I have had some super mixed feelings about going ahead with this second round of plastics.
I do have major misgivings about the whole thing. I think that is probably very very normal and a natural thing to feel anxious over. I am not keen at all on the idea of bleeding again. It makes me super nervous and that is just the cold hard reality of my situation. But, in spite of all of my misgivings I am going ahead. My surgery is booked for the 28th of April and I am excited and terrified at the same time.
Tomorrow morning I have my consult with my plastic surgeon and I am going to ask him 5 million questions. I have been sitting down today compiling a list of what I want to ask because I think that it is reasonable to have a lot of concerns and to need some reassurance at this point. These are the things that I am going to ask.
Can you please draw me up right now as if surgery was today because I need to know what the plan is going forward.
After the bleed that I had last time, the returning to surgery in the middle of the night and all of the fear that I experienced I need to know how likely it is that that could happen again.
The blood vessel that caused the bleeding last time – could the same thing happen with that one again.
Where will my arm scars be and can you draw them on me please so I can understand what to expect.
My side boob is the part of me that I am the most uncomfortable with – how much of that will be removed because I HATE it.
Where are you taking the fat from to put into my boobs?
How long will the surgery take?
How long will I be in hospital
Will I have a drain in and if so how long will I need the drain for (( I know if I need one that you cant give me exact times and just a ballpark is fine)
Will I have a catheter in because I am scared of getting up too soon if I need to pee?
Hands up if you know what it is like to feel fear? That visceral, consuming, blood gone from your extremities, hyperventilating kind of fear that leaves you wanting to run – but you can’t run because there is no where to go to escape it.
Well that happened to me on Saturday afternoon. My plastic surgery in September 2019 was filled with problems. (Read back in my blog for info) Well my baby sister had her Tummy tuck last week – and we had just picked my mother up from the airport for a visit – the first time since pre covid times, when the phone rang.
Mum went outside to take the call as we were preparing for my sons 19th birthday party, and it was quite rowdy in the kitchen. When mum walked back into the room I knew that something was wrong and she told me what had happened and that my sister was not okay. I felt that fear – I had spoken with my baby sis right before her surgery and told her not to go towards the light – I guess I was trying to use humour as a coping mechanism to mask my concerns BUT I also had a yucky feeling in the pit of my stomach. Anyway as mum was talking to me I tuned out, it felt like she was speaking to me in slow motion and I felt everything about my experience come flooding back.
Hours later my sis was out of surgery again and they had found the source of her bleeding but she remains weakened and will have a longer recovery ahead now. Aaaaaaaand I am meant to have surgery myself in 31 days – and I’m just not sure how I feel about it!
Let’s talk for a minute about the Cost of Bariatric Surgery. Many of us pay quite a sum just to have our surgery in the first place. But the costs that are ongoing are something that we don’t really talk about a lot. That’s not to say that WLS isn’t one of the best descisions I have ever made because it is!! But these are things I didn’t think of beforehand. Some of the things that I have replaced because of weight loss surgery include the following.
My mattress – I was in pain from lying in my “big me” sized mattress hole.
All my shoes – I am now 2 sizes smaller
All of my underwear 4 times over as I found out the hard way one can’t wear undies that are too big and not risk them falling off in public – yep it really happened 🤦🏻♀️
My car seat – this is a weird one and I upgraded my car because it needed an upgrade anyway BUT the drivers seat was broken because of my bum and my weight.
My lounge suite because I broke it 😔
My dining chair – I am going to have to replace the set but am making do for now.
My entire wardrobe because going from a size 24/26 to a size 4/6 means that nothing from bigger me fits me anymore.
My supplements and vitamins ongoing but for me the cost of my weekly food and vitamins and supplements is still less than what I used to spend per week on my food (I ate a lot).
Skin removal surgery – this shot of me there with the excess skin is current. That is after my radical tummy tuck – obviously I require revision surgery because my surgeon thought that a radical tummy tuck would be enough but it wasn’t. When you have as much excess skin as me it is unpredictable how it will respond.
