Day 12 post-op update - thigh lift, leg lift, totally inconsequential LBL revision

Gwen M.
on 11/18/17 1:41 pm
VSG on 03/13/14

My last update was on 11/12, which was 6 days post-op. I'm now 12 days post-op and a lot has gone on since then. This post is going to be very, very long, so consider yourselves warned. When I was researching thigh/leg lift, I never found much information about recovery unless I asked people specifically, so I'm hopeful that these accounts of my own leg/thigh experience will be useful to future searchers.

This post is going to be the day to day accounting that I've been writing about my experience and posting to a very select group of people on Facebook via an opt-in filter. So each section will be dated with the date I originally wrote it. I have done some editing for brevity because I'm sure you all don't care about the new dishes I ordered, for example. Heh. I have also added some additional comments in braces. Quick background - I live with two guys: Art and Lance. They take turns with Gwen-Duty.


I had a very bad night last night. Lance was on Gwen-duty but the guys forgot to move the ringer part of the doorbell from Art's room to his room. Normally this would be no big deal. (Our summoning device which is AMAZING is a Bluetooth doorbell. Whoever is on Gwen-duty has the ringer part plugged in and then I have the doorbell part on my chairside table so I can always summon help.)

Lance stayed up until 1am to drug me and then went to sleep. He got up at 4am to drug me again. At 445 I needed to use the bathroom and figured I'd have no problem doing this myself. It took forever due to the pooping thing I wrote about in my previous post ( -6-Leg-Lift-LBL-incision-revision/) and then I shambled back to my chair.

I sat down. I strapped my legs together. (My surgeon scared me about the spreading your legs movement, so I initially slept with a strap around my thighs to keep them from flailing in the night.) And then I just couldn't do anything else. I couldn't cover myself. I couldn't get my knee pillows sorted out. I couldn't get my ankles on my foot pillow.

Since the doorbell ringer was in Art's room, and I didn't want to ring it and wake him up since he had to wake up early for work the next day, I ended up calling Lance who, of course, came to my rescue, but I just started crying and crying.

I know I'm recovering. I know I'm only a week post op. I hate feeling so damned helpless.

Art drugged me before he left for work at 7 and Lance is working from home today so I imagine I'll see him close to my next med time of 10.


Here's hoping today is a better day than yesterday.


This is really hard for Art. I'm sure it's hard for Lance too, but it's harder for Art. I don't know why they're so different in how they cope with this, but they are. In some ways I feel it's harder for Art than it is for me.

And this is hard because I don't know how to be better for him. I don't know what I can do to make it easier for him. I don't know how to help. I can't hug him or snuggle him. He doesn't deal well with me being so loopy and confused. And he acts like I couldn't possibly know what he's going through which is... distressing.

It's just hard. And it's another layer of complication/challenge that makes the actual recovery even harder to deal with.

[Art and I had a LOOOOONG talk about this. I'm sure I wrote more about it later. Basically, he just can't deal with me being so not-Gwen. It really sucks for him. And then it sucks for me.]

11/14/17 (later)

I had my first post-op follow-up with my surgeon today. Yay. Everything looks great! He says that there's a ton of swelling and bruising but that's to be expected and I did expect it.

Sadly my left drain is still not ready to come out however he showed me how to remove it myself so Art or Lance can do that once it's under 30ml two consecutive days in a row. He took my right drain out yay.

He needs to order compression gear for me, so I'm still in ACE wraps, which is okay. I can try the gear I ordered myself when I get home. I assume I'll end up needing to order a larger size for temporary use due to all the swelling. So much swelling.

No strap for my legs. (He put the fear of spreading my legs into me at my pre-op appointment, so I've been keeping them strapped together when I sleep so I don't accidentally spread them.) I actually need to keep them slightly spread and with a fan pointed at my crotch to help things stay dry. [Apparently I was keeping my crotch too moist with the strapping.]

He says I should be wrapping my feet for the swelling. And massage and ice. My feet are so painfully swollen.

So this is all good news and about what I expected especially with the left drain still draining so much. Awesome that we can pull it ourselves though!!

Next follow-up is 12/5. When we get home I'll check the size on the compression gear I bought already and order larger if necessary.

I'm down to 1/4 valium at night and I will be going to 1.5 oxy every 6 hours from the 2 I'm doing now. [I'd started out with 1 valium (5mg) every 6 hours and 2 oxy (5mg each) every 6 hours - alternating the 6 hours so I was getting one or the other every 3 hours. Getting to only need a teeny bit of valium at night was a HUGE sign of improvement for me.]

This is all good news and I feel good about it.

