Tuesday, June 29, 2010


When I stop blogging it's because I get busy.  Self imposed busy but I like it.  Sitting around thinking about healing stops helping after a while.  Miles walked, trips taken, exercise done... sunshine sat in :c)  That's what's making me better now.

I love the freedom that comes with this life in this body.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Do you eat in the bedroom?

Husband and I have had many conversations about this.  No eating in bed, please.  I know I made the mistake of having a popsicle recently and I think that made it seem like I was okay with it.  But I'm not, I just wasn't moving that well after surgery. It's a combination of things... the chewing noises, the crumbs, the chocolate on white sheets and of course it's also mental.

For me bedtime is that-- bedtime, crawl in, close your eyes and drift off.  I have a hard time falling asleep and often can't until he shows up.  Husband takes his time, needs to decompress, I get it, but I don't understand why that includes a snack in bed when he could have easily stayed at his computer and eaten there.

Just now he crawled into bed with a piece of chocolate cake!  I kicked him out and I don't feel bad about it.  It's late, I have to get up early for therapy and I just want some rest.

I fear this is something he will never understand about me.  I try so hard not to let my food ish affect his life, I know I have said before my issues should not be his issues.  I fail at that sometimes and I know it.

But seriously, chocolate cake?  Sigh, it's something to talk to my therapist about.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I've gotten all clear for...

Walking.  Any distance I want.  This is excellent news.   Even though that spot on left leg is still healing.

In other news husband came home the other day with literature from the office building...  There is a really nice gym near by.  Like between here and his work.  It's the health club attached to one of the hotels and it has a pool.  He's been encouraging me to join.  Not in a "Honey, you're fat way," but in a "Honey, you are unsteady on your feet," way.  I know it.

I think it is time to add some exercise back into my life.  The excuses are getting old.  Even I am tired of them and they sound so hollow.  I can keep my pain manageable.  And the wear & tear?  It's going to happen regardless.  Maybe being stronger will balance that out?  I don't know, but I should at least try.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Do you read Screaming Fat Girl?

You should, if only for this post on Obsession.  Amazing writer giving life change some serious thought.

I'm fine, still healing.  Out and living my life this weekend.  I went to party last night where I had too much to eat and a steady stream of frozen slushy drinks all evening.  It was lovely.  I got caught up in person with women whom I haven't seen since Jr. High.  Encouraged me that I am on the right path towards what I want to do with my life.  I'm preferring being the cheerleader as opposed to the one who needs cheering.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I'll be happy to leave this experience behind me!

Eventually.  I don't mind the reminder of who I used to be but I prefer to live my life looking forward.  Heavy Sarah was a while ago now... Seven years ago I was on my way down.  That's a long time to establish a pretty good lifestyle change.

Surgery is mentally consuming, at least for me.  I'll be happy to free up that brain space again.

All my stitches are out, but there is still a spot that is open.  Husband tells me it doesn't look as angry red as it did last week and the plastic surgeon also thinks it looks better.

Some nasty hematomas on the the backs of my thighs.  I've been icing and asked for more pain meds.  Not much else I can do but to wait for the blood to be reabsorbed or broken down.

So that's the update, been better with sunshine again and starting to notice a real difference.  I think when all the swelling is gone it will be awesome.  And might even spur me to tone up a little!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

This is better! Three weeks post thigh lift...

Note to self.  No betadine today!  Last of my stitches come out today, and that's good because they unravelling.

Legs look much better today.  Sorry for posting pictures of the awfulness, but I suspect far more people go through this (and worse) than actually say.  Something about plastic surgery is supposed to be all glossy.  It's not, it's surgery.  It's something that has to be endured unfortunately.

I think at three weeks I can say this was a success.  Knock on wood.  Ortho Doc said he was glad to hear I got through this okay.  Okay is a relative term, but no massive courses of anti-biotics is a success in my book.  The rest will heal up and fall into place.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I was able to sneak in some quick sunshine on the roof deck today.  I should have worn the two piece bathing suit as the one I have on in the picture pulled on my skin.  Lesson learned. I wasn't up there long, 90 seconds is what the doctor told me I needed to kill off the fungus. Mission accomplished.  And don't worry-- no neighbors were flashed in the pursuit of irradiating my microorganisms.

