Posts Tagged ‘post-op’

In A Bind

March 16, 2022

And in some tears.

Sigh.

I had another post op appointment with my surgeon this morning.

He checked out my belt lipectomy, “it looks beautiful,” he said, very pleased.

I told him that I have been doing the scar massage twice a day and he applauded that and told me to continue, pointing out that the scarring on my back would fade with time.

The scar there is a bit wider from bending over, stretching, etc.

Basically I was told, keep up the good work and I’ll see you in six months.

“Any questions,” he asked?

“Actually, yes, what is this?” I asked, pointing to a bump I’ve noticed for a few weeks and that frankly spooked me a tiny bit, what is that thing?

My surgeon felt it and said, “nothing to worry about,” he could tell I’d been worrying.

(It’s some surgical instrument he left in there and he’ll need to go back in and retrieve it! Thanks brain, thanks for sharing.)

“It’s a surgical knot, it’s a stitch, it will dissolve with time, it’s fine,” he said, then, “anything else?”

“Yes, actually,” I said. “When can I stop wearing the binder?”

My surgeon smiled at me, “now, you don’t have to wear it anymore.”

Holy shit.

I was over the moon.

Really?

Yes, really.

“I’ll see you in six months,” and off he went on his busy surgeon way.

I looked at my binder, I folded it up and almost left it in the trash in the examine room, but part of me was like, slow your roll, you might want that later.

So I put it in my purse and put on my leggings and dress and cardigan and left the examination room to make an appointment with the receptionist.

“What days are good for you,” she asked.

“Fridays,” I said.

“Ok, that puts us into September, how about the 16th?”

I asked for an earlier spot and she got me in the week prior on the 9th.

I walked out the door, got gingerly in my car and drove home to get ready for my clients.

I shared excitedly with a few friends about not having to wear the binder.

I mean.

It’s been on 24 hours a day for just under five months.

I was so fucking excited to not wear it.

The only times I take it off are when I’m taking a shower.

Otherwise, all day long, all night long.

I ate breakfast without it, went into sessions without it on, checked in a lot with my body, it certainly feels much more vulnerable without the binder on, I can start with that.

Then.

I began to notice swelling happening.

Ugh.

I sort of sensed that would happen, I mean, even with the binder on I swell during the day, by the end of the day the binder is quite tight.

My belly is always the least swollen in the morning after I have slept.

So I didn’t fret too much.

But, boy oh boy, has my attention been there all day, especially as the swelling continued, to well, swell.

By 5:30p.m. I was like, great, this sucks.

Same at 6:30p.m.

My belly felt and looked to me like how it looked pre surgery. I felt scared and tender and I thought, fuck, I haven’t had dinner yet. And some wonderful part of my brain shared, “what the fuck was the point of getting the surgery if it looks the same as before?”

Fuck you brain.

Also.

It does not look the same, the surgeon always shows me the before photos, even swollen it looks different so stop being so damn mean to me.

Then I thought.

Ugh.

I can’t imagine eating like this.

What if it swells up even more?!

I can’t do it.

But.

I also know better than to not eat dinner.

I have an eating disorder, being mindful about eating my dinner and all my meals is really important to me.

So, with some chagrin, I went and put the binder back on.

Sigh.

Fuck.

Tears.

Resignation.

And.

Relief.

Ugh.

It feels better.

And yeah, maybe it is purely psychological, but after being a therapist holding my clients trauma all day, I’m ok with being gentle with myself and being ok with sure, maybe it’s a placebo, but whatever it feels better.

So just do it.

Listen to what your body is saying.

My body is also saying, get a god damn shoulder massage.

But I can’t get a back rub yet, well, I suppose I could have someone work on my shoulders in a chair, but I don’t think lying down on a massage table is quite an option for me yet.

Gotta wait, back.

Anyway.

I have it, the binder on now, and I reached out to a friend for support and it’s ok that I’m a little sad about it and I can realistically understand that it’s just been under 5 months, the full healing arc of the surgery is 9 months to a year.

And fuck.

My arms that I had done in July, still hurt at the end of the day.

They hurt now.

Not so much that I am overly distracted by it, but they hurt and that surgery was done 8 months ago.

