Tag Archives: circumferential lower body lift

Circumferential Lower Body Lift Week 9

The first three weeks of being physically back to work are in the bag. The first week was rough, I was a little shaky and moving slow. Getting up and walking around (despite having an office job) proved pretty demanding and beat me down pretty good by Friday of my first week back. Second week back I felt stronger, actually started going out and walking a bit at lunch but I must have overdid it because between last Friday evening and this past Wednesday I felt like I had body aches from the flu. I think it was simple overexertion. With other life stuff going on I haven’t lifted weights in nearly two weeks as a result. But, today I was back on it and hit 135 for three sets of five off a high box and hit three sets of the same weight on deadlifts.

Pain-wise about 80-90% of the discomfort from the abdominal plication is gone, and it was really this week that I felt like a normal, mobile human being again. The scar is pretty much “dead” and will need to be re-sensitized as healing continues, so apart from the occasional poke from an undissolved suture, that’s not been an issue. My weight is staying in the 234-238 range, having finally stabilized there, and I’m basically staying protein/fat paleo only with a maybe a once a week true cheat here and there. The goal is to get down to 220 and stabilize there, and I may buck the fat intake a little bit to do so.

I’ll have some before/after photos at the 12 week mark, and am working up a recap of the experience including a laundry list of things that worked well, things I wish I’d approached differently, and overall thoughts on this procedure.

Circumferential Body Lift Week 6: Back to Training

It’s been a week, folks.

I tapered down to 10 mg of Oxycodone on Tuesday split into two doses spaced 12 hours apart and took my last dose in the early evening. Had gnarly night sweats, nausea, malaise, flu-like symptoms for three days and then started to feel better on Thursday. Friday I was through the withdrawal and felt like a normal human being for the first time in six weeks. I was able to drive myself to my six-week evaluation at the surgeon’s office, where he cleared me to work out. That clearance came with the stern admonition to take it easy for the first four to six weeks, and to expect to occasionally bonk and feel like shit after heavy sessions for the next six months to a year. One year is the full healing time for the procedure, and now I just need to go back in a year for an evaluation, possibly sooner to look at some other plastic surgery options depending on where I end up at that time.

Body weight has been decreasing rapidly despite ramping up caloric intake markedly. Monday I was 242 in the evening and 239 in the morning and today I was 236 in the morning and 239 last night.

My first workout since the procedure was today. Six weeks to the day after being released from the hospital.

first session

Short session, it was just a get in there and see what I’m capable of type of thing… 135 off a high box felt like 315 did before the procedure. To be honest, I was happy just to not be pinned by 135 and work through three honest sets of five with a decently wide stance. It was brutal and I am having IOMS as opposed to DOMS (immediate onset muscle soreness, a highly scientific term that I just made up).  But, we all have to start somewhere.

Circumferential Body Lift Recovery: Week 5

Sorry for the relative lack of updates. Lots going on these days.

Drain #3 came out on the 18th and drain #4 came out on the 23rd. I pulled both myself. Apart from some minor pain around the exit wound for drain #3 both came out without incident. It is very liberating to not be hooked up to plastic tubing and have to keep track of drainage totals. Rear right incision’s funky bits are healing up nicely as is the bellybutton. I had one small area on the front right side that was a little bit open and actually had a loop of suture material coming out of it. At my doctor’s direction, I sterilized some scissors, pulled the suture tight, and snipped on each side flush with the skin. Very weird to perform this level of self-maintenance, but nice to not have the long drive to the surgeon’s office and back for every little thing.

I could have started sleeping in a bed flat two weeks after the procedure, but I elected to wait until all the drains were out so as to avoid ripping out anything in the middle of the night. Coincidentally, Monday I decided to see how long I could go without a painkiller and made it 17 hours before I started feeling any withdrawal-like symptoms. Tuesday, the day the drain came out, I took in about 30% of my normal dose of painkillers.

