Thursday, July 30, 2009

Eight Weeks Later

And I think I can finally say that I am healed, that tiny little hole has finally scabbed over. About freaking time.

Statistical Outlier

Why oh why is Kate Harding freaking everywhere right now. I seriously have no use for her snark and holier than tho attitude. /rant.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Click Here

You can see what's left of that two inch spilt and the deepest of my holes here. And the next one here shows just how low this scar goes. The redder areas are places that have healed/healing. These were taken with my iPhone lying in bed with my head propped up for perspective. I'll get braver.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Binder

Beneath it is still a small hole, tape burns and bloat.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More shopping

I went out and bought new undergarments today. The hold you in kind, especially for the thighs. My old set had been well worn and fit a different shape. Time to start fresh.

Shopping for these things always reminds me of Truvy from Steel Magnolias, "Well, these thighs haven't gone out of the house without lycra on them sice I was 14."

Clairee responds, "You were brought up right."

Wedding Weekend

My husbands other brother is getting married this weekend in VA. I was hoping to be all healed by time we left. Alas. There should be some pictures, I hope, of me in a new dress. It's still hard to tell how I look after this surgery and pictures will help. Mirrors are all fine but there is something about that moment caught in time that I can't get from living in this new body.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My lady parts

Confession first. I have snacked all day. This period snacking is just adding to me feeling fat and puffy. I know it's surgery and hormone related but days like today I still struggle with food. Like last month I am amazed at how much more I can see the period puffiness. I feel like it is on full display but with more time I'll adjust to this new body. I used to wonder how paparazzi would get pictures of celebrities and everyone would be all ooh, look at how fat they got or what ever. Bloat is surprisingly visible.

I finally got the okay for sex, of course just as I am starting my period. I think if I had asked sooner he would have said fine but it never occurred to me to ask with open holes. The only reason I inquired on Monday was because that was my last visit with the plastic surgeon for a while. It was a bit embarrassing to ask, but as always he was appropriate and kind. He said that it will be a different experience "without all that". I'm paraphrasing but he said that it was lovely that we had been able to share that experience as a married couple but it will be better now. I'm sure. I tried so hard not to let "all that" interfere with the sex part of being married but it was difficult. I was always wondering if he was looking at it or if he felt like it was in the way. Most of all I hated the phwapping sound that certain positions created. Fastest way to kill the moment for me.

My entire mons area has been lifted and much of the fat cut out. It looks entirely different, maybe that is because I can actually see it now and before the surgery most of that area was covered by my pannus. I think I am going to have to start shaving, waxing, something. In the past my mons was too large, yet too covered, and with the folds of skin it was too awkward to shave successfully. Now the scar dips so low that the pubic hair is not an even patch. I'm working up the courage to figure out how I want to deal with this. Leaving it as is won't be an option for me now that I can see it.

But even with this bloat and wonky pubic hair patches I feel more like a woman than ever. It took me years to cultivate my femininity, and ironically the excess skin contributed heavily to my outward girlieness. Under all those skirts and dresses though I never wanted to show my body. Sex happened with the babydolls still on. Even going to bed I still wanted to look cute and feminine. Now there is no embarrassment and no covering up, I look forward to trying out this new body with my husband.

I had to cut off all my nails

They looked amazing, it is incredible what all that protein can do. They went well past my finger tips and were very strong, like soda can opening strong. They also were poking my eye out as I attempted to retrieve a small piece of contact lens. :c( They had to go and as it turned out I didn't even get the tiny piece out. I woke up this morning and there it was a tiny ball wedged in the corner of my eye.


It's okay though, they'll grow back, and long nails also harbor bacteria. Today is my last day of Zyvox and I still have a wee tiny hole left.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Can't I just hurry up and heal already?

