Week Two: Post OP

To start out with; WOW! This whole process has just been a flurry of adjectives. Exciting, worrying, humbling, tiring, painful, surprising, itchy. Just to name a few.

Week two was not what I expected, being rougher in my opinion to go through than the first week. In the first week I had the worst pain (though when it was bad it always seemed to be relatively brief), and I was more or less immobile and dependant on others. My mobility, independence, and being able to stand up straighter has drastically improved in week two, however it's also brought some of the roughest parts of my recovery so far.

Pain-wise I got hopeful for a few days. My abdomen muscles stopped hurting as bad and I started getting a lot of itching. The itching itself I thought was a sign of the end of the pain, however after a few days of intense itching I started getting pain from the incisions themselves. I think most of the pain comes from the incisions being irritated by pressure and contact in various ways, but it's unavoidable. This second week I got a compression vest which I think has kicked off a lot of the pain, but it's an important piece of clothing that I have to be wearing. I've noticed my upper back incisions from all the sitting and the vest seem to give me a lot of my pain. The runner up though is the armpit and upper arm area. The vest really puts a lot of strain on the muscles around there causing a lot of pressure on muscles that are not used to direct pressure. The stretching and pulling on the tight incisions in the armpit and arm area is also starting to get painful as time goes on and I'm getting more mobile. For the most part my waist incision seems to not give me much pain, and I only get brief stings here and there from my chest and nipple skin grafts. And finally, physically I'm still dealing with one last JP drain that has no indication that it's slowing down it's production of fluid.

Overall, it's not any real intense pain, but it's a sustained and what I'd call chronic pain. That combined with some general muscle soreness I feel like I've been on my prescribed pain meds much more than I was during that first week when I often was able to utilize ibuprofen instead. I also returned to work that second week, nine days after my surgery. Looking back, I think that was a mistake in the sense that I would have had a much easier time at home if I would have had the PTO to cover that period. I made it through week two post-op at my desk job, but I can easily say that I would never suggest it to anyone going through a lower body lift to go back so early. The mental fatigue itself was bad enough and I spent the entire weekend recovering with rest and feeling mentally shut down.

It's been surprising to see just how much of this recovery is mental. Getting through the second week and into the third you start to realize that while the intense pain is gone, you have this chronic stuff you will be dealing with for a while. I've found myself moody, swinging from cranky to emotional to feeling good surprising speeds. I feel like I need to be tough all the time, and find it difficult to confide in others when I'm hitting a low point and need comfort. After being in my own head so much, I've also started to really miss interacting with friends. It's not so much boredom, but a need to be with people who I care about and care about me. That's possibly one of the worst parts of this process, I feel like I just want to be alone and sulk on my recliner and watch TV all day, but I also have the desire to get back to my normal interactions with friends. If not for the support, but to just hear others voices and thoughts.

Overall though it's been getting better, even if it does not seem like it. I expect to go through about 2-4 weeks of pain and the worst of the mental part of my recovery. So I hope to be at least halfway through that, if not more.

It was oddly rough writing this and putting this weeks experience to words. Not sure if it's from the pain meds, mental exhaustion, pain, or a combination of all three. I hope though I was able to make it somewhat coherent and easy to read! Here is looking forward to a well progressing recovery!

For sticking around to read this, here are a few recovery pics from my wounds from the two week mark.


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