Well, I made it! A WHOLE YEAR later! Well, ok, it will actually be a year on Thursday. It’s amazing to me that a year has gone by since my tummy tuck. Absolutely amazing.
This will be quite a detailed review, so sit back, relax, and away we go…
STOMACH MUSCLES: If you can believe it, they’re still a tad sore. But only when I brush up against something or one of my boys (they’re young) runs into me. Sometimes when I run they are a bit sore too. And speaking of stomach muscles…
AB WORKOUTS: I haven’t done a sit-up, crunch, or plank since June. Yep, JUNE. I’ve been doing the ‘elevator’ exercise from the Tupler Technique. I do the ‘elevators’ 8 – 10 times a day, 100 pulses each. If you want more information on the exercise, email me or Google it. I am also ALWAYS aware of my stomach muscles when I’m sitting, getting up, and when I’m doing other exercises. I make sure those muscles are pulled in tight. If I feel that they’re being pushed outward, I stop. After awhile of doing AB exercises like sit-ups, crunches, and planks, I noticed that my upper belly was bloated looking. I couldn’t figure it out. After my friend introduced me to the Tupler Technique exercise and techniques, I stopped doing all the pushing outward belly exercises. Best thing I ever did. I lost 1 1/2 “ around my waist in the process as well.
NUMBNESS: I did a post a few months ago with some blue painter tape showing where I have NO feeling. It’s still like that. Basically, it’s the area right below my belly button and right above the incision. I can somewhat feel underneath the skin, but I feel nothing ON the skin.
SIZE & WEIGHT: My size prior to the tummy tuck was an 8 or a 10. My size a few weeks after the tummy tuck was an 8 or a 10. My size a year later is still an 8 or a 10. I know I’ve seen some women lose 2 or 3 sizes, but I truly believe it has to do with how much skin is removed. I don’t think I even had a full pound of skin taken off. It was mainly my AB muscles that really needed to come back together. My weight is up 10 lbs from when I had the surgery. I went up about 20 lbs a few months ago, but went back down. It was actually tough to detect though because I did NOT gain ANY weight in my belly. I started to notice it in my hips and butt.
SCAR: I am extremely pleased with my scar. It’s low. It’s thin. It’s now turning white! The left side is whiter than anywhere else. The right side is somewhat getting more white, but the middle is still reddish. As long as it’s not showing, then who cares! I also want to add that for the past year I have used nothing but Palmer's concentrated cocoa butter. My surgeon said not to waste my money on silicone strips because the scar will heal however it wants to regardless. So I just moistened it up with the cocoa butter.
SWELLING: I have to admit, I was lucky. I stopped swelling around week 4 post surgery. Not everyone is like that though. So if you’re 5 months out and still swelling, it’s normal! If you’re contemplating a tummy tuck, know that you’re going to swell. Swelling is your body’s response to trauma. A tummy tuck is MAJOR trauma. Although controlled trauma, it’s still trauma. Allow yourself time to heal and don’t get too crazy about your pants not fitting you for awhile.
PMS & BLOATING: Always a fun topic, huh? I have noticed that since I had the tummy tuck, my bloating is more noticeable around my period. I see people months out (sometimes over a year out) from the surgery who think they’re swelling when they get their period or think they’re swelling if they ate too much sodium. It’s just bloat, not swelling. It’s just more noticeable now because the skin has been pulled tight.
BELLY SKIN: The belly skin has loosened and I admit, I miss the days of the UBER tightness (which was around week 5). The skin needs to re-drape itself over your newly sewn muscles and once time goes on, everything will eventually loosen up. It’s up to YOU though, and only you, to make sure it doesn’t get saggy again! Oh, and don’t look at your belly skin if you are on all fours for whatever reason. It DOES hang no matter HOW tight you were pulled ;)
PEEING: I’m sorry but I HAD to put this topic in my update! The change in stream of my urine cracks me up. Because of the tummy tuck, my lady parts were lifted a tad (yay for me!) but when I pee, I have to lean over the toilet to make sure it doesn’t go all over the floor. I know I’ve seen other women on here say the same thing. I think it’s hilarious actually that I can pee like a dude now!
ADVICE: If you’re planning on getting a tummy tuck, you have your surgery already scheduled, or you’re fresh out of surgery, then this is for you. Some of this is from a very early post I did after my surgery, and some of it is advice I am adding now.
* Pick a BOARD CERTIFIED Plastic Surgeon to do your tummy tuck. Research 'em!
* You’re going to swell, BAD, and it's gonna suck, so don’t freak it if your pants don’t fit for awhile
* Start taking stool softeners a few days BEFORE your surgery
* Eat low sodium meals and watch your sugar intake
* Eat high quality protein foods to protect and nourish your muscles
* Drink A LOT of water to hydrate your muscles
* Take a 500 mg pill of Bromelain three times a day on an EMPTY stomach for swelling for the first couple of months (but not within the first two weeks because of it's blood thinning capabilities)
* Take your pain meds around the clock to stay ahead of your pain management
* If you do not have a recliner (I did not) make sure you have a lot of pillows to prop your back AND to use under your knees
* If you have little kiddos, have help lined up!
* Don’t try to lift more than 10 lbs the first month (this is the timeframe that you can undo your muscle repair)
* Plan on taking time off from work. I took 2 ½ weeks and was still walking hunched when I returned.
* Plan on being emotional, especially the first week. I kept saying to myself “What did I just do?!”. The first couple weeks were quite mentally draining.
* When your surgeon tells you to ditch your binder or compression, DITCH IT! Be done with it and let your body adjust to no compression. Otherwise you’re going to complain of swelling months and months down the road because you’re not letting your body get used to no compression
* Lay low and take care of yourself. You only get to heal once from a surgery like this!
SEMI FINAL WORDS: I remember right before my surgery, I obsessed so much about everything. I was very thankful to have found Realself and vowed to update my Review as much as I could. I hated it when I would come on here and people would disappear from their Review around month 2 or 3. I wanted to document my journey for the whole year! I would be lying if I said I don’t think about my tummy tuck anymore. I think about my stomach at least a few times a day, everyday. Even a year later. I am always looking in the mirror when I use the bathroom. Always checking out my scar. Always feeling my skin. Always aware! Sometimes I hate it. But it is what it is.
I want to say one more thing here to those who are getting a tummy tuck or just had one: Please don’t think that there is no maintenance involved in keeping your belly looking fabulous once you had the surgery. It’s a lot of work to keep those amazing results up! Make sure you’re eating right and exercising to maintain your results. Surgery alone will not give you a flat stomach for life if you don’t do your part to maintain it.
I will probably post another update around the year and a half mark, or the two year mark. If you stumble across my Review months from when I post this update, and want to message me or leave a comment with a question, please don’t think I won’t respond to you because my email address gets alerts when I get messages or comments. I love talking to fellow tummy tuckers!
Happy Healing (and future healing) to ALL of you!