefully to the end of my driveway and was off for a wonderful 15 minute walk...much shorter and slower but it felt wonderful nonetheless!

Earlier today I drove an hour to visit my two nieces and treat them to lunch out. Another opportunity to see some"normal" creep back into my life. Wonderful!

Question for tt recoverers

Just a quick question for those of you have had tt and gone before me. I have been having a feeling like dozens of pins and needles in my swollen abdomen. It can get quite painful. Has anyone else had this? Any idea how to handle this (or should I just 'suck it up'?). Thanks.

Plugging along

Today was a fairly good day. I went for two walks each about 1km. I took my time and found I was a bit winded by the end. I walked (slowly) around the mall today for a bit too. Tried on some clothes--and bought a size SMALL top at a regular women's clothing store (a year ago I was still shopping in 'big girl's stores--oh what a feeling!). My arms (following arm lift surgery) were extremely sore pulling clothes over my head.

I've been having the feeling of pins and needles jamming in my swollen/numb abdomen for the last couple days. Not sure if this is normal. Hope so.

Perhaps about a bit too soon

Today I needed to take my mom out. Normally...not a problem. However, she uses a wheelchair. Seeing as how she had been cooped up since my surgery (July 24) I wanted to give her an opportunity to get out of the house. Well, getting the wheelchair out of the trunk of the car was not too much trouble (thanks to gravity!). Getting it INTO the trunk afterwards...not so easy. I took my time and moved carefully and slowly and DID get the wheelchair in but I think I'll give it another week before I try it again.

Today I went for three glorious 1 km walks! It's pretty slow going but feels good none the less. By the end of this week I hope to bump up the distance by 0.5-1 km. We'll see how that goes.

My incisions are looking fairly good. I am getting used to being able to see my BB. Pre-surgery it sat so low that I couldn't see it unless I pushed my stomach in and moved my rolls of skin out of the way. Now, I just look down and, "Hello!" 'dar she blows...quite cool. My arm incisions (from the arm lift) are looking really good (if I do say so myself).

Tomorrow I head back to work following two weeks of 'vacation'. I've only shared the news of my surgery with a good friend at work so the challenge will be to keep news of it under wraps. Some of my coworkers might understand but I don't have the time to clearly articulate my reasoning and, frankly, I shouldn't have to explain. So...I choose not to share the news.

Today I took my measurements just out of curiosity. To my surprise, my hips and bust are the same size. I THINK that means my measurements are what I’ve heard referred to as an hourglass. You could have blown me over with a feather when I realized that. I could get used to this ;-) Pre-surgery I resembled more of a stopwatch...round!

Hope you ladies all have a good night. Thanks for your support.

Back to Work Success

Hello ladies, today was my first day back to work following my two week "vacation" (translation: surgery recovery). All in all a good day. I was able to work quietly at my desk with basically no interruptions. Sheer heaven. Having my surgery in the summer was part of the madness in my method as many in our office are away on vacation so it is less busy. Tomorrow is another day ;-)

After work I took a walk and then after supper another walk. I've found that the walking is helping me to sleep better at night (that and taking Benadryl). It's only 7:25 PM and I'm ready for bed! I'll try to hold off until 8:00 (oh, I lead such an exciting life!)

I took some more pics tonight as I've not posted any recently. The arm pics seem a bit scarier than I think they really are. I've been told that massaging the incisions and the bruises (and swollen welts on the back of my arms) is very important and that using the scar cream will thin out the incisions lines and cause them to lighten. This is something I need to focus on.

On my arms and tt area I've got a couple spots that are bleeding so I need to be careful with the scar cream. You can really see how swollen I am in my tt pics (with my CG on). I’m trying to be patient and give the swelling time to go down.

Ta ta for now!

Ups and Downs

Today was an up and down day, or should I say a down and up day. This morning I had a lot of pain at work and although I tried to cover it up so no one was suspicious, I discovered my one coworker (the only one I've told about my surgery and is sworn to secrecy) was keeping an eye on me. She caught my eye at one point and mouthed the words, "Sit down!" with a stern look on her face, so I sat down. What she didn’t know until I told her later was that I had had a dizzy spell coming down the back stairs in our office. Everything tilted and was floating around in my head as I descended the stairs. I kept one eye closed to lessen the dizziness and managed to get to a vacant office and "collect myself" before I ended up on the floor. I have NO IDEA what caused it (things like that don't happen to me normally) but it only lasted for a few minutes. I went back to my office and had my morning snack which seemed to help. When "little mother" (my friend at work) found out about my spell she gave me a lecture and made me promise to call her if I needed help. Tonight she texted me and said, "You looked a bit rough today...you okay". I explained that I have good days and bad days and this morning was "bad".

After lunch, however, I was doing better to the point that I was able to take a couple walks--1km before supper and 4 km after supper. I was quite surprised by the longer walk. I kept a slower pace but felt really good by the end and probably could have gone another 1km. I'm slowly getting back to my previous-surgery activity. I'm bumping up my walks (I normally do 5-8 km a night, 3 times a week/10 km each day on weekends) and am eagerly looking forward to getting back to spin class and weight training. I just hope I don't pay for all my activity tomorrow.

I'd be very interested in knowing from recovering tt ladies how you went about integrating activity back into your schedule. I know everyone is different and you have to listen to your body, but I'd like to know, especially for gym goers, how slowly did you get back to squats, Deadlifts, lunges, core workouts, etc., how far along were you in your recovery when you initiated the various movements/exercises. Please do let me know. I'd like to make a plan from now until 6 wks (when my doctor said I can return to the gym) so I don't waste time getting back at it. Thanks ladies!

One Foot in Front of the Other

This morning I was wondering how I would feel after so much walking yesterday (I did 1 km and then 4 km an hour later). I felt great! I didn't feel any more swollen than I have been without my walks. So...today my goal was to give it another go. After work I came home and took a 5 km walk then had supper and went for another 1.5 km walk. I feel like I could go further but am restraining myself. I was having some pain at work but found that once I got moving it seemed to lessen. By the time I had walked 3 km I didn’t feel any pain (or very little).

It feels amazing to get out walking...albeit a bit on the cold side. It felt like 14 degrees C (that's 57F). Good thing I bought a spring/Fall jacket last week!

Thankfully no dizzy spell today. Still not sure what that was yesterday.

Crashing Down

Oh boy...yesterday was not my best day! On a physical level I had enough pain to warrant taking a couple Tylenol X Strength. However, it was the emotional roller coaster that took its toll--and it isn't even "that time of month!". I've been battling the roller coaster off and on since surgery and have read and been told by other wonderful RS emotional-survivors that it is part and parcel of the surgery...which I appreciate knowing.

What frightened me was that I just felt like rolling over and giving up. Is it really worth all this? I'm still swollen, bruised and enduring pain and have not seen signs of "flatness"--after three weeks. I felt so emotionally discouraged (not only by the lack of improvement from my surgery but by comments that a couple well-meaning coworkers made about me being too thin). I’m hearing these comments at a time when I am swollen from my tt: what are people going to say once the swelling goes down and I’ll (hopefully) appear even thinner. For those who have seen my pic, I am not a skinny minny by ANY stretch of the imagination. I’m about 149 lbs (5’6”) and I frankly don’t know what all the alarm is about. I’ve spent the last 40 years (I’m 47) of my life as an obese (and for a time a morbidly obese) person struggling to lose weight and worrying because people were saying I was too fat. Now, I’m a whack lighter, trimmer and feeling the healthiest I have ever felt and finally proud of my accomplishments and I’m still worrying—because people are saying I’m too thin. Good grief… I can’t seem to win! :-) (Sorry…I got side tracked…)

ANYWAY…last night I ended up walking 9 km in an attempt to work off pent up emotional frustration. I spent most of it in tears as I tried to work through all of this garbage. I walked as I normally would have before surgery and remember thinking, “I don’t care if I hurt tomorrow!”

This morning I woke feeling no worse for wear. I haven’t had excessive pain as I somewhat anticipated after such a long walk and this morning, as I looked at myself in the mirror, I saw what I THINK is the beginning of some flatness. My measurement was down about a half an inch compared with what it is normally post-surgery in the morning.

All this to say, I guess, is that surgery for me has been a whole lot more than having someone cut into my body to make needed adjustments. To me it was a necessary part of my transformation. My trainer said to me about 5 months back something that really impacted me. He said, “It has been a blessing watching you come out of your cocoon and morph into a butterfly.” Now, I’ve never had a body building champion make reference to me being like a bug, but in this case I took it as a huge compliment. Has it been a smooth ride? No. And last night was another ripple in the road that will hopefully propel me forward. With chin up, eyes set upward, I’m moving forward!

"Now, That's a Bit Better!"

After a pretty rough day yesterday I had a bit better day today. I was able to talk to my one friend at work today (who knows about my surgery) and told her about the emotional roller coaster ride yesterday. She has undergone two surgeries (for health-related issues) herself and remembers well the emotional ride she was on for both. It was a help to verbally be reassured that what I'm experiencing is "normal". Machine (an awesome RS) friend, was a tremendous encouragement to me as she and I have similar stories about large weight losses and the stupid comments that onlookers make. This has certainly made me more cognizant of comments I may make (as well-meaning as I may intend them to be, people may not take them the way I meant them).

ANYWAY...today was a better day. My tt incisions are as itchy as all get out. That is a sign of things healing. I'm also incredibly itchy elsewhere from my CG. You'd think I had fleas or something! I'm going to start moisturizing my arms and tt scars in order to cut down on itching and, in the case of my arms, to lessen the pain. It's hard to describe the pain but it feels like the skin is being stretched in a not so nice way. Also, the edge of my garments sleeves cut right across the incisions in my arm pits causing incredible pain. I've tried stuffing a sock between me and the garment as a protection...no luck. I've also tried kleenex, and two different kinds of gauze. Kleenex are the cheapest and easiest although the relief is very short lived. Perhaps I should buy those fancy-dancy kleenex with the lotion built into every tissue.

Tonight I went for a 12 km walk. It was perfect walking weather--bright sunshine, cool air--so I wanted to take advantage of it. I didn’t feel worse for wear after last night's 9 km walk so...I pushed the envelope a bit. I don't believe I could do much more in a day at this point. The concern I have is that my body will grow accustomed to this and it will be less beneficial to me from a fat loss perspective. I need to return to high impact interval training but I KNOW right now I can't handle that much intensity. I'm trying to figure out when best to plan a return to the gym. Thanks again, Machine, for sharing with me how you planned your return to activity. Most helpful!

More pics

I took some pics before my shower and thought I'd share. I took one also with clothes on.

Prescription for the day: REST!

