One thing I had on my mind was how much I missed his arms and his touch. I’ve been encased in this very constricting corset thing for about a week now, it only comes off for showers. Sleeping is awkward still, on my back propped with pillows, so no cuddles. So, I asked if after I took my shower this evening, could he rub/caress my arms and legs? I so needed his touch, and I had a hunch that it would release some oxytocin or other good hormone. His reply was, “of course…”
When I exited the shower, he had the bedroom ready–low lights, nice soothing music, and a towel on the bed for me to lie on. His hands felt glorious. He began massaging my feet, then my legs, my arms, my shoulders, and I eventually sat up to have my back lightly scratched (which I love). Within a few minutes, I was feeling absolutely no pain in my body. Perhaps still a little tightness… but no pain to speak of. It was miraculous. My unfettered, naked body drank in the caresses and the open air, and I felt so safe with his hands on me.
We ended by lying side-by-side, holding hands. Sigh. I love this man so much. I love the power he has over me. I am blessed.
As I laid wide-eyed in my bed last night struggling to find sleep and a comfortable position, I ticked off in my head all the things I could do to achieve that goal. I’d had my “extra” Sleepy Time tea; I’d taken a heavier-duty pain pill. I was propped on a stack of pillows. I had my comfy knee socks on which help my feet and legs stay warm. I had pillows under my knees. What more could I do? I asked myself.
Oh, no, I can’t pray about this…
Wow. I suddenly realized that throughout the process of this plastic surgery, I had not once really gone to God. I began to analyze why this was.
In any other medical procedure of my life, I had always prayed fervently for God’s hand and protection. I had hoped the surgeon was praying too, but I prayed for him as well. This time, none of that. Why didn’t I take this one to God, I asked myself (and God, because he definitely was in on this head conversation now)?
Well, clearly, I said, it was because God couldn’t possibly approve of what I’ve done here. Had I really held up this plan before God, I probably wouldn’t have gotten very far in feeling like God endorsed this procedure. I mean, he fearfully and wonderfully made me, he knit me together, he saw my form and every part of me, who was I to mess with his handiwork?
Well–you had your heart procedure; and the bladder sling for incontinence. Wasn’t that messing with God’s handiwork? my little devil snarled back.
Oh, no. Those were to correct problems. We all know that God equips humans with solutions to problems. If there’s a way to fix or cure something, we should avail ourselves of that, right? Take care of our temple so that we can be the best that we can be during our human existence? To do the work God has planned for us in this world?
So, why wasn’t a droopy tummy and boobs the same thing?
It wasn’t, it just wasn’t… I can’t justify it from a purely health/quality of life perspective. I could still accomplish God’s purpose in me with a droopy tummy and boobs. My better health really wasn’t dependent on this procedure.
So, how can you justify this to God? And, therefore, how can you ask him to help you through it now that you’ve gone ahead and done it without consulting him in the first place? I’m still not recognizing Satan’s voice yet.
(Silence for a while as my brain scrambles).
I want to feel more attractive for my husband, my brain weakly offers.
Nah, that’s not all it, is it?
Well, it IS the main reason, and yes, I want to feel good about myself too. Is that wrong?
It’s selfish. How can you go to God about THAT? You know he doesn’t want you to worry about your physical looks. It’s your soul that counts. Yeah, you messed up.
No, it’s not selfish. And, well, even if it is a little selfish, what’s to say that God is abandoning me now? Even if this choice I made might not been part of God’s “perfect plan” for me, it doesn’t mean He suddenly turns His back on me and gives up. I’m not doing this for immoral reasons. OK, I’m not exactly doing this for Kingdom reasons either, but God knows my heart. There was no evil intent here, and I’m in pain and I don’t feel good, and NO ONE can tell me that I can’t go to God about this!!!
And poof! That little devil on my shoulder disappears. The little angel begins to speak now.
God doesn’t hate you for what you did, and it’s possible He’s a bit disappointed that you didn’t go to Him about this from the start.
I know. But he would have probably told me not to.
Well, that may be true, or maybe not. You’ll never know. But we’re past that now, aren’t we? He wants to be here for you, so stop blocking Him. Do you think God is so limited that he doesn’t understand what’s going on for you here? Don’t let the devil get a foothold in this and make you feel like God’s still not in your corner. Maybe He won’t magically lift away the pain and discomfort, perhaps you need to understand the consequence of this decision you made. I’m not saying it was a bad or a wrong decision, and it’s done. We just get through it, and past it, and on with life. But don’t shut God out, it’s not going to do you any good. His purpose for you hasn’t changed, no matter what you do, you know that well enough.
