Tuesday, November 27, 2012

3 Weeks Post Body Lift

I want to keep updating on my weekly progress after body lift surgery so here is a run down on how I felt coming up to week three. If anyone is interested, I have collated all my body lift posts into a tab at the top of my blog so it is easy to follow my journey (I tried to think of a less annoying word than 'journey' but really couldn't come up with one, sorry!).

I have been feeling much more tender and sore on my back and sides this week, which I am guessing might be because some of the numbness is wearing off. My back and sides had most of the liposuction so they are my most swollen and sore areas. My stomach is still fairly numb and bloated and when I wash myself in the shower I can't really feel anything. It is especially weird when I wash my new little belly button, I can't believe it is my body, whose belly button is this I am washing? One funny thing about my new belly button is that it is so much higher than it used to be. I used to see girls wearing their pants below their belly button and didn't understand how it was possible because mine hung so low, but now I see where a normal belly button is supposed to be and it all makes sense...

I am sleeping a little better this week, managing to get 4-5 hours sleep a night, which has made me a bit less foggy. I am still exhausted all the time though and I almost fall asleep just from blinking by the time the afternoon rolls around. One annoying thing about the lack of sleep is that I get double vision from being so tired and it makes texting and emailing difficult, let me tell you, I have sent some pretty incomprehensible messages lately!

I am still spending most of my days relaxing in bed because when I try to do too much more I end up exhausted and very swollen. To keep myself occupied I been doing an insane amount of online shopping. It's too soon for me to know what my measurements will be when the swelling goes down so I currently have a lot of items saved in my favourites on a lot of different websites. I can't see that I will ever have the money to buy any of the clothes I am coveting, but it is fun looking! I am just worried that one day when I am browsing at 4.00 am I will be so tired and dazed that I will go crazy max out my credit card on pretty things. I don't trust myself at all so I think it is best that I stick to Pinterest right now!

On Thursday night AJ had a hair appointment at a shopping mall so I decided to be brave stupid and go along to see if I could buy a cheap maxi dress to cover my compression garments. My compression garments come down well past my knees so a maxi dress is the best option to be comfortable and not look ridiculous when I go out in public. Not wanting to spend much money, I headed to the sale rack at Target and found a cute long skirt, but dammit they only had a size 12 left. Can you sense a massive non-scale victory coming up...?

You guessed it, the size 12 fit me and I bought my first ever item of clothing in a size 12! My whole life I have wanted to fit into size 12 clothing and just feel 'normal' so this was quite a moment for me. I really don't think it has sunk in to be honest, it is just too surreal that I could be wearing a size 12, in my head I am still morbidly obese. Now unfortunately I can't say that I am a real size 12 just yet because I was massively assisted by the stretchy waist on the skirt. Also, another dress I bought was a size 14 and I still have quite a few size 14 and 16 dresses in my wardrobe that don't actually fit me yet. So, like every other woman in the world, I am about 3 different sizes, depending on the cut and elasticity...

I am exhausted, sore and hunched over in this photo, but I still had to celebrate the moment
AJ had Friday off work and he tempted me to go on a drive to see our new house being built. Right before I went into surgery the slab went down and then the frame went up and so I haven't been able to see the progress because it is an hour and a half drive away and it would have been too much for me after surgery. After waiting so long for the build to begin, I have been dying to go and see the house, so I braved the car ride to check the house out. When we got there we saw that the roof tiles had also gone on and the insulation was in so it was even more exciting. I can't wait to see the finished result! I was thoroughly exhausted by the time I got home, but in no more pain than usual, so I was glad I went.

Me and AJ at the new house, look how pasty I look in comparison to AJ!
I am definitely feeling better each week and so I need to be careful not to get ahead of myself because I actually feel so good. I know I will hamper my recovery time if I do too much too soon.nThis is not a problem, no one has to tell me twice to go back to bed, I am more than happy to put my feet up!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Body Lift Pictures

It's the moment everyone has been waiting for... you finally get to see my arse crack!

Some of the tape covering my stitching came off while I was showering yesterday so AJ replaced it with the special tape my surgeon gave me. While the tape was off he took a quick photo of the wound so I could see because I can't quite twist around to see it myself just yet.

Scar after body lift

It's really not a pretty picture, but I did promise to share all the gory details. I am really happy with how the wound is healing and by how great the scar line looks. Let me tell you, I saw some real horror stories on google images! The scabby hole above my butt crack and on my right side are drain holes which will continue to heal over time. My back (right above my butt) is the most swollen part of me right now, so hopefully that will come in a bit as the swelling goes dow and give me more shape.

While I am sharing my view from behind, I thought I would share my front view too and so I just took a quick snap with my phone. Here is my new belly in all it's stretch marked glory! 

After body lift

To put that photo into context, and to show you what a genius my surgeon is, I really need to share a before picture. Please keep in mind that this is quite difficult for me to do. OK, deep breath...

Before body lift
I am sure you can now see why I am over the moon with my results. Even though I had lost over 55 kilos (121 lbs) I still looked obese because of the loose skin left on my abdomen. I could stare at my flat belly all day long, I just can't believe it is my body. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world right now!