11/14/17 (later)

The compression garments I ordered pre-op are, indeed, too small. I ordered mediums, which should fit (and did fit) based on my pre-op measurements. However, SWELLING! Yay! So they don't fit now. I ordered two new pairs - one large and one extra large. (Can I tell you how f'd up it is to have lost 170 pounds, had a ton of reconstructive surgery, and have to buy a garment that's XL?) Since I was already paying $arm+$leg for the garments I decided to pay a bit more for 2 day shipping so they should be here Thursday or Friday depending on when the order was processed.

So, at the moment, I'm still wearing ACE wraps and that's okay.


Recap: Yesterday I had my first follow-up. One drain removed, the other not. Got 55ml out of it today so, yeah, it's not coming out any time soon! (It needs to be at 30ml two days in a row for removal. But, hey, I'd rather have it in and removing stuff!)

Compression garments I had pre-ordered didn't fit because of swelling, new ones will arrive on Friday. Can't wait since ACE bandages are annoying. I was seriously thinking that my hips were just BIG and that this was a fact of my body but, no, apparently I've just got a lot of swelling. The drain doesn't bother me, so whatever, it's just a thing. (It does bonk the guys in the head when they're wrapping my legs, probably annoys them more than me!) I love showers.

Last night: Last night was a bad night. I'd done the compression thing for my feet and, in the middle of the night, I was in agony. Like my feet had decided to grow 10 sizes but the compression hadn't. I was able to unloop the ACE bandage from my left foot with my big toe from my right foot and my reacher/grabber tool but, try as I might, I could not get relief with my right foot. This was at 3:45am and I knew that Art would be coming to medicate me at 7am and that he had just medicated me at 1am, so I considered waiting, but it hurt too much so I rang my wireless doorbell. I rang it four times and nothing. I could hear it ringing, but no movement or anything from Art. On the fifth time I just held it down and finally I heard him move. Argh! He unwrapped my foot and I finally stopped doing everything I was doing that wasn't sleeping and went to sleep after that.

Today: I'm still oozing from a few places. I'm looking forward to my "crotch fan" arriving because that's a challenging area to keep dry (no thigh gap when there's swelling, yo) and I know that dry will help with the ooze. My surgeon suggested wearing boy shorts because they've got no elastic at the bottom of the leg but I can't figure out why because then I just ooze on the panties instead of the pads on the chair. And since I can't really bend over, it's significantly easier to change chair pads than panties. I mean, I guess when I leave the house, if I ever leave the house again, I'll want to wear panties but until them? Meh.

When I woke up this morning I decided to change my medication schedule. My main pain management meds are valium (5mg) and oxy (5mg). I can take the valium one pill every six hours and I can take the oxy one to two pills every four to six hours. In the beginning, I was taking max dosing (almost) and take one or the other every 3 hours. Then I tried to cut back the oxy but realized I was not ready for that but was, however, ready to cut back the valium. Valium helps with muscle cramping, but it's the main culprit for making me dopey. So I got to the point where I was taking 1/4 valium just before bed. Woo! Oxy, however... thorn in my proverbial side and everyone else's since it was making someone (and me) wake up in the middle of the night for one dose. I had gotten back to 1.5 pills from the 2 I had been taking, so at least there was that.

This morning I decided "screw things, I'm tired of messing up everyone's sleeping schedule" and decided that oxy is now 8am, 3pm, and 10pm. I also have an "emergency" pill in a pill cup just in case I wake up in the middle of the night in agony, but this seems unlikely. I did 1.5 oxy for my first two doses of the day and then went with 1 for my 10pm dose, and you know? I'm feeling pretty darned great. So yay! And end to oxy is in sight! [LOL, little did I know.]

And it's not like today was some lazy, easy day that made fewer pain pills possible. Oh no. Today was an AWESOME PRODUCTIVE DAY!!

Art was on Gwen-duty which was great for the aforementioned issues he's been having, since I really turned a corner yesterday so I'm much more myself now. Which he needs for his own mental health. He only had to work four hours this morning and then he helped me :) I've been dealing with stress and anxiety due to the messiness of the house right now. Lots of surgery stuff all over the place and lots of things that I'd normally take care of all over the place as well. Plus the 50 billion boxes from my new dishes. And the dishes themselves needed to be put away which required moving other stuff to have a place in which to put the dishes!

All this clutter has been driving me to a bad place, but even if the guys are home during the day they're still working and I don't want to ask them to take care of the stuff when I can't help. But today Art finished work at noon and I COULD help!! So we formed a game plan and we got everything taken care of. It was amazing. [And this is the day I blame for overdoing it, which you'll read more about later.]

And we talked a lot. That was the best part. [This was a really great day with Art. We both needed the us-time.]

And that was pretty much my day. I'm still not self-sufficient but I'm getting better. I can't wrap my lower legs, nor can I wash them. I need someone with me to get in and out of the shower just for safety reasons. I can get out of my chair with no issues, but I need help getting back into it due to pillow placement to keep my feet raised. I am super pleased with my progress considering I'm only 9 days post-op.