New glasses coz the old ones fall off my face 😳
As for the plastics, I don’t disclose how much my surgery cost, but the following is a rough guide per area of the body and what you might expect to pay (after private health insurance and Medicare covers the hospital costs and a small payment to the surgeon and the gas doctor) THESE ARE AUSTRALIAN PRICES $1k-$7k is considered low cost. $7k-$11k is mid range. $12k and over is high range. That is the gap payment as plastic surgeons will charge you a gap fee even if skin removal is deemed medically necessary. The gaps vary from surgeon to surgeon. My recommendation is ONLY USE a PLASTIC SURGEON. If you have private health insurance are in NSW or don’t mind traveling, google ‘The Access Program’ if you want a lower cost option.
Would I do it again? Heck yes! Over and over!! I have a life now and I am so grateful for it.
We are approaching the 2 year mark! On the 18th of June, it will be 2 years since I had RNY – Gastric Bypass. It has been a strange time. The changing, the growing, the turning into a different version of me. Dealing with the demons in my past and letting go of things and people that I didn’t want to let go of. In short – life is very different. But different, I am learning, can be a gift – it all depends how you look at it. The wonderful thing about choice is that we get the chance to move ourselves from where we are and position ourselves to have every possible chance to make life long changes.
2 years ago, wow, there is absolutely no way that I imagined that I would be where I am at right now. Getting to be an Australian size 4-6 was NEVER ever part of my plan. I had thought that it would be wonderful to be perhaps a size 12-14 if possible. I have enjoyed so many wonderful and unexpected blessings along the way to being a healthier me. Over the last 7 months I have noticed marked changes. Those who know me best can attest to this also. I have tried to put my finger on what triggered it. I have tried to work and reason it out, mostly without success – until I was chatting with one of a hand full of people that I consider to be part of my inner circle. That circle has 6 people in it. They are the people that I trust unquestioningly and that I know, like I know that I know that I know, love me, without judgement and that I talk to nearly on a daily basis. Here is what has come from our talk.
I realised that I have not allowed myself to process AT ALL, the fact that I was on deaths door when I had my plastic surgery last year. I had a radical tummy tuck with mons lift and muscle repair and a breast lift, reduction and fat grafting. Now I know that we can’t dwell on things because that isn’t healthy, but I am damaged by what happened to me and not dealing with that trauma isn’t healthy either. I need to talk about it so here goes.
I guess I knew it, like……… I knew that I was very very sick. But in truth I didn’t want to admit how close I came to not being here anymore. I didn’t want to have to think about any of it!!! I tried to avoid it, however I can now see that it has changed me in the most profound ways. When I was lying in the ICU, surrounded by doctors trying to get lines in to me and keep my oxygen levels from dipping any lower than they already were, they were asking me “Who should we call for you, do you understand what is happening, you are very very calm, are you sure you understand what is happening”. I am scary calm under pressure. When I was young this was NOT the case. But years change people and I don’t get loud or dramatic now. I go stone cold ….. but this wasn’t that – I was awake to what was happening!
In that moment did I understand what was going on? Yes of course I did. I was fully informed of my risks prior to my surgery. I knew that the massive blood vessels that used to feed my fat had not shrunk and that I had an increased risk of bleeding because of it. I knew that I had internal bleeding. I knew that they had to stabilise me before they moved me to the icu and I knew that the nurse looking after me stayed well past the end of her shift to hold my hand until they moved me. She had caught my head the second time I fainted and when I woke, lying in a crumpled mess of blood and my own urine she was still holding me. (Fun fact, when you pass out, if you need to pee …. well you just do.)She also carefully cut my blood and pee soaked night gown off me – it was too far gone to be kept. She reassured me that she would stay with me until ICU had me and she did. So I knew from those things that it wasn’t good. I have had a lot of surgery, been in hospitals a lot and I knew this was not a “usual” thing. Nurses are incredible people, they see that type of stuff on a daily basis and remain caring and thorough in their care. But she was going far beyond normal.
