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Friday, February 22, 2013

I SUCK AT BLOGGING but I keep on trying.....

Well, it has been several months since I updated last and I've decided I really suck at this blogging thing, it's not easy to update as often as I would like.  Not just on here, but my other on-line stompin' grounds where I post too.  This is how things have been since I last updated: life gets in the way, depression gets in the way, life gets in the way, depression gets in the way and so on.  When life gets in the way, it is because I have been out with friends, I have been busy with my horse, I have been trying new things and getting out and enjoying life, actually participating!  Can you believe it?!  Yeah, I nearly shat myself too when I started participating in life instead of watching it fly by.  Honestly, who the hell wants to be sitting in front of computer writing about life instead of participating in it?  I for one would rather be riding through the trails with my horse or walking on the beach with my husband or hanging out with friends.  However, when the depression hits, I become extremely withdrawn and even texting becomes too much of an emotional drain; I become unable to connect with people at any emotional level.  I'll get to the depression later.

This is gonna be a long-ass post, so if you're gonna stick around you may want to go and get a coffee or some other stimulant (I don't judge) before you proceed.  For you sleevers out there you will find sleevie-specific updates scattered within (my way of suckering you in to read the whole thing).

Since my last update many moons ago, my seroma went away within 2 weeks.  Unfortunately, some areas on my left leg, right leg and underneath both of my breasts were suddenly open one night and two nights later I had internal stitches protruding.  I've been through this before so I wasn't worried, but I automatically knew I was going to swab positive for MRSA.  I've had 4 surgeries in the past 6 years with varying healing results.  Statistically, I just don't heal very well and neither does my Mother.  I swabbed positive for MRSA after surgery in 2007 and my body was rejecting the stitches, but not in 2009 when I had my gallbladder removed.  Mind you, I took the recommended 4 weeks off, rested, ate lots of protein and stayed away from work.  In 2011 I had the gastric sleeve surgery.  I developed a minor infection (NOT MRSA) which my PCP was sure was from the lack of nutrition as well as the nausea issues I had for several weeks afterwards.  For those of you who don't know, right after the gastric sleeve surgery you are allowed clear liquids only and are lucky if you can get in several tablespoons per day.  So, why the heck did I get it this time?!  Especially out so late - around 4 weeks post op..... long story short, my nutritional intake was not adequate - my intake sucked and honestly, still sucks even this far out post-op sleevie.  Getting enough food in, has been difficult and was more difficult with the compression from the garment against my stomach, I had a very hard time getting in enough of anything and I just wasn't really hungry at all.  Part of that if from the sleeve and the other part is that after surgery, I just tend to lose my appetite completely.  Now when I say that, what I should really say, since I don't get hungry, is that when I tried to eat I was gagging up food.  Since my nutrition was so sucky, my immune system diminished and for some reason, my body was treating the stitches in these areas as a foreign body and was rejecting them.  Why?  We don't know, but this is not the first time my body has rejected stitches.  Besides, at that point, does it really matter, I mean, they are already there.  Oh, 6 months out, a had a lone stitch migrate out of the right side of my lower abdominal scar.  Weird.  I pulled it out with tweezers.  No biggie.  PCP says it's possible for this to occur even at a year out.

7 weeks out:

My MRSA infected sites finally closed up.  I spent a few weeks taking epsom salt 30 minute baths to pull out the infection (a nice way to say puss) and  I was removing internal stitches that surfaced daily from various areas.  My right breast was bad.  I pulled out stitches 4 times from this spot and it took the longest to close.  The other nasty spot was my left groin.  That incision opened up a good inch in length, was deep and I was removing stitches every day on this spot for 5 days.  Once I pulled out those stitches the site slowly started to close and once the antibiotics kicked in, it closed within a few days.  Oddly enough, the sites always felt better once I removed the stitches.  The worst part of this time were the antibiotics because they made me feel sick and yucky.  Despite all this, I didn't mind nursing myself back to health, I just took all of this in stride - "this too shall pass".  I gave my body permission to do it's own thing - "whatever" was my mentality at this time, but not in a bad way, it was in a way of acceptance.  I still had some pain at this stage, but it was very minor.  It was more noticeable first thing in the morning and after sitting for prolonged periods, like when I watched a movie then got up.  The pain was more like a feeling of tightness/pulling/stiffness on the skin and was along my lower back and the stitches along both of my thighs.  It was not a deep pain, it was very superficial and totally manageable.  I didn't take or need pain killers at this point.  Once I get up and moved around, the pain disappeared.  During this time, I was still wearing my compression garments which I didn't mind because I found them comfy and I felt "secure" in them.  Weird, I know.  I just felt that they held me together.  I stopped wearing the compression garments 24-7 in September and was wearing them only at night.  At the end of October I stopped the compression garments completely.  This is longer than what is required, but I felt that I needed it and just went along with what felt right.    

I weighed in on September 15th at 148 pounds, down from 162 pounds, a loss of 14 pounds.  This weight was done at the end of the day, fully clothed, no voiding.....soooo, there might be a pound or two more that I have lost.  I'm positive it is from the skin removed and the 3 liters of fat from the lipo.  It didn't matter though, I'll take it where I can get it!!!  I also had my boobies measured and I'm a 36 D.  Soooooo happy with that.  My nipples are now even-steven since I was in my teens.  I don't know how Dr. Sauceda did it, but I told him I wanted a large C (minimum) or a small D (maximum) and I got exactly what I wanted, with my own breast tissue.  I am still mystified how he knew since he did the mark-ups in the office.  Maybe it is just by sight that he can tell what a "C", "D", "DD", etc look like.  He's a genius.  He will always have my eternal thanks.

Was it worth it?  YES    Would I do it again?  YES    Would I change anything?   YES - I WOULD REMEMBER TO BRING MY FRESHETTE!!!!

I'm now just under 7 months out and and I don't regret anything other than forgetting to bring my freshette, lol, yes, I regret it that much.  It really would have come in handy when I felt like I was going to rip apart if I tried to squat.

As for the sleeve, I'm 20 months out, almost 2 years, and no, I DON'T REGRET HAVING THIS SURGERY.  PLEASE STOP EMAILING ME AND ASKING ME IF I REALLY DON'T REGRET IT.  THANKS.  I WON'T RESPOND ANYMORE TO THIS QUESTION.  I SERIOUSLY DON'T REGRET HAVING THE SLEEVE DONE (just in case you needed clarification).  Ok, now that I've cleared that up, there is still some "bad" with the sleeve.  New foods or foods I haven't eaten since before the sleeve surgery is a 50-50 lotto situation.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.  I get violently nauseated if I eat something that doesn't agree with me.  I still take Zofran when this happens.  You CAN overeat.  When I do, I feel like food is sitting in my throat, my mouth waters, it feels hard to swallow and I may or may not feel nauseated.  Just be mindful of chewing your food at least 20 times before you swallow.  That's about it for sleevie.  I do notice that I can eat more than I did a year ago, but it is still considerably less than what many people eat at a time.  Actually, what I eat in the course of a day is what I used to eat at ONE meal.  I still log my food intake on my "Lose It!" app.  I do this to keep track of what I am eat, how much I am eating and what my protein/carb/fat intake is.  Even though I'm a "success" story, it is possible to reverse your success.  You still need to weigh yourself and watch what you eat.  I just eat healthy.  That's all.  I make healthy choices and if I want to share a piece of pie, I do.  I find that by allowing myself to eat treats lessens my need for them.  We all have our dark masters, mine being a Dairy Queen vanilla cone.  The difference is that instead of the biggest one I can get times two, I now have the small size once.  Everything in moderation.  

Now for the numbers, everyone wants to know the numbers.  I've been weighing in around 140-142 pounds since October.  I ended up losing a total of 22 pounds.  I wear a size 8/10 depending on the clothing brand.  I'm a 36 D in bra size.  For you sleevers out there, I have lost a total of 121 pounds and went from a size 22/24 to a size 8/10 in less than 18 months, 16 months to be exact for all those who are number people (you know who you are!!!).  I've essentially lost a person.  I saved a pair of my fattie pants and I FIT INTO ONE LEG!  Woah, I was THAT fat (yes, girl, you WERE that fat).  I'll get my hubby to take a pic of me and I'll post it on here so y'all can see.

Swelling: I still have some minor swelling along my lower abdomen first thing in the morning and right before bed, but is very minor.  My husband says it's just in my head but I can see it.  It is slight, but it is there.  I don't do anything about it other than just notice it.

Scars: yes, I has them, duh.  Sorry, that was a bit snippy.  Yes, some fucktard thought it short-bus smart to ask if I had scars from the recon I had.  Um, really?  and no, I did not mistake what said fucktard asked:   "so, do you have scars"   yes, that is what the fucktart said.  When people stop being so stupid, I'll start being nicer.  Anyhow, the scars used to be bright purple, but they are a pinkish color now.  I suspect 1 year - year and a half, they will be the silvery-white color that all my other surgery scars are.  There are some people who really struggle with having scars vs having surgery.  I think it is quite fuck-tarded that some people are so concerned with the look of scars that they will avoid having the sleeve surgery and/or reconstructive surgery, or at least, that is the excuse they give to others and themselves not to own up to the situation and what needs to be done.  I wear my scars with pride, yes, with pride.  They are a constant reminder of just how strong I AM, where I have come from and where I am headed.  I have lots of scars prior to this (as well as a shit load of tattoos), so these scars are just another etching on my canvas of life.  If others have a problem, it is that - their problem, not mine.  In comparison to the scars, my quality of life is 1000 times better than it was before having the skin removed and before having the sleeve surgery.  When you are as obese as I was and you end up with a decision to have sleeve surgery and then excess skin vs scars, it was a no-brainer for me.  I can dash up stairs, run from my parked car into a store run back and not be winded.  I don't take elevators or escalators anymore, wait for it......wait for it.......I take the stairs.  Yes folks, I take the stairs.  I usually run up them too and it feels so damn good.  Quality of life peeps, quality of life.            

When I rode my horse for the first time since surgery it was a big event for me.  I didn't have my breasts flopping around, or my gut bouncing and I have felt muscles in my legs and abdomen I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW I HAD!!!  Seriously, it amazes me.  I felt my body communicating with my horse in a way I had never experienced before.  All those years I had riding lessons and was told what my body should be feeling/doing (but never did) suddenly came flooding back to me.  I had no idea just how being overweight and having so much excess skin impacts your life.  I instantly noticed how much easier it was to sit correctly, communicate with my thighs, calves and bum; how my boobs weren't flopping up to my chin and how my gut wasn't slapping up against the saddle horn.  I also felt confident right away because I used to be worried about all the flopping about, but there is no flopping, I can just focus on communicating with my horse.  It was a big "aha" moment and this is just with riding my horse.

