(This is a repost of prior post with no new content, but with proper formatting).
Surgery was two weeks ago today (on Monday, May 9th). So, time for a few musings. Tomorrow I go in to get the rest of my stitches out and I sure hope I can wear makeup soon.
1. It has both been harder and easier than I expected. I know that sounds weird, but is the best way I can explain it. The surgery took more out of me and exhausted me more than I expected. But, when I think of all that was done, it is amazing to me that I look as well as I look now and feel as well as I feel.
2. The pain wasn't terrible at any point. I will say the first couple of days it was worse than could be handled adequately with one pain pill. I did have my husband call the doctor's office and got permission to take 2. That really helped. But, at this point, I haven't had a pain pill in several days. I will have one in the morning since I am getting sutures out, but probably won't have any more. There are other things that were harder to deal with than the pain.
3. Getting enough sleep was a challenge. I have a lot of trouble sleeping at the best of times and sleeping on my back is very difficult. The first few days I got almost no sleep even sleeping in a recliner (an absolute necessity for me). The doctor at my first post-op visit prescribed valium and taking that with a reduced amount of pain medication gave me several nights of great sleep. But, once I didn't need the pain pills and stopped taking the valium a few days ago I started having huge problems sleeping again. I so hope I will be able to sleep on my side in another week or so.
4. I was way more tired than I expected to be. On the one hand I didn't feel that awful once I got the pain issue squared away. But I got tired so easily. There were several days that I just think the entire day was sleeping, icing my eyes and eating so I could take meds. Now, I am much more active, but I get tired very easily. That is an odd feeling for me. Maybe it is because of age, but maybe it is just the healing process. I expected to be more active more quickly. I have to consciously remember that I am still really in a fairly early stage of healing despite how well it looks on the outside.
5. Swelling, particularly of my eyes, was much worse than I expected. I was warned, but the reality was just worse than I anticipated. Those first few days when I couldn't see hardly anything were hard. I couldn't read or watch TV or do anything. I just got lots of practice icing my eyes. That said, it wasn't nearly as painful as it looks like in the photos and it is over now. The swelling in my lower face and neck is expected, but still weird. When I feel the side of my lower face or my neck it sort of feels like there is concrete stuffed in there. Very odd feeling. It isn't painful, just strange. I also wondered what people meant when they said their neck felt tight. Now I understand. It isn't painful, exactly, but is a strange feeling. I know it can last for awhile, so I have to be patient.
6. I had read about how sometimes people become depressed after surgery and I thought it was odd how the information from the doctor talked about this so much. I haven't been depressed, but I understand better now how that can happen. It is disconcerting to not recognize yourself in the mirror. Even though you know objectively that you are barely healing, it is hard to look and see something that is in the early stages of healing. For example, my eyes. Most of the stitches are gone and they function, but the scars are very raised and obvious right now. Objectively, I know they will flatten out and become much less obvious. 2 weeks is really nothing in terms of healing. But, it is still hard to look at. I have faith it will all work out, but I can see how it is hard to maintain that faith during early healing. And, recovery can be rough and when the expected results just aren't visible yet, it can be hard. I am patient and know those things will come but I can see how it can be hard, particularly if healing is slower than expected.
7. I can't stress too much how truly odd it is to look in the mirror and look different. Yes, I have now healed enough that I can compare before and after photos and can see it is the same person. And, I definitely like the direction it is going. But, it is still strange to look in the mirror and just not look like what you looked like before (even if some of the differences are positive ones). It may be more of an issue for me because I lost 65 pounds over the last few years. I can't look back at a picture from 10 or 15 years ago because I am so different in those pictures due to weight. And, it is even worse, that I am in the early stages of healing. For example, I can already tell I will love my eyes so much more than the ones I hated to look at before. I hated having photos taken in the past because I hated the droopy eyes with lots of loose skin. I can already see that is gone. But...I am still very much early stage. As I mentioned, those incisions haven't flattened out yet. And, I still have cholesterol deposits below my eyes that will be removed later. So, yes, I can see the work is in progress but I still don't really look like me or know where I will end up. I feel confident it will be a good place, but it still seems odd to look at a face and know that it isn't your old face and it isn't where it will be a month or two from now either. It is a real feeling of uncertainty. You have to have faith that the results you want will be there, but it is still odd.
8. I really want to wear makeup. I'm not a big makeup person but I so much want to be able to hide the bruises on the sides of my face and to work a little with the eyes, etc. I have really tried as best I can to be meticulous at following the doctor's instructions, but I sure hope I get released on this one soon.
9. I've found that life is much easier for me if I just don't care if someone knows that I had this surgery. Today, I went out for the first time (other than to the doctor). We had dinner at Panera. I did wear a hat and sunglasses but I had bruises on my cheeks. I thought there was a good chance no one would notice due to my hair and hat. But, bottom line, I decided I didn't care of they did. I work from home and when I was telling a couple of colleagues I would be away due to surgery, they were clearly concerned although trying hard not to ask me what was wrong. I finally just said to heck with it and told them I was having facial cosmetic surgery. It made everything ever so much easier. I have a weight loss blog and I had to really think about how to handle this on there. My weight loss is a big reason I am having this surgery and a future tummy tuck and breast lift. I ended up posting about the surgery and posting my before pics and some of my post-surgery pics. I recognize that by doing that someone who knows me in real life may find those pics. I just decided I didn't care. While I probably won't volunteer I had the surgery, I am not going out of my way to keep it a secret either. It is just easier to me that way (I recognize other people have different situations).
10. OK, 10th and last thought. I follow Weight Watchers (which is how I lost my weight) and am a lifetime member at goal weight. The first week after surgery I wasn't very hungry and didn't eat much compared to usual. I wear a Fitbit (except the day of surgery) and I record everything I eat. During the first week of recovery, my husband wrote down everything I ate. Anyway, on paper, over the two weeks I should have gained about half a pound. A week after surgery I was actually up 2 pounds which I think mostly was due to the swelling. On paper, I should have been down about half a pound since I wasn't hungry the first few days after surgery (and ate nothing on surgery day). But, then yesterday I was down 2.8 pounds from the prior Sunday. On paper, I should have gained about 3/4 of a pound this last week. The net over the two weeks is that I am actually down .8 pounds from the day before surgery. So, why do I now weigh about 1.3 pounds less than I would have expected on paper (i.e. calories burned per Fitbit compared to calories eaten). I think that what I've read really is true. Healing burns calories. While it might have seemed like I was a slug for the past 2 weeks, my body was busily working to heal me. All of that work burns calories so I didn't gain any weight. I had gone into surgery with the idea that my goal was to maintain my weight and to eat protein and to try to promote healing. So far that worked out well. I'm glad I gave myself permission to eat whatever I felt like and that would help with healing.