Posts Tagged ‘swell’

In A Bind

March 16, 2022

And in some tears.


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.


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.


I began to notice swelling happening.


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.


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.


I can’t imagine eating like this.

What if it swells up even more?!

I can’t do it.


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.








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.


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.

I Had A Day Off

April 11, 2017

And it was good.

I slept in.

I did not set my alarm.

I woke up a little before 10 a.m. and had a lovely, leisurely morning, couple cups of coffee, four pages of writing long hand, some quiet to connect with the day.

I had a few ideas of what I might do, but no specific agenda.

I really wanted to be open to whatever came up.

I knew I had to go grocery shopping and I had a little bit of an urge to go and get my nails done.

Groceries were gotten.

Nails were not done.

When I got back from grocery shopping I just decided to stay put, I wanted to be in the neighborhood, I wanted to chill out.

I also.

I realized.

Wanted to go for a bicycle ride.

The weather was perfect, 61 degrees, not too breezy, nice sunshine, scattering of clouds, no fog.

I pulled out my camera, my messenger bag, a bottle of water and pumped up the tires on my bike.

It had been a while.

I rode down 46th Avenue to Sloat Avenue, then on down to Great Highway.

I crossed Great Highway and pulled into the parking area at Sloat.

I haven’t been there in over a year.

There’s not much reason for me to get down to Sloat, I can just walk to the beach access point on Judah, but it was the perfect bicycle ride destination.

I was so glad to be on my bicycle again, so happy to be in the fresh sea air, in the sunshine, to see the stretch of the coast line.

How lucky am I to get to live here?

So lucky.

After hanging out at Sloat for a while on a big rock I hopped back on my bicycle and turned down Great Highway.

I realized after biking about a half mile or so that the other side of Great Highway was still closed off for sand removal.


It looked really clear and clean.


There where bicycles and skateboarders and joggers just cruising down the middle of the highway.

I crossed over at Lawton and rode my bike back down to Sloat again and then turned around once more for the thrill of riding in the middle of the highway, the wrong way, on my bicycle.

I stopped and took a few pictures with my camera and just was super happy to be out, to have a day off, to not be at work, to not be thinking about school.

I promised myself I would take today and not do homework, not stress about the internship, not get myself worked up.

I wanted to be relaxed and not rushed.

And I was.

And it was divine.

I rode down Great Highway towards Lincoln Ave and then on a whim, I passed my turn at 46th and headed up to 41st.

I wanted to check out Swell, the bicycle shop on Irving at 41st.

I had an idea about seeing if maybe they had beach cruisers, you know, since I’m going to Burning Man, I wanted to look for a playa bike.

They do not have cruisers, but they had some beautiful bikes.


“Carmen?” I heard my name being said out loud as I ogled a Brooks cut out saddle in Navy Blue leather.

“Hey, it’s Yuri! From Pedal Revolution? Do you remember me, I’ve got long hair now,” he said with a laugh.

No shit.

His hair was super long.

“Oh my God, Yuri!” I said and we hugged.

Yuri sold me my first bicycle in San Francisco.

And saw me go through a lot of bicycle commuting, upgrades, and challenges.

Pedal Revolution is a non-profit bicycle shop in the Mission that teaches and trains underprivileged kids how to work on bicycles.

They also sell bikes and parts.

Swell is a swankier version of that shop.

We shot the shit, caught up, showed him my whip, I talked to him about thinking that I might actually get a new bike, not that I don’t love my one speed, but it’s a one speed and working in Glen Park (yes I know, I scooter there) but that I might want to at some point invest in a road bike again.

We also talked about the Pogliaghi I used to have.

And he showed me a gorgeous Bianchi touring bike that has a three-ring shifter on it, perfect for hill climbing, that was really super reasonable.


I am seriously considering it.


I’m putting it on the back burner, but I have been thinking that I miss my bicycle commute.

And that was a big part of getting out today,  I also wanted and needed the exercise after spending three days of sitting on my ass at school.


It was nice to be recognized and to talk bicycles and get a little geeked out about a possible new ride.

I love my whip, but the knees get older and I am not as up to doing the hills on it that I used to.

The flats, no problem, but hills are hurt and I don’t want my knees to hurt.

I was also thinking that it would be nice to do rides again over the bridge.

I do miss those long rides to Marin when I was training for the Aids LifeCycle ride.

After my chat at Swell I rode home and signed up for a yoga class.

I had some time to kill before the class so I walked over to Trouble and treated myself to a cafe au lait and some neighborhood people watching.

I haven’t done that in a while either.

45 minutes of sitting in the sunshine and watching the world go by.

Then off to yoga.

A great class.

And when I got home I had a message on my phone about joining some friends for dinner in the Haight to celebrate an anniversary.

I said yes, I didn’t even shower, I jumped out of my yoga clothes, into my bib overalls, and hopped on my scooter.

Dinner and hang out with friends at the Citrus Club in the Haight with one of my all time favorite bowls of hot and sour soup that the city has.

