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Surgery on the Formerly Fat

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Being fat does bad things to your body. We all know what they are--high blood pressure, high blood sugar leading to diabetes and all it's complications, heart problems, joint problems. When you lose the weight the problems disappear....mostly. You are left with lots of excess skin on the outside (if you were as heavy as I was anyhow) and my knees, hips, shoulders and even the joints in my hands are all arthritic and not getting any better.

As it turns out, and this was a surprise to my doctor too, you are also left with lots of excess skin INSIDE. During my hysterectomy and bladder repair, my doctor could not get oriented when she tried to repair my bladder, partly because of all the excess skin INSIDE of me. My husband didn't tell me until almost the end of the day of surgery that the doctor told him after she was done with surgery that she wasn't able to fix my bladder. He said he didn't know how to tell me, and I was crushed. The whole reason I elected to have the surgery was to get the bladder repaired. felt weird to have my uterus poking out down there, and it's nice to have that gone, but I wouldn't have had surgery just because of that. I was tired of always having the urgency to urinate and sometimes not even being able to hold it. THAT's why I had the surgery.

This is probably TMI, but she told my husband that when she went to take out my uterus, it literally fell out. Oh it was still attached, but she had never had that happen before. I wonder now if I had not lost weight if those organs would all still be up there in the right place, held in by my fat. But even knowing all of this, I still am grateful for my weight loss. I feel like my bladder is somewhat better, but things are still pretty sore, so I'm not sure what it will be like after I heal up. She knew I had lost substantial weight, I told her beforehand, but evidently even she didn't anticipate the problems that might cause. She said when my uterus fell out, it caused her to lose her way, she uses other organs to know where things are, and since it fell out prematurely, she was a little lost. Not what you want to hear from your surgeon.

She told me I could go to a specialist surgeon in Omaha a few years down the road if I felt the need, and have the bladder put back in place using mesh. She said my bowel was also prolapsed and needed repair. I guess I will think about that down the road. She seemed to think (I finally talked to her yesterday before I went home from the hospital) I would see some improvement. I hope so.

So this is a downside to losing weight. It is the only downside I have experienced thus far. But it makes it clear to me that even though I am now a normal weight, the effects of being morbidly obese for 30 years will be with me for the rest of my life in some ways.

Now I get to stay at home until July 9. I am looking forward to this period of recovery, because I know every day i will feel better. I have also decided to get back to my walking. I am going to start by walking to the end of my driveway, just as I did in March of 2010, and gradually build up, until I get to the end of the road, my "Rocky" moment. I do not want to go back to work in 6 weeks, having gained a bunch of weight. I am determined to keep it all off, and maybe even lose an extra 5 pounds or so.

This morning I weighed 150.6. I ate practically nothing the day of surgery. I did have 3 bags of intravenous fluid--I often wonder how many calories are in that. They brought in a clear dinner--broth, hot tea, and jello. YUCK. They finally talked me into eating some jello. OMG, it was so sweet. It has been a long time since I ate jello with sugar in it. TOO SWEET. I came home from the hospital before lunch and stopped for a Runza (a Nebraska specialty) on the way home. I had been craving one. I ate half of it. Hubby brought me some grapes in mid afternoon for a snack. Anybody else having trouble finding black grapes right now? Even the red grapes are tiny, and bitter. I will be glad when my sweet black grapes are back in season somewhere, because they are my favorite. For supper, hubby made burger and pulled pork sliders. He had watched a couple cooking shows with me while I was in the hospital, I think he got the slider idea on "The Chew." I don't make them--too much bread. But I enjoyed eating a whole burger slider and half a pulled pork one. I had pulled the pork myself last week off of some leftover ribs, when we had our barbecue on Mother's Day. It was delicious. Later in the evening, he brought me half a cup of ice cream with some strawberries for a snack. It was delicious too, and he knows portion control is important to me.

Hubby is taking good care of me. The nurse was impressed yesterday when I was getting ready to go home and he bent over and took off the booties they give you to wear in the hospital and pulled my socks on for me. That's how he is. The nurse said I can see you will get good care at home. That's why we have been together for 41 years. He is, quite simply, THE BEST.