God did talk about the Proverbs 31 woman– wasn’t she working to look good for her husband? And Solomon–he really dug her breasts and belly button!
My angel snickers a little (because my God invented humor). Solomon’s bride wasn’t sporting silicone breasts and a tucked tummy. And, OK, let’s not take 1/2 of a verse out of 31 “she is clothed in fine linen and purple” to mean you should get a tummy tuck and boob job. Read the rest of that Proverb, and especially that last bit. Do all those things–as well–and you will be the blessing God intended you to be to your husband.
Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
(and for the record–I do happen to have these God conversations fairly regularly, so it wasn’t the drugs! And do you know that majority of art out there depicting the good-bad angel is pretty pornographic and “sexy?” I was surprised to see so much evil portrayed in the name of a woman being sexy. Good women can be “bad” without being evil…).
Post script: For the record, I truly believe that for a Christian, things like plastic surgery (and D/s.., and a whole host of things…) fall in the “morally neutral” category. I don’t think that God’s Word teaches for or against it. I think motivations and purpose are all at the root of what we do. I have to ask myself, and myself only, why I did this, and if it’s for an amoral reason (such as do I want to attract other men, cheat on my husband) then clearly it would be a wrong decision. We Christians are asked to hold up our decisions to scripture (God’s Word) as the moral compass. The most excellent way of course is to ask how an action furthers the Kingdom of God. The “True North” of most decisions, is can it point the world back to God? But, I will submit there are times when perhaps something is neutral, it doesn’t detract from the Kingdom of God, and therefore is not “bad” or unwise for us spiritually. There are some who may call this moral relativism, justifying what you want with your own truth. Or, bringing judgment on Christians for not walking our walk correctly (Paul talked a lot about this, denying our morally neutral wishes in favor of not causing others to go astray). All I can say is that these little conversations with God are always a way to advance me spiritually. I don’t regret what I did, nor do I believe God would condemn me for it. Rather, He wants me to come to him in ALL things, not just select things).
If I drink this, in my special mug– may I PLEASE find some hours of uninterrupted sleep tonight?
It’s been about a week now that I’ve not been able to catch more than 2-3 hours of consecutive sleep, much less in a bed. I’m staying up as late as I can, I’m going to drink this down with a pain pill and pray that tonight’s the night…
It’s my first day alone since the surgery. It will be a week tomorrow, hard to believe.
Happily, DH, got to get back into his routine today, rising at his incredibly early 5 am to head off to the gym, then work. I know it will make him feel better to be back into his normal, and if he feels better I feel better. Although I tried not to be a very demanding patient, and he did get to sit and relax and read a lot while I was in drug-induced sleep, we were going with a 24/7 thing here that was about to get really rancid with an expiration date that almost passed. I have so appreciated every thing he has done for me and it brings us all the closer–I mean when he had to help me sit on the toilet and stay nearby to get me back up again… When he’s seen the bruises and scars and swelling and helped me to bandage and corset that battered body… well, that is intimacy at it’s core. Not sexy intimacy, mind you, but it sort of paves the way for all intimacy. Nothing hidden, all out there. Some might say not always good, it takes away some mystery… Anyway, I think that we both needed to get back to more independent living.
And I know I’m turning corners here on recovery. By Sunday I felt somewhat normal mentally. My body was still hurting, I wasn’t moving normally, but I WAS moving more and doing more normal things for myself without extraordinary effort (but with exceptional exhaustion!). I reminded myself that this is often where I make my mistake in recoveries, I get a small spurt of normal and then run myself into the ground trying to do too much too soon. So I vowed to take it easy, get the right balance of movement and rest in. I waiver a lot on the pain remedies. I was given Hydrocodone and Tramadol, and I’d try to take the minimum dose but didn’t always get full relief. Reading on forums, I note a lot of people begin to go to regular Tylenol by day 3-5 so I’m giving that a try. I also note that parts of my body that were numb are slowly coming “back to life” with a vengeance now–sometimes with pain, pinching, sometimes with just itching or burning. Weird.
