Dr. Immerman - Cleft Lift - 2/28/20

DAR623

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Hi Everyone,

I've been a long time lurker on the site and found some of these threads incredibly helpful and reassuring. I figured I would post my story in hopes that it helps others. Before I do so, I want to stress that both Dr. I's office and the nurses/doctors at OakLeaf have been absolutely phenomenal. It's a stressful time and the nurses and doctors were some of the nicest people I've ever met and I can't say enough good things about them. They truly made the process so much easier and if any of them are reading this I hope they know how much I appreciate them.

Background: I'm a 29 year old male in relatively good shape. 5+ years ago I slipped and fell and landed right on my tailbone on the edge of a table....it was a pretty violent slip and fall and it was painful for weeks. From there I developed multiple sinus tracts that would leak daily, some days leak more than others. I start every day by tucking in a folded up paper towel so no blood or fluids leak through. Given the timing in my life it wasn't something I was prepared to address so I just dealt with it for years. Fast forward to today...after doing a ton of research I decided to reach out to Dr. Immmerman's office (I'm a Michigan resident so everything was done via E-mail and phone prior to surgery). I had multiple discussions with the folks in Dr. I's office, all were very helpful.

Day before surgery: We flew into Minneapolis Thursday Morning, rented a car, and had an hour and a half drive into Eau Claire for my consultation with Dr. I. It was a quick meet and greet visit. Dr. I inspected the site and assured me this was the right decision and we'll get everything fixed up. We went to the Livery for lunch and Grizzly's for dinner. My wife and I love to go out to eat...I would frequent both if I was local. Eau Claire is bigger than expected so we killed some time and went to Target, stopped by The Mall, etc. Surgery was scheduled for the next day

Day of Surgery (Pre-Surgery): We arrived at OakLeaf Surgical Center at 8AM. The place is brand new and was truly a great facility. My wife and I went back to our room, got changed, got hooked up to the IV, signed a few disclosure forms, answered a ton of generic questions, and then chatted with Dr. I for a few minutes at which point they carted me back to the surgical room. My wife went back out to the waiting room. I remember seeing the clock in the surgery room read 10:03 and after that I was out. Dr. I went out and talked with my wife around 1130 to let her know everything went well I would be waking up shortly.

Day of Surgery (Post-Surgery): I woke up groggy as expected, but not in much pain at all. My wife came back around 1245 and we were discharged around 2PM. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn & Suites just north of OakLeaf. It's a lower end Marriott, but it's brand new and is a good stay. It was an easy 5 minute drive right up the highway. I was fairly tense and my instincts were to prop myself up with my forearms on the arm rests but the ride was fairly painless. OakLeaf sent me home with a free sandwich too that was pretty good. All the employees raved about the food (with the asterisk being that it's still hospital food) but overall I was hungry and would have eaten anything at that point. I got back to the hotel and for the most part laid low for a few hours. Pain was still pretty minimal throughout the day. It was more so just a weird dull feeling but no real pain. They prescribed me some pain meds but I haven't had the need to take them yet. They give you a localized numbing agent so it's still pretty numb. I started getting a little stir crazy in the hotel so my wife and I went out to Culver's for Dinner, roughly a 10 minute drive. Food was good, but we mostly went for the ice cream and made multiple Forrest Gump references while doing so. There's a little bar area up front so I stood for Dinner. Sleep was a little challenging with the drain in place. I slept from around 1030-130, was up for a few hours and then slept from probably 330-7. I either slept on my stomach or my side...didn't try sleeping on my back. HBOGo and Netflix on the TV didn't make falling asleep any easier.

It's 10:30 AM day after the surgery (Day 1 post op). We're driving back to Minneapolis and have a flight home early tomorrow. I'll post a thorough update of Day 2 tonight when we get back to the hotel room. Before I sign off I want to give some recommendations on things that I didn't think of and have learned throughout the way.

1. We ordered just one king bed for our hotel room. As soon as we were getting ready for bed I instantly got nervous that my wife was going to readjust in the night and accidentally bump into my backside so I would suggest separate beds. My wife is notorious for being a middle of the bed sleeper so I very nicely asked her to try to stay off to the side, which she did. But I would have felt better in my own bed.

2. I would highly recommend a seat cushion. We ended up buying one from Wal-Mart the night before surgery, but Amazon sells them. I rode with it on our drive to Culver's and it was a total game changer.