My body still proves to amaze me as I venture out of my comfort zone and try new things.  My body no longer holds me back, my body carries me through these new adventures, it is only my thoughts that stand in my way.  I am unable to convey how good it feels to know that I can try anything, do anything I want.  I no longer need to worry about weight restrictions, seat sizes and whether or not I'll fit into whatever I need to fit into in order to participate.  That worry is gone.  Those of you out there who were obese or are obese will know exactly what I am talking about.

This year I've decided that I want to ride more often and that I want to try jogging with my husband.  Working out a gym did not work for me.  I don't like being cooped up inside when it involves exercise.  Find something you enjoy doing and you'll stick with it.  I want to try jogging so I can build up my leg strength for riding my horse.  We'll see how that works out.  I may really enjoy jogging or I may feel like it is too tortuous for me.  I would like to improve the strength in my arms as I find it nearly impossible to lift my saddle onto my horse and he's not a tall horse at all.  I'm sure that will improve more as I start riding more and doing more work around the barn.  

My sex life has improved so much that it has made me realize just how much my body was affecting the level of intimacy with my husband.  Without getting into too much details, I have been able to connect even further with my husband (or any man) than I ever have.

Oh, and I FINALLY wore a little black dress (first time in my life) to my hubby's Christmas work party.  Yes, I looked really good, hubby couldn't keep his hands or his eyes off me.  I should have had hubby take a picture so I could post it, but it didn't even cross my mind.  I had a good time at this party.  I got shit-faced drunk, so much so that the bar tender said he could "no longer serve me" - bwaaaahahahahahahahaha.  First time in my life I have heard that.  Now, with that being said, sleevers listen up, alcohol will hit you hard.  I think I had, maybe, 4 beers, that's it.  I was totally fine, then the next minute I was seeing 6 of everything.  So, take it slow if you're gonna drink and have water beside you on the go to drink as well.  I know I looked good because I had several guys peeking at the boobies (some were not even trying to hide it), which when I was obese, that just didn't happen.  This was before I was drunk, so I know I wasn't just seeing things.  It's a good feeling to know that you're looking fine.  It was for me, because it proved to that fat girl mentality inside me that I really am not fat.  Hubby doesn't count.  He proposed to me when I was a size 12, married me when I was a size 22 and up until post-op sex, never "noticed" the "weight thing".  He always said it was my mental issue, not his, so yeah, he would think I was hot big or small, so he doesn't count.  Does that make sense?

Also, just to clarify, I'm not a ho-bag.  I don't seek out the attention, it is the opposite for me, it makes me uncomfortable, angry even when I catch men doing it.  I have heard many a time of girls going fat to skinny and being total sluts with their new-found bodies.  Generally speaking, when this has happened my observation has been that said girl has found her self-esteem and confidence and realizes one of two things, 1 her man is a douche-bag or 2, when the man is not a douche, she realizes she has been with said person because she felt that was the best she would get.  Seriously, I've seen it more than one.  However,  that is not me at all.  I am very happily married.  When I married I didn't "settle" for my man, I realized he was everything I wanted and everything I didn't know I needed.  I don't dress much different from how I did pre-op other than my tag size.  I'm a t-shirt and jeans kinda girl.  Getting attention from other men has been hard to deal with because I'm not used to it, I feel like I'm being scrutinized and it's unwanted attention.  However, that is another indicator to my inside fat girl mentality.  If I just have jeans and a t-shirt on and a guy is checking me out, well, I guess I'm looking pretty good, eh?  (holla out to my fellow canadians) even if it does make me feel so uncomfortable.

It is pathetic that up until recently I've still got this fat chick mentality inside me.  With more experiences in life she is dissipating, slowly albeit, but I'm sure she'll be gone sometime this year.  For the first time in my life I LOVE AND ACCEPT MY BODY.  The scale no longer has power over me, it is no longer my dark master.  Does my body look like a imagined it would?  No, but not in a bad way.  I never thought I'd make it to a size 8/10.  I didn't expect to have so much skin removal needed, but hey, let's be realistic, there is no way I'd be able to as much weight as I did and not have excess skin.  It is just not medically sound thinking.  That's ok though, I accept myself.  I love myself enough to not be critical towards my body.  There is a difference.  Loving and accepting your body are two different things, this is the best thing having these surgeries could have given me - the ability to love my body and the ability to accept my body.  BEST thing.  I wish this for all people who struggle with self-image issues.  I'm not sure exactly when it happened, but once I realized that I loved and accepted my body, life got that much easier.  It also played a very large role in my depression.

Now, some of you may be thinking, WTF?  WHY is she still depressed?  She's lost all the weight, in better health, etc, etc.  Well my friends, depression is a dark, complex labyrinth with many doors opening and closing.  One door opens revealing light and the path to another passage, but many doors  still remain closed along the way out.  While my self-image has pretty much done a 180, there are still issues remaining that are very deep, very painful and, at times, ever present.  When it seems as though a door is beginning to crack open and I move toward it to go forward, it slams shut in my face and the darkness returns.  That is the best way I can describe it.  However, I'm not going to get into specifics here.  This is not the place for that and the issues are completely irrelevant to having sleeve surgery and/or reconstructive surgery.  What IS relevant, is to be aware that if you suffer from depression pre-op and some of those issues relate to self-esteem/self-image issues, you may get worse before you get BETTER.  This surgery is not going to magically solve your self-esteem issues overnight.

For me, this meant that new issues arose that I wasn't aware of because I was eating them away, trying to bury them with each bite I took.  Post-op sleevie, these emotions were smack-dab right in front of my face.  I had to learn how to deal with these emotions in a healthier way, ie: by not eating myself to death.  It is important to be prepared for this because you CAN screw up your success.  You CAN over-eat.  The sleeve is a tool, a tool while you work on fixing yourself.  You must respect and obey it.  Follow the rules and you'll have success.  Deal with your "food issues".  You'll be a better human being, I promise.    

I developed what I call "fat girl" mentality.  Being a small size, but still seeing myself as an obese girl, still thinking my "fat girl" thoughts.  The thoughts haven't totally gone away, but they are few and far between.  While this may not seem like such a big deal, it is.  This can be a destructive and slippery slope.  What you are seeing needs to match what you are thinking because your thoughts become your actions.    

Noticing that you are changing and I don't mean physically.  You at some point will notice how your thoughts, actions and even your moral compass are changing.  Remember to keep these changes positive and accept that things ARE going to change whether you like it or not.  The only thing you can count on in life is change.....oh, and death, but that's obvious.  When I see obese people I feel sad for them because I know that they could be living a much better life.  I also know how food kills the pain.  Don't forget where you came from.

Learning to deal with positive attention.  WHAT?!  Yeah.  It is messed up how, while being so big, I wanted to be small and not have the negative looks and words whispered, how I longed to be looked at in a "good looking girl" way.  Silly, how once the compliments start coming in and the attention is felt, after a while it can trigger nasty feelings not just for you but from others around you.  For example, I have a family member who has been skinny all her life.  At christmas she seemed disgusted at how small I had gotten.  I tried on a pair of $400 jeans she had.  As I looked at them, I said to her that I doubt they'd fit.  As I was putting them on, she told me how she had gained weight the past several months.  I saw her face drop and heard her cry how fat she was because *I* could fit into them, just as the jeans slid on.  She tried to catch herself, but I saw it, heard it.  She seemed genuinely disgusted that I was smaller than her because she had always been the small one in the family.  The tall, long-legged blonde.  She NEVER had to endure the fat comments from family members that myself and another went through.  She then drilled me about what I was doing, what was I eating, how much and when, and declared she would be having the sleeve done because she was "so fat".  The whole thing was so stupid.  She is likely a size 12 and very tall, there is no way in hell that any reputable doctor would do the sleeve for her.  She grills me every time I see her.  So as you can see, I felt, and some times, still feel as though I'm being scrutinized and watched.  I have really started to hate how people were noticing how much weight I had lost several months ago because it felt like my weight was back on the examining table for all to view, yet again, even if it is complements and positive attention.  The negativity is also unique to deal with and will come from where you may not expect it to.  I've had to learn how to accept honest compliments and attention.  Not easy, at least, I didn't expect it to feel as negative as it did at times.  I've had to learn to brush off the negativity (jealousy).  While physically my journey seems to be at an end, it is very apparent that the emotional journey is going to be a long-haul-mount-kilimanjaro kinda deal.  That's all I can think of right now, which likely means these are the things that have made the biggest impact on me.  

Which brings me to a close on this long-ass post.  I will continue to post the rest of this year to see if there any long-term issues with the sleeve and/or reconstructive surgery since there seems to be little to no information out there, especially with the sleeve surgery.  I remember when I was looking for long-term sleeve info, it just wasn't out there, so I'll continue on the rest of the year.  I will try to post on a more regular basis, with pictures, everybody likes the pictures.  2013 will likely be the last year with postings.  I may feel like I'm ready to leave this part of life behind me, not forget, but move forward into my future instead of living in the past.  



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

FINALLY - My Surgery Experience With Dr Sauceda to post op Day 20

As promised, my account of my reconstructive surgery experience in Monterrey, Mexico with Dr Sauceda.  This post took so long because of all the photos.  From loading to editing and then setting up non-edited photos on my photography website and then getting all of the links ready and making sure that they were working. It was A LOT of work.  With that being said, 


My experience in this post goes until Post-Op Day 20.  After this entry, my blog picks up in date order of how my experience is coming along with new posts.

For more information on Dr Sauceda you can check out his website HERE.  If you would like to send Dr Sauceda an email, his email is HERE.  Discussion forum at Obesity Help consisting of past patients, current patients and potential patients HERE.  I am on this forum as "LucyInTheSkye". 



Before Gastric Sleeve Surgery
and 1 year after; but before
reconstructive surgery.
After lurking for several months on Dr Sauceda's Forum at Obesity Help, I decided to contact him to discuss what he could do for my body.  As noted in my previous post, my surgery with Dr. Sauceda was booked very fast, however, I had been researching him since fall 2011 and lurking on the forum where his patients are found and had made up my mind that he was going to be the surgeon for me.  My surgery was quickly booked for July 31. I had to tie up a lot of things before we left, including my husbands out of date passport, as we only had two weeks before we left. It was a bit of a mad scramble, but not much different from my sleeve surgery in terms of at home preparations.  

