Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Surgery Update: Weeks Three & Four...

Warning: this post contains graphic photos. If you don’t want to see surgery pics (before and after) then maybe you should skip this post. Thanks!

Well, I am four weeks post op…can you believe it? I certainly cannot! Where did the time go?

Happy Birthday to me! Banyan Brown to celebrate 36!

I meant to write up a post last week at the three week mark but I just never got around to it. I blame all the raucous birthday celebrations for distracting me. Since I missed last week I will try to catch everyone up to speed as to what has been happening in the recovery process.

Week three went well. I did not have a doctor’s appointment last week but when I saw him at my week 2 checkup (on 12/30) he told me that on January 8th I could begin to transition from wearing the binder all day/night over to wearing a less rigid compression garment (i.e. spanx) instead. He said that at first I would probably want to wear the binder over the spanx because I may feel like I need additional support.

So, on Wednesday I wore the spanx to work and brought my binder with me just in case I needed it. It was really awkward at first. A bit uncomfortable. And I found myself walking hunched over again. On Wednesday all the ladies at work were commenting on how not good I looked so I had to explain about the transition. I made it through the entire workday wearing only the spanx but once I was home I took them off and put on the binder and that felt much better.

However, on Thursday (and every day subsequently) I wore the spanx only and felt great. On Thursday, the ladies at work all commented on how great I looked and how much better/easier I was moving around. It is crazy how quickly the body adapts to new situations. Since last Wednesday I have been following the routine of spanx at work, binder at night to sleep in and it is working out great for me. Oh, and in case I haven’t mentioned it before- the idea of wearing compression gear for months after the surgery is to help hold everything in place as the body heals so that way it heals up nice and tight not saggy and droopy because it is fighting against gravity. Doc says it will be a few months in the compression garments and I am 100% ok with that because I know it will help in the long run- even if it is weird wearing them all the time. Eh, small price to pay right?

Oh, and since I headed out to New Orleans last weekend (which is about a 3 hour car ride) I did wear the binder for the trip for some extra support. I am flying out to Nashville this Saturday and I plan on doing the same except I don’t plan on wearing it until after I get through security- kind of worried they would think I had some kind of explosives strapped to my stomach and search me.

Overall week three was great. I am feeling more like a ‘regular’ human being especially since I was able to go out and celebrate my birthday, travel, and do all of the fun things I would have done if I hadn’t had the surgery so that is a very good thing!
Week Three Pics

Left side is the night before surgery, right side is week 3!

Left side is one week post op, right side is three weeks pot op!

Today is the four week mark and I am pretty pumped at all the progress I have made so far. On Monday, I had a follow up appointment with the surgeon and he basically cleared me to start all activity, at my discretion. He said to ease into it and be smart about it. Like with cycling to try the stationary bike first to see how it feels, then move to riding outside but ride in a really safe/isolated area, then take it out to the streets. With running he said to slow jog and build as I feel comfortable. This of course is what I would have done anyway. I am a wimp; I will stop the first sign of pain. I am absolutely not, nor have I ever been, the ‘push through the pain’ kind of person. So, slow and easy sounded perfect to me.

Last night, for my first foray back into activity, I hit the track and it was great. I would have been 100% happy if the only thing I was able to do was walk but amazingly enough I could jog. I mean it was a slow jog. People could have easily walked past me but it was a jog nonetheless and I’ll take it. My friend E and I started off walking. After about 2 laps I was ready to see if I could jog. We did one full lap jogging then walked another one. I was hoping to just alternate laps between walking and jogging if my stamina and body could handle it. We started off on jogging lap two and it felt really good so we just kept going. We jogged another 3 or 4 laps (we kind of lost track) and only stopped because I was worried it would be too much to do more. We walked 2 more laps and called it a night. It was great. It felt amazing to move again. I was beyond floored that I was able to do so much. Afterwards I stretched and even that felt great. I thought my range would have diminished from the lack of regular activity but there I was, hands on the ground in a forward fold. That was pretty awesome. Also, was pretty stoked that I hit over 18K on the fitbit yesterday. I felt like a champion when I saw that!

Tonight I am heading to the gym. Going to test out the stationary bike and maybe some light weights and maybe a teeny tiny bit of core work. We’ll see. I’m just going to test the waters and see what feels good. I also am going to begin seeing a personal trainer soon. Lita, the trainer who ran the boot camp class I took last semester, said she would love to help me get back on track after the surgery so I will be using her to help me get there. I don’t have any expectations of what I can/cannot do; the only thing I expect is that if I listen to my body and continue to take care of myself I will be just fine.

Moving forward, over the next month until my next visit with the surgeon, I just plan on doing what I’ve been doing; resting, eating good whole foods, drinking lots of water and slowly reintroducing activity back into my life. Looking back over the past month I am surprised at how easy it was and how much I am able to do after such a short amount of time. But I should probably clarify that last statement a bit here…

No, the recovery wasn’t easy per se. But it was a hell of a lot easier than I imagined it to be. Don’t get me wrong, there were times when it sucked, it hurt, I cursed, cried, whined, and cried some more. But those times, they only accounted for like 10-20% of the time. The pain hit quickly but also subsided quickly. Putting the binder on was really difficult at first but that was like 5 minutes of my day. I was walking around from day one and once I figured out how to get up/down from the couch/bed/chairs I was able to do so on my own if necessary. For the most part I slept through the night and usually if I woke up it was because I had to pee, not because I was in pain. Less than a week post op I had both drain lines removed and was able to shower and was even able to ride in a car for an hour to spend the holidays with my Florida ‘family’. I was out drinking on NYE and spent my birthday in New Orleans. I can shower and get dressed on my own and have been doing so the whole time (with the exception of the binder when I needed to have it super tight- that was a two man ordeal); I can drive and have been cleared to do so since 12/30. I was back at work full time since 2 weeks after the operation and now am fully adjusted back into my routine and adjusted to being upright all day. I am back in my apartment; cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry. Life is pretty much exactly the way it was pre-surgery except that I wear spanx now. Which is crazy….it’s only been FOUR WEEKS!!!! I absolutely did not expect to have made so much progress so quickly and so when I say it was easy- this is what I mean.
Week Four Pics

Left side is one week post op, right side is four weeks post op!

I always try to be open and honest on this blog and share with you as many details as possible about my life and the goings on of it but if you have any questions regarding the procedure or the weight loss or anything really please let me know.

Love, hugs and happiness,