3. If you have driving to do order/take the biggest vehicle possible. We ordered a full-size vehicle from the rental (Dodge Charger) and when I sat on my cushion my I was too tall for the car and had to tilt my head to the side to fit in the front seat. Keep in mind I'm 5'11 220 pounds so not overly big. They had a mini van at the car rental and I wish we would have taken that.

I'm sure I'll think of/come up with more along the way and will post as they come up.
 
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DAR623

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Day 1 Post Op: I woke up feeling great in the morning, but shortly thereafter the numbing agent definitely started wearing off. We had a 1.5 hour drive from Eau Claire to Minneapolis which was tough. I spent about 5 minutes in the front seat and went and laid the rest in the back. I took a Tramadol (the pain meds prescribed) a few minutes before we got in the car and I don't think it kicked in until we were half way through the drive. I would definitely recommend giving it a few days before any serious travel. Dr. I's office said to wait at least one day post op to fly home so we booked our flights for tomorrow morning. I wish we would have given it an extra day or two but I'm looking forward to getting home.

Pain has been moderate today. It's more so just discomfort and an odd feeling that's hard to describe. I had my first bandage change this morning. Had a little bit of blood on the bandage but nothing serious. Tucking in the gauze at the base of the incision is an odd feeling to say the least. It's a lot further south than I would like...I told my wife we need to develop a safe word lol. I also had my first shower tonight, it was nothing too eventful.

For the most part I've laid low today. As I stated I'm nervous for the flight tomorrow, but I've got an aisle seat in the very back of the plane. I plan to stand as much as possible.

Signing off for the night....wish me luck.
 

KatieMarie

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I’m glad you’re doing well. You will be surprised how quickly things return to normal and you can move on from this awful condition. Dr. Immerman is the best! He did my cleft-lift a year ago and I haven’t had any issues at all!
 

DAR623

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That's great to hear, I'll definitely second your comments about Dr. I and his team. I've read your posts a few times and definitely found them helpful. It's the end of day 3 and I finally am starting to feel like I'm turning the corner.

Day 2 Post Op: This was a tough day, definitely the hardest so far. We had a 6AM 1.5 hour flight back to Michigan and then had a 1.5 hour drive from the airport. It's nice to be home but I would have much rather waited a few extra days. The numbing agent was wearing off and the ride was as bad as expected. By the time I got home I was physically and emotionally drained, but glad to be home. I also had my first BM when I got home. It was weird and I didn't like it. Plus the medicine is giving me diarrhea. I showered shortly thereafter, no issues there.

Day 3 Post Op: Seem to be feeling a bit better today. I'm still lying low for the most part. Had another BM today that was no better than the last. The drain is starting to become a nuisance but I've only drained 10ml in the last 24 hours so hopefully I can get it removed within a day or two. I still spent most of day in bed or on the couch with all of that time on my side or on my back. My body is pretty sore from the tense flight and awkward sleep. It seems like each day has been better than the last, hoping that trend continues
 

DAR623

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Day 4: Around the middle of the day I really started to make improvements both physically and mentally. Literally minutes after I really started feeling better I received a call that my grandfather passed away so that really sent my day sideways. My family lives about a 3.5 hour drive away so I started working to get the drain removed. I had drained 12.5 ml on day 2 and 10 ml yesterday. I sent an E-mail to Dr. I with my drain log and and a picture of the incision. I was going to call them to explain the situation and that I was hoping to get approval to have my drain removed today if possible. Before I could even do so I got a response back saying I could have the drain pulled...what a relief. I called primary Dr. and was able to sneak in a few hours later to get the drain removed. It didn't feel great but wasn't terrible. They put two steri-strips on the drain hole and I haven't really paid much attention to it since. We loaded up my truck and made the 3.5 hour drive to my parents house. I've got a huge backseat and spent most of the time laying down in the back. It's just easier that way.

Day 5: Day 5 was pretty uneventful. It's probably the best night sleep I've had since the first night after surgery. What a difference it makes to have the drain removed. I spent most of the day just hanging around with my folks. Went for a couple short walks with our dogs. At this point I'm really starting to feel good. i'm still taking it easy and still have some limitations but for the most part I feel really optimistic about my current and future situation. It's the morning of day 6 right now and I slept great last night. I sat down for probably 15 minutes to eat breakfast without much pain at all. I'm still a bit uneasy when I sit I think its more mental than anything.
 

