There are some things in life that you just have the convenience of knowing that you are pretty good at. You don’t want to be cocky, you just have the confidence or experience and know that you usually have no problem tackling that obstacle. Until the middle of December, I thought that I was really good at healing/recovering. Heck, I had major surgery in September, left the hospital in a day and was pretty much up and around in less than a week, and back to work shortly thereafter. I have a job, and 3 kids, and don’t have time to waste on pain meds and lying around.
Just to back up a bit. On Sept 26, 2012 I had a pretty massive surgery, RNY Gastric Bypass. No lap band for this chicka, I wanted the whole kit & caboodle. Go big or go home, right? Anyone reading this blog knows that I was pretty fat. Unhealthy fat. Not a good example for my 3 daughters fat. I don’t really know what events led me to laying on that operation table, but I got there. And I needed it. On the day of surgery I was 5’10” and weighed 250 lbs.
I bounced back from that surgery just fine, and within 11 weeks had lost 42 pounds. It was life changing.
As things progressed with my body, I made the decision to have a 2nd surgery, and on December 4, I had pretty much a full front body lift. The surgeon removed all of the hanging skin from my abdomen, and lifted and reduced my breasts. I thought that once again, I would be sore, and have to take it easy for a week, but would bounce back no problem. I left the out patient surgery with two painful surgical drains, 4 prescriptions, one for pain, one muscle relaxer, one anti nausea to help with the pain meds, and one anti biotic.
Everything went ok for about a week. And then the nausea hit. Apparently the anti nausea meds had the reverse effect for me. And heaving with my new golf ball sized stomach against my new hip to hip incision was enough to see stars. It went on for about 2 weeks until I just stopped taking any medicine altogether. I finally got in to see the surgeon where they confirmed that the meds were making me sick. It was a rough couple of weeks. I went from 210lbs to 185lbs. I was scared to even drink water.
Meanwhile, it was Christmas. Stuff needed to be done. Work needed me to come in and get things accomplished. And now, thanks to my heaving and poor circulation, I had a hole about the size of a clementine little sweetie right above my incision that looked not only alarming, but disgusting as well. It literally looked like I had been shot in the stomach. Apparently that complication is common in patients who have lost a lot of weight. Ugh. At that point I still had my drains in, which meant I still couldn’t take a shower. 24 days of it. Most mornings I wanted to cry. But that is the thing about elective surgery, you can’t cry. You chose it, and people are anxious to point that out. No room to feel sorry for yourself. The surgeon felt sorry for me though. Armed with his sincere apology, personal cell phone #, and an endless supply of oxy and muscle relaxers, he sent me home to try and celebrate the holidays with my crew. Greg, as usual, was a saint. He did all of the Christmas duties, from wrapping to baking Santa’s cookies, to cooking Christmas dinner while I continued along in my drugged state. Everything hurt. It hurt to breathe. It hurt to take the pain meds that were too big for my now tiny tummy. I can only sleep on my back, so even my butt hurts. I was sleeping too much, so I would find myself staring outside, starting to hallucinate. I hated being bed bound, and not able to do any of the tasks/lists that I was starting to accumulate in my head.
It is now about 6 weeks later and I still hurt. I still have a huge hole. Dr says it will heal, and he will go in and preform another tuck to get rid of what will surely be a heinous scar. My boobs look great though! If I look at myself in the mirror and only gaze from the new belly button up, I want to do the Toyota jump for joy. If I look waist down, I want to pass out.
In the past few weeks, I have learned a few things though.
A) The people/family/friends that you assume will be there won’t necessarily be there. I had in my head that certain friends would be kicked back with me in bed watching dvds and laughing the days away. And it just didn’t happen like that. Some people never came by to visit; some came only after I pointed out how lonely I was, and some people who I would have never expected to dropped by, which was a total surprise. You just never know. I had a former coworker/husband of a friend drop off cookies. Totally random. But still a much needed surprise.
B) No matter how gross you are, your husband will still be “your husband”. Don’t get me wrong, Greg was a total champ. He emptied drainage bulbs, changed bandages, gave me meds every 4 hours, helped with sponge baths and so on. But no matter how much I smelled, how miserable I felt or how gross I was, he still found something that was a turn on. I still can’t make it thru a bandage change without being worried that he is going try and cop a feel. It is still almost daily that I am reminded “you didn’t have surgery on your mouth”. Boys will be boys I guess.
C) Drugs are crazy. I have never been a fan of narcotics. I don’t like not being able to drive; I don’t like feeling unsure of what I said, etc. And while they have been a life saver this go around, the hallucinations are something else. It has given me true perspective for people with genuine mental health issues. I have seen animals, relatives, moving figures, etc all as real as can be. It would blow your mind.
D) Showers are amazing. Going 24 days without a shower can really mess with your head. I did my best, washing in the bathtub as high as I could go, washing my hair in the sink daily, but still. Sometimes you just need to have that water pouring on you to feel better.
E) Being not fat is amazing. Not having your every thought be about food is so liberating. Even though I feel like hell, I cannot believe how different I feel. Never mind the appearance part. It is strange that I don’t recognize my own hands or feet. Being able to take a deep breath, not having my back hurt every single day. Being able to dance with my girls without running out of breath. And having ta tas that stand up on their own is pretty dang nice too.
F) Your kids don’t care. Big baby knows that I have a hole in my stomach, and while she is very concerned that Greg doesn’t do it any further damage, she is primarily concerned that my boobs and my butt are ok. Which for her, makes perfect sense. AB is a little hurt that I am home all the time, but not playing with her during that time. Tessa is, well Tessa.
It has been life changing.