I suspect these kind of mild complications happen far more often with plastic surgery after massive weight loss than are talked about.  Still this is not easy to go through... but I was thinking to myself while sitting in the sunshine that my plastic surgery experience has renewed my faith in medicine.  I really feel like these surgeries benefit me physically.  Less fat cells on a formerly overweight person is always a good thing, forces my body to make more if it actually needs too. I also feel like my skin is generally healthier, after it has healed of course.  Obviously not quite there yet in the following pictures.  I snapped these with my iPhone.  They are a bit harsh so again, click ONLY if you aren't squeemish!  I couldn't even bring myself to put them under the fold...

Right Leg - Steri-strip + Betadine + Microorganism = Ouch
Right Leg - But it is actually healing!
Left Leg - Steri-strip + Betadine + Microorganism = Not as bad Ouch
Left Leg - But is not healing as well...

Yesterday and today (until I got some sun and more Lotramin) have been two of the most uncomfortable that I have experienced. The itch and pain and have been pretty intense and I feel like I have been more swollen since the stitches came out on Friday.  Everyone else keeps telling me that the swelling has gone down however so maybe it is the fact I have been wearing the stage two compression garment during the day.  I'm feeling quite compressed and since I removed all the steri-strips it helps me feel held together.

Hopefully I notice a difference tomorrow and my skin will be calmer, it's certainly starting to feel that way already.

Sarah + Sunshine = Happiness!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Admitting defeat while wearing my big girl panties

I am almost three weeks post surgery and I have an open spot.  I am not healing as I would have hoped.  I just need to remind myself that eventually my  leg and groin scars will look like the one above.  I actually really like this picture, you can see where last summer Dr. B saved my birthmark for me.  You can also see my stretch marks, more battle scars that I have no problems showing off.

So below the jump you'll find a bunch of pictures of how I am healing. Some are kind of icky, and with that warning, click if you want to see what is stressing me out.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I caved

And took the very last small white pill leftover from last summer.  I only recently discovered there was still one that tiny little round celluloid box.

And it didn't really help.  I don't get anxious about much but I do get anxious about healing.  I'm mad at myself for taking it because I've gotten this far without.  I was sad and lonely and a little stressed about the doctors appointment yesterday.  Medicine can be so marvelous but I feel forever scared by all of my past history.  Not just the being significantly over weight, but every complication, every reaction they all just weigh on me when I am trying to get better.

My left leg is healing... but when the plastic surgeon looked at it he thought it would be better to leave those stitches in a little longer.  It's hard to explain what I see but the skin is not staying together.  I think the tissue underneath has mostly healed it just needs to heal come back together at top.  This is a process and I would really like to see some progress.  But none yet.  Also at the T junction there is a bit of pull.  Same on the right I noticed when I got out of the shower earlier.

I get worried about open holes and germs.  Which is why I caved last night.  It's stupid that taking an anti-anxiety pill makes me feel weak.  But I do.  I'm in control of a lot of my life, but it is maddening that I can't just think myself better.  That I can't just think my immune system to be strong and do its job, or that I can't think my little cells to rebuild faster.

I'm doing everything I can.  I know that.  Doesn't make me any less petrified or consumed with worry at the end of a very long day.

Friday, June 11, 2010

I still have stitches

As the surgeon said, "I think that's right."

Left leg is not as good at healing as the right.  I know it.

Trying again

Questions for the doctor.
1.  If you take the stitches out of my left groin will it all fall apart?  I'm skeptical.
2.  How many CC's of fat did you take out and how many went into my knee?
3.  What's up with the top of my incision?  What exactly is that poking out and what do I do about it if it breaks through the skin?
4.  Where else might I see something dissolvable not dissolving?
5.  When can I have sex?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Last summer I had lorazepam

And it was easier.  I am stressing over every bump, lump, spot of pink, peeling skin and fading bruise.   I still expect it to take six weeks.  Just with a lesser degree of difficulty and maintenance on my part.