DAR623

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Quick update for anybody who's interested. Around the one week mark I really felt like I was in the clear. I was up and moving around without restrictions, and as everybody has said, each day is better than the last. I'm now two months post op and couldn't be happier. Do I have a big scar, yes...Do things look a bit different back, yes...but I wouldn't hesitate to do it over again knowing what I know now. I've been working from home all of April and have been sitting on hard wooden chairs all day at my computer. My wife seems to have more discomfort with them than me. I don't have any restrictions and virtually am pain free so I really feel fully healed at this point. I'm always available to answer any questions, and hang in there everybody!
 

Momo Baggins

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Quick update for anybody who's interested. Around the one week mark I really felt like I was in the clear. I was up and moving around without restrictions, and as everybody has said, each day is better than the last. I'm now two months post op and couldn't be happier. Do I have a big scar, yes...Do things look a bit different back, yes...but I wouldn't hesitate to do it over again knowing what I know now. I've been working from home all of April and have been sitting on hard wooden chairs all day at my computer. My wife seems to have more discomfort with them than me. I don't have any restrictions and virtually am pain free so I really feel fully healed at this point. I'm always available to answer any questions, and hang in there everybody!
Hey, I know this post was last year and you may not be on this forum anymore but I'm also from Michigan and traveling to Dr. Immerman next month for the surgery. I have a few questions!

1. They sent me a list of supplements that he recommends I start taking now and continue 6 weeks after the surgery. A few of them are things I'd rather not take every day. Did you follow this regimen to a T? I'm wondering how necessary it is. I plan to start taking a good multivitamin and extra strength probiotics but I'm hesitant to spend a ton of money on every supplement he listed.

2. We are opting to drive. I love in metro Detroit, it looks to be about a 9 hour drive. Is this a terrible idea? I'm thinking on the way home we may stop half way and stay at a motel to break the hours up. I may just lay in the backseat like you did but for safety reasons that's not ideal for a long drive on the freeway. Should I rethink driving and look into renting a car to drive there and flying home? Really trying to make this as affordable as possible and even though WI is so close to MI, flights are not cheap!

Thank you in advance if you happen to see this and respond! I hope you are doing well and still PD free!
 

Spokm34

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Hey, I know this post was last year and you may not be on this forum anymore but I'm also from Michigan and traveling to Dr. Immerman next month for the surgery. I have a few questions!

1. They sent me a list of supplements that he recommends I start taking now and continue 6 weeks after the surgery. A few of them are things I'd rather not take every day. Did you follow this regimen to a T? I'm wondering how necessary it is. I plan to start taking a good multivitamin and extra strength probiotics but I'm hesitant to spend a ton of money on every supplement he listed.

2. We are opting to drive. I love in metro Detroit, it looks to be about a 9 hour drive. Is this a terrible idea? I'm thinking on the way home we may stop half way and stay at a motel to break the hours up. I may just lay in the backseat like you did but for safety reasons that's not ideal for a long drive on the freeway. Should I rethink driving and look into renting a car to drive there and flying home? Really trying to make this as affordable as possible and even though WI is so close to MI, flights are not cheap!

Thank you in advance if you happen to see this and respond! I hope you are doing well and still PD free!
What is the supplements I just drink water and take vitamins 1 tablet a day and protein for my cleft lift.
 

KatieMarie

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Hey, I know this post was last year and you may not be on this forum anymore but I'm also from Michigan and traveling to Dr. Immerman next month for the surgery. I have a few questions!

1. They sent me a list of supplements that he recommends I start taking now and continue 6 weeks after the surgery. A few of them are things I'd rather not take every day. Did you follow this regimen to a T? I'm wondering how necessary it is. I plan to start taking a good multivitamin and extra strength probiotics but I'm hesitant to spend a ton of money on every supplement he listed.

2. We are opting to drive. I love in metro Detroit, it looks to be about a 9 hour drive. Is this a terrible idea? I'm thinking on the way home we may stop half way and stay at a motel to break the hours up. I may just lay in the backseat like you did but for safety reasons that's not ideal for a long drive on the freeway. Should I rethink driving and look into renting a car to drive there and flying home? Really trying to make this as affordable as possible and even though WI is so close to MI, flights are not cheap!

Thank you in advance if you happen to see this and respond! I hope you are doing well and still PD free!
Hi there!

I had my cleft lift with Dr. Immerman almost two and a half years ago, so I figured I can help.

