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.
First 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.
Now 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.