Thursday – March 13
Been counting down the days for 6 weeks, the day has finally arrived. The last few were very busy getting things done, time passed quickly. Easy flight from Dallas, non-stop on American, only 1 hour 40 minutes. Landed at MTY and went though the Mexican visitor area, travel area…simple forms about your visit. Then on to customs, pushed button about a random check..they only checked 1 of our 4 bags. This all around the baggage claim area. Dr. Sauceda was there waiting for us.
First impressions were, he is taller than I thought, nice looking, mid 30’s, well dressed, very good English…not as good as Alverez..but very good. He drove us in his SUV, very comfy, this was 4ish….traffic very busy. He said it is like that each day from 7am to 9pm….I would not rent a car!! There are some serious crazy drivers!
He took us to this office, which is one floor above the clinic where the surgery is done and recover. He had to go see a patient with broken nose so he let us wait in his office and returned about 30 minutes later.
The office is small but nice, marble floors, decorated, very nice. We began process with him filling out some paperwork and looked over my medical tests, EKG, blood work, etc….explained how some of the numbers and levels worked with recovery and that everything looked fine.
Then moved to an examination area, and put on a gown…the exam is very thorough, spent about 90 minutes with examination, marking up the body area for surgery, measurements, and photos. He then took us to our hotel, HoJo at Macro Plaza, which is 15 minutes away in traffic. We should have booked the Hampton Inn…it is just a short walk away, McDonalds next door to it, movie theater, huge HEB, Applebees, etc, and large mall, Gallerias around the corner. It is the ideal location for recovery. Oh well, I had already paid for this at the HOJO so I am stuck for 10 days. .
The HOJO is nice, on the MarcoPlaza…the room is decent size, 1 king bed and they had a recliner brought in for me to rest and sleep in. Wireless internet, TV is ok…maybe 4-5 channels in English. Microwave and small frig in room…no freezer area. Front Desk staff speak English, right on a market place area with shops and food vendors, mcdonalds, BK….hotel has free breakfast buffet.
That evening caught a cab to walmart…it was a decent drive in traffic…hotel called the “cab”..not one of the green cabs you see everywhere…no meter..etc….rip off! At walmart we got some groceries and supplies for the room/trip. $35 dollars! Won’t have the hotel call us a cab again! Use the numerous green ones around town. They are very reasonable, and have POSTED cab fares. I just write down where I want to go and they drive me there. Very easy.
Friday – March 14
WOke up, took shower, washed hair…caught cab to meet Dr S at 7:30am on the 3rd
floor waiting area.
$3 cab ride, that’s decent price, gave him a $3.00 tip…not much traffic..maybe 5-7 minutes drive there. We arrived earlier than our 7:30 am time to meet Dr. S so we walked over the McDonalds and HEB. The HEB is huge and has anything and everything you could want from a store. It was very clean and had a vast selection of fresh fruits and veggies. We just walked around and took it all in. Hubby stopped in a McDonalds and got some breakfast. There is also a Starbucks next to it if you like that overpriced cup of java in the morning. We walked back to the clinic and met Dr. S in the reception area. I gave hubby a kiss, left him with the lap top, bunch of movies and his scrambled eggs. I felt he was in good hands. Dr. S took me back to the recovery area and had me change clothes into a gown. Got a little bit of a late start so since Dr. S’s wife is the anesthesiologist (very pretty lady), she gave me some amnesia drug so I don’t remember much of the surgery, even
though I was in there for 12 hours. He did the lipo and butt lift first, then the mini-tummy tuck. After that he did the breasts, 600cc gummy bear silicone implants, so I should be a full D or even a DD when the swelling goes down, exactly what I was hoping for. He did the arms last. This was my biggest problem area, he took off about 4 inches on each arm. They are substantially smaller, even with the swelling. Can’t wait to see them and use them in the future.
I stayed in recovery for a couple of hours. They put on my garments which I hated because they were too small, and was cutting into my crotch area. Went to sleep with minimal amount of pain.
