Thursday, December 31, 2009

3 Months Post-Op

So here we are, New Year's Eve 2009 - 3 months and a week post-surgery. A couple of weeks ago I went in to Toronto to see the Doc and check out a, shall we say, "raised" area just above and to the right of my new belly button. It felt as if I had a tennis ball-sized bit of swollen tissue most of the time - worse after I'd eaten. My next appointment wasn't to be until February, but this new appearance of a post-op reaction made me feel a little squiffy, so I drove into the big city to check it out. The Doc was not in the least bit worried about this area, told me that parts of my stomach might just be healing at different rates. After my appointment I realized that the this area seems to be more prominent after I've eaten. So whatever swollen tissue that I do have is pressed to the surface when my stomach is full. The area is either not as noticeable or I've gotten used to it in the past couple of weeks.

Since the surgery, I seem to get full faster. This may well be because my muscles provide a tighter cage around my stomach. I'm trying my best to listen to my body when it's full - relearn that instinct that seems so natural in children. It's astounding to me that my 9 year old daughter can have a half-eaten piece of chocolate cake in front of her and leave it because she's full. It may be that my childhood of "Finish what's on your plate, or you won't have dessert," has wrecked havoc with my body's signals. Mindful eating is discovering a new country and I'm bound and determined to speak its language.

This morning I have a little twitch on my left eye. Usually this sort of thing occurs when I'm stressing out about something, but as I'm on Christmas holidays I can't imagine what I might be stressed about. My most stressful moments lately have been waking up to take out the dog that we're baby-sitting. This dog is used to getting up at 4:00 a.m., so David and I are taking turns letting her out for a pee. I can really sleep through almost anything, so David has to nudge me and convince me to leave the snuggly duvet warmth of our bed. Before having kids, I was a very light sleeper. Now unless Rissa is calling for "Mummy" specifically in the middle of the night, I can tune out. That's not to say that I don't carry a pair of earplugs with me when I travel - different noises in someone else's house can distract me at 2:00 a.m., but at home David marvels at my ability to zonk.

Reflecting upon this last year and on my decision for surgery is natural today. One of my most freeing moments of 2009 was playing a pregnant woman in the musical Hair. It was the first time onstage that I wasn't worried about how I looked. Being "pregnant," wearing a 1960s flower-child dress over a padded tummy was wonderful. I didn't worry about my posture, didn't worry about people assuming I was pregnant, because I was supposed to be pregnant - I look at photos from the show and I like them. Do you know how rare it is for a woman to like photos of herself? We're constantly microanalysing our appearance - seeing extra weight where there really isn't any, our hair was too flat or too poofy, the angle of the camera showed extra skin under our chin, agonizing over a skirt that now looks too short... I don't think that men can imagine the psychological freedom that comes with photos that you LIKE looking at.

There is freedom now as a result of the tummy tuck. I thought that I'd spend time marvelling at my new physique in the mirror, but that's not the case. Maybe at the one year mark, when the scar isn't so prominent, but certainly not right now. The extra tissue and skin that once graced my abdomen no longer concerns me - it's not a constant reminder that I gained too much weight with my pregnancies, that I should have worked harder to tone after the first baby, that I shouldn't have eaten ice cream every day that summer when I was 11... Not having it there allows me to focus on other things. I used to sit on the couch to read or watch t.v. and some elemental part of my mind was focusing on my stomach. Wearing clothes that were tight enough to show off the stomach had me reaching for the afghan to camouflage the area, but even with it camouflaged, my mind knew it was still there.

I was embarrassed to have David touch it, even brush against that area of squooshy cottage cheesiness. I've been a woman who has sucked in my entire adult life. I don't remember ever NOT sucking in. When I was in my early 20s and at a fit weight for me (around the 150 lb mark) I worried about sitting on someone's lap because I was too heavy. I look at pictures now of me from that decade in my life and I know that even then, I was dissatisfied with my appearance. Now when I look at those photos I see this fit, albeit busty gal who had collar bones and cheekbones and nothing to apologize for. Since the surgery, since I haven't had to worry about wearing the industrial strength binder, I haven't been fixated on how big I am, what my silhouette looks like. I'm NOT thinking about it. I don't shift David's hand now if it rests on my abdomen. I don't cringe at the way I look in a pair of panties. This surgery has released me from that - it's been a gift. (Well after those first 2 weeks - those first 2 weeks were REALLY, REALLY bad - don't ever forget the first 2 weeks!) This is a gift that my Gran gave me. Thank you Gran.