After I made yesterday's late night post, my night went bad. I had to get up and go to the bathroom, which I can do by myself but, as I've said, getting back in my chair is something I cannot do by myself. I should have summoned Art, but I didn't because of REASONS. (He and I have since had a long talk about these REASONS and resolved them, so in the future I will summon him if he's on nighttime Gwen-duty.)

I actually managed to get back into my chair through creative use of my cane, so I was feeling pretty proud of myself. (It's hard because there are multiple pillows that go under my legs to keep them elevated for the purpose of attempting to reduce swelling.) But then, on the topic of swelling, my left foot started hurting a LOT. I need compression on my feet and ACE bandages don't really work, but yesterday I remembered I had these compression socks that I'd gotten years ago for plantar fasciitis and they didn't fit then (since those were pre-op days) but they fit now so I wore those yesterday and they were great but in the middle of the night they got not great.

So I can't bend over to reach my feet and take my socks off. Again, I should have summoned Art but didn't for REASONS. So I struggled a LOT and managed to get the left one off with my right big toe. There was no way I could get the right one off, so it just stayed on, but it wasn't hurting so that was okay. I think the issue was that the left sock wasn't on exactly right and the location of the heel was causing my heel to hurt a LOT.

When Art gets up to give me my morning meds I'm feeling grumpy, tired, hurty, and generally crummy. He and I had a productive talk though, and future nights will be better. I have also decided that foot compression is awesome but ONLY during the day/when someone else is home to remove the foot compression if necessary.

Now the actual day! It's Thursday! Art was on Gwen-duty and it's been a decent day. Although the crotch fan that arrived on Wednesday is apparently a janky crotch fan because the USB connection at the fan is totally unstable. So.. I need to get a different crotch fan. We also made a change to the leg pillow situation, so we'll see how that goes. It might have the added benefit of letting me get into the chair by myself, which would be excellent!

New medication schedule seems okay. [Everyone, including me, is much happier getting to sleep through the night.] When I woke up I did not feel awesome so I opted for 1.5 oxy, but for my second dose of the day I went with 1. I'll do 1 at my last dose too. Even with all the aggravation in the night I didn't touch my emergency oxy, so that's really super.

So... I think that's everything. Every day is a little better. Art and I are learning all about the flaws in our relationship which is TOTALLY AWESOME (not) but we're also talking about a lot of them, which IS totally awesome so I feel good about this. It's an extra level of stress I could really do without, but I think we're handling it well and I think it'll benefit us in the long run.

Oh, I guess the other thing is I had the realization of "why am I even bothering to us TP?" It's chaffing and what's the point to just use these amazing wipes when I poop if I have a billion of them and there's no reason not to use them every time I use the bathroom? So I made that change and it's been an instant quality of life improvement. :) A billion equals 24 packs of 8 wipes each. So...... yeah. Lots and lots.

I have ordered so many random things for surgery recovery. All those things you never would have thought about and it's sort of ridiculous. I'm sure, over all three surgeries, it's been like $1000 extra in random supplies.

Okay, I'm done writing now. I need to find a new fan that isn't janky and a better leg pillow. When I got the current one Lance commented on how narrow it is and now that I'm using it yes... yes it is very narrow.

P.S. I hate the smell of post-surgery Gwen. I hate the oozy, healing flesh smell. I hate it with the burning passion of a thousand suns.

11/16/17 (later)

BEST DAY OF MY LIFE. :D I was able to get back into my chair all by myself!! Changing the leg pillow was the key - we tried this leg pillow earlier in my recovery and it wasn't feasible at that time due to my mobility, but I guess this is evidence that my mobility has improved because this leg pillow now works! And, apparently, it also lets me get back into my chair all by myself!!

This is such a HUGE relief because it means that Art and Lance can get on with their lives instead of constantly having to negotiate Gwen-duty.

So as far as acts of daily living (ADL) go, I can do personal hygiene and grooming, toileting, transferring (although I have yet to try a bed), and eating. I can't shower without help and depending on what I'm wearing I can't dress without help either. But I'm good enough to be left at home by myself for the day. :D

For instrumental acts of daily living (IADL) well, yeah, I'm not so great there. I can manage money (as I will experience tomorrow when I go through the box of mail the guys have been accumulating for me and pay bills) and I can communicate through various methods. The rest of them? Lolz

I'm also super slow and easily distractible, but I finish things once I remember I was doing them.

I've still got a long, long way to go, but my first major goal of recovery was to get to the point where Art and Lance didn't have to modify their work schedules to take care of me and I am so freaking thrilled that I am there now. Art is choosing to work from home tomorrow as planned, because he'll feel better if he does. But that's his call because he wants to, not because I need him to.