I'm still packing that last hole. It's closing slowly. I'm doing this mostly myself now, I tried to get discharged from home care but alas, no luck. The last nurse watched me do all this to make sure I was okay on my own. She wanted to know if I was a nurse. No, but occasionally I play one in real life. So apparently I passed the test because they've dropped my visits to 3x a week, I probably won't see a nurse until Wednesday now. I'm hoping that I'll be all closed up by then, it's currently about half and inch deep and getting smaller at the opening. I switched from a piece of 2x2 gauze back to the strips. They sting and I am more aware of them but I think that wounds heals faster with them instead of being packed full with gauze. There are some stitches sticking out of me along the line that has healed, these are of the dissolvable kind and I assume he'll pull and snip them on Monday. They don't seem to be causing any issues. That two inches that broke open I think had healed well but I know the surgeon will be disappointed by it. It's amazing what's a priority for him as opposed to me. I just want no open holes.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Beach

I spent today at Crane Beach up in Ipswich. I follow a local weatherman on Twitter and he said today was a beach day. Indeed it was.

I saw the plastic surgeon on Monday and I am almost healed! Just one last spot is still being packed but I am not sure for how much longer. Today I told the nurse thanks but no thanks, I was already on the road to the beach by time she called to let me know when she was coming (between 12 and 3pm?).

So I've been out and about living again. I get winded very easily, but that's okay. Monday I shopped! I bought another bathing suit a maxi dress and a silk shirt that I am on the fence about it. It could be a dress but I'll wear it as a shirt, it has a big bow which is what drew me to it. I also went to the Bass Pro Shop on Monday night. I was exhausted by time we headed home and the seatbelt can be rough on me at the end of the day. It was fun trying on clothes... I bought a pair of shorts. My thighs still cause them to rise in the crotch, but the right cut will minimize that. I wore them today in fact. Getting down to the beach today also winded me. I bought a lawn chair that you can wear like a backpack. It's certainly light enough but when you are carrying a bag as well and have been sitting on your ass for 6 weeks 300 yards to the water is far.

I missed a few spots with the sunscreen but am happy to have some color. That pale antibiotic grey is not a good look on me.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I'm wearing one. I've had this suit for years. Back when I first lost the weight I ordered it from LL Bean for a winter vacation to Key West thinking it would be cute. I also liked that I could order a larger bottom than top to accommodate all my excess. The top is a 10 the bottom a 12. It was AWFUL. The skin that hung over my belly button was on full display and it was not pretty. I ended up purchasing another one the first day of vacation for 85$ somewhere on Duval. I still have that suit and am a big fan of it. Bright pretty floral colors and bonus, it came with a sarong. I've always loved swim ware. I had 5 different bathing suits at 240 pounds when I lived in Colorado. I spent summer by the pool and didn't give my body a second thought.

It's been on my mind that I am more than just my skin, but I have to say that this makes me pretty damn happy. I never ever thought that I could feel this normal. Sure there are lots of other parts of me that still droop and hang, but I did not know that this was going to be as life changing as it has been. I was focused on mobility and my knee. But now I know I wouldn't be totally honest if I said this has nothing to do with looks because it does. I know I'm never going to have a magazine body and I don't care. That doesn't motivate me, what does motivate me is being comfortable in my own skin and living life. Being an active participant in my life. The excess skin gets in the way of that.

I don't have to justify, I know that, it's just that this result, even with complications is so different than what I had imagined. It's pretty damn close to perfect. All those years of hard work brought me to a body that I could love and respect, but had a hard time living with. Now I can prance around on the deck and feel just as comfortable being in my own body as I did at 240. My skin is now me sized and I think that is what is making all the difference.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Whole Foods and Single Baked Good Goodness

I wonder where Whole Food falls in California's nutrition labeling law? Do their prepared food fall under the restaurant category because you can sit and eat there? I took myself out to lunch today to my local Whole Foods in Cambridge and had a salad from their cold bar plus some overpriced sushi. They have lots of other things I enjoy from the hot bar, but right now I am focused on protein and getting the most bang for my calorie buck. It kind of annoys me that they don't post or have available their nutritional info. I know it is expensive to test each recipe and that when they do, they only usually test it once, there will be variations form store to store etc... That's all fine, I really just need a guesstimate.

Scouring their website I came across this answer to the nutritional info question in their forums.

And let's talk about the baked goods. They have more single serving desserts than a girl could hope for, but again, with no nutritional info. Ingredients only. Just knowing that they are there often keeps me from buying one... that and the one time I bought a single cupcake it was labeled as and I got charged for a 6 pack. Grumble. Totally defeated the purpose. I was craving something sweet today and picked up and put down many a desert. It seemed to be free sample day so I made do with a wee bit of Mojito cake. It was only okay but just enough all at the same time.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Not a fan of that Dannon Light & Fit Commercial

I'm glad to see I am not the only person who does not like this commercial.

