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Sex – Excess Skin and Body Contouring After WLS Weight Loss

I’m a Gastric Bypass patient that has lost 260 lb. I’m a WLS Exercise and Bariatric Fitness Enthusiast and I am now a four time Reconstructive Plastic Surgery patient.

I’ve written several articles that approach the concept of Body Contouring Surgery after WLS or Massive weight loss from a couple different directions, the emotional journey, the body image issues, the pain involved, I’ve even talked about body functions and genital relocation. This next topic shouldn’t shock you at all.

totally-naughty-panda-emoticon-12-1Sex. Yup, Sex, because let me tell you Reconstructive Plastic Surgery affected my sex life in epic proportions.

First, let’s talk a little about sex before plastic surgery…

There is a moment in one of Yvonne McCarthy’s [ Bariatric Girl ] videos when she used to do her show that stuck with me forever when I was a post-op gastric bypass patient looking for information about what the excess skin would be like after my RNY and after my weight loss. She was doing an interview with a gentleman [ WLS Journeys: Guest Ramon Lopez ] that talked about how there was a moment after his weight loss where he heard the sound of clapping during exercise and didn’t realize at first that it was his skin smacking together as he ran. I remembered this story probably more than any other that I had heard pre-op RNY because I knew, it was something I was going to go through later and not a lot of people seemed to discuss the excess skin openly.

I had a very similar moment pre-reconstructive surgery. I was in the middle of a very intimate moment, swinging my hips back and forth and when I realized that my movements were causing my stomach to swing forward and make a skin on skin slapping sound as it swung back. It nearly paralyzed me. Of course, I was reassured that this wasn’t an issue “Stop worrying about noises and just be with me,” but once something like that gets in your head it’s hard to get rid of. This was one of those defining moments for me when it came to skin removal surgery. There were lots of other factors in my decision, just like when I decided to have weight loss surgery to begin with, but this was one of those embarrassing moments that I promised myself I would “fix” so I never had to endure again.

totally-naughty-panda-emoticon-6Let’s talk about how my first few surgeries changed my sex life… guess what.. it made it REALLY difficult. My first surgery, I had a lot of swelling complications, I would say that I was easily what we will refer to as “out of commission” for a good 8-10 weeks. There were big changes in my body after that surgery, parts of me that were numb to the touch and it felt strange to have someone touch me there, see that they were touching me and yet not feel it. I had this spot on my upper thighs that was right about the same place the dogs would run up and put their paws on me at when I was sitting down, and to this day, I still have a duller sensation when I am touched there than before. But it took me getting past the complications, pain, and strange feelings my body was experience before I even wanted to be intimate again.

My next surgery in August changed things for me even more. In this surgery, we took the excess skin out of my breasts and did a breast lift which included relocating the nipple and areola. My breasts were so sensitive it was ridiculous. This surgery probably only knocked me out of commission for another six weeks while everything was healing. But my nipples developed hypersensitivity [ Its not Masturbation its exploratory ]and it was like, if you blew on me those darn things got hard and when it happened it wasn’t a “happy” sexy moment, it was painful, sent shivers through me, and felt very awkward. I had to start working on desensitizing them to touch, and to be honest, it never went back to normal. After about six months it got to a point that my nipples could be involved in sexual play again, but in a completely different way than before…  suddenly my nipples were one of the most sensitive parts of my body in bed they required a stamp of “Fragile Handle with Care”

When we did my medial thigh lift a few months later in November all bets were off. You have incisions from your knee all the way up to your groin and from that point forward along the crease between your thigh and your girl or boy bits with that sort of thigh lift, and to be blunt, my legs weren’t opening like that for a while. In this case I’d say it took another 6-8 weeks.

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The time that you’re “out of commission” isn’t the only big changes though. I noticed a difference in my sex life very quickly after that first surgery. A lot of the skin in my mons area had been removed and my girl parts were re-arranged a little. Suddenly I didn’t like the way things felt at times. Positions I used to like, I wasn’t comfortable in anymore, and at every turn I was saying things like “Gently Please,” or “Slow down please,” or “Please move your hand that feels weird,” when I was being touched in a place that still had numbness, and after three surgeries there were a lot of places I felt numbness. Yeah ok, let’s be blunt, when I was a bigger girl I liked things a little fast and rough, maybe I had more cushion inside ( I’d have to ask some doctors about that theory ) but it changed for me a lot after losing weight and cutting my body and sewing it back together a few times. No more Lady GaGa “If it ain’t rough it isn’t fun.” theology in my bed. It was more like, “I really want to do this please don’t hurt me, please don’t hurt me, please don’t hurt me.” There was a lot of me feeling fragile to myself, and even more of me feeling fragile to my partner who was afraid of touching me the wrong way because really, who wants to hurt the person you love in bed unless it’s in a kinky way, right?