1. If you aren't able to stomach/afford all of the supplements, that is OK. Dr. Immerman likes to use them in case they do provide some benefit with wound healing, but most research shows that healthy people who eat a balanced diet don't need to supplement with anything. I took all of them for about a month prior to my surgery and stopped them two weeks after. I think as long as you are healthy overall, eating well and staying hydrated, you will have any issues. You could also try premier protein shakes (I got them at meijer) if you want a little something extra that is easier to stomach and not as expensive.

2. I live near Ann Arbor! I chose to fly out of Detroit to Minneapolis and then take a rental care about 1.5 hours to Eau Claire because I was extremely paranoid about healing after my terrible experience with my first surgery. Looking back on it now, I know it would've been OK had I chosen to drive the entire way instead. I also know many people who have driven long hours after surgery and not had any issues. Are you planning on staying until your drain is removed? If you do decide to drive, the best option may be to find a cheap hotel in the area and stay at least one or two days after your surgery before you drive home, but I am confident no matter what you decide that everything will be just fine. Dr. Immerman is amazing and has an incredible success rate with this procedure!

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. I'd be happy to give you my contact info if you have any questions throughout your recovery.

Katie
 

Momo Baggins

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Hi there!

I had my cleft lift with Dr. Immerman almost two and a half years ago, so I figured I can help.

1. If you aren't able to stomach/afford all of the supplements, that is OK. Dr. Immerman likes to use them in case they do provide some benefit with wound healing, but most research shows that healthy people who eat a balanced diet don't need to supplement with anything. I took all of them for about a month prior to my surgery and stopped them two weeks after. I think as long as you are healthy overall, eating well and staying hydrated, you will have any issues. You could also try premier protein shakes (I got them at meijer) if you want a little something extra that is easier to stomach and not as expensive.

2. I live near Ann Arbor! I chose to fly out of Detroit to Minneapolis and then take a rental care about 1.5 hours to Eau Claire because I was extremely paranoid about healing after my terrible experience with my first surgery. Looking back on it now, I know it would've been OK had I chosen to drive the entire way instead. I also know many people who have driven long hours after surgery and not had any issues. Are you planning on staying until your drain is removed? If you do decide to drive, the best option may be to find a cheap hotel in the area and stay at least one or two days after your surgery before you drive home, but I am confident no matter what you decide that everything will be just fine. Dr. Immerman is amazing and has an incredible success rate with this procedure!

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. I'd be happy to give you my contact info if you have any questions throughout your recovery.

Katie
Wow, thank you so much for your reply! That's very kind of you. This forum has been of the utmost value to me throughout all of this.

I did end up reaching out to Dr. Immerman about the supplements and he said basically the same thing you did. He told me to do what feels right for me, so I'm going to continue taking a good multivitamin, probiotic, and protein supplements and refrain from spending $100 on the rest.

I do have a Doctor here (a colorectal specialist who drained my cyst last time it flared up) who I was planning to have lined up to remove the drain for me when I get home. I still have to call her to confirm but I don't think it will be an issue. I'm so glad to hear driving shouldn't be a problem! I had to cancel a really cool vacation because of my last flare up so we are going to drive through the U.P. on the way to Eau Claire, to at least get a nice little road trip out of it. We will probably take the other way back through Chicago to shave off a few hours in case I do experience discomfort.

I work at a really popular, busy grocery store, so I asked Dr. Immerman to write me a note excusing me for 6 weeks. I know most people seem to heal a lot faster than that from his cleft lift, but due to all of the squatting and heavy lifting I do breaking pallets I figured it was better to take a longer leave so I can always come back sooner if the healing goes well. What was your experience with this? How soon do you think I'll be able to exercise like normal, or have full mobility back?

Thanks again for your advice, I will take you up on getting your contact info if you really don't mind! Is there a way to pm through this forum?
 

KatieMarie

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You are so welcome!

I took four weeks off of work. I am an ICU nurse and also have a very active job. I felt ready to go back about three weeks after my surgery, so I definitely think six weeks will be plenty for your recovery and you'll be surprised at how good you feel by then!

My email address is katiesemail289@gmail.com

Feel free to email me anytime and we can talk more if you have any questions or want to hear more about my experience!
 

Momo Baggins

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You are so welcome!

I took four weeks off of work. I am an ICU nurse and also have a very active job. I felt ready to go back about three weeks after my surgery, so I definitely think six weeks will be plenty for your recovery and you'll be surprised at how good you feel by then!

My email address is katiesemail289@gmail.com

Feel free to email me anytime and we can talk more if you have any questions or want to hear more about my experience!
Thank you! I just sent you an email so keep an eye out for something from mdiamond8811.
 
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