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Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I'm about to go off on a long vent so if you don't feel like losing the next 20minutes of your life, by all means, click away.  However, if you want to join me on this rant then read on...

I am very frustrated.  My husband has had a headache since Easter.   On Good Friday, he was perfectly fine but by the Monday after Easter he was a mess.  Its a positional headache which means it gets worse when he stands or sits up.  This is not your garden variety headache, hangover or even migraine - at times the pain is so bad that he pukes.  Basically, he sprung a leak in his spinal column and is leaking spinal fluid which causes the brain to rest directly on the skull.   Its a relatively rare condition and is known to just spontaneously happen.   After about a week of no improvement, hubs went to the doctor who sent him to the ER.  They ran some tests, tried some stuff, gave him a painkiller and sent him home.  Over the next few weeks, nothing got better so he'd call the doc who just prescribed him escalating painkillers...and then anti-inflammatories....and then anti-depressants.  grrr.  After nagging from me, hubs pressed to doc to get referred to Neurology.  He called to make appt with Neuro dept but they wouldn't be able to see him until end of June.  wtf??? After nagging from me, hubs was able to get a quicker consult with Neuro.  During all these weeks, all hubs can do is lie on the couch with an icepack & a pile of pills.

Between travel for work & my own surgery, I could not attend any of the early dr appts but I was able to go to Neuro.  So glad I did.  The hubs is just too nice & is such a male.  He never really communicates the level of pain he's in or the impact it has on his daily routine (like taking care of our daughter) which makes it easy for the doc to not take him seriously & just brush him off.  HOWEVER! I don't mind being a bitch and have no problem browbeating the Neurologist (who I was not impressed by and did not like.  She's only seen 4 cases of this condition in a 20year career & is basically useless).  She tried to brush me off with a line about how medicine is not an exact science.  Really?  Believe me, after dealing with a severely disabled child for nearly 10 years, I am well acquainted with that fact and nothing about this appointment has changed my opinion.  Silly woman.  So, what happened at the Neuro appt?  She ordered some tests, prescribed yet another painkiller and sent him home. grr.

With this background, here is my was about 10days after Neuro that hubs even made appts to get the tests scheduled & he only did that after nagging from me.  Notice a trend???  He's been in pain for nearly 2 months now - 1/6th of 2012 he has spent lying on the couch.  Where is the urgency to get this fixed??  I've read a couple papers about this condition online & there was this one story about a guy who had daily headaches for 13 YEARS but when he finally had something done he felt relief in 5 minutes.  Touching story, right?  Bull!!! When I read that paper, I thought that guy was the biggest idiot.  He wasted 13 years of his life.  What a pointless, useless expenditure of energy.  My husband does not have the luxury.

For better or worse, we have a finely balanced, fragile & brittle way of managing our family life and it *only* works if each of us meets our responsibilities.  Lord knows I'm not asking him to bring home a paycheck but I'm not in a position to cover primary care for our daughter.  Case in point - our daughter has had a feeding tube in since February.  At her school, only the nurse can do feeding tube feedings but the nurse is only at school twice a week which means the other 3 days hubs has to drive up to school to feed her which take about 90min.  With this headache, that was excruciatingly painful but she has to be fed & I can't leave the office that much to do it.   Also, we are trying to wean her off the blasted NG feeding tube so it doesn't become permanent but this requires he feed her by mouth and he has to sit up for that - but its too painful so its just easier for him to hit the "on" button on the pump and lay back down.  Other things he has to do is change her diaper, get her in & out of bed, get her in & out of her wheelchair, bathe her, etc, etc, etc.   blah, blah, blah

I offered to bring a nurse to help him out but he declined.  I offered to bring family out but he declined.  I offered to send them back to his family in Kansas but he declined.  Finally, his parents got so worried about everything & this week summer vacation started which means she's home full time now that his father just drove out on Saturday to care for her.  Right now, hubs is proceeding through a series of tests to determine where the actual leak is which then allows the docs to inject blood close to the leak in the hopes that the blood clots & plugs the hole.  This is the treatment of choice for this condition; it is effective and relief can be immediate & permanent.   These tests & treatments certainly involve needles in the back but no knives.  These things can all be done in the office & don't even require he goes under.  I get that hubs is less than keen about needles in his spine but doing nothing but laying on the couch isn't really working either.