I already have no doubt that the body lift surgery was worth every cent. I just wish that everyone who needed/wanted the surgery had the opportunity to have it done because it is truly life changing. For me it didn't just remove the skin, it has removed a mental and physical barrier holding me back in life. More than anything it has taken away the shame I had in myself and my body. I just feel free!

Friday, November 23, 2012

2 Weeks Post Body Lift

Congratulations to anyone who managed to read all my week one post-surgery updates! I know they were a bit boring, but I wrote them not only for myself, but for anyone thinking about having a body lift. I found that there was very little information out there, especially in Australia, on body lift surgery so I wanted to share my experience. It is such a massive surgery so it is quite terrifying to book yourself in when so much feels unknown.

As of Tuesday 20 November, I was two weeks post op and weighing 77 kilos (169.4 lbs). Now don't worry, I won't bore you with another blow-by-blow of each day, but I did want to make some notes on how things have been for me this week. If I have missed anything that you would like to know just leave me a comment or send me an email and I am happy to get into all the graphic details!

I spent pretty much all week propped up in bed with my laptop, kindle and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. My mum has been here all week and fetches me everything I need so I really don't have to move too much. I can do the basic things like go to the toilet and have a shower by myself without too much pain. I am only in trouble when I do something stupid like drop the soap in the shower... whoops.

I am not in as much pain as I thought I would be in, in fact, I would say that I have been more uncomfortable than in pain. So I feel guilty to have everyone fussing over me when I feel perfectly content, but I do know that if I tried to do too much my pain levels would increase and my recovery would be much slower. I am taking Tylenol 3 for the pain mostly in the early morning and night time when the swelling seems worse and my skin feels so tight I will burst. I tend to be OK to go through the day without any pain killers. There are probably times when some pain relief would be nice, but I have a bit of a phobia about swallowing tablets, it stresses me out so much that sometimes I would prefer to be in pain rather than swallow a tablet (yes, I am like a child).

To give an example of how mobile I have been this week here is a list of all my outings: Thursday I went into work for a couple of hours, Friday I went to see my surgeon, Saturday I went out for lunch with some lovely friends I have met through blogging and Sunday I went to my friend's baby shower. On Monday I was exhausted! So I might have pushed myself a little too far, but I felt good the entire time, it is just that pesky swelling and tightness that comes back to haunt me later on.

I have been really grateful to have such low pain levels after the body lift surgery. Someone I know who had the same surgery as me said she felt like she was being ripped apart and her pain levels were 12/10 for the first two weeks. I don't know why my body has coped so well with the surgery but my guesses would be that it is a combination of the following factors:
  • I had a very skilled surgical team (they did not come cheap!)
  • I have had a really positive attitude about the surgery
  • I have been looked after extremely well by the hospital and my family
  • I was in very good health and fitness before surgery
  • I was just very lucky!
What hasn't been so easy is sleeping. The pain is worse at night and I have been so uncomfortable that sleep is pretty much impossible. There have been quite a few nights when I have not slept at all and the other nights I manage  between 2-3 hours of broken sleep. I don't want to sound all Pollyanna again, but the lack of sleep really hasn't bothered me too much. I just accept that I won't sleep and keep myself busy playing around on my laptop in bed. Normally when I have to go to work the next day I find insomnia really stressful, but because I know that I don't have to go to work and try and use my brain all day, I just don't care. The biggest problem about being awake all night is the binge fests I have been having. There is nothing much more fun than raiding the fridge at 3.00 am and pigging out in bed while  everyone else is sound asleep...

I had my post-surgery follow up with my surgeon last Friday and he confirmed that I am healing really well. He changed my dressings and I got to see myself completely naked and without dressings for the first time. I still have a lot of swelling, especially on my back, but I was thrilled with the results I am seeing so far. I am very far from model material and will never have a bikini body, but he has removed the loose skin that was causing me so much anguish, so I am thrilled.  My surgeon said I can now take my compression garment off to shower, so that makes life a bit easier. It also means I get to stare at myself in the mirror naked before I shower and try to take in my new body. It is so bizarre to see this body with my head. I think it is going to take a while to get used to it!

Waiting for my check up with my surgeon

My eating has not been great this week (see night time binges above) but I haven't been too concerned. I wanted to give myself time to relax and recuperate and not think about dieting. Now that the first two weeks are over I am being careful to watch what I am eating again. I certainly did not do all this work and spend all this money just to gain the weight back. I will be happy when I can get some fill back in my band, my appetite is out of control right now, which isn't helped by hanging around the house all day feeling tired and bored.

Lastly, here is a quick photo I took of myself on the 2 week mark, can you see that I am getting a waistline for the first time ever??!! I still have a lot of swelling on my sides so hopefully my waist will become more defined over the next couple of months. I will post my more graphic (naked) before and after pictures soon, I am just building up the courage and working out the best way to do it without exposing myself to the whole world!