Making this a fantastic day off.


So good.

Grateful beyond words for my sweet, full, happy life.


Luckiest girl in the world.


That Was Life Changing

October 7, 2013

My life is now and forever irrevocably changed.

I am a surfer.

Did I get up on the board?


Did I get on my knees, five, maybe six times.

Did I get knocked over by the waves?


A lot.

Did I ingest a little salt water?

A little bit.

Have I stopped smiling?


I told my friend who just dropped me off from a full day–surfing, coffee at Java Beach, hanging out with friends in the Castro, movie a the Metreon (Gravity), and a late dinner at Golden Gate Indian (vegetable Korma and basmati rice)–that he has changed my life.

I mean really.

First, that which I was most afraid of, the cold of the water.

Not cold.


Does a wet suit really work.

I wasn’t cold at all.

I am sure that will change, the water will get colder, it’s probably the warmest that it gets right about now.  The weather the last few days, spectacular, in the 80s, wore my flip-flops all day and my swim suit and a little tank dress.

I felt fucking naked.

It was glorious.

But the wet suit, though I must have looked a travesty getting it on, works really well.

I forgot how I was nervous about the cold immediately.

And not once did I think shark.

Not once did I think much of anything.

I was just totally in the water, in the next wave, in watching the roll of the surf come up on me.

I got knocked around a little bit, we were in the rough, I never managed to paddle out past the breaking point of the surf, but I was alright with that.

And my strength is not as much as I thought.

There is a different kind of fatigue that happens.

Probably the cold water zapping a bit out of you, and plus as my friend pointed out, when you are a beginner you really do struggle quite a bit more than a seasoned surfer, and you work a lot to get not near the results.

The more you do it, the easier it happens and the less you struggle.

Today I struggled.

And that’s ok.

I am learning.

There is so much to learn.

So much.

I learned I need more core strength and that yoga is definitely on the table for me, I can see how useful that core strength is for paddling out, for balancing, for getting up on the board.

The board I never got up on.

The board I had a hard time pulling myself up on, but did, and I did catch a few waves, from first my belly, then my knees.

If you heard shrieks of gaiety, that was from me.

I waddled about in the surf a lot, did not make it far out and had the best time.

I just kept smiling.

I had a few moments when I was scared, the waves are a lot bigger when you are in the surf than you realize.

A lot bigger.

The other thing that surprised me, and this sounds funny, but it is much saltier than I realized it would be.

And you know me, I love that salty taste.

I am so happy to have found this.

I am so grateful to have walked through the fear.

And I can tell it is going to be one hell of an adventure, but one that with a small amount of financial investment, really all I need is a surf board and a good wet suit, I will have years of enjoyment from it.

I can see surfing for a long, long time.

My friend and I talked about surfing until he’s in his 80s.

I am down for that kind of life.

I am so happy to be out by the beach.

I popped my surfing cherry at Ocean Beach, San Francisco.

I need to make that into a bumper sticker, or something.

It is taking a lot of restraint to not go off trolling on craigslist for a used board and wet suit.

I looked a little bit this morning at wet suits for rental, I borrowed my friends today, eventually I will need to get my own, his is a little too long for me, he’s a bit taller, and I will need to get the booties, but really I bet I could have my own gear within a few weeks.

Especially if I buy used.

He’s recommending a long board, and that makes sense, I rode a long board today.

I can’t believe that.

I am forty!

I surfed at 40.

Freaking awesome.

It is an amazing workout.

I can feel how tired my arms are.

I am going to sleep like a baby.

And not a fussy, teething baby, but a zonked out, tired, baby.

I am a little wired writing about it and I want to schedule my next time in right now.

Right now.

My friend recommended once or twice a week.

Yes please.

I mean, I live three blocks from the beach.

I don’t have to have a car to take a board down, I can just walk.

I can store a board in the garage, there’s room, and a wet suit too.

Although I won’t go by myself.

Uh, no fucking way.

I probably will never go by myself, but I will go again.

And the sooner the better.

I have off Thursday and Friday (doing a big overnight on Saturday).

I work tomorrow, Tuesday, and a 1/2 day on Wednesday.

I would like to get into the water again by Thursday or Friday.

I want to commit to doing this weekly.

It will take me some time to get decent.

Probably the rest of my life.

But I don’t care.

I really don’t.

I had so much fun, the riding in, even on my knees, was amazing, so fast, I can’t wait to get on my feet and cut back and forth along the waves.


I like that I am adding something new to my repertoire.

Who knew?

Not I.

That’s for sure.

The gifts of moving out here to the Sunset keep coming.

The gift of the present.

I was so in the moment.

There was no thinking about anything, there was just being in the water, jumping up on the board, ducking through a wave, and paddling up and over a swell.

The sun on my face.

The salt on my lips.

The smile that would not quit.

And time with my darling friend.

Life is amazing.

My life is amazing.

And just a little salty.

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