Being Tough (and not)

Hey readers, I am sitting here in a bed, not my bed – although it has been for the past 13 nights… but a bed none the less.  As I have previously blogged I came into hospital for a thigh lift and revision on my abdominoplasty, that was almost 2 weeks ago. This experience has been quite different to my first plastic surgery. I envisioned that it would be similar to the first surgery, after all legs are quite similar to arms, well that was what I thought. My surgeon House, (that is what I call him as it is part of his name) did tell me that this procedure is more complicated than doing my arms, but in my mind I still compared the two… 

I had a minor complication after this surgery, that’s why I am still here,  the suture line on my inner  right thigh came undone about 5 days after the initial surgery. I was still in hospital and being cared for extremely well (the nursing staff here are 5 kinds of fabulous), so I was sent back into surgery to have the leg washed out and re-sutured with a drainage tube. 

I have had a few rough days since then, honestly I can tough out a lot of stuff – there was the nausea and not being able to keep anything down from the antibiotics, the increased pain levels from having the already traumatised leg worked on again etc… but today I had a mini emotional crash day. Still sore and bruised (my inner thighs look like a thug took a baseball bat to them) I had the “What the hell did I decide to do to myself” moment. I had a little cry and wanted to take it all back. Deep down I know I have made the right decision, and that this is just that moment where I am feeling emotionally vulnerable, and that’s ok, it’s impossible to be tough all the time. 

I don’t like being or feeling vulnerable, it make me anxious to not have a sense of control. I have very limited control over how my body heals, and despite trying my best to manage the pain it can wear you down after awhile. What I realised however is that part of the process is in fact experiencing the full journey, embracing the fact that I am not in control, that I am not as tough as I try to be. That it’s OK to cry, experience pain – it is the human experience. It is essential to not only understand my own journey but to relate others stories as well. 

Thanks for reading, till next time – Lin xox

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Carnie Wilson & Lap Band Surgery – Options

Carnie, front & centre in Wilson Phillips.

“If you Hold on for one more day, things will go your way”…I am not sure if you remember Wilson Phillips, the 3 daughters of two of the Beach Boys who had the hit “Hold On”… Well I remember them, mostly because I identified with Carnie who was overweight.  Carnie, has an amazing voice, unfortunately received more notoriety for her size rather than her ability to belt out a tune. I remember when she under went gastric by-pass surgery in 1999 and the press that she received.

Carnie did great with the by-pass surgery, and I remember thinking after she lost her weight that surgery might be an option for me… However I just could not get my head around this type of surgery,where the stomach is basically bypassed and the food you eat doesn’t get absorbed properly. You do eat smaller portions, but the permanent change by chopping up and rearranging the digestive system scared the crap out of me…

I knew that Carnie put on some weight after the birth of her children, and now I read that she has recently had lap band surgery in January (see link below). After having a lap band put in 4 years ago (and losing over 175 pounds in the process) I know the change it has made for me, and, I am glad that it is helping Carnie get her weight down again, but this leads me to a sticking point I have with weight loss surgery…

Why is the least invasive option not explored first? I know for some people’s life style Lap Band won’t work, they will try to cheat the band… But why is there such a propensity especially in the USA to go down the path of organ altering permanent surgery first? Lap Band does take a little longer to get the weight off, it is not easy, but it can be reversed and removed and with no damage to the stomach or digestive system (barring complications). The other reason lap band should be a well-considered 1st option is that it is adjustable and can be tightened and loosened depending on life circumstances and need to lose weight or maintain. Therefore if you get pregnant and need calories, it can be adjusted, If you hit goal, it can be adjusted… If you are not feeling restricted it can be tightened a little…

I feel for Carnie, honestly one of my biggest fears (apart from birds) is putting weight back on…  But I am scared when the weight loss industry and surgeons take the most drastic surgery option as a first step, and sell this options to desperate people as the quickest and easiest way forward. Lap Banding has its issues too, but cutting the stomach out, bypassing it and taking food straight to the intestines should surely not the very first surgical option given to patients today.  I do understand that Lap Band has come a long way since 1999, and that maybe for Carnie it was rightly not a first option… But why do the stats in the States still show that gastric bypass is still the top choice?

