By Denise Bennett

So much has happened in the last year since my very first surgery for lipedema. I began blogging my journey as in the Fall of 2017. I was so filled with emotions, a sense of anticipation and uncertainty surrounding the surgeries I had scheduled for November 2017.

Here is it a little more than a year later and I am back on the road headed to Dr. Byrd for my touch up appointment. Dr. Byrd includes a follow up surgery, if needed, within the year after your original surgeries. This touch up appointment is at her discretion, based on her determination that a need exists for additional liposuction.

preparing for liepedma surgery | photo of Denise with an expressionIf you followed my original journey to surgery, you may remember that I often wrote about my Mom and Dad. My mom also had lipedema, and without her knowing what it was called, laid the groundwork that would lead to my discovery of lipedema for myself. I wrote several blogs about how that all came about, how my mom suffered her entire adult life with lipedema and the debilitating pain she lived in up until the time of her death eleven years ago. I also wrote some of my blogs while taking care of my 85-year-old Dad who was living with Parkinson’s Disease. In September 2018, Dad turned 86 years old and the following month he passed away. As hard as it was, and as devastating as it feels to know he is gone from me, I knew that his work on earth was complete and he was weary from the long, brave goodbye. I learned a lot about who he was, what his character held, during the last years of his life. He met the challenges of each day with a brave face, regardless of how tired me must have been.

As I write this, I am sitting in our RV just outside of Montgomery, Alabama with just a few hours of driving left until we reach Atlanta. Again, I am full of emotions at the thought of having another surgery on my legs in a few short days. This past year I have had two surgeries for lipedema on my legs and arms, one on my abdomen and rib cage and 5 surgical procedures on the veins in my legs. I have buried my father and step mother and have struggled with a difficult coworker. I am tired. My body is tired.

And yet, my legs, my future mobility and my ongoing quality of life are extraordinarily important to me, regardless of how tired I feel.

seroma removal | photo of seroma on wristYou’ll be happy to know that the touch up surgery is far less involved with far less recovery required. I met with Dr. Byrd just prior to my scheduled surgery and we were able to specifically identify the areas on my legs and one spot on my wrist that required some extra attention. From that point forward, though apparently, I was quite the “chatty cathy” in the surgical arena, I recall absolutely nothing. I vaguely recall seeing a wheelchair but have no recollection of being wheeled out to the car when we were finished. Another 2 liters of unwanted and definitely not-needed fat was removed, along with a seroma on my wrist. I am delighted.

The recover was quick. I was up and functioning immediately, though without much memory of it all. The following day we went back for my check in, and I was cleared for travel. My hemoglobin was barely affected. Despite how great I felt, here is yet another cautionary reminder that you can feel that you are fine, when clearly you are not. A competent caregiver is an absolute must during those first 24-48 hours. They must be present to keep you from thinking that you are “normal” when you really are anything but.

I am now two weeks post op, and the bruising and swelling are gone. My legs still feel a little sore, and I continue to wear my post-surgical Bioflect compression garments. I had forgotten all about them…those nasty little crotch-less critters. When I am finally finished with them, I will have a post-surgical compression bonfire. Anyone interested in joining in?

By the way, my legs are beautiful, lipedema pain-free, and I can honestly say, THIS IS THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE FOR MYSELF.

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