I went back to work this week. I worked 3 days (my usual work week is four 10 hour days). I tell you what, it was rough. I overestimated myself. I, of course, want to be brutally honest. So bare with me.
It’s a struggle to do just the bare minimum. And, by this, I mean to dress myself. It’s truly a work out. Just getting from a sitting to standing position is a challenge. I truly have learned that I need to do more abdominal work outs. I plan to hit it hard core and be in the best abdominal shape of my life for my 360 abdominoplasty. You don’t really know how often you use your arms until you can’t use them anymore. I, also, am not able to fully extend my arm so reaching things is a challenge. I joke that I’m a turtle (but seriously)–as in when I don’t quite make it and then I’m merely rolling on my back trying to turn myself over.
The first day of work, I was pumped and ready to go. Then…I got there. Everyone was super concerned and everyone welcomed me back. The common reaction was ‘I can’t believe you’re back already’. My department is amazing and supportive. They are allowing me to come back on limited duty; which for a nurse, that’s huge! I have 5 lb pulling, pushing, lifting restrictions for 6 weeks. This didn’t seem to be my challenge to avoid. My challenge was the shear tiredness. I was exhausted! By about 10am, I hated my life. I was drained.
This continued the rest of the week. The exhaustion. Then let’s add to it. I can’t get comfortable at night. I’m a tummy sleeper and this surgery requires you to be a back sleeper. Plus, I have to elevate my arms and I can feel just the pressure of my body weight against my incision sites and it’s torture. Then came the night sweats. Freezing, shivering cold then to soak-the-bed sweating. I checked my temperature; no fever. I checked my incision sites; no signs of infection. So, I’ve attributed this to a stress response. Lisa put it very well: my body doesn’t know that I did this on purpose. My body is just in complete shock. I’m achy and uncomfortable at night. The lack of sleep has contributed to my long days.
Nevertheless, I made it through the work week. Although, they did low census me 2 of 3 of the days and I did not complain. I was thankful.
Then this weekend, my amazing girlfriend came over. I thought I’d be a total kill joy but it was surprisingly good. I had another restless night Friday but Saturday and today, we got out of the house. I got to walk around and get some sun. It was good and much needed. At this point in my weight loss journey, I’m pretty accustomed to physical activity. I try to walk about an hour a day for my activity and then do some other type of exercise on most days. But this week, I’ve done good to do my basic ADLs (activities of daily living).
As of right now, what is bothering me most is my arm pits. And not exactly my armpits as you can see in my pictures. The constant motion of the arms really irritates this region and it hurts. It is uncomfortable. Due to my bypass, I’m not able to take NSAIDS-so no IB profen for me. I’m off of my narcotics and surviving on tylenol. During the week, I maxed out my acetaminophen limits but this weekend, it has been better.
A friend from work asked me if it was worth it and if I regret it. I had to take pause. Don’t get me wrong, I’m am so very pleased with my surgery but, man, this is a struggle. My reply to her was ‘have you seen the size of my arms?!’ Jury is still out on how I feel about the extra incision (down my arm/ribs) which took the skin that hung over the back side of my bra. When I told her this, my friend said ‘pain is temporary’. This is so true. So I’ll reflect more on this after this pain/uncomfortableness/irritation passes.
I’m hopeful for this next week. I hope that the night sweats are over because they are awful. I hope to build up my strength as I’m feeling extremely weak all over.
Okay…now to the good stuff: the physical progress/pics. My incisions aren’t dirty. They still have surgical tape on them. Hoping to have that removed at this week’s post op appointment.