So patience brain.

The body is in charge, not you.

Feel your feelings and be ok with process.

Soon you won’t be in a binder.

My friend suggested I take it in small steps, work up to wearing it less and less.

And really, I got to give myself props, I went from 10a.m. to 7:45p.m. not wearing it.

That’s pretty fucking good.

So, gently, slowly transitioning.

Without too many damn expectations.

And being ok with the process.

Listening to my body without judgment.

Poor thing has been judged too much as it is.

Back at it!

November 23, 2021

After nearly four weeks off, I went back to work today.

I started out this morning by guest lecturing (remotely via Zoom) at CIIS in the Clinical Relationship class on erotic countertransference in the clinical dyad.

That was fun.

I did that for about an hour then transitioned to my first client of the day.

Fortunately for me, a phone session.

Followed by another phone session.

Followed by a video session.

Then a break.

Phew.

Break much needed and yes, yes I did, I took my first unaccompanied walk!

It was just a block, don’t freak out.

And I went super duper slow.

Like.

Ridiculously slow.

I walked to the mailbox and mailed my rent check for December.

It felt great to be outside.

Though intense, and I walked back much slower than I had walked to the mailbox.

Then I had lunch in bed.

Now.

I will say that was my only meal in bed and for that I feel pretty happy.

I had breakfast at my “desk”, aka, my kitchen table and tonight I had dinner in my living room sitting in my reading chair.

Normally I like to sit on my pink velvet couch and enjoy the view of the night sky out the window framed in soft yellow string bulb lights.

However.

My couch is too low to sit on comfortably and get back up from.

By the end of my sessions tonight I was definitely feeling stiff and I had gotten a bit swollen up, but I really didn’t want to eat dinner in bed.

Although, I will say that I did not force myself to write this blog at my desk.

I’m writing from bed, propped up on pillows, three behind my back, two underneath my knees.

I can push myself a little, but I’m not a masochist.

And I know that going too hard back into things is not good for my healing.

Gratefully I am in a profession that is not too active.

Granted prior to my surgery I have a times found this challenging–being so sedentary.

Before becoming a psychotherapist I was a nanny, in fact, I nannied a good way into being a therapist–nothing says good times like juggling full time work with full time school and getting my hours to become a therapist.

In a sense, until very, very, very recently, I was working six to seven days a week.

So this down time I’ve had recovering from the surgery has also been surreal.

Lying in bed watching a lot of videos.

I did some reading too, but mostly I think I just slept and watched videos and tried to not be in self-pity when the weather was screaming gorgeous out.

I literally missed the best weather of the year indoors for three and a half weeks recuperating.

That being said.

Once I am fully healed up I will be outside and moving and doing all the things.

My next post-op appointment is December 10th.

At which point my surgeon will let me know when I can start exercising again–more than just walking.

I sense it will still be a slow journey towards being as active again as I was prior.

I cannot wait to get back into the swimming pool.

Or!

To go out dancing.

My, oh my.

I have missed dancing.

I mean, pandemic quashed that in a major way, though I definitely had a lot of private dance parties by myself in my kitchen.

Then I had a burst appendix in February, followed by my first surgery, the brachioplasty, followed by the belt lipectomy.

My dance moves have been severely restrained.

I have a friend who is all about the dancing and keeps sending me invites and I’ve had to turn them all down.

I had a teensy narrow window of opportunity when I was feeling better resourced after the brachioplasty and able to move my arms without feeling like they were going to rip apart, and I had just defended my dissertation, that I could have possibly gone out.

But.

My friend was out of town and I spent that weekend getting my household prepped for the next surgery.

Considering how slow the healing process takes, it will likely be March, April, May of next year before I’m really able to hit a dance floor again.

But it’s there, just on the horizon.

And today gave me just a tiny glimpse of hope for that.

In a sense, I had a full eight hour work day.

I lectured for an hour, then had three sessions, had a break and then did four more sessions.

That was a pretty big day to start back in.

I’m tired.

And also.

Just a smidgeon exhilerated.

It was so good to see my clients again!

I missed them.

And I missed my morning routine.

