Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I gotta re-start somewhere...(and I can't believe I'm posting this...)

WARNING: Down below you will find some pictures that are in fact nude...and some show my wound filled in/packed with gauze. The wound in this image is not scary but I am posting this warning up front. If you do not want to see these photos, please only scroll to the part of the blog that has photos of my adorable dogs...and then STOP. Do not go any further! 

I believe this is fair warning!

And so we begin...

Today I did 6 minutes on the elliptical.
I did 1 set of 12 reps with 3 lb dumbbells of the following:
  • bicep curls
  • hammer curls
  • shoulder raises
  • shoulder presses
  • chest presses
  • side bends
I was released from arm restrictions last week. And I am allowed to do light this is what I did. I can't go too crazy...partly because I still have a giant hole in my abdomen...and partly because I've had major surgery and I need to take things slowly. But way back when I first started working out, this is what I steps. So I'm starting over...all over again.

It will be slow...and I have no clue when I will be allowed to do a crunch again...or a squat...or a full on hard-core workout...but I will get there, someday. And I can't wait. Because I'm gaining. I'm a size 16 again. :(  I have this fabulous flatish tummy...and these ever expanding hips and thighs. I need to get it together, man!

Getting control of my food intake is HARD. I went in for a fill last week and C refused to do it because my port is "too close" to the site of my wound and she doesn't want to possibly introduce bacteria to the general wound location. This is absurd for a number of reasons.

  • First of all...I asked the surgeon who is managing the wound if I could have the fill done and she said yes.
  • Then I asked the nurse who schedules the fills and has worked for the surgeon who placed my band for over 15 years if there would be a problem considering the wound, and she said absolutely not...and scheduled the fill.
  • All of my wound care nurses agreed it would be no issue.
  • The surgeon has REPEATEDLY said that the wound is NOT a sterile environment...because my body is NOT a sterile environment. This is the PRIMARY reason we can't close the wound...because we would be sealing germs INTO my body which could cause a problem.
  • Band fills are STERILE procedures. If anything, the procedure would be the MOST STERILE thing I would do THAT DAY! 
  • My wound is BELOW my belly-button. My port is above my belly-button and a good few inches to the left...I really think she could have easily done this without any issue.

UGH...I'm getting more annoyed just writing this. I wasn't surprised when I left there...I knew she wouldn't do it. I've had issues with this person before. I was pissed for wasting my morning...and a co-pay...and the gas to drive 20 miles each way...but not surprised.

So I'm left to my own devices...seemingly until my wound closes...which could be another 3-4 months. I'm still on the Qsymia...but it's not working anymore. (UPDATE:Incidentally, I now have an appointment for a different purpose altogether with my band surgeon, Dr. Hunter, next friday. I've already asked Karen - his nurse of 15+ years - if he would also evaluate doing a fill given proximity to the wound and give C instruction as C works in his practice. Dr. Hunter himself generally does not do fills anymore and as this appointment is on a friday I KNOW he won't do a fill for me for safety reasons...but at least if he charts that there is nothing stopping a fill C will have to do it next time I schedule the appointment. Karen was super annoyed when I told her what happened above on the phone today.)

Thank you all so much for your kind words on my previous post. The loss of Lily was hard. She was a very sweet girl. We realized only yesterday that Levi, our Chinese Crested who has been with her his entire life, likely knew she was dying in the weeks leading up to her death. Below is a post I wrote on Facebook last night:

"On Sept 2 I took Kismet to the vet to have a tick removed from his paw and told the vet that I was concerned Levi might be ill because he had been sleeping pretty much around the clock for a couple weeks, but otherwise was not showing any signs of illness. I was told to keep a close eye on him and bring him in if things got worse. 
10 days later Lily, who had been by Levi's side for all 11 years of their lives, died. 
Just this week Levi has come back around to acting like his old self again, which is so good to see. Today it was suggested that perhaps in those weeks prior Levi sensed that Lily's end was near...that perhaps he was not sick at all...but grieving her impending death. And in the weeks since he was grieving her loss...and now, he is ready to go on with life. I can't believe we didn't put this together before...but I now believe this to be absolutely true."

Here is a link to a photo album of pictures of Lily. I only knew her since I met Scott...but I loved her just the same. 

And of course, in addition to the loss of Lily, I also had to contend with this worsening wound situation. Those first days after the initial debridement were absolutely the worst. If I ever share those particular photos of what I was dealing with, you would understand my mental anguish. And the smell...oh man the smell. The following Friday I was debrided again and the hole was actually made BIGGER and deeper. But somehow, maybe due to time...maybe because the smell is gone...maybe because all the disgusting stuff was cut away and all that is left now seems less horrifying...somehow I can deal with it now.

As it happens, I had a complete emotional breakdown that week. I wrote that last post on Wednesday after having returned home from work. I didn't go back on Thursday...or Friday. I haven't been back since. Thursday I laid in bed all day...convinced that maybe if I just didn't move at all, except to go to the bathroom, that things would heal faster. So all I did that day was pee...and change the dressing...and weep. Friday I called HR and wept into the phone that I'd made a mistake coming back to work. Then I called my surgeons office and had a complete emotional meltdown. Wait...that's not completely true. I called early in the morning and my nurse was "with a patient" and was going to return my call. By 2pm she hadn't returned my call yet...THAT'S when I had my meltdown and MAGICALLY she suddenly became free. Everyone scrambled to calm my fears over the phone, and as usual had me send photos of the wound for the day...and also my drains, which I complained were starting to come out on one side. She said she was going to review with the doctor and get back to me.