Seriously, I am supposed to believe that this thin attractive woman is slurping down that yogurt in the store because it's so tasty? For me that stuff falls into the not real food category. But even more than that it's the stupid look at me smirk at the end of the commercial that really irritates.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

If I didn't know the difference

I'm pretty sure the nurse would have used one of those heparin syringes on me today. It wouldn't have killed me or anything, but it certainly wouldn't have helped. PAY ATTENTION! These syringes come prepackaged, you hook them up to your IV after administering a med to prevent clotting. I know this because I've had a couple of PICC lines in my past. Heparin is blue, saline for the flush is white. She had already unwrapped one and put it on the coffee table and I was all, hey that's heparin! She looked confused and said, oh how did those get in there...

Umm... you put them in the bag because you weren't paying attention when you got supplies from the office. Mom and I noticed it last week, we should have taken them out then. They were at the very bottom of the bag, lesson learned. I would hate to think what would have happened if I hadn't said anything. That's not something most people know. Way to go crappy immune system.

So you might be able to tell I am over this nurse. She is a nice lady, but she is a lazy nurse. After the heparin incident, she had used 2 of the 3 saline syringes she had laid out. She went to reach for the third but grabbed the one that was already empty and screwed it back on to the catheter. This was for my last, tiniest hole and she had a hard time getting the catheter tip in, after about 20 secs. of fussing she got what she wanted only to depress the plunger and notice, oh, it's empty! Argh. PAY ATTENTION.

Really, is that to much to ask?

She goes on vacation at the end of the week for 10 days. I am going to do everything in my power to be all healed up and not need wound packing by time she gets back!

Easing back into life

The Tall Ships are in Boston right now and most of them are docked across the street from where M parks for work. When I am well I normally drop him off, it's a nice way to spend time together in the morning and then he doesn't have to pay for parking, which is 11$ at the cheapest. The MBTA doesn't seem to bother him and so instead of 15$ a day for commuting it's less than 5$ between the toll in on the Mass Pike, I take Storrow home, and his T fare.

So this morning I offered to drop him off. Well, he drove in, normally I drive, but one way was far enough for me. It was nice to get out and know that the city is still there. People are still running along the Charles, they are still working on that on ramp near Fenway and the Pike is still a shit show, but thankfully they hadn't closed down any lanes this morning.

At this point this is how I am going to get better, by easing back into my life. Things like dishes, ironing, errands. Well, no errands yet, but I will get to those. I super want to go to my local Target. It had been under renovation for the past 2 years and now it's finally done. I haven't been in yet, five weeks ago, they were still laying carpet in the woman's section and apparently they have some odd new all plastic carriages? I wanna see. It was a long process, they worked from the outside/periphery of the store to the inside. Last I time I was there only an island of the old Target remaining.

I've been cooking some too. Last night I only cut the meat for steak tips, but that was something. My protein intake is still close to or over 100 grams a day. My hair and nails have never looked better. I actually want to get a hair cut, but my stylist is on Newbury. Maybe next week I'll schedule an appointment and see just how good my parking karma is.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I need a better immune system

The germ that grew out last week was just plain old skin flora. I am a wee bit freaked out by that. The antibiotics keep getting bigger but the germs, from what I can read are supposedly less virulent? Serratia all those years was undeniably ugly, but the latest infections have just been small stuff. Why do we need to treat them with bombs? I understand that I did have a massive hole just cut in me but these bacteria don't cause problems for NORMAL people. I was healing up just fine from the fluid/pulling apart complication, but the infection. I feel like two steps forward one step back.

Warning possible gross TMI ahead!

Mom was here today and she said it looks much better. I agree, but the fact that two deepest tunnels are now "communicating" is also freaking me out. Basically what that means is that even though my largest hole has mostly healed, the spot where the infection was (that lump of ick I mentioned last week) has tunneled to the fascia. I could feel it yesterday when the plastic surgeon poked me. Actually the medical assistant found it. She impresses me. Nice girl, let's me ramble on because when I'm nervous I talk, pretty much non-stop. And there I go rambling. Anyways, it communicates with the other tunnel that was the deepest. When she flushed it with saline the fluid came out both holes. I will eventually heal, I assume the tissue is done breaking down and now will begin to build itself back up.