Bad, bad mistake to go cold turkey, then taper to such a low percentage of my dose, and THEN lie flat for 10 hours on my back. I awoke Wednesday in pretty bad pain in the abdomen and with some of the worst nausea I’ve ever had in my life (the nausea is a normal side effect of the pain from the extra stretch and the painkiller reduction). My only choice was to bring my painkiller intake back up to about 75% of my original dose that day. Thursday morning was only marginally better pain and nausea-wise. The only thing I could do to make the situation better was to try eating some breakfast cereal in the AM (antithetical to the carb backloading deal but w/e) to give my stomach something bland to work on. I felt better by that evening and worked down to about 60% of my original painkiller dose.

Today I’m down to 50% of the original dose and feel OK. I actually took a half-dose of Valium this evening to help with the abdominal discomfort and I have been working from my recliner the last three days to try to get more layback and stretch during the day. The positive thing here is that I am standing up even straighter and I can breathe full, deep, satisfying breaths as opposed to being limited because my abdomen is so freaking tight that it limits my diaphragm. I don’t “run out of wind” as easily while talking which is a major plus. So, kind of some unexpected setbacks with pain and nausea this week but some major progress forward: sleeping back in a normal bed, no drains, tapering the painkillers, back wounds are closing quick and I’m breathing much easier.

Circumferential Body Lift Recovery: Week 3.5

Woof, lots of stuff has happened in the last week. The anchors from last week held fine and dandy until yesterday, when both on drain #4 gave up the ghost. That was worrisome since it’s been the most productive lately. Today Dr. Pickart re-anchored #4 and put an extra anchor on #3 since one was looking weak. The longer the drains are in, the larger the holes get around them due to them just pushing up against the skin, hence making the drains more likely to pull out of the skin.

Drain #1 was holding fine with the electrical tape patch until the 13th, when a large crack opened up about 6″ up from where it entered my body. This was more like a stress crack/fissure, perhaps from stripping/cleaning the drain tube, and a fairly large one at that. My wonderful wife helped me try four different kinds of tape in various configurations at least twice each in the middle of the night (she’s been a trooper, to say the very least, during this whole thing). Nothing held, the fissure was just too big. I ended up cutting over 24″ of slack out of the drain tube and re-attaching the bulb less than 6″ from my body. Unfortunately, by the next afternoon the whole arrangement just wasn’t holding suction; I think the check valve on the suction bulb was boogered up. The bulb was on such a short leash that I was afraid of it ripping out. So, I went ahead and pulled the drain out myself at home.

Pulling a Jackson-Pratt drain is pretty easy. Sterilize some scissors, snip the sutures and pull them out (fairly painless) leaving them tied to the drain tube. Then, grab the tube firmly and just pull it out. No pain, no sticking points (unfortunately/fortunately no photos or video) but it was nice to have the “problem child” drain gone for good. It’s weird, there was literally no sensation: no pain, no tickle, just no sensation at all.

Drain #4 has picked up most of the slack since #1 and #4 are routed to the back and #2 and #3 are in the front. Drain 3 picked up a tiny bit of the slack and has been hovering around the criteria for removal, which is less than 30 mL/day for 2 consecutive days, for about a week now. Only had 25 mL from drain 3 today so there is a good chance that it’s coming out tomorrow or Friday. Drain #4 really took a nose dive today so I’m really hoping to be rid of all drains by potentially as early as next week, though I’m probably jinxing myself by saying that.

Apart from that, I feel a lot stronger and have more energy on the whole each day. Still sleeping in my recliner since I move around in bed quite a bit at night and am paranoid about pulling out drains.  That has led to slow healing on my rear incisions, but still no infections. I tapered myself off of the Valium about 4 days ago since it wasn’t doing much as a muscle relaxant and I haven’t been anxious or panicky at all. This has been my first experience with Valium and I gotta say: I don’t like it much. It was making me feel very strung out and emotionally unstable (think Robert DeNiro watching the TV commercial in Analyze This type instability). Having that stuff out of my system has been really great. The painkillers have been working fine, they haven’t turned me into a jerk like I was afraid they might, and I haven’t fallen behind on taking them in a few days. Oh, and I was given pictures of the material that was removed. If there’s any interest in seeing what came off me… leave me a comment. They’re fairly graphic so I don’t want to just straight up post them.

Definitely over the hump and on the way back to being somewhat normal. It has been a rough month, but man, the results are really going to be worth it.

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.

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!