O frabjous day!

11/16/17 (later)

[How quickly the tide turns...]

My incision by my right knee looks bad. There's a big red spot next to it and it seems like the incision might be separating a little. It definitely doesn't look "closed" like all the other incisions do. And it's oozy.

It does not feel hot to the touch. I do not feel feverish nor do I have a fever. It doesn't hurt. (Which is dumb to say since of course everything hurts, but it doesn't hurt more or differently than anything else.)

So I opted to take a picture and emailed it to my surgeon [this was at 11pm] and his office person. Because it doesn't seem like an emergency to me. I'm sure I'll hear from one of them by sometime tomorrow and get told 1) keep doing what you're doing, 2) do this other thing you're not doing, 3) go to local ER for a few stitches, or 4) come to the office/hospital immediately.

I'm not so much worried as I am perplexed and concerned. And it's gross looking.


And this is why I love my doc. He emailed at 11:30:

Hi! It's a little hard to tell from the pic. Likely you're having a lot of swelling and that's why it's oozing some. There is glue there as well so hard to tell. There may be some superficial separation but something to keep an eye on. You can put Silver gel on it and keep it covered with the nonstick dressing. As long as not warm then unlikely any infection. Also keep your legs up as much as possible and although I want you to walk frequently for blood flow, just don't overdo it. Let me know if anything changes. I can see you next week if there are any concerns.


I hate making posts like this but I promised I would be totally transparent and complete in my documentation.

Backstory: Every so often I get horrible horrific cramps in my calves. Tends to happen on days I walk a lot - like GenCon days. The pain is sort of the worst charlie horse imaginable, times a billion, and none of the normal tricks to alleviate a charlie horse work. Heat helps and that's about it.

Pre-op I mentioned this to my surgeon and asked what to do if it happened post-op. He said it was likely a magnesium issue and I should increase magnesium during recovery.

Now there is magnesium in my bone supplement and I also put some magnesium citrate in my morning protein shake. I asked the guys, who have bee making my shakes, to double the magnesium in the first days post-op when I tend to be so overwhelmed with surgery meds that I don't bother to take my regular meds (vitamins and Vyvanse). I started taking my regular meds 3-4 days ago so told my shake makers they could stop doubling the magnesium in my shakes. (Correlation and causation being what they are, I'm just sharing all of this for the sake of completion.) [They've gone back to doubling the magnesium in my morning shake.]

And now for last night.

Art had Gwen-duty. (Night duty is determined by who has day duty the next day. As the person who needs to actually go into the office the next day is the one who gets the uninterrupted night of sleep.)

At 5:30am or so, my calves started feeling the aforementioned way. Or a proto version of it. It was bad. I was literally whimpering in pain. I tried to shift some to alleviate it and realized that nothing I could do would help, so I push my magical button of Art summoning. And thank the universe that he heard it on the first ring and came to me immediately.

I was totally incoherent. I couldn't explain to him what was going on due to pain brain. I just ordered him around. He put the (most amazing omg) heating pad on my legs and he gave me a 1/4 valium. (My surgeon had said, at the first surgery, that valium was for the muscle tightness pain, so that's why I asked for it.) Art stayed with me until he knew there was nothing else I was going to ask him for and then went back to bed - always the right call when you're not 100% if you'll need to take someone to ER later. Get the sleep you can when you can. [In retrospect I'm amazed that he just did what I told him to do without asking questions since he's the type of person who asks a billion questions about everything. Clearly he could tell I just needed action, no questions asked. And he gave that to me which is the best gift he could have given me in that moment.]

And eventually the combination of heat and valium did the trick. My pain subsided and I fell asleep.

This morning I'm still feeling a little crampy but the heat feels wonderful. I'm also exhausted and will likely zonk out shortly after posting this. At 8am Art got up to give me my morning oxy (back to 10mg, ugh) and my breakfast shake (back to double the magnesium). He got me situated back in my chair after I used the bathroom. And I just started sobbing. Ugly crying. And I had to explain to him that I wasn't crying because of how I felt physically, or because I'd had surgery, or for any of those reasons. I was sobbing because I know that last night must have been really scary for him due to my incoherence and I've been on the Art side of this equation before and it's horrible and scary and miserable and I was sobbing because I was overwhelmed by how horrible I felt knowing that I was responsible for putting someone through that.

I'm glad Art had already planned on working from home today and didn't change that plan even though I'm okay to be left alone now thanks to yesterday's successful chair ensconcement. I think it would be mentally bad for me to be alone today and I also find his presence comforting even if he's working and I'm doing whatever it is I'll be doing.

Which, at this moment, is zonking out. The last few sentences have had some very long blinks. Hopefully they're legible!

