I’ve been pretty damn open 

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Today I’m 24 days out from my surgery. I feel pretty damn good as far as mobility. Some days are a little tougher. I notice that if I’m seated for a long period of time that I get stiff and tight, which can be painful. In the office last week, I tried to get up and move around so this wouldn’t be a problem. I also made sure that I was walking as much as possible because I recognized that walking at a normal pace was helping minimize swelling throughout the day.

As so many of you know, I started speaking with my surgeon about this procedure back in April. It took me 3 days to be approved for financing and my surgery was scheduled a week after my consultation. I even debrief my consultation with you and you can find that video here. I also had two pre-op appointments; one with my surgeon and another with the facility. Those debrief videos can also be found on this blog. I brought questions to my surgeon that I wanted answered, I also asked a list of questions that my coach, Alaina, wanted answered in regards to my training and the abilities I would have post-surgery. JP had a few questions about after care since he would be my caretaker. I had even reached out online and asked fellow Instagrammers to comment what some of their struggles were and how they over came them. I brought some of these concerns to my surgeon as well.

Since my surgery, I have had four post-ops and I have a fifth in two weeks. At my third post-op I was cleared to go back to lifting and work. She advised light cardio like walking around and said that I could add it back in slowly after a few weeks. All the videos from those post-ops can be found on my blog if you go through June’s catalog on the right side bar.

I am also a big proponent for alternative medicine and chiropractic care. I have been going to my chiropractor for almost 4 years – since I really started losing weight. I had noticed that I was having discomfort in my sleeping position and during exercises. I learned that while I was losing weight it was forcing my body compensate in my sleep, which ultimately was dislocating my left and right hip -depending on the side I feel asleep on. Since my surgery I have had one chiropractor appointment and a massage from one of the therapists in my chiropractors practice. I get adjusted regularly, but we were focusing on the side of my body that had been working the hardest during my first days of recovery – my left side. From rolling to get up and out of bed as well as the V position I was in for 12 days, my upper abdominal and left side were engaged most of the time. This prevented them the opportunity to stretch and relax. I have experience muscle cramps in my side similar to when you run long distances, I also was experiencing mobility issues in my delt and shoulder from rolling and laying flat on my back for so long. The adjustment helped losen the muscles slightly, but mostly put my frame back where it belonged. The massage therapist worked on working out the knots and stretching out the muscles from just under my left rib to my mid-thigh. We worked front and back and she also gave me some stretches I can do to help elongate the muscle and prevent cramping.

This is some of the information I have given you along my recovery. What I kept from you was the more graphic information such as details about the circulation issues I was experiencing that put me on bed rest.

So let me preface this with saying, I have done my research, I have asked many questions. As issues or concerns came up I never hesitated to call my surgeon. The latest we called her was on a Friday night at 10 pm on her cell phone at home because JP was worried about some bandaging.

Here’s what my belly button and stomach looked like a week after surgery. The red area and blisters are what caused me to go on bed rest and have heart medication added to the list of medications I was already prescribed. My first post-op was 5 days after my surgery and this was a concern we brought to her. Not only was there a red spot, but the blister was even larger than this photo. I was also concerned about how my belly button was healing because the last belly button I had was deep and surrounded by loose skin. I don’t even remember what my belly button looked like when I was thin in high school or at the beginning of college.

Every appointment I have had with my surgeon we talk about concerns I have and she will look over the now scar. I have a few tiny bits of scab left, which is in the vicinity of where the blisters were, so I’m not concerned that they haven’t fallen off yet, but I know they will and then heal soon.

Aside from my doctors, I’ve been in communication with my coach. Her check in’s are already pretty thorough, but I also write books when I check in with her. Especially this week being my first full week back at the gym, I took notes after all my workouts. I could tell her on “x” I couldn’t do superman holds, my abdominal muscles were too tight and wouldn’t let me pull up, but I could do a plank instead. I can tell her that I felt swollen after “x” upper body day, but I wasn’t super concerned about it. If I tell her how I feel she can adjust my workouts to ensure that I am working effectively and not hurting myself. Checking my weight on the scale allows us to see what water retention and swelling look like and helps her determine my macros, even with a 1-2 pound fluctuation.

I post these facts to share my journey because every recovery is different. The information I received from women that had this surgery before me helped me ask questions, but my recovery was so different than all the stories I had heard. I was grateful for the information they shared with me, but it also reminded me that like fitness journey’s every single one is unique. We will all be told different information based on our specific bodies. My body weighed 130.0 the morning of my surgery. I had been lifting for two years and had just come off a competition cycle. I am the fittest person my surgeon has ever performed this surgery on. While surprising to me, this meant that my recovery time would be faster than most, but I still had some risks. My risks were a little different because I had been so active before. Many have the ability to clot if they don’t have their legs elevated, I also had the ability for poor circulation because I went from being very active to not active at all. Which is why the photo above happened.

I have never loved how I look more than I do now even with the imperfections like my scar. But hell, it’s symmetrical and beautiful in its own way. Loving myself like I do doesn’t mean that I don’t still have mental hurdles to overcome. I was heavy for so long and even at my fittest prior to surgery, I wasn’t used to seeing a flat stomach or my belly button. It’s still a lot of effort to remind myself that 1.this isn’t a dream, 2. yes I did have surgery, 3. this is the body I had worked so hard. So please remember that even with excitement there are still days that are tough because I’m getting used to a new me.

Yes, I have a blog. Yes, I have a public social media profile, but that doesn’t mean I’m asking everyone to comment or give me advice. I sometimes have to think twice about what I want to comment. We all have word vomit from time to time.  Just please watch what you say because you never know what’s lost in text translation that would come off differently in an in person conversation.I speak my mind and it’s clear I’m not afraid to comment back.


<3 Cristina


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