Tuesday, May 29, 2012

6 weeks post-op appointment...

Lots to talk about today so bear with me!  The first challenge was getting down to the appointment.  Now you haven't lived in Northern NY unless you've had to drive through lake effect snow hell.  But today it was the rain!  Talk about torrential downpours!  I was creeping along with my flashers on and sliding all over the road.  It has to be some of the worst weather I have ever driven in.

Finally we arrived and I met with Dr. DeRoberts.  Like me, he is not completely happy with the belly button.  He said that my stomach hung so low and he had to shorten the umbilicus so much that it scarred bad.  He wants to give it until the next appointment to see if the scar decreases and looks better, otherwise we may be looking at some sort of revision.

Everything else is healing very well though.  He thought that I had some fluid build-up in the opposite side of where the seroma was.  However, after inserting the large needle several times, nothing came out, so he thinks it must be swelling only.  I told him I ran 4 miles at lunch so that could be the culprit.  It is nothing to worry about either way.

This was unexpected, but the doc lasered my entire incision line.  We went into his room where he has a large laser and he began zapping me.  He said that it will be black and blue for about a week, but after that it should help the redness of the scar fade much faster and more evenly.  The laser stung each time he zapped a section, but it wasn't too bad even for this wimp.  I got home and - HOLY COW - I am already covered with black and blues along the incision - like someone smacked me repeatedly along that line.  It's pretty weird looking.

There is a fairly hard scar in the very back where I sat during my healing.  It's right on the top of the butt crack, so it doesn't bother me that much cosmetically or practically.  But the doc injected both this and the belly button with a steroid to hopefully have the scarring decrease.  I appreciate his attention to detail and concern that this come out as perfect as can be.

For 6 weeks in, he said I am in "great shape" and the best news is that I get to resume working core and abs!  Yay!  I asked him if there was any chance I could rip the muscle repair and he said that this would be nearly impossible even if I was trying to rip it.  So - being the dork I am - I came home and had to do some crunches.  There is definitely a different feeling.  I am not sure if this is 1) because the ab muscles are now in a different place having been pulled back together where they belong and sewed, or 2) I've been careful not to work my abs and they are under-used.  Probably a bit of both.  I am excited because core exercises are some of my favorite workouts and I have missed them!  Yoga, here I come!

I am also freed from the compression garment.  I no longer have to wear it at night or when I exercise.  He said that if I want to wear it if the swelling gets bad after exercise, I can, but it's not necessary.  I am sleeping NAKED tonight baby!   

As I was leaving the doc gave me a surprise about an upcoming visit, which I'm keeping secret for now.  No, it's not a free surgery - LOL - not that earth shattering.  However, it is something I'm excited about.  I'm not going to tell right now, so you'll have to stay tuned!

My next visit is 2 months from now.  I'm hoping the incision fades well and the belly button fixes itself!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Holiday weekend

Any weekend that includes an extra day off is a good one, right?  And thanks to mother nature, this one was even better then normal.  I spent the vast majority of the day yesterday gardening.  In the morning, Marc and I ran together and I blasted my old time.  We went 5 miles in 45:46!  2 of the miles were under 9 minutes.  That is unheard of for me.  This skin coming off really has made a huge speed difference already!

Today I planted some more plants, did some weight lifting and then got some quality hammock time.  We are now cooking steak on the grill and will be eating outside.  

During my yard work this weekend, I really pushed it - lifted heavy items, etc.  I could feel a little tension in my abs, but it is tension, not pain.  Tomorrow is my 6 week doctor's appointment and we'll see what he has to say!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Out in public in a bikini!

Never thought this day would happen.  I ventured out in public in a bikini!  Beautiful day, and so we headed to our favorite spot to hit the water.  Not quite warm enough to swim yet, but warm enough to enjoy the sun, play with the dogs and then take a long hike.  It was warm enough to be lightly clad, but hiking 5 miles through wooded paths was not too hot.  Here I am with my boys:
Speaking of my boys, I realize that those of you who don't know me IRL, probably don't know that much about them.  