2 weeks post body lift surgery

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Body Lift Surgery- Day 7

Read Day 1
Read Day 2
Read Day 3
Read Day 4
Read Day 5
Read Day 6

Monday 12th November 2012

After a big day of visitors and chatting yesterday I am a bit tuckered out and decide to spend the day in bed and rest. I feel fine when I am up and about, but I have noticed that the more I move, the more the swelling increases and then I get a bit sore later that night. So sometimes I do get a bit ahead of myself and I tend to I pay for it later.

Due to the way my skin has been stretched in the surgery I need to sit propped  up in bed with lots of pillows. So I spend the day in bed online shopping, planning my holiday to Thailand next year and catching up on blog reading. My mum is here with me while AJ is at work and she has been at my beck and call to bring me drinks and fluff my pillows. I really can't complain at all, it was a day of luxury and I feel very spoilt!

AJ came home from work early to see if I needed anything, but as you can see he wasn't that helpful...

Later that evening my brother and sister-in-law bring over my favourite creature, their dog Cosmo, for a snuggle. They live a two minute walk away from me so I am used to seeing him all the time and I missed him. Cosmo is still a (rather large) puppy and can be very boisterous, but he managed to be on his best behaviour and was very gentle with me.

Getting cuddles in bed

Me, my sister-in-law, my brother and Cosmo
I am feeling better and better every day right now. I am still feeling the same level of pain and discomfort, but I know I am through the worst of it, so I feel grateful that I am on the way up.  I can feel my flexibility and movement improving each day. Getting up off the couch, reaching for a drink and going up the stairs seems to get easier each time. I am still incredibly bloated and numb on my stomach and I feel like I am wearing a prosthetic baby bump. My back is all swollen from the lipo I had there and I look like the hunchback of Notre Dame from behind. Even so, I am starting to get glimpses of what my body will look like in a few months and I am really excited!

Body Lift Surgery- Day 6

Read Day 1
Read Day 2
Read Day 3
Read Day 4
Read Day 5

Sunday 11th November 2012

After such a massive (and much needed) sleep the night before, I woke up today looking and feeling like a zombie, but a happy zombie! I was looking forward to having my first shower at home and washing my hair for the first time in almost a week-- what a feeling! I needed nurse AJ's help to shower and wash my hair because my movement is still limited. I had to wear my compression garment in the shower again, as per my surgeon's instructions, which basically feels like showering in a wetsuit. Lucky for me it was a nice sunny day and the sunlight was streaming in through my lounge room windows so I could lay in the sun and my compression garment dried in no time.

Struggling out of bed after a massive sleep (sunglasses due to light shining in at me in bed)
Me looking at myself in the full length mirror to see what in the world I look like now
Later that day my dad and step mum arrived from the country for a visit armed with presents and food to cheer me up and keep me sustained. My step mum was able to give me lots of advice because her mum had a double mastectomy (for breast cancer) a couple of years back and when she was better she had reconstructive breast implant surgery and a tummy tuck at the same time. It sounds like she experienced a lot of the same issues as me so it made me feel better to hear how she coped.

My mum arrived in the evening to stay for the next week and be my carer while AJ is at work. I am feeling pretty good, but I still can't do basic things like bend over, reach out, lift anything, even opening a jar can be difficult. So it is great to have mum stay and wait on me hand and foot while I recover. There are some things you can only ask your mum to do for you!

Later that night my sister-in-law, Connie, bought over some pain killers for me because the endone the hospital gave me made me crazy and panadol was not going to cut it! Connie is Canadian and she had a bottle of Tylenol 3, which I don't think we have here in Australia, which is a prescription drug and is a mixture of codeine and paracetamol. It isn't quite as strong as endone, but it does enough to take the edge off the pain and make me feel more comfortable. Thank god for my drug dealer Connie!

I am pleased to say that after the horror of the past 36 hours I feel so much better today. There are no more regrets about the surgery and I am feeling excited and positive about the future again. My family all seem shocked by how chirpy I am and how much I can move about. Though if I hear "slow down, you are doing too much" one more time I will scream. It is hard being a patient when you are as much of a control freak as I am! Though I must admit that after a full day of visitors I am completely exhausted and ready to crash in bed... if only I could sleep!

Body Lift Surgery- Day 5

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Read Day 2
Read Day 3
Read Day 4

Saturday 10th November 2012

Seeing as I didn't sleep at all last night, I honestly don't know when day 4 ended and day 5 began. The events of last night left me in a state of total exhaustion, agitation and pain. I felt so emotionally and physically destroyed that I regretted having the body lift surgery. I felt like I had no control of my mind or body and I just wanted everything to go back to normal. I couldn't eat or drink or even watch TV. I just lay in bed and stared at the ceiling willing myself to get through the day and hoping tomorrow would be better.

I was due to go home today and the hospital discharge could not come quick enough. The nurse warned me in the morning that I may not get to go home because my remaining drain was still releasing a lot of fluid so I nervously waited until 1.30pm when my surgeon came to see me for his decision. He was happy with everything and said I would be fine to go home the next day. WTF??!! He saw the panic and distress in my face and relented and said I could leave today if I wanted to as it wouldn't make a difference.

With perfect timing AJ then walked through the door and I told him to grab my bag and that I could leave. It was a painful ride home and I had quite severe nausea but I was just thrilled to be headed home. I could have cried with pure joy to walk into my little apartment, home sweet home!

