Post-surgery recap: The first 10 days

Yesterday marked 10 days post-surgery. It’s a solid milestone and it was a really good day. Surprisingly, the difference between my stance from Saturday to Sunday was drastic. I standing much straighter yesterday and I didn’t feel as much pulling, so far this morning, I’m feeling pretty damn good as well.

I know healing takes time and as the days add up I will feel even better. The scaring will eventually fade and the numbness in my midsection will also dissipate, but thinking back to just last Wednesday, which was probably the worst day of all of recovery, I can’t believe how much a day means in this process.

The first couple of days weren’t great, don’t get me wrong they could’ve be a WHOLE LOT worse, but after coming home from surgery, I mostly slept and the anesthesia had knocked me on my ass. According to JP, I had asked for a candy for us to share and then announced the peanut butter cups are an excellent choice because there’s two and there’s also two of us. Whether he was just trying to make me feel better and bend to my wish or he truly thought I really wanted peanut butter cups, he brought some home after running out to pick up a few things. This made for a great story on Day 2 when he brought home more peanut butter cups to cheer me up… 1. not only do we have a TON of chocolate in the freezer, but 2. I don’t remember ANY of this. My surgeon had an RN come to the apartment for my day after check in. I don’t think she was very happy with us and because it was warm outside, it was warm inside and I had a slight fever for a few hours. I understand the concern, fever after surgery is a big concern, but she was also kind of an asshole to JP when he was trying to understand his role and how to help me such as how to change the bandaging and dressings. The RN also left us confused when she questioned practically every medication my surgeon, that she works for, prescribed to me. Needless to say that was the start of a few phone calls to my surgeon.

For the most part my appetite was still hanging around and I didn’t have much nausea at all; however, there were a few mornings when I dove into my breakfast with such excitement to just leave half on the plate. In some cases, we could leave it on my nightstand and I would pick at it throughout the day, but in others trying to go back at it after it was in the fridge left me less than thrilled and not wanting it. Hands up for the oats that lost their lives. Since my activity level obviously drastically decreased from six days of lifting and three days of cardio to zero, Alaina and I discussed decreasing my macros and creating a goal for me to strive for that would be realistic during recovery. I only started hitting this at the seventh and eighth day, so if I kept my reverse dieting macro goals, I would most definitely fail.

Three days out I discovered my ability to Quasimodo myself to the bathroom, however, getting out of bed had a great deal of assistance and actually, I needed a lot of help getting in and out of bed for the first eight 8 days. I did figure out that if I brought my knees to my chest as much as possible and tucked to my side, I could get out on my own, but for the most part having help was necessary to 1. not hurt myself 2. not create a problem with my incision site and recovery 3. not make JP upset. M friend Jules came over and hung out with me for a bit. She made us lunch while JP ran some errands and got other things done in the area. I do truly have the greatest friends.

Sausage with onions, peppers and zucchini with ketchup
JP and I also had a real fun experience when we realized that I may need some assistance when I was able to start pooping again. Yeah, he gets the boyfriend of the year award, but in that moment I just wanted to punch him.

At four days out I used my new skills of tucking and rolling to escape my bed while JP ran an errand and I caved. I washed my hair. The braids I had were SUPER helpful and kept everything out of my face, but laying on braids for days makes them frizzy and knotty. I just felt gross, which is something so many told me would happen, I mean you’re laying in bed for days and can’t shower. It’s inevitable that feeling this way is bound to happen. Since I was hunched over anyway, going head first into my bathroom sink wasn’t very hard and it felt AMAZING. I wasn’t cleared to shower at my first post-op because there were a few issues with oxygen and blood circulation to the section between my belly button and incision site, which created a red spot and a few blisters. So instead of a shower at five days out, I was able to take my first shower at six days out. I WILL NEVER TAKE SHOWERS FOR GRANTED AGAIN.

To help combat the issue I was having with blood circulation, I was put on bed rest at five days out, not that I had left my bed much anyway. My legs were to be propped up at about a 45 degree angle with the part of my leg from the knee down bent like a table top. My upper body was also propped at a 30 to 45 degree angle, depending on how my pillows slumped. This was my life for the rest of fifth day out to eight days out. I was also put on a medication that would help dilating the blood cells. For those competitors who have used fat burner before, think of this medication similarly. If you’re not hydrated enough, the medication similar to a fat burner can create a VERY RIDICULOUS headache, I think it would be safe to call it a migraine. My normal water consumption sits between 180 to 200 ounces of water when I’m active. My water consumption was roughly 120 to 160 during the beginning of recovery. Six days post surgery, which was Wednesday was the worst day because while I thought having about 40 ounces of water in my system was enough, the 10 ounces of coffee worked against that resulting in a headache between at the back of my head, making it hard to feel comfortable laying on my back.