I want to shout at him: "get over it & get it fixed!!!" I'm not mad at him for getting sick but I am truly frustrated about how he has reacted and failed to drive to resolution.  We know from dealing with our daughter's medical issues that if you're not driving bus then nobody is.  He got the MRI done last night & next up is a CT scan.  I asked him this morning when that was scheduled and he looked at me like I'd sprouted a second head.  If he was really on the ball, he could have had an MRI in the morning, a CT scan in the early afternoon & blood patch by end of day. Shit - he could have been done with this by dinnertime.  So why the fuck isn't he trying to make that happen???? GRRRRR!!

I am a stress eater.  Yup, you can imagine what my eating has been like lately.  mmmm, sugar - my drug of choice.

I'm still only about 4 weeks out from my own extensive surgery.  Yup, you can imagine how well I'm following doctor's orders to rest & not do too much.  This past weekend I did waaaay too much.  I'm less "healed & sealed" than I thought and ended up popping open a couple stitches which are now crusty, oozing, itchy & bloody.  crap.

All I really want to do it go to the gym to workout my aggressions & sweat my frustrations.  I never thought I'd say this but I truly miss the gym.  sigh.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

day 23 pics

I just passed 3 weeks out from PS & snapped a few pics this morning.  Everyday is a little better - yesterday was the first day where I felt like my typical energy was back.  Its a fleeting thing tho' because today I feel tired again....but its nice to know the spark is still out there.  I can now sleep on side which is great but I tried laying on my belly for about 10min yesterday.  ah, no go.  also, the scar right at the top of my ass-crack is super itchy. ugh.

Here are today's pics!
still a little thick & swollen in the mid-section but look at that ass!

pre-op butt

my belly is not wrinlkly!!! yippee.

pre-op belly

I feel a bikini in my future!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Healed & Sealed

Tomorrow is 3 weeks out from surgery.  I think I'm doing pretty good.  I've been seeing this guy that specializes in post-op massage & he declared me "healed & sealed" on Friday.  Basically, my incisions have all closed up & the scabs have now fallen off.   Now I'm just left with new, tender, raised red scars.  Luckily, I've had no issues to this point - none of the stitches popped open or anything like that.  whew!

I'm still sore & tight, my belly is really numb & hard, my right nipple randomly starts tingling at odd times and I'm still swollen around my mid-section & in my low back (but its going getting a little better everyday).  My doc & the masseuse were all impressed with how quickly I've healed.  Here's what I think the keys to success have been (so far)
               1. waiting to reach goal weight.  I know a lot of people stall out & want to get surgery when they are 20, 30 or 40 lbs out from goal.  Don't.  Wait til you reach the end.  I'm so glad I did.  Those last 10lbs made a huge difference.  Seriously - stay on track, power through the plateau, maintain goal for a few months AND then go in for plastics.
               2.  healthy going in = healthy coming out.  I'm so glad I was in great shape before surgery.  this thing takes soooo long to recover from & you need to be strong to do it.
               3.  eating right.  Post PS eating is a lot like WLS eating.  Lots of protein, minimal carbs, minimal sodium & take your supplements
               4.  drink lots of water.  stay hydrated.  seems to be the answer for so many things! :)

I survived going back to work last week.   No lie - Monday was tough.  I hit a wall about 4pm & then I was done. DONE!  Everyday got a little bit better but I totally crashed when I got home and was beyond pooped when Friday rolled around.  Honestly, kinda glad that I can't go to the gym right now - doubt I'd have the energy for a typical 2-hour workout.  However,  I can already tell that I am losing muscle tone & that I'm starting to get soft. ugh!!! Still banned from any serious sweating for another 3 weeks but I am walking everyday.  its better than nothing.

Before going back to work, I trolled through my closet to see if anything would fit over the compression garment & the swelling.  Happy to report that everything fit.  yeah!!!  I can see a major difference in how things fit - especially in the bum.  I have no ass now.  yippee!

Now that I am healed & sealed, I started scar therapy over the weekend.  I bought a bunch of silicone sheets at the drugstore but its not going that great.  The ones across my back keep peeling off everything time I pull my panties down to go to the bathroom.  The ones under my bra band seem to be doing a little better.  My doc gave me some fancy new gel to try out which seems ok.  Honestly, the scars really gross me out & I don't even like touching them.  blech.   The post-op massage guy said the product itself doesn't matter as much as just rubbing them a couple times a day (blech).  Lets see if I can get over my squeamishness.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

7 days post-op

I'm now one week out from surgery.  I think the hardest parts are behind me but the road ahead is long.  Its just starting to sink in how far there is to go before I've recovered.....