Chakotay is the brindle boy.  He turns 3 in July.  He is incredibly sweet with a mellow and laid back personality.  However, he is also not to be messed with.  He is extremely protective of our property and of me.  A couple days after my surgery, a neighbor's dog ran into our yard.  Normally this would have sent him flying off the deck to chase the intruder off the property.  However, he instead moved and blocked the entrance to the deck with his eyes never leaving the strange dog.  Protecting me was his #1 agenda.

Archer is my white boy.  He will be 2 in July.  He is stubborn and willfull.  He is also hilarious and fun loving.  He is FULL of energy and loves especially chasing and leaping up after butterflies trying to catch them.  He also is very vocal and loves to cuddle.  He makes us laugh every day!

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I did one of my Zumba DVD's during lunch today.  It was a whole different experience  then before surgery.  Trying to move my hips fluidly proved to be a challenge. My core is still stiff from the surgery and the incision and pulled skin makes everything tight.  So trying to do some of the dancing type moves was tough.  The aerobics part was easier.

On the other hand, since Zumba incorporates latin dancing, there is a certain sexy component to some of the moves.  It was very hard to feel the music and feel sexy when there was skin bouncing all over.  Plus during the hip shaking and jumping - well, skin continued to bounce and jiggle even when I stopped.  

Today - WOW.  Doing Zumba in yoga shorts and a sports bra I felt really like I was doing the moves like they were meant to be done.  No self-consciousness swinging my hips and bouncing up and down.  I hope I made Beto proud :)))

My core needs work!  I hope I get the all clear next week!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My belly button...

So I am really happy about how everything turned out with my surgery - except my belly button.  It appears to be completely healed up.  BUT - I don't think that it looks like a normal belly button.  However, for my whole life I had a huge belly and therefore a huge hole and massive "innie", so I don't know that I know what is normal.  As I think I've told you guys, the surgeon kept the umbilicus intact but then poked it through the skin and manufactures the outside part of it.   

Here's a couple pics - let me know what you guys think - is this normal looking?  And please be honest - I see the surgeon next week and will talk to him about this!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Scar massage.

Not a lot going on here the last couple of days.  Marc and ran together yesterday - we did 4 miles in 37:36.  I am really happy about getting back into the groove of running.  I also have had a change in mindset about running.  For so long I've been feeling that I need to keep pushing myself to run further and further.  So if I was running 8 I need to challenge myself to run 10.  And I've realized something - I have NO DESIRE to be a long distance runner.  I don't want to run a marathon - and that's okay!  I'm in my happy spot running 5-7 miles at a time, so why try to force myself to run further if I don't want to?  That has been a load off my mind.  That's what I get for having marathon running friends...they think just because THEY want to run marathons that everyone who runs should want to, too.  Running for me is about good cardio and burning calories.  I get bored after about an hour of running.

Anyway, I wanted to talk about massaging the incision scar.  That is supposed to help it settle down to being a flat rather then raised scar, and also helps it fade quicker.  So I've been using cocoa butter on it twice per day and then Vaseline at night.  Massaging as I go.  And it appears to be working.  Although there's not much fade yet, it's getting pretty flat and even with the rest of my skin.  That is a good thing.  Even though it's not like anyone sees it except Marc and I, it is helping me feel more normal. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

One very productive day!

Today was a great day!  I got up early - well early for me on a Saturday - and got right to work.  I planted the rest of our veggie garden, and then weeded out my multiple flower beds.  It took about 4 hours to do all that!  Meanwhile, I also washed and waxed my vehicle and then took the dogs for a 4 mile walk. 

Best of all, no pain in the abs!  I still had to have some help from Marc with a couple things - like taking a heavy planter out of the greenhouse and moving it to where I wanted.  I'm trying to balance getting back to normal with making sure that I don't overdo it.  That means doing things slower then normal to make sure that there's no pain before continuing.  

