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Thursday, February 3, 2011

BLOODY & BATTERED: What It's Really Like To Get A Full Body Lift

Hi there. 
Half of Gabby has moved to a new kickass website! 

Read this article, in it’s updated version, HERE. 
 The page that you are on right now (www.halfofgabby.blogspot.com) is no longer posting new articles and information. Half of Gabby has moved to www.halfofgabby.com and will continue to post new material regularly! In addition, all older articles have been updated on the new site!


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"We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey", Kenji Miyazawa

     When I started this blog, I knew I wanted it to mostly revolve around nutrition, fitness, and motivation but I also want to share my experiences about my body lift procedures. 

Many people have asked me how I got through something so painful. I really don't have an answer other than I just did, I mean...I had to, what's the alternative..to not get through it? Idk. I just know my mind was set before the first pitch was thrown. I didn't think about the pain beforehand, instead I envisioned the results. And once it was done, I just tried to not let the pain win. I forged through it and took one day at a time. I mean, what else was I gonna do? I signed up for the shit, I wasn't gonna whine about it.

I definitely don't think a body lift surgery is for everybody. But for me I knew before I even lost one pound that if I reached my goal, I would have the procedure done. Did I need it to be happy with myself? No. I was so proud of myself already and coming out of my weight loss journey, I absolutely loved who I was. But this is something that I wanted to do, that I set out to do from the beginning, and I wanted to see it through.

You can read more about why I made the decision to have this surgery in my article, "Why Did I Have a Body Lift Surgery?"

A body lift surgery is not for the faint of heart or anyone who is afraid of pain. For me, physical pain that has an end date does not scare me. I knew if I could just get past the first 4 weeks, I'd be golden. I can honestly say if I could go back and make the decision again, I would without a second's worth of hesitation have this surgery again. It was worth every minute of pain. But again, it's not for everyone. 

I'm about to share with you my real-life email that I shared with my closest family and friends nearly a week after my surgery. I wanted to include this sort of 'scary' real talk because I want to be honest with people. If you are contemplating a surgery like this, it's important that you understand what the first days and weeks are really like. I'm not a sugar-coater. I'll always tell you like it is... even if you don't want to hear it. Life is too short for smoke screens and bullshit. Give it to me straight or don't at all. That's how I operate. 

It is impossible to describe the pain you endure after multiple surgeries over your entire body. Separately, I would assume they would still be challenging, but to have them all done at once, uh...well...it is, in all honestly, hard to find the words.

Throughout my recovery, I sent out email updates to my closest loved ones. I thought by sharing one of these actual updates with you on my blog, it might give you a glimpse at how it feels to undergo a body lift surgery. This is NOT to scare you! It's only to prepare you should you ever make the same decision to have a body lift surgery like I did.


THIS WAS WRITTEN 5 DAYS POST-OP, ONLY MY SECOND DAY HOME FROM THE HOSPITAL. THE SHOWER INCIDENT I DESCRIBE IN THE EMAIL HAPPENED ON MY 4TH DAY POST-OP.
   
     *Some of the thoughts may be fragmented and there are some F-Bombs throughout. Now don't get me wrong, I'm actually quite fond of F-Bombs but I try to keep it somewhat censored on my blog. But to give you an idea what kind of state I was in, I'm leaving the email intact, as it was sent out originally.

THIS IS THE ACTUAL EMAIL SENT OUT,  5 DAYS POST-OP TO FAMILY & FRIENDS:
   
     Yesterday started bad, for I only had 3 hours of choppy sleep, which certainly doesn't help pain levels, outlook, or tolerability for just about anything.  Lots of pain yesterday, doing even the simplest things that I thought I mastered already (like lifting a glass to my mouth), so frustration was an early theme that crept up even before breakfast was over! Initially right out of surgery and up until yesterday 90% of my pain emanated from my abdomen; however, yesterday, all over body pain reared it's ugly head, and it is an adjustment to say the least. My abdomen pain has gone down a little which is allowing me now to feel all of the other trauma that was done to my bod. When you have surgeries on your arms, belly, boobs, legs, and hips, you get some unbearable shit.


     Please don't take this as a pity party email, 'oh poor Gabby, she wants sympathy, she is in so much pain.' I knew what I signed up for, expected nothing less than excruciating pain, and I would do it again in a heartbeat! I started a mission 2 years ago and I'm going to finish it.

So don't feel bad for me, I'm simply updating you on how I'm doing and wanted to be honest about how I'm doing with the people I love the most in this world. Okay, just had to add that sidebar in:)

So the big event that happened yesterday -
THE SHOWER.

Well let me say I knew deep down I had no fucking business taking a shower yesterday. I had high pain levels all day, severe fatigue from my body trying to heal from being sliced and diced, didn't get more than 3 hours of sleep in more than three days, and yet I was still determined to do the Shower Thing. Stubborn girl. My mom and Hubs both told me to wait a few days until my body could handle it. I mean, I can't even stand up for more than a few minutes and when I do, I'm hunched over and panting in pain. When I have to go for my hourly walks around the living room, I barely can shuffle and have to hold on to Jay for dear life....but I thought I was ready for a two-hour taxing shower. Are u surprised? I think not.



