Day 12: Post-Op Update {Abdominoplasty}

When I was told my recovery would consist of laying around in my recliner most days I had big plans for my time in “the chair”. Blogging daily, studying for my exam, working etc., see the thing is when you’re forced to do NOTHING, you then can start to feel like doing nothing, even something as simple as typing a blog post. Clearly during recovery I’m not hitting the gym, so I can’t really share awesome workouts, my meals are pretty simple right now so no recipes really needed there, and it’s leaving me feeling like I’ve got nothing awesome to share with y’all.

So here’s an update on my recovery because that’s pretty much my job right now!

Day 7 (Feb 13):
I’ve been trying to keep busy during the day by planning new cycle playlists, looking at ideas for my summer garden etc. Follow my Instagram for daily happenings! As for post-op pain? I’m SHOCKED at how little pain there actually is. I’ve been off pain meds for a full 3ish days now. My abs just feel crazy tight, think super jacked up ab workout x 1000, but not painful, unless I have to cough or sneeze!

Day 8 (Feb 14):
Perhaps planning a surgery a week before Valentine’s day not the smartest idea! So no going out or anything fancy over here. I sent the boys out to see the Lego Movie and I enjoyed a Matthew McConaughey movie, on of my favorite Friday night things to do. Oh but I did get to have another shower today – that’s always a bonus! One of the perks of this surgery is my mom has become my personal hair stylist, free dry & blow out – don’t mind if I do! Note; I do actually rock my hair in styles other than the top-knot. It’s easier to shower this way so it doesn’t fall in my face before it’s time to wash it!

after tummy tuck abdominoplasty

Feb 14 Post-Op

Day 9 (Feb 15):
Normally Saturday is my “rest” day and while this week was not much different. I was able to do some light house work, sweeping and tidying. I’ve got the recliner set up in my office and I stare at my desk with the TV on it all day. It was FULL of clutter and I couldn’t stand it anymore so I used one of my “moving around” periods to tidy the office space. If something falls on the floor it’s off limits and has to stay there until someone can reach it for me. If you’re considering this surgery just remember it’s important to move around as it helps healing BUT it’s important to know your limit. My doctor advised me on how much to be up and moving.

Day 10 (Feb 16):
The highlight of today was making some chicken stock. Gasp – chicken! I was getting beyond bored with my food options during recovery and so I’ve started adding in some free range organic chicken to my diet. It’s a nice source of lean protein and is a lower calorie, low carb option for protein. My aunt came over to help me lift the heavy pots and chop some of the veggies. The remainder of the day was spent hanging out in my chair! My husband took the kids to his parents house to visit and watch the olympic hockey game so I could rest.

Day 11 (Feb 17):
Today was a big day. Independence is something that quickly goes out the window during recovery but I did manage to have a shower ans wash/dry my hair all by myself. Of course that was then followed with some more rest in the chair! Then I went on my first solo walk! I was going stir crazy in this house and needed some fresh air so I CAREFULLY got dressed and managed to walk back-and-forth in front of my house for 12 minutes. It wasn’t a fast walk by any means but I wanted to be extra careful as it was outside in the snow. Ideally it would have been inside but the gym is to far away and I can’t drive anyway.

feb_17_abdominoplasty

Day 11 Post Op.

Day 12 (Feb 18):
Today’s big job was getting the kids off to school all on my own. The key to this was preparation. I made the lunches and chose their clothes last night and this morning I wasn’t out of my chair any more than I have been on any other morning. Thankfully I was able to have the bus stop at our driveway so I didn’t have to walk all the way to the bus stop. Nothing else crazy planned today – perhaps I’ll bake some cookies or some chili but nothing too taxing. When it comes to activity, I’ve been doing more every day while listening to my body. I’m never far from my chair incase I need to sit down, when I start to feel the abs or my back getting tired I know it’s time to sit back and relax – do NOT push yourself during recovery!

Recovery Cocktail: L-Glutamine & BCAA’s

Speeding up the recovery process from the abdominoplasty is at the top of my to-do list lately, I really can’t do much else, recovery is my #1 job right now. I’ve been working with North Coast Naturals for a couple months and one of my favorite products is their L-Glutamine. Hemp seeds will always have my heart, but the Fermented L-Glutamine is great for recovery! They have no flavor or color so they mix perfectly into any drink you choose. I’ve been adding them to my BCAA’s, which prevent muscle breakdown while I’m sidelined in my recliner!

L-Glutamine Recovery Drink

So just what does L-Glutamine do for you? Here’s what the NCN website says about it…

What Is It Used For?
Supplementation of 100% pure L-Glutamine powder has been common for over 20 years beginning with use by athletes. Many studies suggest it helps with recovery, alleviating physical/mental stress, joint pain, and mental fitness. It has also been found to have a significant effect on the body’s rate of tissue repair. Glutamine can help to reduce depression, anxiety, irritability, moodiness, insomnia, and distress due to short bowel syndrome.
What does Glutamine do?

