Sunday, July 05, 2020

6 weeks post op and I'll keep it more modest

Last post may have been much. So, here is a little tamer post on my 6 weeks recovery.

I've been jogging! At 5 weeks I started adding a little jogging in. Jog-walk-jog-walk. Then Saturday last week I just went for it. I started jogging and decided I'd only walk if I was too tired or too much in pain. I managed to make it 4.7 miles before stopping at all, and that was for a drink of water. Then I kept going and ended up with 6 miles at a 10 minute pace! I audibly whooped when I hit 5 and then 6 miles.

I started jogging with a new friend on Monday and Wednesday of this week. My fastest day I saw at least one mile at 8:30. 🤯 I've been staying up too late and sleeping in later than normal, so I biked last Saturday instead because of the weather and did 12 miles. Sightly slower than normal but not much.

Ok, so pain... I'm mostly to the point where I don't even have the constant dull ache. If I sit hunched over too long it hurts. If someone touches me too roughly (like Marian) if hurts. And sometimes it just randomly hurts. But most of the time it doesn't. Yay!

I think my implants are settling in. They aren't quiet as tight or high. There is still a little swelling on my belly low by the incision. No pain for boobs and I can lay on my side again without it hurting.

I used the silicone strips for two weeks on my incision, but it started chafing and have me problems when my hair started growing in, so I just stopped using them. I think it looks pretty good though!

I'll run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and this week I'm heading back to the gym on T/TH/S. Hopefully I don't catch Corona, but I'm after 4 months away I'm ready to go back.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

1 month post op distasis repair, hernia repair, mini tuck, and augmentation

Well, it's been a month and I'm doing great! Everything is on track for great healing and strength. I'll try and recap the last 3 weeks. I should have done it well because things changed daily.

Day 8: I started logging my walks to track my progress. I would give max effort as far as I felt I could then my gosh was to go a tiny bit further or faster (or at least maintain). I did .51 miles at 18:35 pace in the parking lot while my kids played.
Day 9: I did 1 mile at a 22 minute pace. First time on the canal.
Day 10: I did 1 mile at a 20 minute pace while Marian was at dance.
Day 11: 1.1 mile in 22 min
Day 12: 2 miles in 36 minutes
Day 13: 1 mile in 19.13
Day 14: 1 mile in 19:39 and a second 1 mile walk in 24:21 (with Edward at his pace)
Day 10 Marian and I happened to match!

Week 2 I started feeling quite a bit better but was still taking ibuprofen once or twice a day. It still hurt to lay down, stand up from laying or sitting, or walking too fast. I still had quiet a bit of swelling down low. I was wearing my binder 24/7. At day 12 I had my 2 week follow up. I had failed to empty and record my drain numbers nightly (it grossed Matt out so we were doing it every other day or even every 3 days, which apparently was bad). So I had to keep it in 2 more days to make sure it had proper suction and it was collecting less than 30. So in these pics I was 12 days. I had a weird muscle strain in the middle of my stomach, I think from playing a little pitch and bat with Vivian. It was a soft foambfoam  but she hit it hard directly at me and I automatically turned and jerked more than I should have. Yeah, playing ball with my kids at 10 days post op was not a good idea.

At day 14 I went back and she pulled out my drain. That was nice to get rid of it. Here are my pics at 2 weeks and a few days.:

June 5th 2 weeks post op after getting my drain out.

At this point I was sleeping with 2-3 pillows under my head and 1 under my knees.
Day 15: I went 3.16 miles in 50 minutes! I think I just felt a lot better with the drain gone.
Day 16: Sunday and did 1.5 at a 18:49 min/mile
Day 17: 2 miles in 34 min. That's a 16.29 min/mile pace!
Day 18: 1.16 miles in 24 min
Day 19: 3.05 miles in 50 min. (16:35 pace)
Day 20: 3.02 miles in 47 min. (15:33 pace)
Day 21: 1.16 mile in 21:38 (18:34 pace)

So that brings me to 3 weeks post op. Obviously had a little more stamina. I was walking a little faster and freer. 

Still a little swelling. Rarely took meds. My tummy was still a little numb everywhere they lifted the skin. Still swelling down by the incision. But the incision is looking quite a bit better. 