After the ICU stint and additional surgery was over, I eventually came back to the ward days later and found that my story had preceded me. One of the nurses that had been responsible for my care on the day it all happened, came, found me, hugged me and told me she was so glad that I was alright. I remembered her on sight and called her by name. She said “oh you remember!” I said “Yes, the doctor told me to focus on your faces and not let myself float off!” So that is what I did. There was a long period of time where they couldn’t get my blood pressure to read or find a pulse. That was not great. This was during the time when they were trying to stabilise me. I kept wanting to shut my eyes and sleep but they told me it wouldn’t be sleep if I did that so I had to stay awake.
I knew what that meant. I fought to not let myself float off and tried so very hard to stay with them. Loud shoutings of my name brought me round time and time again. Multiple failures to locate veins because my body didn’t want to cooperate didn’t even bother me, I was being jabbed with needles and I didn’t care. I was fading away and I knew I was. In that moment I made some decisions. I did decide that if I woke up after the emergency surgery I needed to stop the internal bleeding, I was not going to live my life afraid of what people would think of me anymore. I wasn’t going to wear any type of face to please others and that I was going to be kind and assume the best of people no matter what.
So did I understand what was happening? Yes, I absolutely knew and I told the very lovely doctor that yes I understood, and as she held my hand she made no promises – which I appreciated! I loved the fact that she didn’t say to me “oh don’t even worry, you will be fine!” Because I was bleeding out on the inside and I wasn’t fine! I like real and value it when people don’t bullshit me.
No one of my contacts that the intensivist called were answering – it was 1 am so naturally people were asleep, but they were anxious to let someone know that I was not okay. In that moment my mind was drawn to the person that I knew would not answer me and as tears rolled down my face and my heart broke a little bit more than it had before, I knew who would answer me, I called my Dad. When I was a kid and was hit by a car he knew something was the matter and was frantically trying to get info before anyone knew what had happened. The phone rang once and he answered with “hello baby are you okay!” The intensivist was holding the phone to my ear as I said “no Dad I’m not, please keep calling Steve, try to wake someone up. They are taking me back to theatre, I love you Dad I have to go” and with that I ended the call. The doctor finally managed to get my Aramis to answer and he spoke to the doctor and went and got his dad. Steve ran into the ICU as I was being wheeled through the doors to go to theatre. Do they call families in to the hospital at 1:00 am very often? Well I already know the answer to that. They don’t. They had told me that I may be kept sedated – it would depend how things went. I don’t really remember waking up but I know it was hours later and I know that Steve was there all night waiting for me. Then he had to go, after sitting up all night waiting for news of me, to get the boys and drive them to Melbourne to the airport to catch their flights.
When I saw Steve’s face at around 11am that day the look of exhaustion and concern was so evident to me. He had arrived back from the airport to sit beside my bed in the ICU. I just wanted to cry for him. I know what it is like to sit in one of those rooms watching machines and listening for alarms that were going off very frequently. No family nearby to help him and carrying the weight of everything on his shoulders. Thankfully my Dad made provisions to take time off work and flew from the Gold Coast to Geelong to be with Steve and I. Our boys were being loved on by family in QLD and I got to rest, heal and think about all of the ways I would rewrite my story. I was going to really live! No more bench sitting! And most of all, how I would stop pulling my punches. So in that spirit let me tell you that the skin removal and tummy tuck surgery has changed my life and it was worth it BUT it was really fricken hard and many tears were shed over the process of my recovery! I didn’t know I could cry so much or that I would emerge from this so changed.
I am excited for the next chapter of my story. I am looking forward to how the rest of 2020 will unfold. Let’s face it – the first part has been less than ideal but I am getting ready for a comeback story! I am dreaming of days with family and friends, living with intention and purpose, being kinder and more open, taking less and giving more. Xx
There are a couple of things that have been on my mind lately and as always I am wanting to open up a dialogue about them. I can remember when I was first contemplating WLS again back in 2017. This was after my failed and horrendous lap band fiasco at the hands of a surgeon in QLD. I had my doubts that WLS was really going to be a good idea for me and I also wondered how effective it would be in the long term.