Before I could get too excited to be home I had one pesky issue to deal with... constipation. Sorry to bring this up, but I am trying to be 100% honest about my experience. The pain killers had blocked me up quite badly, but my extensive stomach surgery meant that I had no ability to rectify the situation myself (ie. no pushing or straining). I do not normally discuss topics of a digestive nature with AJ but I was desperate and I had to ask for help. I told him I needed him to go to the chemist for me to pick up some 'medicine' and that once he had done it we could never speak of it again. The 'medicine' I needed was an enema. I could tell that AJ found the situation hilarious, but he knew I was beyond mortified, so he managed to be somewhat discreet about the matter. Well, except when he came home and proceeded to pass along the graphic instructions that the pharmacist had given him. I just snatched the box away and said I could read the instructions myself. My humiliation was definitely complete.

Let's just say that the 'medicine' worked within minutes and my problem was solved. I promptly lay down in bed and slept on and off for almost 18 hours. I got up briefly to eat some soup that my sister-in-law had made me and then went back to bed and slept heavier than I have in my entire life.

Me passed out before I could even get under the covers
Day 6 to come...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Body Lift Surgery- Day 4

Read Day 2
Read Day 3

Friday 9th November 2012

The pain and lack of sleep is catching up with me today and I am definitely feeling over being in hospital and I just want to go home. I just can't get comfortable at all and I wish I was in my own surroundings so I could relax a little more. I try to remind myself how luckyI am to have a lovely private room and it could be a lot worse, but nothing beats being at home.

The exciting part of today is that I am getting my IV and catheter out. I must admit that having a catheter was actually really good because it drains urine away immediately and I did not ever have to feel like I needed to go to the bathroom or use a bed pan (god forbid!). The IV was great too because, due to the swelling and fluid around my belly, I am so bloated that I find it difficult to get much water down so the IV has been keeping me hydrated.

After having the IV and the catheter out the nurse decides that I am finally ready to have a shower (no more sponge baths!). Unfortunately I had to shower in my compression garment because my surgeon has apparently just come back from a plastic surgery conference overseas and has heard that it is best to not remove the bindings at all for at least the first week. The nurses make it clear that they think this is ridiculous and have never heard such nonsense. I really don't care, I just don't want to get in the middle of their bickering!

As usual, there is no privacy (or dignity) in hospital and a nurse has to take me to shower and wash and dry me while I just sit there on one of those hospital showering chairs. As per the surgeon's instructions, I am showering in my garment, so the nurse attempts to wash off some of the fluid/blood stains to clean me up a bit. It is freezing after I get out because I am wearing a wet garment so the nurse wraps me in towels and hot blankets and I lay in bed to dry off.

AJ comes in to visit about lunch time today and I take advantage of his presence and being freshly clean and showered and get him to moisturise my feet. I don't feel like myself without all my beauty practices so it is so nice to have my feet feeling soft and smelling pretty again. it is these little things that cheer you up when you are sick!

Poor AJ...

I am also feeling more mobile today so I stand up and have AJ take some photos of me so I can get a better idea of what I look like. When I say 'stand up' I actually mean hunch over because my skin is pulled too tight to stand upright in any way! Try to ignore the pasty skin and greasy hair, I am not exactly looking my best! I have still severely swollen and bloated in these photo so I have lumps and bumps everywhere.

Front view

Side view

Back view
Now that I am feeling more mobile I can get up and relax in the chair in my room. The only problem was that AJ left to go home while I was in the chair and I didn't realise I couldn't get out by myself. I couldn't reach the buzzer to call the nurse for help so I eventually half fell out, half crawled out into my bed. Just when you start to feel normal you realise you are a complete invalid and have a long way to go!

I am not even sure what to say about my sleep tonight. It was a horrendous night and for the first time ever I wished that I had not had the body lift surgery. I was struggling from the pain and discomfort today so I took the endone, despite being suspicious it was making me sick. I drifted off to sleep about 3.00am and woke myself up 15 minutes later after having a terrible night terror. I woke up shaking, sweating and feeling sick. I don't normally call the nurse unless it is urgent, but I was so shaken that I called her and asked for her help to go to the bathroom. Mostly I think I just wanted some company because I was so shaken.

I vowed not to let myself fall asleep again tonight in case the night terror came back, but unfortunately I drifted off again only 15 minutes later. This time the night terror was even worse and I woke up to two nurses rushing into my room because I was screaming and crying in my sleep. I had thrashed about so much that I knocked everything around me onto the floor and I was wet with sweat and tears. I was shaking like a leaf and my body hurt from the trashing about that it was not ready for so soon after major surgery.

This time I was definitely not letting myself fall asleep again and I was so traumatised that I barely closed my eyelids for the rest of the night. I contemplated calling AJ because I was still so scared and shakey but I knew there would be nothing he could do to help and it would just make him worry. So I just stared vacantly at the TV and focussed all of my energy on getting through the night.

Day 5 to come...

