My Bariatric Life "Tells All" About Her Tummy Tuck! Ch.18 3-Weeks Post Op Swell Hell Continues
Absolutely everything you want to know about abdominoplasty! Read Chapter 1
Days 20-21 Tummy Tuck Post Op, Swell Hell Continues
After a long night, my surgeon phoned me in the morning. We took some time to discuss the CAT scan results, my swelling, and my stretch marks. As for the stretch marks, he told me that most patients don’t mind them in the end. I remain very unhappy with them. For a brief moment in time I had a perfectly pretty tummy and now I feel like that has been snatched away from me forever.
The surgeon and I continued to talk. He was gracious and apologized for the trouble we’d had with the phone during the night. And I apologized for contacting him so many times following my surgery, which of course he said it was fine that I had done so.
I shared with him that I’d had surgeries before and never went through this unease afterwards, not even with my gastric bypass. I explained why I’d been apprehensive after the tummy tuck. First and foremost, my expectations for the swelling had not been set. I anticipated pain and swelling similar to other abdominal surgeries I’d had -- gastric bypass and Cesarean section. But recovery from abdominoplasty was completely unlike recovery from my other surgeries. The swelling was inconceivable.
What’s more, I was 700 miles away without access to my surgeon for an in-person consult when I began to have concerns. My terrific primary care doctor that I left behind in New Jersey, who herself has had abdominoplasty, suggested I stay in NJ for several weeks following my tummy tuck. In hindsight, this would have been the best approach because I could have been under treatment directly with my surgeon. By the end of the conversation with my surgeon, I finally relaxed and accepted that this was normal swelling.
My flare-up of pain subsided the next day. Feeling somewhat back to normal, I started to have cravings. Most of all, I wanted a long hot soak in my bathtub – a large cast iron tub with plenty of room for me to lie down and submerge myself. And I wanted an occasional glass of red wine with dinner (red wine in moderation is good for health). And I wondered if I really needed to wait six weeks for any sort of sexual activity. Alas, all I could have was the wine – doctor’s orders.
The day afterwards, day 21 post-op, my swelling changed. It seemed to follow the classic pattern that my surgeon had described: although I still was very swollen in the morning, I felt much fuller in the evening. I imagined this was what a dairy cow must feel like when she needs to be milked. It was a relief to see my swelling progress as it should, even though I did not appreciate the swelling, in and of itself, in the least bit.
Swelling plays a bit of a psychological torment with patients. For the first week I had a tight and very flat tummy that – aside from the scar, it is the body I have always wanted. The only time in my life that I have had a flat belly was when I was very thin and swam laps every day. That was a long time ago, so to look down and see the body of my youth after so many decades had passed was elating. However, after that week, I swelled badly and I have not been flat since. All along I had been thinking that after this surgery I might fit into a size smaller pants -- however the reality was that I could not even fit into my pre-surgery pants. Other patients have told me that this can go on for a long time.
I have emotional ups and downs. I wonder why I am still so swollen after 3-weeks and if this means I will have this fat pouch forever? I wonder if the swelling does subside will it stretch my skin and leave it saggy in the end? I wonder if I will get more stretch marks? Obviously I don’t have much skin elasticity – otherwise I would not have stretch marks from the swelling. And I wonder if I had worn a compression garment if I would not have gotten these scars.
At times I feel very tired. I have not regained my full energy yet. While I am active, I miss doing all the things that I used to do. Even ordinary things – you don’t realize how much you use your core for so many activities. Recovery seems a long way off. My peers on ObesityHelp.com plastic surgery board tell me to hang in there, that I will recover my flat tummy and mons.
And already I am considering the other plastic surgeries on my wish list. This I know for sure: If I do have additional surgeries, I will fly back to New Jersey and have my surgeon perform them. And next time I won't be so worried because I'll know what to expect.
Find out what happens to me next... I promise good news!
Living life well-fed,
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