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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Surgery, the next step…

Hey there lovely readers…It has been a while between drinks or blog posts, my apologies.  I caught up with a dear friend tonight; dinner, dessert and a DVD – perfect! He did chastise me a little for not having updated the blog in a while – and he was right… I then came home and checked Facebook to have another friend PM me to ask if everything was OK and that they hadn’t seen a blog in a while – Universe I hear you… So I will just get to it.

So readers the update is I am in the throws of preparing for some more plastic surgery. Round two 9 months after the first round and I am feeling only a little nervous this time. This surgery is a small revision on the tummy tuck, and the bigger role of having the excess skin removed from my thighs. This is all set to go down on the 19th of November – 3 weeks and 3 days away…

Honestly this time I am far less anxious about the surgery. I know what to expect afterwards, I feel ready to face it – and have organised the 8 weeks off work that it will take to recover. It seems like a long time, but it is major surgery and will take some time to be able to walk far enough given my job requires me to be fit and active (not to mention not doped out on pain killers)

So in the next 3 weeks I will be organising my life to make sure my time in hospital and when I am home recovering is as stress free as possible. I am still struggling with shift work, being tired and run down… I aim to take every day off between now and then to organise, rest and sleep… I do not want to get infections after surgery because I am run down (like after the tonsil surgery 2 months ago)

I feel that this is the next step in reclaiming my body. I hope that having the thigh reduction will help with the running and the  pain and discomfort that the excess skin creates at times. I am honestly very happy with how I am looking now. I am at a stable healthy weight, my doctor is very happy with that aspect.. However these processes and surgeries are also about helping heal the psychological impact that obesity has had on my life, it is not just about the aesthetic.

For all of you still losing weight, dreaming of the day you get to goal, feel alive and possible plan your own plastic surgery, know it can happen – There were many times I never thought I would get this far. I remember plenty of times that I felt at the bottom of the barrel ready to end it all. The lap band was the tool that allowed me to have the space and time to address the food addiction, the cycle of obesity… But it also meant hard work, exercise and not cheating the system. It happened for me slowly, sustainably, there were many plateau’s… But it did happen, my life is no longer one lived out in a fat coma – but one that is vibrant and I am content and very happy… I continue to learn more about myself everyday. Don’t give up – reach out to supports – and if you feel that you have no one else that you can reach out to – please leave me a message or email me at lin.k@me.com – you are not alone.

I would like to thank all my friends and family for your continued support this year. I have probably been a pain in the arse and a complaining git for some of it… You guys are my rocks…

I will keep you all updated, till next time – Love Lin xox

P.S; So – For those of you who have asked if I need anything, these is something you can do to help  – here is what I need – good book suggestions…The kindle needs some more books downloaded on it, basically I need some more reading material for the long nights in hospital. Feel free to leave your suggestions here on the blog, or on my FB page or emailed as per the address above……  Thanks 🙂

The Best Medicine (is half an hour)

23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health? – YouTube

Seriously, Watch the link above, it is a great watch; I love an easy to follow, informative animated presentation – and I am not going to write about the ins and outs of the video – Just watch it, it is better than any summary I can write. Surprisingly  it does touch on a post  I wrote a while ago in relation to TV and health…But If you don’t watch it the premise is that one half hour a day is the best medicine for us, it’s free (ie walking) and will save us our health and hip pocket!

I just got the big thumbs up from my surgeon this week to go ahead with exercise. I had reconstructive plastic surgery of a tummy tuck and arm lift 6 weeks ago. He let me know I can get back into everything: slowly building up my running and weights… I did my first 2.5km run back after 6 weeks off this week – I Loved it, I went without my Garmin running watch which calculates distance, pace, heart rate etc. I went just for the love of running and not looking at numbers allowed me to relax and let my body go at its natural pace whilst I continue to recover and build up.

Exercise for me is not just about losing more weight or weight control. For me exercise just makes me feel really bloody good! I am addicted and get a bit of a high off it 🙂

Exercise has improved my quality of life and improved my overall fitness. It gave me my life back, and I would much prefer to live a 21 -23.5 hour day (giving the balance to exercise) than ask for more hours in a day – Honestly there ARE enough hours in a day; and I am willing to bet that a large majority of people who would ask for more hours would end up giving those hours over to their TV habit anyway. 😦

We cannot change the clock to give us more time (unless you have the DeLorean with a flux capacitor in your garage), but we can change our priorities, our lives, families and communities by becoming healthier. Every minute counts, and it is up to us what we do with them.

Till next time

Lin xox

“Not Running”

going a little crazee!

I think I am going a little stir crazy.. Yesterday I woke, tired exhausted and grumpy. I knew that after being out for dinner two nights in a row to see my friends, (one who just flew in from the UK) I was due for a day home. I started off quite enjoying the day, I got up, dressed, and then onto the net for a look at some of my favorite sites,Esty and Pinterest (I may be addicted). I chatted to a friend on the phone…And then, I got restless…

It was a lovely day outside, some friends had posted on FB about their training for an upcoming event (tough mudder), I was super jealous and my brain just wanted to chuck on my running gear and head out the door; my body on the other hand was still on strike.

