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!
On 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.
I 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.
I’m sparing you the photos, because it’s gross…
Now that the front splitting area is under control and healing well, the one on my right hip has come much farther open. It is at the end of the incision, and has been draining quite a bit. Last night I was using q-tips to gently clean out some darker colored stuff inside it, and I decided since it was very obviously open under the one remaining steristrip that went over it, I should probly take it off so I could clean it better. Once I did that, I saw just how ugly and deep it was under there, and how much it stunk, I had a bit of a panic attack. I had Jake take me to the ER in the town where I had the surgery done. The ER doctor was in the room for maybe 30 seconds and told me to go to my surgeon’s clinic today. It took me a while to get an appointment made today, and my surgeon was not in the office today, but I did see his nurse. She looked at it, measured it, and told me that since this is such a big surgery and such a large incision, its is very common for them to come open a little bit here and there. She assured me I was okay and not annoying or naggy for being so concerned about all these wound changes. She assured me it was just because I have never been through this before so its all unknown to me, and let me know that she sees things like this every day in their clinic. She said keep the wound clean and dry, no ointment or anything. Continue taking antibiotics, and leave it open if desired to let air get to it, as it will help it heal. But keeping it covered is okay too, since it drains and I don’t want that all over my clothes. Either way.
I feel a little embarrassed about how upset and scared I was over it, but she’s right, I haven’t ever been through this before. Every surgery I’ve ever had has healed up without an issue. And this one is much bigger and major. But now that I know its not dying tissue, and its normal and healthy for what it is, I can relax and just re-focus on healing.
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.
On Tuesday I went for a recheck with my surgeon and got those hideous drains out of my skin at last! He also took out about half of the staples, every other one. I got steri-strips in their place, alternated with the remaining staples.
He said the reason my bellybutton looked like it wasn’t healing together properly is because bellybuttons don’t like being held up the way the staples held it up. He took out about half of those staples too, and my bellybutton has since sunk down into my belly a little bit more like it should. There’s still a lot of drainage from it though, so I’m having to pack it with gauze to keep it as dry as possible. Kinda gross, but manageable. The surgeon also agreed that my bellybutton is, in fact, off center just a tad. He said a lot of the problem right now is that there is a lot more swelling and fluid build-up on the right side of my belly, so it makes it look a lot worse. Once that goes down it won’t be quite as noticeable. But if I d
on’t like it once I’m all healed, he’d be happy to remove the bellybutton altogether if I’m unhappy with it. I’m not sure how I feel about that, so I’ll just cross that bridge when I come to it.
I was also released from the abdominal binders!!! He said I could use a normal tummy control garment from now on as long as I wear them constantly other than for showers (for another 3+ months). I chose Maidenform brand, and tried several different styles before I chose to stick with the romper style. The proper size for me, large 12/14, is ridiculously hard to get on, but once its on it provides wonderful compression for proper healing. Its much more comfortable because it moves with me rather than folding, pinching and poking like the binders did. All the reviews said always get a size up, but honestly I don’t think that would provide the compression I need. Its a battle to get the proper size on, but it does what its suppose to. So I can’t complain too much, and I definitely recommend the proper size to get the job done for this particular cause.
I’ve been quite a bit more active since that appointment so my pain has been increased slightly. But the discomfort from the drains is gone, so it sort of balances out. I’m still needing to take frequent rest breaks. I’m still trying to take things as easy as possible so I continue to heal quickly. I get the rest of my staples out next Monday.
On Friday I spent most of my day out with Jake. We went to eat, and shopped at Wal-Mart a bit so I could find 1 pair of pants to wear in public. I hate wearing pajamas and sweats at the store. I found a pair of size 14 jeans that are like an inch away from buttoning, but I bought them anyway because I figure within a couple weeks I will have this binder off and I will be able to button them just fine. There’s no sense in buying 1 size up when I won’t be able to even wear them for a month. The day exhausted me and made me really sore.
I slept almost all day the following day (yesterday). I got out of bed at noon, but slept in my recliner off and on all day. My body was telling me I had done too much. I was in a fair amount of pain too, but I am refusing the prescription pain meds right now because I want to be able to go without.
Then today I got up at noon again and have stayed awake. I went over to Jake’s to shower since his is easier to use than mine, we went out to grab some lunch and browsed Goodwill before we came back home. Its awesome to be able to shop in a completely different section of clothes. There are so many nicer things, even at a thrift shop in “normal” sized clothes than there are in plus-sized clothes.
I’m not too exhausted today from being out. I didn’t overdo it this time. I’ll likely still need a nap, but I’m feeling better today, just like every day.
Oh, and when I took a shower today, I had Jake take pics of my healing progress. While I’m still not ready to share those publicly yet, I must say there is a lot of progress between 4 days post-op and today, 10 days post-op. I’m looking a little less like a patchwork person and a little more normal. I can tell I will look pretty damn good when this is all done. And then I’ll be exercising when I’m allowed, and making myself look even better. So exciting!