Today when I woke up I had grandiose ideas for my day. On the top of the list was to cut the lawn. Joy. I last cut the lawn right before surgery so it is starting to need a clipping. However, as my morning unfolded (and pain set in) I quickly decided against "dancing" across my front and back lawn with my push mower! And decided to take it easy. I did some shopping this morning but felt extremely tired. I figure my heavier walks this week have caught up to me. My tt incisions are a bit sore and the arms are achy. So...rest is the order for today!

During my shopping trip this morning I went into a couple clothing stores. A year ago I shopped in "big girl"-only shops. This morning I shopped in a regular store and I put on a size 5 and size 7 jacket. Normally the sleeves would have been too tight, not to mention my waist. However, it slid on as smooth as silk. A year ago I wore a size 18. WHAT a huge step towards victory.

I've had some ask about the scar gel I was given by the PS. The name is Scar Recovery Gel with centelline (2 oz.). I searched on the web and this is the address:.http://www.skinmedica.ca

Quick question for you garment-wearing women: I'm really struggling with itchiness at night. Last night was horrible. I ended up with hives under my garments and had to use cortisol cream for relief. I figure it was caused by my underwear under the garment. Has anyone else experienced this (or am I in a camp on my own ;-).?

Have a good rest of your day!

Going Garment-less

Last night I only made it about four hours before I had to take off my sleeve garments (used following arm lift) as the edge of the sleeves were cutting across the incisions in my arm pits. As soon as they were off I felt a huge relief from the pain. Glory! Tonight I'm considering going CG-less depending on how itchy it gets. My PS's nurse actually told me at my two week follow up that I didn't need to wear either garment any longer. I guess I just feel a bit more secure in it and a part of me hopes it will make a difference in the long run. We'll see.

Today I walked 10 km (from two walks). I’m hoping that means I'll sleep better tonight. A girl can dream.

Compression sleeves

For those interested here is a pic of my compression sleeves. No, that is not me in the pic; I'd need more surgery (lots more!) to get to looking THAT good ;-)

Let's try that again...

Too early in the morning...hit the wrong button and posted instead of attaching pic. Round #2!

Good Night's Rest

Well, last night I went garment free. No tt garment and no compression sleeves. I slept amazingly well. Didn't even get up to use the washroom. Of course that meant I had to wring out my mattress in the morning! Hard to do after surgery.

Thanks to 'Machine' (an RS friend) I had a better day thanks to some compression sleeve alternatives she suggested. I've complained here before that my garment sleeves rub on my incisions in my arm pits causing a lot of pain. She recommended tubigrip and it works well. Thank you, Machine.

This morning at work I had to go into our archives storage and pull some material. Joy amongst all joys! Funny, but my tt incisions cause me very little pain. At least that was until I started lifting heavy boxes, and twisting trying to find a place to put them down. My arms, however, took the brunt. The sleeves and some Tylenol helped.

Tonight I walked 11 km. Feeling a bit worn out. Heading to bed. Good night ladies.

Only 6 KM

Today I only walked 6km. Did I say 'only'? A year ago I had just started walking and couldn't barely do a couple kms at a time. Now, a year later, I'm 80 lbs lighter, have had what I hope will be life-changing surgery and am preparing for the rest of my life. Not bad for a year's worth of investment.

I've noticed that for the most part I'm feeling pretty normal. (Goodness--this surgery IS wonderful as I've never been 'normal' in my life. I have family that would attest to that. (But I digress) There are times when I'll go to do something and my incisions will scream out by shooting pain that reminds me I'm still recovery.

I've managed to keep my surgery hidden from my coworkers and friends. At work I was quizzed by my supervisor one day last week. I had arrived early to work and he was already there. He noticed me moving slowly up the stairs which is unusual for me (I usually go up them 2 at a time). He's a great guy and not one to pry so when he started asking questions (asked how I was feeling; if I was sore; where I felt sore) I was afraid he had picked up on something. I carefully answered his questions being as vague as possible and when it played out it turns out he thought I had been at the gym and was sore from a hard work out. Whew.

At church a week ago an older woman (friend) came to talk with me and compliment me on my weight loss. I had decided to not wear my garments sleeves for the first time that day. I felt naked without them. She patted me on the back and gave me a sideways hug then began rubbing the back and inside of my one arm (like a kind grandmother might do). Shivers of pain shot through my body. I couldn't wait to get away. All I kept thinking was, "Can she not feel the 'railroad tracks ' of incisions going up my arm? Guess not. Quite an experience. I'm careful and try not to put myself in a situation where that may happen again.

I find I still get tired easily. I said I only did 6 km tonight but that was because at about 4 km I began feeling very tired. I decided to listen to my body and only do 6 km.

Onwards and upwards.

Am I losing it?

Last night I KNOW I began a post for the day. I remember starting it....and commenting on having walked 7 km....I remember being incredibly tired and thinking, I've got to finish this before I fall asleep and forget to post. I also remember, through droopy eyelids clicking on the "Post Update" button. Now, however, I'm not sure what happened as the post isn't showing. Am I losing my mind?

Well, I will say that I had a good day yesterday. Obviously from what I've already written I walked 7 km and was very tired last night. I've noticed the feeling that the swelling seems to be going down overall. Yesterday, however I did swell up in the evening and today, my ”Aunt FLo" is coming for her monthly visit so I will have a couple rough days ahead. She WOULD have to be like clock work now of all times!

Today I celebrate 4 wks since surgery. I fondly think back to the day of my surgery. I felt incredibly peace heading into surgery, no doubt because of the confidence I had (and continue to have) in my PS. I've NEVER been as confident in a medical team as I am with my PS and his staff. I was impressed as I met each one of them. They made the entire process an incredibly experience. A friend of mine had a breast enlargement done a couple years back and I 'picked her brain's a couple weeks before surgery about her experience. I thought she was right loopy when she told me it was like going to the spa. I thought, "I don't know where you go to get YOUR massage and 'spa stuff' done, but it must be some horrible place!" Well, I quite agree with her assessment, although I've never been to a spa. I remember the pre-op room and operating room being filled with bright sunshine and it was incredibly cheery...just like the staff. And amazing experience.

At any rate, today I mark a point where I can technically begin to implement more into my day...AND the gym is just a couple weeks away! Look out!!!

(Now that I KNOW I am awake I will click the "Post Update" button. And here I go...)...CLICK

Picture Time!

As promised I've uploaded some pics. I struggle to get good pics as I'm trying to take them by myself and I can't zoom out far enough to get a better perspective especially where lots of skin is showing. Don't want to be accused of burning anyone's retina with too much "skin". ;-)

Today I was a bit sore and the start of my cycle only added to the pain. I'm quite swollen today (again probably a little bloated too...hard to tell the difference). I did 6 km right after work and felt amazing. I had read how other ladies felt better after working out.

My arms were achey today. I'm faithfully putting scar cream on them but struggle with massaging them. I find that still quite painful. I can massage the TT incisions with no major issues but the arms...not so much.

Although I'm not as flat as I've seen in other reviews I've read (I’m hopeful that things will still deflate and flatten), I have noticed one cool thing. Every time I would sleep on my side, I'd touch my stomach with my hand and feel a large roll. The other day I touched my stomach and only felt the 'baby bump' (my term for the swollen area below my bb). I smiled when I realized 'it' was gone. (Thank you, Dr. Shenker!). Also, when I run downstairs I no longer feel--or hear--the excess skin on my stomach slapping against my legs. I had just noticed slapping skin phenomenon since losing a lot of weight. It grossed me out when I heard it the first couple times. Now...no more slapping.

Feels good to be able to move forward. Have a good night.

"Excuse me...do I know you?"

Today was a very full day. I was up and out the door by 7:30 to attend a funeral 3 hrs away. It was for a former boss who passed away (82 yrs old).

It felt like "homecoming" as I saw people I hadn't seen for some time. I was surprised by the number of people who didn't recognize me, due to the large weight loss. I had a conversation with one woman and she seemed oddly cool to me, which was weird because she normally would greet me with a hug. After I left her, I signed the guest book and headed into the auditorium. She then came over and apologized, gave me the hug that I had been expecting previously and said she recognized my smile but nothing else. My guess is she checked the guest book to see who I was right after I signed. She came back with her hubby, whom I had worked with several years ago and we got caught up on news. The same scenario unfolded for several other people. One woman I had worked with for over 14 yrs and we were good friends. She was speaking with someone else so I waited my turn. When there was a lull in that conversation I waved and smiled. She smiled back and told me afterwards when we were talking that she whispered to her sister who stood beside her, "There's a woman smiling and waving at us and I don't know who it is." We hugged and in the embrace she asked who I was. I told her and she groaned from embarrassment. "Not a problem," I said. The best response came from my former supervisor whom I had worked closely with for 10 yrs. I waved at him when he arrived at the funeral, and he just smiled back. Again, not the response I was expecting. After the funeral, I caught his eye and he came over. I could see the realization come to him. He looked me up and down in shock. He said to those within listening range, "She was my assistant, well, this is only half of her. The other half of her is gone!" He looked shocked. He then asked how much I had lost and said he was proud of me. Pretty cool responses.

For me I felt a keen sense of accomplishment not because of the glowing comments received (although they were encouraging), rather it was how I felt. I wore a new high-waisted black pencil skirt with a coral-colored shirt tucked in. For some of you "skinny minnies" out there, you need to understand that:

#1--I would never be able to wear a pencil skirt, let alone a high-waisted pencil skirt. My tt allowed me the opportunity to wear something that I'd never been able to do before.
#2--I wouldn't have been able to tuck in any shirt prior to my tt.

I returned home from the funeral had supper and went walking (9km). More than ready for bed tonight!

Today I wore my tt CG but because it was humid and I was wearing a dress jacket, I opted not to wear my compression sleeves. THANK GOODNESS I was wearing long sleeves! Two people I spoke with on two different occasions grabbed my arm--one gripped my arm between my elbow and shoulder (right where my incisions are located) and squeezed it (yikes) and a woman took my arm and rubbed the inside up and down...over the incisions. Had it not been for the jacket I was wearing I would have been beside myself!!!

I felt very confident today, a by-product of my surgery.

Wishing you all a good night.

1 mth post. Happy 1 mth anniversary

Had a rough start to today as my tummy wasn't overly happy. My eating was off yesterday because of 6 hrs in the car and I may have played the price today. I cut the lawn this afternoon but didn't get it all done. My manual push mower didn't like the long grass in the back so I'll have to get the weed Wacker out tomorrow. I was concerned about pain from my arms or tt area but it went well. managed to do two walks this afternoon totaling 17 km between the two. Felt great getting out into the fresh air. I'm totally exhausted now. Such is life. Ready for bed.