11/17/17 (later)

My project for the day - going through 11 days of accumulated mail! [The guys have been putting all the mail in a box for me because they know I'm, um, a control freak. So best to collect it all and let me go through it when I can. Fun times - separating junk from real mail, paying bills, etc. So wonderful to feel up to this sort of task!]

11/17/17 (later)

[This was shortly past midnight.]

Of course things always happen at night when you can't do anything about it aside from rushing to the ER and, really, rushing to the ER is not always the answer.

The place I posted about yesterday, by my right knee, seems to be a bit better today with the combination of silver gel and nonstick pads. So that's a good thing.


Going into this surgery I knew that the primary place for complications is where the thigh meets the groin. Is there a name for this area? I don't know. It's hard to explain and it's hard to find pictures and it's hard to take a picture due to location. So imagine that this incision is shaped like a T. The long part goes down the middle of the thigh and the top of the T is in the crease between the thigh and pubic area. Where the bars of the T meet is the place that's most likely to have issues and this makes sense because, aside from the shoulder, the hip is the most movable area in the body.

At my post-op on Tuesday, my surgeon said I should be keeping my crotch dry (crotch fan, lol!) and "packing it" with nonstick padding. The first fan I got sucked, but I've been packing it and changing the pads whenever I toilet. I've also been ridiculously vigilant about cleaning myself after toileting with the amazing wipes I've got.

I initially noticed that there was a bit of light red oozy mark on the left side when I removed the padding, but I've had similar things before with other incisions for previous surgeries, so I haven't been worried. (It's on the left thigh, down the long side of the T a few inches.) But then I noticed there was a second red spot that was quite a bit more red and I investigated that tonight. It's at the cross of the T and there's actually a hole there :/ It's maybe the size of a penny and looks like a centimeter deep max. Clearly this is the classic location for the primary complication for this surgery. No signs of infection at all, to which I attribute my vigilance with Wipes of Awesomeness. I do have some pain but, hello, I've had surgery so of course there is pain. But there is a HOLE and that's a bit scary.

So I emailed my surgeon and we'll see what he recommends me to do. I'm not feeling panicked, just concerned.


Otherwise, I'm feeling pretty great!


Here's the email I sent him at midnight:

So the place I emailed about yesterday is looking a bit better I think.

However... I know you told me that the most likely place for complication/opening was right where the thigh meets the pubic area. I don't know the specific name for this, so I stole an image from your instagram and marked it up. (Not really an area that's easy to take a picture of!!) The black lines are supposed to represent the incisions and the red spots are the problem areas.

The lower red spot (the distal one) has been a bit oozy like some other spots I've had. It looks like there might be a little teeny bit of separation, but nothing that I haven't experienced before. No signs of infection. I've been packing it with an ABD pad and I've been SUPER vigilant about cleaning myself after toileting.

But then I noticed that when I was changing the ABD pad there was a separate red spot - this one is more red. The distal spot is like that clearer type oozy color but this proximal spot is much more blood red colored. I'm not sure why I didn't think to myself "Hey, there's a second red spot, that's weird" but I didn't until tonight. And tonight I investigated and found the proximal spot that I've marked on the attached picture.

This spot looks like what I would call a hole. It's maybe the diameter of a penny and it looks to be maybe a centimeter deep. I'd try to find a picture online of what it looks like, but they're too gross for me to look through - and it doesn't look as gross as any of the pictures online!

I'm sorry this has turned into a novel. I'm trying to give you all the information I can instead of a panicked email that has nothing useful!

So.. what should I do? I figure the obvious is to keep on keeping it clean. Tonight I put silver gel on both the groin spots and the knee spot. I've got ABD pads compressed on all the spots.

Should I just keep doing that and, eventually, things will heal from the inside out? Should I come see you next week? Should I go to my local ER right away? I've got a follow up scheduled with you in 25 days and if you say I should just keep silver gel + packing + keeping an eye on things for signs of infection I'll believe you, but if you tell me that I need to go to the closest ER right now, I'd do that too. You're the expert here!

I was definitely overly active on Tuesday and Wednesday because I really felt, finally, like I had turned the recovery corner and was on the right path. So I wouldn't be surprised if I overdid it somehow - not that I'm aware of actually doing anything that caused this new hole!

So.. please advise. I'm not feeling panicked - more just concerned and clueless.

After my shower I finally got to put on compression gear. I basically have a compression girdle (like from my LBL) that goes all the way to the ankle. Of course, with all the swelling, the XL fits best. I've got a line of non-stick pads down the incision. I have an ABD pad at each knee (since it's hard to keep a line of pads where you want it when it comes to knees). I've got an ABD pad on each side of my groin/thigh juncture. And there's one over the drain that has yet to be removed. Being in compression gear feels SO GOOD, especially compared to ACE bandages.

I also got my CEP compression socks that fit well and are lovely. Good/correct supplies make such a huge quality of life improvement for all of these recoveries.

