Tag Archives: panniculectomy

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.