But I'll tell you, it feels great to get things accomplished.  I remember working in the flower beds 2 years ago - 200+ pounds heavier - and how much more difficult everything was.  I would get tired, my back would HURT, and I would just not have then energy to work all day.  Even coming off of major surgery I am much more capable then 2 years ago.  It feels really good.

Plus I wore my bikini top and some short shorts from Victoria's Secret and looked pretty hot if I do say so myself!  ;)))

Friday, May 18, 2012

Made it through the week!

Well, I made it through my first week back to work.  I'm feeling tired but not terribly so.  In fact, I'd have to say I'm doing pretty well for having gone back to work plus starting exercising again!

I noticed that I am really swollen at the end of the day - it actually feels good to strap on the dreaded compression garment when I go to bed.  Marc cinches it really tight.  When I wake up in the morning I have almost no swelling and feel really good.

Despite eating WAY to much during our Mother's Day get-together AND going out to Ponderosa for Marc's birthday, I lost another pound this week.  Can I get a hell ya?

127.1.  Exercise is GOOD.  7 more pounds before I make a decision to start maintenance or go lower.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Another run...

Today I wore my compression garment and wow!  What a difference.  It held everything in while running so no irritation at the incision lines and absolutely no pain afterwards.  I'll tell you something - I'm not there yet, but when I get back in the groove, I think I'm going to be a LOT faster then I was pre-surgery.  I felt like I was flying today.  I knew that having all that skin bouncing around had to have some impact, but I think it had a lot more then I even knew.  My gait even feels more natural and I'm not leaning forward like I typically did - must be because I don't have to compensate for the extra flesh and pounds.  It's pretty exciting.

I came home and did P90X Stretch and it's pretty clear that I didn't just lose strength - like I discovered last night - but also a lot of flexibility :((  Hopefully both will come back fast.  I know that I still need to take it easy but I really don't like being held back.  Another 1.5 weeks until my recheck with the doc and hopefully I get full clearance to start working everything.
However, A hard sneeze today reminded me that the abs are still in healing mode!! 

A pic from today - 1 month post-surgery...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

One month in...

I had my surgery 1 month ago today.  Wow.  In some ways it feels like just last week.  My belly button is finally almost healed up.  Most of the time I feel really good.  Going back to work has been challenging - mostly in terms of getting tired out more easily.  Combine that with getting back into the exercise routine and this has been an interesting week so far.

I lifted weights for the first time today.  I focused on arms and back.  I wore my compression garment and hardly felt anything at all in my abs.  The exception to this was when I started to do push-ups.  2 push-ups in and my abs were like "HELLO!" so I stopped.  I am really surprised that I have lost a LOT of strength in this month.  I cut the size of the weights and still had challenges with some of the moves.  I imagine I can gain in back pretty quick but it caught me off guard.  I bet I feel it tomorrow!

Speaking of tomorrow I'm going to take some 1 month in pics - I really want to document my progress and see what - if any - changes can be seen in the first few months. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I ran!!

Woo hoo!  I was able to do my goal of 3 miles straight for my first run since the surgery.  Conquered it in 28:45.  So I didn't lose much speed or, it appears, stamina.  

It was definitely noticeable running without the huge amount of skin hanging in the front.  The incision bothered me a little when I started running.  I could feel - like - pulling on it.  Then as I warmed up, it got better.  But about 1 mile in, I could really feel it on my rear area and I was thinking "It feels like when your pants are 1/2 way down your ass."  A little bit later I reached around AND MY RUNNING SKIRT WAS 1/2WAY DOWN MY ASS!!!  It wasn't the incision at that point but instead the elastic waistband!!!!  OMG.  My running skirt is a medium and clearly I need to take it in some  LMAO.