I do not jump into things without truck loads of research first. I read medical journal posts, I read the Monash studies, I read the US medical pages, I read THOUSANDS of posts from sites all over the globe (yes I am the info lover)!!! I read posts from normal people, like you and me, who typed things like “60lbs gone forever” “70 kilos gone for good” and I used to wonder, “wow is that true? What makes that true? I know people that have had WLS and regained……. so what is the difference? How do we define success?” On and on and on my questions would go. That rabbit hole does have a bottom but it probably isn’t always popular to talk about.
Eventually I got past asking my 56 billion questions because I was so tired of my life becoming more and more limited by my ever growing size! I also realised that no one, no surgeon, no matter how spotless their reputation, no WLS guru, no body could tell me that I was going live a complication free, thin life for the rest of my life after surgery! I wanted, for years, to not be responsible for my outcome. I was actually looking for some kind of reassurance that bypass or The Switch would be my “golden ticket” and I would be able to keep up my unhealthy relationship with food – just eat less of it. If I am honest, and it is only in the last few days that I have been bold enough to admit that my TOTAL reason for delaying having WLS again after my band was because I was frightened that I would have to change my relationship with food and I didn’t want to.
Finally I got to the point where I decided that any weight loss, however small, had to help! So in June of 2018 I bit the bullet, jumped up onto the operating table and had RNY. Since then I have learned a lot of different things! One of the most frustrating is that there isn’t a standard “one size fits most” approach in the way to walk the journey after WLS. Everyone has different thoughts and opinions – this makes it so interesting but it also can be very scary and frustrating at times. What I have learned is that I cannot eat the same diet I used to have and expect that my results will be good in the long term. What I eat has changed and will never be the same again. I have learned that for me – changing my relationship with food would transform my whole life.
I have learned that food is not my comfort, my treat or my friend, it’s just a tool to fuel my body and I have learned that I have to face my emotional shit and I hate that part!! I don’t eat my feelings anymore. This has been harder than I bargained for but I know it will pay off in the long run. I have also learned that sometimes their are complications that we just have to work through!! I didn’t plan to get as thin as I have so that has taken some adjusting to. But I am grateful for an amazing team and brilliant friend here that support me.
It is not about being a certain weight or a size for me. It’s about knowing how to work with my body, giving it what it needs to be healthy and how to be resilient when the challenges come. It is about keeping in mind the reason that I did this and understanding that I am not a powerless victim of circumstances. I decide how this story plays out so if I am knocked down then it’s on me to get back up. I have been knocked down for a few months now but I am back up again 🙂 I didn’t want to get back up. My heart has been broken and I wanted to stay down and stay hurting. What woke me is I have seen the way that my kids have been broken. The tears of my boys are the fuel that drives me and they NEED to see me get up, so I am! It’s okay to feel a bit lost at times, and it’s okay to say “I need help” it is also good when you can finally see clearly again. We got this guys and I refuse to wallow anymore.
Motivation Monday! If you haven’t danced like a crazy girl in a pink wig on a table top and don’t have a rainbow wall and a disco ball in your dining room have you really lived ?? 🤣
You know, this isolation business is hard but for me, it’s the safest thing for me to do. That kick arse, beyond terrified of failing – but still brave enough to do it anyway, tired of being downtrodden, bigger version of me went through far too much to be here in this moment, for me to waste even a single day! I lived a shell of a life for the best part of two decades and I used my size to sideline myself from the fun, the crazy, the silly and the things that I wanted to do! It is hard right now but don’t let our current circumstances suck every bit of joy out of life. You are worth celebrating right now! You have breath in your lungs! You have the power to decide to make the very best of today. I may feel heart broken and I might be struggling but I will not let those things rob me of the joy of living in the moment. Life is full of mountain tops and valley experiences and if you are in a valley – well get on the damn table with me and let hope fill you up. Better days ARE coming xx
WTF Wednesday – I am coming up on being 6 months post my first plastic surgery. I am honestly very much in two minds about doing it again. I need revision – That isn’t me saying it, although it was obvious straight after my first surgery that I wasn’t as I hoped I would be, that is my surgical team saying I require revision as I am often asked about my excess skin and truthfully I believe that the amount I had and have is typical for someone that has lost as much weight as I have and is now as light as I am – With the other factors like my age and the fact that I have 5 children.
