The first day I was home from the hospital after my Panniculectomy I was all excited to be able to shower. So I carefully and slowly took off my clothes, my binder and my bandages. As my shower water was warming up, I checked out my body in the mirror. BAD IDEA. What I was saw was not only nothing that I ever expected it to be, but it was much worse than I ever imagined. I had black and blue bruises everywhere, uneven puffiness and swelling all over, the “seams” all look uneven and asymmetrical…. I looked like I was butchered and poorly sewn back together. I sobbed.
Jake and my mom both assured me I should not worry or stress because I will improve over time. They reminded me that I just had a major surgery, and of course it isn’t going to be pretty right away. All the post-op pics I have ever seen of the operation are either immediately post-op, or several months after. So my expectations were entirely unrealistic. And I understood that, but it didn’t make the shock of my appearance any less.
Then over the last 3 days I’ve been watching my bellybutton and how I didn’t feel like it was healing properly. It’s a Frankenstein Bellybutton for one… he cut around my bellybutton and cut a new hole for it in the skin he pulled down. So it has staples all the way around it. But it just didn’t seem like the edges were healing together properly. I talked to the nurse about it over the phone and she just said keep it dry, but as its Thursday with a weekend coming up, I didn’t want to sit and home and stress all weekend over whether it was ok or normal, or infected or abnormal. So I went in to see a nurse today. She looked at it and said it looks normal. The redness is okay and doesn’t look infected. I am including a photo in this post so that anyone going through this surgery that chooses to keep their bellybutton, well this is what “normal” looks like.
I also talked to the nurse about the ugliness of my post-op body, and she explained that there will be a lot of fluid in different areas, lots of swelling, bruising, and it will look uneven and ugly for up to 6 months post-op. However, I’m not going to haunt you with those pictures until I can show you the progression of ugly to beautiful. I’ll take pics as I heal so I can show you that it DOES get better, and post them when I’m done. Even though I heard the encouragement about my body image from my family and my boyfriend, it was also nice to hear it from someone who deals with these surgeries all the time. Its good to know that everything I am going through is normal, and I’m healing well. And its good to know I am headed in the right direction for the body I desire.