This was hands down the worst day in this whole thing. I must admit I had some buyers remorse and wondered what the hell was I thinking to get this crap done voluntarily. First of all, the first time I got up I vomited and the room was spinning. This is pretty typical for me as I get nauseated very easily. The second time I got up I threw up again while trying to go to the bathroom. Hubby brought over my anti-nausea drug, Zofran (highly recommend getting some from your PCP before coming to get this done) It is the same drug they give chemo patients to help them not vomit from the cancer treatments. It hurt to get up, the too small garment was still cutting my crotch area. I had to stay an extra night at the hospital because Dr. S didn’t want me to leave if I was throwing up. I had to agree although the thought of a recliner covered in pillows was attractive at that point. He came to see me a few times during the day and evening to check on me.
Felt much better and no vomiting. Got up with assistance to go potty. I swear it is the lowest freaking toilet seat I have ever sat on! (exaggerating but it felt that way). If there is any way to bring one of those seat topper that raises it up 6 inches, bring it. Well worth the effort if you are getting a tummy tuck. Wish I had one right now. Got a new set of bigger garments, an XL instead of large. Big difference but still can’t snap the crotch as I am very tall, 5’11” and my torso is longer than average. Dr. S came to visit me at the hotel in the evening to bring me gauze to change out the dressings, some more pain meds (thank you very much!) and some more antibiotics to continue. I was able to get up and down off of the recliner with assistance and that is where I slept. Had a decent nights sleep but had hubby set the alarm clock to let me know when I need to take the meds. Dr. S told me I needed to have the crotch snapped on the garment but by now my butt was so swollen, J. Lo would have been jealous! He called his rep who got me a binder with Velcro as a substitute and it is much much better. I will use the other ones but not right now. Also, started my freaking period early just to add to the stress of everything else. Must be do to all the changes my body has been going through.
Dr. S. took out the lap band fluid during surgery, so I have no restriction. Shockingly, I am really not hungry at all but trying to drink my Muscle Milk Ready to Drink protein drinks and trying to make good choices about what to eat. We got some things at Walmart and I plan on going down for the free breakfast everyday as well as possibly a lunch downstairs. There is also a McDonalds and a Burger King in the market area if I want to be brave and venture out to try something. Went to bed and slept decent.
Feeling much better with minimal pain except in butt area. Moving around a lot more by myself and getting up and down out of the chair unassisted which is good because hubby is leaving in the morning. I did cry a little today, not from pain but I miss my 3 children so much and the thought of not seeing them for almost a week is tough but I will make it through. I got to take a shower today, hubby changed out my dressings and washed me and my hair. After that we went down to the hotel lobby for the lunch buffet, big waste of money for us WLS patients but no choice. It was $5.50 each. We also went walking in the market just looking into shop windows. It was fairly crowded and I ended up getting pretty hot so I cut it short and went back to hotel to rest. We watched part of a movie and then Dr. S came by in the evening and took my drains in the arms out!! Yeah. The belly one will be in until I leave most likely. I do notice that the more I get up and walk around and just move, the more fluid comes out in the bulb part. I am also drinking a butt load of water to help flush everything out. A pain to get up and down off the toilet but I will do anything to help the healing process so I can actually lay down on my side in the bed. The pain is similar to my c-sections, but this is better because I don’t have to take care of a newborn all night trying to recover from surgery. Big difference.
We have a friend who is an ICU nurse in Dallas. We talked to Dr. S about if we should keep the stitches in longer than when I have to leave which is 9 days out from surgery and he said he would prefer that I do that if someone can take them out for me. Hubby said that was fine except for the breasts because he doesn’t want his buddy to see his wife’s “rack” (his words, not mine). Hubby also showed him his loose belly skin from losing 115 lbs and Dr. S said that he needs a large tummy tuck and would be required to stay the same time as me, around 9-10 days. We will see if he follows through with it. Hubby packed up all the stuff and went to bed as we had to get up at 5:00 am for him to catch his flight.
Every day gets easier. Got hubby out of the hotel to catch a taxi to the airport. Went down at around 9:00 for a late breakfast and then walked around the market for a little while. Found a store that had some girdle type products that I wanted to try because my butt is huge from all the swelling. Bought one, got it back to hotel but even though it is an XL, it wasn’t going to fit me with all this swelling on my butt. So, here I sit in the hotel room, candle burning, no lights on so not to create more heat and typing in the blog. I have lots of school work to do this week and plan to get as much done as possible so I can rest at home and spend time with the kids.