Also while we are being blunt and honest, there was a change in what felt good to me in regards to size. Suddenly things felt “bigger” to me than they were before. As a woman we get used to where things fit inside us, we get used to a sensation where a certain place perhaps gets rubbed at a certain angle. Suddenly, that changed for me, it was like moving my mons around moved my insides around or losing all that weight shifted where things were inside me and things were more sensitive, seemed tighter, and less accommodating to my partner. It was a scary transition too. Suddenly you don’t like things the way you used to like them and if you have been with someone for quite a while, that can be an awkward place of “re-learning.”

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Let me just also give you this little head’s up my friends. A lot of these reconstructive surgeries to do excess skin removal after massive weight loss are done on parts of your body that are very active during times of intimacy. Your thighs, your mons, your abdomen, your breasts, your arms. Imagine taking a few of those out of commission during your sexual activity for a while. It’s changes things a lot. Now once you get past that here is my tip. Keep in mind as you “return” to sexual activity that the first time good things happen and your muscles all tighten and your body gets rigid… it’s going to hurt in a way that makes you want to roll your eyes in not so great way to deal with the pain. Seriously, it reminded me of losing my virginity, I just sort of laid there gasping going “Why did that hurt so bad?”

I have no idea yet how this last surgery is going to change my sex life. I know that I was released and allowed to have intercourse a lot earlier. ( I had the green light after three weeks ) but that doesn’t  mean my body is ready, and I know it isn’t.

After having implants done, I have no nipple sensation at all yet  ( They say it will come back eventually ) my breasts are extremely tender, like, they feel like I’ve been punched in them several times and have the sensitive hurt and achy feeling I used to experience when I still menstruated. Since my surgeon re-cut my bikini line and lifted my pubic area quite a bit ( He made that area of my body look AMAZING really ) there is a lot of painful sensitivity in my mons area and until that goes away I know sex isn’t something in which I’ll be remotely interested.

So if I had to add it up, in the past 68 weeks of having reconstructive plastic surgery, there were about 24 weeks of healing time that I simply could NOT be intimate at all and likely another 24 weeks or so of “Not tonight hun my body still feels weird to me,” that I didn’t want to be intimate whether I could or not.

No matter how you spin it, reconstructive plastic surgery after massive weight loss affects your sex life on an epic level. I’m not sure how many people would really tell you that, but you know I will. I’d love to hear the male perspective on this and see if it follows the same experience mind did. Just to end on a note of humor, it’s a darn good thing that sex wasn’t one of my transfer addictions, because if it had been, I would have been in big trouble when I started the WLS Plastics part of my journey.

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Dear RunDisney thank you for breaking my heart

I need to write in order to process right now.

There are times when even though I know that I lead a charmed and blessed life, disappointment hits my table in a very big way and when it does, it hurts.

I’m not even sure that what I am trying to make happen won’t happen, we’re approaching the witching hour and whether or not I gather the necessary sponsors is left to be seen, but that isn’t even what saddens me right now, what saddens me, is that a company I have spent my entire life believing in has broken my heart and gone against a belief that they taught me to believe in.

My Dad used to tell me stories about 1955 when Disneyland first opened. When he told me that I could be anything I wanted to be, and I could do anything I wanted to do, he would tell me stories about how a man named Walt Disney created Disneyland out of a dream, a mouse and some orange orchards.

“Honey if you ever think that you can’t accomplish something you just remember what Mr. Walt Disney said, ‘If you can dream it you can do it, always remember that this whole thing started with a dream and a mouse.”

And I believed that. My favorite Walt Disney quote has always been

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Since I don’t know that it will ever come to fruition, I feel like I maybe shouldn’t talk about it, but you know I have promised to share the good and the bad, and so, here goes… today was a sad day for me.

Two years ago, my father passed away. He was one of the biggest champions in my weight loss journey. To help cope with his death I began running. It wasn’t easy at first. I could barely get around the block! But recently, I’m proud to report that I ran my first half marathon — a personal 13.1 miles! — in honor of my dad on Father’s Day.

Today I was willing to step away from my studying to pursue a dream that I have. First let me say that I think you have to understand often times my dreams are a little less selfish than I think most people realize. In a few weeks on July 9th, RunDisney will open registration for the Tinkerbell half marathon, and no matter what happens, I will register and I will run that half marathon because I committed to doing so.