Finally able to post!

Well, I've tried posting from home but, alas, my computer (tablet) isn't cooperating. It's probably thinking, "Good grief! Why don't you buy shares in RealSelf--your on that site so much!" Well, I figured out a way around the tablet...post an update at work! So...here I am. Several days late. So...here it is in a nutshell.

Sunday—(Realized that TODAY was actually one month since surgery; yesterday was just a practice run); went to church (wore my pencil skirt outfit from the funeral I attended Friday and felt pretty svelte—by the way, svelte is my new favourite word...describes how I feel on most not-so-swollen-day; walked 14 km; felt pretty good all day

Monday—felt winded most of the morning; have NO IDEA what is causing that feeling; reminds me of how I used to feel when I was a couch potato after walking up a flight of stairs. Only lasted for the morning. Not sure if it is weariness following walking the day before but I get it every once in awhile (since surgery). It was worse right after surgery (probably because of being pulled tighter and the shock to the system...I'm no medical person but that would be my guess). Walked 13 km after work.

Tuesday—So far...so good. It is supposed to be "stinking hot" outside today. I may use today as my "rest day" from cardio. I'm trying to keep my arms lubricated and massage them when I can but it is painful. The incision is now a red line with puckering (although if my eyes don't deceive me, the puckering seems to be lessening) and I faithfully put on my scar cream morning and night.

Invite to a Picnic

Well, yesterday I was invited to a picnic. The only draw back was that I wasn’t TOLD I was to be the main course! This morning I woke up following my 11.5 km walk last night to discover large welts--mosquito bites--one being only a few inches from the incisions and thick area of swelling on my right arm. Good to know that the blood thirsty (literally!) mosquitos were able to enjoy a free me "on me" (pun intended). I've tried hard not to scratch as the last thing I need is infection.

I discovered something quite soothing today that I thought I'd share especially as cooler weather is around the corner. Today at work I had my desk-top heater on (no...I'm not insane; I just really feel the cold since losing weight). I've been trying to remember to put lotion on my incisions a couple times a day to keep the skin moist (I find that my arms in particular feel like sausage kins about to break open because they've cooked too long). I put the bottle of body lotion in front of the heater for a few minutes and it was lovely and warm. Really felt luxurious!

Tonight walked 12 km. Hopefully the mosquitoes were dining at home tonight! Tomorrow is 5 wks since surgery. One more week until I'm clear to return to the gym. I hope to post updated pics tomorrow. Until then, have a good night!

Looking Up At the Worms

(5 weeks/1day post op). Had a very full day today and although I'm not sure why, I feel as though I'm looking up at the worms! I took my mom 3 hrs away to visit some friends over lunch and then we returned home. The visit was okay (no surprises) but I feel out of sorts. I feel fairly swollen and numb tonight so that could be part of the reason. Because of the travel I didn't get a chance to do any walking and my eating was off--additional reason to feel off. I tried massaging my incisions while driving but that proved difficult and painful. Also, I'm not sleeping well so perhaps that compounds the issue. I'm hoping tomorrow will be a better day! Just needed to vent a bit.

While out today I went panty shopping. I've mentioned my need to ditch the dreaded granny panties and today I took my first step. Being heavy all my life, shopping for underwear was fairly simple. "Will that by white granny briefs, pastel-colored granny briefs, or would you like to take a walk on the wild side and go for granny briefs in bright, bold colours?" Today I wandered through a couple stores looking at the various styles and colours of regular-sized panties OH, MY STARS!!! So many choices! I could almost feel myself hyperventilating..."Where do I start? What size? How do you wear this one (thong)? WHY would I wear this one (thong)? Where's the rest of this (thong)? I found a cute pair of teal underwear, held them up and thought...these won't fit! Knowing what my hip measurement is, I got out a tape measure to see if the elastic would fit my body. The measurement of the undees was smaller than my hips but they LOOKED like they should fit...so I bought them (on sale!) I got home, went to my room and tried them on. They seem to fit...I think. I'm not the best judge of undees fitting...to me grannies are the way to go...keep you tucked in from your breastbone right on down to your crotch! I'll post a pic in case anyone is interested and can enlighten me. (By the way, I went through this about 3 mths back when I went bra shopping for the first time in a lingerie store. You know you are off to a rough start when the clerk asks your size and you say you don't know! Thankfully the store clerk helping me was amazing when accommodating this 'virgin-bra-shopper'.)

-only 5 more sleeps ;-) until I'm cleared to return to the gym
-walking has been a lifesaver; as of yesterday I had walked 178.5 km (approx. 110 mi) over the past 3 weeks
-first time panty shopping went fairly well with no psychological damage (I think; I'll have to see if I end up dreaming tonight of giant thongs chasing me through the mall)
-friends we visited were very complimentary about my 'results' (chose not to tell about my tt but they said my arms looked good following arm lift surgery)

Update 5.5 wk post surgery

Today I decided to take some pics of me in clothes. I know...quite a change from the skin pics. I don’t feel confident that to download swim suit pic...never wanted tt in order to wear a bathing suit...just to feel more human. I was at work and decided to take a break and do some photos in the washroom...it's much brighter there than my home washroom. The one pic (arms up) shows my arm lift scars a bit. I'm quite happy that they are fairly well hidden (except when lifting my arms--and I don’t intend on lifting my arms unless someone is robbing me!)

Today I felt really drained. I headed out for my first of two walks late afternoon but quickly decided to listen to my body--go back home, kick my feet back and sit on the deck in the sun and read a book. I felt luxurious doing that. That never happens! The one thing surgery has helped me do is to listen more to my body. The days of being lazy (as in a couch potato) are gone and I need to sense when my body has had enough rather than pushing myself. Yesterday's walks (total distance: 20km) was, in hind sight, too much. Today, my body told me so. I did go for a walk after supper. Although I only did 7km I am content with that.

I'm really starting to get nervous about hitting the gym on Thursday. I've looked forward to it since surgery but now that it is so close my stomach does flip flops whenever I think about it. Will I be able to get back to where I was? Will I have the stamina? Will I cause any harm to surgery sights? I know it sounds a bit trivial but these are real concerns. I'll have to pace myself, drink lots and pray I don't get dizzy or black out! (I've come close before!)

Week 6 Update--Return to the Gym

Well,have 6 week anniversary to me! That's right, 6 wks since surgery. I took the day off to celebrate (Note: I worked Labour Day so I could have today off). I Started the day off at the gym--first time in 6 wks. Went fairly well. The butterflies I'd been feeling for the last couple of leading up to it went away as soon as I got busy. I met up with my trainer--an amazing man and body building champ. I wasn't sure what his response to the surgery would be. He was supportive of me having it but standing there in smaller clothes, I felt conspicuous. He didn't say anything initially but I did sense him watching closely at my movements (to see if there were any restrictions). His response came after our first set. He said, "You look incredibly healthy." That just about melted my heart. I teased him that he hadn't asked where the scales are regarding my weight (his weekly question). He said he'd love to know how much the PS took off in surgery. I told him I could answer that for him and I told him how much. He said he was surprised as it looked like quite a bit more had been removed. Wow...two compliments in one session. As far as out workout is concerned, I did split squats (12 reps each legx4sets) alternating with regular squats (12 reps x4sets). Then I did heel touches (12 each leg x 4) alternating with regular standing lunges (12 each leg x4). Does not sound like much or very difficult but I was perspriring a fair amount and feel exhausted tonight. I noticed that the split squats pulled slightly on my left tt incisions near my hip. All in all an excellent workout. So tired...ready for bed! I'm dealing with restless legs tonight. Hopefully it won't be "one of those nights!" Good night all!

Rest: Almost the sweetest word in the English language

Well, day 2 going to the gym. Today I decided to try and get back to spinning. I normally go to two spin classes a week but decided to try on my own to slowly get back at it. I had no issues with pain from incisions. However yesterday's lunges and squats have left my legs very sore and achy. Almost forgot what that pain felt like. It made spinning a very painful endeavor! However I pushed through the pain and did 40 minutes. Tonight I walked 3 km and ended up trying to outwalk a severe thunderstorm that came up fast. Near the end of the route is a rather large hill and I ended up having to run up it as well as about a half a km to keep ahead of lightening. I am happy to report that I AM EXHAUSTED! It's 9:10, I'm in bed and am SO ready to call it a day!

One more thing...This morning I forgot that I had had surgery. What? How? Well, I was sleeping on my side with my arm under my pillow and I rolled over and slid upward on my sheets. Normally I remember about the surgery and move quite carefully. That sally movement just about sent earlier into orbit in pain. Didn't think I'd ever forget about my incisions! Yikes.

Sorry...fell asleep....better click POST UPDATE before it's too late.

Heading to sleep. Have a good night, Ladies!

One for the calendar!

This morning after 6 weeks I FINALLY was able to shave my armpits! I know...not a big deal. However since my arm lift surgery I've not been able to do a good THOROUGH job. Each week I've grown more and more uncomfortable with the irritating hairs along my incisions. When I first saw my incisions I was concerned because of the heavy "puckering" in the pits. They were not even close to being flat and appeared as a ridge. I've tried shaving but the thought of cutting the incisions prohibited me from getting close enough to do the job. The other day I tried to suck it up and get the job done but ended up nicking myself and, ew the pain...just like a paper cut! This morning I tried again and DID IT--nice and clean! I no longer resemble an ape (okay...perhaps not that bad!) Definitely a great "first" following surgery!

Yesterday I was back at the gym and the spin bike. I'm trying to increase my time and was able to do 45 minutes. Today my goal is 50 minutes. I had some twinges in my tt and bb areas but I pushed through it, removing some bike tension when needed. I also got in a total of 10 km of walking. My quads/hamstrings are still sore from my squat/lunge workout on Thursday. Shows me how being away from gym for 6 weeks does impact the body!

I still have some swelling and numbness. To be expected.

Trust you ladies all have a great day.

I thought pain was behind me!

Last night for some reason my tt and arm incisions were sore--achy. I've also found not having as much fat (since weight loss and lipo) that it is difficult to get comfortable in bed because of a lack of padding (translation: I'm more boney). I can actually feel my hip bones when laying flat--something I've never been able to do before!

Today I experienced another first. Every Monday I take my mom to her 3-hour physiotherapist appointment. My mom has neurological disorders that resemble a stroke (slurred speech, difficulty walking, double vision, tremors, etc). . I usually help with her walking and exercises at her appointments but decided to cancel her appointments until my recovery was well on its way. Today was the day we returned. Over all it went well although at the end of 2.5 hrs. my arms were pretty sore. Having to put her wheelchair back in the trunk was more challenging than other times we've had to go out since surgery. My arms have been aching ever since. I'm considering wearing my CG sleeves tonight.

