On January 15th, 2020 I underwent an elective surgical procedure—abdominoplasty as well as a breast lift. With losing 111 lbs it was something I wanted to do for myself; I wanted to be able to see the changes in my body that I was aiming for.
As I have said before, I struggled with this decision, being a single mom there is a lot of guilt that comes along with putting yourself first. Undergoing a surgical intervention is not something to be taken lightly. There are many complications that can take place in the OR and aside from that I would physically be limited in what I could do for my kids post-operatively. I am not one to ask for help, even if I need it. I hate not being independent, I hate relying on others because sometimes it backfires.
But I did it! I made the choice since it was worth it to me. The day before surgery I spent time preparing as much as I could, food, furniture and clothes. I tried to anticipate every possible issue and get ahead of it. I put my kids to bed that night giving them the biggest hug possible knowing I was going into surgery the following morning.
I got up the morning of surgery, French braided my hair and off I went. Upon arrival to the clinic, I was so nervous, I sat in the waiting room wanting to vomit. I was then told to go in and change. I was given the most uncomfortable underwear I have ever worn, compression stockings, a patient gown and robe. I met the surgeon who looked at my stomach which had changed a lot since my pre-op since I had gone down in weight and body fat. The surgeon told me my stomach was weird, all I could say was “I know right!” and that’s why I was there, to make it better.
Off I went to the OR, walking into that room sucked, it is cold and quite intimidating. I just asked to get put out as soon as possible, that way I wouldn’t be nervous anymore. The anesthesiologist put in the IV and off to sleep I went. Next thing I knew it was done and I was awake, pain sucked but was tolerable with a lot of drugs of course. Once I was alert enough the nurse helped me get up and dressed which scared the shit out of me, but I did it.
The next few days were rough; all I did was sit and walk to the bathroom. It sucked to be honest. I relied on medications to make it through the day and dreaded changing my dressings. The next day I had to return for my first post-op appt, that drive was horrible! I was so nauseated and when I got there, they took off the binder for the first time. I did not like that! Everything looked good and I was shocked to see my body without all that skin. Going into surgery I wanted to have pictures from the OR, pictures of the skin and to know how much it weighed. Funny enough when I woke up I could care less about any of that. All I cared about was how much it weighed. How much did all of the evidence of my unhealthy life weigh. The nurse told me it was 3 kg, which is 6.6 lbs.
I am currently post-op day 9, I am standing taller each day and doing more activity. I am completely off medications aside from Tylenol and Advil and everything is healing well. Now it is time to start thinking of a new goal for myself, this is the first time in my life that it will not be to lose weight and feel better. Now it will be focused on performance, agility or physique. Although I am still using a lot of muscle groups, I am out of the gym for at least 8 weeks, which scares the shit out of me. I do not want to lose the muscle mass that I have gained, and I do not want to gain body fat at all! However, my nutrition is on track even though I am recovering.
As a nurse myself I do understand the importance of nutrition with healing. Even when doing wound care in the hospital, we always reviewed diet since that had such an impact. I am still eating clean foods and trying to keep my protein up. This will help with wound healing and overall feeling better. A lot of people think that in order to feel better they need “comfort foods” and yes these foods psychologically have been programmed into your brain to make you feel better for the time being, however, think about how you feel later. I am ensuring that my diet is low in sodium as swelling is something that needs to be managed with this type of surgery. To be honest, being in great physical health prior to surgery has been life changing for me. I have no idea how someone would recover from this surgery without upper body strength and legs. All those hours in the gym is functionally paying off for me.
I have seen some comments online and I have received some messages that I must not understand self-love if I willingly surgically altered my body, and that is simply not true. I feel like as women, we are often ridiculed for the decisions we make when it comes to our own bodies. I made the choice for no one but myself, I decided that since I worked my ass off to lose 111 lbs, I wanted my body to physically reflect that—and I actually don’t give a shit what anyone has to say about it. If I am going to do core exercises every day, I want to see the results. I wanted to be able to go to the gym and do any exercise I wanted without being self-conscious about skin. To be completely honest, there is a whole other side to it. I want to be able to wear what I want. I want to be able to wear a sports bra and leggings to workout outside in the summer, I want to be able to wear a shirt that has no back without worrying about my bra being in the way. I am extremely excited to not be held back from any activity or item of clothing because of something physical.
I share this story because these stories helped me through my journey. I needed to know there were people out there that were able to achieve their fitness goals naturally, that it was possible for a normal person. I didn’t do anything special, nor do I have any secret, I found a nutrition lifestyle that works for me and I fell in love with working out. I discovered that it is ok to put myself first, even as a mom, because if I am unhealthy my kids watch that and will mimic it.
I cannot wait to recover and get back into the gym, in the meantime I will just think of all the goals I want to achieve.