5 Weeks after surgery
Monday, January 11, 2010
I would say that my recovery from the abdominoplasty has been going perfectly. The skin was cut off, the scar is in an anatomically correct place, not too high or low. My belly button is a bit off to the left, and there are dog ears on both sides that might need revisions. The incision is closed up except for a 1/2 cm spot where there was a stitch sticking out for a while and I didn't know I could pull it. I am still very swollen; my waist is 5 inches bigger than it was before surgery. This makes clothing a challenge, as not only is it large, but tender and wrapped up in a surgical binder. Fortunately, I have a supply of big clothing from my weight loss! It sucks to be wearing a size 16-18 when I was previously wearing 12-14s, but I know the swelling will go down someday. (Someday couldn't come fast enough! They say that now's about the time when it starts to go down for most people, but some people have swelling even a year after the surgery.)
The first week was the worst, in relation to pain. Really wasn't able to do much; getting up and going to the bathroom was challenging. Had drains sticking out in the groin area which were tender and kinda pinchy, and moving them at all wasn't good. Percocet controls surgical pain really well, took that until day 5, when I bravely switched to ibuprofin and acetominophen. The pain isn't constant, only when you are moving... so sitting guaranteed respite for me, which was enough to not need the heavy pain meds. As to the quality of the pain, sometimes it was burning, sometimes it was tearing, sometimes it was itching, at the drain sites, it felt like something was being pinched if you pulled at it. For the record, the surgeon took off 5 pounds of skin and did a bit of lipo, but not much because he couldn't find much fat on my flanks to suck. Lipo hurts, by the way; the lipo areas were the most tender by far, for weeks after!
Week 2 started with drains coming out, a marvelous thing which was cause for much celebration. On day 10ish I took a very long drive almost to Canada and it was OK. I was able to cook somewhat, but not really in the mood for serious academic pursuits of the sort that I was hoping to be doing. By the end of week 2 I could walk 3 miles, but was very tired at the end of it.
Week 3 I felt much like myself but was still not quite able to stand up straight. Really was hoping to do some work, but all I felt like doing was baking. So I baked. It was good. Then I went to NYC for the holidays, 4 hour train ride was just fine.
Week 4 was spent mostly in NYC. I tried the silicon sheeting on my scar, and found that a few places weren't quite closed. I wore the sheeting during the day because its non-slip support, when combined with the surgical binder, allowed me to go out and do a bit of sightseeing. Got tired pretty easily. After 3 days of that, I caught a cold, and had to slow down. Also stopped using the sheeting because the open parts looked more open.
Week 5 was when I went back to work. I've been feeling kinda out of it in relation to my normal activities... hanging around at home and making food is OK, but when it comes to precise science, I found myself making more mistakes than usual. The surgeon picked out a stitch that was stopping the open part from closing, and by the end of week 5 it is almost closed. (From 1 cm to 0.5cm). I haven't been working quite full time yet, and I've gotten very little done compared to what I usually can do, but it's a start! I started going to the gym, and walking 3 miles total to/back from work. I also started eating a bit less, and a bit more deliberately. It was hard to control eating at first because I wanted to make sure my body wasn't lacking in nutrition.
And here I am starting week 6.