Oh and the stitches.  What exactly is coming out on Friday I wonder?

This summer I have not asked and it has been hard on my heart.

I can deal.  I'm getting through this okay but I wish I could hurry up an heal.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Living with Food

I talk a lot about living with food.  As you can see in the previous post my husband in naturally thin.  His weight has not fluctuated much from that picture taken almost seven years ago.   He eats what he wants and while occasionally I get frustrated with the stuff he brings into the house, I've pretty much figured out that just because it's there doesn't mean I have to eat it.  This has not been an easy thing to learn or keep in check especially since that last 100 pounds of my weight gain was basically all emotional eating.  While I had always been heavy when life started falling apart in 1997 I self medicated with food.  A lot of calorically dense food eaten in mass quantities.  Most sweet or salty snacks were gone in a day, two at the most.

This week has been emotional, it has been stressful and I am proud of all the food you can still find in cabinet and on the counter.  I've read a lot of posts by emotional eaters, bingers and snackers lately.  I have been all of those in my past.  I've been maintaining for years and while it is easier, some weeks are harder than others.  There are few things I can not have in my house.  Oreos and Doritoes.  I've been thinking about this since Tony posted about his trigger foods on his Facebook page. While they don't trigger me to eat other things, I really can't have them around because I will find myself eating the whole package.  Often I resort to pitching them and that behavior is not something I am totally comfortable with.

So what's still in my closet that has me feeling pretty proud of myself today?

1.  Ritz Pretzel Crackers - These have a very interesting taste.  Mom was not a fan so I brought them home.  They have been in my apartment for a week and half.  Half a box left.
2.  Chocolate Brownie Cliff Bars - Three still in the box.  Purchased by me before surgery.
3.  Hershey's Kisses - I asked for chocolate after surgery and Mom and twin sis came home with those, #5 and a Toblerone that is long gone.  It's a risk asking for others for chocolate and for some reason I always think people will come home with just a candy bar or a single cupcake, but that's never the case.  It's okay though, because once again, just because it is in my closet doesn't mean I have to eat it. There is about half a bag left and M and has eaten most of them.
4.  Pistachios - I *heart* pistachios.  My Dad ate a ton of these nuts when I was a kid.  You would ask for a couple and that's what you would get.  A few meant three, several meant four.  Sigh.  M bought these last week sometime.  About 1/3 of a bag left and both he and I have been enjoying them.
5. Peanut M&Ms - Again purchased for me after surgery and about 1/3 of a bag left.  I've eaten most of them.  Mostly by the handful late in the evening.
6. Kettle Chips - Unopened.  These are something my husband bought apparently forgetting that he still has 8 snack sized bags of Cape Cod Chips sitting on the counter just out of view. 
7. Brownies - This is the second pan. The first he made last week when he was having a tummy whim, I had two of those. When I started my period I asked for chocolate again.  I should have finished what we already had!  I had three out of this pan (crusts only) in the past few days.
8. Granola - You can't see it because the door is closed, purchased by me for mixing in with my yogurt before surgery.  Over 3/4 of a bag left and it's the good kind! I had actually forgotten that it was there as it was hidden behind some taco shells.  Out of sight out of mind?

I know for some, and for me for a good long while, it is simply easier not to have these kinds of foods in the house.  However it is not just me living here.  My issues are not my husband's issues. This is what I mean by living with food.  It's not denying myself treats, it's not eating everything I have all at once because it's there.  It's enjoying in moderation because I can make a choice. 

Christmas 2003

This is just before January of 2004 when I embarked on the second stage of my weight loss.  My mom came across a bunch of pictures I had never seen this weekend when cleaning out down on the Cape.  Hopefully I can get out to her house and scan them in as there are a couple I would like to add to my before and afters.  They are very few pictures of my husband and I when I was still heavy.  I see me in there...  Just waiting to get out from under the rest of the fat.

Monday, June 7, 2010

I still have stitches

Seeing the plastic surgeon is always an interesting experience.  I'm all concerned about micro-organisms and he's all concerned with the results.  Me too, but... those will come.