The abs didn't hurt a bit during the run, but as soon as I stopped, there was definite pain.  It lasted about 30 minutes and then went away.  I didn't wear my compression garment while running and I think I will next time to see if that helps.  It also might help with the swelling.  I was told to expect a LOT of swelling when I resumed working out, but holy hell - I am so swollen it feel like someone could stick me with a pin and I would deflate like a balloon.

Weight lifting for the first time tomorrow!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Back to work....

Well today is my first day back at work.  I'm feeling pretty good.  People seemed genuinely excited to see me and happy to see the results of the surgery.  I'm not too tired and took a 3 mile walk at lunch.  Sitting up straight to use the computer is a little uncomfortable, but not bad. 

I'm catching up on what happened while I was gone and getting some work done, so I feel productive.  It's going much smoother then I expected!

Tonight we'll be going out to dinner to celebrate Marc's birthday.  I imagine as the week moves on, I'll get a little more tired but so far so good!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Family day!

Spent today with family and extended family celebrating Mother's Day and Marc's b-day.  It was a great day and the first time some family saw me since the surgery.  I did my best to accept their compliments.  My sister-in-law, Melanie, who I have always been insanely jealous of due to her figure gave me a pair of her pants that were too short and they fit!

I spent most of the day on my feet.  That caused me to swell and when I swell, the incision gets tight and I start to hunch over a little.  Now I am sitting here in a LOT of pain in my lower back.  Just another reminder that I am less then a month out from major surgery!

I also ate WAYYYYYY too much today.  As I get closer to goal I'm trying to eat like a normal person - which means sometimes you overdo it.  As long as I'm back on plan tomorrow - and I will be - I won't gain.  Right?

Friday, May 11, 2012

On feeling good and compliments...

First off, I'll update you guys on my progress.  I am feeling really good today.  My energy level is slowly coming back.  Although I've done really well in my recovery, I have noticed how easily I tire out and that my energy isn't where it used to be.  This morning I am really full of energy, which is good, because I think we're going to plant our vegetable garden today!  

The incision continues to look good, but I can feel it at all times.  It kind of feels like I'm wearing a tight rubber band.  It's definitely an odd feeling.  I'm sure this will go away once the scar starts to relax a bit.  Also, the seroma is nearly gone.  I can barely see any fluid in the morning.  By night when the swelling is way up it is a little more noticeable, but it looks like my body has done it's job and absorbed the fluid.  Good job, body!

Now let's talk about compliments.  Those of you that know me know that I have a really hard time taking compliments.  It makes me really uncomfortable.  Yesterday we went to the calling hours for Marc's aunt and I wore one of my new dresses.  It is a flattering dress.  But I was really uncomfortable with the amount of compliments I was getting.  I feel like people must think I'm being falsely modest or something, but I'm really not.  I just am not used to or comfortable with people saying how good I look, etc.  Plus, I see all the flaws, so when someone says "You look amazing" I am thinking - "yeah, except for" and then I list stuff in my head.  

Someone tell me to get over myself  LOL

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Shop til you drop!

Today was my day to take some time and go SHOPPING!  I'll tell you, it's a lot more fun now trying on clothes then it used to be.  Several hours later I'm home with bags full of clothes - much needed, not just because of the surgery, but I hadn't bought many summer clothes since last summer and they are way too big.

Want to hear something totally and completely ironic?  I used to be so discouraged going into stores because no one carried brands big enough to fit me.  Now?  I got annoyed today because in many of the things I was looking at, they didn't carry a small enough size!  Most things only went down to a size 6 and I am definitely a 4.  Can you believe it?  (I can't!)  Who would have ever thought I would be disgusted because I needed something SMALLER!

Today was also my first day out and about without the compression garment.  It feels very weird being without it.  But the good news is even with shopping and trying on clothes I don't feel sore at all.  I am tired, though.  Looks like the rest of the afternoon will be spent resting! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The incision

I was allowed to take the tape off today to get a good look at the incision.  I am really happy with how it looks.  However, I do feel a bit like Frankenstein.  It literally looks like I was cut in half and pasted back together.  The top doesn't match the bottom, as they are different colors of skin and the skin marks don't match.