I did spinning very early this morning (trying to get back into shape before I return to spin class) and walked 5.5 km tonight. Ready for bed!

More pain...and just shy of 7 weeks post op

Well, I'm not sure why but yesterday was another day of soreness—to the point that I needed to take a couple extra-strength Tylenol--first time in a couple weeks. My tt incisions were sensitive and then mid-morning my bb started throbbing. My arms have also been sensitive. Not sure what is going on. The pain made me nervous as I knew I would be heading to the gym and I didn't want to cancel my workout.

At the gym...oh, my stars! My trainer put me through the wringer. When he told me what he wanted me to do (and then SHOWED me) I felt like saying, "Excuse me...do you remember me?—the woman still recovering from surgery?" :-) Not once did he ask for my permission to beat the tar out of me! Geez! (Of course, I guess by showing up that is all the permission he needs!) I did side step-ups (onto a 1.5 ft riser while carrying a 20 lb weight), side squats (my hips are still screaming from those babies!) and, the "pièce de résistance" leg press (set at 208 lbs). I was very conscious of the incisions ready to stop at a moments notice should I feel any pain. HOWEVER, nothing! No pain at all. Totally bizarre. The only thing I noticed at the end of my workout was that after the leg press I had assumed the bent over walk which everyone goes through while recovering from a tt. Didn't last long...just until I could walk it out a bit. After a fairly active day, I opted to limit my walking last night and only did 3 km.

This morning I'm not feeling any surgery pain to speak of...thankfully. However, I have the Tylenol standing by just in case!

(Note: I have to say my trainer was a HUGE encouragement to me throughout surgery. Before surgery he listened to me weighing my options and was, frankly, my biggest cheerleader encouraging me to have the surgery, and calming my nerves about possibly gaining weight while off; the evening of my surgery he texted me to see how I was and he kept in close contact via text throughout my recovery. Biggest heart in a body-builder you'll ever find!)

Another Whooping in the Gym -- 7 wks post up as of today

Today was a bit better pain wise than earlier this week. I did have some pain but not bad enough for pills.

This afternoon was another weight workout--this time my arms. Using the TRX straps I did biceps and then triceps. Unlike machines, using straps means you must engage your core more for proper form. The biceps were not too bad. The triceps--another story entirely! The first couple attempts were, we'll, horrible. I had to tighten my core (ab muscles) and that started mini spasms. (Incidentally, has anyone else suffered with ab spasms? I get them usually when I'm in bed and it starts with an involuntary stretch that I can't seem to stop. My ab muscles tighten and spasm...very uncomfortable --especially when recovering from tt surgery! But I digress!). ANYWAY...The spasms only lasted a few seconds but it was difficult to keep form. I tried to hide it from my trainer (as I'd rather 'suck it up, buttercup!" but finally told him the abs were still tender. He said, "I know they are still some sore but we need to strengthen those muscles back up." (I've read RS posts from tt patients who said they had the surgery so they didn't have to worry about their abs any longer. That could be a bit naive thinking--just because the PS stitches your abs tight doesn't mean they are going to have the strength you need to do certain strength-building exercises let alone everyday tasks.) By the end of the workout I was happy with my accomplishments and not as sore as the beginning of the work out. Next session issues Monday.

One thing I've noticed is the swelling is still lingering. Joy amongst all joys! Hopefully it passes...soon!

Here we are--almost 8 wks post. --. 7 wks 5 days post op

It's been a few days since I've updated my review so here goes.

It is hard to believe I'm almost 8 weeks post op. I'm amazed at how quickly the body recovers after such trauma. Talk about being fearfully and wonderfully made! Every once in awhile I'll have an off day and am quickly reminded that I'm still recovering.

I still struggle with taking my mom to her Monday morning doctor's appointments. She has two in two different buildings which means lifting her wheelchair four times out of the car trunk--engaging the core muscles. At the one appointment (physio) I help her with walking (she holds onto my arm as she tries to walk) and I find it is a real work out for me. She isn't a 'light weight' and having someone who is unbalanced and unable to walk, weave and wobble while I try to support her and make sure she doesn't fall is very challenging especially on my arms and abs. I noticed last week (her first appointment since my surgery) and again yesterday that it starts the incisions areas aching. Thankfully pills help ;-).

Today I was back at the gym killing my legs. I did a spin warm up and then squats and lunges and leg extensions. Tonight I did a 6 km walk. It has been rather cool (perfect time fall weather) so I enjoyed the walk. I haven’t returned--yet--to spin class. I want to be able to do at least45 minutes of spinning on my own before I get back again the class. I spoke with the spin instructor today (she knew I was away for 6 wks because of surgery) and she encouraged me to take my time and not rush back. I'm anxious to return which is good incentive.

Not sure if anyone has battled with increased appetite following surgery (weeks after, not days). I've noticed that I wake in the middle of the night hungry. I usually eat half a protein bar and try to go back to sleep. I spoke with my trainer about it and he made a couple changes. I asked him why the increased hunger. His answer was surprising to me: you are still recovering and your body needs extra nutrients to heal. I'm also doing a fair bit more activity since surgery (and being off for 6 wks). It didn't surprise him and I'm still at my new weight of 140lb (80 lbs lighter since last August).

Tomorrow I see my family doctor for the first time since my weight loss and surgery. Not sure if she'll even notice I've lost weight. She has never put any pressure or even mentioned my excess weight (which frankly boggles my mind). Hope the appointment goes well.

Have a good night ladies!

"Excuse me...have we met.?" Post 7 wks, 5 days

Well my doctor's appointment (family doctor) went very well. I had to get some paperwork done (won't bore you with details) and I wasn't sure if my doctor would even notice I'd lost weight. I last saw her in April and she didn’t say anything. Today, quite different. I told her that I have lost 80 lbs and 19% body fat since last August and she smiled. She said, "I knew you were coming in today because your name was on my patient list. However, if didn't have that list I would not have recognized you." I threw my head back and just laughed. She made my day! Not sure what her reaction would be to my tt and arm surgery. Never shared that news with her ;-)

I am finding my arms really sensitive to touch. Yep--I have touchy arms! The other issue I'm experiencing is a sore hip bone. Pretty weird. When in bed and sleep on my side it digs into the mattress and hurts something fierce. Today it ached. I had read or heard someone say that when doing lipo this may happen if they hit a bone. Weird. Has anyone else experienced this?

I'm falling asleep...up in the shower at 4:00 a.m., off to work by 4:3o, home for breakfast. Have a good night!

Swelling Like Crazy and Mystery Pain (8wks)

It's interesting how even 8 weeks post surgery how my body still groans a "friendly" reminder that I've had surgery. My natural tendency is to think, "Suck it up, buttercup!" and push myself to do more. However The last couple days I've been greeted with pains that have warned me to be careful.

Yesterday Aunt Flo came for her regular monthly visit and the swelling was really bad. I've had the feeling of pins and needles/numbness as well. The "pain" intensified yesterday to a sharp pain in the left side of my abdomen as I tried to lift a heavy box (of catalogues) at work. Unfortunately there was no one around to get help from so I carefully carried the box out to my car and then into my home through the garage (I had no choice as the supplies HAD to get home so the work could be completed--believe me--I thought about just forgetting it!) There were about 15 boxes that needed to be moved (not nearly as heavy as the first box) but I only loaded about half of them. This morning I am really swollen and the numbness/pins and needles feeling continues. Not sure if my cycle has intensified the situation or perhaps this is just normal this far out from surgery. Perhaps it just me. It could also be from my workout Thursday when I did biceps. I had to engage my abs which was challenging and somewhat painful. I'm going to take it easy today (aside from getting a good walk in) so hopefully things will return to normal.

I haven't posted pics for while so I'll see about getting some up in the next little while.

Have a great day!

Answer to Prayer (post 8 wks, 4 days)

Well today was back to work with many of the boxes that I took home on Friday. I took several trips to the car and didn't feel any pain or pulling this time (thankfully!). When I got to the office I took my purse in first then went out to start unloading the boxes. Before I could say anything to my coworkers I had three people offer to help unload my car. What a huge answer to prayer! Only one of the three knew I had had surgery. I will have a couple of the heavy catalogue boxes to cart home next Monday but will make sure I get some help.

I took it "easy" on the weekend. I walked 12km Saturday and on Sunday did 30 min of spin and also walked 9km. I find if I have any pain, walking helps to eliminate it. I did sit for a bit and watch TV (but I get bored easily with that). The pain from Friday/Saturday has not reemerged to the same degree. I had to pick up jugs of water (2 x 5 gallon bottles) on Saturday and felt a slight pull but nothing too significant. Everything seems to have resolved...although I will be careful just in case.

This a.m. I did 20 minutes of spin, followed by squats and lunges and all seemed to go well. The lunges do tax the abs a bit but today I did pretty well. Actually "forgot" I had incisions to worry about. Tomorrow morning its off to spin class--my first one since surgery. I've been working to build myself up so that I can survive a full class. Haven't managed to do 60 min at one time so I'm not sure how tomorrow will go. The instructor is aware I've had surgery (just not sure what type of surgery) and she has already told me to take it easy and don't rush things. She will be forgiving if I have to leave early.

Hope you all continue well in your recovery. For those awaiting surgery, enjoy this time of your life. It is well-worth the investment in YOU!

Life is Normal (9 weeks, 2 days post)

It's been a few days since I updated so here goes. This week I have been dealing with itchy incisions and sore lumps near my arm incisions. I guess I'm not massaging as much as I need to. Will have to step that up. I'm still dealing with numbness and the swollen area below my bb is harder than the rest of me. Guess that is normal (she says hopefully).

My activity has been a bit less than I like this week as I spent most "free time" doing a wedding cake for a friend for today (in addition to doing a birthday cake and 60 cupcakes....I do cake design as a 'hobby' in addition to working full time). I did manage to do weight training on my own twice (along with some spinning) and I went to my first spin class since surgery. I've walked about 29 km this week as well. Now that the wedding pressure is off I'm hoping to knucle down and get back to some more activity. I miss it.

I've gone back to wearing my arm sleeves a couple days this week as it helps to lessen the pain. It also protects for times I bump them by accident. All in all life has returned to normal for the most part.

