Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I'm a normal person again!

I’m now so many days post-op that when I refer to it in days I want to slap myself like when people talk about their baby being 32 months old.  But sometimes I hate saying “I’m 6.14159 weeks out…”  But so anyway, today is the 7 week mark exactly so that’s easy math.

More important than the weeks, I can do everything a normal person can do again basically!  I had an appointment with the doc last Saturday and don’t have to see him again until June, so that means he is OK setting me into the wild on my own to do things and trust that I won’t die, start seizing, exploding or pop anything, etc.  He said I could start working out again, lay out in the sun, and basically whatever the fuck I want, or something close to that.  He said to keep wearing some kind of compression on my stomach and arms because the more/longer I do it, the better the results tend to be, but left when and how I do that up to me.  So, I ordered some Spanx-y type stuff that is less bulky than my fug Velcro binder, and figure I will still wear something on my stomach and arms most of the time, but may start to reduce it a bit.

I also went back to the gym Monday and yesterday and I lived to talk about it!  Monday was pretty awful.  It actually wasn’t awful in that I expected everything to feel messed up, and like my body parts were going to fall off or my incisions would burst open, but surgery-wise I felt fine and totally normal.  But my lungs started burning for oxygen very shortly in and I only got through 13 minutes before I had to stop and walk, although I did do another 6 minutes after that and it felt better and less murderous.  Yesterday I did 23 minutes, walked for 3, then 4 more, and I didn’t really feel that close to death any of the time.  I did go a little bit slower than normal but all in all, I feel like eventually I will be back to some kind of acceptable physical condition.

And, I’m going to Vegas this weekend and bought bikinis to wear in PUBLIC and I’m not nervous about it.  What is this shit?!  We’ll see how it goes.  There is still a pretty noticeable difference in swelling from morning to evening, especially after I work out, but it’s not that bad compared to horror stories I’ve heard.  Or to the swelling abomination I was experiencing in weeks 2-3.  I’m actually really glad I took 90 million pictures constantly because yesterday I was looking back on pics from the last 7 weeks and it’s crazy to see how much the results have changed and morphed as my body has recovered and the swelling has subsided.  I even put together a collage that probably took more time than it should have but it’s helpful all the same.  You can see how bad the swelling got in the 3rd picture and then how it finally chilled the fuck out a little after that, which is when the doctor opened me up to wash all the nasty out.  I’m not sure how much more it will continue to change from here, but I’m really happy with the results as they are so if it stays as is, it was SO worth it.  This just reminded me that I need to post more arm pictures soon.

I had my second recorded weigh-in today and was down 3 pounds from last week which is confusing and will not survive Vegas, but it was 5 pounds lower than my lowest ever which I saw for 5 minutes in February 2013, so the number was like, SHIT, is this happening?  I had a decent week but drank a lot on Saturday so I’m not really sure why I’m down so much, but I expect to see it back up a bit next week.  Will try to post again soon!

Friday, April 24, 2015

6+ Weeks Post-Surgery, My Fitness Pal, that's about it

I passed the 6 week post-op mark on Wednesday and have my next follow-up appointment with the doc tomorrow.  I still can’t probably fairly characterize myself as 6 weeks out since I’m still a bit more limited than others at this point due to the second procedure 3 weeks ago, but I’m feeling pretty damn awesome.  No setbacks at all since my last post or since the drain came back out.  I can sleep on both sides or even lay on my stomach which I couldn't do before.  I can walk around and reach stuff and be up and about and on my feet for major stretches of time and not want to die.  I can bone (you’re welcome for that).  I can eat normally.  I’m back to normal at work and can do court appearances.  And aside from not wearing a lot of short-sleeved stuff most of the time because I’m mostly still wearing my arm wraps, I can wear all of my normal clothes even over the binder.  I remember thinking not all that long ago that I would never feel back to normal again, and yet normal just kind of snuck up on me!

I’m going to ask the doctor a bunch of random questions tomorrow about my next steps from here.  Mostly I want to see if I’m cleared to start working out, though I’ll take that slow and ease into things like running and lifting, even if he gives me the go-ahead.  I've been able to start putting bio oil on my arm incisions (helps the scars fade) for the past 2 weeks so hopefully I can start doing the same on my stomach now.  I think I have to wear the arm wraps for another week or 2 (though they’re just to protect the incision and not for compression at this point, so sometimes I take them off when I want to rock the bare guns) and will be wearing the binder or some kind of compression garment around my stomach at least part-time for awhile still.  Everyone says the binder is hard to part with because it helps control the swelling and your stomach just feels naked without it.  It’s true!  It feels weird to not have that tight Velcro bitch on.  Even though recently I got gum all over it which is a long stupid story in itself but suffice it to say it now looks like someone died in that thing.  Luckily I just have normal swelling now, usually worse at night.  It will probably get bad when I start working out more intensely.  But even at its worst it doesn't feel bothersome and it still looks good.  And I still get excited every morning to see it looking all flat and shit.