I made some frozen strawberry jelly Monday night, using up some strawberries that were getting soft. I had been fantasizing about some of that homemade jelly on an English muffin, and that's what I had for breakfast today, along with a banana that I brought home from the hospital's hospitality room. I may have the half of Runza from yesterday for my lunch today. My appetite is still not back. I dread the return of it. It's nice to not be hungry, I will admit. Do you think people who are normal sized their whole life have this lack of appetite all the time? Is that their secret?

I don't want to be a downer for weight loss. The positives still far outweigh the negatives. But I have to be honest always. This was my surgical experience, and there were still complications from my obesity. You can lose the weight, you can keep it off, but it will still be a part of who you are.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I really appreciate these kinds of blogs because I think people all assume as soon as they lose weight it will all be magically better and as you are experiencing it isn't. You are giving someone like me, in my early 30's, even more motivation to keep working at this. I don't know if I would have been too pleased to hear my doctor got lost and pieces of me where falling out during the surgery. So sorry to hear that you couldn't have your bladder fixed. Very disappointing. Have a good recovery.
    2072 days ago
    I am so sorry for these issues you are having, but it's good to know what's happening on the outside is actually happening on the inside, too! Makes sense. The DR is probably right that it will improve with time. Fascinating. But oh so much better than having all that fat marbled inside.
    2072 days ago
    My appetite goes way down after surgery, too, and it's a nice side effect! But it always comes back... ;)

    I'm so sorry about the bladder issue! What a bummer, especially since that was the reason you wanted to get the surgery in the first place. I hope that you still notice it's better, and you won't even have to get another surgery down the road.
    2085 days ago
    Your blog was certainly NOT TMI. It's the sort of info you can only get first hand. I never heard of too much skin on the inside before. It's good to know. i have an inoperable huge hernia and cannot imagine how my organs must be stretched inside me. Get well. Make sure you take the time to heal completely. God bless. emoticon
    2094 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/30/2012 4:06:55 PM
    I'm so glad to know you are doing well after your surgery Maggie. I pray that some day your bladder will be healed as well. You still have so much positive to think on and looking on how far you've come to get to where you are now-you're an amazing woman. No matter what, keep encouraging me. You'll get you strength back soon. emoticon emoticon
    2095 days ago
    ah now I see where you are with the fevers - that must have been scary to have been running a fever after surgery. Thank you so much for sharing that journey with us and you are in my prayers - each day will see a bit more improvement and no matter what, it is good to hear that you still appreciate your weight loss and are sticking with everything. It is really amazing to hear about excess skin inside your body ..
    2095 days ago
  • JULIA1154
    Good luck with your recovery. I hope the weather cooperates with your plans to walk and re-build your strength.

    Take care! emoticon
    2095 days ago
    Glad to hear your hubby is taking good care of you. Sorry the surgeon had some trouble but just imagine how difficult the surgery would have been if you hadn't lost the weight! Keep recovering well and have a great week!
    2095 days ago
    Thank you for sharing this interesting information!
    I hope you are well on the road to recovery.
    I had a similar surgery when I was 52, and probably should be redone.
    Old age is not for wimps!!
    2095 days ago
  • KRISTA48439
    I do hope your bladder is better and more surgery won't be necessary. Best wishes for a speedy recovery so you can really enjoy your time off work!
    2096 days ago
    What a insightful and honest thing to share.

    Thank you so much!

    -M emoticon
    2097 days ago
    I guess I never thought about what the weight does to your insides! I can see where that would be very disappointing. Take care during your recovery...sounds like your husband has been great!! emoticon
    2099 days ago
    Hope you feel really good soon and that the walking helps to keep everything going in the right direction. The IV fluids are laced with lots of electolytes and calories. Even when I have a colonoscopy and have nothing but fluids for nearly 2 days (I have a little different prep than some), have all the laxative prep and only 1 bag of fluid, I usually come home weighing more than when I went. Sorry your surgery didn't go exactly as planned. I need to have a bladder repair done but keep putting it off. Get well soon and use the recovery period well! Hugs, Jeannie
    2099 days ago
    Please don't do too much too soon!

    This has been quite a shock and I feel that little bit of fear about overeating. Because you are always so honest and Sparkers are always here to listen, food will not trap you. You will continue to experience the joy you have shared with us about everything you have been able to do since losing all that weight and you will never go back.

    Next year, maybe you will consider going to a more experienced specialist and getting the rest of your concerns addressed.

