Making the Decision - Austin, TX

This was not an easy decision for me. I always...

This was not an easy decision for me. I always knew I wanted my stomach to look nice again, but was I really willing to take all the risks. I told myself if I ever lost all the weight, after having 4 children, I would do it. It was easy to say that because losing 70+lbs is such a huge achievement I never thought it would happen. Well, last year it did. I went from 211 to 136. My husband took me to Curacao, without our kids, to celebrate. GO ME! When we got back I started thinking about tummy tucks. My friends told me I was nuts and I looked great. How could I think I needed a TT when I was a size 6. Between that, and fear, I chickened out of the idea. For months it was on my mind though.

6 months later, and many bootcamp hours and zumba later, the skin had not budged. I started talking to my husband again. I told him that while everyone says I look great, I want to see the fruits of my labor too. Everyone only see's me with clothes on and I know what is lurking under there. In January I talked to one of my zumba instructors who had a TT last summer. I made an appointment with her doctor, and one other, and the rest is history. The doctor said I have at least 5 inches of skin to remove. I booked my surgery back at the beginning of February for May 13, for a TT and Lipo of inner thighs. I figured that would be enough time to fix any holiday damage AND it worked perfectly in with my husbands Grad School schedule and our kids school schedule.

Right now I am excited and frustrated. I managed to gain 5 lbs stress eating. Instead of getting things fixed from the holidays I ate for comfort because we were dealing with many issues with our 10 year old and his ADHD. Part of me thinks I may have been trying to sabotage my TT because I am scared and feeling guilt over spending so much money. I mean this could bring my family on 2 really good vacations. This could pay off some debt. But I know I deserve it. My husband is behind me 100%, and I need to accept that I deserve this!

I am 20 days out and a ball of nerves. I am...

I am 20 days out and a ball of nerves. I am trying to keep myself busy by preparing for my TT. So far I have rented a hospital bed, got hand sanitizer, medical gloves for when the hubs in tending to me, Milk of Magnesia, I a large ice pack for my back, colgate wisps, wife beaters, comfy pajamas with buttons tops, a cane, and my juicer. My mother in law says she has a toilet riser in storage I can use.

I decided to rent a hospital bed because I plan to do my recovery in my room. I have 3 boys (10, 7, & 3) and I need to keep myself safe from the little one. That and I don't want them to see me in pain. My bed is really high. After having my boys it was hard to get in and out of it, and I did not have c-sections.

The juicer is so my husband can bring me fresh juice post op. I am taking the no sodium thing seriously and want to make sure my body is getting all the nutrients it needs to heal. I read there are fruits and veggies that help reduce and/or prevent swelling, so I am finding recipes that include those for him to make me.

Had my pre op this morning. When I got there I...

Had my pre op this morning. When I got there I started to have a panic attack! This is not something normal for me. The I got back into the room and she took my blood pressure. I have NEVER had blood pressure issues. Even in the most stressful situations (finding my 54 year old mom dead, going into labor because of it, and having my baby 12 hours later) my blood pressure has always been low. It was really high. So high she decided to talk to me awhile and take it again about 40 minutes later. She said if it didn't go down I would have to go get medical clearance from another doctor. It did come down....THANK GOD!

Anyway, the doctor drew ALL OVER ME and took tons of pictures of me standing, bending, sitting, and laying down. He adjusted marks and took down measurements. I got all my prescriptions and some dietary supplements.

6 more days!

I just got the call from the surgery center. I am...

I just got the call from the surgery center. I am to be there at 9am on Monday morning! Instructions include, no fingernail polish (toes are fine), no food pr drink after midnight, take my first antibiotic the night before, where dark loose fitting yoga pants and button up or zipper top, wash with antibacterial soap the night before AND morning of surgery, do not put on any lotion, deodorant, make up, etc. I am so excited, but I could really use a drink right about now ;)

I made it to the flat side. Surgery was yesterday...

I made it to the flat side. Surgery was yesterday at 10am and I was home by 4pm. The muscle repair is by far the most painful part of it. I coughed for about 2 hours after I got home....ouch! Then in the middle of the night I got the hiccups...Ouch! And I have thrown up about 4 times.....OUCH x's 50. I am on vicodin and I have a suppository for the nausea.

Went to the doctor for my 1 day post op and when they took the cg off I was shocked at how tight I am. I was actually very uncomfortable and thankful when they put the cg back on.

My DH has been awesome. I couldn't do anything without him for the first 24 hours. EVERY movement hurt. I am now getting around much better on my own.

