Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Day 16: Things are looking quite bright!

This morning I finally got my drains out, and also they removed the stitches from my waistline incision. My chest is healing great, and I was allowed to switch from the binder to a sports bra! How normal :) I am still bound at the waistline for a while more, but that is ok. Removal of drains requires 3 days back on the couch, but I'm ok with that. Tomorrow, I can shower! Considering I haven't since December 11th, this is very exciting to say the least! (I've mastered the sink bath though, no smelly Jenn here!). My incisions overall are better than I'd hoped and are healing as expected.

I don't really have anything riveting to update except that every day is better and better, I feel good but still tire quickly and easily, and I'm still super happy with my results. Today Jill snapped photos from behind at the doctor's office and seeing the whole picture of me'backside was awesome - what an amazing difference!!! I have some photos - they certainly aren't offensive, but I hesitate to post. Just comment with your email address and I will send them if you're interested!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Good News, Bad News...

The bad news is mama'z still draining too much to have them out tomorrow...and with the holiday, I have to wait until Tuesday. Balls. Ah well, I'd rather drain it out than have it collect inside, bloat me out and cause extra swelling. I'm all for following the rules on this, 100%. That's the bad news.

The good news is that I got permission to wash my compression garments, which means I used the timer on my camera to take these two shots for y'all:

Let's all say it together: "Money Well Spent"

All of you WLS folks emailing me who want me to convince your hubbies/significant others that this is worth the dough, give me their email. I'll convince them with just a few before and after shots :) - and I'll throw in a few genuine, honest, tear-jerking paragraphs as well. Because for real - I've had to just sit here and stare at myself to believe that I'm finally in the body I have always felt was stuck in there somewhere...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


So, today I just was thinking I might try to leave the house tonight for maybe an hour in real clothes. It's good for me to move around at this point, and 1-hour is about what I've got in me. So, played it super low-key all day, and then went to my closet to try to figure up something to wear. I've been dying to try on clothes!

I start putting on some things. I was trying to be creative in dealing with the drains/fanny pack. As a lesbian, it is a cultural/fashion faux pas to have a fanny pack, just as having a mullet, wearing birkenstocks and clogs, are all very cliche - (not that I don't/haven't done these things, say, in the early 90's (never a mullet though)) - but the fanny pack is the crowning jewel of unhip lesbian fashion.

I realized I was kinda lumpy because Melissa had put some gauze inside my waist binder - knowing I'm feeling so much better, I thought, "I'm gonna ditch the gauze..." and then, well, I couldn't stand it. I popped off both binders, hooked the drains to my undies and finally took a look at myself, fairly naked, upright.

And stood in front of the mirror. And stood. Turned. Starred. Stood.

I took a pic with my cell phone and sent it to Jill. I called my sister, at work 1 mile away, and asked her to come over *right now* if she could.


This thought played like the MSN crawl through my mind until my sister showed up...

"Holy smokes Jennifer!" She said. Julie and I have similar bone structure, and indeed, aside from the scars and stretch marks, sagging upper arms and flabby inner thighs (sigh), in many ways, we have a very similar look to us now. I got on the scale, in just undies and still a few bandages, and weighed in at 166.8. Zowee!! But more importantly, I have like a six-pack stomach, I mean, it's like, muscular looking and flat and firm and and and...I guess I just couldn't get over it. Clearly.

I should get my drains out Friday (please, please) and at that point, I'll get a shot in some shorts and a jog bra up. I'm just continually shocked. I heart my surgeon. But I still am struggling with the fanny pack...alas.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Here's me, about an hour or so ago. Mind you, these are "old" jeans that still work since I'm wearing compression garments and gauze and swelling. Just thought I'd offer a contrast shot from Christmas 2004... Give me a little time and I'll get some actual, post-plastics swelling, finish up of the last 13 pounds, etc. pix for y'all. I'm actually beginning to see myself as a totally normal looking girl. How'bout that?

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Day In The Life...

Getting better is hard. Seriously. One has to considerably lower the bar in terms of what the definition of "achievement" or "productivity" looks like. For example, each day, I'm trying to walk a bit farther OR faster (but not yet both); do at least one "special activity points" task and break a small sweat at least once.