    Be well!
    2099 days ago
    What a blow, to hear she didn't repair your bladder!

    I never thought of having excess skin inside. How weird.

    The saline they drip in you for surgery can cause a large temporary weight gain. Unfortunately you have to pee the fluids out - which in your case might be uncomfortable...

    There is at least one good thing about having been heavy. Turns out carrying all that weight around for so many years strengthens our bones. Mine are 25% denser than average because of it.

    Glad hubs is taking good care of you and hope you're up to more "normal" levels of energy and feeling good soon!

    2099 days ago
    You have done a miraculous job of getting healthy. We are all pulling for you! We are certainly here to cheer you on at the tough times! I hope healing is fast. Chris emoticon
    2099 days ago
    Glad to hear that you are home. Get rest and get well soon.

    2099 days ago
    ..seems there is always something! Sorry the surgery didn't fix all it was intended. And I can see how your husband dreaded telling you!

    Put it behind you and get on with healing. Hope it goes smoothly. emoticon

    Wishing you strength and healing!
    2099 days ago
  • BJB1025
    Glad you are home & hope you have a fast recovery. Give it time & heal. Sounds like you have some good help! Take care.
    2099 days ago
    Hope you recover quickly!
    2100 days ago
    Sorry Pam everything didn't go as planned. But part of your medical issues were removed. You can take care of that others problem, later and the doctor will have a clearer understanding whats been happening in your life with the tremendous weight loss.
    Sometimes when I lift up that enormous bundle of loose skin around my abdomen I think one day it will be gone. In the process they will remove all the excess from inside too. I hope at that time to have my bladder lifted up for my uterus is pushing against it and causes discomfort.
    About the black grapes, asked my grocer why we didn't have any, he said the haven't been able to get any. But the red ones here are sometimes very dark almost black, so I look through all of them and get the darkest. I can't go a day without my grapes. I have a real addiction for them.
    Your hubby sounds like a real sweetie. Guess there is a reason you have 41 years together.
    My good friend, will be taking care of me after my hand surgery at his house. . He came along at a time in my life when I thought my days with a man in my life were over. You never know what's in store , do you?
    Take care. I sent you a personal chef, "Goodie". Didn't know whether hubby was any good in the kitchen. Smile??
    Take care, enjoy your recovery time.
    Oh the weight gain is all the fluids you got while in the hopsital. Saline solution.
    It will go and you will be back to pre surgery weight in about a week. When I had knee surgery I had 17 lbs of water weight .Freaked me out at first.
    Stay strong,
    Tisha emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2100 days ago
    Glad you are home safely. Take care of yourself in you recovery time. Sounds like your DH is a gem!
    2100 days ago
    It wasn't is an education for all of us and something good to know incase we find ourselves in your situation. Thanks for sharing. It is also good for you to know what might need addressed later and if you do, maybe they can do them at the same time! But, just take it one day at a time and allow yourself to relax and recover and enjoy your time off with your husband. So glad this is behind you...take care!
    P.S. The show The Chew is great...tune in during your recovery!
    2100 days ago
    I know you are disappointed the surgery didn't go as planned, but sometimes complications do occur. Hopefully you will see some improvement. You will have to weigh the pros and cons in a few years about further surgery. I know it won't be an easy decision.

    You have a good plan for your walking. Just make sure to follow doctor's orders. No lifting. Let your grandchildren come sit next to you. No lifting them into your lap. Enjoy the time off. It's a great time of year to be able to be home.