I felt as though I couldn’t drink enough water fast enough. Even though I was on Percocet, I was okayed to take a Tylenol and after an additional 100 ounces of water and three hours, I fell asleep and woke up to my head not hurting. Lesson learned, water consumption would be one of the most important things to watch during recovery. This was also the same day that my friend Jessica came over to lend us a hand.

I have received a ton of messages from women who want to get a tummy tuck for excess skin and are nervous and curious. What I’ve been telling them is that the first few days were the toughest, but overall this was a big decision. It’s going to be worth it. I’ve also said that they should research what they can without scaring themselves and compile questions for their surgeon for the consultation. I also had a list of my reasons for having the surgery because I knew the doctor would ask me why before she would actually take a look at my body, but every surgeon is different. They all have their own style and their own way of prepping for surgery, developing a recovery plan and checking in with their patients. Keep in mind that no matter how many conversations you have with women that have had this surgery, you probably won’t be prepared for your own experience.

This was a lot of us to handle. We knew it would be, but like I’ve said before, JP is excellent at taking care of other people, but he then forgets how to take care of himself. This led to a cycle of frustration between the two of us. Jessica helped us with small stuff, but it truly was the biggest help and it was the end of the bad days. Also, somewhere in there JP built a $100 Lego Ferrari to keep himself calm and occupied. I mean those rough days were rough.

If you ever wanted to know what a $100 in Legos look like
Day seven, was pretty boring and honestly that’s not a bad thing at all. My friend Cindy came by and Cristina-sat me while JP had a job interview. We mostly laid in my bed and talked. She watched me hobble a bit and then back to bed. Seriously, a very uneventful day, however, I started watching Worst Cooks in America – that is entertainment. Anyone will feel like a gourmet chef just watching the season opener. The following night we cupcaked – cupcaking: action verb and how a makeshift date night while I stayed laying in bed. New rule: after abdominal surgery, no movies that make you laugh. You will want to die.

Day eight was the most exciting since day five because it meant my second post-op AND National Donut Day. The post op was successful and the plan was if I got the okay to get my butt out of bed then we would head to Boston to get a donut and then to JP’s grandparents where we mostly sit around and talk anyway. I not only got the green light to get out of bed, I got my drains out too. She was impressed with out my recovery was going and the areas that we were concerned about were healing really well. We had a good feeling, but getting the doctor to say so was much better than a gut feeling.

While I was disappointed that when we got to the donut shop they were sold out, JP and I decided to have our own spin on donuts and got dosants – the magic that happens when a croissant and a donut meet – at a local to us restaurant later that night.

Peanut butter and Fluff dosatns. Chocolate and caramel dosants.
Saturday, I obviously had the most movement and ultimately was exhausted, but it was so nice to be out of bed. I did lay down, but if my hips hadn’t started hurting I wouldn’t have laid down. I know I’m going to have a love/hate relationship with my bed for the next few weeks. Saturday was also the last day I had any Percocet at all. I’m completely on Tylenol now, which is a excellent feeling. I also did a mini check in with my coach, Alaina since I could stand slightly more upright.


This far out from surgery my scabs are starting to fall off and a nice purple scar is starting to show. Like I mentioned can the area of my belly we were concerned with started to really clear up. So think about when you get a cut and it finally starts healing, there’s no pain, but it scabs and may be slightly itching from skin regeneration.

Sunday was definitely the best day and like I said, I know that as the days add up I’m going to feel better and things are going to be healing more, but I just couldn’t believe how good I felt yesterday.

I’m excited about today. We’re going for a walk. I know that sounds silly and as a lifter being excited for a walk feels weird, but from going to laying down for eight days to being allowed to move to being much more upright, I am so damn excited for our walk. I started wearing my FitBit again so I can track my movement and kind of analyze how I’m feeling with the amount of movement. It’s going to be a good day. Two more days until my third post-op. Six days until I’m back at the gym for upper body only restriction.

I hope everyone else crushes their Monday and enjoys their week!

Some photo recap of the first 10 days:

Breakfast

We never forgot to feed me

Hanging out with the kiddos

I read a lot of Food Network Magazine

The first shower – Day 6

Hobbling to the bathroom – Day 7

No donuts for Cristina – Day 8

 

We split a breakfast sandwich at Birchtree to kick off our Saturday – Day 9

 

We adventured and got new protein bars at Vitamin Shoppe – Day 9

We went to dinner – day 9

❤ Cristina

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