Today, it looked like this:

8:00: Bathe. This is more of a chore than you can imagine. Emotionally, my self-talk through this process reminds me of a run around Greenlake. It goes a little like this:

Getting started: awesome Jenn, look at you! you can clean yourself!
About 1/2 way: Cool, body clean, just need to wash your hair...
Clean Girl: Ok, now, wash you face...that's it, keep going...brush those teeth...
To the bedroom: Lotion. Just put it on. It's good. You'll feel soft, it's skipping this step or you will be itchy all day and mad at yourself!
Get Dressed: Oh, I know, you're getting pooped, but you're in the home stretch!
Dry hair: Ok, this is hard. But you can sit on your little stool for this. It won't take long....
Last Little Bit, C'mon Girl!: Throw a few curling iron twirls through the ole' mop, pop in a barrett, eyeliner......mascara......face powder.

And we're back on the couch, exhausted.

10:30 a..m: Walk the one block to Lighthouse Coffee. Now, this one is easy as there is a true 'carrot' at the midway point in the form of a rockstar coffee. (Note: Now that I am dating *yes, officially* Jill, who actually owns a coffeeshop in a totally different yet nearby neighborhood, I may need to rescind my unadulturated gushing about how Lighthouse is the best coffeehouse in Seattle...perhaps now, I will at a minimum equate it to her very cool shop, Cloud City Coffee). But I digress (imagine...)...

12:00 Lunch Date: My pal Kirsten came by with the awesome soup from the Greek place by work, and a pita. We visit, it's fun! She leaves, I rest...

3:00 Special Activity - Laundry!: I start the small load of whites, noting the 3 p.m. time. Tidy up the living room and kitchen, just put some stuff away, wipe the counters, gather up the trash. Fold some existing laundry...I'm so proud, thinking I've worked for a good hour! Broken my requisite sweat for the day even...I land on the couch to find the time at a whoopin' 3:18. That's it's folks - I got 18 minutes of energy in me.

4:00 Kate pops by, having run a few errands for me. We visit. It's low key and nice.

Then I putter, watch TV, rat-tat-tat on my computer...Samantha pops over. Kels comes home from work. Samantha leaves. Anh pops over with an absolutely FABULOUS new shirt for me for Christmas...I can't wait to wear it!! Anh takes off, meanwhile though Jill has arrived and we order dinner which she picks up, and then we just hang out and visit until she has to take off....

And that's a day in the life of Jenn right now. Riveting, no? It's funny how in normal life, I'd look at a day like this as unproductive but right now, I sleep well knowing I'm progressing!

Tuesday: Hoping to walk 2 blocks, need to put laundry away, and I think run the vacuum. The Samantha/Anita duo are coming tonight and making soup for dinner - I'm still just a little bit 'Martha, ya know? Gotta clean up for company!

p.s. Body is holding up well. I'm still doing Tylenol every 4 hours + the anti-biotic, occasional Benedryl when I get itchy around the incisions. My sides are sooooo tight sometimes it feels like I might tear in 2, but I don't....and honestly, the most discomfort is still the drain entry points, which I should only have to deal with through the end of the week, and I can handle that. For all that was done to this lil' bod of mine, I'd say the discomfort level really isn't something to be complained about!

OH YEAH, and for the love of gawd, I sneezed for the first time yesterday and thought my stomach was going to rupture to the tune of Sigourney Weaver birthing an alien. It didn't, but I did confirm that I sneeze about 1/week, and that indeed, each and every abdominal muscle you have comes heartily into play when you sneeze.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Introducing: My New Chest!

For the first time since around 5th grade, braless!! I got this tank top a few weeks ago just for this post :) Check out Blue Platypus for some really cool shirts! But, more importantly, check out below for some really cool boobs. :)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Past Week Has Been a Blur...

I feel like I'm starting to be able to rejoin the real world. For a bit, the only way I knew I'd spoken to someone was to review my "recently dialed calls" list on my cell phone during moments of lucidity (i.e., almost time for next dose of meds...) joke! I am on Day 5 I guess, not counting surgery day, and I am off narcotics!! Or, at least I'm trying to be - I'm taking tylenol and seeing how I do. Still wiped out and tired - but able to give myself a very respectable sponge bath (mobility has MUCH improved) and feel clean and tidy enough. All bodily functions have resumed - without giving any details - but those who've had surgery know this is a big deal...

