Monday, August 22, 2011

Slowly but surely recovering ...

I had my stitches out on the 12th.  The appointment ended up kind of sucking.  The fellow who did the follow up had zero sense of humor, and she also had no real advice for what to do with the huge blister that was intersecting with my interior left incision.  She did feel some swelling that felt strange, so she sent me to have an ultrasound done to make sure it wasn't a clot.  (It wasn't.)

The next evening, I had a great time at a friend's housewarming party.  First time I was really out and about (and drinking) since surgery; we hung out and played Rock Band all night.  Badass :D  By the time I got home, though, three of my incisions were leaking, my calves, feet, and ankles had swollen pretty seriously, and I was in some pain.  One evening of elevation fixed the swelling, though.

Since then, there's been a general pattern with my legs and incisions.  My right leg looks pretty damn great; one incision looks amazing, and the other is 50% amazing, 50% a little sad looking, nothing serious.  My right leg stopped discharging first, and I can shower and put antibiotic cream on it without either one getting pissed the fuck off.

My left leg hasn't been as happy.  The left exterior incision was the leakiest when I had my stitches out, although it got its act together after three days or so.  It looks a bit angrier than my right incisions, but it'll be okay.  The interior left incision is a mess, though.

The blister intersected with the bottom of the incision, which has left that spot looking horrible.  The skin doesn't look evenly sewn together near the top.  A week after my stitches are out, the incision has discharge every time I shower or put antibiotic cream on it.  The discharge isn't pus, at least it doesn't look like it.  It's more like serum-y with a tinge of blood.

The most disconcerting thing, though, is the blister.  Most of it did dry out; most of the top skin has already dried and broken off.  The splotch where it was is light pink (not from infection, but just an exposed underlayer of skin), and it'll probably scar, but it's fine.  It's just the center that's the problem.  There's a little knot of scab material in the center, and then a weird yellow squiggle shape.  The squiggle is not liquid or abscess; it's solid.  My friend believes it's devitalized tissue, which is essentially dead cells and ECM.  If that's what it is, I'll have to have it removed.  The squiggle is not getting bigger or uglier, and so I'm going to wait till my next follow up to have it examined.  My immune system is famously overreactive, so I'm hoping very much that it gets its ass into gear to heal my legs faster.

I also can walk easily now, without getting tired, and without any pain.  I still take stairs carefully, but I put less and less thought into it each time.  Unfortunately, my legs, ankles, and feet swell when I leave my legs unelevated for long periods of time, but it's easily fixed.  My first PT appointment is in two days, yay!

Meanwhile, the unintentional weight loss saga continues.  I've lost a total of 21 lbs, and I've lost about 5 or 6 lbs since I had surgery (Well, more like I was down 19 lbs two weeks after surgery, and it took my body another week to get down the last lb to -20).  I've had a couple of people express some concern that I'm losing weight while lying in bed all day, but I'm actually not confused about it.

1) Now that I'm off the pill, I seem to be losing weight no matter how unhealthy I am anyway.  I think the general gist of it was that while I was on the pill, lifestyle changes that should have led to weight loss did not.  But the thing is, I STILL maintain those lifestyle changes; they're only kicking into effect now.

2) Healing takes energy.  That sounds new-agey, so many I should add that when I say that, I'm imagining my ATP synthases spinning wildly.*  My body is more active right now than it was pre-surgery while I sit around and do nothing (except fuck around online all day).

3) I am not sitting around eating candy and chips all day, although I admit that I HAVE had some candy and chips this month.**  For two weeks, my mom bought my groceries, so they were almost completely healthy foods, and then last week, I was trying to make the most of what I had so I didn't have to go to the grocery store--canned fruit, cream of wheat, frozen vegetables, etc.  As much as I'd love to eat nothing except homemade mac and cheese all day, every day, I haven't been doing that.

4) I am such a lazy person.  That's why people are surprised that I love running (and that I'd actually have surgery just so I can run again).  I am so lazy that I'll often not eat because the kitchen is too far away.  With my legs the way they are, this laziness has been seriously augmented.  I also only went to the grocery store for the first time today.  It's hard to eat like crap when you're too lazy to go out and actually BUY crap.

5) Now that my stitches are out, I have been a bit more active.  I've already been doing arm exercises since my surgery, but now I'm walking around the apartment more, making short trips to Walgreens (not just for candy--mostly for more gauze and bandages), cleaning, and going out with friends.

In summary, I am definitely not starving myself in an attempt to say, "HA!  Losers!  I lost weight while lying in bed all day!  It's easy!"  Because, to be frank, it bothers me that I'm still losing weight while lying in bed all day.  I hate not knowing exactly how this weight loss is going to work.  How long should I wait to buy jeans that fit?  Can my dresses be altered no matter how much weight I lose, or will it be impossible to take them in enough if I lose too much weight?  Will I gain everything back if I start carb loading for running?  ARG?!!


** I am in my mid-twenties.  You bet your ass I will sometimes have candy for breakfast.  Two days ago, I made brownie batter from scratch as a snack.  What's the fun of being an adult if you can't do any of the things you dreamt about as a kid?

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