I was driving my housemate (Lynn) mad, by saying I would rest, and proceed then roam around the apartment like a nutter; cleaning out under the laundry sink, cleaning out my bedside table, throwing away junk, and counting up my spare change collection ($70 was a nice little bonus). I would return to sit on my bed and write between these little outbursts, but I was really just wanting to burn off all this mental energy.  Exercise is a great way for me to unwind and do this, somehow on a long run I can turn the music on, let my legs pump away and allow the thoughts of the day wash past me, running exhausts me physically and aligns my thought patterns, it has become the feel good drug for me, it replaced food… I do not like the feeling of not running,  not cycling or not working out at Step into Life classes. It doesn’t feel right…

Before surgery I thought that I would struggle with this; the being stuck at home, not moving, not being as active as I want to be… Honestly it scares me, not exercising and or being active feels too much like my old life. This coupled with the fluid retention, swelling and exhaustion; well it is not a great combo…

But then this morning (after another fitful night sleep) I awoke with a little more energy, each day is one day closer to a full healthy recovery and running, that is what I need to focus on; I also felt like I could perhaps start to go for short walks, I checked with my surgeon House this afternoon after a minor procedure to remove some more fluid, he said YES to walking now. So it is all systems go from tomorrow; Slowly of course 🙂

Till next time, Lin xox

Hospital – Going Home and “Scooting” Around!

Speed Racer - Not!

So in the end I was released from Hospital on Sunday 26th, despite me being worried I would not be.  The last drain didn’t come out but I was allowed to go home with it in as long as I monitored the drainage myself each morning and report it to House’s office; then go back on Wednesday for a check up.

I was thrilled, and if could, I would have jumped for joy! – As soon as I got out of Hospital I wanted to go shopping, I did actually need some new clothes (essential items 😉 ) and food for the house. So my friend Janelle (who picked me up) took me to the local Shopping Centre… Just before we got there I was exhausted. I had not factored in that getting up, showered, dressed, packed, down to pharmacy to pick up the drugs and going in the car would take it’s toll – but it did. Add to this that I am only walking slowly at the moment, and all of a sudden that shopping centre, and walking in it – felt like a mountain summit.

This trip took on a whole new dimension. The fatigue hit me like a tonne of bricks in the car… I didn’t know if I could do it. As we were driving there we were talking about a parking game plan; i.e. which car park door was closest, then Janelle suggested jokingly (i think) to go to the shopping mobility desk and borrow a wheelchair. Well I was not keen, but it made sense – I couldn’t walk that far, my blood levels were still down and the last thing I wanted was to be released from hospital only to faint on the first day. So I agreed.

Janelle dropped me at the closest door, parked the car and went to the shop mobility desk… Only they didn’t have any wheelchairs let – only a motorized scooter. She actually had to drive the thing back to me, so that was a bonus!  So, there I was, sitting on a motorized scooter driving around the shopping centre… And it was a humbling experience. Many people do not look were they walk. (I am sure I’ve been guilty of this in the past) Kids (being kids) will ask what is wrong with her?, You have to use the lift every time to change floors at the centre (which is crowded with trolleys, prams and everyone else who can’t use the escalators) and occasionally you get a dirty look or mean glance from someone with the message of “Why are you here in a supermarket in that big thing”.

So even though I was a bit embarrassed by the situation to start with, It definitely was a growth experience for me and a humbling one at that; I think that everyone should have to experience it – the whole walk a mile in someone else’s shoe thing!

One of the best things about coming home was the peace and quiet, not being bothered for meals three times a day, plus a morning and afternoon tea on top of that; or people coming in to see if you want the paper, to clean your room (twice a day), Nurses doing observations, Doctors checking you… It is almost impossible to rest! All necessary in the life of a hospital but tiring.

The down side of coming home is being alone and having to make my own cups of tea and food! Ha – can’t win either way… But on a more serious note, (and I wrote about this in the other day),  It is the fatigue and only being able to be up for a few hours before I have the overwhelming desire for a nap that is the killer. So I nap a couple of times a day – So be it at the moment. I have a long way to go and am just coming to terms with that.

Wednesday I headed back to Houses rooms, and he took out my last drain! I was so happy to be drain free, although for the first few hours I kept thinking I was still attached to something and went to pick it up (How quickly we adapt eh!)

He also put a big drainage needle attached to a suction machine into my belly and drained off old fluid and blood that had begun to collect there, around 700ml – Gross; but better out than in. I thought seeing the needle (think the size and length of a metal skewer) that it would hurt going in, and being poked around; but nothing, no pain only a bit of feeling it move around (but I did schedule my pain meds and take them half and hour before the check up)

SO the next phase is all about resting for another week or so, taking my time doing stuff and not worrying too much about the scales – House told me they would go up, they have – I am full of fluid, swollen and can’t really move around a lot.

Off to see my Lap Band Surgeon tomorrow to start to put back in the fill that was taken out prior to surgery. I am looking forward to being back on track and feeling “full” after eating a normal small portion that I am used to now.

