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Friday, February 22, 2013
I SUCK AT BLOGGING but I keep on trying.....
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.