It felt really nice to make my breakfast this morning, make a coffee, sit at my desk, read my emails, eat, drink my latte, write my morning pages in my journal. Rather than get up, make breakfast, bring it back to bed and crawl back into bed for the majority of the day.

Sure.

I was stiff sitting at my desk and had to keep my core still, but fuck, it felt so damn good to be back to a semblance of my normal routine.

I am also grateful that I have a late start tomorrow morning.

I will let myself sleep in and I will take it very slow in the morning.

I also normally have a late session on Mondays, but not today, and that helped.

I checked in with my person at lunch too and let him know how my day was going and said out loud that if I felt like it was too much I would cancel on my evening sessions.

I did not have to do that.

I did have to be careful to sit still and be really gentle getting up and out of my chair in between sessions and taking bathroom breaks.

And I did it.

Such a relief!

I got through my first day back.

Such simple joy in getting back to my routine.

Grateful.

Seriously fucking grateful.

I’m back in the saddle again.

I’m Ready

November 14, 2021

To date again.

Well.

I mean.

Theoretically.

I am in no shape to actually go on a date.

I’m still pretty much tied to my bed.

Although I do feel increments of change, small shifts in my body signaling to me of my healing.

My dear friend was over yesterday and she said I looked “sooooo much better,” which is nice since I feel like I look like ass.

But she insisted.

It might have been the shower I had.

I was cleared to shower this past Tuesday.

It might have been one of the greatest showers of all time.

Rivaled many a Burning Man fresh back from the playa shower.

And if the after care hadn’t been so damn hard, it would have been the top shower of all time.

I mean.

I didn’t shower for two weeks.

Sure, I did a whore’s bath.

You know, baby wipes and deodorant and perfume.

Very 1800s French of me.

heh.

But really, I like a good shower.

In fact, I have often said that God is a good shower.

I mean, think about it, it feels so good to have hot water sluicing down ones back.

The sigh of relief when I get underneath a good hot shower with great water pressure.

Oh, so good.

So to go two weeks was pretty hard.

But I had to, the drains didn’t all get removed until two weeks after the surgery.

I had three drains, two of which were removed one week after, and the last 13 days later.

I cannot tell you how obnoxious they were.

Granted that first week I was on heavy painkillers so though annoying, I didn’t find them that uncomfortable.

Sans Percocet, they were infruriating.

Always this slight annoyance, not quite pain, although if I jostled myself too hard or took down my sweat pants too fast.

Egad.

Aside.

One of my friend’s calls sweat pants “my give up” pants.

For the record.

I have never owned sweat pants until this surgery.

I bought two sweat suits prior to the surgery.

I was told, loose pants and zip up fronts.

So sweatsuits seemed appropos.

And on the shelves they were cute, but on me, eek, I do not care for them.

Maybe that’s why I’m feeling better today too, not wearing a sweat suit and I put on a bra.

It’s the small things.

I did contemplate taking another shower today, but I’ll hold off one more day.

Three days is still a bit to go for me, but like I said, despite how fucking phenomenal the shower feels, the after shower routine is really hard.

I feel pretty tired just getting out of the shower and drying off.

Making sure I’m not vigorously drying myself, putting on Neosporin on the stitches, re-bandaging myself, and the skin tightens when it dries so I feel like I’m getting pulled apart and my range of motion gets much smaller. I end up feeling like a hunched over little old lady.

And don’t talk to me about drying my hair.

Holy shit.

Just getting to my blow dryer and doing a quick pass through is really hard.

I did manage it yesterday, but I was super shaky after just a few minutes of it.

Although like I said, I rallied and I put on leggings, a bra, a t-shirt and a button down shirt instead of the zip hoodie and sweat pants over the binder that I am wearing over the bandages, over the stitches.

I might burn the sweat pants in effigy when I’m done.

There’s also a psychological fatigue that happens.

I told myself both times that I showered not to look at the belt lipectomy, which by the way, if you don’t know, is not a tummy tuck, which would just be a midline scar across the front of the belly.

A belt lipectomy is like the name, think of a belt encircling your waist.

It is a full 365 degrees around.

Removing excess skin and tissue from around the entire trunk.