When I look at things objectively I know that I need to go ahead with my revision surgery – for the sake of my skin as I age – this is because I am still prone to skin infections and skin tears but I still have misgivings. It was not a straight forward recovery for me and I have not shared everything on here because quite honestly I had PTSD resurface and still dislike talking about certain aspects of what I experienced.
My surgeons explained to me that in someone that has lost as much weight as I have, the skin is damaged and will likely sag again requiring revision. Thankfully this is not as invasive as the massive muscle repair and clean out of previous scar tissue and old seromas that happened the first time around.
I do love living life without the skin apron and I love my lifted mons but I hate the loose upper abdominal skin and the fact that it still manages to pull and rip! My side boobs are to be dealt with in the revision surgery as are my arms. I don’t hate my flappy arm bits but the side boob makes it impossible to wear correctly fitting bras and I wear compression to hold it in every day.
I think it’s fairly incredible the difference that 6 months had made – I still swell from time to time but for the most part it’s hard to explain the difference that not having the apron has made to my life in terms of how much less daily pain I experience.
So what did I have done? I had ETT with mons lift and corset muscle repair (my thighs lifted quite a lot from this part of the procedure)
Breast Lift, Breast reduction with fat transfer.
My surgery was completed by Misters Ian Holten and Raf Acosta from Australian Skin Face Body in Geelong.
While we were visiting with family I spent a lot of time lounging around in the sun and enjoying gloriously warm summer day. My excess skin is still there – it is still a reality and it is what remains from my years of self abuse with food. I am never going to have a perfect body – whatever that is – I actually don’t care that I will never have tight skin. I am a happily marred roadmap of imperfections and I love that about me. I don’t want to be anything other than the best me that I can be and right now – this is it! Self love and acceptance shouldn’t be based on when you reach a certain milestone – self love is knowing that you are loved, valuable and worth it so every other thing that you reach for in the journey to better yourself comes from that. I’m not waiting to be loveable or worth it – I already am! I was when I was over 95 kilos heavier too. Wherever you are at on the journey – please know that you are worth it. Well that’s what I believe anyway xx
There are a lot of things in this world that I find confusing. I don’t understand why rain sometimes seems to blow in sideways, I don’t understand how coffee seems to hug me from the inside or why Bono’s voice can soothe me, no matter my mood. I also don’t understand why we put on airs and graces, or feel compelled to embellish things to impress others. I mean yes, I do get why, but I hate it and therefore this post is a tribute to raw honesty.
Have you ever been in a situation where you were looking at something and it made you feel uncomfortable but you just couldn’t turn away? Well, imagine if that was your body. I know that so many people can relate to this because in general, we, the human race, seem to continuously look for ways to make ourselves feel better or be better (I have a whole theory about that but that is just not for today – today I am ticked off at myself for hating me for even a few minutes) I can stick my hand up and say “Yep, 100% – I felt akin to something that no one wants to step in” when I was 140+ kilos and even now – there are days when I look at myself, feel uncomfortable and I inwardly turn away.
Today I have inwardly turned away. Today I started back at the gym. It was a GREAT feeling. OMG working out again – THIS IS HUGE FOR ME!! I never thought I would see the inside of a gym again. No cardio for me because any weight loss would be a very very bad idea but I LOVED using weights again. I hope that my muscles remember how they used to look all those years ago! So I finished leg day, I have a sore bum coz squats =🍑 and I want a 🍑 not a 🥞 ….. I felt great chatting with my work out buddy on our way home and once I was home I went and stood in the bathroom and the reality of my body right now gripped me.
