Friday, August 13, 2010

Recovery - Day 5

Feel great, completely normal. Had my follow-up with the doctor today and he was pleased with my progress.  He said that I look better than before surgery even with the swelling and he said I only have to wear the wrap in the evenings and at night during sleep.  He DID say I was ahead of the game in my progress, so if you aren't at this point by day 5, it's probably OK.

This is my last post for awhile.  I have a follow-up on 3 months when I will have my 'after' photo taken.  I will post the 'before' and 'after' photos for you to see.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Recovery - Day 4

Other than the same itchy and tender neck, I feel great as far as the effects of the surgery go.  However, I was up until 3:00 am, wired like I had drunk coffee all evening. I had had NO caffeine since one cup in the morning.  I was able to go to bed at 3:00 only because I finally took some Benedryl.  I am very suspicious now about the only two things it could have been: the Bromelain or the Arnica Montana.  Both herbs can cause increased heart rate, which obviously can lead to insomnia, but I didn't experience any noticeable heart racing.

I am sick of this chin wrap!  This is only day 4 and it feels like it's been a week already.  I get a few teasing minutes of freedom when I shower and dry my hair, and then putting it back on makes me feel like the Man in the Iron Mask. 

One more aside: if you have peach fuzz on your face -- and most people do -- you might find the nylon of the mask extremely annoying as it rubs the fuzz the wrong way.  I finally resorted to using the Finishing Touch Hair Remover specifically designed for fine facial hair.  And no, it won't make it grow back thicker -- that it a myth.  Since I've done that, the wrap has not driven me nearly as crazy today.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Recovery - Day 3

Today I feel like a million bucks!  Other than a scratchy throat (which does feel bruised if you push on  -- which I don't), I feel completely myself.  I took my wrap off this morning long enough to clean my incisions with soap and water and put vaseline on them, as instructed, and I could tell my upper neck and under my jawline and chin was swollen.  But it doesn't look like fat.  It is very porportional and would look normal to anyone who had never seen me prior to surgery.  I have NO evident bruising anywhere, which seems odd.  I have been taking Bromelain and Arnica Montana as directed (beginning the Bromelain before surgery) and both are to help reduce swelling and bruising.  Apparently, they do help.

The only annoyance today is the band, as usual, and the ever persistent urge to scratch my incisions.  I wish they'd sell anti-itch vaseline.  Other than that -- so far so good! 

Oh, I also found out that the anti-nausea medicine (Phenergan) would have helped me avoid the terrible day I had yesterday.  So if you find yourself in pain enough to need the Vicodin, just take the Phenergan too and don't risk what happened to me.  Phenergan also helps you sleep.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Recovery - Day 2

Day 2:

After feeling bad yesterday (Day 1) – kind of an indefinable, bad feeling, not a terrible pain anywhere – I took a Vicodin. I felt so much better within the hour that I started taking it every six hours as the instructions said. That made for 3 by the time I went to bed. This morning I woke up with a headache and when I went to take a shower, I couldn’t even stand up. I ended up throwing up. I managed to get a shower, then couldn’t figure out how to put my compression garment back on.  (Incidentally, when I took the garment off for my shower, I saw my chin and neck looked pretty good, even with the swelling!  It looked better than before surgery!)

I called the doctor but couldn’t make sense of how he said to put the compression garment on. He did tell me that it was the Vicodin that had made me sick. (He had prescribed some meds to counter nausea in case that happened, but I hadn’t taken any -- because Vicodin has never made me sick before -- and my solution has been to just quit the Vicodin.)  A friend came over to help take care of me and I threw up a second time while the doctor told her over the phone how to put the garment back on. My friend helped me get the garment back on, and after she left, I lay immobilized on the couch. Too miserable to do anything, including take the antibiotic et al I had just thrown up, I called my husband and he came home from work to take care of me. He got here around 2pm (having stopped at Walmart to get some things we needed). I threw up a third time, then managed to eat chicken and noodle soup and have some ginger-ale. I then went to sleep until about 5 pm. It wasn’t until about 6 that I began feeling normal.

I put the black elastic chin band back on just for extra support, but after about an hour started getting another headache. So I took it off.

I feel much better now. But the nausea lasted half the day and I still don’t feel great. But at least I can get off the couch and do some things for myself. My neck feels sore only if I touch it, and it’s a bit itchy. I haven’t needed the gauze on my incisions at all today – barely needed them after surgery yesterday.

I am convinced today would have been as good as yesterday if I hadn't taken that Vicodin.  I’ve only taken Tylenol today when I start feeling bad. There really hasn’t been any pain, but I just have it in my head that Tylenol will help any general bad feeling I have.

Surgery and Home

Before I tell about my experience, I want to point out I am 36, a size 6, and had -- according to the doctor -- about 2 tablespoons of fat to remove.  Recovery may depend on different factors including the amount of fat being removed, and appearance following surgery will definitely be affected by how much additional skin needs to retract -- which, of course, would be affected by age of patient.

The most unpleasant part of the surgery was the numbing -- and that didn't even hurt as bad as the dentist often does.  It wasn't bad at all.  During surgery I felt nothing.  I could tell the doctor was digging vigorously around my check and sucking up the fat, but it didn't bother me.  The anti-anxiety pill  the doc had prescribed me to take an hour before really did work.  Also, the doctor allowed me to have my IPOD.  Even though the earphones were a little bit in the way and he accidentally knocked one partly out a couple times, he let me keep them and that diversion helped. 

Now, here is what I emailed to some family once I got home from surgery:

As the numbness wears off, I can feel the bruising in my neck and everything is still swollen. I have been busy since I got home, messing with the head gear, brushing my hair around it, trying pathetically to look normal and possibly cute.

I have to wear this black thing for 1-2 days, or as long as I can stand it. The brown thing beneath it must be worn a week at least. I thought I’d hide at home all week, but I think I’ll go to work anyway and get some more done in my classroom.

The pain is starting to set in and so I think I’ll have to take a Tylenol. I wasn’t going to take anything if I could stand it, but my sister-in-law told me that with too much pain the body tenses and has a harder time healing. I want to avoid the Vicodin.

FYI, if you've already had your pre-op appt, you might know there are two head compression garments, one for long term and one for short term.  The black one -- the tighter one -- is to be worn over the long-term one for a day or two.  It's pretty tight, but I was determined to wear it for two days.   

I did end up taking Vicodin on the first day, but now that it is over, I can honestly say that the pain wasn't so bad that I actually needed Vicodin.  I just started FEELING bad in a general way and thought that would help.  Please read Day 2 entry to see what followed.