Monday, December 31, 2007

I Have Great Veins....the surgery

As the day of surgery approached, everyone that knows me personally knew about it and asked if I was excited. I can truly say that , no, I wasn't excited! And when asked why, my response was, "I'm not exactly excited to experience the physical pain of recovering from surgery, or taking the time off of my training". The only thing I was looking forward to was the result, and I knew that could be months before that would finally be realized.

Does that sound ungrateful? I don't mean for it to sound that way, but I think I'm different than most people having this kind of surgery. Like I've already mentioned, I wasn't looking to feel better about myself, it was simply "corrective" surgery. The damage from a couple of pregnancies as well as obesity left me with excess skin that could be removed with todays surgical technology. So I chose to correct it.

I remember when calling for my first consultation the receptionist at the doctors office asked me if I was also interested in liposuction (along with abdominoplasty), and I chuckled and said, "No, I don't think I need that! I'll bet you don't hear too many women saying that, do you?" The surgeon confirmed that, no, I didn't need any lipo! In fact the very first thing I said, (I swear) when I came to, in recovery, was, "Did you weigh the skin?". Yes they had, and it weighed 700 grams, less than 2lbs.! A hellava way to lose 2 lbs.!

Friday morning came, and my attitude was simply that of having a dr's appt really was that casual. All of the medical staff was happy to have a pateint in such "good shape" in fact the first thing the anesthesiologist said to me was, "You work out don't have great veins!" (If I heard that once, I heard it a dozen times that morning!) The only thing I was looking forward to was the point when they tell you to count backwards! The mask came over my face and, in what seemed like a moment, it was over.

Now, everyone that has surgery is different, but I was not prepared for the aftermath! I had drugs for the physical pain, that was not a problem. I had accepted the time off from my training, that was not a problem. The problem was the swelling and bloating. I did not expect to come out of surgery a larger person than when I went in! Afterall, wasn't part of the point of this surgery to become a smaller person, lol? I went into surgery a size 6 and came out a size 10! Even my sweatpants were tight.

And although I knew the scientific and logical reasons for the swelling and bloating it was still a head trip, especially since I'd worked so hard for the past 3 years, and was used to seeing a lean and muscular frame, all of a sudden, when I looked in the mirror, I was fat again. I was swollen from my knees to my armpits. I didn't dare weigh myself for 2 weeks, and even now I've only weighed myself one more time, at the 3 week point. (132.0 morning of surgery, 132.6, 2nd week, 132.4, 3rd week)

I also wasn't prepared for the lower back pain of having to walk hunched over. I was aware that I wouldn't be able to stand completely straight up for a few days to a week, and it was murder on my lower back! Thank God I can easily squat down and stand up, it came in handy quite a bit. You'd be surprised at how many times you have to bend over in a day, until it's painful to do and you can't do it.

I can not imagine having this, or any other surgery, in an unhealthy condition. Whether that means an unhealthy weight, just bad health (sickness), or physically weak. That's something scary to think about. With all of these "makeover" shows, plastic surgery is glamorized. I don't plan on going back any time soon!

Now the fun has begun and continues.....recovery.

The above pic was taken 2 weeks post op, my 3rd day back to work.


Unknown said...

Hi Tracy,

Glad your recovery is going so well. You look fabulous and I have a feeling your wardrobe may undergo some changes.

I had abdominal surgery 10 years ago when I was 45 and in very good shape. My gynecologist was excited to have a healthy hysterectomy patient. Apparently many women having that procedure are a physical wreck. He sent me home from the hospital the day after surgery - the fastest release he had ever done for that procedure.

I couldn't get out of that hospital fast enough. Poor quality food in that place - it was all salty and dead.

I, too, was horribly bloated and my face was especially distorted. I have never looked so ugly in my life. I weighed myself the day after surgery and I'd gained 15 lbs! And that was after a 36 hour period with no food -and- removal of a major organ.

Happy New Year!

Tracy Reifkind said...


The things they don't tell you! lol

My "pear" shape came back, and I realized how much I had grown to love my slim "boy hips". I didn't dare weigh myself...I couldn't have handled seeing 145+ on the scale!

It's going to be a great year!

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year, Tracy! I'm glad your recovery is going well and it won't be much longer before you can train again. I'm sure your recovery is going so well because you were so healthy and fit to begin with. Look forward to more inspiration in 2008!

Lauren Brooks said...

Happy New Year! You look like you are handling the recovery very well. Being able to squat down to pick things up was the best thing when I had my C-section. Bending over was the most painful thing.
So glad you are feeling better and I am sure you will come back stronger and even more fit than before if that is possible!

Tracy Reifkind said...


Being fit still does not prepare someone for the physical limitaions of surgery! Can you imagine being weak or overweight?

And, my plan is to come back stronger than ever! I want to develop some different strengths, make some goals, and stay focused on building my business!

fawn said...


Try taking dandelion tincture, and eat plenty of bitter greens. This will help with the bloating and help to purge the pharmaceuticals out of your system. They also help support your kidneys and liver.

Also raw carrot, ginger, lemon and olive oil salad will help support your liver and purge the toxic effects of surgery.

You look great! ~Fawn

Tracy Reifkind said...


The swelling and bloat was the main reason I got off the vicadin so quickly.

Carrot salad for me tomorrow!

Lauren Brooks said...


I couldn't imagine having surgery being very out of shape and overweight. Must be twice as hard to get over it. Although I was sort of out of shape since I didn't train much in the last couple months of my pregnancy.

Glad you got off the vicodin. Hopefully your bloating will be gone soon.Those pain meds can really cause some horrible side effects. The nurses kept encouraging me to take percosets and morphine. I refused and they looked at me like I was crazy. When the pain got unbearable I did break down and take 800mg of Motrin. That was much more tolerable.

Jen's Gym at Crossfit Watertown, CT said...

As a phlebotomist I have to agree! I would love it if everyone had veins like that!

Tracy Reifkind said...


If the vicodin didn't cause bloat I would of just taken 2 weeks off of life, laid in bed, and zoned out!

But I couldn't stand how I felt all drugged I switched to 2 extra-strength Tylenol and got off as soon as I could!

Tracy Reifkind said...


I like my vascularity, I think it's cool, but it came in handy too! lol