The incision is completely healed.  So I will begin moisturizing like crazy.  It is supposed to help the scar settle in and fade.  The info from the doctor's office recommended using cocoa butter.  So that's what I will be using during the day.  For the night, I will be putting on a thick layer of Vaseline on.  I read several studies on the net that Vaseline works just as well - if not better - the expensive scar cream like Mederma.  

 In this front pic, you can see he cut right along the pubic line.  On MY right, you can also see that I still have a little bit of a seroma .


Monday, May 7, 2012

I can sing again!

Like I said in a prior post - there are so many things we use our abs for that we just don't think about.  Shortly after the surgery I was sitting in my recliner using the laptop and listening to Sirius radio over Dish Network (it was Hair Band Radio if any of you are wondering ;) ) and I began singing along... OW!!!  I always have known to sing "from the diaphragm" but apparently that encompasses the abs as well!  So I have been unable to sing because it actually hurts.

My abs seem to be healing up well now.  There are times when I actually forget that I've had this major surgery.  Yesterday I played some music and was able to sing along.  The abs could feel it, but it didn't hurt.  Also yesterday, Marc and I walked the longest I have since the surgery and I noticed that "buzzing" feeling in my abs was extremely faint.  

Where the seroma was still has a little bit of fluid in it, but since it's probably 1/3 the size that it was when I saw the doc I'm not worrying.  Tomorrow the tape comes off and I can really get a good look at the incision and start moisturizing it like crazy to help diminish the scarring.

Today it's supposed to be really nice out, so I'm going to try to get out and get some things done in my garden beds to get them ready for planting.  Cutting back old stuff and things like that shouldn't be too much.

This is my last week off before returning to work, so I'm going to try to milk it for everything it's worth!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Weight, measurements and sizes - oh my!

I'm 2.5 weeks out from surgery and I'm pretty pleased today.  As you know, I have been really worried about gaining weight back while I'm not allowed to exercise.  I stepped on the scale today and weighed in at 129.2.  That's 7 pounds, 2 ounces lighter then when I went into surgery.  Since he took 6 pounds 10 ounces of skin, I clearly have been doing better then I thought at eating okay.  I'd like to get down to 120, so I still would like to lose a few more pounds, but I'm not as stressed as I was, especially since I get to start working out next week.

I also did some measurements today, as the swelling is pretty low in the morning.  I am 1 inch smaller in the bra strap area, 6 inches smaller in the waist area, and 5 inches smaller in the hips then the day before surgery.  It's pretty exciting.  I don't imagine I'll go much smaller then this.  

Yesterday I went to put on a pair of jeans and remembered that I kept a pair of my fat jeans.  I've done away with all my other clothes, but I wanted to keep something as a reminder.  Well, here it is....

Yes, believe it or not, those jeans used to fit me!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Turn up the heat!

You know what sucks about going from the size I used to be to the size I am now?  Frankly, almost nothing.  Except....

I'M COLD!  All the freaking time.  I just cannot get warm.  Now before anyone suggests I get my thyroid checked, I have had bloodwork done twice in the last year, including the week before surgery, and everything is normal.

I guess losing this layer of fat has just made this huge difference in my ability to warm myself.  Poor Marc, every time we ride in the car, he is sweating his ass off, and here I am with the heat full blast and perfectly comfortable.  And at home, the thermostat is set at 70 and I'm in 2 layers of clothing, plus 2 blankets.

Today we took the dogs for a walk.  It was in the 60's and I had a heavy sweatshirt on over a long t-shirt.  

It's a small price to pay but still.... I may have to move to some place near the equator!

Friday, May 4, 2012


Went to see the doc today.  I was so worried!  Fortunately, the seroma was really small.  He said that he wouldn't even necessarily have to drain it, but that he might as well because I was there.  A small numbing shot in the hip next to the seroma and then he stuck a long needle in and drained out the fluid.  It was less then an ounce - which means nothing to me, but he said that this was great.

