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On January 31st, after about 3 and a half years of having an unknown lump in my back just to the left of my spine, it was surgically removed.  After waiting nearly 2 weeks for pathology to come back from Mayo Clinic, they determined it was a very rare tumor called a Myoepithelioma.  It was declared benign, but there is always the chance of a malignant regrowth.  So the recommended course of treatment was to have a second surgery to remove the surrounding tissue creating larger margins, and remove the scar tissue from the first surgery.  That was done about a week and a half ago.  This time rather than just steri-strips holding closed the incision, they used staples.  And I also had a drain since they removed so much tissue, leaving a nice hollowed out spot in my soft tissue around my spine.  I got the staples and drain removed today.  I must say the drain was disgusting to deal with, and the biggest nuisance to have attached to me for all those days.  However, it won’t be the last I see of those awful things…

In just 3 days, on Thursday, March 23rd, I will finally be having my Panniculectomy!  For those of you who don’t know, I’ve lost about 50 pounds in the last year, and it has left we with a disgusting apron of hanging skin and fat around my waist.  A Panniculectomy is the removal of that apron.  It was already there after having had 3 children and not losing the weight from my pregnancies.  But the recent weight loss has made it much more saggy and in the way.  Trying to do any sort of exercise with that hanging in front of me is very uncomfortable and extremely embarrassing.  So having it removed will not only make myself feel more confident in my own skin, but it will give me more physical freedom to continue improving my healthier lifestyle.  I am getting pretty nervous about having the procedure done, as it will be a major surgery and I’ve been told the recovery can be pretty rough and painful.  But I’m hoping my experience with c-sections will give me the experience to be able to handle the pain I will feel, and I’m hoping it won’t be quite that bad since there will be no cutting of my muscle involved.

What the surgeon told me what he will do is cut at my bikini line all the way across and about halfway around my hips, and then across the top “bulge” of my belly to make an oblong shape.  He will then cut around my belly button and move it higher onto my belly.  When he brings the 2 edges together it will bring my belly button down to where it is supposed to be, and bring some of the sag below my bikini line up, and it will make my whole belly about as flat and firm as I am around my bra line / ribs.  So it IS a major surgery, and recovery time is a minimum of 6 weeks.  I will have to wear a binder around my abdomen for about a month, and very tight fitting clothes like Spanx on my belly for another month or 2 after that.  Just to make sure everything heals together in a cosmetically pleasing way, and to reduce swelling and fluid build-up in the area.  I will be in the hospital likely for around 3 days.

So that will happen Thursday.  I will do my best to post frequent updates and photos surrounding the whole deal, so if you’re squeamish about wounds, staples, drains, or anything of the sort, be warned now.  Wish me the best of luck in surgery and recovery!

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