I'm a little achy here and there, still negotiating two drains (which are housed in my very fashionable fanny pack) and of course, I'm bound up from hips to chest in a velcro body-wrap and industrial bra. Sexy. It's weird to be squeezed all the time. I suppose it's like getting a constant, somehwhat relentless, hug. Coughing is still no joy, and bending over to say, put socks on, is still not possible. But I can get up and down without wincing, walk across the street and up and down the block...and I even cleaned the bathroom sink. Will the small miracles ever cease? ;)

But here is the crux of this post...I am sad about my boobs.

I think I'm actually grieving the loss of my big boobs, or, perhaps moreso, my identity as a big-boobed girl. I know, I know "this is what YOU wanted Jenn!" true - but hear me out. Though I'd been asking my mom for a breast reduction since about 6th grade, at some point as a teen/early adult, despite being fat, I started to identify - in a good way - with being a girl of ample bosom. It was like, "well, at least I've got that" "that" being one part of my body that was not only societially accepted, but actually celebrated/approved. Am I making sense? So along with the 95% of my body that was essentially "unapproved" (fat) in having the plastic surgery, I also kinda gave up the one part that I think made me feel like I was 'ok' in the past - my giant chest. And mind you, I easily could've opted for implants and kept myself a healthy D or bigger - but I never gave that a thought. I've already got one foreign object in me (my lap band) and I had no need or interest in any more. I never even considered this.

All that said, I had a little moment last night where I just felt some sadness as I looked at my new, C-cup, cute, perky, adorable lil' boobs. They're awesome by anyone's standard - not to toot my own horn, but rather to toot my surgeon's - he did a seriously bang up job. They fit my new body and honestly, look way better than I expected. But still, they are a mere shadow of their former selves...but then again, so am I. I cheated and weighed myself: 171. Wow, 16 lbs, much of which will go with recovery/swelling reduction and I'm at my glorious goal weight of 155.

I am ok with this - and I will adapt and surely embrace the new ta-ta's (ya know, braless in a fabulous dress, for example :) but, I think I may need to just be a little sad and pay homage to what they once were before I get there. And that's ok - this whole losing a person's worth of fat is a process, and honoring these steps keep me emotionally healthly - not doing so just stuffs down feelings that are there regardless of whether or not I deal with them. It's just funny how though the whole thing is exactly what I wanted, yet it's also true that nothing this big and life-changing comes without some serious emotional processing and work. I'm 'in' though, so I know it will be ok!

xoxo, from my seemingly permanent position on my couch,

Friday, December 15, 2006

So, What's It Been Like?

I will not diminish the intensity of the past 4 or 5 days - but I will say that all things considered, I rate myself a hearty "B+" in terms of recovery. Why? Well, on Wednesday, I managed to get myself up and to the toilet and back down onto the couch. Small achievement to some, but huge for me. Wearing the compression garments (girdle and industrial bra) is odd - sometimes it's hard to differentiate between actual skin/incision tightness vs. the binder. By Thursday, I essentially have been able to get and up and down entirely on my own many, many times/day! I've bathed myself along twice and had help once washing my hair. All in all, I feel far less gross that I anticipated.

Yesterday was my 4-day appointment. I had my pain pump removed (it took 5 seconds, no pain) and all of the steri-strips covering all incisions removed, wounds washed and new steri's put on. I got another look at myself and am still quite pleased with the results. Having always had an ample bosom, it's still odd to look down and see these cute little C cups boobies - but they fit my body and really look amazing! Interestingly, the do all the stiches under the skin and use the strips to hold the outside layer of skin together. This leaves a hairline scar as time goes on. However, there are some herkin' stiches along the waistline as that area requires much more reinforcement. Oh, and my 'new' belly button looks really cool too - all in all, I couldn't be happier at this stage.

Melissa said I was doing really well, and that some people just come in with attitudes that work against their recovery. Needless to say, I am so excited and motivated to get better, there is no question that it's helping to move things along. For now, I'm still bound up (1 month), drains we're looking at next Wednesday or so for removal (he haw!) and then they take your 1-month photos. My surgeon popped in to check a few things and I told him I worshipped him and was so thankful and pleased with the job he did. Honestly, looking at the before/after shots, the guy has a gift.