This update is probably all over the place, but I am still drugged ;)

3 dpo

Well, no tears today. My hips and lower back are KILLING me. I am so glad I rented the hospital bed. Anytime something starts to hurt I can make small adjustments to the bed and it helps a lot.

One if the things I was worried about was getting up and down the stairs in my house (doing my recovery upstairs). It has not been a problem at all.

I went to the doctor today and they said everything looked great. Belly button is a little red, but nothing to be concerned about.

I am still feeling guilt about not being able to help DH with our 3 boys, but hopefully I can start helping again soon.

PO Day 8

Just got back from seeing my doctor. He says everything looks great. He plans to take my first drain out this Friday (PO Day 11) and the other next week. I have a cg that runs from just under my bra line all the way down to my knees. They took it off me for this check up. It was the first time I have taken it all the way off. I almost panicked. I hate when my DH just opens it to clean the tubes. I find comfort in having it on.

Today I started having "hot flashes" in my abdomen area. So weird. They said that was normal. Also, I HATE having anyone touch my abdomen. It is so weird having no feeling in that area. Seeing someone touch you and not feeling ti is so strange. It is something that can't be explained because you have no idea until you experience it.

I will do my best to get pictures soon. I am walking s hunched over still that I feel it wouldn't be a good picture. That and I don't take my cg off until DH is cleaning the drains. ;)

11 Days PO

Went to the doctor today. He is VERY pleased with my healing. I am 11 days PO and he said I am about where he would expect someone 3 weeks PO to be :) He also asked me to email him where I rented my hospital bed from because he thinks it was a great idea and wants to be able to refer future patients.

I had 1 of my 2 drains removed. It didn't hurt at all, it was just CREEPY. It felt like someone dragging a worm under my skin. BLAH!

He also took me out of that cg that went from my bra line to my knees (it had snaps and zippers up the sides and was crotchess) and put me in a binder. It is so nice to be out of that thing. I know everyone complains about the binder, but I am currently loving it. Next drain comes out next week on Thursday :)

Po day 11 photos

Granny Panties?

I had bought "granny panties" for my recovery, and they ended up not helping me. My scar is low enough that if the leg part rose up it irritated it. My husband went and bought me hanes boyfriend boy shorts and I LOVE THEM. There is no elastic around the leg, so if it does rise it doesn't bother me. We got them 2 sizes to big because I am tucking my tank into them.

17 days PO

Woke up this morning standing a little taller. Not all the way yet, but I am getting there.

The doctor had my last drain removed and had some stitches removed. This drain coming out creeped me out more than the first one. Again, it didn't hurt. The drain was all the way around in my rear area so feeling it get pulled all the way to the front was just wicked gross. Stitches being removed didn't hurt, it was also just weird.

Looks like I have a dog ear. He said it could go away on its own, but if it doesn't we can fix it in about 4 months.

I am to work on standing taller. Next appointment is next Wednesday.

One more quick 17 days PO

17 days PO and just went for my first walk. I walked around the block and it took about 30 minutes. I used my cane. It felt really good and by the end I think I was standing a little straighter. I could actually feel things stretching out as I walked. It felt so good.

Drain Logs

This is more for people who are considering, or about to have, their tummy tucks. This is how my doctors office did drains (Remember: All offices are different). I had to bring my drain log to every post op visit and they took down a 24 hour total, for each drain (I had 2). At my pre op they told me when my totals got to a certain number (which they wouldn't tell me because they don't want people to fake their numbers) they start removing drains. I am attaching a picture of what it looks like and here are my numbers for the days I had it (Remember, everyone heals at a different rate. Making up numbers so you can get your drains out early only hurts you. They are there for a reason) These are daily 24 hour totals.
Day 1 Right- 170 Left- 65
Day 2 Right- 135 Left- 115
Day 3 Right- 190 Left- 135
Day 4 Right- 120 Left- 70
Day 5 Right- 75 Left- 60
Day 6 Right- 50 Left- 30
Day 7 Right- 45 Left- 30
Day 8 Right- 60 Left- 35
Day 9 Right- 45 Left- 40
Day 10 Right- 25 Left- 25
Day 11 Right- 30 Left- 25 (Left Drain Removed Today)
Day 12 Right- 25
Day 13 Right- 40
Day 14 Right- 20
Day 15 Right- 20
Day 16 Right- 20
Day 17 Right- 10 (Last Drain GONE!)

The drains coming out is not bad. It didn't hurt, it was just CREEPY. ;)

Showering

So I am a wuss. Like BIG wuss. I was told I could shower 24 hours after surgery. I didn't shower until 19 days after surgery. I just couldn't bring myself to get into the shower until a) drains were gone, & b) I could stand long enough to do it. My shower isn't big so I couldn't really put a chair in there and it work out. Anyway, I got my last drain out at 17 days po, but then I couldn't bring myself to shower until the drain hole closed. It creeped me out....lol. But today was the day. I took a shower! Woo hoo!