    I hope your recovery goes well.
    2100 days ago
  • CANNIE50
    Oh, Pam, I am so sorry to hear about the complications - how disappointing. One thought I had was that, if and when you decide to do bladder/bowel repair, they will have more of a "road map" before the surgery and they will be more prepared. You have also educated this surgeon so she will be more prepared before she operates on someone, who, like you has lost a great deal of weight. I am sorry you had to be the teacher, though. I really hope the recovery goes smoothly and that you notice significant improvement with that pesky uterus out of your way. Good plan on the walking, by the way. Just remember - no walking behind a vacuum cleaner, and no lifting no matter how cute the kid! I know they have told you this, I just didn't listen to that advice when I had a hysterectomy and I paid for my stubbornness with a longer, more painful recovery than was necessary. Anyway, I am glad to hear you are through the surgery and the immediate post-surgery misery, and into your recovery period. What a wonderful husband - that is true love in action. emoticon
    2100 days ago
    I never thought about the "excess innards" left after losing weight - I know I have some baggy skin on the outside. Your husband sounds super!
    2100 days ago
    Glad things went well although it didn't go as planned. But there's a reason for everything so heal quickly and enjoy your recovery time. Congrats on a successful surgery!
    2100 days ago
    What an interesting turn of events! I'm glad you're home and healing. Happy walking, girlfriend!
    2100 days ago
    Sorry about your surgery disappointment, but hopefully it will turn out better than you think. I have to look up what a Runza is!
    2100 days ago
    Wishing you a speedy recovery. How luck you and your husband are to have each other. Kudos also to your surgeon. Honesty is always best. If she attempted something that she knew she may not be able to handle you could have lost your bladder.
    2100 days ago
  • LM2760

    so happy you are home and sending prayers your way. i would have never thought about inside problems. they tell you if you lose weight problems will heal.

    2100 days ago
    Glad you are home and sorry that the surgery was not all you wanted it to be. But VERY glad you got through it ok. Enjoy being home and speedy recovery!!!
    2100 days ago
    Please take it easy. I sorry to hear that they were not able to repair the bladder as you hope. But I believe that God has everything in his control. God bless you, complete healing for your body. Is my prayer for you emoticon
    2100 days ago
    Thank you so much for sharing! I know a lot of us think that when the weight is gone everything will be perfect so it's good to hear the reality. Hope you heal quickly. Have a great week! emoticon
    2100 days ago
    Glad you are home, enjoy being weighted on there's not too many guys that will do it. I have a great one too. Hope your recovery goes smoothly. Sorry they couldn't do it all. Have A Great Week!

    2100 days ago
  • DOODIE59
    Yes, you have a sweetie of a husband -- rejoice!:)

    I suspect that your prolapsed uterus was more likely to be caused by your excess weight than by the loss of it. You are still far, far better off at this weight. You will feel better, even without the bladder repair -- and your physician is right: There will be other opportunities for that repair. Give yourself time to heal before you tackle the next challenge. You are in a much better place these days ... know that, and be satisfied with the huge improvements you have accomplished. Remember ... your goal way back when was to dance at your granddaughter's wedding? That's gonna happen:)

    Take care, and heal well--
    2100 days ago
    So glad you're home and recovering! Your sweetie gets an "Atta Boy!" for taking such good care of you. Wow, who knew your surgery would be like that? I hope you feel like it was worth it as you continue to heal from it. We just don't think about our insides when it comes to taking care of our exteriors, do we? I think your blog is very effective in reminding us that we are truly wonderfully complex beings. Be gentle with yourself.
    2100 days ago
    That is too bad that your surgery didn't go as planned. It is surprising that your surgeon was "turned around" so easily and didn't have a plan "B". Your weight loss has just made these issues come to light sooner. If you hadn't lost the weight it doesn't mean the problem wouldn't be there it would probably just be a bigger issue when it was discovered.

    Enjoy your healing time.
    2100 days ago
  • KERRYG155
    Sorry that surgery didn't go better than it did. I'm with you on that runza although I switched to the kids meal the last time I was there as 1/2 is enough for me. Heal quickly!!
    2100 days ago
    Hello, thanks for sharing your story. I'm glad you are home and recovering, even if things didn't go as expected. I never knew that excess weight followed by extreme weight loss could have other complications, like excess skin on the inside. Wow, it really is amazing. I hope you start feeling much much better very soon. It sounds like you have a wonderful nurse/hubby looking after you. Big hugs - Ruth. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2100 days ago
    So glad you are home and on the mend. That hubby of yours sure is a keeper! Your story is very poignant and you should be a spokesperson on the future risks with children who are obese. You are right - losing weight is still better than the alternative. Relax on this long weekend and let that DH pamper you.
    2100 days ago
    I'm sorry they weren't able to fix the bladder as you hoped. Perhaps removing and mending what they were able to do will help. I hope so! Glad you are home and doing well! Stay positive!
    2100 days ago
    What's a runza? Glad u r home, but sorry they could not do the bladder. Vista emoticon
    2100 days ago
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