I made arrangements for Hubby and I to arrive in Monterrey, MX on the 29 of July.  With a 1 hour and 15 min stopover in Dallas, Fort Worth Airport, just enough time to grab a bite to eat and jump onto the next plane into Monterrey, we finally arrived in Monterrey at 1130pm.  While on the plane we were given two types of forms to fill out.  I listed the reason for travel as surgery and I'm glad I did (I will explain why later).  

When we got to Monterrey we stood in what I can only guess as an "arrival" lane for about 45 minutes.  When we got to the booth, the man checked our passports and asked why we were there (surgery) then stamped our passports with a smile and sent us on our way.  I thought that was the end of it - hah, wishful thinking!!!!  Then we came to the customs area.  Our baggage was on our immediate right, we took it and stood in line for 30 minutes.  When it was our turn we put our luggage on an x-ray machine.  Then, just before walking out of the customs area, a man looked at our declaration sheet (the one where I listed that we were brining over $10,000 USD) and said nothing.  I'm pretty sure that it is because I listed our reason for being there as "surgery" instead of tourist.  Monterrey handles a lot of "medical tourism" but people don't typically go there as a "tourist", especially foreigners; people come to Monterrey for either Business or Medical reasons.  So, I can see why customs may be more apt to question you and possibly search you if you state you are there as a "tourist", especially if you are brining in more than $10,000  It doesn't matter if it is cash or cheque, you still have to claim it or risk having it seized!!!!

Anyhow, the next thing the guy did was point to a booth behind him and said "push the button".  I pushed a big red button and it turned green and away we went.  If it turns red, off to the right is the area where your bags are searched.  We walked through sliding doors and there was a driver there waiting for us with my name on a sign.  On the back of the sign was a note from Dr Sauceda saying he would pick us up in the hotel lobby the next day between 730-800pm and to make sure that I had a shower before that time because of the markings he would be making.  Our driver spoke zero english, but with our little translation book and our previous, but limited, spanish we made out just fine.  By the time we left the airport it was just after 1 am, so be prepared to wait for a bit at the airport while you go through all of the "red tape".

The driving in Monterrey is fast, yet safe, does that make sense?  The driver buckles up and keeps his eyes on the road.   I did not find the drive to be worrisome as we have experienced much, much worse in the middle east so no big deal for us.  If you aren't used to it however, just be prepared that it is fast and may seem chaotic but it works  :)  

Dr Sauceda pays for your stay at the Hampton Inn ( PROVIDED YOUR SURGERY COST IS OVER A CERTAIN AMOUNT - sorry, I can't remember how much that amount is ).

The Hampton Inn is centrally located with restaurants and a mall literally in front, beside and behind the hotel. I think this is the best international hotel that I have stayed at that had so much to offer in terms of amenities in the immediate area.  There is the HEB ( kinda like WalMart ), movie theatre, shopping centre ( right off the HEB ) with an ice cream shop, clothing store, trinkets kiosk, a few banks, Japanese restaurant ( they deliver to the front desk at the hotel ) plus more.  Right beside the hotel is an AppleBee's, Italiano's, Starbucks, McDonalds.....across the street are more restaurants.  At the HEB you can buy food and drinks to stock your hotel fridge with to save money on your food bill.  Although, the food is so reasonably priced anyway, even if you did not have the fridge it would still be pretty cheap.  Also, you get breskfast included with your stay.  There are things such as eggs, toast, cereals, fruit, juice, coffee, tea, etc.  You can bring extras back to the room to eat later.  Additionally, there is an appetizer night 3 nights per week (with local beer!) included in your stay where you can also snag some more goodies to haul back to your room for later. More money saved!

Check-in at the hotel, as expected, was lightning fast since it was so late.  Staff were friendly and all smiles.  I explained why we were there and asked that we be put into the room the Dr. S had booked for us so I could unpack and get settled, ie: nest.  I had a very STRONG nesting desire once I got there and had been in nesting mode the last two days at home, lolololol.  The manager said he had no rooms on the first floor available as of yet but the room would be ready the next day.  Make sure you get one extra card for the mini fridge ( I'll why explain later ).  

Our room was on the third floor and it was HUGE.  There was a King size bed which was amazingly very, very comfy.  I was out within a minute and I slept like a log which is rare and unusual for me in an unfamiliar place.  When I'm in a new or unfamiliar place, I typically need to take a sleeping pill, that's how comfy and safe I felt in that bed!  In the room there was a sofa, large desk and chair, smaller table ( to go beside the sofa ), night stands and lamps on both sides of the bed ( with outlets on each side ), a closet with six hangers, an ironing table, iron and additional blanket, a 3 drawer large dresser for clothes ( to the left of this there was a similar one drawer dresser with 2 extra pillows ) and there was more than enough space in the room to move around.  The bathroom was large ( typical Hampton design ) and immaculately clean.  There is a facial bar soap, body bar soap, shampoo & conditioner, moisturizer as well as a hair dryer and, of course, towels provided.  I only brought my facial cleanser and special face and hand cream with me to cut down on packing.  There is also kleenex, a coffee maker, coffee, cups, ice container and a bottle of water on the bathroom counter.

I liked the room so much that the next day ( July 30th ), I called the manager and asked if we could just stay in the room for the duration of the stay, since we were technically supposed to check out at 1 pm.  He seemed surprised ( it's not on the first floor! ) but I told him that was fine, we very much liked the room and would just need a fridge to be brought up and later may need a recliner.  He said no problem and I kid you not when I tell you that the fridge was there in 5 minutes.  We tipped the guy $2 USD because he was so fast, friendly and got it set up and made sure it was working for us.  He seemed surprised ( but very thankful! ) to have gotten a tip.  He also told us about making sure we put the key card in the light socket so the fridge does not turn off.  So, for those of you who have never used this system, when you enter the room, on your immediate right there is an upright slot to insert your key card ( and leave it there ) so that your lights, fridge and such will work.  :)   If you take the key card out of the slot, not only will the lights automatically turn off, but so will the fridge!

We honestly did not do much our first full day there.  We went back to sleep after I spoke with the manager for a few more hours ( the bed was so comfy! ) and once I got up, I gleefully unpacked and organized all of my stuff and prepared a hospital bag for hubby to bring with him once my surgery was done.  We wandered over to HEB which is literally right behind the hotel.  We stocked up on a bunch of water and juice, and checked out what was there.  We found it to be just like Walmart, but without the clothing isle.  There are clothes for babies and they did have a very tiny isle end rack of undergarments for women and a small section for men as well.  It used to be that in the gym there was a water stocked fridge, however, the hotel seems to have caught on that people are stocking up on water so there is no longer water in the work out room.  Make sure you stock up on water/liquids before surgery.  We also changed over $100 USD for pesos since the hotel was out of pesos by the time we had gotten up and wandered down to the front desk.  If you need to change over money, you can do so at the hotel with really low rates or you can go over to the HEB.

After stocking our fridge there was not a lot of time left for us to really explore food choices before seeing Dr Sauceda, so we went to AppleBee's.  I have never been to one but hubby and I both enjoyed our meal.  I had steak fajitas ( you get all the fixin's to prepare them yourself ) and hubby had parmesan steak with shrimp ( Surf'n'Turf ) which he really enjoyed.  I had just enough time to get back to the hotel for a nice, cool shower and put on my bikini bottoms. 

Dr Sauceda arrived at 7 pm, 30 minutes before we were told, so try to be early so you don't leave him waiting on you.  I must say, I felt the compassion and warmth oozing from him.  He is such a kind, caring and lovely man.  I instantly felt safe and comfortable in his hands.  We went to his office and first sat at his desk and filled out some papers - standard medical questions.  I showed him pictures of breasts and other body parts I liked and we talked about expectations and actual results.

One thing I absolutely abhor, from any human being, is being promised something and it doesn't happen.  This will NOT happen with Dr Sauceda.  He is very, very honest of what he can and can not do.  
"I am not God, nor do I have a crystal ball".  He made a reference to his work as being like sculpting, except that unlike stone, which you can perfect and it will relatively remain the same over time, our bodies are not so.  We are malleable and we will change over time; we are at the mercy of gravity.  Everyone heals at a different rate, recovers at a different rate and scars differently.  He can invision what a majority of us will look like, but there are extremes, as in all things in life, good and bad, and how WE take care of ourselves is also a MAJOR factor in the end result.  I've never had a doctor be so HONEST.

We then went into his exam room and he left me to strip down and I peeled off everything expcept my bikini bottoms.  For the *first* time in my life, I didn't give a crap what I looked like; I was actually eager to strip down and see what Dr Sauceda was envisioning for me.  He took a bunch of pictures and then the magic began.  My husband was fascinated with the measurements he was taking and the entire process.  Hubby asked him more techniqal questions along the way and how the measurements corresponded with the surgical aspect of things - my hubby is a math-geek that way and I guess I am too, lol, because I found it very interesting as well.  Dr Sauceda encouraged us to ask any and all questions, explained what he was going to do and how he was going to do it.  In my own conclusion, the markings seemed very much like a sewing pattern drawn on us along with geometric landmarks.  It really was very interesting!  Sorry for all the geekiness folks!!!  Continuing on.......I could start to see his vision before he showed me in the mirror what and how he was going to do it and what he was hoping to achieve.  Remember, we are not a stone sculpture, we are a malleable "sculpture" with our results subject to gravity along with how our bodies decide to respond to the process.  Again, I will say, he is very honest with you!  He will tell you what is and what is not possible.  I respect and appreciate that so much, because those virtues are few and far between these days, especially with plastic surgeons.  I was pleased with what I saw and I KNEW that I would be getting the very best results that could be had.                               
Some of my markings

After, I got dressed and I signed a consent-type form (similar to other surgeries I have had) and handed over my bank draft.  He asked if it would be ok if he took 15 minutes to check his email (ha,ha,ha,ha) which we said of course, no problem - he may have answered one of your emails!  Dr Sauceda does not have a receptionist, so please be patient.  If you haven't heard from him in 48 hours, re-send your email with the heading "2 email request for your name".  He will get back to you.

A few minutes later his wife, the anesthesiologist, and his two lovely, and polite, children arrived to see "Papi" ( cuteness overload! ).  We rode the elevator down together and they left in a seperate car.  Dr Sauceda took us back to our hotel, again asking if we had any other questions and if we thought of anymore we could ask before surgery.  He instructed me to have a light meal (I suggested a chicken salad and he said perfect) and nothing to eat or drink after midnight, but did tell me to take all my normal prescription medications with a tiny sip of water first thing in the morning.  *****CHECK WITH HIM FIRST THOUGH, SOME MEDICATIONS YOU ARE NOT TO TAKE BEFORE ANY SURGERY*****  He then said he would pick us up between 730-800am the next day.