So he poked around and examined at me from the front and the back.  He is pleased with look and the outcome.  I always like to hear that.  I had doubled up on the pain killers in anticipation of getting the stitches out today and he did not take them out.  I still have fungus issues.  Said to start alternating the topical creams and he would take them out on Friday.  It wasn't entirely clear to me if it was because he wanted them in longer (that will be 16 days) or if it was because of the fungus.  Probably a bit a both.  So I continue to wash and dry and apply.  He said nothing about the small spot at the T where it has pulled a bit so I assume that's fine.  I also assume I am to continue to wear the compression garment.

Sigh.  I'm trying to be positive, just was hoping to move on today.

12 Days Post Thigh Lift

The bruising is getting much better!  But the swelling is hanging tough, my left leg especially from this angle.  Stitches out today and hopefully no more steri-strips.  They are aggravating my skin something fierce. I am so ready to move on to the next stage of healing.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

All Compression Garments are NOT created Equal

The one on the left is what I woke up wearing in the hospital.  The tag says it's an XL and fits hips 45"-50".  Umm, my hips are 41" and I can't imagine a smaller size in this thing.  It has velcro underneath the zipper and a weird foam strip that is not standing up to repeated washing, of course it does say to hand wash and air dry, but who the hell is going to do that after surgery.  It's also crotchless which I am sure you can see and I hate that about it.  The "reinforced crotch" as it is described is pretty much either right where my incision line is if it is pulled up high enough or if it is a bit lower, cutting across the vertical incision that runs down my thigh. All around pretty uncomfortable unless I stick an ABP pad underneath.  There is one thing I like about this garment however, it unzips completely for placement on your leg.  I would imagine that's why the surgeon uses it.  Weird to think about how they must do that when you are under.

The one on the right is what I ordered from the internets after much research.  Actually there isn't much to read out there.  But I did come across a couple of reviews and they were spot on.  The hook and eye closure is much easier to use than velcro, it has withstood repeated washings already and that fabric is surprisingly soft.  I brought it with to the doctors office to ask if I could put it on instead and he was all, "It's probably better."  The PA commented on how pretty the lace was at the bottom.  It's 30 dollars more than the other one and worth every penny. I actually can't believe they charge 40 bucks for the white one.  Anyway, It is not exactly crotchless but the back has an opening that closes when you stand and opens when you sit letting you poo.  I have had to wash it a couple of times after accidently peeing on it, yes, even with the urinal, in the dark and late at night it's hard to see and tell sometimes.  The only thing I don't like about this garment is that it doesn't let my skin breathe as much as I need.  I am still fighting that fungus and like my Gram used to say, you have to let things breathe down there!

Still these are an important part of recovery.  They hold you together until your body is doing the job on it's own.  It takes a while for your skin to reattach to the tissue underneath and these help force it along.  They also keep your swelling down and I find they help with pain.  Like the last surgery I feel less hurty if things aren't moving all that much.  I'm not sure what the doctor will say about compression garments tomorrow.  They come in two stages, one for the week or two right after surgery, they compress you less (if you can believe it!) and a stage two garment with more compression for several more weeks.  In the link above you can see the stage two garment I bought.  Those don't come with zippers because I guess they assume you are healed enough to wiggle yourself into it.  We'll see.

Sleep beautiful sleep!

I was in a bit of a bad spot so last night I set myself up for some good rest.  Husband was away so it was just me and the kitty cat.  I had a pain pill, a swig of Nyquil (I know not it's intended purpose, but works as insurance), an ibuprofen, took a shower, changed my compression garment, turned the AC on high and the cell phone ringer off.  It had been 5 days since I had gotten sleep that was more than 2.5 hours at a time.  Worry was starting to consume me.  Saturday was day 10.

Last summer day 10 is when it all fell apart. If you have never had surgery I can best explain it this way, dancing and worrying at the same time.  Ala Marge Simpson.  You go into it hoping to be fixed, hoping to dance on the other end... less pain, new ligament, less skin and fat in the most recent case.  However when you come out the other side still breathing anesthesia and all stitched up, well that's where the worry comes in.  And I worry about healing.  I can't help it.  This most recent plastic surgery was my 13th surgery over all and I like to think that's lucky.  When I had my ACL replaced the 3rd time, I thought, "That's the Charm!" Turns out I struck out.