Well writing this has bombed me out – Nap time!

Till next time, Lin xox

Surgery – Complications & Recovery; Part 2

I DO NOT have the weight of the world on my shoulders and need to remember that!

(Note: This blog was written about my recent tummy tuck and arm lift surgery and the recovery process)

Monday 20th Feb – The pain is not too bad today  – I finally got out of my room and walked with one of the funnier nurses, i’ll call her Ye. She is an absolute cracker (this means she is extremely funny in Aussie slang for my American friends) and makes me laugh…  We walk up and down the ward a few times, and that is it – back to bed, wiped out again..but at least my hemoglobin levels are rising…  Mum came in after work and we went down to the cafe for a latte… It is the simple pleasures.

Tuesday 21st Feb – Had one drain tube removed today! One down 4 to go! I also went outside for the first time since admission and had coffee in the court yard! – Lovely day and I feel the last of summer slipping away as i am still stuck in here. Today was supposed to be the day I would get out… But given the complication of blood loss and still having tube in I will be here for a bit longer, House is not even talking release dates yet 😦

Wednesday 22nd Feb – Two more drains out today – Still get light headed easily and resting a lot. Went for a couple of small walks off the ward today. My Dad came in on his way past which was a good distraction. Not a lot to report, my pain levels increased a little tonight managing this has been a little hard, but pain means your healing right?

Thursday 23rd Feb – Well I awoke today in pain, big pain and I was also upset on top of that, I suppose being my 10th day in here was getting to me a little. For some reason I am feeling the pain in my arms and abdomen more, it is a burning aching feeling.. I struggled with pain management all day.

Thursday night turned into a bit of a farce.. I asked my nurse at 7:30pm for pain relief she never came back with it. I am not one to keep buzzing and annoy them and thought that she must be caught with another patient. But at 7:50pm the pain became worse, a lot worse. So I buzz again and 5 minutes later she comes in – sees the tears rolling down my face because of the pain ( I don’t like to cry by the way) and exclaims “Oh I forgot about your pain meds” scurries off and then comes back in (sheepishly) and gives them to me, and seeing that I am clearly upset, quickly leaves.

The problem is that the pain was full force now, and took ages to get back under control… The key with pain management after major surgery is to keep it at bay and take the meds on time otherwise if can become excruciating… A point lost on this nurse today.

I do want to add that although I have been harsh here, I have massive respect for Nurses. Two of my best friends are ICU nurses, my house mate is also a nurse, plus the nursing staff here have been amazing, most going above and beyond the call. For me the issue was the nurses attitude to me today, which was short and abrupt all day and then she snuck away after giving me my medication, not a great look really – but you get poor performers in every industry!

Friday 24th Feb – Day 11 Going a bit stir crazy, but got another tube out – Only one to go…House said that I can hopefully have the last one out tomorrow and be released! YAY – but it depends on how much fluid collects… I am literally willing it to stop… Power of positive thought can’t hurt, can it! The pain is a little better today. Have been very grateful for all my visitors and friends / family calling. On a bad note though I found out that my Grandpa fell over, tripping on a step and has fractured his pelvis! -He is currently in hospital too! – My parents have really hit the jackpot with both of us in!

Saturday 25th Feb – Day 12 I didn’t sleep well last night – I awoke to House and a Nurse coming into my room, House was on his early morning rounds, and, at 8:10am I got the news that I wasn’t going home. Still draining too much and the tube can’t come out; House explained that while sometimes they let people go home with one or two drains still in, he won’t release me today given the extreme heat and my continued low hemoglobin levels, he said he wants re-assess the drain tomorrow and hopefully I can go home then.

It takes all my energy not to cry when they are in the room. I fully understand his reasoning and know that it is made in my best interests… But I just want to go home, sleep in my own  bed, sit on my couch…

I call my friend Janelle who was going to pick me up and take home. She listens to me cry and assures me that I can continue to hold out. She comes to visit later together with her partner – they make me laugh and cheer me up. I have continued to receive many supportive texts and calls from friends and family, thanks guys – these are so very welcome.

One of the things that has surprised me is that I tire so easily, I still have to rest regularly after 12 days. I really didn’t think of that prior to surgery, I thought that I would be sore and tender, but the fatigue really does hit me hard a few times each day. I just spoke to one of my nurses who just dropped in to say hello.  She asked what I was doing and I explained about my blog and that I was writing about the fatigue.. She explained that it has hit me harder because of the lower hemoglobin levels and that my body may continue like this for a few more weeks. This means that I will need to reassess my plans for when I return home, building in short walks and naps over the course of the day.                                     But that’s OK because at least I will be home.

So, being excited about going home tomorrow may have been premature. It is 10:00pm now, and I was just about to post this when I decided to check the drainage bottle, it is already at 100ml, so I think that it is now unlikely that it will come out tomorrow, my nurse agreed… I am worn out, sad, I can’t get my hopes up anymore 😦 that being said I should be more grateful for the good care I get here!

Will keep you updated in the next installment.

Till then, Lin xox

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