We went out for dinner at Italiano's and we both really enjoyed the service and the meal.  Hubby had spaghetti and meatballs and I could tell he was REALLY enjoying the food because he had several moments of "private food time" while eating.  LOLOLOLOL.  I had a teeny bite of the sauce, roasted tomatoe and meatball ( at hubby's insistence ) and it was heavenly!  I ordered the Romano Chicken Caesar Salad and it was delish.  I really enjoyed it, although I was only able to eat about a cup and a 1/2 of it, being that my sleeve can't handle anymore than that, but hubby was delighted to take it back to the hotel to snack on later ( and a piece of Tiramisu cake ). Oh, and HUGE portions, even for my husband who eats enough to feed an army ( thanks to his ferret-on-crack-like metabolism ), so if you have a tiny tummy you may just want to share something if you are not into leftovers.   

Surgery Day - July 31st

We were picked up by Dr Sauceda and taken to the hospital which is kinda just across the street from the hotel, although you wouldn't know it by the driving route you have to take to get there.  Once at the hospital, I had two forms to fill out, again, very typical but general - info about me and my emergency contact and a Consent form for the surgery and to have Dr Sauceda perform the procedures, which Dr Sauceda explains to you before you sign.  He then tells you to give the forms to the receptionist and that he will see you in the OR.  

Oh, as a funny observation, at the bottom of the first page I filled out, it asks you to list your "Current Suffering".  I laughed inside when I saw this because I work in a hospital, both an acute care centre and daysurgery/ambulatory care centre, and I do not like how our forms ask "Current Complaint" or "Cheif Complaint" makes the patient sound like a whiner. This seemed more compassionate.

Anyways, after filling and signing out the two forms, I handed them over to the receptionist who then began typing everything up.  A few minutes later she called me over to a side hallway.  My husband came with me, but once we got to the entrance she said " time......husband no" ( very politely ).  Hugs and kisses and off I went into the Pre-Operative area.  The receptionist introduced me to my nurse and then left.  My nurse, Blanca, introduced herself and explained that she would be in the OR with me and would be preparing me as well.  I immediately liked her and felt safe.  I went into a room with a bathroom and I put my clothes, sandals and pillow from the hotel into a locker and went for my last pee and changed my tampon.  Oh, and for the first time in 2 years, my period was late.  5 days!!!!  It arrived the night before we left.  *Sigh*  I told Blanca and she said it was no problem.  I couldn't tell Dr Sauceda the night was too "girly-embarrassing-awkward", but I'm just weird like that; she said she would let him know when I was sedated.  :)    

After I changed into the paper gown and put on my hospital booties, we went into another area and I layed down on a stretcher.  She asked if I had any allergies and/or medical conditions like diabetes and said she would be putting in the IV.  Also, really neat, I was given a pre-anesthetic in the area/vein (?) which completely numbed that area - yayyy!!!!  I have tiny veins and IV's kill in my hand.  Then she gave me a pill "to help you relax" with a tiny sip of water.  I asked her to write on the IV tape that I'm allergic to Penicillin.  I do this in any hospital I go, anywhere, because the last time I had Penicillin I nearly died and ended up in ICU.  So if you have a severe allergy to something don't be afraid to ask for something similar.  I also ask every time I'm about to get an injection as well or my hubby will ask if I'm not able to ask.  Better safe than sorry.  I had a nurse almost administer penicillin tablets several years ago in a community hospital!!!! Scary - I guess she didn't read my chart or see the wrist band? <insert sarcastic voice>

Once I took the pill, off we walked to the OR room.  Blanca explained that she was going to scrub me down ( with WARM bactine ).  I removed my gown and butt-naked got scrubbed down.  It was embarrassing only for a few seconds until I realized the look on Blanca's face.  She had a very professional look on her face and was concentrating on getting the scrub done properly.  Plus, I'm sure she's seen this thousands of time and besides, there is ALWAYS someone worse than you!  After she was finished, I was told that I would be laying on the stretcher but could not touch anything with my hands as the area was sterile.  She then patted me dry with a sterile cloth and helped me up on the table and placed my arms in their designated spots.  I was then covered with a sterile covering.  Two more nurses came in, smiled and said hello (I don't think they spoke english) and begain to prep themselves into their OR gowns.  Dr Sauceda and his wife (the anesthesiologist) then came in and the two nurses prepped them with their surgical gear.  Dr Sauceda said hello and asked if I was ready - HELL YAH!!!!!  Let's get this show on the road.  I'm really excited!  Do you know I haven't slept great for the past week and I am sooooooo looking forward to getting a GREAT sleep.  Then Dr Sauceda's wife asked how I was feeling and said she would be injecting a sedative into my IV before administering the epidural.  Blanca helped me roll onto my right side and placed my arms for me.  I was out seconds after that - around 9am.  The only thing I remember was feeling the lipo being done.  No pain, just the motion from it.  For those of you wondering, Dr Sauceda performs "Twilight Surgery".  You are heavily sedated, but breathing on you own the entire time, then once you are "out", you get an epidural and the surgery is on its way.  

Next thing I know, I was waking up (around 7pm), slowly ( usual for me ), and Blanca was placing the tape over the stitches on my right arm while another nurse was wrapping my legs ( clot prevention ).  The FIRST thing I asked her, LMFAO, was if I "pooed".  She laughed and said no, then the other nurses asked what I'd said because both Blanca and I were laughing, and then they started to laugh too.  It was a funny moment.  I had a horrible dream that I shat while being operated on and the thought of actually doing that terrified me for some reason.  I know, stupid right?  Then, another funny moment, so funny, I think it tops the "did I pooh moment".  I told Blanca I needed my tampon changed.  I had brought my own tampons so she got one out.  Then she took the wrapper off and looked a little confused (the cardboard flushable applicator ones) and very professionally asked how to use it (!!!!!!!!!)  At this time, the other two nurses came over also because I don't think tampons are really used in Mexico.  I explained how to do it and I asked her, "you have never used one?!"  Shyly, she said she had not.  I was shocked, honestly.  While she did her thing the other two nurses watched intently, yet professionally, as if they were watching a medical procedure of sorts being done.  When she finished, she threw the cardboard part away, then looked surprised at me and said, "that is it?!?!"  I nodded with a smile and she said she would have to try them!  Then she told the other nurses and they both nodded, smiled and said, "si-si".  Blanca told me the tampons were easier than pads.  LOLOL.  

I just take it for granted that every woman uses tampons because they are so much easier.  I don't even know any woman who still uses pads ( except for perhaps overnight ).  Weirdly enough, I'm glad I was part of a new learning experience with these woman, lol, seriously.  I know, I know, TMI and I'm a weirdo.  I have always been a very inquisitive person, especially anything that has to do with the human body, as well as all species and insects.  One thing I have always wondered was how women in other cultures cope with their periods.  For instance, women who live in mud huts in Africa, in the traditional way, what do they use?  What about the Mongolian families who live in their yurts and are a weeks' ride away from the nearest town?  If you think that's weird, you should hear the questions I have asked about my husband's anatomy that I was unable to find in any medical book I have read.  ;-)

Recovery Room from Dr Sauceda's website.  My bed was
the third one on the left.  The center desk is the nurse's station
Once the tampon thing was dealt with all three nurses helped me get my garments on.  I didn't feel any pain but I'm sure that is from the epidural.  I was wheeled into a recovery area by the nurses and Blanca stayed with me.  As I became more awake Blanca asked how I was feeling.  I was feeling just fine, no pain at all, but I was really, really thirsty.  She said she could give me a tiny sip, but I could have ice.  I went for the ice because I figured it would last longer if I sucked on it slowly.  I asked her if my husband had been called and she said that Dr Sauceda had called him immediately once he had finished and my hubby was on his way.  Dr Sauceda didn't stay because he had an airport pick up to do and/or surgery the next morning, but I wasn't worried about it.  I just wanted my hubby and I figured I'd see Dr Sauceda the next day anyway.  

I asked Blanca how the surgery went and she said it went really, really well - it "only" took 10 hours.  She told me he took 1.5 pounds from my left breast, 1 pound from my right breast, 3 pounds from my stomach, she couldn't remember how much from my arms and legs but she showed me with her hands and told me it was a total of 10 pounds and 3 litres of fat from lipo!!!!!!  Ewwwww, yucky fat, but yayyyyy that it's all gone!!!!  Sorry, the pic is too graphic to post on here.  

Pic of my room from Dr. Sauceda's website
A few minutes later my husband arrived and I was feeling 100% awake.  No nausea, vomiting or pain.  Blanca then moved me into my room.  Hubby settled down on the couch in the room and I've started typing out my journal experience.  At this point of the journal, I was about 3 or 4 hours post surgery and I could start to feel the drains in my legs.  It's not painful, but I know they are there.  My tummy at this time, underneath the garments, was flat-flat-flat!!!!  My arms, legs and waist were so teeny too.  My breasts were looking pretty perky underneath the garment as well.  I remember being really, really happy at this time.

Hubby called my Mom to let her know I was out of surgery and just fine - my Momma was relieved and said she couldn't wait to talk to me and wanted to hear all about my "battle scars".  Oddly enough, my Mom and I have bonded even more since I had my sleeve surgery last year and now with this surgery.  My Mom knows what it is like to have major surgery, having survived bilateral breast cancer and 2 rounds of implants, among all of the other surgeries she has gone through, referring to all of it as "being carved up".  In a really sick-weirdo way, that few will understand, she's proud to hear that I've endured 1200 stitches.  

Post Op - Day 1

Swollen sausage fingers
Didn't get any sleep last night; I was wide awake even after my nurse gave me something to sleep.  My neck was killing me and I had a headache (I think from being dehydrated) and I also started to have some more pain, but it was nothing overly bad.  The pain medication I was given controls the pain quite effectively and, surprise-surprise, is not a narcotic.  My gallbladder surgery and my sleeve surgery were more painful than this which is surprising considering all the work I had done.  I honestly thought I was going to be in a lot more pain.  My hands and arms are swollen like sausages; it looks as though my skin could burst, lol.  I found the best pillow to use was one of those "u" shaped travel pillows.  Wonderful!!!!

