If you’ve followed my blog for any period of time, you’ve probably come to the conclusion that I’m a plastic surgery enthusiast. This is, however, out of necessity and not necessarily vanity. In the wake of losing 100-lbs I was left with so much loose skin I sometimes feel as though I’ll never be rid of it all and that my transformation will never be complete.
After a wonderful experience with my Tummy Tuck and Boob Job, (and incidentally, even though it wasn’t planned, my nose surgery) I was SO excited to have the skin from my upper arms cut off. I was completely fearless about it and honestly, was so anxious for the surgery that I kind of obsessed over it. Financially, the tummy tuck took a lot out of me. Other “life’s a B!tch” finances happened too and, well, it had to be put on the back-burner. It would be 5 years in between surgeries before we could finally afford to take the plunge and schedule the surgery I’d been dreaming about for years. On September 17, 2015 I checked in for my 3rd (but not my last…) cosmetic procedure.
I was seriously so excited I couldn’t stand it! Here I am all prepped and ready to go with my leg compression thigh highs (they were actually crotch highs…), my footies, cap, and gown. All that’s left is my IV for anesthesia and for Dr. Bergman to come in and mark my arms. I was waiting oh so impatiently.
We checked in at 6:30 am and my surgery was at 8:00. By noon, I was out of the recovery room.
I’ve had enough surgeries now to know how my body copes/recovers. I’m always very nauseous afterward. I usually will go a day or 2 without eating much more than a handful of crackers and some Sprite. Is this normal? I don’t know. All I know is it’s normal for me.
After a couple of hours laying in my own private room here, Dr. Bergman discharged me and I was sent home. This was a SUPER easy process in comparison to my Tummy Tuck and even my Nose surgery that happened just 4 months prior to this.
I was given a strong dose of Percocet upon discharge and when I got home I slept for a few hours. The first few days after a surgery, I sleep quite a bit. What was different about this surgery is that I didn’t have to set my clock to the pain medication. In fact, I only took 2 or 3 pills a day. This was just to take the edge off. By day 3 post-op, I was done completely. On my personal pain scale this was a 2 or 3. It was an absolute cake walk in comparison to my previous surgeries!
I couldn’t lift anything over 5-lbs for 8 weeks (A difficult task since, at the time, I worked part-time at a candle shop in which heavy lifting was a daily requirement). I also had to wrap my arms tightly with these ace bandages to prevent swelling (also for 8 weeks). I missed 1 week of work which was no problem at all for my full time gig. My part-time job; however, proved to be more difficult… I did NOT tell my coworkers at my part-time job about my surgery. I scheduled the time off in the guise of a vacation. After the fiasco with my nose, I experienced a little bit of bullying… I hate to say “bullying” because it has such a strong connotation. For clarification I did not experience any physical violence to my person out of this (which bullying seems to correlate with) nor did I contemplate suicide… It was nothing that significant so when I say “bully” I don’t want it to be misunderstood. At the same time, I really don’t know what else to call it… I was berated (to my face and behind my back) for my decision to have surgery on my nose (nobody thought it was actually broken but that I was just faking it). There was a lot of gossiping going around, which led to awkwardness and dissension… It just wasn’t a fun experience so I decided not to tell anyone about my arms. I took the week off as a “vacation” and to this day (even though I’m no longer working that job) have still kept my secret.
When I did go back to work, I had to wear blouse-y shirts to hide the bulk of my bandages. Also, when I was unpacking shipment I was careful to only lift 1 candle at a time and not the whole box like I typically did. That job was a lot more physically demanding than you might expect and extending my arms (to restock above displays), reach out, etc., was painful so I did all of that very slowly. When I say “painful” it was more of a soreness. This recovery really was super easy, but I did have to modify my movements for a couple of months. I had no intention of telling my coworkers why I was moving so slowly, but I did have a Dr.’s note with me just in case someone would give me a hard time… Luckily, I didn’t have to show it and, like I said, my secret is still kept to this day (Well… unless they happen to read this post!) 🙂
I’m kind of sick of talking about how awful my arms were… I’m more of a visual person anyway 🙂
It actually took me a while to find pics that showcase my arms because, well, I always covered them up.
Sometimes though, I could hide it with a clever pose:
I guess it doesn’t really matter if anyone else sees what I see… My arms bothered me; so much so that they were hindering my quality of life. So, I had the surgery. End of story.
Absolutely no filters (or make-up!). #KeepingItReal 🙂
Expectations vs Reality
These next set of pictures are pretty raw… I was crying while I took them. I’m crying as I write this… I had crazy high expectations for this surgery. I’m not sure exactly why. Maybe it’s because they’re my arms and it’s such a noticeable body part (unlike my tummy and my boobs that are, obviously, hidden pretty much all the time). Maybe it’s because I had 5 years to fantasize about the procedure and life with “perfect” arms after the fact. But reality, as we all know, falls short of the dream. I really, really thought that this surgery would fix my arms. And I’m going to be completely honest and real and tell you that I’m disappointed in the outcome.
I took this pic because from this angle my upper arm looks so skinny (adding insult to injury in my mind). Also, notice the extra puffiness I’m pointing to? This is where my scar/incision starts. This area was extra swollen and required a bit more after treatment than the rest of my arm scars. I had to wear silicone gel band-aid things on these up until, well, just recently. I thought that when the swelling went down, maybe the overall puffiness of my arms would go down too.
They didn’t. My arms look the same today, a year after my surgery, as they do in these pics.
Are my arms better than they were? YES! Do I feel better about my arms? YES! Am I comfortable with my arms? No. Would I have this surgery over again and pay $5400 for it? Yes.
All I can say is it’s complicated: I like my new arms, but I’m disappointed in them. Does that make me a walking contradiction? Yeah, I guess it does. More importantly, this just proves that surgery can only do SO much. You can’t be dependent on a surgery for your happiness. You have to dig deep inside of you and just accept the fact that you’re not perfect, you have your flaws, and that life goes on.
These are my arms and scars today. No, seriously. I took these pictures at work, like, 10 minutes ago:
The irony is that I don’t mind the scars. I don’t mind them at all. In fact, I’m pretty proud of them! They’re part of my story; my journey. They’re a constant reminder of my success. How could that possibly bother me? 🙂
People who’ve seen them have been taken off-guard by them. They think maybe I’ve had an accident and seem genuinely concerned, “Oh my gosh! What happened to your arms? Are you ok?” I don’t take any offense to it at all, believe it or not. I tell them, “Nope. I lost 100lbs and had my loose skin cut off.” This inevitably starts a whole ‘nother series of questions. Sometimes, though, if I’m really upset (that my arms are still fat), I’ll just respond with a simple, “No, I’m fine; just had surgery a little while ago” without any further explanation.
I’m still very self-conscious of my arms but dang it, I’m going to wear short-sleeves any way! I’ve been covering these puppies up since I was a kid and I’m just not gonna do it any more. They may not be perfect, but they’re mine so screw it.
I get ZERO affiliate/sponsor kickbacks, commissions, or discounts from my doctors by recommending their services and linking to their websites. ALL expenses for these surgeries are considered elective and are 100% out-of-pocket.
All opinions expressed are my own.