Since surgery I didn't get nasty. I still managed to clean myself. I basically took sponge baths. I would sit in a folding chair, on a folded towel, and wash everything except where my incision is. My husband would wash my back. I did this pretty much every day. Because I wasn't active I didn't need to wash my hair as often as I normally do. When I did wash it i would pull my folding chair all the way up to the shower, still sitting on the towel, and put a towel around my shoulders and over my lap. I would then lean into the shower and let the water wet my hair, sit up wash, lean down rinse, etc. I had my hands on my knees so I would use my arms to push myself up rather than use my abs. It would have been easier if I had a handheld shower head, but I didn't so I dealt with what I had. When I was done washing I would take the towel that was over my shoulders and pull it over my head to wrap my hair up.

Again, I know most people aren't as much of a wuss as me, but for those who are I wanted to share this. ;)

PO Day 19 - Belly Button

PO Day 22

My 2nd drain hole has not closed yet (been 5 days) but PS said it is fine and he will check it at my appt tomorrow. Moved back into my bed 3 nights ago (from my rented hospital bed), and I gave managed to sleep on my side for up to 1 hour :). Standing straighter everyday. I am actually starting to get excited now!

27 days PO

I am walking so much better. I feel like everyday things improve alot. When I would go for a walk around the block a week ago all my stomach muscles would tighten up. I can now walk comfortably. Also, trying to stand up straight would hurt my lower back, not anymore. I am still swollen (you can see it in my lower belly and hips) I can't wait to start working out! My eating habits have been BAD since I stopped exercising. I am ready to get things going again!

Also, I am back to sleeping on my side! Yea!

30 days PO check up

First of all, I finally got my period. I was a little panicked because of that "one last time" the night before surgery. My husband has had a vasectomy, but with my luck he would be one of those rare cases of a miracle reconnection, and it would happen right before my tummy tuck. He got lucky. ;) I was 9 days late, which my doctor told me is normal after surgery. So if you happen to be late too, hold off on killing your husband...lol

Just got home from the doctor. He said everything looks fantastic. I can not start doing zumba for at least 4 more weeks (boo!), I CAN go in the pool (YEA!), and I can start scar therapy. They actually have something specific they want me to order. New Gel Plus. They gave me a discount code to use to order it. The nurse said she really has seen a difference between their patients that use it vs. those who decide to try something else (she actually mentioned CVS scar strips) . I know this topic can be controversial, and I am not trying to start some heated debate. I am just saying what my doctor has suggested to me. I had already gone out and bought some things to use that I had heard mentioned on here, but I chose my doctor for a reason so I have decided to order this. Looks like it is $83.50 for one of these strips (before the coupon code he gave me) and it lasts 3 weeks. I will take pictures to keep track of the scar once I start using them.

Scar Therapy

I am 5 weeks 3 days PO today. Up until now I have been using Bio Oil on my abdomen twice a day. Massaging my entire scar with it. I have been using scar away strips on my belly button (cut it down to fit). My doctor recommended New Gel Plus silicone strips. They finally came today. I plan on using the scar away on my belly button still (I can't waste them and the new gel plus are expensive). I am posting pictures taken today, before starting the new gel plus treatment. I will post updates when I change strips out. I believe each strip is good for 3 weeks.

First day wearing New Gel Plus strip - Important question answered

My incision is right up to my pubic hairline. These strips are 2 inches wide. I was really worried about pulling it off because it goes into my hair. Tape. Hair. You get the idea. ;)

I am sure i am not the only one worried about this so I thought I would let everyone know it didn't hurt pulling it off. No unwanted self "waxing" of the region.

Also, I wore it for about 20 hours straight and it wasn't uncomfortable or in the way. I took it off so I could massage my scar with Bio Oil. In an hour I will take a shower to wash the oil off and put the New Gel Plus strip back on.

Also, the New Gel Plus Strip is much thicker than the Scar Away strips. The adhere much better to my skin.

I think that covers questions I have been asked. Again, I will do update pictures as I replace the New Gel Plus strips with new ones (about every 3 weeks.)

Scar treatment update and questions answered.....

I have been using the New Gel Plus strips for a week. This morning I woke with the beginnings of a rash. Of course I panicked. I just spent alot of money to get enough for 12 weeks, and 1 week in I have issues. The website says the more you wear them the better. Wear 6-24 hours a day. However, it also says to take off every 12 hours to clean and inspect the area. I was not doing this. I would take it off 1 time a day to shower and then just leave it on. I am going to go back to Bio Oil for a couple days to let the rash clear up, and then change my game plan. I don't know what it is yet, but I will let you know :)

Some things about the surgery for those wanting answers.....