Up and walking around. Yes, there is a
smile on my face; a BIG one!
Dr Sauceda visited first thing in the morning and asked how I was feeling.  He told me that the first day post op, is the worst of all the days.  I guess I surprised him because I told him it wasn't really that bad at all.  He said everyone's pain threshold is different.  We talked about the surgery.  He said it took only 10 hours which surprised him because he was sure I'd be in the 12 hour range.  He confirmed the weight of skin removed and how much fat was taken out.  He also told me that he did lipo not only on my lower back, but my arms, stomach and thighs as well!!!!!  (at no extra charge to give me a better look).  This would not happen in Canada or the US - you would have to pay for that extra lipo or go under again and have it done.  Dr Sauceda really does care about how you look - he wants us to be very happy with our bodies and, I feel, gives each of us his best.  

I asked if he had taken pictures of all the skin he had removed (I asked him at the mark up) and he said of course and pulled out his iPhone.  It was interesting for me to see what was removed because I am a very visual person.  10 pounds does sound like a lot but when I actually saw the picture, it really hit home how much work he had done on me.  He told me that the goal for the day was to walk around the bed a few times and if I could do that, I could also have a shower.  I opted not to have the shower today; I wasn't feeling very energetic after getting zero sleep the night before.  Getting up and walking around the bed a few times pretty much wiped me out.  

Dr Sauceda also gave me the ok to have real food as well.  I was really looking forward to eating food, but I have to say, the food at the hospital isn't very good and I am not a picky eater at all.  I had chicken with rice and veggies for lunch but it was too greasy and salty for me.  I ate maybe a 1/4 of dinner and my hubby ate the rest.  Dinner was a cucumber sandwich with chicken and french fries.  I don't usually eat french fries, so I thought it would be a nice treat.  I'm not sure why the sandwich was called a cucumber sandwich because there were no cucumbers in sight.  I picked off 3 or 4 pieces of chicken and gave the rest to hubby; it was dripping in grease.  I ate some of the french fries, which weren't greasy at all (go figure), and gave the rest to hubby.  The other thing with the food is it takes sooooo long to get here.  I didn't get lunch until 2 pm and dinner was at 8 pm.  

My catheter was also taken out shortly after dinner.  I kinda didn't want it taken out just yet because squatting was really painful and I had forgotten to bring my freshette.  It didn't hurt getting it out, it just felt like pulling a tampon out.  Going to the bathroom was interesting.  I was so worried I was going to pee on my garment (I didn't) and the mons drains are "right there" too, which is also weird, but manageable.  Going pee after getting my catheter out stung a wee bit and squatting was painful along my leg stitches.  Didn't do too much today other than dozing off and on all day and reading my book.  

Post Op - Day 2

Slept pretty good last night.  Lots of off and on sleeping because of medication administration, drain emptying and getting up to go to the bathroom (I miss the catheter!!!), but overall a better night than the night before.  Pain has decreased along my incision sites and increased a lot on my back where the lipo was done.  My back is really stiff and sore and moving on and off the bed hurts but it is doable.  

Dr Sauceda came in really early to check on me; he's going to be in surgery all day.  Told him about the decrease/increase in pain and said the lipo pain is the worst but it will get better each day.  He said my goal for today was to have a shower after breakfast and depending on how that goes, I would likely be going back to the hotel tomorrow :-(  Bah!  I love the care I'm getting here and the nurses are excellent, but I'm really wanting to be in the Hampton bed and my "own place".  I was hoping I would be able to go back to the hotel today after my shower.  Oh well.  

My nurse took out my IV and I started on oral medications today.  Feels good to lose an attachment, even if it isn't a drain (yet) it is one less thing hanging off me that I have to worry about.  I am currently rocking 8 alien drain babies.  One on each leg, 2 in my mons area, 1 in each arm and one on each side of my breast.  

Breakfast was ordered shortly after Dr S came in (around 7-730 ?) but didn't get here until after 10 am.  Seems like such a long time to wait in between meals, so make sure you bring extra stuff with you if you are used to eating more than 3 times per day.  I had my first yummy hospital meal here.  I had papaya, scrambled eggs with bacon and refried beans - very tasty and not greasy at all.  The hospital even fed my hubby which was really nice.  He was in food heaven, he loves mexican food.  Hubby went out to the HEB to bring me some yogurt, granola and papaya so I can have additional meals during the day.  I am trying to eat 4-6 meals of one cup per meal.  My sleeve doesn't hold much, so I have to eat more often, especially since the garment has really increased my sleeve's restriction.  I usually only eat 3-4 times per day but with having surgery, I need to up my intake.  Didn't bring any protein drinks/powder/bars with me because I have gone off them the past few months - they suddenly don't taste good to me anymore and make me gag, so I have to eat as much real food as I can.  There is a GNC here that has protein drinks and other stuff; I may pick up a few of the pre-mixed EAS drinks to see if I can supplement with that since I haven't tried that brand yet.  

I'm am waiting now for my shower experience.  Really hoping that this garment goes back on without too much fuss because it is so tight right now!  It had better go back on, lol.......Ok, holy-hell, it's been 8 hours since my shower and I am wrecked.  In my humble opinion, this is by far the "worst" day.  My arms are swollen really bad and sore-sore-sore.  I feel like I've hit the gym really hard.  My stomach is swollen and pushing up against my garment; although the skin itself is totally numb which is a really weird feeling.  My boobies are perky but also swollen as hell; the drain tube site on my left breast is digging something nasty into my skin despite all the gauze and the pad we put there.

I did enjoy sitting on the chair while the warm water showered my body, it's amazing how a warm shower can feel so soothing and pick you up.  Taking off all the gauze and tape was exciting and scary - I really wanted to see what my new body looked like yet it was a little scary looking at over 1200 stitches.  So far, I like what I see; it's all very swollen, but I am happy.  Getting the garment back on was  
fucking hell and kicked the shit out of me  unpleasant and tiring.  My top piece garment barely fit across my shoulders and actually cut off the circulation in my arms for a little while.  Hubby had to keep shifting the material to ease up the pressure.  My poor nurse was sweating trying to get my gear back on; bless her heart!  I feel better with it on, even if it is uncomfortable.  A few times I felt like I was going to throw up, so I ended up just laying down to have the bottom garment put on.  Then, I seriously needed to rest, I was just fubar'ed wiped out.  I can't believe how much I swelled up once the garments were off....makes me wish I did not take them off!

Dr Sauceda just came in to check on me (it's a few minutes before 7 pm).  Told him about the swelling and he said by day 3 the swelling reaches it peak and then will slowly start to subside.  He said I will be going to the hotel tomorrow and then Patti (my nurse) will be coming every day until I return home to help with showering, dressings and getting my garments back on.  I'm really looking forward to being back at my "hotel home".  The care at the hospital is great, but I really want to "nest" at the moment.  He said he may not be able to see me tomorrow since he has a really long surgery, but the driver would be here to pick me up and would have the medications to give to me.  He's such a great guy, a real sweetheart who loves what he does.  

945 pm later that night - Swell Hell, I'm There

OMGosh, I feel like the Michilan Tire guy.  I am in Swell Hell and let me tell you, it is NOT "swell", lol.  I asked for pain meds for the first time today 15 minutes ago.  Again, maybe this is just my healing process, but no way was the first post op day pain.  If I had claimed pain on OR day or Post-Op day 1, I would like to retract that statement because today takes the prize and I haven't reached my "peak" (day 3) yet.  I am kicking myself in the ass because I left my oxycodone & T3's at the hotel (I had my GP provide me with narcotics just in case I needed them outside of the hospital).  I was just given a sleeping pill, so I'm hoping for a good night's sleep.  I am terrified to take my shower and get those garments on tomorrow!!!  

Post Op - Day 3

I'm out!!!!!  Today was actually better than yesterday; perhaps yesterday was the height of my swelling.  The shower this morning was fine and the garment was a whole lot easier to put on than yesterday.  Pain is way down today, hallelujah!  

I did have a moment of fear today.  I was eating lunch and swallowed my food the wrong way and had a hacking fit.  Holy-fucking-fuck-fuck-fuck-shit-shit-fucking-fak-fak-I'm-going-to-die-and-bleed-to-death.  OMGosh, I felt sharp, burning and ripping pain on my tummy tuck incision.  Truly, I thought I had busted a row of stitches.  I kept looking underneath the blanket, expecting to see blood pooling on my abdomen.  We'll see how much damage I did when I shower tomorrow.  Today, the only thing driving me nuts are my mons drains because of the garment being so tight "down there".  I've placed some pads there for padding but they don't seem to be much relief at the moment.  

Dr Sauceda stopped in early this morning to let me know I would be going back to the hotel today and Patti would be coming in starting tomorrow.  I'm going to miss the nurses, they were all so great.  My night nurse, Veronica, was so sweet and tried really hard to communicate and we made out just fine.  My other nurse, Maricella (?) was very gentle and motherly.  Unfortunately, there was a younger nurse and I can't remember her name, but she helped me with my garment yesterday and she was really sweet.  I really like how compassionate and caring the nurses are in Mexico; the care I have gotten is second to none and CLEAN, very clean.

Waiting to go to back to the hotel. This is
what I looked like when I left.
I think I may have startled a whole bunch of people when I left the hospital.  I didn't really bother too much to cover my drains and I had a lot of stares and sympathetic faces.  My drains were hanging all out.  I couldn't bother to cover everything up because I didn't really care, it would require extra energy and it is hot as hell outside, close to 100.  HAWT.  Never gets that hot were I live, lol.  

Post Op Days 4 and 5  

Post Op Day 4 - Meeting Patty, Scars and Healing: To Tape Or Cream And When? and I Think I May Need To Suffocate My Husband Tonight ;)

I got to meet Patty today!!!  She arrived at 11 am on the dot.  She is just so awesome, I love her already.  She is able to get your garments on lightning fast, yet she is gentle, making sure not to disturb the drain sites.  I was so happy to see that my coughing fit yesterday did not "bust" any stitches.  Added bonus was how easily the garment went on!!!!  I think I am past "swell hell peak".  

I was pretty wiped out once we were done, I was actually starting to feel nauseated and I was sweating big time, so I sat on the toilet seat while she emptied out my drains.  Then Dr Sauceda showed up.  Usual smiles and warmth from this man, whom I also love too.  Seriously, you will know what I mean when you meet him and Patty.  He asked the usual questions - pain, how am I ?, how was last night ?, totally taking him time, asked if I had any questions and I love how he explains why as well as the reasoning behind it.  You are not told do " X " without the reasoning behind it.  I took this opportunity to ask him about getting the best results for scar healing.  Here is what he said, shortened a little bit to highlight main points:  

***When*** - Once the scabs are gone; no crusties present, no oozing

***What & How*** - Two Options, both equally good:

1.  If you have time, use Mederma 4 times per day, massaging into each site/spot/area for a minimum of 5 minutes.  However, if you have multiple areas done, it is not practical (his exact words).  This method would be good for someone who has only had breasts done or tummy tuck - one area basically as it is very time consuming - and is certainly recommended for the face. 

