Finding What’s Lost

I’ve been feeling pretty lost lately.  I have no job and have had crappy luck finding one, though I’ve had several interviews.  My middle son has been having some pretty extreme behavior issues in school and at home again the last couple months after several months of doing better.  My finances are in ruin.  I haven’t been doing great with my diet and exercise, due to the stress, depression, and anxiety from everything else.  And a few other personal problems I am choosing not to discuss in my public blog.  I feel like I’ve been slowly losing myself over the course of the last few months… so what is a woman to do?

I have been distant from my spirituality for quite some time.  I have been overly skeptical and leaning away from anything spiritual, focusing more on the logical and scientific ways of thinking.  But I’ve gotta say, in tough times like these, science doesn’t bring me any peace of mind.  So I’ve decided to start back in with my spiritual studies.  A couple nights ago I asked my faithful tarot cards for guidance, and some wonderful wisdom came from them on all accounts of my current challenges.  Then last night I picked up a couple of my Laurie Cabot books and started reading her philosophies on Wicca/Paganism, and how she applies it to other faiths and walks of life.  I’ve gotta say, she is the person I left off with when I walked away from my spirituality, and she is the person reeling me back in and making me feel at home.

1016521_146840648841411_1015105813_nBasically the philosophy is, no matter what you believe in, or what terms you use for the Divine, it’s all the same.  You can put a name to it, you can call it God or Goddess, you can worship, meditate, pray to yourself or with others, but no matter what, you’re still calling on the energies of the earth and the Universe to aid in your needs, and the needs of others.  Even science confirms that directing energy with thought works.  So not only do I have the analytical part of my brain appeased, but I can get back into the spiritual side of me, where I find companionship with like-minded people, and comfort knowing the Universe has got my back.

I plan to start going to a women’s group I’ve been considering joining for about 2 years now.  I will start meditating when I can, and seeing my therapist again. And I’m going to take back control of my body for my own health and well-being as well.  I’ve been slacking in many ways of self-care, and it’s time I start taking care of me again, so I can be the best I can be for not only myself, but my family as well.

I believe once I get back on track, everything else will start to fall into place, just as it should.

Continued Healing

This will likely be my last Panniculectomy surgery update for quite some time because there’s not much left to say.  As of yesterday, Thursday April 27th, I am 5 weeks post-op.  I saw my surgeon for a check up on Tuesday, and everything is well.  The splitting in the middle is almost all the way healed, and the splitting on my side/hip is still open and rather deep, but healing at a fairly quick rate.  The doc said it looked good, and to just keep it clean and dry.  I am officially off of all antibiotics and doing well.  Very little pain, if any.  Just the occasional zing of nerve pain from having a big portion of skin removed which is totally bearable, some muscle aches and pains if I sit still for too long at a time, and phantom itching for the part of my skin that is gone.  But besides that I feel mostly normal again.  I have to continue to wear my compression garments for a few more months, which I am comfortable with since I have some swelling and a lot of scarring at this time.

pixlr_20170425221852337

On the left: Summer 2015, 270ish lbs. On the right: Spring 2017, 210ish lbs. and post-panniculectomy.

The garments I have are probly about as comfortable as they can get, so I don’t mind wearing them most of the time.  I don’t have to see the doctor again for another 4 months, and that’s just for another routine checkup.  Plus my belly looks slightly lop-sided, and we just want to make sure that’s going away and looking great by that time in my recovery.  If not, I may discuss a repair, but I’m hoping we won’t need to go down that road.

 

I am going to continue to see my nutritionist so that I can continue down my healthy path and proceed with documentation in support of a breast reduction.  I will be eligible as soon as October for that surgery, but I think I will likely wait until at least January just to give myself a break from all the surgery recovery pains, to make sure I’ve lost the weight I want to lose and firm things up a bit, and to make sure I’m not going to miss half of next summer in recovery.

Once that surgery is complete, I will be done with surgeries in regards to loose skin.  For one, I don’t have insurance that will cover anything more.  And for another, I do believe I can firm things up from here with some vigorous exercise and willpower to keep at it.  Since the Panniculectomy I have been slowly losing more weight, even being sedentary.  I think it changed my metabolism a bit, and I look forward to taking advantage of that soon.  At my 6 week mark, which is next Thursday, my activity restriction is lifted and I will be riding my bike and hitting the gym at least a couple times per week.  I’m really looking forward to it.  I don’t think I’ve ever actually looked forward to exercising.  But without that embarrassing belly flap, I have nothing to fear.  I am currently at 209 pounds, and my overall goal is 175 (though government BMI standards say I should be around 135, I think I would look anorexic if I got down to that weight…. I still want some curves!). I know I can accomplish 175 with more hard work.

Thanks for reading along with my surgery journey.  I hope I have helped those of you who were trying to decide if this surgery was right for them.  I hope I have given you what you need for information if you were going through struggles with the recovery.  I hope I have provided support or encouragement for those of you also on a weight loss journey.  Good luck to you all, and thanks again!