I recorded my weight for the first time on Wednesday so that will be my new baseline weight I guess going forward.  It was down 10 pounds from my last weigh-in and 9 pounds from the morning of surgery, and is 2 pounds lower than the lowest ever which I hit for 5 minutes in February 2013.  So that’s coo.  I’m trying to be aware of the fact that in the month leading up to surgery, I was struggling a bit with my eating and on the highest end of my usual weight fluctuations, so I don’t want to think of the surgery as a free pass or a cure-all for any poor eating I was previously having.  I switched to My Fitness Pal right before surgery so that I could track my protein and sodium more effectively, but it turns out I like it so much that I think I might cancel my WW membership after 800 years.  I haven’t tracked on WW since before surgery and while I think both are equally effective programs/tools, I like the layout and function of MFP better and it’s also free and doesn't have major technical issues every 5 minutes like WW does.  It just feels weird to officially end my WW tenure.  But, I can always go back to it and I've been a much more diligent tracker on MFP than I had been on WW for quite awhile now, so I think it’s been a good transition for the time being.

I’ll post some new pics soon and hopefully update after tomorrow’s appointment.  Fingers crossed that the doctor is like, yeah girl, lookin good, do thefuq you want!  Or something like that.  I don't know if I should tell him I'm going to Vegas next Friday because I don't want him to yell at me.  And I might just inquire gently about getting my thighs done and see what that is all about, but that’s a different story for a different year.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Past the one month mark, KILLIN IT

So, the new drain came out at my appointment on Friday morning.  I had mixed feelings about that because of course I wanted that nasty sack of death out of my body, but it was also what helped me go from feeling like shit to being a functional human being again.  So, I was feeling pretty paranoid on Friday about how my body would adjust, and then Friday night the paranoia got worse when I noticed my body noticeably more swollen than it was that morning.  When I first heard of the concept of swelling after surgery I pictured something like bloating, like that blah stuffed feeling after a big meal, but it’s totally its own beast that I can’t really describe. The stomach feels hard and the skin feels pulled tight and it’s just an odd feeling. I should also add, my concerns weren’t aesthetic- I know that swelling is temporary and doesn’t reflect how I’ll look later.  Swelling is also totally normal but given how my body reacted to it the last time, I was mildly panicking that it was the beginning of the end.  Again.

Then I woke up on Saturday and it was exactly the day I needed to have and which totally validated my decision to have surgery.  Two weeks ago I was like, FUCK SURGERY.  Saturday I was like, should I get my tits done?!  I felt amazing and energetic, the swelling had gone down, and I was thrilled with how things looked when I took off my binder to shower. Here are some updated pics from Saturday morning. Aside from being very pleased with the shape, I can't believe how nice the left side of my incision looks (the right side is where he re-opened it to put the drain back in, so that will take a bit longer to heal). The random marks/discoloration are from the tape holding the gauze on which is a total bitch to get off, but I think all of the bruising is totally gone.

(Please don't judge the fugly underwear.  I had my mom get me some of the biggest ugliest underoos she could find, like legit grocery store 3-pack of Hanes briefs, to wear when I had the drains in.  OK fine, judge me anyway, I do too.)

I was already happy with how things looked but then had to press my luck further by weighing myself and was really excited to see that I was down almost 10 pounds from the morning of surgery. Some of that is probably from the skin removed and some of that is probably the result of not being able to overeat (and not going out to eat/drink for a month) so it may go back up a little bit now that I can actually eat and binge drink again, which I completely expect. I know I should avoid the scale for another couple of weeks since that money will fluctuate, but it still felt good to see. THEN, I decided to try on my normal jeans over my binder to see how that would go. I had tried on a pair of work pants a size bigger than my normal about 10-11 days after surgery and between the binder and the swelling, they were snug. Last week I was able to get back into normal work clothes, and then on Saturday my normal jeans were a little loose even with the binder on, so that felt amazing.

Anyway, I definitely went out and enjoyed myself way more than I have in a long time this weekend (i.e. drank all day and blacked out around 10 pm) so I’m pretty exhausted from that, but otherwise feeling very good and very excited about things.  Let’s hope it stays that way!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Day 29.. Holy shit it's almost been a month

I can’t believe it’s been almost a month.  Partly because it doesn't seem like that long ago but partly because in some ways I feel more limited and gimpy than I would have expected at this juncture.  But truthfully, I've been feeling so much better this week, even working full days all week, that it feels like things are good and hopefully will continue to get better.

