Today I did the unthinkable: I went to the mall. I did this not to torture myself, my child or my husband, but because I needed Spanx and I needed them NOW.
No, I've not gone all porno on everyone, as many (not all, but probably a good number) women know, Spanx are those marvelous Spandex items that manage to help you squeeze into a tight little number and still breathe. Or, in the case of my not quite 3 week post-surgical self: a size 10 pair of jeans.
Now, one might say, why not a traditional girdle? Why not one of those Futuro binder things you find right next to the Ben-Gay at the CVS? Why? Well, not only did the Futuro binder not work (fits a size 32-45 inch waist my a**), but it left me in quite a bit of pain. It kept me in an upright position, but did nothing for easing clothes on or off. When I removed it, my stomach looked and felt like I had fallen asleep on a set of Venetian blinds.
Perhaps the best question of all is why am I doing this in the first place? After all, I had a tummy tuck, right? I should be super-slim and ready to hop in a bikini (umm....). Well, there is the post-surgical swelling. I have not had the time or inclination to do an in-depth study, but everything I have read about swelling post-DIEP indicates that weeks to months are involved in the reduction of swelling.
There is also the school of thought that the binder (or Spanx, in my case) might offer a bit of support. Sure, if it doesn't cut off your ability to breathe. Now, to defend my doctor, once the drains came out, he recommended, but did not require, the use of Spanx. I was told, especially by his assistant, that they were far more comfortable, would not "bind" me as much, but would still give me support and perhaps expand my wardrobe (guess they are a little tired of the old housepants?).
In fact, my doctor said, "Oh, you aren't wearing your regular jeans yet?"
No, I just didn't have the inclination to try to shove my larger than whale self into my size 8 jeans (with a drain still in). Also, given that my daily activities consisted of napping, eating and maybe a walk, I really didn't have, say, the need to torture myself in such a manner.
After the binder incident, I realized I needed something. Some sort of magical suit that would allow me to not feel as though my stomach is falling out of my body every time I stand up and yet would not cause me to run for the Percocet. I took the assistant's recommendation and started researching Spanx.
It turned out that she was quite correct and I found at least one plastic surgeon that extolled the virtues of Spanx on his site for those who were post-tummy tuck. On line of Spanx in particular was quite popular. So, today I found my Nordstrom gift card, we loaded up the car and off we went.
The best part of the trip? Running into a friend at lunch. We had a late lunch, so it was not crowded and we were able to get a booth (far more comfy). We then headed to Nordstrom. Originally I was tempted to just send Peter, but I realized that if I didn't try these items on, it would just be a ton of back and forth.
No fewer than three times did Peter mutter on the way from the restaurant to Nordstrom, "I forgot this is why we never go to the mall!" It's true...we never do, at least not with Nicholas. Everything is eye candy and while we have no issue saying 'no' (it's more of a "Oh, you have a birthday coming up, we'll see") sort of thing, it's just annoying. I realized after living in Iceland that although malls can occasionally be convenient, they just aren't my cup of tea and definitely not my son's.
We shuffled along and finally made it to the store and up to the hosiery department. No sooner had we arrived than Nick found several mannequins in a state of undress.
"Look, Mom, they are NAKED!" Well, yes, so they are. Pete might have been a bit embarassed, but at that point I couldn't care less. Peter finally found a table for Nick to use for his Legos (oh, yes, we took the Fire Bag and Legos...we may be crazy to go to the mall, but we aren't stupid). I found the EXACT Spanx I was looking for and headed in for the showdown.
Thank God I decided to try them on. Turns out all the swelling makes me two sizes larger, so the "one size smaller" that I am supposed to purchase is really one size larger than I normally wear. Now, I had a nice motherly type helping me and she was happy to help. She came to check on me and I had just figured out that the size large Incognito was going to work perfectly. It offered support, but didn't strangle me and with the gift card (thanks, Dad & G!), it would cost but a pittance.
She asked how I was doing and I said, "Just fine." I hoped she would walk away, but then came the worst possible question:
"Would you like to look for some bras to go with those?"
I snarkled (snarkily chuckled) that I was just fine. Then she went one step further:
"But it will give you such lift with that!"
I just about died with laughter. I mean, really, I am still recovering from my "lift," hence the reason I am there in the first place. I finally choked out that I just had surgery and only wish I could have seen the look on her face. A year ago, I would have been absolutely mortified and run from the store screaming and crying at the thought of all that had gone on. Maybe I've just gotten to that point that I just don't care anymore. If you are going to tell me I need lift, I'll tell (or show - eep!) you exactly why I don't! Heck, I could pull up the massive EOBs from our insurance company on my iPhone. If that doesn't scream lift, I don't know what does.
I won't even going into how she then tried to sell me bikini underwear that was "on special." Did the whole Spanx + surgery thing just completely pass her by?
We managed to make it out of there intact, I didn't spend a fortune and Nicholas earned his 15 minutes in the Lego store. We came home, I napped for an hour (I think I should take up napping professionally; it's really quite satisfying!) and then woke up and figured I'd give the ole Spanx a go.
Ten minutes later, I had the Spanx on and had to admit, I actually felt as though my stomach was not going to collapse. I then went a step further and pulled out the jeans I hadn't touched in 2.5 weeks...and slid them right on. Even threw on a nice sweater for good measure and voila, I am ready for dinner.
Now, don't be getting your hopes up for a picture. As anyone who has seen me recently can attest, I still have the beached whale look and that's fine with me. I was just getting a bit tired of the 'pants and sometimes it's nice to, uh, dress up, if you will.
Oh, and I almost forgot the best part of the whole trip. Was it the pain of walking? Was it Nicholas managing to get a mall pretzel after all? Was it Peter hanging out in the lingerie section, pretending to take important phone calls while I tried to navigate that section that frightens me on a not so post-surgical day?
No, it was leaving the lingerie section. There was a nice selection of rainbow-colored cotton panties for the ladies. Nicholas took one look at the "Commando Cotton" and said, "Oooh, those are SO pretty, we should get some for Kelsey!"
Peter nearly slid under the table, I said, "Wouldn't that be nice?" and we headed out on our way. In fact, I spent the whole way home grinning ear to ear, thinking about how life just wouldn't be as entertaining without my Little Guy.