Body Lift Surgery- Day 3

Read Day 1
Read Day 2

Thursday 8th November 2012

Today the mean nurses told me they were going to take away my morphine pump. I really don't think that is necessary! Apparently they are going to move me onto panadol and endone (oxycodone) if needed to control the pain. Hmmm, if I am in hospital I am pretty sure I require something much stronger than panadol for pain relief!

Not only that, but my surgeon came in and said that I can now have three out of my four drains removed. Now that would sound like a good thing, but I recall reading on another blog that this was an unpleasant experience. I can tell it isn't going to be good when the nurse generously offers me a last pump of morphine before they do it...

Now in fairness, removing the drains wasn't a painful experience, just incredibly gross. The drain tubes are in various positions in my back, stomach and sides. The nurse has to pull them out through my side so you can feel it being pulled out through your body. One of my tubes got stuck and the nurse had to give it a good tug. Oh god, I am dry retching just thinking about it.

Since they had to take my compression garment off to pull out the drain tubes they decide to give me a sponge bath too. This was great because I am sick of my own stench, but a sponge bath... I thought that only happened in porn! It was good to get cleaned up because I still had blood and god knows what on me from surgery, but there is a certain lack of dignity involved when someone else is washing your lady parts. Especially when the nurse comments on how many stretch marks I have on my stomach... ah, thanks...???

The nurses decide to get me to try and sit up on the side of the bed today. It seems impossible in my head that I could move my sliced and diced body so much as I have a constant fear I am going to split my stitches. The nurses assure me that it is pretty much impossible to split my stitches and they help me to sit up. I find that I have a really good range of flexibility and movement and so I go one better and stand up. The nurses seem terrified I am going to faint or collapse from so much movement, but it actually feels great to be moving about more. I think I secretly just want to impress the nurses and retain my place as their star patient!

By the afternoon I am really starting to feel quite nauseous and dizzy. I am not sure exactly why, but I am guessing it might be from the endone they gave me earlier today for the first time. I am trying to lay down and rest but every time I close my eyes the room starts spinning and I have scary hallucinations about people being in my hospital room. I am definitely feeling a bit off today and I am not sure if it is the new medication or just overall lack of sleep and exhaustion from the surgery.

Now one of the positives I must mention about my hospital is the food. I can't believe I am saying this, but the food is seriously impressive. I get to choose from a full hot and continental breakfast and then a gourmet three course lunch and dinner. Not only that, but they bring a coffee cart around six times a day for lattes, hot chocolates etc and snacks. I have been so excited by the menus they bring around each day that I have been snapping pictures and talking about them to anyone who will listen.

Lunch menu

Dinner menu
The nurse asks me if I want to try getting up to a chair in my room for dinner tonight. It sounds like a great idea to me because I am sick of trying to eat while lying on my back! It feels amazing to sit up like a normal person and eat my dinner tonight. I don't have a great appetite from all the nausea I have had today but I did eat the chicken and mango asian salad and it was delicious. Lucky AJ was there to finish the rest of my dinner for me!

Me thinking I am hot shit sitting up in a big girls chair
When I stand up to get back in bed AJ takes a quick snap of my back for me because i haven't seen what I look like from the back at all yet. Ignoring all the blood and swelling, I am stoked with how my body is shaping up after surgery.

I settle back into bed for the night and decide not to take any endone because I think it is making me feel quite sick. I take some panadol every few hours, as the nurses insist that I try stay on top of the pain so it doesn't get too extreme. The pain level has been a consisten 4/10, with a high level of discomfort. I would prefer to be back on the morphine to knock the pain out, but I am coping reasonably well with the panadol for now.

I had hoped for a sleeping tablet tonight to help me get some much-needed sleep, but a mis-communication between me-nurse-surgeon has meant that I don't have any prescribed for me. So it is another sleepless night for me. Lucky for me I have a friend in her third trimester of pregnancy who also isn't sleeping so I have an email buddy to keep me entertained into the wee hours.

Day 4 to come...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Body Lift Surgery- Day 2

Read Day 1

Wednesday 7th November 2012

I was very slowly and carefully eating my breakfast of yoghurt and muesli when my surgeon came in to check up on me this morning. He was shocked by how well I looked and that I was managing to sit up a bit and feed myself. He said he had heard from the nurses that I was the star patient on the ward and was coping really well. This was exciting to hear because I have never been good at anything, now I just need to find a way to use my talent to make money, perhaps harvesting my organs?

The nurses continued to check up on me constantly and at one stage warned me that they would have to try and change my bed sheets today because I had been bleeding from my wounds. I still had very limited mobility at this stage so I was a little nervous about how this would work. It was quite a procedure with three nurses coming in to strategise the move. In the end two nurses rolled me to one side, while the other nurse changed half the bed. They then rolled me to the other side while the nurse changed the other half of the bed. Let me tell you, I had quite a few pumps of morphine after that!

After lunch my dad and two brothers came for a visit. My dad had taken a day off work and driven down from the country to check up on me. I felt really bad that everyone was coming in to visit me because it was really quite boring for them. It was nice for me to lay back and listen to them talking for a few hours, especially because all the TV channels were saturated by US election coverage and I was dying of boredom.
Me and my dad
I also received a lovely delivery of flowers from my work, which was very sweet. I feel so guilty for having this time off work and receiving the flowers intensified my guilt a little, but they were very pretty!

