April 18, 2012 was a Wednesday. It was my first - and hopefully only - major surgery. Yes, believe it or not, it has been 4 years since I had my excess skin removed.
The memories of that day - and the days following it - alternate between things that are remarkably vivid and other things that feel like a dream or a movie I watched rather than something that actually happened to me. Marc remembers sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office for over 5 hours. I had tried to convince him to do something that day - at least go over to the mall - but he insisted on waiting there the entire time. I think he remembers how much pain I was in that first night better than I do. You know that the pain of someone we love is always worse than our own.
I wouldn’t expect that 4 years after surgery anything would be changing physically - it hasn’t and that’s probably a good thing. The scars have continued to fade, a thin brown line that circles my whole body. If you decided to stare at my naked body you could see that the skin above and below that incision don’t quite match. And if you wanted to examine my belly button, you would see a dark, slightly indented spot and you would realize that there is no hole - that it’s not a “real” belly button. And there continues to be a small almost perfectly rectangular area which has no feeling at all.
Small prices to pay, really, for such a dramatic change. I ran today and thought about running before the surgery and how the excess skin would lift up in the air and then come slamming down with every step. Of attempting to kind of gather the skin and stuff it into my underwear and pants. Having skin that hung halfway down my thighs...
I can remember a day or 2 after the surgery - when I took off the compression garment so Marc could wash is and laying in bed and reaching down and touching my stomach and realizing that - for the first time in my life - it was FLAT. Not bulging up with fat or skin. The same goes for the first time I took a shower and didn’t have to lift up fat or skin to wash thoroughly.
I remember going shopping and the excitement of buying clothes that I had only dreamt of ever wearing. Or putting on a bikini for the first time in my life. Those things I KNEW would never be in the cards for me - I wasn’t good enough or strong enough to ever “qualify” to be in such an exclusive club.
4 years post op - I’ve certainly had my ups and downs!!
Sometimes I forget how far I’ve come - I am really good at looking at my faults - and I know I have a lot of them - but I also have to reflect on the hard work that allowed me to need this surgery in the first place. And how hard I work every single day to maintain this success.
It ain’t easy, is it my friends? I know you all know the struggle!!