Its lonely without Mike and I wished he could stay longer but he had to get back to the kiddos. Major storms in Dallas so my mom’s flight was cancelled to Tucson and Mike’s is delayed and they are stuck in San Antonio. Not sure what is going to happen with that as my mom has to get back to work and so does Mike. Hopefully things will get better this afternoon. Will type more later. Doc is supposed to come this afternoon/evening to check on me and will report back at that time.
Dr. S came this afternoon to check on me. He advised me not to go outside today as there is some unusually heavy winds pushing this dust around. So here I am, hanging out in the room as usual. Hubby got back to DFW safely, unfortunately my mom’s flight was completely cancelled until tomorrow night, but she DOES get to sit in first class, so not that bad, eh?
I have been draining my bulb in the abdomen but it doesn’t seem to be slowing down yet. In the last 24 hours I had like 220 cc’s. Dr. S won’t take it out until it is less than 30 cc a day. At least the stuff is getting out instead of causing an infection. Also, I have been going to bathroom like crazy and FINALLY went #2 today. I think it has been a week since I went before. I take Miralax to help with constipation and it works wonderfully. I think my lack of food intake, lack of Miralax while I was in the hospital and just the overall shock to my body has backed me up a bit. Not to worry, I have enough for the whole trip. You can buy a 2 month supply at Sam’s for $26.00. It used to be available by prescription only, but is now full strength over the counter. I have been using it for years, usually when I was on a low carb diet. Also, since I have had the band and cut calories a lot, I started using it again. It is safe enough to use everyday, your body doesn’t build up a tolerance to it. It is tasteless, odorless and I usually put it in a water bottle with some crystal light powder and have it every afternoon. So, if constipation is a problem with prior surgeries, please consider it.
Will write more tomorrow. My freaking butt is gynormous from the swelling and fat injections. I might have to get out some plus size clothes that I had put up for a few weeks. This is Day 4 of recovery, so far so good with zero complications. I get stronger and can walk longer each day than I could before. I am going to try and go shopping at the Galleria tomorrow and get one of those leg/butt girdles, but get it in a 2x as that is where a lot of swelling is going on compared to the rest of my body. Also, my skin seems to be very, very dry so I am going to get some Lubriderm type stuff tomorrow at the pharmacy located around the corner from the hotel. It’s very nice and clean. Hope I can find a girdle in my size. Good night!!
I haven’t written for two days and its not because I don’t have the time. I cried for the second time last night. I really miss my kids. This is the first time I have been away from them for more than 2 days so I am feeling lonely right now with Mike having left on Tuesday. I haven’t had anyone to talk to other than Dr. S when he comes to check on me everyday. Mike calls faithfully every night with the long distance calling card we bought before we left. I get to talk to the kids, ask them about their day, what they did, who they played with, just like I do at home. I tell them how much I miss them and how special they are to me. Sarah is 3 and has the most incredible vocabulary for her age. She talks like an adult. She asks me how am I feeling? Am I feeling much better? She tells me who at school she played with that day. She is so sweet and beautiful I cry right now just thinking about her.
Shelby is my 7 year old. She is the child who is most like me in temperament and personality. She’s a great kid, loves sports and watching TV. She adapts very well to new situations and is very self motivated. She made a new friend yesterday named Lilly. What does Lilly like to do, I asked. She likes to play with stuffed animals. Glad she has made a new friend.
Then there is my oldest son Sidney. Sidney is a very sweet boy with a highly introverted personality. It’s been challenging for him to make friends but he is doing so much better than even a year ago. He is smart, loving, and just a great kid. He struggles at school fitting in with his peers. Kids are very mean to anyone they perceive as “different”. In the evenings, he likes to just hang out on our bed and we just talk about things. He is so very special to me and I can’t begin to tell you how much I love him and the girls. They are my world and I would be an empty shell without them. What I find very interesting about this trip is that I have always thought that they needed me as their mom, but I am finding out that I need them just as much as they need me.
So, as I was counting days the days from 6 weeks to the surgery, now I count the days until I can get back home. 2 more days. Surely I can make it. It’s not that I haven’t had a good experience here in and with Dr. Sauceda. I have had a great one. His bedside manner, professionalism and just being a caring person is very apparent. He faithfully comes to see me everyday.