Day 22 I decided to really try myself and walked from my house up above battle Creek falls and back. So that was my first real uphill hike. 3.05 miles in 54 min. And gained 778 ft. Not bad!
Day 23: with kids on a Sunday morning. Soooo slow (how I knew I was making progress!) 1.45 miles in 38 min (26 min/mile pace)
Day 24: 3.07 miles in 44 minutes (14:35 pace!) 
Day 25: 4.1 miles in 57:53 minutes. (14:08 pace! Getting better every day!)
Day 26: 4.4 miles in 1 hour 11 min. (16:06 pace)
Day 27: 3.1 miles in 44:44. (That was a 14:26 pace)
Day 28 (today!) I walked 2.57 but was so so cold. I did that in 38:43 at a 15 min pace.

How am I feeling 4 weeks post op? Pretty great actually. I went to the park with my kids, and I went to the pool and got in for the first time today. I'm supposed to massage my breasts every day a couple times to help the implant drop a bit. My incisions hurt sometimes if I pull the skin a little too tight. It also hurts a little too let on my side still. A lot of pressure. The swelling has gone down quiet a bit. Still a little tender to the touch, but I can sneeze and cough without it feeling like my stomach will be ripped apart. I can sit up, lay down, etc pretty normally. Feeling stronger every day. I have been getting in anywhere from 12k-17k steps each day this week!!! I'm still sleeping on my back with 1 pillow under my head and 1 pillow under my knees. I don't regret having done this. I think if there is something you feel strongly about doing, do it. I do suggest getting round the clock care the first week. After that, help is helpful but maybe not necessary. 

If I flex you can see a bit of extra skin, but I don't mind that 

I'm sure

Sunday, May 31, 2020

One week and 3 days post op

The human body is amazing. 

first night home. Ouch.
I went in last Thursday for surgery. A little nervous, a little excited. I was prepared for pain, but NOT prepared for the sheer amount of pain I experienced. Right before I went under anesthesia, I told myself, "I am healthy. I am strong. I'm going to be okay." The next thing I knew I was being woken up in the recovery room with the doctors and nurses asking me questions. I think the first thing I said in my drugged state was, "Why did I do this???" SO. MUCH. PAIN. They assured me I would be happy in a few months for doing it. But I felt like I had been run over by a truck. Everything hurt. My body shook. I cried. They took my vitals. They asked if I had any clothes with me, and I said I had a robe in my bag. A robe?! Genius, they said. We should tell all our patients to bring one. I remembered thinking, "In all the surgeries you've performed, no one has ever worn a robe out of here?" They got me into a wheel chair, and 5 hours after walking in to the surgery center, I rolled out the door on my way home. They had estimated it taking a shorter time, so I'm thinking it was a little more extensive or harder than they thought it would be. I had umbilical hernia repair, diastasis repair (quilted my abs back together), mini tuck (didn't reposition my belly button, just pulled the loose skin down a bit), and breast augmentation.

I'm honestly not sure how Matt got me in the house after we got home. He got me in to bed. I couldn't  lay down on my own, sit up on my own, couldn't walk on my own, and was basically naked for the next two days minus the binder and bra they put on me after surgery. They would put a robe on top of me or around me if I needed. I borrowed a walker from my neighbors. That was helpful. The first two days, though, I couldn't get out of bed on my own. The best way for me to sit up was if I turned to my side, someone grabbed my hands crossed in front of me, and they gently pulled me up to sitting. Someone would watch me walk with the walker to the bathroom and back. I slept a lot. I was functioning at maybe 5-10% of my normal strength.

day 2 I was upright at least a little
The first night I passed out twice while at the toilet. Poor, poor Matt. Luckily he was right there with me. I thought I was doing a little better by Saturday. I think I was mostly sitting up and standing on my own by the end of the day, very labored and painful. I hate having to rely on someone just to go to the bathroom, so I was determined. Sunday morning at 5:30 I needed to use the restroom. I pulled myself out of bed and walked myself there with the walker. A few seconds after sitting down, I knew I was in trouble. "Matt, Matt, Matt! I need you!" He panicked and quickly made it in. He caught me on the toilet then tried to get me back to bed, but I went down again. Next thing I knew I was on the cold floor, sweating profusely, confused from waking up from some vivid dream. Matt said he felt like he just watched me die. My eyes were open, mouth slack, and I wasn't breathing for a few seconds. But, luckily I came around, he got me back in bed, and he could NOT go back to sleep. Poor guy only had about 3 hours of sleep that night.

the allergy rash and hives. It felt like poison oak or something. 
We called the doctor. I'm always a fall risk after giving birth, and I'm prone to passing out from heat stroke or other traumatizing events. He thought it sounded like vasovagal syncope. We tried increasing my electrolytes that day, and were more watchful about me doing things on my own, but luckily I didn't pass out any more after that. The next abnormal thing, though, was a rash. I felt it first on my arms, but over the course of the week it spread all over my arms, legs, and rear. It itched SO BAD. I felt like my body was on fire. I kept thinking, "This was not worth it. I was just too vain. This was not worth it." I got a steroid, but it is slow acting. Today is actually the first day I don't seem to have any rash left. Apparently I was allergic to something they used during surgery, but I won't know what till I do allergy testing with a dermatologist when I'm feeling better. Oh, and my back and front mid section would have random moments of shooting pain, pins and needles. I only had that for 2 days and haven't experienced that since. It may have been related to the rash, I'm not sure. But it felt internal rather than external.
I think this was after my first shower a few days in.
I sat on a stool in my shower while Matt helped soap me down and rinse me off.
Felt so good to be clean.