The result so far? Yesterday was my first day to truly have the energy to examine my body with more detail after my (exhausting but oh so lovely) shower. I’m still swollen and bruised, the incision made at bikini level is ugly as hell. I have one boob that feels harder than the other at the top, which I believe means the implant is still “high” and hasn’t dropped into its pocket. This was pretty evident because the visual was very uneven boobs, which of course makes your heart sink a little… my other boobs may have not been terrific, but they were symmetrical. I have to remind myself this is all a work in progress and not to get panicked here. Things will drop, settle, get unswollen, fade. Still, nothing seems very pretty to me right now and I’m trying really hard not to get down about it. With the corset on, I’ve managed to pull on some older BIG-SIZED yoga pants, so as far as feeling sizes smaller–nope. The scale’s not showing me much positive news either (and I’ve not been eating much).
DEEP BREATH. SIGH. BE PATIENT. IT’LL BE GREAT, GIVE IT TIME, HEAL…
I surprised myself by being less informed about this total procedure, but maybe I didn’t want TMI. I admit to not shopping around a whole lot on surgeons beyond the internet. I went with the first one I consulted with. I liked what I saw on his website and his testimonials, couldn’t find anything bad about him. He had “his own” patented procedure that combines lipo and tummy tuck, and he spoke on video interviews about his technique and experience. Apparently in most cases you get one or the other done separately. He feels both can be done at the same time, and he also puts great store into contouring and shaping… making sure not only to tighten skin, but to remove other issues that get into the flanks, hips, waist and back. He wants a pleasing waistline to result, not just a flat front. I was taken in by him saying something silly about “getting belly buttons right are my pet peeve.” I liked mine and didn’t want a shoddy one after. After I had done more research, I noted everyone commenting about drains and what a pain they were. I asked the nurse, and she told me he didn’t use drains. Hmmm. I guess I shouldn’t worry, right? Well, I did more research and began to worry a little that no drains were an exception. I mean, I didn’t want one, but if it was for the best… so the next visit I asked the doctor. In his calm (but imperious surgeon) manner, he said, “No, I don’t need to use drains. Do you want a drain?” I quickly said no, and he smiled and assured me not to worry.
At that point I probably should have told him that I’m a nosy patient who wants explanations. I’m not the ditzy blond whose hand you pat and say “don’t worry, I’ve got this…” When he did the day-before markings on my skin, I finally intimated that I am the patient that wants to know what all this means. He happily explained what all his markings meant, how it was his road map. I recognized the electronic level he was using on the tripod, and asked about it and he seemed pleased I noticed. I jokingly mentioned that during a heart procedure (I was awake for a while!) I kept asking the surgeon for a blow by blow as I felt the catheters abating in my heart, before they had to put me fully under. I think this sort of shocked the PS (and I do think that to an extent, many surgeons like the anonymity they enjoy in an OR, where the patient is CLUELESS about what they are doing). I should have been more direct in explaining how I like to know how things work.
So I’ve researched this and came to the conclusion– post-op — that my surgeon uses something called progressive tension suture technique–where somehow they put lots of dissolvable sutures throughout the abdomen to reduce tension on the main incision. This therefore leaves no “pockets” for fluid build up or the need to drain, and a better ultimate result with the scar. I also think this is why I am required to wear this corset for 6 weeks. It explains why I feel so tight throughout my entire trunk. And I also am realizing that my lower back pain beyond muscular is lipo; my extra bra fat–lipo. Everything is pulled so tightly, and the bikini-level scar rounds my hips a bit and even my butt seems pulled and tucked (which was not an area I was overly concerned about). Every article I read indicates its a better recovery method, but every comparison I make to the drain people is that I’m in much more pain and discomfort initially here. It could just be me.
So obviously I have too much time for cogitation on all of these things right now. I won’t see the surgeon again for a week, which also happens to be when I plan to head back to work. I’ll play that by ear. My boss is understanding (not knowing the true nature of my surgery) if I need extra time.
I actually have a ton of work I need to do this week– but I’m indulging myself with blogging too, as it will help my sanity to look back days later and realize I passed through this gauntlet. Thanks to those who choose to follow the saga and the story, and BIG thanks to all who are cheering me on and wishing me well through this. It’s tough to feel compassionate towards PS patients, it was elective after all! But I know so many of you do get this.
So, now on to my next great feat… a shower.
I was under no illusions that my recovery wasn’t going to be challenging for me. I’m a control freak and sometimes a perfectionist. I expect things to go the best they possibly can be. I hold myself to high standards. Sometimes I don’t easily accept that things are out of my control, and learn to just accept them and cope with patience and grace.
Working on submission with DH has helped me a lot on letting go of unhealthy control, at least when it comes to things relating to us and our relationship. Working on my Christian walk also helps me to turn things over to God when I don’t see a clear way forward under my own power, and to try to acknowledge HE ultimately has the plan and the control. But I definitely fall short of the mark. I get anxious, I get impatient–with myself, my shortcomings, others’ shortcomings, life.