     Well to start, my arm garments were actually stuck to my arm incisions, in fact, early in the day I felt a burning and pulling sensation and tugged at my arm garment and blood started seeping through the garment at an alarming rate. It hurt like a bitch. To make things worse, the blood along my incisions dried to the garment. The garments were stuck to my arms and would not come off. So......I had to get into the shower with my support bra and arm garments still on. We thought if we got the arm garments wet, they would more easily peel off the incisions and would bleed less, yikes. We also had to keep my binder on my abdomen because it was under the bra garment. So I got in the shower and jay washed my hair first, which took forever because my frizzy knotty hair had been in a ponytail for 4 days, it was one giant knot.

     So he wasn't even done with the shampoo and I was already shaking in pain and having trouble standing. The pain literally took my breath away. It was so hard to just breathe. He rushed thru conditioner, put my hair up, and moved onto my legs and most important parts.

 Let me tell you, after being in the shower for 10 minutes, there was still blood in the water that was swirling around my feet going down the drain.

 There was so much dried blood on me, unbelievable. By this time my entire body was going thru pain spasms, they shot through my entire body and caused my body to jerk uncontrollably...and then it came on...I was going to faint. Totally serious, I had just enough breath left to tell jay I was going to faint and that I need to get out and sit down. So he threw a towel over my potty seat and I sat on the toilet in my soaking wet garments, I lost my hearing, my eyes went totally blurry and I could no longer stay up on my own, all the while shaking uncontrollably. My mom held me up while jay got me a paper bag to breathe in and some pineapple juice for a sugar jolt. It did help a little but I was on the edge of consciousness for a while and just had to sit there soaking wet and shaking.

     Sound like a nightmare yet...ya, there's more. Now that most of my dizziness was gone and I could hear and see, we decided to peel my arm garments off so that we could then take the bra and abdominal binder off. My mom had a basin of peroxide ready for the blood soaked garments and was waiting so she could wash and dry them while jay was showering me and changing my dressings. Luckily we were right, the arm garments being soaking wet made the removal of them much easier. However, my right arm incision was pulled apart in a few places. It was bleeding and had some flesh sticking out of it and it was very swollen in one part. It had burned and hurt like hell all day, but it burned and hurt even more once I saw it. You know how that shit goes. Anyway, got the arm, bra and abdominal garments off, so I had to get back into the shower to finish getting washed. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to stand up again...so I tried and uh...ya, sure enough I couldn't. Not even fucking close. 

There were actual waves of pain going thru my body that made me convulse over and over, it is inexplicable, I have no words to give you to describe the condition of my body in that moment. I did not know it was possible to physically feel this out of control and in so much agony. I consider myself a tough strong bitch, but at that moment, I was tapped out like a mother fucker.

Dizzy, hurting, convulsing, bleeding, freezing cold, and nauseous.....it sucked ass. So, I had to sit back down on the toilet to finish getting washed. The gauze on my left nipple was stuck from dried blood, so that took forever to get off, and all the while I can barely hold myself up in a sitting position. Every second seems like an eternity. Both my mom and jay had to wash me and hold me up. Somewhere along the way my two abdomen drains got pulled out about 1/4 to 1/2 inch, so those are burning and oozing around where the stitches were originally. Finally, they finished up washing and rinsing me and jay set me up with a temporary new reclining place in living room while all my bedding for the man chair was being washed along with my garments. Luckily we had a new binder so jay had that on me right away and we had a new bra too, so my abdomen and breasts were supported while I waited for my arm and leg garments to dry and my new bed to be set up.

    Unfortunately the damn abdominal binder that was put on me after surgery rubbed me completely raw around my back and at my hips. I'm not talking brush burn rubbage, I'm talking my flesh was wide open and bloody raw. Since I was in so much fucking pain all over, I had no idea this was happening. When you have inexplicable pain from head to toe, it all clumps up into one giant cluster fuck of pain. Jay was so upset over it. I knew it had to be bad by his reaction when he first saw it, that and my mom just whimpered as she looked at it. So on top of all my other boo boos, I have raw flesh wrapping around my back and hips from being rubbed away from a cheap ass binder. Fucking. Ouch. Jay wrapped my entire torso with gauze before putting on new binder so hopefully my raw parts will heal and no more will appear. 


     Also, my bra garment I got after surgery got too big. After the initial swelling went down, it no longer supported me at all. It was hanging loose on me and the doc had said my tits needed to stay completely smashed in for the 1st week. So yesterday, before all the shower madness, my Hubs had to go to the mall and find me a support bra I could use temporarily until I have my doc appt Thursday. That was a whole other pain in ass, he had to buy like 6 different ones, none worked or fit right, then he had to take them back, then he bought more, nothing worked right because I am so swollen everywhere. (Actually, this shit didn't get resolved until after midnight because after this whole fucking shower saga and he got girls to bed, he ran to wal mart and bought a bra extender so that we could use one of the 'too tight' bras). Exhausting.

    Anyway, about the reveal I was so excited about............well I fucking DONT KNOW!!!!!!!!!! I was in so much friggin pain and trying so hard not to faint, I didn't get to see my naked self!!! 