In other gross icky news. I have never ever had to deal with a feminine problem like I have right now. We are combatting on both fronts, the yeast and the lack of healthy helpful bacteria. Hopefully tomorrow I'll start feeling some relief from all this effort. I can't wipe, only blot if that tells you how bad this is.

So when all this is wrapped up maybe I'll see about talking to an immunologist. I'd like to know why I get the odd germs and the infections from things that aren't supposed to infect you. Literally the plastic surgeon said that yesterday, "You grew out nothing that should have done this."

I am going to heal.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I helped!

I need to start doing more for myself. Not too much-- but more. Tonight I chopped vegetables and helped with dinner. Ooooh, exciting right? We had stuffed peppers, mine was all hamburger and veggies, no brown rice and no cheese-- stupid Zyvox! We ate these as kids all the time, but I am willing to bet my version has more vegetables and less fat. Thinking back on it I assume they were made with 80/20 hamburger, white rice, tomato sauce chock full of sugar (check it out, most are!), smothered with full fat cheddar cheese and no extra vegetables to be seen. I can vividly remember the oil pooling on the surface of the stuffed peppers and in the bottom of the baking dish. Tonight's version was 93/7 hamburger with onions, garlic, mushrooms and spinach, brown rice and lorraine swiss. It was just as yummy as when I was a kid. It's all about changing your normal.

I also cut up a head of cauliflower, a couple of carrots and a sweet potato for a braised veggie recipe I'll make tomorrow. The sweet potato and carrots are veggies that need to be used and are an addition and substitution to the origional recipe but I'm sure will still be delicious. The spices lend the dish an Indian flavor so I can use up leftovers by wrapping them up in phylo dough, brush them with olive oil and bake turning them into a good for you version of the vegetable samosa.

It's so nice to have fruit & veggies back in the house and to have the energy to do things with them. Mom took me to the grocery store yesterday, I walked the produce isles and the frozen isle. I'm noticing the mini dessert trend has hit the ice cream case. Besides the Ben & Jerry's tiny cups you can also get the Edy's Slow Churned, chocolate, vanilla and chocolate mint. I know it's more packaging and I know they aren't great for you, but it makes me happier than having to buy a pint of something that will only taunt me later until I pitch the rest of it. I have no problems paying for exactly what I want. I had a tiny cup of the chocolate with fresh cherries, strawberries and blueberries. Tonight I just had the fruit and that's okay too, but sometimes a girl needs something chocolately to help her cope.

An After Picture

I took this with my iPhone last night. You can clearly see the ABD pads that are covering the 4x4s that are covering the packing strips of gauze that are stuffed inside of me. Love my belly button though. Never ever thought it could be that cute. PS did a very nice job, silly to think that I was considering going without, it's really been the least of my healing worries!

Edited to add...
Here's the link back to the before picture. I spent some time this weekend pulling pics off my old mac. I'm working on more of before gallery. I just need to crop out my head. I don't mind the pics being out there, but god forbid should anyone disperse them, yeah... They are all iPhone pics. Not the greatest, but you'll get the idea.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

It's been a month now.

June 4th seems like yesterday and a million years ago all at the same time. Today is the first day we've have had really nice weather. I opened up all the windows and still sat on the sofa under the blanket.

I really liked the weekend nurse who came this morning. My normal nurse, while a wound specialist is 1. A slob, 2. A slob and 3. Apparently can't spell. The nurse today was telling me that while reviewing my chart today she kept seeing the word puss. Thankfully she also had a sharps container. My regular nurse has been cutting the ends off of a butterfly needle in order to use the catheter tip to irriagte my holes. It's not unusual for her to just leave the needle ends sitting on my coffee table. I was also noting today going through the bag of supplies she pilfered from the office, because my insurance company is a bit slow about these things, that she dumped the syringe with the used catheter back in the bag! Ick. I know there is no such thing as sterile at home, but let's at least pretend like we care about germs okay? Sheesh. Oh also, in the bottom of that goody bag, heparin syringes. I need heparin like I need a hole in the head.