2.  Scar FX Silicone sheets (exact brand he told me).  Buy the large sheet, 6x12, and just cut out the shapes you require.  The larger sheet will cover everything for someone that's had as much as I have had done and he says that buying the bigger sheet works out to be cheaper in the long run.  The sheets are essentially to be left on 24-7 except when showering for 6-8 weeks, depending on how the person is healing.  

*** so far, make me heal has the best prices for this sheet - $75.95 (reg $132.88) - and if you put something in your cart and return to shopping and letting the shopping page linger without any activity, a message will pop up offering you an additional %5 off if you purchase within 24 hours!  I discovered that by accident.  :)

This is going to be my game plan - the silicone strips.  I'll document the process when I get to the point of using silicone strips.

I told Dr Sauceda that Patty was a God-send and I am so happy "I got her".  He said, "I know that's why I have her, but *sigh* "she is a mule; that is why I have to take time off, so she will slow down and rest for when she has her baby".  She is such a hard worker; a person doesn't work like this "for the money", it is because she enjoys what she does.  That is the way a nurse should be.  I know she is already paid but she is getting a fat-ass tip; I actually had set money aside in our budget specifically for her.  Dr Sauceda and Patty left shortly after.  I went straight to lie down.  It is amazing how the process takes maybe 30-45 minutes and kicks the shit out of you, makes you feel like you have done a marathon; I mean, I was sweating (!!!!!!) and I've got the AC jacked right up in here (sweating is not good for the incision sites).  

He also asked if I was venturing out at all - no.  Going downstairs to get breakfast is too much for me, although, I *do* feel pretty good.  He told me that the mistake a lot of people make at this point, feeling so good, is that they over do it.  We still need to walk, to get the blood flowing, but it shouldn't be turned into an all day adventure.  What happens the next day, is the patient realizes they have over done it, and they are more sore or even more wiped out.  This compromises our healing and we are putting ourselves in a position of having complications, like stitches breaking open.  I understand what he is trying to say; if you feel great, good, but don't suddenly up and take off for a few hours when you have only been doing 15-20 minute intervals.  We are still healing.    

Drains are draining.  If I could, I'd have the breast ones removed first.  They are driving me faking nuts.  The garments both hellishly line up perfectly to cause maximum discomfort and annoyance.  Pads, socks, pads & socks, sadly offer only minimal relief.  I'll take whatever I can get.  I just say to myself they serve a huge purpose and a very darn good one, and, "This too shall pass".  The pain today is weird......feels like a sunburn.  Lipo spot on back still hurts, but not as intense as before and only when I sit up or lie down.  Still not standing up straight, but I am standing up straighter.  My stomach really baffles and amuses me and has helped me pass quite a bit of time thinking about the mechanics of the sensations.  It is completely numb when I touch it which is just bizzare.  I can't even describe it in words but you will know what I mean if you have had your tummy done or when you get it done.  Not so amusing is coughing, sneezing, or laughing.  Just don't do it.  You will cry like a baby and/or shit yourself in fear.  It will feel like you are riping/busting your stitches, which is not only painful, but scary as hell too.  As I said, you may panic and shit yourself.  You have been warned.  

Hubby thought it was kinda funny until he saw how violently suggestive I became, which amused him a little more.  I responded by insinuating I would *have* to suffocate him tonight if he watched any funny movies, did anything funny, showed me anything funny or said anything funny.  Not one to turn down a challenge, he was tempted, I know, but wisely, he opted not to.  LOL.  As part of his "punishment" for making me laughing and attempting to accept my challenge, I sent him off to the Italian place behind the hotel, for one reason only. The Tiramisu.  IT. IS. THE. BEST. I. HAVE. EVER. EVER. EVER. HAD.  THE BEEEEEEEEEEEESST.  The price is super reasonable considering how big the piece is - it is huge.  If I was eating alone, it would be dessert for me for 7 days.  With a man it only lasts one dessert, lol, but it is worth it even just for the 4 little bites I had.  Just to be cheeky, he said he'd have to make me laugh again so he could be "punished" into fetching more Tiramisu.  Did I say how much I love him?  ; )

Oh, on a quick side note, just before I went to bed I realized how loose, yes loose, my boobie area was on the garment, so we tightened the girls up all the way (tightest hooks).  Yay, swelling is going down.

Post Op Day 5 - What Dreams May Come, Dreams are Crushed, Adding on an extra last minute procedure (!!!) and Sitting Up Is Not Always A Good Thing (surprisingly) humph.

Patty arrived at 11 am on the dot.  She was super fast and gentle, just like yesterday.  Told her about tightening up the boobie garment and she said yes, it is ok, I still need the compression.  She also felt that all my drains except the 2 mons and left leg could likely come out tomorrow!!!!!!!!!  So excited.  I HATE these bastard drains.

1 pm
Dr Sauceda just showed up for his check up on me.  I immediately told him about the drains because I was just so freaking excited!!!!!  He looked at my output record we've been keeping since I got to the hotel and he said, not tomorrow, *maybe* tuesday.  I'm not quite at the below mark for a 24 hour period.  :(  So, I'm really hoping for tuesday.  He asked if I had any questions and I thought of one I meant to ask before I even got to MX but I had forgotten.  Spider Vein removal?  No, he doesn't do them, but he immediately called up a Doctor who does.  He took a look at the spider vein and a few minutes later, I agreed to the $250 USD price (which compared to prices at home, is crazy cheap) and Dr Sauceda said he would be by tomorrow at 12noon with the other doctor to do the procedure here at the hotel.  I'm totally happy with that because I don't want to leave the hotel and Dr Sauceda doesn't want me going into a clinic (germs lingering).  Works for me.  So, I'm super excited to be getting rid of this pesky blemish, or at least, minimizing it.  It looks like a bruise and it really bugs me.  

Thank you, dear Lord in heaven, for Oxy and T3's.  Pain was actually ok today up until 1130 tonight.  Still having the sunburn feeling, numbness on tummy.  Once I got up, shooting pain, circulating through body.  Death quickly approaching.  I had this "brilliant" idea to lay on the couch, upright and alternate between sitting upright, all day.  When I got up at 1130 pm to do my drains, I suddenly realized how unhappy my body was.  I didn't even think twice, I just took my oxy and later my T3's.  I am feeling a little better now that I am in bed, but my body was clearly not impressed with my "brilliant" idea.  Note to brain, vary positions throughout the day.  That is all, thank you, your body.  Duly noted.  Drains are a pain.  Breast drains are being compressed.  My left arm drain site has had the stitches undo, noticed it this morning, and it's been driving me mad all day.  I can feel it in my arm like an alien worm.  The others are fine (knock on wood).  

Post Op Day 6 - Dr Magic: A Tale of Sorcery, Betrayal and Revenge

Admittedly, today's journal is about my spider vein removal.  I hope you, at least, find it entertaining and worthy of a few laughs. 

Dr Sauceda came in to check on me before the procedure; we exchanged all the usual questions and he told me some of the drains would come out tomorrow.  Yayyyy!!!!  He then popped downstairs to meet the General Surgeon (I forgot his name).  He came in, introduced himself, explained what he was doing, how it would be done, what he was using and started getting set up.  He put on these helmet glasses (?)  I don't know what they are called, but it looks like a headband with highpowered glasses attached to the front.  My geeky husband, upon seeing them, had his eyes light up like he was a kid on Christmas Morning.  He looked over at me and I just knew he was having one of those moments where the heavens seem to open and you can hear the Angels singing.  I said, "yes honey, I know, I know you want them", lololol.  It was kinda sad, he was almost drooling <snicker>  heh-heh-heh.  I'm laying on the sofa and it is my right leg he needs to work on.  I offer to turn over the left - yes.  Needle goes in and he reminds me to stay still.  There was some burning (which he told me would happen) but it wasn't all that bad.  It was very similar to the pain meds injected into our IVs while at the hospital.  I also discovered I had a second area behind my knee, on the upper calf area.  No problem he says and no extra charge (very cool).  Again, I offer to roll to the left more - "oh, yes, please, if you are able".  So, I roll over some more.  For the medical geek that I am, this process is really neat.  The vein is there and then it is not, just like magic!  It is now my turn for the heavens to open and hear the Angels sing their sweet, sweet melody.  The Dr says he is all done - the whole thing took about 10 minutes.  Magic Doctor bandages it up, he begins gathering his gear, hubby pays and I'm totally mesmerized about the procedure.

As they are leaving, Magic Dr gives me this funny, smarty pants smile and a slight wink, like he knows something
*I* obviously do not know.  Meh, whatever, I'm basking in the coolness of what just happened!  Wow, so cool, just like magic!  It *has* to be magic, the Dr said it was magic, even Dr Sauceda seemed to be thrilled and enlightened by what just happened.  So here I am, replaying the disappearing act over and over in my mind (I know, it doesn't take much) - now you see it, now you don't.  I'm listening to the sweet Angels singing and I am feeling the warmth of the heavens shining down upon me.  I'm silently thanking the Lord for being able to get these spider veins taken care of.  Ok, yeah, so what you're thinking, right (?)  Well, as I'm basking, I slowly come to realize that my bum-bum-bitty-bits are cold.  I try to look over my shoulder but I am not able to.  I must have gotten a look of terror upon my face as my hand slid down my backside because hubby looks over and says - "what's wrong".  I tell him I'm suddenly feeling kinda cold and drafty.  Very casually, without even looking up from his iPad he says - "yeah probably, your junk and stuff is out".  

<Cue very loud record scratch>    ****Note regarding my compression garment: it is crotchless so you can go to the bathroom without having to take the garments on and off, which means your vajayjay is out as well as your bum-bum****

My "Junk"....and....."Stuff".  WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!?!?!?!?!?!  OMG, why didn't you SAY something?!?!?!?!  You fucking asshole pooh-face!!!!!   "I didn't think it mattered, they're both doctors.  Dr Sauceda has likely seen more of you than I ever have and the other doctor *IS* a General Surgeon".  M-O-R-T-I-F-I-E-D.  Mind racing, Magic Doctor saw my lady junk.....and he didn't say anything, didn't try to cover me with the blanket that was there.....encouraged me to roll over more too.  What kind of sorcery was this, that I wouldn't notice my bits were exposed?  Was that what the smarty pants smile was about?  VI-O-LATED, I've been violated.   Ah well, hubby's right, you've seen one, you've seen 'em all - yah?  Mmmmm, no, not so much.  At this point, and for the rest of the day, I'm was deciding whether or not what hubby did, or should I say did not do, was to get back at me for the way I snickered over his love of the helmet glasses?  That's ok.  A woman never forgets.  Revenge is better than Christmas.....