11/1*****ey! That's today!)

At 10am my surgeon emailed [it's via his phone]:

Hi! Sounds like you have some small areas of separation. As long as not red wouldn't be concerned. They will likely ooze a little bc if all the swelling in general. You can use the silver on it and dry dressing. Take it you know. Also minimize stretching of the area. Let me know if anything changes. Should be ok. Happy to see you if things change or you're concerned. Lots of protein as well. Hang in there.


I made the requisite "protein til you vomit" joke and I feel good about this. I like that he says to come in if things change OR just if I feel concerned and like I need to see him. This is one of the many reasons I love this doctor.

11/18/17 (later)

You know.. this requires a lot of consumable medical supplies. Sheesh. I've been doing the math so I can get things ordered, etc. None of the supplies needed are expensive (especially if ordered in bulk from Amazon vs. gotten at CVS due to immediate need) but even something that's 13.5 cents adds up when you use ~20 of them a day. Pantyliners are awesome, but you can't actually use them for everything.

So I ordered a case of ABD pads, which are my main BFF right now. The most I'll use in a day is 22 since I need 6 at garmenting time and then 4 every time I toilet. I toilet about 3 times a day, but I mathed it out using 4 just to be on the safe side.

I can order a case of 400, which is the cheapest per-pad price, but of course this isn't available with 2-day shipping so it'll arrive on the 28th. My second cheapest per-pad price won't arrive until the 27th so I ordered 50 of those (since even though I have 400 coming on the 28th, you can't plan on WHEN they'll arrive on delivery day). I had, however, already ordered 50 at this rate and those are coming on the 24th. So then I got to fill in the gaps with the third cheapest per-pad price. Again, I had already ordered 50 of these that are arriving on the 19th, so I ordered an additional 75 that are arriving on the 20th.

I then also ordered a second case of the AWESOME AMAZING WIPES that I've been using for toileting. This is a ****ton of wipes, but they're astoundingly awesome and I credit my lack of infection to my vigilant use of them.

I assume that, given I've ordered all of this, I will heal quickly and have a ton of extra supplies, but I figure that I can easily donate the extra pads to the local hospice and the extra wipes to the local shelter and that those donations will be very appreciated. (The wipes are basically like waterless wash clothes. They're large and thick.) So..

The ABD pads work out to 13.5-27.9 cents per pad depending on the option. The wipes are 46.8 cents each. So, yeah, it all adds up :/ Oh well. It's only money and this is what credit cards are for :P

My other major supply needs right now are anti-itch spray (Lance is picking up a bottle while out and I have a few being delivered on Wednesday), gentle tape (which I always call dog tape), and silver gel. I have a TON of dog tape and enough silver gel to tide me over until more arrives on Monday.

I'm also still using a lot of non-stick pads (I think of them as tefla pads because that's what they were called by the medical staff when I first learned of their existence decades ago) and silk medical tape. I recently got huge orders of those things delivered, so we're all set for a while.

My new crotch fan (lol) should arrive today along with my new leg elevation pillow (I had gotten one for surgery #1 but never really used it. Lance commented on how narrow it was at 16" but, again, since I didn't really use it this wasn't an issue. Now I'm using it all the time and, yes, it is a bit too narrow. I measured the width of the chair seat and it's ~22", so I was able to find a new pillow that's ~20" and should work perfectly.) [The new pillow came and they sent me the wrong one. ARGH. It's only 15" which is even smaller than the one I was replacing!! So now I have to wait even longer for their correction replacement to arrive. Grumble.]

Some day I might want to go back through our Amazon records and determine just how much money I've spent on both durable and consumable medical good for these surgeries, but today is not that day. I just know that it's a hell of a lot of money. (Although probably just a teeny drop in the bucket compared to the cost of the actual surgeries!) I'm glad we switched over to the Amazon store card because that 5% cash back is certainly lovely.

11/18/17 (later)

[And then there's the super sad update.]

Due to these minor complications, I have made the absolutely heart breaking decision to cancel Thanksgiving. (I.e., to tell my mom not to come for the long weekend.) While we knew going into things that this was always going to be a potential, it really, really, really sucks to have to take that option.

She's with my brother and nephew now, so I sent her a long email so she could have their presence to support/bolster her because I know this will break her heart too.

We had already decided to do a non-traditional/easy meal for Thanksgiving and do actual Thanksgiving dinner when we're together at the end of December, so that won't change at all. But this complication, while annoying physically, is really, really draining emotionally/mentally and I have zero spell points/spoons/pick your metaphor.

I also know that, if she were to be here, I would be less likely to "take it easy" so I'm hopeful that increasing my chances of taking it easy this week will also increase my chances of a great end of December vacation. Which seems like the right trade off to make.

But, dammit, having to make this decision really, really sucks.