He doesn't think it will re-occur but said to keep an eye on it.  No more appointments until the regularly scheduled one, and no changes to when I can exercise, etc.

What a huge relief!    

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Houston, we have a problem...

Fuck!  This was not supposed to happen.  I have developed a seroma.  With the drains out, the fluid has no place to go.  Your body is supposed to absorb it.  Sometimes, though, it doesn't and the fluid builds up.  Left untreated it can be lead to infection.

So, this means I have to return to Syracuse tomorrow to have the doc look at it and drain it.  Hopefully he doesn't have to put another drain in.  I am so upset right now I can't even think!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

As promised - pics!

Let's start at the beginning - this is me in the summer of 2005 - don't know if it as my highest weight, because I rarely let my pic be taken, it's the closest I have to a before pic.

 February 2011 - I had lost 100 pounds here.  I thought I looked awesome until I saw this photo - and then I burst into tears.
August 2011 - 150 pounds lost.

February 2012 - 200 pounds lost.

A few days before surgery - I had lost 208 here, but had the ton of excess skin that couldn't be hidden.

Same outfit after surgery - you can see how much better the pants fit!

And now for the money shots - I want to preface these by saying a couple of things.  First - the belly button is difficult to heal so that will look much better then it does right now.  Secondly, we took these pictures late in the day yesterday - after a full day of riding in the car and walking the mall and shopping.  So, I am very swollen.  I actually will look better then this.  The swelling combined with the compression garment also makes the stretch marks stand out - they will also look better, especially after they get tanned.  And finally, these before pics are so embarrassing to me - so be kind!

 Front a few days before surgery

Front - 2 weeks after.

Side before....

Side after
 When bent over, you can see how the skin just hung there....

Much better, obviously!

The big wrinkly butt and side muffins...


 Quite a difference!

And this is what I'm wearing to the beach this summer.  I still don't have a bikini body, especially with the stretch marks and stuff, but I don't give a shit - I'm wearing it anyway!  This is the best I have ever looked and if people don't like it they should look away!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What a great day!!

Today was an awesome day!  I met with the doctor for my 2 weeks appointment and got my last drain taken out.  I am - by far - exceeding all his expectations on my recovery.  He is actually amazed at how well I am doing.  The tape was all peeled off my incision and I am so pleased with how it looks.  I've been on many sites and have seen the butcher job that some plastic surgeons do on people - jagged, uneven cuts - this looks amazing.  I am covered back up with tape for another week but will take some pics of the incision when the tape comes off.

Because I am doing so well, he said that I can begin exercising again in 2 weeks.  That includes running and even weight lifting.  I can't do any core/ab work - so no crunches, yoga or any weights that use the core (like deadlifts) but normal exercise.  That is 2-4 weeks ahead of schedule!  He did say that even though I'll be free of the compression garment by then that he recommends that I use it when exercising.  It's just an added layer of precaution.  Also, he must have told me "don't overdo it!" about 10 times.  I guess he continues to worry that I'm going to do too much because I feel so good.

I have to see him again 1 month from now and he expects to completely release me to do anything I did pre-surgery, but we'll see how I'm doing 1 month from now!

Here he is - Dr. Dean DeRoberts, who I am SO, SO, SO happy I chose for this surgery.  I asked if I could take his picture and he seemed a little weirded out by that at first, but then was fine with it.  Per his suggestion we took the pic in his operating room because that's where I was "re-born".  Probably though, he just wants to show it off!!  Oh, and did I ever mention - he is exactly 1 day younger then me!!!


Afterwards, we hit the mall and some other stores and I bought a few things.  I am now in a size SMALL, yes, I said small, for almost everything.  My pants size appears to be a 4.  It is just unreal for me.  

Before and after pics tomorrow - I promise!!