Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Surgery

Yesterday, I had the surgery I have wanted to have for the last seven years: I had the excess skin removed my from abdomen, and while they were at it, they removed the not so lovely lovehandles on my back.

As most people who know me know, I grew up as a bigger girl and by the time I was a sophomore in high school, I hit about 240 pounds on the scale. I believe that is the largest I ever got, and I don't think I was that heavy for very long, but I was well over 200 pounds for my entire high school career.

Throughout the rest of my time in high school, then in college, and finally when I lived in the Dominican Republic, I lost all of the excess weight and was down to about 150. I have dropped to as low as 143, when I was bumming around Australia with not enough money, and have gotten back up to 175 (when I just stopped paying attention for a few months) but for the most part, I stay around 154 during the summer and 162 in the winter.

So, all of these facts are fairly well known, but what was the final motivation to have the surgery? Well, there are about two things that have happened that convinced me it was time.

First, SO and I were at a triathlon (The Great Buckeye Challenge), and we both came in 2nd in our age group. I also came in 4th overall. Mind you, I probably would have won the race if I hadn't done 85 miles on the bike the day before, but I wasn't racing to race, I was racing to see how the run would go. Anyway, we took a picture together with our respective plaques, and there it was for all to see: a big fat roll at the bottom of my jersey. Now, standing next to SO who has about 5% body fat doesn't help, but it is so discouraging knowing how hard I work and how that fat roll never goes away. Second, I finished my second Ironman in two years and still had the same sentiment after finishing, that I am fat or at least that I will always look fat.

Being a fat girl for most of my life has created body image issues that were reinforced by this excess skin just hanging from my abdomen. Those issues have translated into confidence issues and insecurities that never seem to go away. While I know that most of those things are mental and can't be fixed by the physical, it should be easier to work through those mental issues when I am not looking at this stretched out skin

So, after dealing with all the red tape of having surgery and getting the time off work, I finally had approval for the 3oth of November and the week following off for recovery.

I had the surgery about a half mile away from my apartment, and I had to be at the Health and Wellness Center at 6:15. My initial thought was to walk there on my own, and just have SO or my mom come pick me up after the surgery. After talking about it with my aunt, she suggested this was a very bad idea. In the end, SO ended up taking me in the morning, staying throughout the surgery, then helping my mom get me into her car.

Really, the entire thing was pretty noneventful, other than having to have two anti-nausea shots after the surgery. For those athletes out there, all of the doctors and nurses were pretty amazed by my heart rate. When I got there in the morning, it was 52 and while having surgery, it was in the mid 40's. They were not alerted as the doctor informed them that I am an Ironman and am in very good shape.

While waiting for me, SO sharpened his backgammon skills by using my backgammon app on my phone. I taught him how to play on Sunday, and I am already worried that he will be better than me soon.

After recovering from the two anti-nausea shots, SO helped me into my mom's car, and I gave him a kiss and a thank you and went home. I was in that miserable state of only wanting to be asleep but I suffered through the 15 minute car ride and fell asleep as soon as I got in the lazyboy at my parents house.

I think around 4, I had some toast and was finally able to get my phone out to text some people to let them know that it went well. I fell back asleep and had some mashed potatoes around 8pm.

Getting around is a bit difficult. I walk kind of hunched over and very slowly, but I know that will continue to improve.

I took some photos on Tuesday before the surgery so I will expect to have a photo diary of how this thing goes. My total recovery is 4 weeks, so around Christmas, I will be allowed to get back to my normal workout routine. I am allowed to walk and climb stairs so I hope not to lose all muscle tone, but it's probably good for my body to get some much needed rest.


  1. Good for you! I have a "flap" on my belly that I hoped would shrink, but so far nada. And 4 week seems so fast - in no time it will be far behind you!

  2. Wow, huge props to you for having the motivation to take control of your health and your body. Wishing you a speedy recovery! I think it is awesome that you are sharing this as it seems to me that so many people also deal with body image issues and everyone is their own worst critic. Myself included.

  3. I admire your courage and wish you a speedy recovery!

  4. You are so very brave! Let the joy of the "new you " soak right in during your recovery.