[She has since responded and was SUPER gracious and understanding. But still. It hurts to have to cancel. This is only the second time I'll have canceled Thanksgiving since 2000.]

11/18/17 (now)

So that's everything. I know that this probably sounds pretty horrible, but seriously, I'm feeling positive about life in general and I know this is all temporary and I know that my doctor is amazing and I trust him completely. He warned me that recovery from this surgery would be the worst although I didn't quite believe him because how could this be worse than muscle tightening of the LBL? But he was right. Legs are pretty frequently used things, so it makes sense that recovering from this surgery would be the worst. It also sucks since it's not like I can see any benefit from the surgery at this point due to all the swelling and bruising. But I don't regret it at all and I know that, in a few weeks or months, I'll be totally thrilled and these minor complications will be small blip on the radar of my history.

If you made it this far - wow. You deserve a cookie. There's probably other stuff I could have included, but this is what it is. Feel free to ask questions :)

And now it's time for me to put actual clothes on (OMG) and leave the house (OMG?!) to go to the theater to watch Murder on the Orient Express. I'm really looking forward to getting out of the house and so happy that our theater has lovely reclining chairs that make this possible :)

VSG with Dr. Salameh - 3/13/2014
Diagnosed with Binge Eating Disorder and started Vyvanse - 7/22/2016
Reconstructive Surgeries with Dr. Michaels - 6/5/2017 (LBL & brachioplasty), 8/14/2017 (UBL & mastopexy), 11/6/2017 (medial leg lift)

Age 41 Height 5'4" HW 319 (1/3/2014) SW 293 (3/13/2014) CW 149 (7/16/2017)
Next Goal 145 - normal BMI | Total Weight Lost 170

TrendWeight | Food Blog (sort of functional) | Journal (down for maintenance)

on 11/18/17 2:43 pm
RNY on 07/23/14

The legs are a long haul.... remember these are minor complications. You will get past them. I remember Dr M saying the legs has the highest rate of minor complications....

Sorry about Thanksgiving :(

Cynthia 5'11" RNY 7/23/2014

Maintaining a 220lb Weight Loss
Plastic Surgery Dr. Joseph Michaels - LBL and Hernia Repair 2/29/16, Arm Lift, BL, 5/2/16, Leg Lift 7/25/16

Need to get back to Basics? The Five Day Meat Test



Gwen M.
on 11/19/17 11:50 am
VSG on 03/13/14

Yup, I tell myself that a lot. "Just minor complications." And I'm seeing no signs of infection so... it's just a matter of being patient and following would care protocol of silver + dressings.


VSG with Dr. Salameh - 3/13/2014
Diagnosed with Binge Eating Disorder and started Vyvanse - 7/22/2016
Reconstructive Surgeries with Dr. Michaels - 6/5/2017 (LBL & brachioplasty), 8/14/2017 (UBL & mastopexy), 11/6/2017 (medial leg lift)

Age 41 Height 5'4" HW 319 (1/3/2014) SW 293 (3/13/2014) CW 149 (7/16/2017)
Next Goal 145 - normal BMI | Total Weight Lost 170

TrendWeight | Food Blog (sort of functional) | Journal (down for maintenance)

Cecily C.
on 11/18/17 4:27 pm - CA
VSG on 02/22/17

Gracious, your recovery sounds like a lot to go through! I appreciate all detail as I know I'll be there one day. I live alone though and anticipate hiring a home care person for a few days, but I'm wondering how the heck I do this by myself after the initial few days?

Ht: 6' HWEver: 338 StartW: 282.8 SurgeryW: 268.9 GW: 170 CW: 166.2

Pre-Op:-17 M1:-17.8 M2:-12.2 M3:-9 M4:-12 M5:-11 M6:-8.4 M7:-10.2 M8:-11.4 M9:-6.8 M10:-7 Goal reached 11/9/17! (37 weeks, 1 day) First plastics (LBL, medial thigh lift, fat transfer to rear) 5/08/18

Gwen M.
on 11/19/17 11:52 am
VSG on 03/13/14

This has definitely been challenging and, honestly, the mental challenge of not having to deal with minor complications is almost worse than the complications themselves.

I know people do manage this recovery while living alone, but I know that there is no way I could be one of those people.

VSG with Dr. Salameh - 3/13/2014
Diagnosed with Binge Eating Disorder and started Vyvanse - 7/22/2016
Reconstructive Surgeries with Dr. Michaels - 6/5/2017 (LBL & brachioplasty), 8/14/2017 (UBL & mastopexy), 11/6/2017 (medial leg lift)

Age 41 Height 5'4" HW 319 (1/3/2014) SW 293 (3/13/2014) CW 149 (7/16/2017)
Next Goal 145 - normal BMI | Total Weight Lost 170

TrendWeight | Food Blog (sort of functional) | Journal (down for maintenance)

Laura in Texas
on 11/19/17 5:00 am

Thanks for taking the time to write this. I know you will help a lot of people.