Oh yea, I wanted to post about what I'm eating! As you bandsters can imagine, I'm terrified of stuckage/PB's - my abs hurt when I cough, move etc. sooooo bad that the last thing I'd want to have to do is a PB. To that end, I've basically put myself back on liquids/mushies. I've had 2-3 protein shakes/day, 2 small yogurts (the kind that come in a 6-pack), crackers, and applesauce. I did have a tiny bit of tuna salad and cheese one night too. The good news is that it's resetting my clock - no sugar, caffiene, alcohol. And, outside of sugar, I imagine caffeine and alcochol will be back in the mix eventually, it's always good to hit that reset button. I'm overall not terribly hungry, but I'm not repulsed at the notion of eating either. Oh, and Im' doing 1-3 of those Airbornne things - basically tasty liquid vitamins. And I've been drinking like a fish...hence, peeing like crazy, which is good motivation for getting up and down over and over.

The two biggest bummers: Mother Nature decided to grace me with my period. Yep, fun times managing that when you really can't bend over or reach things very easily. Second, the site where the two lower drains are inserted are a little ouchy, but c'mon, all things considered, I'm delighted in my recovery so far!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Plastics Are Done!!!

Hi all! I had my plastics on Monday 12/11 at 7 a.m. I had red carpet treatment, things move quickly and I was hardly nervous. Jill (girl i am dating) took loads of pix while the surgeon marked me up. Next thing I knew I was in recovery! They removed 13 pounds of skin!!

Everything has kinda ended up as I expected - holy abdominal pain, batman...I had catheter the first night so I could sleep well. Tuesday, went in and got to see the preliminary product!! They removed bandages and I almost cried. I am not kidding - I have the cutest boobs ever (to me, anyhow). a nice belly button and a flat tummy! The boobs ended up a average C - smaller than he had thought they would end up but they look great! My mom was there and said, "jennifer, I don't recall you ever having such a perky chest...well, maybe when you were 10." And went on to say she was jealous of them :) They redressed the wounds, removed the breast drains and got me all tidied up.

The last two days have consisted drugs and sleep... Oxycodone every 4 hours, an antibiotic every 6 hours along with a homeopathic combo the surgeon gave me for swelling and bruising (which, after 1 day, I had a small 2" segment of bruising on my left hip)...and a valium at night to assure good sleep! It's day 3 today, and I got up to pee all alone 4 times, gave myself a little sponge-bath and my pal Vickie who has been taking care of me at her house washed my hair for me! It does seem as long as I stay on top of the drugs, I really have no pain except for getting up and down, and a little stinging at one of the drain sites.

I have a load of pix which I'm happy to share with other WLS folks considering a LBL or breast lift. Just comment here with you email address (I'll delete it once I get it) and I'll send you a few. For now though, I thought a before & after tummy shot wouldn't offend how'bout them apples??

Friday, December 08, 2006

Surgery on Monday!

Check out today's horoscope:

Here is your horoscope for Friday, December 8:

It's time for you to shed those last traces of hesitation and take a leap of faith. Your willingness to lay everything on the line and go for that make-or-break choice will reward you beyond anything you've imagined.

Here's some information about what's going to happen. I'll try to post again before, but if not, I'm certain to post after.

- I am having two primary procedures: LBL (Lower Body Lift) and a BL (breast lift - mastopexy)
- The estimated time of surgery is 9 hours (yes, I know, 9 hours is long...I get that)
- I will have an incision around my entire waist, front to back, but the way I carry my weight is good and so my scar will be low around my hips; I will have "anchor" incisions on my breasts, which means below them in a c-shape, a line up and then a circle around the nipple area (which should keep all sensation/functionality based on how he's doing it).
- They will sew up my abdominal muscles to tighten them and give me more of a waist - this is the primary pain that I will have after the surgery; hardly anyone complains of incision pain.
- I will keep my belly button, but it will be repositioned based on my "new" stomach landscape.
- They expect to remove between 5-12 pounds of skin/fat, etc.
- Liposuction will only be used if needed for contouring of the skin.

Here are links to photos of both procedures completed by my surgeon if you are interested in seeing the outcome of these types of surgeries:

BL: - NOTE: I am getting Mastopexy alone; no augmentation (which means implants). They're just hiking them up, not adding (good lord!) anything to them.

Here also is a helpful link that explains the process for the BL with drawings:

They do not have one for LBL, but this shows the procedure for a tummy tuck, which is the key part of the LBL:

Hope everyone is doing well!