I lost a dear friend this year. My friend Shannon died from complications due to leukemia on April 9th. She was 41 years old. She was the godmother to Rissa, she gave me strength, made me a better writer, actor and, more importantly, person. Through this whole process of surgery and recovery I keep wanting to tell her things, talk details through with her like I always did. Sometimes I still do and I can almost, but not quite, hear her voice in my head in response. Shannon would have revelled in the freedom that I have gained after this surgery - she would glory in my new-found ability to love my body. She was never a petty or jealous person and she would be genuinely happy for me. She would give me one of her great Shan hugs and hold me and be proud of me for deciding to make this change - and so thrilled that the choice was eventually the right one for me. Love you Shan.

Happy New Year everyone! I'm 41 years old and I made a decision that changed my life this year. I'm a new person. And you know what's funny? I had thought that the doctor removed 3 lbs of tissue from my tummy and it turns out that that extra weight hadn't been on my tummy at all - it had been on my shoulders. I had carried around that extra skin not just in a physical sense, but emotionally for years and now... it's gone. My challenge now and for the rest of my life will be to love and accept myself. Physicality is just one aspect of life - but it reflects upon so many other things. And if I can embrace this physical aspect of myself, which just houses the rest of my being, I can surely embrace all my other potential, in writing and performing and trying to live my life the way that Shannon did. I made this change. Me. It was tough and costly - not just in a financial sense - but I'm happy with my choice.


Friday, November 27, 2009

8 Weeks Post Op

Had my 8 week post-op appointment with the Doc. She was very happy with how I am progressing. I am too, for that matter. I don't swell up nearly as much. I have more sensation in my tummy - there remains an oval of about 6 inches by 3 1/2 inches where I had little to no sensation beneath my belly button and stretching to my incision line. The funny thing is that below the incision line I have all my sensation back. (The clown in me wants to add "If you know what I mean" to that.)

Speaking of clown... at the 7 week mark I participated in a clown workshop in Ottawa. An entire weekend of physical comedy. It was 18 hours long spread over 3 days and it was pretty intensive. I couldn't do some of the more physical exercises -jumping into a high tuck and then landing lightly on my feet, falling down and then getting back up fluidly... after I fall down I still need to roll to one side and then push myself up with one arm. By each of the days' end I was happy and exhausted and my tummy was protesting a tad.

After the clown workshop we drove down to Washington DC where we walked and walked and walked... and then walked some more. And may I say? Washington in stunning! I was truly taken aback at how beautiful it was there. The National Mall and the monuments and the elms leading to the Lincoln Memorial and the Smithsonian museums... even the IRS building was beautiful. Sorry to say, but our federal buildings in Canada (apart from Parliament Hill and a few others) are not pretty. It's like all our federal buildings were updated in the 70s and haven't been touched since. I've gotta say that the US capitol made me gasp several times because it's so amazingly picturesque. I had been a little worried that all the walking in DC might prove difficult for me, but I felt great. Physically tired at the end of each day, but great. Not once did we have to request a wheelchair for my healing body - which had been my concern before going.

I'll take some more pics of how the tummy looks and post them with this, but it's looking good. Last week I found some un-dissolved stitched that I pulled and there were also some ingrown hairs along my incision adding to the "eeew" factor. At the far edges of the incision I have a bit of "dog-eared" flesh (stuff that sticks up a bit) that may or may not settle down after a year's time. If it doesn't flatten out by then, the Doc assured me that she would do something about it, but until then we wait. She was apologetic at the redness of my scar, but assured me that after a year it would be much better. I guess that some gals are surprised that being cut nearly in half results in an angry-looking scar, but I'm just happy to have a flatter tummy without the cottage cheese consistency. She also noticed that maybe an inch and a half of the scar is now a titch raised. I hadn't even noticed because I'm still a little icked out about touching the scar. She told me to massage the area and I could use a "scar" cream or regular lotion, but the massaging part was important to get sensation back and help flatten the scar - which I hadn't even noticed wasn't really flat.

I have basically the same body shape as I did before, only without the bulging tummy in front. I've gone down 2 or 3 pant sizes depending on the brand and that in itself is pretty phenomenal. Not having to suck in is a really nice feeling. I am aiming to still lose another 10 pounds or so that would put me in the healthy BMI (body mass index) range - which I haven't been in for - well lets say EVER because it's true. Funny thing is though, most people would never say that I'm overweight. Even with the extra tummyness. At 5'6", I've always been voluptuous and I've never been the 130 - 135 lbs that I'm supposed to be. NEVER. At 150 I look good and that's what I'm aiming for. Any less than that and I think I might look a wee bit cadaverous.