I had moments like this all the time when I was fat, I would turn away from the mirror, run to the fridge, stand in front of it and feel myself become calmer as I opened the door, I would stuffed my face with some carb loaded abomination and by the time I finished eating it, the tears had stopped but the self loathing would increase 100 fold. That was my coping mechanism, my drug of choice and that would make the problem worse. This morning standing in front of the mirror, I felt all of the same emotions come bubbling up to the surface – the self loathing, the wanting to be different, the wanting to feel beautiful just once, the wishing that I was attractive and even the old, old disconnectedness with certain parts of my body came rushing to the forefront of my mind. At that point I had to turn away, but I stopped, shut my eyes, calmed myself and then turned back the fuck around, and eyeballed myself and said “ABSOLUTELY NOT !!!! YOU HAVE NOT COME THIS FAR TO HATE YOURSELF TODAY!”
Today I will not let myself wallow in self pity. I will celebrate how far I have come. Not perfect and not everyones cup of tea but thats okay too. I guess today I wanted to write this to say don’t be so hard on yourself, we all go through things that we never talk about. We all carry things inside of us that we wish weren’t there or that we wish we could easily change – the truth is that all of us are a mess. Our mess may look different but we all have them just the same. Learning to love ourselves and find the worth and value is the trick. Thats why I refuse to be anything other than me. If its raw and a bit edgy, well thats okay – this proverbial pig has no lipstick on it and I like it that way.
This morning I woke up thinking about all the things that I have found on this little walk I have taken towards health. Most of the things that mean the most to me now, I wasn’t even looking for, and I certainly didn’t expect to find. I was reading something today – a story I have read a lot of times before and I was struck by the fact that the Hero in the story, the person who did not give up, even in the face of horrific circumstances, was actually motivated to a very large extent, by anxiety. Suddenly I could relate to this story in a whole new way! I had one of those light bulb moments because I saw myself in the story – I have viewed much of my life through the anxiety filter also.
I could tell you lots of tales about all of the reasons why I ate. I have a good many sad and truly devastating things that have gone on in my life. No one that knows my past hurts and pains would think the worse of me for becoming a very large person. Except that fact that I refuse to allow myself to be the product of my hurts! All of those stories begin with the actions of others – but guess what – others don’t live my life, I do. Others didn’t open my mouth and put the food in it, I did. Others don’t determine the trajectory of my life, I determine that. It’s only really in the last few months that I have started to understand the very great power that we give “others” when anxiety runs unchecked.
My life was a product of continually making choices that empowered my dysfunctional coping strategies. Anxiety was and is a horrible task master and my “go to” response was EAT!! I, by no means profess to have mastered this old enemy of mine, however, I am working on it because I refuse to allow myself to be a watered down version of what I could be. I don’t want to hold myself back because of fear or disqualify myself before I even start. What would we dream for ourselves if we truly believed we were worthy and deserving? I have asked myself this over and over in my grateful moments and oh how that story has changed over the last 2 years.
When anxiety started to lose its grip on me I booked in with an incredible surgeon. I also started to make small changes in my daily life to give myself room to grow and change. I am that proverbial “old dog” and I needed to learn new tricks! The first thing that I did, and still do now, is practice being grateful. Every day I used to wake up thinking of food and how I would fill the empty feeling in my heart that day with whatever I was planning to eat. Now, I wake up and I don’t move until I remind myself of at least 10 things I am grateful for. Repetitively practicing this caused a shift to happen in my thinking and by the time I was about 8 weeks post op, I realised that I had other things in my life besides food.
From when I booked in with my surgeon until my op, I had 6 months. For 6 months I had no idea that arguing with myself in my bed every morning and being grateful – not looking at recipes and planning menus, feeling anxious and out of control, was going to change my whole outlook on life. Learning to feed my anxiety monkey a banana has been a revelation! I found a tiny little answer in my gratefulness exercises. I hope you celebrate your little answers too xx