Let’s be honest, I don’t know what a normal stomach feels like. I went from 240lbs of a stomach to my 140-16lbs weight with extra flabby skin. Now, post skin removal surgery, my stomach feels squishy & slightly mushy on the sides and then very very hard in the middle, like I swallowed a softball. I’ve often asked Carlos to feel my stomach and tell me if it’s suppose to feel as hard as it does. I’ve asked my sisters too. They just shrug and say they don’t know.
It wasn’t until a few months ago, that I started to notice some uncomfortableness. Not shooting pain, but pressure when I lay on my stomach while sleeping or during yoga. It was an irritating uncomfortablness, but I wasn’t keeled over in pain. Last week, I went to a family doctor for something else and, since I was there, asked him to feel my stomach. He agreed that it felt kind of hard & not right but couldn’t tell for sure if anything was wrong. Since I had had my skin removal surgery tummy tuck in November, it could just be related to the heeling from that. To play on the safe side, he ordered some lab tests and scheduled me for an ultrasound.
My ultrasound was on Friday and sure enough, they found something. A little pocket of fluid.
I am not a medical doctor. Everything
in this post is in my own words.
A pocket of fluid can be somewhat common post surgery and is called a seroma. A lot of times, drains are used post surgery to help with the draining or it can also go away on it’s own. I am not sure if this far out from surgery is normal but the person who read my ultrasound told me I should just go back to Dr. Gervais to have him look at it.
On Tuesday, I had an appointment with Dr. Gervais. He felt my stomach and said he wasn’t sure it was a seroma and if it was, he didn’t think it was big enough for me to actually notice.
Dr. Gervais: Why don’t I just grab a needle and see what we can drain.
Me: Needle? No.
Dr. Gervais: Don’t worry, Jen. It’s really quick.
Me: No, I can’t do that today. I’m not ready. I’ll come back.
Dr. Gervais: Jen, it takes 15 seconds and your still fairly numb. You won’t feel anything.
By this time, I was starting to feel sweaty & clammy and began to fan myself with the blue gown I was wearing.
Me: No. I am so sweaty and anxious. I can’t do it now. I’ll have to make a 15 second appointment, I’m sorry.
Dr. Gervais: Jen, I promise it will be really quick and painfree.
Dr. Gervais grabs my hand
Dr. Gervais: Jen! Your so clammy and your palms are sweaty! Okay… let’s just make an appointment okay?
I made an appointment for Thursday afternoon and collapsed into the chair behind me, still trying to fan myself with the blue gown I was wearing.
On Thursday, I took a dosage of in-case-of-emergency anxiety medicine and headed to my appointment. I asked Carlos to come with, to old my hand and distract me by talking to me. Dr. Gervais came in to say hi, handed me a gown, and left so I could change. As I changed, I figured I better take it upon myself to put the chair in a reclining position so I can lay & be slightly more relaxed when he begins stickin’ me with needles.
When Dr. Gervais came back, we had a short, light-hearded exchange about my anxiety on Tuesday. I laugh at myself, because I know I get all worked up over nothing, over the fear of pain, over the unknown. It is what it is. I know it happens, I can’t help it so I just deal with it. Dr. Gervais didn’t dismiss my mention of anxiety, I just think neither of us really understood what was about to happen.
Dr. Gervais noticed the chair I had reclined and, in a way only he can do, with a twinkle in his eye, told me I’d be standing. I asked if he was sure I had to stand and he smiled. Okay. Fine.
I stood up in front of Dr. Gervais, draped in a pastel blue gown with the front open. I could already feel my internal temperature beginning to rise, despite the fact that I was standing primarily naked in the room, only draped with a thin gown. As Dr. Gervais started to move about, grabbing the tools he needed, my heart began to race.
Dr. Gervais: Carlos, come stand right here. Jen, eyes up. Don’t look down.
So I looked down.
My right hand flew out to the side, feeling for Carlos who was right there.
HOLY NEEDLE! HOLY SYRINGE! That thing was MASSIVE! Not overly long, maybe 6 inches long but it was thick! And the syrynge was the size of a brat!
My insides started to shake and Dr. Gervais knew he was going to have to move fast. Carlos had one arm wrapped around the backside of my waist and another on my elbow.
Dr. Gervais: Okay, Jen. Tighten your abs.
to be continued…