Another highlights this week... I've walked 10 K twice! (The other days I didn't have an hour and a half to spare so I just stuck to the 5-7 K) Of course both those 10 K nights I crashed with the kid at 8:00 p.m. But to know that I can... that's a really good feeling. And seeing as the sun is shining at present, I'd best go for my walk - I'm aiming for 7 K this morning.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nearly 7 weeks Post-Op

I'm feeling pretty great. I feel like I can tackle the world with enthusiasm and verve. I do my morning walk (I'm up to about 7 K now); I do about 30 minutes on the Wii Fit (mostly balance games and gentle yoga) and then, about 5:00 p.m., I'm ready to sleep like the dead. I hit the wall and it's all I can do to stay vertical. This exhaustion may still be some of the residual effects from the general anaesthetic. And with my freaky metabolism, I shouldn't be surprised, but really? I'm falling asleep sometimes before 8:00 p.m. My 9 year-old daughter stays up later than me.

I have had weird-ass things going on for me since I was 11 and started having migraines. At about 13 I started having dizzy spells. I have always been clumsy and accident prone and most recently I gave up using Splenda in my one cup of coffee in the morning because I was having fibromyalgia/MS-like symptoms. My entire body was aching from head to toe - I was almost certain that I must be having a prolonged flu (5 weeks of it), but the naturopath suggested that I cut out artificial sweeteners and within about 3 days I was fine again. I mentioned before my sensitivity to caffeine. So for me to still be reacting to the anaesthetic - isn't completely crazy. Oh, I am completely crazy, most definitely, but my reaction may just be normal for me. My GP rolls his eyes in front of me and basically treats me like a well-spoken hypochondriac. My husband, on the other hand, knows not to let me out of the house between about 3:00 p.m. and dinner time because my blood sugar is low, and I might end up standing in Zellers, stunned, staring at the colourful wrapping paper in the stationery section.

Yesterday I tried some girlie pushups with a side plank. It wasn't a total failure, but I could certainly feel my stomach during it. I made sure that I relied almost completely upon my arms and had an inner monologue that went something like, "Is that a twinge? No, it's okay. Just breathe. Focus on your arms. Meh. Ew. That might have been a twinge." Any exercise that I do on one foot automatically engages my core muscles so attempting 10 leg lift thingies can get me a little tired. I can now sort of feel the muscle tension in my core when I try to tighten. I used to have INCREDIBLE muscle (underneath the nice squooshy layer of fat) I could have pulled a Houdini with my core confidence. (I hope I would have been ready for the punch and not have died from it.) So now to have it barely there makes me desperately want to spend time doing some major planks to get it nice and tight, but it still hasn't been 2 months yet and frankly, by bedtime, NOT doing planks, my tummy is still swollen and skin a little loose. It's like the more swollen I get, the looser my skin above the incision gets. This also happens to coincide with my residual stretch marks, so I get a miniature version of the floppy elephant's ear thing. I'm not really complaining because the size of the elephant's ear (when it happens - it's not all the time) is now around 5 or 6 inches squared as opposed to the 60 inches squared that it used to be. So that's pretty good progress. Today though, I'm going to try to take it easy. Yesterday I was in and out of the car a lot, and I didn't sit and relax that much. I'll try to ice my stomach and take it easy and see how that helps my tummy.

Oh, and the binder? It's so much more comfortable than the control-top panties. I've been alternating. I wear the binder for my morning walk generally, and then switch into the control-tops, but by day's end, I'm sore, especially around the legs and hips. Who'd have ever thought that my medical grade velcro binder would become my crutch?


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Jean Shopping at 5 Weeks Post-Op

I now find myself doing the exact same thing that pretty much everyone who has ever had a good tummy tuck does. I find myself saying "Yeah, those first two weeks were brutal, but now I'm so happy with my decision." See that? It IS just like childbirth. Those first couple of weeks I know, I mean, I KNOW, they were bad, but now... I'm that gal who is all butterflies and sunshine and lollipops and soft snuggly kittens. I'm that gal who cannot believe that this is her stomach in the mirror.