  •     Maintains the health of your intestinal tract
  •     Helps your body produce glutathione, a key antioxidant nutrient
  •     Ensures proper acid-base balance in your body
  •     Helps maintain your muscle mass
  •     Vastly improves recovery times from injury, surgery and exercise
  •     Increases resistance to colds – Glutamine is a primary immune system “booster”.
  •     Slows the aging process by increasing “youth hormone” – Youth and Immunity Booster Studies have shown 2 grams of L-Glutamine daily increased growth hormone levels by over 400%.
  •     Athletes note increased power and endurance.
  •     Participates in glycogen synthesis
  •     Provides nitrogen compounds for the manufacture of nucleotides which are used to make DNA and RNA.
  •     Helps maintain cell volume and hydration

Taking L-Glutamine after workouts or before bedtime, times when muscle tissue typically undergoes repair and recuperation can be particularly effective.

In addition to the L-Glutamine + BCAA drinks I’ve also been adding in a few extra protein shakes each day. I’m trying to hit between 100-120g of protein a day to make this recovery as quick as I can and properly fuel my body during this time! This week I have an appointment with my surgeon and I’m hoping to get the green light for light exercise clearance – wish me luck!

Life From The Chair: Day 5 Post-Opp {Abdominoplasty}

Greetings from the big brown recliner! It’s been 5 days and I’m starting to go a little crazy in my chair. I’m aware I can’t do too much or it will slow my healing process which will keep me here for longer so I’m trying to be good and hang in the chair as much as I can. Going from extremely active, exercising 1-2 times a day, my legs are starting to cramp up and I’ve had restless legs the last 2 nights. It’s like they don’t know what to do with themselves when they’re not depleted on a daily basis. While in my chair I try and keep my legs moving, ankle circles, flexing feet up and down and trying to change up my leg position. Going from training athlete to sitting in a chair day-in-day out is HARD – mentally and physically. Keeping a diet low in sodium is super important to keep the swelling to a minimum, and to say I’m now bored of eggs with spinach, protein shakes, and baked apples is becoming an understatement. What I really want for dinner is a taco salad or burrito!

Boo to no hot sauce :(

Boo to no hot sauce :(

Yesterday I had my first post-op appointment and I was able to get the pesky drains out. I feel like a new person without those things in. Even the simplest movements were hard and painful before as the drains would pull a bit. The doctor gave the all clear to shower and begin trying to stand up as straight as I could! It was also the first look at my post-op tummy! I think once the swelling goes down it’s going to be great!

4 Days Post Abdominoplasty

4 Days Post Abdominoplasty

This I even climbed the three steps into the kitchen to warm-up some pancakes for breakfast – ALL BY MYSELF! My mom came over and helped me shower and wash my hair and that meant more stairs which were surprisingly easy. I even did a little tidying around the dining room table. Of course that was followed by a nap!

For those of you who are here for the workouts and recipe content I hope to be back to posting those next week but it’s hard to feel inspired to create a workout when I can’t do them myself! I’m excited to be able to climb the stairs into my kitchen so that means I can cook again soon! As weird as it sounds I actually miss going to the grocery store, it’s something I really enjoy doing so to write a list and send someone else is hard to do!

The pain is very manageable today and I have only need to take 1 pain pill. For 5 days I think I’m doing pretty great!

Post Surgery Recovery Diet {Abdominoplasty}

Today marks 2 days post-op and I’m back at home now. The surgery was supposed to be “day surgery” meaning you go home a few hours after but I was having blood pressure issues and needed to stay the night. Thankfully I planned ahead and packed some food for my hospital bag. I wanted to keep my diet as close to what it usually is so my body didn’t have too much shock all at once. It’s also very important to keep the sodium to a minimum post-surgery so cooking your own food is the best option. My nurses were very respectful of my dietary wishes and didn’t try and push hospital food on me which was nice.

abdominoplasty recovery food

With the above being said, I should first note that had hospital food been necessary for health reasons I would have eaten it. For my recovery in the hospital I packed some grass fed whey protein and some peanut butter hemp protein bites. Due to blood pressure issues these didn’t get eaten until much later in the day and water and ice chips became my method of hydration until I was feeling better! Once I was transferred to my overnight room my husband brought me another shake with water, whey, peanut butter and lots of spinach. Trying to hydrate and get lots of fiber.

The recovery food.

The recovery food.

Lots of protein and liquid is on the menu…and low sodium to prevent even more swelling. I love my orange pekoe tea – which has caffeine – to try and reduce the caffeine brew a cup first then dump it out and re-use that tea bag 1-2 times, less caffeine, same taste. Yesterday started off with my favorite new pancake recipe which I’ll get posted this week! They were topped with nut butter and some maple syrup. Lemon water has also been a staple! As much as it can hurt to get up and make the trip to the washroom, it’s good to clear out swelling and toxins from the surgery. Getting up also helps reduce the risk of blood clots and it’s like a mini workout getting in and out of this chair! To get my greens in I’ve had my husband adding spinach to my protein shakes and eggs. Also – eggs without hot sauce – that’s just no fun! Yesterday Sawyer also made me some hemp chickpea cookies which are great for fiber and a little protein.