I am just a big chicken shit when it comes to going out in the market or walking around alone. Everyone stares at me. Big American lady in bright shirt with a drain attached to her pants. I am very tall, 5’11 plus being very pale skin, ancestry from and . I won’t leave the hotel unnecessarily because I am not comfortable going out exploring on my own. I have always been the renegade, the one who does things others wouldn’t have the nerve to do. Since I am recovering from these surgeries and I don’t want to bring home any kind of complications, I am staying right here, 90% in this room. I left on Wednesday to go the Galleria Mall, also by the Hampton Inn. It has a chili’s in it and was a very nice mall. In the food court it even had a KFC and Pizza Hut. I didn’t get to see much of the mall, as my rear end was killing me and very swollen on Wednesday. I went to Sears, bought what I came looking for and left. I do plan on going back tomorrow after I see Dr. S at his office at noon to have lunch at chilis and go back to Sears and buy two pillow cases. Looks like I will have to take one of the pillows I brought and intended to throw away here back with me on the plane. There is no way in heck I can fly back on that seat without it. They look pretty gross so I am getting a nice case for it. I can always use some nice king size pillow cases, right?
I popped one stitch under my arm and Dr. S is going to repair it tomorrow. Most likely from the small public restroom I used on Wednesday trying to get up off the toilet seat. I also got a toilet seat riser from the hotel staff and boy has it helped make a difference. I think that’s how the stitch popped was trying to get up from the toilet. Also, they don’t have handicap stalls here with the rails and larger toilets. Guess the Americans with Disabilities Act passed by Clinton in 1990 doesn’t apply here. Not sure how people in wheelchairs make it to the bathroom. The stalls are very small and the toilets hurt being in this condition. I would have been more than fine without having the surgeries. Invest in a potty seat riser if you come here. They are inexpensive but can make a world of difference. I am making sure hubby can get one for me when I get home.
Some of the swelling has gone down. My arms are so small, its just unreal to me. They look much better than I thought they would. I wasn’t expecting perfection, just some improvement and they are wonderful. I will be able to wear sleeveless shirts out in public again without being embarrassed. I will be able to buy a medium size top that fits instead of having to get an XL to fit my arms, the rest of the shirt is baggy. The twins look good too. Its kind of strange having large breasts again. It will be dramatic when all the swelling goes down in few months with the flat tummy, small arms and large breasts. My hips and legs are large, but they have always been and honestly, I don’t really care. I believe with some exercise they can get in good enough shape. I do not want a thigh lift or lower body lift. I don’t want any more plastic surgery at all. I am done, finished with it. This is why I did all of this at once. I like my face just the way it is. It is me. Before dropping almost 100 lbs, I was never one to consider plastic surgery. My situation is a little different with the weight loss as most weight loss surgery patients will attest to . The loose and hanging skin is cumbersome. Granted, mine was much better, except for the arms than most coming through Dr. S door who have had massive weight loss. There will always be someone who is worse off than you out there, and others who will be in better shape even though you both lost the same amount of weight. Genetics, age, and others all play into it. It’s a personal decision.
I wasn’t expecting to look like a super model when this is all over, just an improved 39 year old, soon to be 40 mom of 3 kids and wife of a great man. I won’t be parading around in string bikinis or short shorts. I am a mother and am most proud of this other than anything else I have achieved.
Also, I am off the prescription pain killers. I don’t feel I need them anymore and will use Tylenol, ibuprofen or just deal with it instead. I don’t want to be driving around Dallas drugged up with 3 kids in a minivan…just not a safe situation.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008—Update
Thank God I am home. Got home on Easter Sunday. I was so happy to see my kids and husband. The house was a wreck, laundry was piled up, but I don’t care. It will get done when it gets done. I feel great, almost a 100% recovery 12 days out. No pain meds, can move and walk as normal. I have some discomfort but really no pain. Everything is healing nicely. I will get the stitches taken out on Friday by a friend who is an ICU nurse. I will get to see Dr. Sauceda again at the Dr. Alvarez reunion on Saturday in San Antonio. I feel like he is a friend and not just my doctor. I felt sad saying goodbye to him on Saturday after he repaired my torn stitch and gave my wounds one more look. Even though I have been gone 10 days and my family has been turned upside down, I do feel that I did the right thing. Sometimes its hard for us mom’s to do things just for ourselves. I posted some pics on OH to show my results thus far. Will try and post some more later next week.