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!

Bad Habits

I am a member of a few weight loss support groups on Facebook.  I’m not naming group names for sake of privacy of the members.  But I have one observation in particular that makes me want to leave a couple of the groups.

First of all, to me, the point of joining a support group is for exactly that: support.  So I know there are people feeling temptation pulling them in the wrong direction asking for help or suggestions.  However I see so many people asking how long after their gastric surgeries they can have junk food, and it just makes me sad.  Part of the process to get bariatric surgery (because I did go through the process without the actual surgery happening), is to go through a psychological evaluation and training and coaching with a doctor and dietitian so that you know that your “diet” is not a temporary change.  If you want to keep the weight off, surgery or not, you have to change your eating and activity habits permanently.  Eating fatty or sugar-filled foods is not something you can just resume once you’ve had surgery or lost some weight.  If you do, you will surely gain back your weight.  And if you’re not dedicated to maintaining that weight loss and new healthy lifestyle, then why on Earth would you want to go through the pain and trouble of such a major surgery?

I can understand getting on the group and expressing that you have a craving or something, and asking for suggestions or substitutions to avoid the destructive eating behaviors.  But when I log into those groups in search of inspiration and like-minded, health-driven people, and I just see people asking when they can get back to the junk, its very disheartening and discouraging.

I’m not saying I stick to my diet all the time, I’m certainly not perfect.  I eat junk food sometimes.  I make mistakes and give into my cravings.  But I acknowledge it and move on.  Or I will make allowances for those cravings and have a very moderate amount, or go without something else so I don’t overdo the calories or sugar or fat.  And it has worked for me.  I haven’t gained any weight back (thank goodness).  I plateaued for quite a number of months, but I am back on the losing track now.  It just takes willpower and the drive to be healthier.  Easier said than done, but isn’t that what the support groups should really be about?  Encouraging one another to do better, rather than to complain about cravings and restrictions?