I’m convinced that I am one of those people where if there is the slightest chance that something will go wrong, with me it does. The reality is that it’s never anything too serious, nothing life threatening or anything like that, but I’m definitely learning that plastic surgery, excess skin removal surgery and the whole reconstructive plastic surgery thing is not for the faint of heart.
Today I am three weeks and three days out of my second surgery and this time we thought everything was going amazing and I was healing at record speeds. I went into the hospital at 166lbs, they took off three pounds of skin doing an abdominoplasty ( basically a tummy tuck ) to smooth out my abdominal area and the excess skin that was left there after my first surgery back in February where they did the 360 body lift and barachioplasty.
Just to catch everyone up, so far I have done two of what will likely end up being four of these reconstructive plastic surgeries to remove the excess skin that was on my body after years of being morbidly obese.
The first surgery in February was huge, we took on 8 hours of surgery and we did the following:
A 360 Circumferential Body Lift.: This largely takes care of the area that would be considered your bikini line and hips and waist and is often the one the most needed for post WLS patients because it is when the panniculectomy comes into play and when they remove the large portion of skin that is often left hanging from the stomach over the genital area after extreme weight loss.
In addition my Surgeon, Shannon O’Brien at the Waldorf Center in Portland Oregon also decided that we could address the excess skin on my arms aka “Bat Wings” and do a Butt Lift, Outer Thigh Lift as well as a little liposuction on the outer thigh area to make sure I get the results I will want there much later.
My recovery from that surgery was hard, I swelled a lot more than we expected the swell caused me a great deal of pain, I gained nearly 30lbs just in the fluid that I was carrying around with me and we ended up having to put me back in the hospital to aggressively treat the swelling.
Finally ready to move forward I took on my second surgery on August 2 and this time we did what would basically be considered a side gathers abdominoplasty and a breast lift. Basically we decided to finish of the rest of the work that needed to be done on my torso with the option to go in later if I desire and get breast implants.
This surgery has been far less painful than the other, I’ve had far less swelling, though I did have to be put on water pills to flush out what swelling I did have ( My body just really apparently likes to hold on to fluids! )
There has only been one issue with this surgery since day one, the drain on my left hip. I basically have and incision that goes from my armpit to my hip bone. In the hospital the drain on the right side got pulled on and slipped and leaked, and those things can’t apparently just be pushed right back in, so my Surgeon opted to leave it in place since it was actually doing a good deal of draining even after the slip. I came home with the drain in place and with a little work now and then to get it to hold suction; we managed to keep it functioning for the better part of two weeks. At the end we were resorting to trying to push it back in to my body more, taping it in place and playing with it like a wire with a short in it to get it to stay sealed, but we managed and after two weeks they decided to pull the drain out.
The only problem was that when they pulled the drain out, unlike all the other drains I’ve had up to this point, and believe me I’ve had my share, 4 total at first after this surgery and I think we had 6 at first last time, but this is the first drain that when it was pulled out didn’t just heal up right away and stop draining. Instead it has been consistently draining for nine going on ten days. Now the stuff it’s draining has never looked nasty or had any smell to it and I checked with the Surgeon and she said that is normal sometimes and just to let it do its thing.
The last few days however it just seemed to be getting more and tenderer, and the area around it started getting red. I really thought, and it still might just be, that my skin is really irritated from all the tape we have been putting on and ripping off if it keeping that area bandaged in the last nine days, but when it started to get uncomfortable we stopped using tape and started holding the bandage in place with an ace bandage or just my clothes to try to stop the skin irritation and it doesn’t seem to be getting much better.
Tonight, the actual hole that was leaking the fluids opened up a little. I scared the heck out of Heather and she gets so squeamish about some things that she had to run and get someone else, leaving me in the bathroom alone after I know that something is wrong, scared the heck out of me. But we called the Surgeons office and spoke to one of the nurses and she said to just head in Monday morning and they would have a look at it and assured me that it’s nothing too serious or any sort of emergency situation and that things like this happen all the time and there is nothing to be too worried about. I have a hole the size of a dime on my hip that burns a little and stings a bit, ok, I can handle this, I’m calm again after some reassurance from my little mini support group here at home and the nurse at my surgeons office.
It just cracks me up, every time I think I’ve pulled something off beautifully and I start patting myself on the back for a job well done, I get a little reminder that nothing about this journey has been easy for me so far, and it’s likely not about to start getting easy now.
That’s ok; I’ve got a lot more fight in me than I had when I started this journey too, and I have no doubts I can handle anything that’s thrown at me. It seems to take me a little longer than others sometimes, and I’m a little slower to bounce back sometimes, but I get knocked down a lot too and the one thing I can say is that I preserver. Life keeps happening around me, it keeps throwing obstacles at me. But, I’m still losing, I’m closer to my goal that I have ever been with two skin removal surgeries and 10-15lbs to lose to reach my goal weight, I know I’ve got this in the bad, no matter how long it takes I will get there.
I’ve got three things I absolutely have to do in the next four months:
I have to heal, and move forward and complete the next surgery.
I have to road trip to CA to get see my niece be born and hug every single person that lives in the Hatcher House enough times to make us all sore.
I have to get my ISSA Certification.
These are the things I have to do. I have a few more I would like to do, but we’ll see how things go, right now, when I look back at where I was in December of last year and how many of the things I said I would do I have done in the last 8 months, I figure I’m doing really good and I don’t have to set too many goals, I have three really big one’s here, really big ones. But I WILL accomplish these.