The only thing I saw was parts of my belly, because the only way I could stand was completely hunched over. And it looked kind of scary...no, it looked like a lot of scary. It was all loosey goosey from all the newly draped skin not being attached yet, so it freaked my shit out. And my new belly button , well you can't tell what it looks like because it's a hole filled with black dried blood, yikes.

Didn't get a good look at my boobs but they did seem to be up and at the ready. Very high and perky, and jay says they are absolutely beautiful, so since he is def a booby expert, that made me happy!!!!! Both my mom and jay said my body looks good, although my mom kept mumbling under her breath "oh God, that looks so painful, oh my God honey, oh God". Lol, yes, mom, I heard you.. and yes, it is.

      So I went thru all that BULLSHIT and didn't even get to see myself. But the fact that I came out of it without puking or fainting is a God damn miracle, so I'm grateful for that!

     So with all this going on, I was an emotional wreck, and quite frankly so were jay and my mom. I know it's so hard for them to see me in such pain and they both react to it in different ways. My mom gets this kind of panicky thing in her voice and you can tell her heart is just breaking and she would do anything to take it away. And then Jay gets so upset he wants to kill the world. I think if someone would've said last night to him that if he would kill a country, my pain would go away, he would have strapped on an artillery of weapons and started slaughtering everyone in his path, lol. When he's not actively helping he paces the floor like a caged animal. I know it eats him up that I'm in so much pain, I love you for it baby and I'm sorry I put you thru such an emotional event with my shower idea.

     But I wanted to tell jay and my mom I am sorry for the ordeal that was last night. I should have listened to both of you and waited on the shower thing. It was truly a nightmare, and I made it happen.

Thank you both so very much for getting me thru it. I'm not sure of everything that I said, or yelled, or barked at you. Just know I was in the worst pain of my life. I had no control over my mouth, so if I said anything that made you want to skull punch me, I'm sorry. Actually, if you would've skull punched me, it may have been easier to finish cleaning me up and redressing my wounds. A thought for the next time I get a great idea.

     On the BRIGHT SIDE, yes folks, there's finally ONE bright side, after my fucked up crappy day and night yesterday, I took my pain pills and I took an Ativan, and I slept 6 hours strait. Never moved an inch, and the only reason I woke up was Joss was yelling on monitor that she had to pee. God knows how long I would have slept if not woken up. So getting sleep was wondrous. HOWEVER...............

    Ya, I know, this bitch can't be happy with anything, somebody come punch me....no really, please, right in the temple, knock me out. Since I slept without hardly breathing, I missed 2 separate pain pill doses. When I opened my eyes, all I could do was let the silent tears roll down my face. Dramatic, yes, but I shit you not. I could not move a muscle, not one fucking inch. Indescribable pain. Jay had to peel me off the chair and inch me to bathroom. Couldn't take any pills until I ate. So that I did. Ate a few bites and then took a plethora of narcotic medication. It is now after 10:00am and I am starting to feel better. I am hoping for a good day. And I am hoping my future patient updates will be on a lighter and more positive note. But i just wanted to be real and wanted to let you know how I'm doing. Plus, I don't have the energy to retell the saga of yesterday on the phone over and over, so thought I'd tell it once and once only.

   Love you all, love Gab



                                                               September 19, 2010
This is just home from hospital, 3 days post-op. I was pretty much bleeding everywhere at this point and super swollen. Yikes!



September 21, 2010
This was 5 days post-op. This was the day I sent out the above email, the day after my 'Shower Disaster'.



                                                            September 21, 2010  
This recliner (we call it the "Man Chair" since it's Daddy's chair) is where I lived for literally 2 months straight. I sat here all day and slept here every night. I was unable to sit up on my own, or even move for that matter. Jay would tip it forward to dump me out, then he would hurry to catch me and guide me to where I needed to be. This pic shows one of the very rare times the chair is not draped with sheets, because I had the potential to leak out of any of the numerous incisions as well as the drains. We were waiting for my bedding to get out of the dryer when this pic was taken.


"Pain is no evil unless it conquers us", George Eliot




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*The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content in this article is for general information purposes only. I am not a doctor, nor am I a dietitian. Talk to your physician before making any changes in your diet or exercise regimen. The information found in this article is from various sources which include, but are not limited to, the sites listed above. I encourage you to do your own research and talk with your physician before making any changes in diet or exercise. What has worked for me may not work for you. This information in this article or on this website should never replace or serve as medical advice.

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2 comments:

  1. First, I found this site while researching for my own answers. I am scared and very nervous about my upcoming procedure.
    thanks
    smita

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Smita! Are you getting a body lift? I know reading this article is a little scary because I talk about the pain but I thought it was important to show a realistic side of the recovery. I have to say it truly was the best decision I've ever made. I'd do it a hundred times over. I had done months of research beforehand and had prepared myself for what the recovery was going to be like. My best advice is to strictly follow your surgeon's pre and post op instructions. And once the procedure is done, try to focus on the results rather than the pain. I was so excited to heal and see the body I'd worked so hard for. It kept me going. I wish you all the very best! Good luck!!!

    ReplyDelete

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