Abdominoplasty Healing Update #3

How time flies! Tomorrow marks 9 weeks since my excess skin removal surgery. In some ways this feels like the longest and yet shortest 9 weeks ever! My last update took us to about 4 weeks post-op, since then the biggest change is I’ve been cleared for exercise again! Every so often my body reminds me its still healing (via swelling or muscle soreness) but most of the time I feel great!

ABDOMINOPLASTY RECOVERY

Week 5:

  • More standard recovery
  • Still no exercise
  • One draining of the seroma, smallest amount of fluid. Possibly last draining.
  • Still wearing compression garment 24/7. It’s so stretched out. Buy 2 of these from your doctor if you can
  • No weight gain or loss at this point
  • Scar therapy with Dermatix twice daily

Week 6:

  • Cleared to exercise on my 6 week post-op check-up
  • No draining of seroma, doctor said fluid not enough to drain and body will absorb it
  • Was told to stop wearing the compression garment, but I kept it and wore it after my workouts for the first week for about 2-4 hours to keep swelling down. Honestly I think this did more for me mentally than anything. There wasn’t much excess swelling post workout. Since most of my workouts were at the end of the day it was also mixed with the normal end of day swelling.
  • A few spin classes this week to ease back into my routine and definitely not going at 100% effort.
  • Lots of rest in my recliner when working
  • Scar therapy with Dermatix twice daily

Week 7:

  • Said good-bye to my binder / compression garment for good! It was beyond stretched and wasn’t actually doing anything for me.
  • Had my first “leg day” workout – OUCH! Things were a little sore for about 4 days after, my abs however were totally fine!
  • Increased my level of effort in my fitness classes, but holding back where needed
  • Scar therapy with Dermatix twice daily

Week 8:

  • Tried on jeans for the first time since surgery and they were actually comfortable and fit with nothing hanging over!
  • Said good-bye to my big comfy power recliner (rental) and moved back to my regular office chair
  • The move back to the regular office chair isn’t helping the swelling situation so I’m trying to get up and walk around ever 30 min or so to keep the blood flowing.
  • Scar therapy with Dermatix twice daily
  • Repeated the same crazy body weight leg workout from week 7 and didn’t suffer for nearly as long! Also added in some light (5lb) upper body weights into the mix
  • Happy with how things are progressing but every day the tummy can look so different! Time of day is a huge factor for how swollen I get.
8 Weeks Post-Op

8 Weeks Post-Op

Week 9:

  • Tomorrow marks 9 weeks since surgery.
  • I’ve slept without pillows under my legs a few times now and I’ve felt fine. Even a few times on my right side, the left is still a no go.
  • This week I hit my lowest weight in about 10 years! Consider how much skin he removed this makes sense given my pre-surgery weight.
  • Still rocking lots of cardio as I can’t do too many weights just yet.
  • Scar therapy with Dermatix twice daily
  • Went shopping for a spin class costume – I’m dressing as Sporty Spice for a theme ride and was shocked when I fit my booty into a size SMALL pants. I started this journey a size 3XL, and now I’m a size SM, 6 Lululemon, or 10 jeans – isn’t women’s sizing crazy!!

Please remember, this surgery is NOT a weight loss surgery. You should be at your goal weight BEFORE your surgeon agrees to preform the operation. I consider this to be functional plastic surgery as the excess skin was impeding my ability to improve my fitness and perform certain exercises. While it was MY CHOICE to have this surgery, it may not be for you. Please be respectful of my choices as I would be of yours.

Abdominoplasty Healing Update #2

Today marks 5 weeks since my surgery. It feels like forever ago and just yesterday at the same time. I’ve tried to keep the constant updates to Instagram and Facebook as not to have it take over this space.

30 Days Post Abdominoplasty

My last super detailed update was Days 1-12, since so many days have gone by and the majority of my days are the same, I’ll give you the highlights and what you can expect during each phase if you’re considering this surgery one you reach your goal weight – remember, this is NOT a weight loss surgery, it’s intention is to remove the excess skin and repair the ab muscles AFTER you’ve put in the hard work to drop all the weight.

Week 3 (Feb 28-March 6)
Over the last 3 weeks things have made great improvements, swelling is going down daily and I have to tighten my compression garment pretty much every day to make sure it’s tight enough. I also had my 3rd draining of the seroma this week and it was still draining the same amount, 4.25oz.

Most people return to light exercise at their 3 week point so I had been looking forward to that milestone but with the seroma I’m about 2 weeks behind schedule. I can now to small chores around the house as long as I’m not lifting anything too heavy, but I have found ways to get the laundry done and some light cleaning. Most of my days are still spent in my chair relaxing, working and recovering.

March 2nd marked my return to teaching (spin), and I was not willing to let that go, I needed to regain some form of normalcy in my life and it makes me happy! This week I also figured out how to finally wash this compression garment. I did an express wash while I had a nice long hot shower. Most people are back to work – if they have an office job – at this point, however, I’m still not sitting at my desk, I find it more comfortable to sit in my recliner. I also started scar therapy this week. My doctor uses a silicon cream that you use twice a day.

Overall, week 3, things feeling great, I’m feeling awesome, swelling is going down, seroma still draining.

Week 4 (March 7-13):
Wow – this week I feel amazing, no pain, totally “normal”. This week was my busiest week yet and while I enjoyed the change of pace I was so tired at the end of the day! I taught 2 spin classes daily from Sunday to Thursday. I’ve become wayyyy more comfortable teaching off the bike and have actually some to enjoy it – I had a rider tell me after class that “this was the most intense class I’ve ever taken!” – guess I’ve done my job!

I had another seroma draining appointment this week and it didn’t look like there was much of anything to be drained so I was optimistic that I would be back to the gym…nope! They were drained much much less, about 33cc’s but the doctor still wanted me to wait another week to see how the body absorbs it over the week.

At the beginning of the week I transitioned from sleeping in the recliner to sleeping in my bed. I bought a big wedge pillow (amazon.com | amazon.ca) that’s made sleeping in the bed much better. At this point I’m getting frustrated with sleeping, I miss sleeping on my tummy/side, and I have a hard time falling asleep now. I’m hoping next week I can try sleeping on my side!

This week I’m feeling 100% so I have to constantly remind myself to take it easy. I’m still using my scar cream 1-2 times a day and things are looking great! When I wear a bikini bottom you can’t see it at all – even the higher parts on the hips.  At this point I have absolutely no regrets about this surgery and I’d totally do it all over again. Yes, being out of the gym for so long is driving me insane, but it’s a small trade-off for having the body that I know I’ve worked SO hard to create over the last 2 years.

 

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!