Flowers from my work
After AJ finished work he came in to the hospital for a visit. He was planning on taking a week off during my surgery, but due to the change in date he was unable to take any time off work because it was a busy period for him. It made no difference to me really because I was being well taken care of by the nurses but I think he felt a bit guilty.

I still hadn't been able to move out of bed at all and I had no idea what I looked like so I asked AJ to take a photo of me so that I could see. It is a bit of a freak out to see myself without the apron stomach hanging down, but I am still so bloated that it is hard to get an idea of what I will end up looking like!

Me flashing my hot new body for the camera
My dad and my brothers left in the early evening because my dad had a long drive home. AJ hung around for a little longer, but once again, he was so exhausted that I sent him home. It was the final of Big Brother so I was content watching TV and getting high on morphine for the rest of the night.

I had a similar sleep to the night before, the morphine would knock me out for short periods, but I was awake for a lot of the night. I kept frightening the night nurse half to death when she would come into my dark room to check on me and I would start talking away. She told me to request sleeping tablets for the next night because she was concerned my how little sleep I was getting. Despite the lack of sleep I felt relaxed and positive about everything... perhaps that was the morphine!

AJ and me

Day 3 to come...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Body Lift Surgery- Day 1

Tuesday 6th November 2012

Getting ready to leave the house
After feeling a bit freaked out the day before surgery I knew I would be in for a sleepless night. I decided not to stress myself out trying to force sleep so I just lay in bed reading blogs and twitter pretty much all night. I knew it wouldn't matter because I would be getting enforced rest while under the anaesthetic during surgery.

My alarm went off at 5.30 am and I was already wide awake so I got up and I showered, grabbed my last minute bits and pieces and then AJ drove me to the hospital. We sat in the waiting room for about half an hour while I chatted AJ's ear off about the US election that was currently being televised. I was no longer feeling nervous about surgery, just excited, but AJ was very quiet and seemed to be feeling a lot more uncomfortable than me... or else I completely misjudged his politics and he is a secret Romney fan and didn't appreciate my commentary...

Feeling excited  in the waiting room
Next I was taken through to put on a surgery gown and answer the same questions about allergies and my date of birth over and over again to various nurses and doctors while they ticked boxes on forms. I was put on a bed and then not long after my surgeon came by with a big black texta and drew squiggly lines all over my body just like they do on Dr 90210. I was reassured to see that my surgeon also had a ruler and was quite precise in taking his measurements for the incisions. I was sure to let him know to be very liberal with the liposuction and that I would not miss any of my fat rolls!!!

In no time at all I was wheeled into the theatre and various people were buzzing around me hooking me up to machines. They strapped me into full leg cuffs that massaged my legs and kept them warm to prevent clotting and gave me that nice hot blanket you get before surgery. I really wanted to focus on enjoying the lovely woozy feeling you have as you are knocked out by the anaesthetic (I promise I am not a drug addict) but it all happened so quickly that the next thing I know I was waking up in recovery. 

I think my anaesthetist was a bit of a magician because I woke up from a 6 hour surgery feeling completely alert and clear headed. I could hear someone snoring very loudly in a bed near me and the first thing I said to the nurse who was with me was "please don't tell me I snored like that when I was out". She assured me that I didn't make any weird sounds and then called the surgeon over to have a chat with me. I was excited to hear how surgery went and asked him immediately if "he made me skinny" and he seemed to think he had done a pretty good job.

After about half an hour in recovery I was wheeled into my own spacious private room with a nice view outside. I was so excited by this that I grilled the nurse to make sure that there was no chance I would be moved into a different room at any stage. She assured me that this room would be mine for the duration of my stay and I wanted to hug her. I was obviously still feeling chatty and excited because I asked her questions about everything that she was doing and when AJ arrived shortly after she inferred to him that I was a bit of a control freak, which was of course no surprise to AJ!

When I came out from surgery I had 4 drains coming out of me that suck up the excess fluid. I also had a catheter in because I was not able to move to go to the bathroom and an IV pumping fluid in to re-hydrate me. The nurses fussed with my drains and catheter a lot to try and make me more comfortable but they really need not have worried because they didn't bother me at all.

Recovering after surgery
I also came out of surgery wearing my (crotchless) compression garment which my surgeon instructed me to leave on 24/7 for the next few weeks. I had heard they are uncomfortably tight (worse than spanx), but I actually couldn't feel it too much because my skin is so bloated and numb. I am sure it will drive me insane by about the middle of summer though!

The best thing about coming out of surgery though was the awesome morphine pain pump they gave me (once again, I promise I am not a drug addict). Every time I felt the pain creeping back I just gave that baby a pump or two and I was back to happy land. It took away a lot of the pain, but it couldn't help with the discomfort of having to lay in bed, slightly propped up, and not be able to move at all. I couldn't even give myself a drink and had to have the nurses hold a glass with a straw to my mouth so I could sip. If I tried to reposition myself in any way I would feel like my body was tearing apart at the seams, so it was best to try not to move at all!