Stir-Crazy

Due to my physical limitations with my hip dysplasia, my surgeries, and some family issues, I have been out of work for a little over 2 months.  For the last few weeks I haven’t been able to such as lift anything or exercise besides walking, and walking is limited due to my hips.  This is not a complaint, it is just fact.  But the complaint here is that it sucks!

ballexerciseOn Tuesday I get to go for a recheck with the surgeon who performed my Panniculectomy, and at that time I will most certainly be asking if I can resume exercise.  I know I have a weight restriction for at least 6 weeks of 10 pounds, so weight training isn’t an option yet.  But if I could go to the YMCA and ride a stationary bike, or walk a treadmill for short periods that I can handle, or do some other aerobic activity, that would be wonderful!  Plus I feel like I’m losing muscle mass.  I know I’m not gaining weight back, but I feel lazy and depressed.  I need activity.

I’d also like to be able to volunteer my time in the local shelter, or help a groomer with bathing dogs, or something of that sort.  I need to find things to do outside of my home, with other people, in some sort of social environment.  I miss my work so very much, but I don’t think I’d be capable of doing everything that being a veterinary assistant requires anymore, as sad as that makes me.  That was honestly my dream job.  I learned something new every day.  It made me think, and exercised my brain.

Blog-image-burchielI need to find more activities that do that for me.  I’m going stir-crazy in my home all the time.  I don’t know how I managed to be a stay-at-home mom for 12 years.  It’s no wonder I had social anxiety so bad, being cooped up and secluding myself from other people.  The social anxiety isn’t gone, but I certainly don’t want it getting worse again.  I need to push myself to do more.  I need to grow as a person, not take steps backwards.

Splitting *graphic image*

Just when I thought things were healing well, I notice some extra drainage right in the front middle of my incision line on Friday of last week.  At first I freaked out, thinking it was a lot deeper than it actually is.  I called the surgeon’s clinic and they told me it has to heal from the inside out, that there’s nothing I can do.  So I’ve been babying it over the weekend.  However, I finally pulled off the saturated and no-longer-stuck steri-strips this morning, and its not nearly as bad as I originally thought.  I think the mystery of being behind bandage, paired with my fear of a wound coming open, played hell with my imagination.  Included in this post is an actual photo of how open it is.  It’s probly about 1/3 of an inch deep, but keeps closed with tight bandaids, enough to keep it from gapping and open enough that it won’t get infected hopefully.

I’ve found that the little open spots here and there, like my belly button and other very small spots like this one have a hard time closing up.  And I think that’s because they are covered 24/7 with compression garments and/or absorbent gauze in an attempt to keep them dry.  I think its hard for them to heal as well when they don’t get much air and are ALWAYS covered.  But I’m not allowed to go without the garments, so I guess for now I’ll just stay on antibiotics to keep infection from taking over, and keep cleaning and drying the wounds as much as I can.

Furthermore, I am not really satisfied with how I’m looking cosmetically, so I’m considering a consultation with a different surgeon to get their opinion and see if there’s anything we can do to fix what I don’t like.

Trending In My Life – April 2017

I haven’t done a “Trending In My Life” for quite some time I realized.  I got out of the habit of blogging or vlogging there for a few months.  So I thought I’d give a little update.  I don’t think I’ll try to do these monthly anymore, but I will try to do them periodically as things change.

Game: Going right back to THE SIMS with this one.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to play for any amount of time.  But since I recently sold my iPad Pro and purchased a decent laptop computer, I am able to get back to playing again.

TV Show: CW’s No Tomorrow, streaming on Netflix.  And Awake, also streaming on Netflix.  No Tomorrow is a very upbeat romantic comedy that makes you look at what you would do if the world was coming to an end in the very near future.  It helps you explore the possibilities of stepping outside your comfort zone and taking chances in your life to make your life more fulfilling.  A very fun adventure, and I’m sure hoping for a 2nd season!  Awake is about a man who got into a major car accident and is living 2 realities.  In one reality he lost his wife in the crash, and in the other he lost his son.  I’ve only gotten through the pilot plus a little more, but very intriguing so far, for sure.

YouTube: I’m no longer watching YouTube regularly, so the YouTuber section will now be discontinued.  For that matter I’m really no longer vlogging anymore either.  I enjoy writing a lot more than speaking into my camera.  I’ll still post the occasional video of things that we’ve been doing, concerts, etc.  But vlogging is on hold for now.

Music: I’m always looking for new music.  Recently some of the bands I’ve been listening to are Pop Evil, Highly Suspect, Red Sun Rising, and Twenty-One Pilots.  I’ve even seen 3 of those 4 in concert this year so far!

Interest: As always, I’m learning as much as I can about the Panniculectomy surgery I had and about the Breast Reduction I have coming up.  I tend to research medical things that are going on with me as much as possible so I can be prepared.  I do this by reading not only medical articles, but by trying to find patient testimonials as well.  I found a site RealSelf.com that has been helpful with finding other patients to network with.  And of course I’ve been trying to put as much info out there as possible too, for anyone looking for information from the patient point of view.