Did I mention that DH is a martyr? I truly don’t wish this to sound like a pejorative term, as most people might take it in common parlance. The term conjures up a pitiful being. It would be more “PC” to say he is a VERY giving man, and this is true. Actually, martyrs are very strong people with high standards and beliefs they will not compromise. This bugs some of us “normal,” selfish people. My mom also was a martyr, she put up with a lot of difficulties in her marriage but chose to keep a positive, uncomplaining outlook. She was well-loved by many, but taken advantage of by those with weak moral character. Still, the term Martyr brings to mind “long-suffering.”
My DH and my mom had a lot in common. They are/were excellent caretakers, usually putting others’ needs before theirs. They’d exhaust themselves to make sure another was taken care of before them–whether family member, work project, other commitment. Taking the smallest portion on the platter, the burnt toast, the worst seat, etc. And it takes it’s toll after a while, and the veneer cracks. It’s human, it’s normal, it’s understandable.
Except sometimes for those who have gotten used to the martyr’s long-enduring patience. We get so used to our sweet Martyr sacrificing and saying yes to everything that even when they sigh reluctantly at an outrageous request or when they’ve just had it, we’re clueless.
From DH’s perspective, he should feel he had the week from hell. It started 10 days ago with having to hospitalize his aging dad for 5 days, and being completely responsible for caring for him and his mom, having to ditch work and make it up on the weekend. On the 5th day was my procedure, the same day Dad was discharged. Switch to totally caring for me.
Neither his parents nor I had a doubt DH would be there for us 100%. We of course, are really grateful and appreciative for all he does. And he smiles and takes care of us.
Last night I began to sense it. He’d hit the martyr wall. The sword could not be impaled any further without a wince, the blood was rushing to his head on his upside-down crucifix.
I asked to cuddled with him on the one part of our couch where we could both comfortably sit and recline a little, hoping some touch would help. I’m still as sore as hell, and he knows it. So we just held hands and snuggled while we watched our John Wayne movie. He later fell asleep on the couch, and I had a painful night and ended up in the recliner again.
He mentioned wanting to go to church today, and I encouraged it. He needed to get out. He waivered a little, then decided to go. I put off my shower (still a little scared to shower without him home) until his return. We had amassed a small grocery list, many items being my own personal needs. It was not a “familiar” grocery list for him: items I needed for my recovery, items he’s not used to finding on the shelves as he whizzes in and out on his brief visits for a banana, cereal, or milk. I needed something to ice my aching breasts… showed him a picture of an ice pack, and if not available at the grocery store then a couple packages of frozen peas. He began questioning if we already had some in the freezer. I explained that I’d just like a couple cheap bags of unopened peas, they’re what, like 88 cents? By the time he left with the very detailed list, it was tense. He had to call three times from the store to ask where to find something, frustrated that it wasn’t where I explained. The tension was mounting… for me mostly.
I am, after all, the people-pleaser. If I feel someone’s displeasure, I begin to freak. I had let him take care of me, I’d let down my guard, I gave over control. I was vulnerable, and it’s just never been a garment that fits well on me.
So with all the knowledge of what he’s been through in the last week, with responsibilities at work hanging over him, I suggested that he make a plan to go tomorrow to work, I’d be fine. He again waivered on going in today “to see what the boss had left.” I managed the shower and said I just wanted a few moments to lay on the bed with nothing on my skin (having been entrapped in bandages and corset for 6 days).
“Honey– you’ve been on duty for more than a week, non-stop: first your dad, then me. You need a break. I’m good alone now. What is it you want to do for yourself now?”
“I’m fine… don’t get upset and think I’m frustrated if I ask questions. I just happen to hate shopping.”
“I understand. It’s frustrating when you’re looking for unfamiliar things. I appreciate you doing that. Now you need some time for you.”
“I’m OK,” my martyr insists.
He leaves me to rest on the bed alone.
I manage to re-bandage and re-corset and re-dress myself without help for the first time. When I come out of the bedroom, he has decided to head off to see to the office– if I’ll be OK.
“I’ll be fine!” I insist.
I hope he returns refreshed, and I hope he goes to do something frivolous or fun for himself (LOL, spoken like a woman–guys don’t do frivolous or fun…).
And I hope I can adjust to my vulnerability–let go and let him be him.