Are we providing people with all the options first… The truth is no. It seems that it is up to the obese “consumer” to do all the research and surgeons offer their “service”, like picking a product off a shelf. I have an issue with this. I did my research, that is the type of woman I am, but desperate people are often “sold” a solution rather than their HEALTH treated with CARE…

I am lucky, I got a great Surgeon who did go over all the options with me, listened to me, I was, and, still am cared for by him, but not everyone is as lucky… I would like to see the weight loss industry, whether diet, exercise or surgery overhauled. I would like the industry to stop selling to people, and start caring for people, But honestly, I don’t expect to see it in my lifetime – there are too many desperate people and too much money at stake.

Till next time, Lin

Carnie Wilson Undergoes Lap-Band Surgery – E! Online.

Surgery – Complications & Recovery; Part 1

Still smiling - well trying to!

This post is written more as an overview diary style; to document the recovery time after tummy tuck and arm lift surgery. I have had a few people email me who are considering surgery asking questions about how I have faired – This is just my experience and despite the complications and pain I would do it all again 🙂

Wednesday 15th February According to House (my surgeon) everything with my surgery went smoothly yesterday, “text book” was how he described it when he called into my hospital room today. He did say that I lost a fair amount of blood in surgery and that I was currently still draining quite a bit of blood and fluid… He ordered a blood test and it came back with info that I had a low hemoglobin level (75). It was explained to me by the hospital physician (who also looks after the care of patients post surgery) that I was low on red blood cells, which will make me lethargic as these carry oxygen around your body. They decided to put me down to have an iron transfusion on Thursday to assist with rebuilding the red blood levels.

Thursday 16th Feb I had the iron transfusion today, but still felt extremely tired and wiped out. I was still barely able to sit on the side of the bed whilst they changed it for me, and I was sleeping all the time. Honestly the pain isn’t quite as bad as I imagined it to be, the pain killers work well, the fatigue on the other hand is a killer, not used to feeling like this anymore! The highlight of the day was a visit from my mum and my friends Janelle and Joe!

Friday 17th Feb. Still not much better, pretty wiped out all day, had a quite day and two of my girlfriends came to see me… Had more blood tests and the level had dropped again despite the iron transfusion to around 68. Both House and the Physician stated that it would take a few days for the iron in my system to start to rebuild the red cells and that the level would come up over time. Exhausted I feel asleep very early tonight…

Saturday the 18th Feb – My Birthday (one I won’t forget in a hurry!)

Still draining a lot of fluid and blood from my abdomen, I awoke feeling wiped out, tired and like the sleep I had really did very little for me. After breakfast I went to the bathroom, just as I was about to go back to my bed I started to feel very unwell, very quickly.               I called my nurse who was just outside the door, I remember babbling to my nurse something about feeling like I was going to be sick, then I got dizzy and everything went black….

I had passed out and awoke disoriented with nurses yelling “Lin wake up” over and over. There were so many nurses, I managed to get wheeled back to bed and had a team of Doctor and Nurses in the room – checking everything. Apparently this is called a MET (Medical Emergency Team) call and is broadcast across the hospital so Dr’s and nurses can attend. So they decided that I passed out due to low blood levels and something called the Vagus nerve, which apparently when it is stimulated can make blood pressure drop and you pass out, this combined with the low hemoglobin sent by body into shut down. The doctors said I was as white as the sheets on my bed.. Just what every girl wants to hear! So I was ordered to stay in bed and was to receive a Birthday present from my doctors – Two units of blood to be transfused!

My Mum, Nan and Pa came in the afternoon and brought me some afternoon tea, the blood was flowing and I was feeling a bit better but still unable to get out of bed. Mum cheered me up with a homemade passionfruit iced sponge cake for my birthday – the nurses were so happy to have some supper, plus another friend visited after dinner and brought in a great sense of humour and  a super moist carrot cake, laughter is the best medicine right? (Yes I am spoilt!)

Sunday 19th Feb – Wipeout; Today was pretty much a good example of being wiped out in bed and exhausted – Yesterday’s shenanigans took it out of me a little, that plus I have been stuck in this room since Tuesday night… I miss being active and outdoors, but have no energy to care. The day pretty much consists of taking pain meds, sleeping and trying to recover.

To be continued, stay tuned –

Till next time, Lin xox