Later that night, as I was laying on the bed, pillows underneath my legs, I "accidentally" forgot to put on my panties.  Let's just say I put on a "full Monty" display - complete with my alien baby drains draped around my vajayjay - I strategically placed them.  I then asked hubby to cover me up because I was cold.  He comes over and initially doesn't say anything - keeping his eyes locked on mine.  In my very best Austin Powers voice I say, "Do You Find Me Sexy Baby?"  His eyes wonder down and, just as I knew would happen (women are smart like that), he yelps out, "OMG, NO-NO-NO.  WHY WOULD YOU MAKE ME VISUALIZE SUCH A HORRIBLE THING?!?!  Clearly, I have traumatized him and thus succeeded in my quest for revenge.  I look up innocently, "Well since the Doctors got such a good look today, and you seemed a little jealous, I thought you would like one too".  NO, NOT LIKE THIS, NEVER LIKE THIS.  THAT IS WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!!  YOU ARE AN EVIL WOMAN.

Wife - 1   Husband - 0

Post Op Day 7 - S#%t Gets Serious

I wasn't sure if I was going to tell this part of my story because I don't want to "scare" anyone else from having surgery because of how MY reaction to this process was.  However, it needs to be told so people can prepare themselves because I was NOT prepared......

I woke up really excited this morning because I knew I was getting drains out!!!  Patty came in and we did our usual drill except instead of getting dressed after the shower she said she was going to pull drains!  Yay, I was so excited!  Good bye you little bastardos, good bye.

There was a new bounce in my step, for sure, I'm thinking to myself, "yup I got this, we'll be done in 5 mins TOPS, no problemo, hell she can cut the stitches and I'll yank some out too".  I confidently layed down on the bed.  Patty told me both arms were coming out, both breasts and my right leg.  She told me that she was going to cut the stitches first and that the drain may feel like it is ripping my stitches as it was coming out, but that it would not be.  I smiled and said "ok, it's all good Patty".  I know what all this drain business was about.  I had my sleeve surgery last year in July.  I had the drain for 3 days.  On day three, my nurse pretty much did the said the same thing.  It was no problem at all, except for it felt like a long worm coming out.  It made my hairs stand up because it felt so strange.  Yup, I've GOT this, I am RUNNING this shit show!  Boo-ya-ka!!!!!!!!!!!

Patty did my left breast first and I whimpered a little.  It hurt just a wee little when the white part initially started to come out.  Meh I figured, no prob.  She moves to my left arm, starts to pull and I yelped: "OW, ow, ow, ow".  She stopped half way then started again "ow-ow-ow-ow-ow".  Woah, deep breath, deep breath I'm telling myself.  She does my right breast which was the same as the other - mild initial pain.  Phew.  Ok I'm thinking, maybe it's just my arms are more sensitive?  Ok, I've got my groove back, I OWN this!!!  Patty moves onto to my right arm and I squaked - my husband flailed whilst sitting at the desk chair.  Holy shit this hurts.  "OMG-OMG-OMG......WHY is it hurting so much?!"  I'm trying really hard not to be a wimp, because my drain last year didn't hurt - WTH is going on?!  Patty stopped part way and kept asking if I was ok and she was rubbing my left arm.  I told her to continue and I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes.  I thought ok, the worst must be over, it has to be.  I guess my arms are just really sensitive.  Patty tells me that she was going to do my leg - last one!!!  It's almost over I tell myself......She cuts the stitches holding the tubing and begins to pull.........HOLY MOTHER OF JESUS, LORD HAVE MERCY UPON ME!!!!!!  I screamed howled in pain and she pulled it out maybe 2 inches, may-be.  I saw black speckles forming in my eyes and the tears began to well.  Poor Patty, I could tell she felt bad.  I kept telling her it's ok, it's not your fault.  She pulled some more and the tears flowed down.  I was shaking and gasping for breath like a newborn baby.  When I cry, I cry hard and I can't stop it once it comes.  The pain was incredible, I was NOT prepared for pain this intense.  I cried out, "shouldn't I be knocked out for this?!?!  Third and last pull, was horrific AND traumatizing.  It was like a botfly the size of an anaconda with rusty razor hooks attached to it.  When Patty pulled, it almost felt like this thing was really digging in.  By the time the bastardo came out, I was crying and shaking, I'd nearly passed out - NO SHIT.  I had to pop once of my Zofran's STAT because I was sure I was going to throw up everywhere.

Pic of the JP drain.  The orange pen gives you an idea of how long this thing is

From the point of the pen to the left is the portion that was inside me

This was really hard for me to share because I have a very high pain threshold and this makes me feel so embarrassed!  I've had over 30 piercings all over my body at one time - vajayjay, nipples, multiple ear piercings - sometimes being pierced multiple times in one session, and I never cried.  I am the kind of person that sits 6-7 hours at a time getting tattooed on places where grown men have cried, like the inner arm and elbow, and not a tear or sound.  I feel like such a sucky baby. I can't even remember the last time I cried due to physical pain.

I cried out to Patty is it supposed to be like this?  Maybe there's something wrong?  No, this is the way it sometimes is.  She told me everyone is so different.  Some people don't really feel anything.  Some people feel pain on every drain.  Some people feel pain on some of the drains and then not on their others.  I am TERRIFIED to get the others pulled.  I'm thinking of asking Dr Sauceda if Patty can freeze the areas beforehand.  I looked at the openings on my arms and it appears as if the opening inside was starting to close up a little bit.  Maybe that's why it hurt so much, because the skin had to rip a bit to allow the tubing to come out?  I dunno.  I am not even kidding when I tell you I really do want some freezing.  

My point of todays adventure?  It might hurt to get your drain pulled.  Everyone is different.  Just be prepared.  That is all.  Any other pain I had today has been foreshadowed by the traumatic removal of anaconda sized bot flies with rusty razor hooks.  That is all.  

Ok, were the HELL is my Tiramisu cake!!!!! (Post Edit: Yes, I did get the cake!!!!)

Post Op Day 8 

Patty came in and did her thing today.  As we were walking out of the bathroom, she was telling me that my drains are looking like they will be coming out before I go home.  Unfortunately, all I heard was "drains....coming out".  I jumped forward, I almost leaped on the bed, and I cried out: "my drains NOW?!?!?! WHYYYYYYEEEE", tears welling in my eyes.  The whole thing happened so quickly, it was like my body and mouth moved without my knowing until I saw the look on Patty's face.  She told me, no not today, but by friday she's hoping they will all be out.  What a sucky-baby I am.   

Nothing else really happened today.  I'm walking better.  I really notice a difference in how my right leg is able to move better than my left leg (still has drain in it).  Getting up and laying down is getting easier and is less painful.  I made it downstairs twice today and I'm not winded.  I'm still winded after the morning routine, but it's getting better and better each day.  The swelling in my hands is gone but my feet and ankles are swollen when I wake up.  Oh, I'm constipated and taking Milk of Magnesia.  Happy-Happy-Joy-Joy.  NOT.  I'm bloated like a beached whale.  Not cool, not cool my friends.  

Post Op Day 9 - Ask And You Shall Receive

I emailed Dr Sauceda last night, well actually, I think it was 4 am, lol, not that I was up all night or anything freaking out about getting drains pulled, nope, not at all!  ;-)

He came in this morining before Patty did to check on me and we talked about the drain pain.  He OKAYED the local anesthetic!!!!!  He did warn me that just as drain pain is different for everyone, as will be the freezing itself.  He said that it might end up hurting more than getting the drain pulled.  I told him I would take my chances with that.  I'm pretty good with needle pain, fingers crossed and prayers that this will bring the level of pain down.  I don't expect it to be pain free, I just don't want it to feel so.....traumatic as it did. 

My "monzie" (my name for mons) area is not happy with the drains.  The drain on the left has about 1/2 inch of the white part sticking out already.  Maybe since that one is already sticking out, it won't hurt as much?  Patty told me that one is "only" about 3-4 inches.  It doesn't look as if my skin is closing on it, it looks like it's pulling away from it.  The drain on the right is red around the area and it hurts; it too is starting to slip out.  I think my monzie is telling me that she wants these "suckers" gone.  Get it, suckers?  cuz they suction in the fluid.....yah, I'm a 'terd, I know, lol.  My left leg drain looks like it is healing around the tubing.  Ugh.  Only 3 more, only 3 more.  Excellent news about drains.  Dr Sauceda called Patty this morning after we talked and he okayed her to pull ALL drains tomorrow!!!!  Good bye you little bastardos and good riddence - I HATE YOU!!!!!  In other matters, to complete my joyous day tomorrow, I'm getting an enema.  I've never had one, but I've seen them done to other people at work.  Nice, eh?  I just KNOW you're all JEALOUS of me.  No fighting now people, settle down now, settle down now.  We can't all be as lucky as me!!!

Post Op Day 10 - Shits and Giggles

Sorry to disappoint y'all, but there was no enema performed - I shat all on my own - whoop whoop!!!  <fist pumping the air>  Now as you may recall, the 5 drains I had pulled pervious hurt like a @%@#%  *@&#$^! and made me cry, which suprised hubby since I'm a "tough broad".  I had pleaded requested with Dr Sauceda for a local anesthetic and explained my reasoning (I think the drain holes are closing up and the bot-fly tubes with rusty hooks dipped in battery acid are trailblazing their way out - OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG) and he agreed but also warned that the local may actually hurt more than pulling the drains out and that the freezing would not actually extend up the length of the tubes.  I told him I was willing to take my chances.  

Dr Sauceda arrived about an hour before Patty did to do his final check-up.  He seemed very pleased with my progress.  I asked if I would be seeing him the next day, but he said no, he had hired a driver to take us to the airport.  I gave him a big hug (tears welling, almost crying) and thanked him for making me look like a human, a woman my age.  I was really sad and actually wanted to stay longer.  Ok, this is sucky, but I'm welling up with tears right now, lol.  He is such a sweetheart and a great human being.  He is just so warm, kind and compassionate - I can't say this enough for those of you who are reading and are considering him.  He asked me to stay in touch and I said I would do so as well as send in regular photos, which you are supposed to do.  You should be checking in with Dr Sauceda each day until it is no longer necessary.  Even now as I am preparing my journal for the blog (it is September) I find myself missing Dr Sauceda and Patty.  Weird huh?  I'm almost thinking what else could I get done just for an excuse to visit again.  Have you ever had a Doctor or Nurse make you feel this way?