Since my body is used to lots of workouts I’m trying to keep the carbs lower than I have been simply because sitting in a chair doesn’t require much energy. My body does still need some to heal so that why I’m having smart carbs like chickpeas and my special pancakes! Right now the recovery food is all about protein and smart carbs (greens & veggies), with a little fat thrown in for good measure and because you just can’t take away my avocado and nut butter!

Have you ever been sidelined with an injury? How did your diet change?

10 Days, 12 Workouts ‘Til Surgery Day

As I was looking at the calendar planning out my next 2 weeks I realized there is only 10 days until my surgery. It’s all becoming super real. As I type this I’m finalizing the rental on my power lifting recliner – yay for recovering in comfort – it’s way more affordable than I expected! This morning I was looking for a photo from last January to do a comparison yet all I could find was photos of the scale, my shoes and food!

January 17 2014 | Size 8-10

January 17 2014 | Size 8-10

I keep trying to envision what I’ll look like without this excess amount of skin on my abdomen and I can’t quite wrap my head around it. Like I’ve mentioned before I consider this functional plastic surgery and not cosmetic. Will the stretch marks still be there? You bet! I’m totally okay with that and I really don’t care who sees them. The scale – depending on the day – has been reading around 170lbs, so that’s on track with my goal for heading into surgery. I’ll try and not let this mini-journey take over the blog but it is a major life event and it’s part of losing a large amount of weight, and that’s PART of what this blog is all about, documenting the good, bad and ugly sides of weight loss.

Over the last few days I’ve been making lists and plans for when I’m off. Next week I’ll be cooking as much as I can so I don’t have to worry about that while I’m recovering. The “Internets” say that large amounts of protein are essential for recovery so I’m looking for low carb ways to get the protein while trying to stay with my vegetarian ways. That being said, will I eat chicken if I have to – you bet. Going from a high level of activity to virtually laying around most of the day I need to watch what I’m eating so I want to keep the unessential carbs to a minimum. Obviously veggies are GOOD CARBS and are essential for healing energy, so those will be plentiful!

Over the last year my lifestyle has slowly transitioned to organic and plant based so I do worry about all the medications that are required for this surgery but I understand they are necessary. I’ll be flushing them out when the doctor clears me to with lots of green juice and my trusty Garden of Life Prefect Food Raw Detox.

My workouts have been focused on building more strength and lifting a heavier so I’m hoping to have minimal regression. I understand that some will happen and that’s to be expected. Later this week I’m going to put myself thru a baseline test – planks, push-ups, pull-ups etc, so I know where I was pre-surgery. I’ve started to taper the workouts back a bit in numbers, over the last few months there have been quite a few two-a-days, and I think in the next 2 weeks I’ve only got 2-3 on the schedule, slowly easing myself down.

 

The Next 3 Weeks

This is all happening so fast and yet it feels like some days are passing by in slow motion. My surgery date is February 7th so I’ve got just about 3 weeks left! For those of you who missed the big announcement, I will be having excess skin removal surgery. Since losing over 130lbs in 2 years I’m left with a good amount of skin hanging around my abdomen and inner thighs. This surgery is only for the abdomen, the thighs will have to wait.

BEFORE 24-26 | AFTER Size 8-10

BEFORE Size 24-26 | AFTER Size 8-10

I’ve been reading all the blogs I can find about other peoples experiences – not so much about the surgery, but about the recovery process, I just want to be prepared for any emotions that may happen. One of the blogs I had read said “I consider this functional plastic surgery, not cosmetic.” I couldn’t agree more. To me this has nothing to do with stretch marks, I have no problem with those. This is about infections at my belly button due to skin folds and not being able to see and enjoy the true results of my hard work over the last 2 years.

Working Hard In The Gym

Building strength to make recovery easier (& hopefully quicker!)

One of the hardest things for me to wrap my head around is the amount of recovery time. I’m doing my best to embrace it and welcome the downtime from the gym. In the last 2 years I don’t think I’ve taken more than 2 days in a row off from working out. So 3+ weeks is quite a bit to swallow. Over the weekend I seem to have had some kind of break-thru and I’m looking forward to the break from my daily intense workouts. I’ll be back to walking around the block as soon as approved but nothing intense for a few weeks. On Sunday morning I wanted to sleep in instead of heading to my favorite cycling class, I reminded myself that I only have 3 weeks left and then I get to take a nice long (well deserved) break from the gym.

During my downtime I’ve decided to study for my Fitness Instructor Specialist certification. I have my indoor cycling certification but I’d love to expand my knowledge and teaching abilities to things like boot camp, barre, etc.. Since I’ll have 2-4 non-gym hours a day that’s plenty of time to study and I’ll be ready to take my exam once I’m cleared by my doctor! Now that my downtime has a “purpose” I’m hoping I’ll go less stir crazy!

The amount of support from friends and family regarding this decision has been amazing. I’m so so lucky to have such a great supportive group of people around me. The kind words people are leaving on my donation page make me feel beyond blessed.

Thank you for all your amazing support!