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Skin Removal after Weight Loss

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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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Poo Pee Your Genitals and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery

Being a WLS Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Patient myself, there are a few things that I have learned in the last 17 months that I REALLY wish people had told me and taught me about before hand. Let me just say, this isn’t the sort of information that I could have found on the internet, it isn’t for the faint of heart, and if my talking about body functions, defecation, or the change in location of genitalia is something that would bother you… do us both a favor and stop here and spare me the rude comments later. There are several people who will thank me some day for the fact that this article exists.

33819573First let’s talk about poo: Why not?  We talk about it post bariatric surgery all the time.  How often, what color, the consistency, the smell, yadda yadda…its like we are all first time parents talking about our children! (My BFF/Sister has had two kids now, I have seen this stage of Parenthood from the sidelines.)  Well let me just say first and foremost, when they tell you to start taking stool softeners after surgery, don’t screw around about it. Take the stool softeners whether you think you will need them or not. I promise you will be glad you did.

So let me tell you what happened to me…  Remember this is MY story, it might not happen to everyone.

My doctors tend to put me on oxycodone and valium post operative reconstructive plastic surgery because I am a baby and a wimp when it comes to pain. I also tend to have a lot of swelling issues and my body likes to hang on to fluid, so I almost always end up taking a diuretic to help with that, some sort of water pill. Water pills tend to make you shed water and often times you can end up dehydrated if you aren’t drinking enough. Do you know where this leads you my dear Slender Seekers? It leads you to sitting on the toilet, praying to the porcelain god that you could just push that big rock you feel inside you out.  I’m not sure anyone that hasn’t had abdominal surgery will quite understand the gravity of this (I’ve been reassured by my BFF/Sister that very pregnant women understand), but really try it while you are sitting there and you don’t have to go sometime. Just push like you do, see what muscles you use. Then imagine having an incision that goes all the way around your bikini line, a Fleur de Lis incision like mine that goes from hip to hip across your bikini line and up the middle of your stomach, or any sort of abdominal incision at all… really can you say ouch? I sure as heck did, many, many, many, times. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that the ability to take a poop would be such a painfully traumatic experience.  Oh but it was!

Now fast forward a few days, you’ve had this problem for a good solid 4-5 days now. And let me tell you that good and solid are not words I use lightly here because guess what folks that is exactly what it felt like inside me. It was this abundant feeling of “Holy crap, if I could just get some out of there and break the seal I’d be okay and I think the rest would just do it’s thing.” – by this point, I’m taking stool softeners, drinking Milk of Magnesia, heck I’ve started taking a “Gentle Laxative” – So let me say right now, being full of shit hurts. You can quote me on this one. It’s not a fun or pleasant experience. At a certain point you just realize how bad the situation is and it occurs to you that one of two things has to happen… either you have to find a way to go or you have to go to the doctor so that they can help you go. Do yourself a favor, Google “Impacted Bowels” and see that the usual treatment is if you go to the hospital for this problem. When I tell you that you want to have someone who you know loves you and that you are comfortable with taking care of you after reconstructive plastic surgery after WLS –  I am NOT kidding.

There have been times that I have needed help getting dressed, feeding myself, drinking, taking medicine, getting up and down, going potty, when we did my arms… which I did twice by the way. There were times I had to sit there on the potty and shout “All done,” and wait for someone to come wipe my bum like I was my three-year old nephew being potty trained. My arms just hurt too bad to move that way.

But there was a moment… where despite the pain, when I realized that I literally had so much poop stuck inside me that it wasn’t coming out on its own no matter what I took or did and that my possible options where to go to a doctor and get their help getting it out, the words that came out of my mouth when I looked at the person so lovingly taking care of me was “I need a rubber glove, a ziplock bag, and I need you to get the hell out of this bathroom until I call you back in.”  – I won’t go into specifics that will gross you out. There is no need to. I am sure you all understand first and foremost how painful it must be to move your body in that manner after having abdominal surgery and a brachioplasty at the same time… which I have done not once, but twice now. I don’t recommend that combination if you are wondering. I also highly recommend you ask the doctor about starting stool softeners pre-op rather than post op as a little bit of a preventative maintenance thing so that hopefully you don’t end up quite as traumatized as I did.

Let me also say, this wasn’t a one time experience in my post reconstructive plastic journey, but it is an experience that I seriously freaking hope I never have to go through again, so if I can spare you a little humiliation, embarrassment and discomfort by sharing it with you… I’ve done my good deed for the day.

images-2Now let’s talk about genital relocation: (I may just need this shirt from Zazzle.com featured to the left after writing this article.) This is not something I experienced after my first three surgeries to be quite honest. The only thing I really noticed in regard to my genitals after my first three surgeries was that I could see the pubic area of my body a bit and it seemed to change things for me sexually, like I had some issues with things not feeling quite the same as before. ( We’ll talk about that another day ) – Never before did it seem like my entire vagina had been moved and suddenly worked differently. Oh but this last surgery was different!

Let me say that my AMAZING surgeon, took great care to make sure that even though it wasn’t on my to do list, he made sure the excess skin I had in my mons area was addressed during this surgery. He took great care to measure from the very tippy top of the opening of my vaginal lips all the way to my belly button and make sure that the distance there was anatomically correct and that there was no more loose skin in that area of my body when we were done. This was something he did for me on his own to help make sure that I got the sort of body I was looking for post surgery and one of the few reasons that Dr. Yaker is so damn amazing at what he does.

Let me say first off, that I am three weeks out right now and my mons area is still one of the most tender areas of my body currently, probably coming in third with my arms and breasts being the top two. If you were at the WLSFA Event in May and you got to hear Carnie Wilson speak about her experience after reconstructive plastic surgery, you’ll get a good laugh at this. As I sat there and listened to her tell a story very similar to this I thought to myself “What is she talking about that didn’t happen to me at all.” – Oh boy did it happen to me this time.

I never knew that is where my va-jay-jay was supposed to be! And when you put it there it changed my pee stream by a lot! I can pee standing up in the shower now and have it propel forward and not dribble down the insides of my legs. The other day, I was sitting on the toilet going potty, and had the most unfortunate experience of coughing. ( Thank you to my niece and nephew for being little germ monkeys and giving me a cold during my recovery. ) As I coughed, the stream that was already hitting the front part of the toilet bowl more than normal, shot upward, went through the crack of the toilet and the toilet seat, and landed in a puddle on the floor in front of me. I sort of tilted my head to the side, looked at it in wonderment and then thought “wow, that’s a bit different.”

Trust me when I google “Genitalia Post Reconstructive Plastic Surgery after Massive Weight Loss” or “Your Genitalia and you Post Excess Skin Removal” I don’t come up with anything that would have helped me prepare myself for this strange moment. Mainly I find a list of Surgeons doing Skin Removal surgery – and talk about what different surgical options are out there and which ones address the genital area. But nothing that is like “Hey guess what things change down under when you lift them up and over!” Just sayin’.

We’ve talked about the pain with excess skin removal surgery. We’ve talked about the emotions involved in reconstructive plastics surgery and we’ve talked about poop, pee and genital relocation. What’s next? Well moving your genitals around and having them re-arranged doesn’t just change how you pee it changes a few other things too. But that my dear Slender Seekers is a topic for another day.

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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