Big news is that I got the drains out yesterday.  This was so great.  The drains are just gross....the idea of something that is embedded inside my body and then having those things dangle on the outside.  ick!  Also, with the drains out, I could take a shower last night.  I'll admit this has been pushing my limits of personal hygiene.  It was heaven to take a long, warm shower, shave my legs, shave my pits, wash & dry my hair and then slather on a bunch of smell-good body lotion. ahhhhhh.

After all the excitement, I slept through the night last night for the first time.  yeah.  However, with the drains out, I'm now swelling more.  My whole midsection is swollen & very hard.  I'm so swollen you can't even seen the lapband port which is weird.  My port has protruded & been visible from the very beginning.   My skin is still very taut which makes maneuvering, moving & bending quite difficult.  I never realized how clumsy I am!  It seems like I am always dropping something.  I went for my first walk around the block this morning...I believe it'll help alleviate the swelling but I was wiped when I got home.  Rather disconcerting for someone who ran 5k race just 10days ago to be tired after just a quiet stroll.  For me, "recovery" is going to mean recovering my energy.  I want my energy back and that feels very far away right now.

I'm weaning off the is last day of Celebrex, tomorrow is last day of antibiotics and 4 more days of blood-thinner injections.  Percocet as needed which is just at bedtime now.  I've been having trouble sleeping but I'm hoping as I increase my activity then my sleep will get better.

The hubs has been peach - especially now with the incision care.  I'm pretty squeamish & have a hard time looking at my body right now with the state its in but the hubs has been very helpful by slathering neosporin & arnica all over, placing gauze pads and helping me in & out of the compression garment.   He even stayed in the room yesterday when the nurse pulled out the drains.  thank you, pumpkin.

I'm off from work again this week but I go back to the office next Monday.  I feel like I need to be productive with this time but not sure what I'm really up my make-up brushes??  I'll admit that I am pretty bored.  Blurred vision is one of the med side-effects & it really limits my reading.  There are a lot of TV stations but its a case of quantity over quality.  sigh.


Friday, May 4, 2012

I'm home!

I'm home & in quite a bit of discomfort.  Discomfort - not really pain.  The skin (especially across my back) is really tight and I'm hunched over quite a lot.  Right now I'm on 4 drugs: Kelfex (4x day) for antibiotic; Celebrex (2x daily) for swelling and severe pain, Percocet (up to every 4 hours for pain) & Lovenox (self-injection. ugh! 1x day) for anti-clotting.

Surgery went pretty well but the doc had to make a change in plans about midway through surgery.  Original plan was a tummy tuck where he'd pull the skin down on my abdomen and the reshape the belly button. However, doc couldn't do that because the tube for my lapband port runs through my belly button.  Weird.  Surgeon had never seen anything like it before and it limited how much he could move the skin on my lower belly.  He ended up doing something like a reverse tummy tuck to deal with all the excess skin above the belly button and I think he pulled up the mons a bit but I still have my original belly button.  Honestly, this not really a big deal to me.  The area between belly button & camel toe was always tight & didn't really require much work.  All totaled, he took off about 7-8lbs of skin.  I'm *really* shocked by this.  Skin doesn't weigh much and I was only expecting about half of that.

I went for a post-op appt today & the nurse took off the bandages around my breasts.  The look so round now! No more flapjacks.  There really isn't much pain around my breasts - this aligns with what I'd read on the chat boards.  I feel pain around my lower back and along the side excisions.  The worst pain is right around where the drains come out.  If one of those get snagged, its REALLY painful.

A couple of notable notes from this experience so far...
            1.  SO glad I stayed in the hospital.  I was totally out of it & it was reassuring to have professional care.  They kept me hopped up on morphine & an IV to stay hydrated.  In the morning, they changed my dressing and helped me get up and move around.     SOOOOOO glad I didn't go home or to a hotel!!!
            2.  All the working out helps.  Yeah for muscles!!!  All those tricep dips help me manuever in bed, all those squats help me get up & down from the toilet.  I also believe my recovery will go faster since I'm in such good shape
            3.  Glad I did all that pre-cleaning.  I pretty much stuck in bed & can't putter around the house like I usually would.  Glad all the laundry is done, kitchen is clean, garden chores up to date.  I'd be a big stress ball if I was laying in bed when there are chores to do.
            4. Its like being a newbie bandster again.  Last thing I need right now is PB or stuck episode so I'm sticking with bandster-friendly mushies and protein shakes.  Ah, protein shakes.

Here are a couple pics I just took...

Drains pinned to compression garment.  Prevents getting the tubes snagged on anything.  I also wear a gigantic pair of granny panties over this as well.  Also, need to wear a sports bra around the clock.

a shot of my butt.  Definitely looks like it is less wrinkly.