Now that most of the swelling has gone down, I'm recognizing that this new body of mine is substantially different than before. Yes, I still have the Ken doll-esque pubic bone and a titch of swelling above the incision, but I can now bend over and I don't have rolls of skin and fat that are nigh on impossible to mask.

I went shopping this week for jeans. Bear with me now, because this is the part where you'll hate me. I used to be a solid 12 or 14 in everything. Ever since I can remember. My Grad dress from high school was an 11. I have never been a truly petite girl. Never obese, but not a sylph-like model either. This week I bought a pair of jeans that were a size 8. I'm pretty sure the last time I was a size 8 was when I was 8. I went to a fairly chi-chi store and started trying things on - with the proviso that I didn't want anything terribly low-rise. Again, just because I can does NOT mean that I should.

They put me in a size 10 jeans. A $279 pair of size 10 jeans. I had entered the store and basically said, "Look, you may as well point me to the most expensive clothes you have in the store right now so that I can get them off my radar." And I tried on these $279 JEANS. They're JEANS! Are they sewn together with gold? Will I be able to leave them to my daughter in my will? NO - they are JEANS! But man did my ass look good in them. Was it $279 worth of good? I ain't so sure.

I then tried on a less expensive pair of chi-chi jeans (again $95 for JEANS!?!), and the gal said that the size 10 was too big. I looked at her in mystified confusion. Too big? But they were a size 10. I don't ever wear size 10s. I shook my head at her. "Oh no, that can't be right. I won't fit into an 8." Well she put her hand down the back of my waistband to show me that these pants were too big and then prodded my groin area to indicate that they also bunched in the front. Next thing I know, I'm walking out of the store having just purchased size 8 jeans. Me - voluptuous girl - the one with the boobs - wandering the streets shaking my head, unwilling to believe it. And terrified deep down that this is all just some crazy dream and I'll wake up with the elephant ear tummy once more.

So now I had these new chi-chi jeans for dress-up, but I still didn't have casual pants other than my yoga pants. So yesterday we made a trip to Peterborough to Value Village. For those of you who aren't Ontarians - Value Village is a 2nd hand clothing store. What you find there usually isn't vintage - unless you consider the 80s vintage - but it's great for finding good-quality used clothes. I got 2 pairs of casual jeans, a pair of capri jeans and casual pants - Rissa got jazz shoes and a dance dress all for under $65! Plus I found a vintage 1960s plaid wool jacket for $12.99! It's all creams and greens and yellows and oranges and it fit me!!

What you have to understand is that I was born in the wrong decade. I really should have been born in the late 1930s. I have the figure of someone who should be wearing clothes from the 50s and early 60s. I've got boobs and I've got hips and I've pretty much always had them. So when I'm clothes shopping if I find anything that is truly vintage I begin to salivate and desperately pray that I might be able to fit into it. I rarely fit into those clothes. Girls back in those decades were teeny. Those measurements of 36-24-36 were accurate probably until the 80s. Before the surgery my waist was 34 inches - I was more than accustomed to trying on Large & X-Large clothes. Occasionally in a good vintage shop I might find something, but more often than not, I just know that those really sweet dresses aren't going to fit me. I feel like this warrants a trip to Kensington Market in Toronto to see if I might now be able to get into those dresses.

I have dreams of vintage clothing shops. Seriously. I dream of a specific shop that has candy-coloured dresses as far as the eye can see. I pretty much dance on air when I find a good vintage dress. It truly is ridiculous how happy a confection of tulle and polyester can make me.

My energy level is much better. I've been walking every day now since the 4 week mark. I am up to about an hour and 20 minutes. It feels so good to move! However, I still have to remember that I will continue to get sore and uncomfortable. At Sweeney Todd on Wed I jumped around a bit and my tummy was not happy with me. I had to remember: No jumping! No jumping! Now that I am feeling better though, the bouncier part of my being wants to come back out. My stomach muscles cannot flex yet. I can sort of tighten them, but there's nothing strong underneath there yet. That will have to wait for the planks that I'll try to do after week 6. I've been trying some of the gentler Yoga movements on the Wii Fit, although so far all that I can really manage is the Warrior pose and the Sun Salutation. I've attempted other movements, but anything that has me balancing on one foot needs too much of my core to stabilize and my body starts to make me feel all wiggly and nervous inside. I'm sticking to the balance games. I've flown as a bird across the ocean - done Kung Fu - run the new obstacle course and had some snowball fights. After next Thursday I should be good to go for some strength training, but until then I'll be happy with my balance games and walking.