Naturally when she got back to me, she asked me to come in...right that second...and naturally, I completely forgot it was Friday and Koreena was bringing the girls down for the weekend and Scott was at work till 8pm. I looked at the clock and realized they were probably on their way, and as I was about to call her, I heard them coming in the front door. I asked Koreena if she could stay a while...she said no. I didn't have time to beg. I told the girls to grab crayons and coloring books, piled them in the car and off we went to the surgeons office.

This is where mommy skills really had to kick in...because the number one thing I did not want was my girls to see this hole in my belly. On the way there I "set expectations". I expected them to be well behaved, do what they were asked, keep their voices down because we were in a doctors office with other people, and when it came time for my bandages on my belly to come off, they needed to face the wall and color in their books and not look until I told them it was okay to do so. They asked why, and I explained that the owie on my belly did not look the same as what they had seen before, that in fact it was much, much worse, and I was afraid it might give them nightmares if they saw it. I told them it really frightened me, and if it frightened me, I knew it would frighten them. They understood.

I'm writing all this because I have to say that my girls were absolutely amazing in the office that day. They were in a place they had never been, meeting people they had never met. They were courteous and polite. They were well behaved. They asked appropriate questions at times and were quiet when needed. But above all...they turned their backs toward me when I asked them to and faced the wall and colored in their books...for over an hour...while my wound was debrided for a second time. While my surgeon spoke to me..and poked in me with a long q-tip to show me how far back the empty space under my skin went...while she demonstrated how to pack the new wound with saline soaked gauze...while she explained my options going forward...while she talked in very frank terms about what to expect next. My girls...were nothing short of magnificent.

The minute I had a simple piece of gauze covering the horror I didn't want them to see, I told them it was safe...and they turned around.

To this day they have respected every single dressing change where I have said "I need you to look away right now". I guess it's hard to convey what this means to me...but in my soul I know these girls trust me...they TRUST me. They trust me when I say "this is bad, look away". It seems so simple...but coming in as a step-parent, it's unbelievably difficult to gain a child's trust. I remember the times they fell down and hurt themselves but didn't come running to my arms....but now they do. These things mean the world to me. I'm not their birth-mom...but I am someone important in their lives...and I am forever thankful for that privilege. drain tubes were also removed that day while the children's backs were turned. Ugh...that sucked. I can now say...MOST of the post-operative discomfort I felt inside my abdomen was actually from the drains! Because I suddenly felt the same discomfort as they were pulled out. least those are now gone. But...the only reason they pulled them was because any drainage was now coming through the giant hole. I should name the hole so I can stop calling it "the giant hole"...
And hence forth, the giant hole shall be known as "Victoria". For while this thing...for dark and scary...I do not wish to allow its name to carry these negative connotations forward, for I wish this wound to heal and for my body to find victory over this part of my Victoria...that is her name.
Yeah...that just happened. Victoria. I like it.

With that...I would like to share with you some photos. First...some fun ones:

I did get out and go to Bumbershoot where I got to see a live
podcast taping with Alison Rosen! That was pretty great!

Jenna Kim Jones and her husband Allan Moss were also a
part of the podcast taping at Bumbershoot. So cool to meet them!

Look at my adorable dog...isn't he so sweet?
Please remember the warning above...this is that part...please don't scroll down if you don't wish to see the photos you were warned about!

Aww...Look at Levi and Kismet cuddling together.
Aren't they just too adorable for words?
Last chance! It's seriously time to stop scrolling! Want something cool to check out...maybe click here instead!

First I thought I would ease you in. This a picture of my counter today during a dressing change. It's actually getting better. There's less stuff now. But there's still a lot going on. All the stuff on the right is always on the counter. All the stuff by the sink is the action during the actual dressing change. I'm generating a LOT of trash these days. My carbon footprint is significant.

This picture was taken just a few days after surgery, before we knew there was a problem. I'm posting it because I'm lamenting the flatness of my belly at the time. I've gained weight since then from the stress eating and sitting on my ass. It's sad that I didn't keep this. You can see the start of the "necrotic tissue" though at the time they thought it was just dried blood under the tape. It wasn't until 3 days later we found out there was a problem.

Ok...we are getting closer. This is the wound with all it's dressings. Kinda like a turkey...only different. Ok...bad joke. What you see here is an "ABD"...which I think stands for abdominal dressing. Under that is two layers of gauze pads covering the packed wound, which you will finally see in the next photo...if you are ready...

And here I am...In almost all my glory. All my glory is in the next photo. But here you can see the large packed wound below my navel. But if you ignore that...check out my cool flatish belly and boobs! And if you can get close, my bellybutton actually turned out very nice. This may not seem all that impressive keep going if you want to see the goodies.

Ok...there...there are the goodies. Good, no? In this shot I intentionally left the scar showing above the panty line so you could see how that looks. It's not that bad, and I'm only a couple months out from surgery. Still not impressed? How about some before and after shots. Things are about to get SERIOUSLY naked people...prepare yourselves. are you impressed? I am!

But I seriously can't wait to start working out again!
I can see so much potential now!


  1. OK. The packed wound seriously wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I mean...I had really prepared myself. Second, those before and afters are AMAZING!!!! Once you'er all healed up and the swelling is down, you're going to be VERY happy with these results. Keep healing!

  2. Open wounds suck for sure. I can see how great your repairs will look when they heal. I'm sorry you have had to suffer through a complication. Hang in there. Make sure you take your vitamins and get enough protein in your diet. That will help with healing. Hang in there.

  3. I thought it was going to be worse too, although I'm sure because it is on your body and you are feeling the pain, it seems much more prominent. I can see that you will soon be looking amazing!

    How wonderful that your relationship with your step (bonus) kids is one of trust and respect. You're a good mom and partnered with a good team (husband and their bio-mom). Every child should be so lucky.

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