Chris asked in a comment yesterday: Did the surgery remove lots of skin? Do you notice a difference in the fit of your clothes?
I know a lot are curious about what I look like now after surgery. Since I've never been a huge picture person here truthfully I don't know how much difference people can see from my before to my now pictures (with clothing). I was always pretty good at covering up the loose stuff. Of course I have the BEFORE pictures in all my naked (or semi naked) glory (wish I had took more in clothing) lol but I'm still very self conscious of myself. Plus how much do I really want to put "out here", I'm still not sure. At some point I might post some pictures but for now this post is just words.
I know I've appreciated all the before and after pictures I've seen on the web when I was researching surgery and also from a few bloggers I know. So a part of me does want to share this experience with everyone fully so maybe others can benefit from it. I do think I've shared the emotional part of it pretty clearly during my early weeks after surgery and how I'm feeling now. I think for me this will go in stages of revealing.
Chris's questions of course are pretty easy ones to answer so I will go ahead and do that. The doctor took off 10.75 lbs of loose skin. I think this number is pretty small for all that I had done. You figure I had a body lift which is cutting out a whole section all the way around my body. I have talked about still having loose skin on my stomach now. I'd guesstimate it at about 3 lbs worth at least. So without a compression garment on and sitting down I still have a good amount of loose skin around my middle. The doctor did take off the big hanging flap of skin at the bottom of my stomach so in clothing, standing up I do look fairly flat in front. I can now wear panties and not have a roll of loose skin in them to hold up lol.
As for my butt well it was super flat right after surgery but as the weeks are going by it has fallen back down and so I have somewhat of a butt again. It is loose and jiggly but not as hanging as before. As for the thighs well the inner thighs definitely look better but my big outer saddle bags are still very large and droopy. In a compression garment I don't think the thighs look terrible but without they still hang quite a bit especially towards the back. I can see that my thigh incisions are already falling down some too. Then there is my new belly button. From the remaining loose skin my belly button it's pretty much just a slit. When I pull at the loose skin I can see a decent looking belly button though it seems a bit high to me now.
Chris also asked if my clothes fit differently and yes they do. My pants that I use to love now fall off my butt. My butt is just flatter now and it seems my thighs are larger and rounder. So I need different type pants to wear which I still haven't found yet. In stretchy yoga type pants which is what I'm wearing most these days I'm wearing an 8/10 but in dress pants a 12 was hard to button yet fit me just right through the hips and thighs. I've not tried on my size 12 jeans yet since my incisions are still tender in areas and I don't want to stress them. I typically wear size large shirts but have bought a few mediums in the past few weeks. I think having the lower stomach gone I don't feel the need to try to hide it with my shirt. I've noticed this past week that were I was unhappy with the large bulges on the sides of my midsection they seem to be slimmer this week. So I'm hoping with more time my shape will continue to change for the better. Some days I'm swelled or something is hurting so I will wear a compression garment. So that makes my shape different also. I'm thinking it will be at least another month or two before I really know what my body is going to look like from this first surgery.
As for what I'm not happy with, when I went and saw the doctor at my 4 week check up he said he would try to fix the stomach but honestly I don't know how that would go. From what he said it sounded like I would need the front done again and truthfully without him doing a vertical cut which is what I thought he was going to do to start with I don't see how the loose skin can be removed. Then there is the big saddle bags. I thought he would do some lipo there but he didn't. He did mention that that lipo is what I would need to get rid of some of the saddle bags but again does that mean more money, pain and suffering and do I think it's worth it. So for now my plan is to just sit tight see how things progress and try to adjust to this current me.
I will see the doctor again mid-May and I will discuss everything with him then. I will talk about my second surgery for my arms and chest which I plan on having next January and I will talk about what I am still unhappy with this surgery. What I have kept in mind is that the first surgery lasted 10 1/2 hours. I'm sure he did as much as he could in that time. Trying to extend that time any longer could have put me in danger not to mention I'm sure he was exhausted. With the scars that I already had on my stomach I know from what he said that was an issue as well and why he couldn't do the vertical cut in fear of a portion of skin dying. Bottom line I was not the easy typical patient. He is a plastic surgeon with 20 yrs experience so I believe he did what he could. From here I will treat him with respect and handle the situation with kindness for myself and him and I believe he will continue to do what he can for me.
I remind myself too that I spent 25 or so years at above 330 lbs. I remind myself that I lose 100 lbs twice before in my life. All that leaves damage when it comes to my skin. The endless yo-yo dieting year after year I did of losing 25-40 lbs again and again and again. All that is my skin's history. The scar down my stomach from stomach stapling at age 15 and the scar across my stomach from open gall bladder removal in 2009. Each thing leaving damage that may not ever be repairable no matter how much plastic surgery I go through.
Do I have regrets about surgery? When I asked myself that a week after the surgery I was saying yes. Ask me today and I'd say no I don't. I still kind of feel I didn't get my moneys worth but I think that is in part that I have a little guilt going on about spending so much money on myself. But it is the road I've decided to travel so I will have the second surgery and hopefully as time continues to go by I will have less and less regrets about the path I've chosen.
I've heard people talk about the loose skin and about having fears about losing weight because of it. Well I can say 100% I don't regret losing the weight. I would never want to go back to that depressed, isolated 378 lb woman that hid away from the world. I much prefer the person I always had inside myself that is now finally free to experience life shouting "I CAN DO ANYTHING" from the top of a mountain if I want to *smile*.
I know through this weight loss journey and especially through this first plastic surgery I have learned to appreciate my body with or without scars, with or without loose skin. I have to look back at the old 378 lb me and realize just how far I've come physically but especially emotionally. To look in the mirror in all my naked glory and really see myself now. To appreciate what I like and to accept the flaws that we all have. We all have our own journey, body and soul, to travel. Mine has been a true blessing to me and to my family. I can say I feel whole today when as my bigger self I was a shell.
Writing this today was good for me so thanks Chris for the questions. Since I've known you, so many times you've made me think about my own journey with your words about yourself as other great bloggers have done as well. I am so thankful for all the people I've met here and I look forward to us all being here together for many more years to come.