Circumferential Body Lift Recovery: Week 2.5 Post-Op, or why Jackson-Pratt Drains SUCK

So, all the drains that were re-anchored last Friday came loose by Sunday. I was securing them with tape but was strongly advised by my surgeon to come back and get them re-anchored yet again.

The anchoring of a drain goes something like this: the pubic area above your genitals but below your waistline is numbed with some a cocktail mostly containing Lidocaine. After the numbing be happenin’, they pull a stitch about 1/2″ or 3/8″ through some of the meat next to the drain tube exit. So now there’s two bits of silk suture material coming out of your body, sewn fairly shallow into the flesh. They then tie several knots to give it a “leash”, wrap the suture material around the tube to secure it, tie it off with a couple more knots, then trim the excess. Boom, done.  I got six of these… two on each drain.

Within 48 hours, all six had pulled out of my flesh in an action very similar to one of those wire-hard-boiled-egg-slicer-thingies, or a wire cheese slicer. On top of this drain #1 (my problem child drain) quit producing altogether. So I’m thinking shit, I don’t want these to come out but at least one’s not producing and can come out soon! Hooray!

Until I wake up on Sunday morning with my pants soaked.

Drain #1 was NOT done producing, it just got clogged. The fluid has to go somewhere, so it just started dripping out in a constant dribble around the tube. I managed to manually unclog it by kind of “milking” the drain at the base and when I did, oh my gosh… I pulled 100 mL out in less than 5 minutes. I watched the drain exit area literally deflate like a dead beach ball. It’s clogged once since then but luckily I have been able to get it going again.

Went back down to Dr Pickart’s today and after numbing he put some nice wide, deep monofilament polypropylene (hopefully less reactive and less likely to just melt through my flesh) anchors. Did a real nice job, too. Drain #1 continued to be a problem though due to a slight nick in the tube about an inch and a half from the exit from my body when the old silk sutures were being cut off. The solution? Wipe with alcohol to degrease, let dry, and do a CLEAN and fairly tight wrap with electrical tape. I was using medical tape but the surgeon said that electrical tape is the best stuff to use for this.

In other news, on Monday evening after awakening from a brief nap, I felt a definite shift in my overall sense of well-being. I feel stronger, like I can walk around and do things, and most importantly I can almost stand up straight. I feel like the “I’m over the hump” moment has finally happened. And that damned “stitch” in my left side from getting in the car on Friday has really diminished in terms of overall pain and discomfort.

I’m just eager to see how much my squat form will improve with 20 pounds of fat and skin out of the way.

Circumferential Body Lift Recovery: Week 2 Post-Op

Week two flew by. No infection issues. Drain volume remained high and the only real issues were that three of the anchor sutures holding the drain tubes into my body had busted loose. At my Friday post-op, Dr. Pickart just numbed drain exit area (just above the genital area) and re-anchored the drains with new sutures.  Drain #2 was removed as it had actually started to work its way out too far to be useful; I was assured that the other three would compensate for the loss of one drain without any issue. To my delight this morning drain #1 stopped producing entirely, so I’m hoping that at least one more drain will follow suit by the next post-op this upcoming Friday. I’d like them all to taper off but this is an unlikely happening. In any event it was a great visit. I haven’t really talked about the surgeon, Dr. Pickart, very much on this blog but he’s a really cool guy. We always end up having very interesting, long-winded conversations about various life topics. He’s a smart guy, an excellent surgeon, and just a great human being in general.

After the post-op and on our way home, we stopped by work to grab a couple of books for a project I’m working on and to say howdy to my boss. Unfortunately, while getting back in the car (still a very awkward maneuver) I tweaked something in my left side. It feels like the stitch in your side that you get from running; just a very sharp, knife-like pain. I talked to the doctor about it today and he said that it could be a blown stitch or a muscle spasm from just having too much activity that one day (and it was a big day out, it’s an hour and a half drive from our place to the surgeon’s office). Luckily it’s starting to subside this evening and it’s not anything to really worry about long-term.