"Where are those pain pills?" (10 weeks)

Another week has come and gone. I continue to struggle with swelling...some days are much worse than others. The last couple have been much better. My activity has been a bit higher than last week. I hit the wall during spin class on Tuesday. The regular instructor (my fav) was back and 15 minutes into the class I was done energy wise. I pushed through and completed the class but felt pulling in the sides of my incisions. The rest of the day was a challenge. Needless to say, I decided to pass on Thursday's class (which is the high intensity version of her spin class....my momma never raised no fools!) ;-)

My sleeping has been off. I've woken with pain in my abs off and on which I haven't experienced for a couple weeks. On Thursday this week I woke up at 2:30 a.m. and rather than tossing and turning for several more hours (which is what normally happens) I thought I might as well get up and go to the gym! So, at 3:15 I walked into the gym for a workout. It was great--had the whole place to myself! I warmed up with spinning and then did an upper body work out and some squats and lunges, followed by some more spinning before calling it quits. I've mentioned before about the emotional roller coaster I've experienced since surgery. Well, at post 2 mths, I'm still experiencing the coaster, although not to the same degree as a couple weeks after surgery. Part way through my workout the tears started and I struggled to gain control. The workout was causing pain in my abs but I felt the need to push through. After all, you have to push your limits if you are to increase strength in the abs. The tears were not because of the pain but rather from frustration. I keep thinking that I shouldn't be having pain as I'm so far from surgery. However, my friend at work who knows about the surgery, and my trainer today have both reminded me that I've had significant/major surgery and healing is going to take a long time (they also tell me to cut myself a break). I'll keep pressing forward and will cut myself some slack, as difficult as I find that to do at times.

This morning I had an accute jab of pain hit (right side about 2-3 inches above incision). I almost doubled over from the pain. It came from nowhere and lasted for a couple hours off and on. I took a pain pill but am at a loss to know what it was! I'm fine now and hope it was an isolated situation...hopefully ;-)

I started using Bio Oil the other day. That stuff is great! Hoping it will lighten the scars.

Trust you are all healing well. Wishing you well.

Message Received (10 weeks, 5 days)

Hello Ladies—First, I want to thank the ladies (Fitbug1966, Conniescso, Azsunshine, Fullcirclemer, Machine) who “spoke” to me the other day concerning my last post. I appreciated your concern and the care and love in which it was spoken. I read (and re-read) all comments received and have been mulling them over. So, thank you all! The united message was received loud and clear. Now, what to do to put the advice/suggestions into action.

I had a good talk with my trainer yesterday and shared some of the comments I received as I wanted to get his read on the situation. I voiced my concern that I just don’t know when I’ve pushed too far, as I don’t always feel pain immediately. How do I know when I’ve crossed the line? I don’t want to be a wimp and not keep pressing forward. As I said to him, when a child learns to read a book, he has to continue to move on to more difficult books if he is to progress. Otherwise he’ll be in college and still be reading, “See Dick and Jane run”! I see it as the same when working out and getting mobile after surgery. You have to push the limits a bit in order to get further down the road to recovery. But it’s a fine line between pushing forward and facing a set back because you’ve gone too far.

My trainer said, “Part of the reason why I love training you is because you push yourself. But, when you feel pain you HAVE to pull back. It’s not worth risking an injury and more surgery.” We’ve set some achievable parameters where spinning is concerned and I will be cutting back a bit on the walking. As far as weights are concerned, he reads me very well and knows when I feel pain so I can’t hide it from him even if I choose to.

As for the pain that started on Sunday, I still do feel it although not as intense as it was at first. It is on my right side about 2 inches above my incision (2-3 inches beside my bb) and is intermittent (usually just when I move). I have a PS appointment later this month and if it stays as it is now (twinges now and then) I’ll address it with him. If it gets worse I will contact him and get in to see him. There’s no bulge and it isn’t more swollen than anywhere else.

I also recognize that my body is under a lot of stress as I'm not sleeping well (again!) and I'm working a lot of overtime to prepare for our organization's annual convention which is quickly approaching. Perhaps it is just everything hitting at once...all the more reason to back off a bit on activity.

Thanks again for the interest and concern expressed. I appreciate it very much. Although I’d love to keep pushing it, right now I see that I need to listen to my body (as Connie reminded me I’ve told others to do…). Thanks, Ladies...you are all very special!

Listening to my Body and Moving Forward

Hello Ladies: It's not been quite a week's time since I last posted. I've stepped back from my activity to give my body a time to "catch up" with where my mind feels I should be at this stage :) The pain I reported a week ago in my right side subsided over a day or two and I've been somewhat pain-free since then. I have continued some "lighter" cardio (spinning and elliptical and some walking) and did weight training one day since I last wrote. When I get twinges of pain or pulling I slow down or stop the activity. Yesterday (over the period of 3-4 hours) I did two 45-minute sessions of cardio with a light walk (3 km) in between. I feel good this morning--no pain--so am relieved.

It is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada so we have the extra food. I was over my calories a bit yesterday (by about 150) but didn't feel deprived. I changed up the menu a bit to accommodate "cleaner" eating (sweet potatoes instead of potatoes, pumpkin cheesecake for dessert--I hate pumpkin [shucks!] so had healthy gluten-free PB, choc chip cookies for my treat. The extra cardio helped to offset the extra eating...and some :-)

All in all, I'm listening to my body and am moving forward—conscious that I've had surgery and need to be careful, but definitely not sliding backwards nor racing forward!

Finally Starting to Like Me... (2 days shy of 3 mths)

Hello All:

I tried updating the other day and after I finished typing my computer pad refused to upload and I lost everything so here goes again.

I continue to plug along. I was back to weight training yesterday after a bit of a break. My trainer had pneumonia and other things wrapped into that so I took the opportunity to give my body a wee break--from weights! I bumped up the cardio significantly to help in the meantime. The break helped me to see what actually CAUSED some pain and what weights I can do "safely".

Last week was a rough week eating wise. I had two Thanksgiving meals (spread apart in the week thankfully) and a luncheon at work I had to attend. It was a struggle as I'm concerned about gaining weight. I cooked the first turkey dinner and so there were no extra special bells and whistles with the meal (low fat cooking and no desserts for me). THAT I could control.

The luncheon was a struggle as they ordered in--Greek food. However, here too, I was very careful what I ate. I had one chicken skewer, salad, a half a potato and a small spoonful (less than 1/4 cup) of rice. I thought I did pretty good...until my coworker (the one who is a beanpole and knew about my surgery) told me after lunch she was surprised by how much I ate. "I've never seen you eat that much." I thought back to what I ate and still have no idea why she said what she did. I used to eat GOBS more pre-weight loss so I am still struggling with that comment. I felt extremely self-conscious eating in front of my coworkers as they all know of my weight loss and "eye" just what I'm eating. Growing up I ended up a "closet eater" in my teen years because I was so very concerned with people judging what I ate. I'd be at a youth group meeting after church and when everyone was endulging in chips and goodies, I stuck with a pop lest anyone judge me. However, I'd go home and more than make up for it. I see this is still the case, although to a much lesser degree (I don't do the endulging). Something I'm going to have to work at.

The second Thanksgiving was a real challenge. My sister does not like fat free or low calorie cooking (and you can tell!) so I knew I would need to be careful. I offered to bring the dessert and a salad. At least in those areas I could have control. I made two apple crisps--one low sugar/low gluten and the other regular. I agreed before arriving that I would loosen up a bit and not be too stressed about the extra calories I would eat because of her way of cooking (although I became worried when I saw all the butter and table cream she added to her mashed potatoes....OH MY STARS! I kept thinking, "Wait...I gotta eat that!"....) Anyway, I survived the day, went home, changed my clothes and headed to the gym for some intense cardio! I more than made up for the extra calories I ate that day.

All in all, I survived my week or eating challenges and ACTUALLY lost 2-3 pounds! Ye-haw!

I've had some twinges of discomfort here and there but nothing I wouldn't expect at this stage. I'm very pleased with the scars--they are fading (at least in my mind they are :-) The bio oil has really helped especially my arms where scars have been more noticeable. They seem to be softening and lightening in colour.

Next Monday I see my PS for my 3-mth check up. I haven't seen him since 2 weeks PO so I'm hoping he will be pleased with the results. I do have some questions/concerns but overall I'm doing well.

I think back now to pre-surgery and the decision whether to proceed with this or not. I year ago I would NEVER have concerned tt surgery…never, EVER. However, this year so much has changed in me that by early summer as I saw the sagging skin I thought, “Could I?” After meeting my PS and hearing him say, “You are thin…” (a statement which still shocks me!) I decided I had to see for myself just what HE saw! As my trainer texted to me the night of my surgery, “I’m so proud of you. I do not believe you would have made this decision a year ago which shows how far you’ve come as a person…not just your physical self.” This is a growing process and, like a butterfly coming from a cocoon, I like what I’m discovering and the person that has been hidden by years of obesity. For once my outer self is starting to get in line with my inner self…and I like it!

Visit to the PS tomorrow; and MORE PICS... Finally!!! 3 mths PO

Well, tomorrow I toddle off to my PS for my 3 month check up. I haven't seen him since 2 weeks post op and I'm hoping he feels all is going well. I have an area of concern that I mentioned in an earlier post (early Aug) that I hope I receive positive news on. I also hope he can give me an idea of expectations related to some pains I've been experiencing. I just want to know if they are part and parcel of the recovery or if perhaps it is something else.

When working with my trainer the other day we were doing back exercises and I was having pain from the surgery area (abs). He was a bit puzzled as the exercises should not utilize those muscles at all. After some experimenting he came to the conclusion that I was compensating for my back when doing these exercises by using my ab muscles. That probably explains the strong pain I felt in early October that just about caused me to double over. We are now focusing on making sure we stabilize the ab muscles so that they are not used in the exercises. I will talk this all through with my PS tomorrow.

Tonight my back has been pretty sore and my right side abs are sore too, probably because I did weights today. It feels awesome getting back at it. I did shoulders and biceps and tonight when fixing supper I felt muscle soreness radiating from my shoulders as well. I get excited when that happens as I know it means results are coming. I'm in a toning phase so the weights are heavy and I'm starting to see shape and definition. Love it. The arm lift has provided me an opportunity to finally like my arms--scars and all!

We'll, I FINALLY took some more pics! I didn't post earlier as I haven’t seen much change. I would say "enjoy" but one does not get much joy from looking at school someone else's surgery scars...I don't think, anyhow.

Happy healing to all!

3 Month Check in with PS

Hello All: I had hoped to post yesterday about my PS appointment but ended up running out of day! So…here we go.