But I didn’t want to just run that half marathon, I wanted to empower someone else to run it with me. And if I had more than the few weeks that Disney allowed me between registration announcement and the actual registration, I have no doubt that I would find the sponsorship to make that happen. I already have 1/4th of the sponsorship I need and I haven’t given up just yet, it may still happen.

But what bothers me is, that I shouldn’t HAVE to be on such a tight time limit to make it happen, and the only reason I am is because of the ridiculous politics of them requiring the name of the person that I take with me on registration day, 7 months prior to the event.

If I could simply purchase my registration and a second spot, and notify them within a reasonable time frame who the second runner would be, this would be much more feasible. I’d purchase the registrations myself and then in I could obtain the rest of the sponsorship I needed for us to go, we’d go and if I didn’t well then I’d sell the registration to someone else that could participate and that would be that. In the mean time I would have a few months instead of a few weeks to try to make this all happen.

But instead I have to try to find the sponsors, run a contest, pick a winner and have that winner’s name in place to register them for the event by July 9th. Thank you RunDisney for making this awesome idea nearly impossible.

I tried so hard. I spent hours and hours today trying to contact people involved with the RunDisney events to see if they could help me make this possible. But really, what I felt like today after talking to most of them was that I was a little fish in a big world and since I wasn’t a non-profit organization willing to secure race registrations for thirty people instead of two, I wasn’t important.

At 6pm tonight here in Dallas where I am visiting, I finally got ahold of a very nice woman named Cindy Hernandez who tried to help me. But Sadly, all the resources she had to try to help me, I had already exhausted. She wanted to send me to talk to the woman I talked to early this morning Katie, who had only been the first to make me feel like that insignificant little person in a great big world. After she had spoken to Katie herself who informed her that she had already talked to me and had “forwarded my request” to their Florida Office Cindy tried for quite some time to find a number for that Florida office that I could call and talk to someone at. She even called the number herself to try to find a way through the bureaucratic red tape. But to no avail, she couldn’t get through the computer animated message that had forwarded me to her any better than I could. Cindy suggested that I email a woman named Shannon who is Katie’s supervisor, to see if she could help me, but she warned me that Shannon and Katie worked very closely together and that she wasn’t sure she could help me either. She apologized to me over and over and expressed her sadness that she couldn’t help me.

At one point during the conversation I told Cindy “Disney is a company I grew up with. I had a father that was born before your doors were even open and I spent so much time in Disneyland as a kid. I’m not asking you guys for money or charity or anything more than the ability to do something great and empower someone else to do it with me. Your company was founded on the beliefs of a man who believed if you can dream it you can do it. And this is a really small ask, all I’m asking for is a little time before an event that occurs 7 months down the road to give you a person’s name. If Walt Disney was here right now, he’d be ashamed of this.” Cindy very compassionately said to me “I really hope he wouldn’t be ashamed of me.” I assured her she was right, he wouldn’t be, as she was the only one that I had gotten on the phone today that really and truly tried to help make this happen for me.

It’s nearly 8pm and I really want to go to bed early tonight, I am emotionally drained from this day of doing nothing but writing letters to sponsors asking them to get on board at the last-minute, reaching out to people to try to make this dream happen and I am emotionally exhausted from it. I’m sad that RunDisney made this so impossible and I am heart-broken than a company I have always believed so much in left me feeling like Aladdin, the lowly street rat who didn’t have enough to offer.

“Riffraff, street rat, I don’t buy that, if only they’d look closer. Would they see a poor boy? No, siree, They’d find out, there’s so much more to me.”

All you had to do was look at what I was asking you for to see that deep inside, I’m a diamond in the rough. I might not be able to put it all together in the time frame you are setting, which is just a horrible unrealistic time frame, heck RunDisney YOU don’t even have all your details hammered out yet. You don’t even have pricing available yet, nor does your event travel coordination company because they don’t have your pricing or even know how many registration blocks you are selling them yet. If you call the Disney resorts and ask to for the prices for room reservations for that weekend they will tell you they can’t tell you because the pricing for the new year doesn’t come out until August. So you can imagine how hard it was for me to even put together a budget to take to my sponsors this morning. But you can’t find a way to cut me a little break on having to have the name of my team member ready to go registration morning?

Disney, you’ve broken my heart today. I’m going to hope that somewhere in the night while I am sleeping the answers come to me, or that by Monday morning my own little Genie shows up and starts waving wishes around.

For right now I am going to go do something that will make me feel better. I’m going to go find a little Pandora mental health reprieve and I am going to remember …

“No Matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dreams that you dare to wish will come true.”

RunDisney, Mr. Walt Disney would be ashamed of you for they way you shattered my dreams today, but he’d be super proud of me, who I am, what I have accomplished and how big my dreams are.

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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