I hope you feel better soon!! Happy healing!!

Laura in Texas

52 years old; 5'7" tall; HW: 339 (BMI=53); GW: 140 CW: 150 (BMI=24)

RNY: 09-17-08 Dr. Garth Davis

brachioplasty: 12-18-09 Dr. Wainwright; lbl/bl: 06-28-11 Dr. LoMonaco

"If what you're doing doesn't work, change what you're doing - don't complain that it doesn't work."

Gwen M.
on 11/19/17 11:53 am
VSG on 03/13/14

Thanks! I'm getting there.. just slooooowly.

VSG with Dr. Salameh - 3/13/2014
Diagnosed with Binge Eating Disorder and started Vyvanse - 7/22/2016
Reconstructive Surgeries with Dr. Michaels - 6/5/2017 (LBL & brachioplasty), 8/14/2017 (UBL & mastopexy), 11/6/2017 (medial leg lift)

Age 41 Height 5'4" HW 319 (1/3/2014) SW 293 (3/13/2014) CW 149 (7/16/2017)
Next Goal 145 - normal BMI | Total Weight Lost 170

TrendWeight | Food Blog (sort of functional) | Journal (down for maintenance)

on 11/19/17 5:43 am - Jacksonville, FL
VSG on 09/29/17

Thank you for the effort you put into posting this. My "problem" areas are going to be legs due to lymphadema and other various issues. So... this might be something that will be in my far future. Having this info will prove invaluable.

Thank you again and I'm so happy things are improving for you. You are brave and you must send us pics when everything is sorted out. I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers (especially for the night times). It gets very lonely at 3 am when you are in pain and need something that you can't do for yourself. I understand not wanting to wake someone and disturb their sleep.

You are an inspiration!


VSG with Dr. Wanchick - Sept 29 2017

Age 52 Height 5'2" HW 585 (2012) Initial Consult Weight 522 SW 460 (9/29/2017) CW 350 (4/5/2018) Next Goal 325 Starting BMI 95.5 Current BMI 64.0

Pre-Op: 62 M1: 36 M2: 20 M3: 15 M4: 19 M5: 10 M6: 10 M7: ?

Gwen M.
on 11/19/17 11:54 am
VSG on 03/13/14

Thank you!

Yes, I definitely have been trying to avoid summoning help in the night but, I've also decided I just need to get over that. They'd rather that I summon them to help so I don't damage myself and I should suck it up and ask for help.

VSG with Dr. Salameh - 3/13/2014
Diagnosed with Binge Eating Disorder and started Vyvanse - 7/22/2016
Reconstructive Surgeries with Dr. Michaels - 6/5/2017 (LBL & brachioplasty), 8/14/2017 (UBL & mastopexy), 11/6/2017 (medial leg lift)

Age 41 Height 5'4" HW 319 (1/3/2014) SW 293 (3/13/2014) CW 149 (7/16/2017)
Next Goal 145 - normal BMI | Total Weight Lost 170

TrendWeight | Food Blog (sort of functional) | Journal (down for maintenance)

on 11/19/17 11:34 am
VSG on 10/25/16

Thanks for taking the time to post about your recovery. I noticed that, unlike most other plastics, there wasn't much out there to prepare me for this recovery.

I had my medial thigh lift on 11/7 and thankfully, other than the drains still being in and still lots of drainage I have had an uneventful and far less pain full than expected recovery so far. But oh yes, it hurt!

Keeping the groin area clean and dry is the hardest and most time consuming thing. Especially those first days when I felt like my thighs were on fire while sitting on the (ada height) toilet. I was almost grateful for those few days of constipation.

Yesterday was my first try with a compression garment, because i am trying to increase my fluid intake and maneuvering the garment to open the crouch slit was harder than I expected I managed to pee all over it with in an hour of getting it, on dealing with the drains and straightening the seams which took at least half an hour ... back to the elastic wraps for now!

my thighs have always been large. 30" the night before my WLS. The surgeon removed just over 4 pounds of skin, I did not have any liposuction. My thighs are still a bit swollen but measure 22" , down from 26" on 11/6.worth every bit of pain.

I also had my upper arms done. I had a manic moment last night and tried on my tiniest cloths. Size 8 slips on over my arms and legs with room to spare. Getting my lower body lift and boobs in a few months!

To think that size 14 was my DREAM SIZE just a few months ago.

Gwen I do have questions about my drains. One still has bloody drainage, even some clots, the other one is peach tinted. I am still getting about 100cc in 24 hours. Surgeon isn't concerned but i am already sick of having blood buckets dangling between my legs... how is your output?

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