I am healing. I know that, seems slow, especially after a month, but again, the nurse today was super positive. Reminded me to consider the source of the tissue they had to use. My insicion line is stitched together layers of skin that were folded over, had a restricted blood flow, no air and were very stretched out. She also said to not let this deter me from my thighs as that's a different scenario in terms of tissue.

I think this week I'll see some good progress. I'm still eating well and have fined tuned the protein need to be met with less calories, ~2,200 a day was a bit excessive and my tummy was hurting. Good practice for my future career. Also this anti biotic I'm on tells you to stay away from foods with tyramine, so this has also changed the way I am approaching my nutritional needs. Less bars and shakes and more cooking. My muscle repair is mostly healed so cooking for myself is easier as I can stand pretty straight now. I still get tired quick but I am certainly able to do much more for myself than unwrap a Power Bar or gulp down an Odwalla protein shake.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Puff Puff Pass

I have done more in the last two days than I have in a month. I have driven myself twice now to the doctors and today I went from the hospital in West Roxbury to downtown where I immediately relinquished the wheel of my bouncy bucket of noise to twin sis. Driving is surprisingly hard on me-- I own a Chevy Colorado and there is nothing fancy about it. My air often doesn't work and so I have to roll down the windows, normally I'd just vent the back one in the rain, but I can't twist around so I was left wrestling with the window crank. I thought maybe I was weak, but twin sis also said it was hard to roll, especially up. Makes little things like getting in and out of the parking lot just a smidge more difficult. I was grateful when she drove from her work to her place in the South End and then after a quick stop at her house to see Cat, she drove me home.

I blogress.

I think I was the first person the plastic surgeon saw today after his day in the OR. I can't tell you how much I like this guy and his staff. They are all super kind, they pay attention, they are helpful, knowledgeable and they listen, even when short on time. Anyone who has read my blog for a while will know that I don't heal like everyone else, and that's causing me some stress right now. I was hoping this would be flawless, but it's not. Results not typical I guess, but apparently this happens to about 30% of massive weight loss peeps.

Warning! Gross, possible TMI ahead!

I currently have three open holes. One is on my left side and was the one that burst with fluid almost two weeks ago. We have been packing it all along, at it's largest it was two inches long and I'm not sure how deep, it was hard to see, like a little cave. All the protein I have been eating is really helping, it has filled in almost to the surface (except for the infected part) and I suspect soon it will start healing from the sides. The infection started last Friday I think and was very ew, during Monday night's dressing change I noticed that there was this bit of solid ick that I couldn't dislodge with the wound cleansing spray. Tuesday morning before my shower I noticed that there was more of it! I grabbed it with a piece of gauze and a lump of congealed pus and drainage slid out about an inch and a quarter long. I was speechless but this was an excellent development, as it had been blocking the rest of the pus. Now that that spot has been able to drain it has closed up very quick, PS said it was pretty superficial at this point.

My second hole is the deepest and is basically at the bottom of my suture line. My incision runs from the back of my hips and dips into a deep crescent that's stitched just above my pubic area. The PS poked his tweezers in there and they disappeared! Yikes! He said to make sure that I point that out to the RN so she is packing it, on Tuesday that was still blocked by pus and starting to tunnel to the right. The top has open up a bit allowing for more drainage and now that the antibiotic has kicked in he could see just how deep the hole is.

The final hole is to the right and the one that PS opened himself on Tuesday. It's leaking some fat cells, umm, can we say necrosis. Apparently those are the small square chunks I am seeing on my dressing when I change it out. The PA told me not to worry on Tuesday, this is normal sometimes the fat cells get strangled by the stitches and die. Seeing them on the dressing is much better than having them sit inside of me. This hole is also pretty superficial but still packable.

So that's the wound round up. I'm looking forward to several days on the sofa. I'm puffy right now and the swelling I'm sure is a combination of being poked and also the driving. Potholes carved by weeks of rain plus stop and go city driving equals lots of tense tummy muscles.

I was telling twin sis on the way home that I would still do this again despite my hurdles. I'm used to things being a haul and had hoped that this would go smoothly, but it didn't and that's okay. One of things I say a lot about life's situations, problems, triumphs, etc. is that they are not better or worse from one another, they are just different. However this, this is better. It's hard explain it exactly, but wow, this body I have now, I am amazingly pleased with the improvement.