Morphine haze
Next up my brother, sister-in-law and mum arrived to check up on me. Prior to surgery I had told them that I would probably be zonked out for visitors on the first day, but luckily I was fully alert and enjoyed having company. After an hour or so the nurse (not so subtly) hinted they should leave so I could get some rest. I didn't feel tired at all, but I am not one to argue with the nurses advice! 

I had missed putting an order in for dinner, so the kitchen sent me a fresh chicken and avocado sandwich and a cranberry juice. I really didn't have any appetite but the nurses kept pushing me to eat something so I had a nibble. I have never eaten hospital food (or airplane food for that matter) in my life because just the look of it normally grosses me out, but this was more than just edible, it was quite yummy.

Eating dinner
AJ hung around for a little bit longer, but I think he was way more worn out than me from all the worry of me having surgery, so I told him to go home and get some rest. I was still feeling quite good, mostly because of my little friend the morphine pain pump, so I watched some TV and chatted with the nurses as they came in every hour to check my temperature and blood pressure.

I didn't sleep much overnight. The morphine did help knock me out for short periods of time, but while the pain was manageable, it was still enough to keep me from sleeping very much. Despite this, I felt in good spirits all night and was feeling really happy that the surgery was a success and that the pain wasn't as bad as I thought it might be.

Day 2 to come...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Home From Hospital

Oh good god I am so happy to be home from hospital!

I actually arrived home late Saturday afternoon and have spent the past few days laying around in various uncomfortable positions trying to catch up on some sleep and dull the pain. As I sit here writing this in bed at 4.45 am (eating a peanut butter sandwich) you might guess that I have not been very successful!

My mum has been staying here with me to fetch me drinks and fluff my pillows while AJ is at work during the day. It might not seem like it, but being a patient is hard! It seems that I am just a little particular about how I like things to be done and I can't be comfortable until everything is just right. So I feel like I am being a demanding cow and I just want to apologise all day for being a pain. Lucky for me my mum and AJ have been endlessly patient with me.

The good news is that ever since they took my catheter out at the hospital I have had no trouble using the bathroom independently. There was just no way that I could have coped with needing assistance in that department!!! I did however need help to have my first shower (while still wearing my compression garment) on Sunday so I convinced AJ that we could make it into a fun game. He could be the flamboyant gay hairdresser and I was the glamorous plastic-surgery-loving client who needed a hair wash and blow wave. Now I just need to work on getting him to play the role of Korean mani/pedicurist and I will be set!

I am really pleased with my recovery so far and I am looking forward to a post-op appointment with my surgeon on Friday. Hopefully he will let me take this compression garment off for 5 minutes so that I can get a sneak peak at my results. The moments when my head is clear from pain killer fuzziness I am writing up all the details of my first week after surgery. I will also eventually find the courage to post my 'before' pictures, but the thought fills me with terror right now.

Please just ask if you have any questions at all about the body lift surgery!

Me getting into character quite naturally as the glamorous crazy plastic surgery lady... (in my defence the sun was shining through the bedroom window at me).

Yes I do have to walk hunched over like Mr Burns until my skin heals from the surgery and no I am not naked in this photo!

Monday, November 12, 2012


During a painful and sleepless night a couple of days ago I trawled my favourite online shopping website, Piperlime, for pretty dresses to remind me that this body lift surgery will be worth it in the end. 

I think this dress would be a nice reward for all my pain and suffering...

Do you have any awesome online shopping websites to share? I really don't know anything about 'normal' size shopping so I don't know where to start!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Hello From Hospital

Well it's finally all over. After all the nerves and excitement about my body lift surgery... it is done.

It is hard to describe how I feel. The pain is nowhere near as bad as I had anticipated but I am still in some pain and quite a bit of discomfort. I have barely slept because it is hard to sleep upright with the drains, IV and catheter coming out if me. Plus the full leg cuffs (see photo below) that constantly massage and heat my legs so as to prevent clots. Despite all this, I feel really cheerful because I am just so happy the surgery went smoothly and the pain is tolerable.

I still have no idea what the results of the surgery are because my surgeon has instructed me to keep my compression garment on 24/7. I had my first shower this morning and I even had to keep the garment on in the shower. I won't get to see my results until my first post-op appointment in a week. One thing I do know is that I am very bloated right now!

I should get to go home from hospital on Saturday which will be nice just so that I don't have to watch crappy free-to-air tv! When I am home and my head is clearer I will post all the gory details.

Thanks for all the kind messages. Though, I think AJ has got a big head after his guest post and now he wants to take over my blog...

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Surgery Update

Hi everyone, AJ here. Just a quick update, surgery went fantastically well, and she is doing great! The surgeon was really happy with the results, but we will have quite a wait before we can see for ourselves! There are no plans for her to move until tomorrow, but she is really alert and has discomfort more than pain - about 3 or 4 on the pain scale. I think the 3 shots of morphine have probably helped!! :)

She does have a catheter that feels "like nothing" so her fears there were unwarranted. Her biggest issue is a numb hand from the iv tape being too tight. 

I feel weird now that I was so stressed out about this, as it has been smooth sailing so far (touch wood).