Food wise, I’ve been mostly staying paleo but trying to just keep inflammatory foods in check. There have been days with burgers and pizza but that was more in the first week where my body was just screaming CALORIES AND TASTY ONES NOW PLEASE WE NEED MORE CALORIES MAN WE JUST GOT FUCKED UP REAL BAD. The pain relievers really suppress my appetite so I have had things like a steak cooked in butter with some steamed broccoli or brussels sprouts, some chicken breasts and salad with avocado and tomato, basically just really simple high protein (and occasionally moderate fat). I have been drinking more Coke Zero than I would like to admit because it just cuts through the dry mouth from the pain killers in a very satisfying and relieving way. The past couple days have been just really appetite suppressed so I have relied on a multi-protein blend (Dymatize Elite Fusion 7) just to get something down the hatch. I am basically trying to get somewhere between PSMF and regular keto for recovery just to try to shred out a little body fat if possible (though I did have sushi and easter candy last night after having had very few carbs for the last few days).

That’s all for now. Till next week.

Circumferential Body Lift Recovery: Week 1 Post-Op

Hey All,

First week flew by in a haze of narcotics, drainage tubes, and interrupted sleep cycles.

The very first post-operative appointment was yesterday. All appears to be on point. No drains came out since they are all steadily producing with no signs of infection or any other problems. Pain management is dialed in, which makes going to the bathroom regularly a difficult chore, but apart from that no real problems. I’m holding on to as much weight in fluid as tissue they took off of me, which is kind of trippy to consider. I feel like I’m moving around really, really well. I ditched the walker after the first couple days and should be able to go back to lying flat on my back next weekend.

Back on a few supplements: Natural Calm and Zinc for mineral support, fish oil because duh, vitamin D, and I’m taking some chewable papaya enzymes whenever I feel like munching on a few. First couple days we had pizza and burgers and stuff because I felt like I needed SOME kind of easy calories but I’m back paleo now, trying to hit lots of protein but moderate fat and as few carbs as possible.

My wife has been an absolute angel and the support from my immediate and extended family as well as my friends and my employer has been tremendous. This is as close to an actual rebirth that a person can go through at least in a physical sense. I feel very positive about where things are going to go from here on out.

My very talented friend Nick Conn, owner of Santa Barbara Strength/Crossfit Goodland, wrote a post about my work over the last 3 years and my procedure yesterday for his weekly Friday Inspiration blog post. Nick is a talented athlete, great coach, top-notch human being and has deadlifted 600 at a body weight of 200. I was very honored that he shared part of my story with his athletes.

Oh, and here’s how I’m looking these days!

Progress as of Day 6 2013-03-28

Progress as of Day 6 2013-03-28

The operation was a success and the doctors were able to save the beard.

Well, the surgery was a success. No complications. They excised 19.2 pounds of fat and skin directly and also lipoe’d out about 400 g. Operation started at 11:30 or so on Friday, I woke up in recovery about 8 PM. Drains are in and will stay in for at least four weeks. I was worried that they’d need to shave my beard to get oxygen in or whatever but it came out unscathed.

The most painful part is the abdominal plication which makes it impossible to laugh or cough without pain. I fell behind the “pain curve” fairly early on but have been doing OK now that Igot the narcotic jump on it. Standard meds are oxycodone and valium and I can’t get more than about two or four hours of sleep lest I fall behind again.

When it rains, it pours… in addition to my wounds, our dog went after a cat at my dad’s house and got a nasty gash on his chest. Behold: two pitful creatures alike in their misery. I’m just happy that he gets to wear the cone of shame and not me!


Pre-Surgical Goal: 446×1 Deadlift

Had my pre-surgical consult yesterday. Everything is on track for the circumferential lower body lift on the 22nd of this month.

Felt feisty today after being sick for so long, so I decided to try to hit a PR goal I set awhile back. In February 2010 I weighed 446 pounds, so I wanted to deadlift that same weight within February of this year. A bad cold/sinus infection set me back, but after two false starts, I finally got the rep I wanted.