I've experienced lots of surgical complications.  Last summer after my adominplasty and panniculectomy were eight of the longest weeks of my life.  All of this weighs heavily on me right now and was getting in the way of sleep.  I just want to heal and that doesn't happen well if you aren't getting rest.  I see the doc tomorrow and I think he'll have pretty good news for me.

I can't wait to dance.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

There is no crying in elective surgery

I'm okay, just kind of done with my body. 

A tip post plastic surgery & why the scale does not surprise me

Wait before you try on pants.

I know my thighs are still swollen. I can feel it, especially at the end of the day.  It's like when I used to step on the scale and would be disappointed by the number.  I know better.  

I did something similar last summer after at about six weeks and it bummed me out.  But not having more than these two surgical experiences my learning curve is admittedly a bit steep.  I'm over it now, but when I tried on my favorite jeans it did produce some anxiety and worry.  Most of the I spent 8,200$ on what exactly variety....  I'm over it now.  Sorry, have to say that again.

It shouldn't have bothered me to begin with.  It's like stepping on the scale.  I am never surprised/disappointed by my weight anymore.  It's been years actually.  When I was coming down in weight the second time I realized that I could not let how I feel (or my entire day actually) be affected by the number at my feet.  Once during my sophomore year of college I got so upset by 6 pound gain that I chucked my scale out the window.  It landed smashed into smithereens on the roof of the loading doc and I had to look at it all year.  It taunted me and seemingly as soon as I stopped weighing myself I started a slow gain back to 245 from my high school low of 200 pounds.  My one and only yo-yo.

Nowadays I am a fairly regular weigher.  The number only means as much as you let it and for me it a merely a reflection of how well (or not) I have been eating.  It's not an everyday thing, maybe 2-3 times a week.  If I am giving my food thought my weight will reflect that and I know enough about how my personal monthly fluctuations, salt, alcohol, processed food, lack of sleep and the like affect my weight.

Currently I am weighing everyday, I'm trying to get a handle on where my body will settle again post surgery.  I'm pretty sure they didn't weigh what they took off me, (although I could probably dig up how much a cc of fat weighs if I am able to get that information) as they did not last summer.  It has to go through pathology to get weighed and they charge you more for that was the explanation I was given.  Based on what I know about myself I think they took approximately 5 pounds off me with the paniculectomy and the abdomniplasty .  I expect maybe a pound or so of tissue and fat was removed this time.  Hard to tell.  But it'll be a couple of months before my weight settles probably about the same time as when my jeans start fitting different!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Personal Mantra

Be best person you can be without sacrificing your own happiness.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Linky Love

I haven't forgotten...  Just figuring out what I want to say about how I did it.  It's really nothing special and I'm afraid that it won't live up to the expectations.  As I've said this was more mental than anything and that takes some time for me to put into words.  I'll touch on the food and the exercise too, but trust me, there will be no surprises there.

In the meantime...  You may have noticed I don't have a blog roll.  I probably never will, but I do read a ton of blogs, more than I can keep up with actually.  One of my favorite things to do is to start at a blog and see how many different ones I can come across either via blog roll or comments. I often tire before I hit the end of the internets.  But here are few I check religiously...

Beth @ http://www.meltingmama.net/
What I love about Beth is that she educates herself and her fellow WLS post-ops.  Yes, I read bariatric blogs, not many, but hers stands out for me.  Not only is she local (We met once earlier this year.  I offered to help her kill some time while she was waiting for a doctors appointment.) but she tells it like it is.  I am sure there are lots of people that have successful WLS but seems to me there are just as many who don't.  All surgery carries risk of complications and she is a success despite hers.

Kenz @ http://alltheweigh2009.blogspot.com/
She's a kindred spirit.  I can just tell.  Our friendship, while still new is going to last.  She has already lost 100 pounds with more to come I am sure.  She is smart and determined and I love watching people with a positive attitude succeed.  She also loves to shop and I love that she's a girly girl!