Day 6 after going to the doctor for my 1 week
and to check out my rash.
Every day I made a little progress. I kept setting new little goals. One day it was to my kitchen and back. One day was down 4 houses and back. Then to the stop sign and back. Around the church and back. On Thursday, one week after my surgery, I drove my kids half a mile to their school and back then took a 45 minute nap. haha. Don't worry, I hate taking strong meds, so I only took 2 pills of the oxycodone the first night and second morning, and then I decided I'd stick with Ibuprofen and Tylenol, so I wasn't on any drugs while driving. It was good enough for my c-sections, so I figured I didn't need anything harder than that. I hate the feeling of being on strong drugs. Then by Friday, a week and a day after surgery, I walked half a mile while at the church with my kids roller blading around me. Slowly. Very slowly. It was the first walk I tracked on my Garmin, and I just tried to keep my pace to a 25 minute mile because it wouldn't register slower than that. But I think it was actually a 32 min. mile pace that day.  Saturday I woke up and went on a walk by myself, determined to go just a little further and faster than the day before. I walked a mile in 22 minutes. I helped supervise my kids cleaning, and by noon I was spent for the day. By the time evening rolled around I was so exhausted.

Day 7 the rash looked bumpier and worse. Still itched.
I have had a hard time sleeping. I can't fall asleep or stay asleep most nights. Last night I did get to bed before midnight and didn't wake till 6, so that was better. But my emotional state has been up and down. Some moments I think, I've got this! My body feels so much better than the first 6 days. Those first 6 days I just wasn't sure if I made a huge mistake. I felt guilty, I felt depressed. I felt sad. I felt remorse. Couldn't I just have loved myself just as I was? But the thing is, I did. I can't really tell you why I feel so compelled to restore what I felt needed restoration. I don't know why psychologically I felt it was so important to feel like "me" again.

But by day 7, I started feeling well enough that I wasn't in a total state of regret. I can see the daily improvement. I feel like I will be stronger eventually. Honestly, the pain I felt a week after surgery is the pain I thought I'd be in right after surgery. But I was wrong.

I'm just going to think of my scar as a smile.
It's still kind of hard to tell what the final result will look like. His incisions are masterful though. And I scar really well, so I'm not worried. It's super low because they used my super low c-section scar as a starting point I think. My breasts are fuller and higher than I was expecting. It feels like when my boobs were FULL of milk, the point where I needed my babies to eat to relieve some pressure. The first few days the pressure on my chest was greater so it kind of hurt to breathe, but the pain of my stomach overshadowed it. I haven't really felt much pain in my chest. I think the pressure will lesson as the implants drop. I do have a little loose skin under my implant that looks funny right now, but I'm hoping my implants will just drop and settle right in for a perfect fit. We knew I was right on the edge of needing a lift, but we opted to not do it yet in hopes that we could minimize the amount of surgeries I was undergoing. So far I'm feeling pleased and hopeful. I feel like I can do this. I am healthy. I am strong. I will be okay.
A week after surgery with my binder, my own soft bra, and my drain bag.

I had mostly worn super loose clothes the first week, but I was running out of shirts so I went for my softest stretchiest fitted shirt. When Matt saw me he took a double take and was like, Uh that's not what I'm used to seeing. Hahaha. I'm going to have to make sure the position of my words are better before classes start. This shirt won't do for teaching anymore. Remember I'm still swollen and they are high. I'm thinking I'll end up about a large B or small C when I start wearing bras other than sports bras. Which is what I wanted. I didn't want anything larger.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Diastasis Recti continued - 2 more babies

9 or 10 years ago I first learned about diastasis recti (split abs) when I mentioned that my belly button used to be an in-y but after having 2 babies it was now an out-y. Someone suggested that might be a sign of diastasis recti. I checked, and sure enough, I had a sizable gap in my abs. After I had Edward, my third baby, I could fit 6 fingers in the hollow between my abs. With tons of specific and tedious work, and splinting for nearly a year, I got it to close to a 2 finger gap. Not quite the same as before, but good enough.

