I suspect not a word I write will even be read today, but here it goes anyway, as I conclude this Tummy Tuck series. Unless of course situations develop in the future, but let's all hope that doesn't happen.
This month of recovery has been full of things both expected and unexpected. I knew going in that 'Official Recovery' was 4 solid weeks. No more, no less. When my doctor ordered, "4 weeks down" I thought to myself, "Well, he doesn't know me very well." But apparently, he could smell my attitude a mile away because he followed it up with, "You'll do it if you want your money's worth." Now, he's talking a language I understand.
My life came to an abrupt standstill. I expected that. What I didn't expect, was the opportunity to sit back and watch my family pull together...in every area not pertaining to my belly button, anyway. And let me tell you, they successfully ran this place, complete with an entire delicious Thanksgiving meal for 20 people. Did everything run like a well-oiled machine all month? Of course not. But it wouldn't have with me in charge, either.
As of Thursday December 12th, I have permission to return to life as normal and toss the list of forbidden activities out the window. I followed the doctor's orders and for an entire month refrained from sleeping on my stomach, lying flat in the bed, lifting anything over 2-3 lbs, taking baths, work, exercise and
The hardest for me personally was not exercising. Not because I felt good enough to do it, but because it required me to rely solely on diet for weight management. I quickly realized how much I depend on the option to burn those extra eaten calories. I can tell you right now, return to exercise will not be physically easy or painless, but I'll be relieved to retrain my body back into a strict daily regimen, because it would appear that I have a serious addiction to special dark chocolate chips eaten by the handful chased with a tiny scoop of natural peanut butter eaten from the end of a butter knife. Now we know.
I will also have permission to remove the Velcro girdle that day. But, I won't be removing the Velcro girdle. At least not yet. It scares me when it's off. I believe the phrase, Fear of freedom sums it up best. That awful thing squeezed around my midsection like a boa constrictor has become like a child's security blanket and I suspect I'll need to wean myself from it accordingly. Certainly didn't expect that.
According to the doctor, my stomach will continue losing swelling and changing for up to a year, so I've decided to document my recovery with pictures on a monthly basis. I won't bore everyone with those each month, but I'll be more than happy to privately share them with anyone who's contemplating having the surgery or is simply interested in the continued healing process.
On a different note, I expected the extra blog readers tuning into this series out of morbid curiosity. What I didn't expect was the flood of emails and messages in my inbox from women I both know and don't know, who asked questions and shared with me their testimonies of struggles, successes and failures. Honored doesn't begin to describe each moment I open a message from a woman with the courage to confide their story with me, each one awe-inspiring in their own way. I'm completely amazed with all of you and hope you continue updating me along your journeys.
Back in 2002, at the age of 30, I stepped on a scale and saw the number 254. I sure as heck didn't expect that.
Today, I turned 42. My eyes have a few crows feet, there are laugh lines forming around my mouth and I don't even want to discuss the way my neck skin is starting to sag, not to mention my thighs.
Fear not, I'm not on the slippery slope to a life spent on the surgeon's table. I do not now, nor will I ever have the face or the body of a 20 year old and I didn't miraculously morph out of surgery a size 2. But that wasn't my intent in having this procedure.
Here we are in 2013 and for once in my life I'm not trapped in a 254 lb mindset. For once in my life, I don't look in the mirror and see the pain of the journey hanging in the evidence of the loose misshapen skin. And for once in my life, I look in the mirror and see only one scar reminding me of my surgery, rather than a multitude of scars reminding me of my past.
Worth every bit of it.
With exception of some temporary crease marks from my tightly squeezed girdle, being slightly freaked out by my own belly button and suddenly having the option of bouncing a quarter off my new stomach skin, things are pretty much back to normal.
All in all, not much has changed around here and it feels pretty great to return to my role as a 42 year old, low-key, conservative mom and house wife preparing to send out our family's greeting cards. So on that note:
From our normal family to yours!