Thanks everyone for your support!


Monday, November 05, 2012

Surgery Day

Just one more sleep until surgery.

Less than 12 hours.

While everyone else in Melbourne is getting ready to party for Melbourne Cup Day I will be in surgery having a body lift to remove the loose skin left from losing over 55 kilos (121 lbs). I have been waiting for this day since before I even lost a single kilo and now it feels surreal that it is almost here.


A few details for those of you who are interested, I am due to check into hospital at 7.00am and should be out of surgery by 1.00pm. I'll be in hospital for 4 nights and I have a bad feeling that I may have to use a catheter... OMG! I think that is about all I know right no, but I will make sure to come back and blog about the whole experience. I have given AJ my blog password so he can post an update on how my surgery goes-- I apologise in advance for anything embarrassing he does!

I have kept myself busy today with washing, cleaning, running errands, doing work emails and visiting my gran at her nursing home to make sure she is well stocked for chocolate while I am sick (I got my chocolate addiction from her). I have packed my hospital bag, shaved every part of my body that needs to be de-haired and said goodbye to my belly button before it is removed. I think I am as organised as I can be now.

I wasn't feeling nervous at all until I stopped and sat down to go over my checklist of things to pack. All of a sudden I have lost my appetite for dinner, so I guess that is nerves... I am confused, I have never lost my appetite before. I know that having this surgery is the right decision for me, but right now I am wondering what the hell I was thinking!

I am genuinely comforted by how lovely and supportive my family and friends have been. I really hate being an inconvenience and causing them to worry over an elective surgery, but they have all been 100% happy for me. I know I am sounding sappy now, but I have only told my close friends and family about my lap band and body lift surgery, so the support from blog land has meant a lot to me.

Eeeeek! I guess this is really happening!!!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Pre-Surgery Unfill

I decided to have my lap band unfilled a bit before having my body lift surgery on Tuesday. I didn't want to have any issues with food getting stuck in my band after I have been all sliced and diced. I normally go to the doctors where I had my surgery for band adjustments, but it is a bit of a pain to get public transport out there, especially because it takes so long and it means I can't go on my lunch break. Anyway, I found a doctor near my work in Carlton that does lap band adjustments and it's fully medicare covered so it doesn't cost a thing. It was great because he didn't weigh me or give me the third degree and he was quite a funny guy.

I had 5.8 mls in my 10 ml band and he took 0.8 mls out. Holy crap can I notice the difference. I got up this morning and ate pizza for breakfast. I can't even eat pizza normally, let alone first thing in the morning when my band is the tightest. It was like eating a slice of heaven... even though it was cold pizza that had sat out on the bench all night (yes, I was hungover).

Given that I managed to gain almost 5 kilos the week I had all of my wisdom teeth out, I can only imagine how much weight it would be possible for me to gain on the 4 weeks I have off for my body lift. I am just not one of those people who gets sick and loses their appetite. I can't lie, I am eating chocolate right now.

The chocolate and pizza eating will not go on after today, I am not paying $15,000 for a body lift just to get fat again (hopefully).

2 more sleeps until surgery!

Friday, November 02, 2012

Friday Weigh In- 2 November

Highest Weight: 129.7 kilos (285.3 lbs)
New Start Weight: 87.5 kilos (192.5 lbs)
Goal Weight: 72.5 kilos (159.5 lbs)

Last Week: 74.1 kilos (163 lbs)
Today: 73.8 kilos (162.3 lbs)
Loss: 0.3 kilos (0.6 lbs)
Total: 13.7 kilos (30.1 lbs)

This is my last Final 15 weigh in before my body lift surgery on Tuesday. My goal was to be 72.5 kilos (159.5lbs) for surgery, but that pesky surgeon moved my date forward by two and a half weeks, making it impossible for me to get to goal without hacking off a limb. Oh well, I am just happy to be seeing a 73 on the scale and I am really pleased that I made it so close to my goal.

Another goal I didn't meet was fitting into the dress that I bought for the Derby Day races tomorrow. God damn I hate not being able to fit into clothes from normal sized shops!!! Don't worry, I won't be going naked like I previously threatened, I scrounged around and borrowed a dress from my mum (that sounds a little sad). I had some other dresses I could wear, but the theme for Derby Day is black and white and I am not one to break a fashion rule!

The above photo is the fascinator that I wanted to buy for Derby Day... but it was hundreds of dollars so I bought an el cheapo from Target for $30 instead. I figure that is money I saved to place some bets on the horse! I happen to live right near the race track, so we are having brunch and mimosas at my place while we get glammed up. I have put AJ on stand-by to serve us drinks and help curl our hair. I did ask him to dress as a topless waiter too but he really wasn't into that.

I had a bit of a beautifying incident late last week when I went to a famous brow bar for a wax and they accidentally tore off all my skin under my eyebrows. Holy crap did that hurt! By the time it scabbed up I looked like I two split eyelids from a bar fight. Thank goodness it has pretty much healed by now and it at least coverable by make up!

OK, now I just have to pray that I manage to get through the day without getting sunburnt, blisters on my feet or passing out from too much champagne.