Lori @ http://findingradiance.com/
I met Lori earlier this year as part of the OZ 100 and she is currently maintaining a 115 pound weight loss.  We did not get much time to chat, stupid snowstorm, but she was super sweet in person and I would love to have a cup of coffee with her.  I read a comment by another blogger somewhere recently describing her as an athlete.  I couldn't agree more!  Lori blogs about her workouts, her eats, & her kitty. What is different about her though is that you get the feeling that Lori has fully embraced this new her, she works out because she enjoys it, not because she feels obligated.  She also loves her pastries (her food pictures regularly make me hungry) and her cat cracks me up.

Purple_Moonflower123 @ http://weightoflife.blogspot.com/
Sadly, I don't her name, but hers is one of the first blogs I started reading when I started mine on blogger.  She's lost approximately 150 pounds already and while still has more to go, she doesn't give up.  A week or so ago she joked about being the woman who remains the same.  She has had her fair share of plateaus but just keeps at it.  When she gets to goal, she will have maintenance in the bag!  She is the definition of perseverance.

Patricia @ http://fightfatphobia.blogspot.com/
I'm rooting for her and a lot of other people are too.  She's hilarious and not just in that I'm heavy so I put myself down way.  A sense of humor goes a long way in life.

Week one with my new legs

Have I mentioned yet that I am in love with the scar on my tibia now? *happy tears* When I took down the tegraderm yesterday I was totally surprised to see that it had been moved laterally about half an inch.  It's just not in the same spot and that thrills me to no end.  In this case, different is better.  The divot is gone and with it the reminder of the horrible pain I suffered through with that third ACL attempt.  That alone makes this surgery worth it.  There are still steri-strips covering the incision so I can't see the whole thing, but yeah, happy tears.

As for the legs!  I still have stitches, so some of it is a bit ew and I also (obviously) have swelling and bruising so it's a little early to tell...  But maybe?  They might not touch?  We'll see.  I can see however that when I am laying on the bed with my knees up, my thighs do not puddle on my tummy.  That was something I actually just noticed today and I cried happy tears at that too.

When I see him next week I want to ask about the dimensions of the skin he removed as I am sure they measured it.  I'm kinda curious about the ccs of fat as well. All that excess that was hanging off my upper thighs is gone.  It's hard to tell because it looks subtle with all the swelling, but when I stand and walk I can feel the difference.  I can definitely see where he lipo'd the side and back of my knees.  Looks like my legs look when I'm at my lowest weight. ;c)

Let's see what else... I was surprised to see that the freckles I expected to have moved are basically in the same place on the top of my thigh.  I think this is because the skin that got moved gets stretched from the back?  I need to ask about that as I am not really sure.  The steri-strips on my bum are starting to aggravate me with the compression garment on.  They are peeling from the corners but one thing I have learned is you leave those alone.  Unfortunately I had to peel off a few to medicate the jock itch.  That's much better today too.  Amazing what sun and some anti-fungals can do.

I went back and re-read my blog from last summer.  Day 10 was in fact the day it fell apart.  My issues last summer had more to do with not holding together and swelling than they had to do with germs.  I am comforted by that.   However I am still constantly reassuring myself that this is going just fine and will continue to do so.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I went to the doctor's today.  This is me.  I was 161.6 this morning.  Hard to tell what that means post surgery, but seems right for how I have been eating.  This shirt dress is something I measure my size/shape by and it fit just fine.  I bought it at a local thrift store.  It's Ralph Lauren, cotton with the teensiest bit of stretch and the best part about it... the size tag has been removed.

So as I thought, fungus.  Sigh.  He said sun would take care of it?  Okay, I'll sit in the sun tomorrow-- should be lovely out.

Other things to do include wash 2x a day, air dry, apply anti-fungal, air dry and then put on compression garment.  Also switch back to the one that came from hospital so I can keep an eye on it.  The other is comfy, but it promotes moisture and that's the last thing I need to be doing.  You can see the worst of it, plus the scar and bruising down my right thigh  after the jump.  The left is more is unhappy.