And now it's beautifully sunny and the autumn leaves are beckoning for my morning walk.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Photos for the not faint of heart



* * * * * * *

Pre-Op – Showing off my wrinkly elephant ear tummy – this is me sucking in.

Pre-Op – sucking in as much as I can.

Pre-Op Tummy – not sucking in, but not letting it all hang out either. Vanity thy name is woman!

Pre-Op side view. My 5 3/4 months pregnant look. The Doc took the 7 months pregnant Pre-Op shot. (It may or may not be added to these photos.)

1 Week Post-Op Drain obviously still in. This is the binder I keep talking about.

2 weeks Post-Op . New belly button (kind of looks like a butterfly here). New scar. Drain out. Still swollen. Scar quite thin.

2 Weeks Post-Op. Graphic representation of the scar. Nice and symmetrical though – it pays to have a Chief of Cosmetic Surgery on your team!

2 weeks Post-Op . Showing off bruises from liposuction. Drain came out on this side. Scar goes beyond the midline point of my hips.

4 1/2 weeks Post-Op. Still some swelling around pubic bone, belly button still red but less butterfly-like. Holy stomach definition Batman!

4 1/2 weeks Post-Op. Scar will remain red for 9-12 months, but after that won’t be so Frankenstein-esque. Some of my stretch marks can still be seen just above the incision.

4 1/2 weeks Post-Op. Side View.


32 Days Post-Op

So now that I have been basking in the glow of being able to walk and enjoy baths for a few days, I have come to realize a few things:

Don't walk as much as you think you can. There is a difference between walking one's daughter and husband to their respective schools and "Power Walking" which is my usual mode of travel. On the weekend I found that my regular power walking had me pretty much exhausted 20 minutes from home and then I had another 20 minute walk back.

Don't sit in regular chairs if you can at all help it. The first couple of days after my 4 week mark saw me sitting rather than reclining. Not the best decision on my part. Standing is actually better for me than just sitting. Today I was back to reclining while I work and I'm feeling much better.

WEAR your binder. Somewhere around the 4-week mark, you will be told that you can now wear control-top panties instead of your binder. Just because you can, doesn't necessarily mean that you should. I spent Saturday afternoon/evening wearing control-top panties and was swollen and really uncomfortable by the end of the day. That day was combined with lots of sitting in the car and sitting in a theatre to see The Toxic Avenger: Musical (loads of fun!), but yesterday I wore my binder again and it was much better. And it was better in spite of the fact that I was singing at full-strength at my Sweeney Todd rehearsal, and spent 2 1/2 hours actively building a twig roof for our outdoor play structure. (I used the reciprocating saw, drilled, measured, carried lights twigs etc.) I was sure that when I took off my binder to have my shower at day's end that I would have been swollen beyond recognition, but I wasn't. I was tired, most definitely, but not as swollen as I'd been the day before wearing the control-top panties. I am thinking about creating a control-top pantie regime. Start with an hour on and increase it daily - that sort of thing. Or sleep with it on, since most people don't tend to expend lots of energy at night.

For those interested in TOO MUCH INFORMATION ... So you were wondering when it's okay to have sex? You'll have to go by how you feel (be 100% open and honest with your partner about discomfort), but I had sex for the first time post-op last night and... it was freaking great! (HURRAY!) David was a bit scared about hurting me (he didn't) so it began rather tentatively, but I have to say that waiting a month to have sex certainly made for a REALLY satisfying experience. REALLY satisfying. (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more!)

The Doc said when I last saw her that you really do need the full 6 weeks to recover and I'm buying it, because when I try to go about my day as if I don't have a 19 inch scar across my abdomen, I start hurting and become exhausted. I'm loving the being able to walk, but I'm not going to push really hard. A collective sound of shock can be heard from all who know me well. Thankfully I'm in the luxurious position of having day-to-day work which involves typing and lots of phone calls. I can do that from the recliner in our family room using my laundry-folding board across the armrests. I don't have to run after little kids all day, I have a spouse and child who help with the heavier housework. To do this operation without help, without a family who is 100% supportive would be terrible. For those of you considering it, make sure that you've got a support system for at least the first month. Don't be a martyr. Lean on your people. They love you and want you to be healthy.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

4 Weeks Post-Op

I was allowed to walk this morning! I walked Rissa to school with David and then walked David to the corner before heading home. If I had been allowed to skip all the way home in joy I would have.