Well, I survived, but still have a long way to go on recovery. If you don’t want to be discouraged by a blow-by-blow of this procedure, you may want to stop reading here. Everyone’s experience is different, I’m told. There’s always the story of the woman who went home and was cleaning house the next day. Yeah, right. Mine has been quite the opposite.
First of all, I want to thank everyone for their well-wishes and prayers. It was much appreciated!
I’ve just now dug out of the hole of massive pain and discomfort. This is not a procedure for weenies, let me say that. It probably is the most severe of any procedure I’ve ever experienced in terms of an incision, and all-over soreness and pain.
Four days post-op and I’m just beginning to feel close to human, without hydrocodone every 4 hours. I actually got to sleep most of last night in the bed rather than the recliner (the recliner was a God-send, if you ever do this make sure you have a decent one because for the first 3 days it was the only place I could be comfortable).
You get to wear this “lovely” compression garment afterwards (aka, corset) to hold it all together while healing (ack! 6 weeks!). My first pair of crotchless panties!! As the surgeon had mentioned, it wasn’t the incision that was most painful, but rather all the stretching. Initially you feel you can’t straighten up when you walk for fear of tearing something. And talk about the incision–I am so happy to hear of others’ experiences with the healing of this because the scar is downright Frankenstein-scary right now! I recall when researching this that there was a trade off here–you would have this hip-to-hip scar but no belly. The scar will lighten and be covered by most panties and bathing suits, but always visible. I will have to say that I guess I take the scar option over the belly flap, however I think I have caught poor DH wincing when he looked at it.
The breasts–well, comparatively speaking, that part was a piece of cake. They are tender, and rather hard-feeling and high now (sort of like when you’re engorged after delivering your baby), but I’m assured it’s the muscle I’m feeling and the implants will settle into place and all will be “normal.” The size seems reasonable, I’m not freaked out by too large. Somehow, DH missed that I had decided to go forward with the augmentation and after my day-after post op appointment said, “You did your boobs?” with surprise. Every since, he’s been fascinated! It’s almost like a kid with a new toy “dangling” in front of him (poor choice of words–they are anything but dangling now!). He keeps reminding me of the surgeon’s instructions to massage them frequently. When I’m a little less tender I think I’ll turn that job over to him. :-) Last night we even had a little “Dom-sub” humor going, when he told me I should do something and I responded with “yes sir,” and he jokingly made a serious face and said “You’d better listen to me…”
DH is so wonderful and caring to me. He’s gone above and beyond to take care of me and nurse me through recovery. I’ve had almost no appetite, and he keeps trying to get me to eat something. He ended up taking off more days than we thought were needed because my initial recovery went so slowly (the surgeon mentioned they needed to administer quite a bit more anesthesia than normal in my case, and had I ever before had that experience? All I know is every other experience I’ve had with anesthesia has not been good, it usually takes me nearly a week to recover from that alone). DH has been very tender and gentle with me, and I am so grateful for him.
I’ll keep you posted… this is the first time I’ve actually had the desire to get on my computer in 4 days so you know I’ve been in a bad way. I sort of knew there would be this tough patch where I’d be wondering why I did this… but then I’ll get through it and be really happy. As my friend here texted me– “Everyday will get a little better girl. You will have a rockin body. Gotta heal first.” I’m still so swollen and tight to notice major differences.
And, as I’ve heard–everyone’s experience is different so I don’t want to discourage anyone; however this is not minor stuff! Thanks again for all the well wishes and prayers, friends.
I really should be getting my sleep for my early morning procedure, but I’m too excited! Scared, nervous, happy… worried.
Today is the day you go for “markings” and the Dr. draws his map on you with his sharpie marker (his was red!). I finally asked him to help me understand what all these lines meant! The amount of skin (and fat) that is leaving my body tomorrow is unbelievable! The skin between my upper pubis and my belly button, and side to side to the back part of my waist, a good 6 inches, is to be gone. Apparently in this pulling it all together process, my upper thigh skin will tighten up a bit as well. I just have to keep focused on the results to get me through tomorrow and the discomforts of healing.
DH knows. One trusted local friend knows. Two of my college girlfriends know. And that is it, and that is all I want to know. No one else’s business, I don’t want judgment, not from other “friends” and not from my kids. They’ll be home briefly over the break so I just hope I be pretty mobile and not to invalid by the time they arrive.
Local friend texted tonight to tell me she was praying for me and that meant so much; Of course DH will be there with me through it all, and the next day too. And all of my blog land friends too! Thank you for all the prayers and good thoughts! I HATE doing selfies… but here you go.