I had my 3 mth PO appointment with my PS. All in all he seems pleased with the results thus far. I asked if my “baby bump” (swelling under my BB) would go away and he said he’s not sure; we’ll need to wait and see. I’m hoping it WILL go away as it makes me feel a bit pregnant (although I’ve never actually been pregnant :-)

My greatest concern has been a pouch of skin that is between my breastbone and BB. I pointed the area out in an earlier picture (August 6th post). There has been no change in the area and I’ve noticed when I am seated wearing something with a waistband that a roll gathers…not what I was expecting. He took a good look at it and said that he had had the option of doing a fleur-de-lis tt rather than the traditional tt (for those of you not familiar with this, it would give you an upside down incision going down the centre of your tummy and then along the tradition tt line like mostly everyone else receives; this allows for skin to be pulled down to the vertical incision AND pulled from the sides horizontally.) He decided against this as he felt it was far less invasive a procedure. He suggested we wait until the 6-12 mth post-surgery mark to discuss it further when my results will be better known. I asked him what the solution would be and he said he would do another incision and remove about 5 inches of skin…hokey stink that sounds like a lot! When I explained that a roll appears when I’m sitting he gave me the impression that he “got it”, nodding his head and agreeing that it would bother me. So…I’m in waiting mode. As he said, “Let’s sleep on it.” I plan to do just that. I’d love to know that I am completely flat and won’t have to go through another surgery (and recovery), which I assume will be much less than the original surgery, but that is not the case. I need to decide over the next 3-6 months if this is something that I can live with and, if not, I’ll revisit the issue with him.

I am normally not a patient person—I want instant results (like many other people). But, frankly, my body has been through so much change this year (both mentally and physically from the surgery and large weight loss) that I need to become better acquainted with the new ME.

My arms are healing nicely so that was all good.

The pain I’ve been experiencing is part and parcel of healing. I asked if there is anything exercise wise that I cannot do and he said, “No!”…so I went to spin class today and killed it and will do weight training later today. I asked a few other questions and he said nothing is different than what he has heard from other patients so I’m confident that all is going smoothly.

Because I didn’t find this site until after my surgery, I wasn’t brilliant enough to take before pictures (I know…really stupid). I was of the mind that I wanted to FORGET what I looked like! However, it would be nice to compare before and after. I asked the PS if I could get copies of the pics he took and he said “yes”. So…I left him a jump stick and will have some pics after my next appointment (early January…again, I’m putting patience into practice!) I'm eager to see how my body has changed for the better. I'll post the before pics when I get them....if I'm brave enough. Heck, with all I've been through this year I'll definitely post them! :-)

"Michael can row his own boat ashore!"

Last night, feeling topped up with pent up energy and stress, I headed to the gym for a work out. I decided I was going to do upper body weights and some cardio. Normally, feeling self-conscious, I shy away from the weight area in the evening because that time of the day at the gym is usually a breeding ground for all the young jocks that come to “strut their stuff” (or at least that is what it looks like to me!). For some reason, however, I must have been in a different mood because I didn’t really care who saw my arm scars or what they thought! (that is huge for me!). After some light cardio I headed to the weight area and did some assisted chin ups and dips. This is the first time since surgery that I’ve done chin ups and I could feel the stretch. As much as I tried to focus on using my arms to pull myself up, I found I had to tighten my abs and that was challenging. I was determined to get five sets, and 12 full reps in no matter what. I didn’t feel too bad afterwards, although I was glad when they were done! I continued doing other weights and cardio with no issues…until the dreaded rowing machine. This was the first time I’ve been on the rowing machine since before surgery and after two and a half minutes (and a lighter than usual tension) I was looking for a white flag to surrender. My abs were really feeling it so I decided that “Michael can row his own boat ashore”!, and I moved on to something else.

This morning…oh, my stars. My stomach and abs are sore—no shooting pain or anything I can’t handle…but they are just a bit tender. I’m moving slowly more from the ab stretching/stress than the upper body work out. So, I now know that the rowing machine will be off limits for a month or so longer. And, frankly, I’m okay with that :-)

Next week I am off to a huge convention/conference that the organization I work for puts on. While these are very long and busy days, I am looking forward to seeing many (many) people that I’ve met over the past 20+ yrs since I first started my job. However…. I am very nervous. At last year’s conference I had just started losing weight and it wasn’t too noticeable. This year, however, I expect people will notice (when your own family doctor doesn’t recognize you, people you only see once or twice a year will certainly notice a change!). Now, to most people that would be a great scenario…walking into a room and seeing the expressions on people’s faces when they see the “new you”. For me, however, a large part of me is dreading that. I normally don’t like a lot of attention and I’m not sure how to handle the comments. I attended a funeral in late August and people I have known for 15-20 yrs who were there didn’t recognize me. THEN…the comments started flying, “Where’s the other half of you?” “You look more attractive than when you were fat?” I struggle with these comments and don’t know how to process them. My first instinct is to run (in the case of the funeral that is precisely what I did; as soon as the funeral was over I was out of there!). I can’t do that at the conference…I WORK at the conference and can’t just up and leave.

One thing is for sure, through the weight loss journey this past year and the surgery, I’ve learned that paying people comments and complimenting people is vitally important. However, learning how to do it (and not be flippant with your comments) is just as important. Many on this site have had “well meaning” people make what they (in their opinion) feel is a positive comment but has been anything BUT to the person recovering from a life-impacting surgery.

The truth is that my weight loss happened fairly quickly and, frankly, my mental image of myself is still trying to play catch up. For example, all day yesterday I sat at my desk feeling gross and fat (I felt like I did pre-surgery [bloated in the stomach with a pouch hanging down]). However, the scale has not gone up…I’m still down 80 lbs. My mind, however, was telling me that I’m still that heavy person. At the gym yesterday evening as I was working I was doing pushups off the TRX straps and looked in the mirror and was surprised (okay, shocked!) by how thin my waist and legs actually were in the mirror. MENTALLY, my brain is still envisioning the heavy me I was a year ago. It does not match reality. It has been a slow process to get my thinking to match reality. It is slowly coming around. This is true for my weight loss AND results from surgery.

I’m rambling. Not sure if anyone else has had to work this through mentally but if so, I’d appreciate suggestions. “Suck it up” is one suggestion…I get it. However, when this is an emotional/mental struggle, it is not always as easy as just sucking it up!

Anyway…hope this isn’t too much of a downer message. Once next week’s conference is over I should be able to put that behind me and move on. My next goal will be to get myself where I can work out on that blasted rowing machine…and help Michael row the boat to shore…finally! :-) Have a good week!

(Note: “Michael Row Your Boat Ashore” is an old song….for those young’ins who may not be familiar with it! :-)

"I NEVER want to do this (EVER) again!" (post 16 wks)

I did something Sunday that I NEVER want to have to do EVER again! I went for training and my trainer greeted me with a wicked smile on his face and a black vest in his hand. “Oh,” I thought, “something different.” I’m always up for new challenges and something different. Different indeed! It was a weighted vest that I was to wear for my workout. “How hard can this be?” I asked myself. As he helped me on with it I realized this was not going to be a walk in the park. The vest had weights in it that totaled 40 lbs—just half of what I’ve lost this past year. Immediately my lungs began screaming. They felt constricted. We proceeded into the workout—lunges, squats and step ups. Oh…my…stars! I was sweating, breathing heavy and feeling extremely uncomfortable. I kept asking him, “How could I have carried all this weight PLUS more all those years?” He just smiled. It was a great lesson to me and a reminder that I don’t ever want to go back there. My guess is that I will be wearing that vest again (and again, and again, and again as it is not only a good way to strengthen and tone my body but it is a good reminder of just how far I’ve come).

Last week I wrote about an upcoming 3-day conference that our organization puts on each year. I was quite nervous heading into it. Since our last conference (last November) I've lost a total of 80 lbs and had tt and arm lift surgery. Over the past little while I’ve had some “well-meaning people” say some things that have been rather hurtful so I wasn’t sure what kind of response I’d receive from people that I see every year at this conference.

Well, I'm back from the conference and overall it was good--long days (18 hrs+) but good. This is my 24th annual conference and for the first time ever I felt very confident. No longer was I carrying the shame of my weight. I used to purchase a new outfit to wear one day during the conference to help make me feel more attractive and acceptable. This year, however, I decided not to buy a new outfit. Instead I’d be proud of the new body I’m enjoying! Hands down I much prefer the way I felt this year.

The feedback varied. I received a number of positive comments and a handful of people voiced their initial concern as to how such a big change could take place. Their immediate “go to” position was that I was sick. I assured them that, no, I was not ill but that I had in fact worked very hard for my results. One comment that sticks out in my mind was from one of the French-speaking delegates. He knew only the odd English word and I, unfortunately, didn’t know enough French to converse with him. Using hand signals he patted his tummy and smiled and then pointed at me and I smiled and nodded in agreement that I had lost weight. He then, in his broken English, told me, “You look young girl.” I giggled and thanked him. That made my day!

I did have a couple people ask where the other half of me went to. I was a bit prepared for this comment as I have heard it before (one of the comments that I found hurtful and hard to process early on). I’m thankful that I was mentally able to handle this and other comments I received, something which has not always been the case.

I also had a few people come and ask how I had done it and when I sensed their interest was not simply a surface inquiry and that they were indeed interested, I had a chance to have two heart to heart conversations with two women I know who are battling their weight. Both said they were going to keep at it, knowing that I had had success. That was very humbling. Never did I think my “battle of the bulge” would help someone else.

I was hauling a number of heavy boxes as I set up the various displays for the conference. A couple times I had to slow down a bit and take it easy with some of the heavier boxes as my abs were “not pleased” with my activity. No lingering pain, however. Also, in spite of having to wear a short-sleeved top, I was glad that no one seemed to notice the scars on my arms. I’ve learned how to hold my arms in such a way to hide them. Once they heal a bit they won’t be noticeable at all.

I so appreciate the encouragement from RS’s on this site I received heading into the conference. The comments and advice shared were very helpful and helped me a great deal. Thank you!!!

Four Month Anniversary

I woke up this morning and realized I’m two days beyond my four month PO mark. How time flies! I’m doing well but have mild pains in my abs every once in awhile…usually from a movement I’ve done when using weights. Yesterday for some odd reason my bb (and beside my bb) was sore and irritated. Nothing major, just a bit of a surprise. The muscle spasms in my abs has lessened (thank goodness!).

My workouts are going well. I’ve trained with my trainer the last three evenings—legs/squats, lower/upper back, and chest/shoulders. Yesterday as part of the chest workout I did pushups and felt a bit of discomfort in my abs. I didn’t complain to my trainer but he sensed (I guess from my body language) that I was hurting. He asked if it was too much and I explained that I can’t “baby” my abs. While he agreed, he said there is a line you can’t cross. He said my head and body will know where that line is and when I get to that point I MUST pull back and stop. I made it through four sets of pushups—and the more I did the less pain I felt.

