Sunday, January 8, 2017

tummy tuck pre-op appointment: done!

I went to my pre-op appointment last week for my excess skin removal surgery.

It wasn't quite so invasive this time. (Last time it was kind of like that dream we all have where we're in public, naked.  But imagine someone is also poking you and playing around with your rolls of skin in front of everyone.)  The doctor had me pull down my pants and stand in front of the mirror so she could show me what she will be doing. Basically, everything between my waist and pubic area will be gone, my belly button will be relocated on the skin's surface (because the area where it is now will be gone), and the abdominal muscles will be stitched together. According to the doctor, those muscles tend to separate when someone spends a good portion of their life being obese. She's going to stitch them together like a corset and pull the skin down to meet the incision, like a window shade.  My new belly button opening will be probably a good six inches above (in terms of the skin area) where it is now. I mean, it will be in the same place visually, but because the skin is being pulled down, it ends up about six inches higher on the skin's surface. Make sense? That also means that some of my gallbladder and gastric bypass scars will be gone, too. They've faded quite a bit by now, but it will nice for them to be gone totally. I may also see some smoothing of the "love handles." They're not significant anymore and I don't care about them, but that would be a nice little side benefit.

I go into surgery at 8:30 am on February 27 and will be done around noon. I have to be there at 7:30 am so they can prep me. Believe it or not, this is done on an outpatient basis. Pretty amazing that they can send me home after all the work they'll be doing, but that's the standard these days, I guess. I won't be able to shower that night; however, I'm pretty sure I won't be up to it anyway. I'll be going home with two drains in me, which will be in the pubic area. That should be fun. Actually, that's one of the things that freaks me out most, because if they're going in, eventually they have to come out.

The next day I have to go see my doctor so she can check me. She'll check my drain output and my incision. Oh--I won't have external stitches. They're all internal.  Two layers inside and then surgical glue outside, then surgical tape over that. Once I get home from seeing her I can take a shower.

The following week she'll check my drains again. As long as my output is 30cc (1 ounce) or less per drain in 24 hours, the drains can come out. She said it's likely the first one will come out at the one-week mark and the other will come out the following week. I'm pretty nervous about having them out. I know skin heals fast, so all I can think about is how it's going to feel coming out.

I was there a little over an hour. I kind of felt like my head was spinning, as it was a flood of information. Bob went with me.  He will be taking care of me afterwards, so he wanted to be there to hear what the doctor had to say. ,He was able to absorb anything I missed. I went armed with a notebook of questions I'd written down, but they were pretty much all answered without me having to ask.

So, what do I need to do to prep for surgery?
  • Lose the last 16 pounds. I don't NEED to. I want to. That means making sure I workout five days a week and eat right. The doctor told me to eat lots of protein and green veggies, and to stay away from processed food as much as I can. I don't need to go crazy, but she said the high protein, veggie-rich diet will help to speed my recovery.
  • Buy special antimicrobial soap called Hibiclens.  Prior to surgery, I have to shower with this soap for five days. It kills anything that might be on my skin, like MRSA and other nasty things we don't want getting into my system. 
  • Buy a special garment (aka "sausage casing") that I'll need to wear for at least a couple months to help keep the swelling down and help the abdominal muscles heal and bind together. It's not really a sausage casing, but those garments always feel like that because they're mega tight. This is the one the doctor recommended:  panty-length girdle.  Isn't it pretty??
  • Clean, clean, clean! It won't be easy to get around for awhile so I want to clean the house good. 
  • Make some egg muffins to stash in the freezer. That way no one has to cook for me. They can just pull them out of the freezer and pop them in the microwave. I'll also stock up on things like Greek yogurt, peanuts, protein shakes and bars, and I'll make a big batch of hard-cooked eggs.
  • Install a new toilet in the downstairs bathroom. The one that's there now is very low to the floor. Both of us are tall and we need something higher.  Plus this will make it easier for me to get up and down by myself. We've been wanting to do this anyway, but having the surgery will ensure it gets done sooner.

I feel like I'm forgetting something, but I'll just keep a list and add to it as the time goes by.

I'm getting excited, but I'm also nervous, as this is my first open surgery. The other three surgeries I've had were all laparoscopic and recovery was pretty easy. Time in surgery is about the same, but I always have a fear of waking up during it or having some awareness when they intubate me. And this time I will have an incision from hip to hip, so I'm nervous about the pain afterwards. But she said she will give me some nice narcotics (Dilaudid). I'll probably be feeling pretty good. :)


  1. I'm looking forward to this for you. Not the surgery part, not the wearing the sausage casing part, but the part where your excess skin is gone. ;)

    1. Thanks! I'm excited for it to be gone, too. It's getting uncomfortable when I sleep on my side, and when I do certain exercises. And running is fun because it slaps against my upper leg. LOL