Well, after 2 more babies - 5 babies total, even after splinting, exercising, and specific tedious ab programs (I've tried 3 programs claiming to fix diastasis recti without surgery), my abs have a 3 finger gap and other issues. I've done about as much as I think anyone could do to fix it myself. It wasn't till last year that I discovered that I actually have an umbilical hernia as well (which is why my belly button never went back in) which is partially why I don't think I can close it on my own. As I've gotten leaner, fitter, and stronger, my belly has become more apparent and appears more bulgy when I'm not flexing, arching my back slightly, or sucking in.

After 3 years of thinking about it, last year I went through a looooooong year of soul searching, praying, talking to doctors, talking to friends who had done the same thing etc. trying to decide if it was a big enough deal to me to go ahead with plastic surgery to fix the hernia and repair my abs as well as have a breast augmentation (I mean, if I'm already under the knife, why not consider restoring those babies as well - I gave my body and my boobs to my babies for 10 wonderful years and now I'm ready for it all back). I listened to self love bloggers and therapists who promote acceptance of the new mom bod, it's natural, it's right, it's good, it's its own form of beautiful. And I agree. And yet, I couldn't put it behind me. So I kept talking, researching, and I wanted to be really sure that this was being done out of self love and not self hate. Because if I was doing it out of self-loathing or body hate, no amount of plastic surgery could cure that or fill that void.

I'm not doing this because I hate myself or my body. I'm not trying to be perfect, or even more beautiful. (Though, I've thought about this a lot- we do a lot of things to feel and look more beautiful. We get braces, have eye surgery so we don't have to worry about glasses, we buy nice clothes, we whiten our teeth, we wear makeup, we have hair stylists, get manicures, facials, etc) I came to the conclusion that I don't have to hate my body to want change. I quite love my body and lovingly want to restore some of what I can't restore on my own.

I was actually scheduled in December of last year and paid in full, but I woke up sick the morning of surgery. I couldn't put off my classes, so I decided to reschedule after my LPM semester was over. And last Thursday was my last recital for the season! So with that long winded tale, I'm back to surgery week, provided that nothing goes wrong with my health like last time. Fixing the hernia, sewing my abs back up, a mini tummy tuck, and breast augmentation. Thursday is the day. Ready or not, here I come.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Change your perspective

I'm obviously not good at daily journaling - yet. I read the other day that instead of saying we are terrible at something or not good at something to add the word "yet" at the end. That denotes that we are a work in progress. That we haven't given up on ourselves, and that we believe we could improve and even become great at something difficult for us.

On Sunday, our Sunday School teacher asked if any of us were now great at something that we previously were terrible at. I raised my hand and said running. He asked what changed, and I gave him the short version, which is essentially that I just had to believe I was capable of being good at it, and then I worked like I could achieve it.

The long answer is this: When I first started I couldn't complete a mile without huffing and puffing. The first time I completed 3 miles I'm pretty sure I either passed out from heat exhaustion or threw up from it. Maybe both. I continued to run cross country during high school, despite not being particularly good at it. I first started because I wanted to do it with my sister Julie who was a senior when I was a freshman. There was no other activity I could have participated in with her, so I did it. I improved enough that I could finish 3 miles without passing out or throwing up, and even ran at the varsity state cross country meet (we were short on runners that year!) but I was never fantastic at it. I felt like 3 miles was the limit for my body type and build, and that I would never be considered fast.

I jogged off and on through college and after we moved to TX, never really challenging my limits on time or distance, but doing it because I knew I needed exercise. I did have one guy (I don't even remember who) in college mention he bet I could run 15 miles if I could do 3 because... once you start you just have to keep going. He really seemed sincere in thinking I could run more. So occasionally I'd throw in a 4-6 mile run here and there.

One time in TX I'd set out to do a 3 mile run and ended up not mapping my course properly and ended up doing more like 6 miles. I ended up as sick as a dog that night. Matt had to carry me to my room because I couldn't walk. I'm sure I was totally dehydrated as it was a hot run and I never carried water or electrolytes with me. Guess what I got for Christmas that year? A water belt. And I still take it with me on even short runs now because of how awful I felt that run. Running with water changed a lot of things for me. I felt so much more capable.

After I had Walter I experienced what I think was un-diagnosed postpartum depression, and when I prayed with real intent and sought to listen, running was one of about 10 things I decided I needed to do to get out of my funk. I found a friend to train with, and we followed a plan to prepare for a half marathon. I thought that would be it for me. It would be my one "bucket list" race. But it felt so exhilarating and I actually quite enjoyed racing. We kept about a 9 min/mile pace. Not amazing, but not bad. I was quite happy with it as we'd been running 11-13 min. miles with our double strollers during training!