On the days I don’t train with my trainer I do a weight workout on my own (on body parts that haven’t been done for awhile). I’ve discovered that my abs don’t like pull ups. However, again, if I push through a couple sets of them the pain seems to lessen.

I’m at the point in my post-surgery journey where healing is going well and feel I need to push the threshold a bit. I’m not going to be silly and injure myself but I can’t remain in one spot.

I’ve been struggling for a couple months with not having a goal. For the past year my goal has been weight loss and I’ve been extremely focused and relentless in achieving that goal. Now that I’ve more less arrived at my goal, I feel like I’m wandering with no purpose. I’ve decided my next goal is to go indoor rock climbing. For some of you this may seem like no big deal, however, for someone who is a “recovering former-couch potato” this is a huge deal! I attempted rock climbing about 5 years ago but didn’t do well…at all! (understatement!) I talked this through with my trainer yesterday and he seemed quite pleased with this goal. He is going to do some research so that he can customize my workouts to help me meet this goal. I will be doing a trial run to see how I do now, and then go again in a couple months to see if I can better my time. Of course, I didn’t even THINK about my abs when I first thought about this idea. My trainer thinks it may be a challenge but is something worth aiming for. We’ll see! So…BRING IT ON!

Trust you are all healing and enjoying your results. Wishing all my American RSs a Happy Thanksgiving!

Itching...Make it Stop! (post 19 weeks)

Quick update....I'M SOOOOO itchy! Not sure if anyone else is dealing with itchy tt scars but there are some times I feel I could scratch until I'm raw. I'm still putting bio oil on and was hoping that would help with dry skin...IF that is the cause of the itching. Doesn't seem to be helping. If anyone has some advice I'd gladly welcome it!

My arms are doing well although from time to time the scars are sensitive and my skin feels tight. All the scars are healing nicely.

Workouts are going well at the gym. I still get some pain in the abs with some movements but I am careful not to push it too much. I'm focusing on toning and am seeing more definition especially in my arms. Little did I know a year ago that my arms would look as good as they do now. So excited!

Trust everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving and are healing well!

5 month update

Yesterday was my 5 mth mark since tt and arm lift surgery. Where has the time gone? I was recalling the other day making the decision to go through with the surgery adjustable have to shake my head. They say timing is everything and that is so right. A year ago I don't believe I would have gone through with surgery. Oh, the difference a few months can make.

I'm doing fairy well. My arms are doing well and the incisions are fading slowly. They are thinning out a bit and I don't feel the incision line as much when I touch it.

By far the TT scars are improving. I can't feel the incision line at all and it blends in with the surrounding skin. The scar is improving as well. The itching has lessened (thankfully) over the past month. I still have numbness and am prepared should it never go away. I still have what I refer to as my "baby bump"...a roundness between my bb and incision line. I will be quizzing my PS as to what this is. I didn't expect to have this as a final result, but I'm not even 6 mths so we'll see what he says. I also have a pouch of excess skin above my bb. At my 3 mth appointment the PS said if it still bothered me down the road (a year post sx) we could consider a revision. He indicated it could mean removing 4-5 more inches of skin. I've decided to not panic (yet) about this ;-)

My workouts at the gym have been going well. I'm in a toning phase and I'm seeing more definition in my upper body especially. I have always been ashamed of my body and can clearly remember as a teenager NEVER wearing shorts during the summer and always purchasing long sleeved or three-quarter length sleeved tops. I even remember wearing a turtleneck to a youth function one August! To now be able to wear tank tops at the gym and actually see my deltoid, bicep and shoulder muscles "pop" when doing weights makes me downright giddy. I still can't believe that I'm that woman in the mirror.

Yesterday I tried planks for the first time since surgery (thanks Fitbug for the encouragement to give it a try). Wow...it felt good to give it a try and (as you warned, Fitbug) my abs were screaming. I was able to get 3 sets of 30 second planks (on my toes) and 3 sets of 45-60 seconds (on my knees). It's a start! My abs are "noticeable" today...more tightness than outright pain but, it's a start!

So that is my updated! Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas!

Revision in My Future...? (5.5 mth post op)

It feels like a year since I’ve last posted. Well, I know it was in 2014! Today I had my 6 month post op appointment with my PS, even though I’m not quite 5.5 mths post op.

Overall the appointment went well. My arm incisions are still red and raised a bit. The nurse suggested that I keep massaging them. That, of course, would imply that I’ve BEEN massaging them. I stopped doing that at about 2 months. So, I’ll start massaging again.

The tt incision mark looks good. Faded and, as the nurse said, nice and low. There were two areas of my tt that have been starred causing me concern that I wanted to mention to the doctor.

The doctor pulled out the before pictures they took prior to my surgery and you could have knocked me over with a feather as I stared in disbelief at the picture. I was shocked by the transformation from the disgusting picture on his computer screen to what I see in the mirror each morning. Did I really have that much hanging skin at one time? Unbelievable. Talk about confirmation that the surgery was the right thing to do! (I am waiting for the doctor’s office to put the pics on my jump stick. We also did a “photo shoot” today so once I get the pics back I’ll upload everything.)

So…the first area of concern is what I refer to (lovingly, of course) as my “baby bump”. It is between my incision and bb and makes me look like I’m 4 mths pregnant. Now, I’ve never been pregnant so it has been interesting to see what I would have looked like pregnant. But, after several months of expecting flat and getting this, I’m over the look and want it gone! :-) The doctor poked and prodded the area to get an idea of what we are dealing with. (NOTE: Normally the poking doesn’t bother me but I had to go to the bathroom REALLY badly! I know, “too much information!”) He has indicated that he could resolve it by doing a revision which would include a bit of lipo. At my original consult he indicated that I had very little fat and it was mainly excess skin that was the issue.

If I proceed, the plan is that he would cut about 6-8 inches along my original incision line, lipo the area of concern and then pull the skin tight again. Total surgery time: 90 minutes. Recovery would be 5-7 days, no drains and I could be back at the gym in 3-4 weeks. There will be a charge for the revision to cover nurse/anesthesiologist. He would wave his fee. He also said I could book it at any time (didn’t have to wait for the year since my first surgery to be up).

The second area of concern is in an area between my bra line and my bb. Excess skin in this area was a source of concern for me. So…I mentioned it to the PS again to see what his read on it is. He took a good look at it and said that if I wanted to fix it, he would be open to that but he didn’t feel it was necessary. It would be considered a different surgery so there would be cost involved and recovery, etc., not to mention a vertical scar. Now, I’m not a bathing suit (let alone a bikini)-wearing mamma, so that is not a hardship for me.

From where I sit now, I feel like I could live with the second area of concern (excess skin in the bra line/bb area). As the doctor said, when sitting down, everyone has a roll of skin—even 90 lb gymnasts with 0% body fat. It is when in the standing position that too much skin revealed needs to be cared for. In his opinion, my tt results are good. I agree…compared with my before pictures the hanging skin is not NEARLY as noticeable when standing. While I still don’t like that I have a roll of skin, having seen the before pictures I feel greater peace. The other thing I am taking into consideration is that the excess skin is the remnant of 40+ years of abuse I subjected my body to with being overweight and obese. Having reached 270 lbs at 24 years of age, and having worked hard over time to lose that weight, it is inevitable to think that there wouldn’t be some sort of a price to pay. If this (the remaining excess skin) is the price I have to pay, at this point I think I’m okay with that. At this point, I’m not prepared to invest more money or recovery time into a surgery for this area.

I am, however, leaning heavily on proceeding with the revision in the “baby bump” area as this would (I feel) make a significant difference in how my clothing fit and how I feel (i.e. in a straight skirt or dress I no longer will have a small bump).

Feel free to respond if anyone has any feedback.
Thanks, you wonderful RSers!!!

6 Month Anniversary Pics

Well, today is 6 mths since my tt and arm lift surgery. Still can't believe it's been that long...seems like only a month or two. I'm still numb below my bb but am doing well otherwise. I'm still struggling (as most do) with ab work but am slowly getting there.

In a week I begin a strength phase at the gym. That basically means lifting heavy weights for 6-8 reps with a goal of increasing the weight over a 6-week period. I'm looking forward to it but admit I'm a wee bit nervous as far as my abs are concerned. Last time I was in a strength phase (pre-tt and arm lift) I was squatting 135 lbs and doing 160 lb dead lifts. To do these and other lifts (I.e. Chest) I’m going to need to engage the core which means my abs. We'll see how it goes!

I'm posting my 6-mth pics I just took. Over the last week I seem to have developed something on my tummy that looks like a rash (below my bb). I've no idea what it is (anyone care to offer suggestions as to what it may be?).
The PS's nurse was thrilled with my tt incision...said it was nice and low. The doctor has agreed to a revision on the bump under my bb. Said he'd lipo and pull the skin down a bit. The excess skin above my bb needs to be removed but that would be a whole other surgery and I'm not sure about that just yet. I haven't booked the revision. I was leaning towards May but I'm wondering if there would be an advantage to waiting a bit (to see if perhaps once things settle there may be additional skin to remove).

The arm scars are still raised a bit and red. There are parts of the incisions where they are flat and faded. I am now massaging them again in the hopes that they will fade and thin completely. Although they are noticeable I am not ashamed of them (as I thought I might be). At the gym I wear a tank top (first time in my life I would EVER wear a tank top anywhere (really!) To me, the scars are a reminder of the road I've traveled--from being morbidly obese (270 lbs at my heaviest) to working hard and losing the weight on my own through clean eating and exercise (now tipping the scale at 145 lbs).

Happy healing to you all!

No "Slap, Slap", Make me Happy, Happy!" (6.5 mth post op)

Well...today for the first time since surgery I did mountain climbers at the gym with my trainer. The first thing I noticed was that my abs didn’t hurt...at all! No tight feeling...nothing! Yes! The second thing I noticed was the absence of slapping skin (the excess tummy skin used to slap against my legs when i did the climbing motion). Before tt surgery last July I was so embarrassed by the slapping noise--I felt that everyone in the gym must be able to hear it. It was truly a source of embarrassment that I could do nothing to control. Today I did 40 mountain climbers (3 sets of 40, in fact) and no "Slap, slap"! That made me "Happy, happy!"

I've also noticed the "Slap, slap" is absent when I run up and down stairs. SO happy about all the little "bonuses" that are being enjoyed as a result of my tt. Well worth it!