Saw the Doc two days ago and she was very happy with my progress. She took out the last few undissolved stitches from my incision and belly button. The swelling above and below the incision is not terrible - although my pubic bone still has a bit of a Ken Doll look to it.

I finally gave her a thank you card. She had been wondering if she would get one seeing as the nurses and the anesthesiologist had received theirs at least a week ago. I explained that I hadn't been thankful until the night before so I didn't want to be dishonest. She laughed out loud and said that this card would be more heartfelt then.

I am finally allowed to walk. I am allowed to bathe. I am allowed to do Balance games on the Wii Fit. (I didn't share the fact that I might have slipped a couple Table Tilt games in here and there over the last month.) I am allowed to wear control top panties instead of the binder. I am NEVER allowed to do sit-ups again. Instead after the 6 week mark, I should do planks - for those of you who don't know what a plank is... You get on your elbows or hands and hold your feet behind you like for a push-up and you hold it for as long as you can - starting very small is a good thing for these. I shouldn't be jumping for a bit - so no raves for me for awhile.

But walking? Oh, to walk again more than just around the block? It was Heaven this morning. Pure Heaven. I did 10 minutes of games and a very slight half-moon and warrior pose in Yoga. And then I put an ice pack on my tummy. I will continue to do that sporadically throughout the day because it seemed to help last week so much.

So the night before I went in for my check up, I was getting ready for bed. I was pulling on the cotton tube (from the cut-off men's tank top) that I wear underneath the binder to make it more comfy and it was around my hips (covering the scar) when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Not having the scar visually screaming at me allowed me to see what my stomach and waist now look like. And they look good. Really good. So I looked up and said my first "Thank you Gran!" and truly meant it. In her memory, I wore my Gran's necklace to my appointment with the Doc. Several people commented on it. It has a gold chain and 7 white gold, yellow gold and amber gold tear-drops attached to it - one for each of her grandchildren and great- grandchildren. It had been a gift from my parents to her on her 90th birthday.

After my appointment, I had an afternoon visit with a good friend I hadn't seen since June and I got to experience her special brand of hug which is one of the best I have enjoyed in my life. Spent the night with two other friends and their son which was great. The next morning I shopped at Zellers for control-top panties. Because of course, I had left the 4 pairs of control-top panties that I already own, at home. I changed into the black pair of large panties and went to meet another friend for lunch. My period was kind enough to start the night before so I had to stock up on pads and tampons and on the drive over to meet my friend I was cramping like crazy and feeling a little bruised and unsupported wearing the control-top panties. I got to his place and changed into the Medium panties and felt a little better, but was pretty exhausted from my adventures over the past 24 hours. I'd walked a couple of times the day before and had been sitting, not reclining when visiting with friends. I was supposed to stay in town to speak about my surrogacy experiences for a group of Daddies and Papas 2 Be for the 519 Community Centre in Toronto. The reason I had stayed overnight was to be part of the panel. The prospect of finding a way to keep myself occupied and NOT being able to lie down for 6 hours was more than I could handle. I called to cancel that evening's event and drove home early, feeling guilty, but recognizing that I needed to rest. I hit traffic on my way out of Toronto so the drove home took 2 hours instead of an hour and a quarter. I kept praying for constant driving instead of the stopping and starting. We have a standard and my right leg was killing me - once I could use the cruise control it made it a lot easier. Apparently, my pansy-assed, un-exercised body gets sore from driving now.

I was all excited to get home and surprise David and Rissa. I arrived and the house was empty but for cats, who although happy to see me, weren't quite the reception I had been hoping for. I knew that David was supposed to be giving blood after school that day, so drove to the Community Centre where the blood donor clinic was, but they had already left. I didn't see them on the drive home - so checked my email and logged onto Facebook before they got home. They were very happy to have me home early and I got lots of hugs and kisses from Rissa. I enjoyed my first bath since the operation - nice and hot and it felt SO good. Before putting my binder on (I'd decided that maybe I might just wear it a bit more for support) I tried on some of my bikini panties that I haven't worn for four and a half years. I said some more heartfelt "Thank you Gran!"s before snuggling in front of Big Bang Theory with my amazing daughter and husband. Everyone went to bed early and I woke with more energy than I have experienced since the operation.

Today I am planning on some heavy-duty writing and I am reclining while listening to some Bowie. It's a good day!