When I was wanting to VBA2C with Edward, I had a very, very strong desire and motivation to do everything in my power to be strong physically and mentally to have the birth experience I wanted. I kept running until about 35 weeks then walked/jogged until the end. In effort to induce labor, the day before I had him I went jogging 1.5 miles with my dad and we kept about a 10-11 min. pace. At that point I remember thinking to myself, "If I can run a 10 min. mile at 40 weeks pregnant, I dang well better be able to run a sub 8 min. mile when I'm not!"

I believed it, and I worked like I believed it. As I didn't have much time to run, I focused on making all of my runs short and fast. 2 miles most days. I'd  basically practice at race pace every time I ran. And then I started adding a little distance. Eventually I could run repeatable sub 8 min. miles. My fastest half marathon was pace at 7 min. 40 sec / mile. For 13 miles! Not shabby. In TX I won first in my division in multiple races. Here in UT it is far more competitive, and I've been much busier and haven't run or raced as much.

Anyway, at the end of his lesson, he said pretty much any change, be it repentance or over coming trials or individual struggles is a lot like that. It takes the belief and a lot of work. It took me 15 years of running before I believed I could be great at it, and 20 years to get my eventual PR. Why should I get so discouraged when I feel like my parenting or spiritual progress is going slowly? I need to believe progress is possible and then work like it is. Will I fall? Probably. May I end up in the "hospital" (so to speak) like I did once after a particularly hot and challenging race where I wasn't properly hydrated or prepared? It's possible. But that doesn't mean I should give up or that I am incapable of progress.

Weak things can be made strong through Christ.

I am weak in many aspects of parenting. But if I believe I can be strong, if I believe I can improve, and I work to do it, I know I can be better.

Friday, September 30, 2016

I've come a long way

Today after I went visiting teaching, I took Edward, Vivian, and Marian to a park in Cedar Hills near our old rental house. I met the nicest mom there. She had two boys, 5 and 2. After hearing about how I have 5 kids 8 and under, she asked how I do it. I said, I don't know. She said she was having a hard time with just 2 kids.

I assured her that for me, 2 kids has been my hardest stage. I got to thinking just how far I've come in my mom-ing. I'm nowhere near perfect, but I remember how HARD it was as a mom of 2. And now I have 2 in school, 1 in preschool, and 2 at home with me, one who is an exclusively breast fed baby.  I am teaching more private students and have 3 group music classes for which I have to have a very tidy and clean home. I have come a long way. I am feeling proud of myself. Some things have changed. I no longer spend 1-2 hours prepping dinner. My laundry may or may not get folded, but hey, it's clean! I don't teach preschool out of my home, and I don't spend as much time doing preschool prep type things with my 2 year old. My baby doesn't get picked up every single time she cries. But there is a lot more music in our home! And we still go to the park and have fun together.

Motherhood is such a wild ride. I feel like I've learned a lot and have a lot yet to learn. Strapped in for the ride!

Here are a few of our most recent family pictures.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Paint paint everywhere

Today while I was getting ready to make dinner, I noted that I hadn't seen Vivian in awhile. Anyone who has ever had a two year old knows it is mighty suspicious to not see or hear them for awhile.  I asked the boys if she was up there and they said yes, but when. I asked where they couldn't tell me. Then Edward said, "I thinks she's in Dean's room." So we opened his closet and oh boy. Paint everywhere. I've told Dean not to bring art supplies to his room, but he put them in a #10 can in his closet. Vivian found them, tried to paint but spilled them, then tried to clean up.

When I saw this, I didn't even feel anger boiling inside. I just said, "ah darn it. Let's get you in the bath. Dean, this is why I didn't want you taking art supplies into your room." I put Vivian in a bath and Dean cleaned up the mess with a carpet spot cleaner. No yelling. No lecture. After Vivian was clean I said, " what were you doing? Were you trying to paint?" And she said, " yeah, it was too heavy. I tried to keen it up." "Thank you so much for trying to clean it up".  *light in her eyes* "That was a pretty big mess. Next time you have a mess like that you should come get me so I can help." "yeah."

Now, had I yelled or lectured it would have just taught her it was bad to try and clean up your mess and that she can't trust me to not freak out if she has a problem. She wouldn't want to come to me.  I hope I can continue in this path. It has been a great week. Now more than ever I feel like I can make true and lasting changes if I just keep focusing on the right things.