I had a TT with muscle repair and lipo to my inner thighs and knees. The muscle repair was by far the most painful part of the recovery. I would still do it again.

The next painful area was the lipo. It felt bruised and painful for weeks. It still is tender in some areas. I am not sold on this yet. When I am standing it looks ok, but when I am sitting, so my thighs are hanging, they are not smooth. There is an obvious dip. Hoping when I get back to strength training I can fill that out a little.

Swelling....

My doctor had me start taking arnica and bromelain 3 days before surgery. I am 6 weeks 4 days po and I am still taking these. At about 10 days po I also added turmeric which I also still take. I drink my coffee in the morning and 1-2 glasses of unsweet tea everyday. Other then that it is water water water. In the morning when I wake up my stomach is flat, but about an hour later the swelling starts. It is only mild, but it is there. The more I wear my CG the less the swelling is. The other day i didn't wear it all day and in the evening I looked like I had a small pregnant belly. I need to straighten my diet out some to help with the swelling. I have fallen of the wagon with my diet. I always do better when I am exercising.

Abdominal numbness.....

Again, I am 6 weeks 4 days, and I feel nothing between my belly button and my scar. I do an ice cube test. Put an ice cube in a paper towel (just so my fingers aren't touching the ice), and then run the ice cube across my belly, with my eyes closed, to see if I have feeling. Nothing yet, but i will let you know when I feel something :)

Exercise....

I started at 17 days po with slow walks around the block. I am now up to 3 miles, with the whole family (which means slow....lol) I know there are some that are running or walking twice as far. I was told not to resume exercise until 8 weeks, but I could take easy walks. I am following doctors orders. I don't want to make the recovery longer because I pushed too hard.

Let me know if there are any more questions :)

8w 5d PO - 3 week scar treatment update

I started using the New Gel+ silicone strips 3 weeks ago. I was wearing it probably 23 hours a day, and after 4 days I started to get a little rash. I stopped wearing it for 24 hours and then proceeded to start wearing it again, but only for bed. I put it on after my evening shower and take it off when I get dressed in the morning (so about 9-10 hours of wearing it a day). When I am not using them I have been using BioOil and New Gel+ Silicone Gel.

I believe I was breaking out in a rash because during the day I would sweat under the silicone strip, and the moisture would get trapped underneath it and irritate my skin. I have had no problems since I stopped wearing it during the day.

The picture I am including was taken today (8 weeks 5 days PO/ 3 weeks 2 days after scar treatment started) The second red line above my scar is just because I had just removed the strip.

Let me know if you have any questions :)

I'm allergic to my underwear!

I went to Kohls and bought some high waist control top underwear. I was sooo excited because they are actually comfortable. I wear them at night over my underwear. After the 2nd night wearing them I woke up and it looked like I had been scratched across my upper abdomen. It is raised and very itchy. I couldn't figure it out, and then it hit me. In the picture you can see it looks like two horizontal lines, the same width and place as where the rubbery material is inside the underwear. I haven't wore them for 3 days and the rash is still there. The pictures were taken today. I have been rubbing anti itch cream on it 2-3 times a day. It is driving me crazy!

One year later

I love my tummy. I love not getting rashes under the excess skin, I love not having to tuck my gut into my pants and worrying about it falling out, and I love that pants are more comfortable without that stomach buldge. I had to go have my dog ears and belly button corrected in January 2014, but that wasn't that big of deal. I did get put under anesthesia because I am kind of a wuss ;) I don't have a lot of feeling back, which still creeps me out some. Hoping that gets better with time.

I just in the last couple weeks finally got my eating and exercise back in line. My husband is in grad school so it was hard for me to get back into the swing of things (we have 3 kids). Needless to say I gained 20 lbs since my surgery. I was very depressed about it, but I am back on the wagon!
Austin Plastic Surgeon

My friend referred me. She had been referred by several family members. When I went into see him I felt very comfortable and unjudged. Update - 23 days po From the consultation to 3 weeks PO I feel I have been very well taken care of. He takes his time making sure all questions are answered and his staff is very attentive. 3 of my post op visits I ended up waiting a really long time, because they had gotten behind. Normally this wouldn't bother me, but when you are 4 days post op the last thing you want to do is wait. But, I do understand things happen. I have only had to call 1 time with a question and they called me back in less than 5 minutes. Overall, LOVE Dr Maggi and his staff.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
3 out of 5 stars Wait times
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