On Monday last week I started trying to lose the 3-4 lbs I gained over the holidays. I've adjusted my diet a bit and upped the cardio and weights (was at the gym 3 times today--yes, that's excessive!). So far I'm down 3. I'm now aiming for 2-5 lb more by the end of the month. Not sure if that is obtainable but I'm trying.. In March I'm starting a strength phase at the gym (lifting and squating heavy weight loads) and my weight will most likely go up (muscle weight). While that isn’t a bad thing, it does mess with my head a bit (because of the obese issues I've overcome recently). I’m perking along! Onward and upward!

HAPPY HEALING to all, and to all a good night!

Life is Filled with Newness

When I set up my RealSelf account I chose my description as “47 and Discovering the New Me”. This year has been a year of discovery. I feel like I've grown so much over this past year. In late July I had tt and arm lift surgery and in early August I reached my 80 lb weight loss "goal”. Since that time my focus has been on sustaining and learning to love my life.

For many of you who have battled weight you know well the uphill struggle it is to lose weight. What I NEVER thought I would encounter was the mental battle that is often a huge part of weight loss. I've had a significant challenge in trying to change my mental image of myself. While the mirror reveals a slender version of my former (morbidly) obese body, my mind still sees piles of weight and sagging skin. While I’ve recently lost 80 lbs, in essence from my highest weight ever, the loss has been 130 lbs.

When I first started my weight loss journey a little over a year and a half ago, my trainer (bless his heart) gently warned me that although getting fit and changing my eating to a healthier lifestyle would be a challenge, I needed to be prepared mentally for a struggle. Last summer when the battle really began, I was at a loss to know how to handle it.

My trainer has been a God-send in mentally working through the challenges. He encouraged me to find a counsellor who would be able to speak into my life and help with some of the challenges. It took me time to muster the courage but 6 weeks ago I took the big step forward and have sought some counsel and guidance. There have been tears but many smiles too as I am learning how food, fat and my corrupt lifestyle did more than add pounds of weight to my frame. Although I will always have a struggle with low self-esteem and trying to work this all through, I’m in a better place than I was.

As I said to my counsellor, I feel as though I’ve come out of a “fat comma” and I’m experiencing so many new things for the very first time.

In addition, I think there MAY just be a special someone in my life for the first time ever. That’s right…a 48 year old woman experiencing what MAY be love for the first time. Our eighth “coffee date” is tonight and I’m just now beginning to enjoy the process. This is SO new to me that I’m still trying to learn what all these feelings are and mean. I’m learning to stop wondering why this misguided soul would choose to spend an evening with me ? and enjoy it for what it is.

I can’t say for certain that my tt/arm lift surgery was the beginning of all this newness, but I can say without a doubt that the surgeries were paramount in me feeling more confident about myself and ready to start the rest of my life with joy.

Wishing my RS sisters and brothers great joy in your journey!

Revision Surgery Scheduled!

Well, I am sitting at just shy of 11mths since my surgery. All in all I'm pleased with where I'm at. I still have numbness around my bb but that is okay. I do, however still have my baby bump, a "lump" of sorts under my bb. I mentioned it to my surgeon at 3 mth and 6 mth appointments and he has agreed that a revision would be needed to resolve that. I've booked the surgery ahead of my consult with the doctor as I don't want to wait longer than necessary. Surgery is booked for August 11 and the consult is June 23rd.

I had hoped to have the surgery earlier (July) but kept getting cold feet. You see, I hadn't told my boyfriend about my surgery and was afraid he would think me silly for deciding to have it in the first place, let alone consider revision surgery. It came up in discussion a week ago and I began telling him and he said he had figured it out already. He supports my decision related to revision surgery which is HUGE. He has been incredibly supportive and said I should do what I feel necessary to help me accept my body and improve my body image and self-esteem.. I'm ashamed that I sold him so short.

I've not mentioned to him but I'm considering lipo of various areas (back, thigh, sides or buttocks) that are resistant to weight training. My only concern is whether it would leave too much hanging skin. My initial surgery was mainly removing skin with very little lipo. I need to read up on it. If anyone has advice I'd gladly welcome it.

Happy One Year Anniversary...Revision is Coming!

Today I'm celebrating one full year (to the day) since my tummy tuck and arm lift surgery. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat!!! Sure, there were some bumps along the way, but ultimately I'm in a far better place today because of the surgery.

I had my consult for a tt revision and will have that procedure on August 11th. During the consult I inquired about some other areas of concern (namely my sides, back and area under my breasts). I was very pleased that he confirmed that 99.7% of my "problem area" is actually skin and not fat as my mind has been telling me over the past 4-6 months. We talked through the situation and my expectations, etc., and I've come to the conclusion that I need to accept the remainder of the hanging skin as part of my new body. From my understanding of our conversation, he indicated that he certainly COULD do another surgery in the greatest area of concern but because of where it is located and the procedure he would do, the results would be minimal and would only last a brief time before gravity takes over and reverses the work he has done. I feel much more at peace about the decision than if I had simply "sucked it up" without having him "read into" the situation. So...I've decided to push forward and enjoy the body that I have!

Now, the revision surgery will not be as extensive as a year ago, only 90 minutes, and he said drains will not be needed. Also, he indicated I would not need to wear a compression garment (CG). I'd be interested to know whether others who have been through a revision wore a CG the second time around. To me it seems a smart move.

Revision is just days away! Yikes!

Well, my revision date is quickly approaching. Next Tuesday (Aug 11) I am having the tt revision surgery done. My tt and arm surgery last year went well. My doctor said the excess skin was the major work done with little lipo in the tummy area. As I healed it became apparent there is a little "bump" of fat and skin that needs to be removed between the original incision and my new bb. I'm very hopeful that the final results will reveal a complete flat tummy below my bb. Throughout this past year I've wondered if I could "do" without having it cared for but I sincerely feel like I'm pregnant because of the bump and I feel self-conscious. At this point I'm not at all nervous about the surgery as I have confidence in my doctor and my first surgery experience was so very positive. (Although I may get nervous as the surgery morning approaches!)

I've found myself busy trying to get the house in order knowing I'll be off for some recovery and won't be able to do the day to day things. Just hope I don't forget the obvious things that are needed before surgery. Hoping to have everything on my "to do" list done by Monday morning so that I can relax and enjoy some down time before surgery.

Best wishes for all on the healing trail.

Revision didn't go as planned...

Today is the first day of recovery following a "tummy tuck revision" yesterday. Last July I had a full tummy tuck as well as an arm lift. I had a couple areas of concern with my tt: one right below my new belly button (that I called my "baby bump" as it was a small mound of fat and excess skin). The second area was a fair amount of hanging skin under my breasts. Early on in my recovery I mentioned this to my surgeon but he recommended we wait to see how the recovery went.

In June we again discussed both areas of concern and we agreed to remove the baby bump with an initial plan to reopen the original incision by about 4-6 inches so that lipo could be done and the excess skin could be pulled down. We discussed the other area of concern(excess skin under my breasts) but he indicated it would not be a part of the tt revision. While I was disappointed with that mutual decision, I respect my surgeon's recommendations and abilities, knowing he has my best interest at heart.

Yesterday I went for surgery and a resident student who was at the clinic doing a cosmetic surgery rotation had the "privilege" of drawing the pre-surgery lines on me. He marked the areas that he felt needed revision. As the two doctors discussed my situation my heart began to soar. The outcome: another full tummy tuck was done including a full cut, lipo of my flanks (thrilled about that!), a bit of tightening of the ab muscles (following surgery the doctor mentioned he pulled me VERY tight (!), detaching my bb, pulling skin up from my mons area and down from the bra area and cutting a new bb hole.

I arrived home last night in much more pain than last year. I slept much of today and am trying to keep on top of my pain pills. My boyfriend (bless his heart) has taken wonderful care of me and has confirmed his suspicion that I make a terrible patient (okay...so I struggle to accept help).

I am SO excited by the surgery! The night before I was taking pictures and had moments of disappointment and regret as I knew that the surgery I was scheduled to have would not give me the outcome I wanted. The change in plans, however, has given me hope.

My recovery has gone from 1 week to 2 weeks with the new surgery, and I will not be able to return to the gym most likely for another 6 weeks (instead of the planned 3).

I am extremely thankful to Dr. Shenker for his willingness to change the original plan. He made me extremely happy!!!!!

Day 4 following TT "revision" surgery

Yesterday I had my first shower since surgery. Last year after the first tt surgery I came way too close to passing out from the shower. This time I took it slower...left the bathroom door open and fan on so heat didn't build up, took the bandages off before getting in the tub, used a shower chair. Didn't have any issues this time. The sight of the scars and extent of the surgery is overwhelming but I had an idea of what to expect.

My drain is ready to come out so I'll do that Monday. I'm extremely swollen -- look like an inflated beachball --but I've hope that will go down. My bb seems higher than before, my incisions has been raised high than previously because the mons area was pulled higher. My upper ab area (under my bra line but above my bb) is quite swollen and hard. Not sure what this will all look like a year from now but am excited to see the change.

New Lease on Life!

It's now been almost 5 months since my tt revision and I am thrilled with the results. My recovery from this surgery was much smoother and quicker than the original surgery (mind you I was also recovery from arm lift surgery at the same time).

My stomach area is nice and flat and I am thrilled. I love how my hip bones are noticeable--not used to seeing bones! :) The scar has not faded much but that is because I've not been as attentive as the first time around with the massaging and scar cream.

I had my 3 month follow up appointment in November and the nurse who works with the doctor said there is no need to go back so I'm a free woman!

And...for the first time IN MY LIFE I will be "rocking" a bathing suit on a beach come May when I'm on my honeymoon! Yes...I'm getting married. God has blessed my life with a wonderful man who has been able to look past the physical scars from surgery and the emotional scars that I'm still dealing with following a life of being morbidly obese. Following surgery he was present and active keeping me comfortable and encouraging me through recovery. Today he is just as encouraging and is the main reason why I bought a bathing suit in the first place. I've purchased my wedding gown--a figure-hugging lace gown--and I'm now working to tone up my upper body so that I can do my dress justice!

For those who may be reading this and considering tt surgery I wholeheartedly encourage you to take a serious look at this step. It is an outlay of money, but it is also a huge investment in yourself--your self esteem and body image will thank you. It has given me the courage to look in the mirror and begin to like the person that I see staring back in me. No more do I see the sagging apron of skin around my mid-section. Very thankful for the new lease on life that I am enjoying!
Waterloo Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Shenker was my surgeon and came highly recommended. He was very thorough and gave me the impression that I was the most important patient on his docket. He seemed excited by the potential he saw in my case and had my best interest in mind. Post surgery he called me at home that evening and answered my questions. He left me with his home and cell number with instructions that if I had any concerns I should not hesitate to contact him. I was, and continue to be very impressed by him and his staff.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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