Two weeks and three out of my first set of skin removal surgeries as a part of my body reconstruction after losing 245lbs I can’t really say in honestly that if I could do it all over again I would, this part is a lot harder, a lot more painful and a lot more of a mind bender than I ever expected.
First let’s talk numbers. Because I’m a scale whore, I’m on the scale every day monitoring my weight loss, any gains, noting fluctuations and all that. So pre surgery I was 175lbs on the scales that morning, then cut off 12lbs of skin which in my mind should have put me at a nice 163lbs – I was looking forward to seeing this number on the scale a lot. Instead the scale is at about 192lbs. Now my plastic surgeon assures me it’s a fake gain, based solely on water retention as my body tries to recover. I’m sure she is right, I can see how swollen I am, but that doesn’t change the numbers or the fact that seeing a 17lb gain on the scale is really messing with my head.
As much of a Diva and Princess as I can be, as much as I like having someone do something really sweet for me here and there, but being so helpless that I need help getting up, getting dressed, can’t get my own drink and have to ask Heather or Jason to do just about everything for me drives me nuts. You always worry when someone has to take care of you like this… will they see me differently? Will they love me as much after all this? There are times I feel like nothing but a burden and bother to them and I hate it. I just want to recover, be able to do everything for myself again and be able to do all the things I could do before. I want to work out, and run, and wear my size 10 pants again.
This hasn’t been easy from go. I know there are a lot of people out there that think that weight loss surgery and skin removal is the “Easy way out” of being fat, boy I’d love to see a lot of those people that think that see if they can work out as hard and as much as I do… or as I did, but there I go on some tangent. This skin removal thing has honestly been the hardest part of this journey for me, physically and mentally.
From the recovery room it’s been one obstacle after another. First we found I was allergic to Dilaudid, soon as they started giving it to me I started itching EVERYWHERE. Nothing like having your body cut in half and an incision that goes all the way around your mid-section along with incisions from elbow to armpit and itching. I was begging people to scratch me, trying to scratch myself whenever I could. They got that taken care of quickly enough, moved me to morphine and voilà no more itchy girl.
Next was the passing out. It was great let me tell you, they’d get me out of bed, a few moments later I’d get light headed, a few moments later I’d get hot and sweaty, and then BAM! Lights Out. The doctors decided this was all part of anesthesia hang-over and severe dehydration.
They couldn’t fit me into compression garments in the Operating Room so I was supposed to get my compression garments at my first follow up just a week after I had left the hospital. Compression garments are a strange thing after skin removal surgery. You love them and hate them. You love them because they give you a sense of security that you’re not just going to spontaneously burst at the seams, or more accurately at your incision line, on the other hand they are so tight you feel like you’ve been stuffed in a girdle trying to fit your body into a dress that you gained 20lbs since you wore last.
The Garments were even more awesome for me though, because the moment they put me in them, everything else swelled up. All that excess skin on my thighs that needs to be removed in the next surgery was hardly noticeable with how swollen I was. My thighs literally looked like I weighed 400lbs again. We called the doctor and told them everything was swelling. They said it was normal, but when I went in two days later and they saw the size of my thighs my compression garment got changed from one that went from below my breasts to my hips to one that goes all the way down to my ankles. They kept the arm garments the same, it’s sort of like a shrug that hooks like a bra in the back and then comes up over my shoulders and covers my arms from armpit to forearm. Then they added ace bandages to my wrists, hands, ankles and feet to reduce the swelling in them. The swelling has gone down a lot, that’s easy to see, I feel like I’ve been mummified but the swelling has gone down… not that the scale is showing it.
17 days since my surgery, I’m pulling 192lbs on the scale and I’m just a mental wreck. I feel like a burden to Jason and Heather, I hate asking either one of them to do anything for me, and the numbers on the scale being higher just make me feel like a big fat loser and NOT in a good way.
Everyone keeps telling me to hang in there and wait for the turn around. That when my body figures out how to get rid of all the fluid it’s hanging on to I’ll see that huge drop and be all relieved. I sure hope they are right, on the other hand, the swelling has gone down, I’m peeing constantly, and the numbers on the scale are only going up, so that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense does it? I hate things that don’t make sense.
My hands are starting to swell from sitting here too long this morning, keeping things elevated seems to still be essential to keeping the swelling down. At least I don’t have drains anymore, I’ll tell you about that more next time, for now it’s time for pain medicine and more of the only coping skill I have left… sleeping.