When I came out of surgery last Wednesday, I was groggy, but heavily medicated, so I was not in pain. This led me to believe that I was so tough and that the rules of recovery didn’t apply to me. The couple days after surgery I was up and about, walking around for no reason, and not resting nearly an appropriate amount. It was too much trouble for me to ask for help getting up, fixing my own meals, even MOVING FURNITURE WTF! (I was very slowly nudging an ottoman or coffee table, or…queen size bed across a slippery wood floor with my legs, but nonetheless moving furniture.)
By day 6, I hit a wall. That’s weird, I thought I was supposed to be turning a corner, or getting a little better every day. Why was I regressing? Even worse, why was I still draining 50cc of fluid every day? My surgeon used progressive tension suturing on me; my drainage should have slowed to 25cc per day and been out by day three. I spoke with him almost daily, whether by phone or text with updates on my progress, and he assured me that everything was fine, and that in some patients it just takes a little longer. The typical range is 7-10 days anyway.
But it dawned on me…as prepared as I’d been and as much as I’d read up on the whole process from pre-op to recovery, it all went out the window once I woke up in the operating room.
SIT DOWN, SHUT UP, STOP MOVING, MAE!
I may have felt fine, but my insides were still stitching themselves back together. Each time I moved, a little bit of the healing would come undone and have to start over again. On days 6 through 8 I stayed in bed as much as possible, only getting up to pee, eat, and lightly stretch every few hours. This did the trick; my drainage dropped way down to an average of 26-27cc per day, which was acceptable to my surgeon. He kindly agreed to see me on late Friday afternoon, after a long day of surgery, to pull my drain out and reapply fresh tape my incisions.
Every tummy tucker’s story I’ve read talked about how it felt to have a drain removed so I’ll share my experience as well. Whatever sensation it produced wasn’t noticeable because I was busy wincing from the sticky rubber tube pulling against the raw hole in my hip. When I looked down I was scared that my incision broke open, but it was just where my drain used to be.
And here are some day 9 progress photos. I’m still really swollen but you can’t tell in photos as much as in person. If you saw my “Ken doll” area you’d see how puffy I am. I will spare you.
As Dr. Minniti was taking a look at his handiwork, he mused that he could have taken more skin away via a vertical incision also known as a fleur-de-lis. We discussed that option during the consult, and while I don’t mind the scar (it would go down my stomach from between my breasts to below my belly button and meet my horizontal scar across my hips), I also don’t need to have a super tight, rock hard abdomen. I just wanted the loose shit gone. So far, both of us are extremely happy with the results and they can only get better as I heal.
This morning, I FINALLY got to go home! Bowie and Siouxsie were excited to see me for about 8 seconds before they got over it.
And then, I psyched myself up to take my first real shower in over a week. It was an adventure. I learned that all of the places I need to reach (the handheld shower head; my shampoo and soap rack) are far too tall for me, forcing me to stretch my arms a little more than I probably should have. When it was time to shave my legs, I tried a precarious one-legged, Karate Kid crane kick move. My balance is pretty kick ass!
The shower ordeal was certainly tiring, but not as tiring as finding something clean to wear. Dressing for work next week is going to be a challenge, especially since it’s so damn hot. My usual strappy sundresses are not going to work unless I don’t care about my compression bra showing. Honestly…I kinda don’t care. Thick straps be damned; I’m going to be comfortable.
Oh, I almost forgot! I weighed myself this afternoon and was really surprised at the number. I’ve read some people gaining up to 15 pounds from all the swelling, but I gained…3! And this is with me eating a LOT. For some reason I’ve been ravenously hungry and had a house full of home cooked food on which to feast. I also weighed while fully clothed and in the middle of the day. Let’s say my surgeon removed 6 pounds of skin total. In the end I am probably even. I’ll take it. Can’t wait to get back into a paleo-ish routine though.
Man, I am wiped. The littlest things leave me exhausted, and this is how it’s probably going to be for the next couple weeks. Beauty is pain I guess. And yep, totally worth it.