Patty arrived on time, as usual, smiles and all.  I did my normal shower routine then strolled over to the bed.  Patty got the needle ready, explaining what was going to happen and how she was going to do it.  I told her the only thing she needed to do was say: "1-2-3-poke" unless she wanted to see my ninja leaping skills in action.  I must also mention that I prayed A LOT the night before, almost in a pleading manner (yes, I'm ashamed to admit that).  Sad, I know.  Patty begins with the first needle and the countdown, but I was prepared for major pain this time.  I had one of the hand towels stuffed in my mouth so I had something to bite into.  I felt like I was prepairing to give birth in the 1800's.  She started off with my monzie and made the first injection.......EASY PEASY (THANK YOU JESUS).  It felt no worse than getting my IV shots of the pain killers or like getting snapped with an elastic that only hurt for 3 seconds.  She ended up doing 3 monzie shots and each one was easier than the last.  She moved onto the leg and again not bad at all.  By that time the first monzie area was "ready".  I braced for the traumatic pain like last time because I wasn't 100% sure if my theory about the drains was correct or if the pain I felt last time was actually from the larger part of the catheter as it trailblazed its way out and actually had nothing to do with the drain hole at all.  So, I braced and Patty worked!!!!!!  I felt NO PAIN at all.  I was giggling because it actually tickled my insides as it came out!  Can you believe it?!?!?  Patty wasn't sure what to think about my giggling because she kept asking if I was ok and once I explained what was going on she laughed too.  The second monzie drain was the longer of the two drains and it still tickled but wow did it ever squeege me out.  I could feel the catheter slithering out from my upper abdomen area and it was the weirdest sensation ever.  I kept saying "Ew-ew-ew-ew" but I was laughing, almost hysterically.  My leg was just as weird.  I could see it coming out by the way my skin was shifting around.  Again, hysterical laughter yet squeegies too.  

That's just about where the laughter ends though.  Patty and I finished up our routine, which I was dreading because I knew it was going to be "goodbyes" very soon.  I HATE good-byes.  I hugged her and told her I was going to miss her and we both started tearing up, I choked up a bit trying to hold the tears back.  I gave her a very well earned tip and some money for her baby Luna which made her cry (while she was caring for me, she was 2 weeks out before delivering her first baby, a girl she named Luna).  I was sad to see her go; she is an excellent nurse and person.  She is the most compassionate nurse I have ever had and I will never forget her nor Dr Sauceda.  Again, I am tearing up - WTH?!?!?

Our last day we went to one of the bigger malls, can't remember what it is called, and hubby wheelchaired me all over.  There was no way I'd be able to do all of the walking that we did.  It was a nice change of scenery.  I splurged on a pair of Bose headphones that were way more cheap than back home from the Apple Store.  We came back and headed over to the HEB.  I picked up gauze, tape and other odds'n'ends that were much cheaper than buying at home.  Meanwhile, hubby stocked up on 4 bottles of Tequila, one $250 bottle of premium Tequila and two bottles of wine.  No, he's not a lush, lol.  The only thing that he kept for himself was the $250 bottle of Tequila for his "collection".  Since our very first trip together, he has been collecting booze from all the countries we have been to - Mexico (Puerto Vallarta), Syria, Jordan, Israel, Mexico (Tijuana) and now Monterrey MX.  He's saving them so when we're "old and retired" we can get shit-faced relive our journeys abroad.  Our last dinner was at the Italian place; we both had the Lasagna (nom-nom-nom) and Tiramisu (to go) which was also NOM-NOM-NOM.

Post Op Day 11 - Returning to the Mother Land via First Class and Why You NEED to have a Wheelchair!!!!   

Approaching DFW airport
We packed our bags the night before so we weren't rushed in the morning.  Everything was pretty straight forward.  Check-out was simply handing over our key cards and walking out the front doors.  The driver was waiting for us and off we went.  It was nice to see the drive out of Monterrey in daylight; there are a lot of malls/stores towards the airport among other interesting looking places.  Next thing I know, we're at the airport.  We tip and thank the driver and off we go.  We headed off towards United Airlines and our checked baggage was searched.  Kinda weird but it didn't take long.  We were assigned our tickets, our baggage was checked and we headed off to our gate.  We only waited about 45 minutes and then boarded the plane.  

love first class and the money was well worth it.  The extra large seat was super comfy and I passed out pretty quickly once we were in the air.  The flight into Dallas Fort Worth was about an hour and 15-20 minutes.  My wheelchair person was waiting for me.  Why do you need a wheelchair?  Two reasons.  DFW airport is a LONG walk to customs, through customs and to your gate.  You may think you'll be ok to "walk it slow" and "take my time", but no, don't do it.  Once I realized how far we had to go, I knew that I wouldn't have been able to do it and if I could, I was likely going to be a hot mess the next day.  Now, here's the biggie, we went ahead of people in all the line-ups!!!!  and the line-ups were long.  We breezed through customs; my wheelchair lady and the officer must have known each other as they made small talk and the officer asked us only 3 questions (why we were in mexico, where we were flying from and where we were flying into) and sent us on our way.  5 minutes?  Maybe.  Then we sped off to security/check point and went directly to the front of the line and sailed on out of there.  On the other side there was a golf-cart type thing waiting for us.  I was really glad for that because it was a very long walk to our gate.  We loaded up and we were dropped off at the United Airlines Premium Lounge to hang out.  

First Class waiting lounge?  YES PLEASE!!!!
Wow, I have to say, this lounge is also worth the money too.  Big, comfy leather chairs to lounge in with a HUGE flat screen TV (great to watch the olympics on), computer desks to work at, luggage storrage, complementary snacks and an additional second floor of chairs and lounge areas to rest.  The snacks were decent: baby carrots in the baggies, dip, packaged cheese, expensive crackers, hot chocolate (in packages) to DIE for.  Proll'y the best packaged hot chocolate I've ever had and NUMI tea.  Yummy orgainc tea, one of my faves.  Naturally, I stocked up on goodies for the flight in case the food choices were not compatable.  After snacking, we had 4 hours to burn and I ended up passing out in my huge leather comfy chair.  It was nice.  Next thing I know, it is time to head off to our gate and board.  We had a nice in-flight meal, snacks and unlimited movies.  I ended up dozing off again shortly after eating and watching a movie.  This portion of the flight was almost 5 hours and it was nice to lay back and sleep.  Upon arriving at our homeland airport, the same thing happened - to the front of the lines.  Customs was a lady who was more interested in hearing about my surgery experience, price and doctor info than anything.  She didn't even ask what we were bringing back.  Which was great, 'cuz lord all-mighty we had a shit-load of booze in our luggage.  Her first question was why Mexico and after that, it was all about the surgery.  A pleasant experience.  Our valet picked us up and took us to our car and we drove home.  It was after midnight when we rolled in the driveway.  My cats and dog mobbed us, my Mom was overjoyed to see us home safe and sound and we were glad to be home.  We both went straight to bed.  

Post Op Days 12 to 19 - Mr Sandman, Bring Me A Dream.....

As far as I can remember, I slept for 3 days straight only getting up to shower, change and scarf down food brought to me.  I guess I really needed to catch up on my sleep?!  Then we had family from up North that came into town (I haven't seen them in 2....3 years?) and my "sister-cousins" visited, I had over 200 emails to attend to along with voice mail messages and somewhere in all this I had my stitches taken out except for my legs.  

Post Op Day 20 - Seroma, Catch The Wave

While in the shower I discovered what I have been dreading since before my surgery: a seroma.  It is a big 'un, extending from my left to my right hip.  I can feel and "hear" it sloshing around when I poke at it.  I have to admit, it is kinda trippy though.  I showed hubby, who was enchanted by it - "woah, that is so cool - it looks like an ocean wave!!!!"  Even my Mom was seduced by it, they way the waves rippled across my tummy.  Ok, I too, have been seduced and entranced by it, I have been playing with it when the garment is off.  It is kinda neat.....but, also, disturbing; mostly because it happens to be MY seroma.  It seems like an awful lot of fluid in there.  I'd say at least one measuring cup of fluid.  When I went to my GP to get my leg stitches out, I mentioned to him and he said he'd aspirate it.  I was really hoping to have a seroma catheter placed in it which can just be done in the office under a local, but he wanted to go this route first.  He used to be a surgeon in England and did surgeries like this, as well as internal medicine and othropedics, before they were "plastic/cosmetic" surgery, so I trust** him.  **This may not be the case in a few seconds.    

Off he goes to get supplies and he comes back into my room and whips out this gigantic needle, suitable for an elephant, no less, and suddenly, I'm like, "awwww, haallllllll NO, uh-uh", fuck this shit, and I'm sitting straight up, butt-naked from the waist down, my junk all commando in the wind, and crawling up the wall in a way Spider Man would be impressed with.  Let me just point out something here.  My Doc is old enough to be my Grandpa and my monzie is a crazy bush right now.  It is seriously cRaZZZy-bush (aka: 60's/70's porn va-jay-jay bushsy).  I've been meaning to shave but my monzie drain holes are still scabbed over.  This moment in time was AWWWWWWKWARRRRRD.  Very much like a twilight zone kinda awkward.  Seriously though, I haven't even used a needle that big/long on my HORSE!  I nearly shat myself, which really wouldn't have been a bad thing considering I badly needed to drop a deuce and relieve some serious "pressure", but anyways that's a whole other issue.....the needle was just freakin' huge.  Then he says to lay back.  Um, no freezing?  Are you just going to put this (seemingly) 10 inch needle into me with no local?!?!?!?  Are you fucking insane?  Why do you hate me?!?!?!?  Trust me, he says, you won't feel it.....he was right.  I barely felt anything.  The whole area is still numb (thankfully!).  Unfortunately, after 2 attmepts in 2 seperate areas, nothing was aspirated.  The verdict?  Come see me next frday.  Until then, stay off your feet.  Eat.  Sleep.  If you develop a fever during office hours come back immediately, otherwise head on over to emergency and they'll likely put a seroma catheter in at that time, test the fluid and maybe get you on some antibiotics.  That is all he says with a smile.  I'm not freaked out.  I'm disturbed by it but it will either resolve itself, require a seroma catheter or surgery.  Either way, it is going to be gone.  Besides, this too shall pass and it could be a whole lot worse.