Really my biggest limitation at this point is having a drain in.  It makes it kind of annoying to dress around because I need to wear a baggy/long enough shirt to cover it, though I could probably try more creative options for concealing it if I was so inclined.  I have my next follow-up with the doctor tomorrow morning and I’m hoping it comes out then, but if it’s still draining more than he wants, I have no problem with him taking a more conservative approach and leaving it in a few more days and avoiding a repeat of the last debacle.  It’ll just make my weekend wear a bit more challenging!  I’m planning to finally go out and socialize and see people and have a few-ish beers this weekend, and I’m doing that drain or no drain.

Anyway, in most other ways life is back to normal.  I've worn real work pants to work twice this week as opposed to just wearing leggings forever.  I've worn a baggier pair of crops in my current size and I’m currently wearing a pair of regular dress pants in a size up, but both have fit fine over my binder and the pants today have some extra room to give.  I imagine without the binder I’d be able to wear my normal stuff just fine, and probably could even with, but I want to be comfortable.  I’ve got enough layers on as it is. 

My curiosity also finally got the best of me on Sunday afternoon and I decided to weigh myself.  I’m glad I did it later in the day, after brunch, so that my expectations would be low and I really had no idea whatsoever what to expect.  I was down 7 pounds from the morning of surgery, but who knows if I will end up higher, lower, or right about that when all is said and done.  I was hoping/trying to wait 6 weeks before weighing myself so I’ll probably try to get to that point, or close to it, before weighing again because my body is doing so many weird things right now that it seems kind of pointless anyway.

I think my appetite is basically back to normal.  I’m still eating more boring meals but mostly because I have been trying to ease back into cooking since I’m a bit more tired at the end of the day, but I’m pretty close to normal.  I've also been sleeping well, and haven’t had any breathing/coughing issues since he drained the excess fluid to relieve the swelling.  I still feel like I’m several weeks away from any major working out.  I’ll probably start by walking on the treadmill or outside in another week or two, but running or lifting seems really difficult to fathom right now, so I’m not going to rush into that until I’m feeling good.  All in all, very few complaints!  Here are some pictures from Sunday.. a little bit of swelling but not too much, the hunchback is really sexy though.  Don’t look if the drains - or incision, or my existence generally - gross you out.

Going into surgery, I thought about the possibility of getting my thighs done sometime next year.  Then after the recent complications I was like, fuck this shit, no more elective surgery ever.  Now that I seem to be through the worst of it, I'm kind of like, well maaaaybeeeee.  And maybe a butt lift.  OK fine no that's too much.  Is it?  I'll revisit in a few.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Moving backwards, then kind of forward. I don't know. It's not really linear.

Things were going well, until they weren't. Last Tuesday (the 24th) I noticed that I had been having some majorly increased swelling in my stomach which I know is normal. I went back to work on Wednesday and that was the beginning of the end, work totally knocked me out but I went in again for about 7 hours on Thursday before going home and dying a slow death on the couch. Friday morning I almost passed out in the shower. Meanwhile, swelling had continued to get worse and it made it harder to eat and breathe normally. 

My doctor was out of the country last week so I tried to get in to see his partner last Friday but he was also not in that day, and I began feeling a little better. Saturday the swelling got worse and more painful and by Saturday night I noticed my stomach and upper pube area near the incision had turned dark red and Sunday morning I was peeing some blood so that's always fun. I texted the doctor who was still out of town but he called and looked at my pics and said it was a hematoma which is common and easily taken care of but would need to be drained.

So, this past Monday morning I went in to see him and he drained some of the blood/fluid right in the exam room using a needle in my stomach (which fortunately didn't hurt at all since my stomach is/was still numb from surgery) but said that because there was so much fluid he'd need to open me back up. So, that happened on Wednesday (with 2 really awful TMI days of non-painful but disgustingness in between) and he stitched me back up and now I'm feeling much better. Or more like, back to how I was feeling around day 12. Which is frustrating when you want to be feeling day 23 good. And I've got a drain back in, but honestly after the past week I'll gladly take that beast again.

Anyway, so that's been a bitch and I've had to use way more work days off than planned. On the other hand, my arms look and feel fantastic and the doctor said they've been healing really really well so I'm very psyched about that.  Here are some arm pics (right/top is from day 17, left/bottom is from today so swelling fluctuates some) and will update again soonish.