So, it’s a lot.

I know when it’s healed I’ll be ecstatic, but looking at it right now makes me a bit nauseated.

But yeah, I looked, and I think that makes it hard too, it’s not pretty to look at and I’m still bruised and swollen.

In fact, the post-op paperwork does say that many folks go through a regret phase and some slip into depression.

Now.

I won’t lie.

I have had some depressed mood, I mean, aside from two post-op trips to see my surgeon, I haven’t been outside since October 25th.

I am grateful, truly, that I live in a beautiful apartment and it is very sweet, but it is not outside.

Outside where it’s been sunny and late fall gorgeous and 70!

Sigh.

Just a walk to Patricia’s Green is all I really want, but I’m not quite there yet.

So, why do I think I’m ready to date?

It’s mental.

Not physical.

I think I’m finally over my ex, or pretty damn close to it.

I haven’t seen him since January and I think the grief of it all is finally passing.

It’s certainly lightened substantially.

Especially with all the work I put into my dissertation and also the work of transforming with the surgery.

I am the same.

Yet.

I am different.

And too, the new therapist I started working with has been a God send.

I’m ready for someone who is available, physically and emotionally.

I’m ready for some requited love.

I think I’m done with the unrequited kind, thanks.

I’m healing physically and emotionally.

I also, yes, yes I did, I also, booked myself a trip to New York in spring!

I’m going to go for the last weekend in May.

I got a ridiculous fare, $304 roundtrip!

And I scored a room at the Jane Hotel in the Meatpacking District.

I’ve only ever stayed in Brooklyn when I’ve gone to New York before.

Once staying with a friend on Myrtle Ave.

Once an Air BnB in Green Point.

Once an Air Bnb in Bedstuy.

This time I’m staying in Manhattan.

I am super excited.

I’m taking a red eye out after my last client on a Thursday, landing at 6:15a.m. at JFK on Friday.

I will stay at the Jane Hotel Friday night and Saturday night and check out Sunday morning, catching the noon back to SFO Sunday, and due to the time difference, get in Sunday afternoon and have a little time to recalibrate before going back to work on Monday.

I am super excited.

Yeah.

I know I already said that, but seriously.

It will be late spring, warm, but not too hot.

I will walk around in my new (ish) body, in sundresses and skirts and sandals enjoying the warm.

I will go to the Highline.

I will walk the Hudson River Greenway from the hotel to the Beekman for breakfast Saturday morning, it’s about 45 minutes.

I flirted with staying at the Beekman, but fuck paying that much money, I’ll just go have a breakfast there, I had lunch there with my ex when we were in New York summer of 2018 I think, and my God it was beautiful, the dining room is just ridiculous, the atrium, the velvet couches, the leather club chairs.

Then I will just walk the city.

Go to Central Park.

Go to book stores.

Go dress shopping.

Go to the Whitney.

I will likely hit the Whitney my first day in, on Friday, it’s literally a five, ten minute walk from my hotel.

Lunch somewhere in the neighborhood, walk over to Perry Street, a ten minute walk, to do the deal, meander around Greenwich Village, or Bleeker Street.

Buy a new dress.

Go out to a fancy dinner…maybe Catch in the Meatpacking District or Strip House, steak people, it’s a steak house, in Greenwich Village.

Though I do love Peter Luger’s Steak House, I’m not going to go to Williamsburg to get it.

I want to stay on the island and just meander.

And I’ll end my nights at the roof top bar, sans alcohol, just some bubbly water and me sitting underneath the night sky looking out over the city.

A romantic weekend away with myself.

And I have the feeling that sometime around then I’ll be ready to really date.

It’s going to take a few months for me to really feel able to get out.

The recovery from the surgery literally takes months, and can take up to a full year.

But I can see it coming.

All this work I have done on myself.

The emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical transformation, of me.

I mean.

I’m still me.

But.

I’m becoming, have become, something greater than the sum of me.

Even though, technically, there is less of me around.

I take up less space.

And yet I have more space, I am more spacious.

I have grown the space in my heart.

It is a grand thing this.

My metamorphosis.

Though not complete.

It is well underway.


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