I had twins in August 2011. They were 7 lbs 12 oz...
I had my tummy tuck with muscle repair and NO liposuction November 6, 2013. Today is November 10 and I feel pretty good! I would have to say that the first day after the surgery was the absolute worst. I felt buyers remorse, wondered why I did this to myself, was in SO much pain, and I just couldn't stop crying. I went online and read that this is pretty normal, so I felt better knowing I wasn't alone.
I have swelling in my thighs and hips. The incision is thin and not red. I have not removed the garment yet to see (crazy, huh?) but my post-op appointment is tomorrow so I know I will see it then.
Has anyone else had swelling in the thighs and hips area? How long did it take to go down? I tried on some pre-op pants today and they were tight. Yikes! I know it's expected, but still.
I am walking at a hunched level still. I guess for another week I will be doing that. I cannot believe the back pain that came along with this too! I've been taking Bromelain to help with swelling.
I uploaded my before pictures and will do some after pictures once I have my post-op appointment.
My Tips & Advice if You're Getting a Tummy Tuck
(2) Eat low sodium meals
(3) Eat 5 - 6 small meals a day with a lot of protein to help your muscles heal. I've been making protein shakes with Whey protein powder and eating Quest Nutrition Bars (loaded with high quality protein and fiber)
(4) Drink A LOT of water to hydrate your muscles
(5) Take one 500mg pill of Bromelain three times a day on an EMPTY stomach (this helps with swelling)
(6) Take your pain meds around the clock (I set my alarm clock throughout the night so I don't miss a dose)
(7) 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
(8) If you have kids, have help lined up. I have 2 year old twins and can't do a darn thing!
(9) Try your best not to cough, sneeze, laugh too hard, or blow your nose
(10) You'll be swollen for awhile, so spend $20 for the 'Belly Belt'. I used these when I was pregnant so I didn't have to buy maternity clothes. They're pant extenders and AMAZING! Just wear a long shirt over your pants and you're good to go. Just google 'Belly Belt'. I got mine on Amazon
(11) Lay low and take care of yourself. You only get to heal once from a surgery like this!
5 Days Port Op - The Big Moment!
I am swollen in my belly (lower and upper), my pubic region (all the fluid falls because of gravity), and my hip area. It's going to take time for all the swelling to resolve, but WOW, what a difference! I love my new belly button too.
Still quite sore and taking the pain meds around the clock. My back is killing me too with not being able to stand straight.
Doctor said I look fantastic and everything looks really well!
Spanx and the Compression Garment
As far as Spanx go, I'm glad I didn't throw my old Spanx away after losing all the weight I did. I actually have on the size too big Spanx right now. I found it difficult to get the Spanx on that were my actual size for a couple reasons: my swelling is still pretty bad and it's HARD to pull up too small Spanx when your stomach muscles have just been sewn back together!
So my advice on Spanx: Get yourself two pairs. One that is a size too big (for when you're all swelled up and puffy) and one that is in your size range for when your swelling goes down.
And my advice on the garment: If you need to wear the garment most of the time like I do right now, do it! I actually feel more comfortable with the garment over a soft t-shirt. The material of this thing isn't exactly super skin friendly. I actually credit my surgeon with this idea, he's the one who told me to do it.
Tomorrow is one week after the operation! I will have photos as well as an update on how everything feels.
1 Week Post Surgery
Things I still feel and see one week post surgery:
* Swelling is still pretty prominent around my belly (upper & lower), pubic area, outer hips, and even some in my inner thighs.
* My belly is still super numb and feels like I am touching someone else's skin (so weird).
* I still feel pain, and still take my pain meds every 5 hours (it's NOTHIING like the day after surgery though). Pain isn't as bad however.
* I still use about 7 pillows to sleep at night (5 under my head and neck, 2 under my knees). Haven't tried sleeping on my side yet, but hopefully soon.
Things I have accomplished in the past week:
* I can get in and out of bed SO much better now!
* My stomach muscles don't burn as much.
* My stomach muscles don't spasm as much (the spasms freaked me out the first time I had them, felt like baby kicks!)
* I am still walking hunched over and cannot stand straight yet, BUT, I am walking more straight than yesterday!
* I can stand for a longer length of time (i.e. - I made myself dinner at the stove and got through it! In the beginning, I could barely walk to the bathroom)
* I can sit pretty well at the kitchen table and on the couch if I am at somewhat of an angle.
I attached some pictures for my 1 week timeline....
(1) The scar is pretty thin and scabbing up. Surgeon said he will recommend a scar treatment for me at my next visit (November 25) if I even need one (some scars just heal great on their own).
(2) I am still quite swollen around my entire belly, hips area, and pubic area. Completely expected though. I think the weirdest part for me right now is that numb feeling all around my belly.
So glad to be healing well and look forward to my progress each day.
My Two Favorite Things Right Now: Swelling & Walking
Let me start with the swelling. UGH! When will it go away? Now I knew going into this surgery that I would swell, and continue to swell, and have flat days, and have puffy days, and I knew I had to expect this to go on for like 6 months. But what's freaking me out is the fact that I measured my waist last night and it is 2" bigger than it was prior to surgery. So of course I added insult to injury and proceeded to try on my pre-op pants (size 8) that I couldn't button. Someone talk me down off this ledge! :) I know that I am swollen, but it sucks. So for all the ladies out there who made it to the flat side, when did you see your waist shrink and your pre-op pants fit again?
Alright, how about a little chat on walking. Good grief. I am walking more upright than I was a couple days ago, but no one really told me how much lower back pain to expect from all of this! I feel about 90 years old with the way my back feels and the way I walk. This hunching has got to stop! Yikes! When did your hunching finally cease and you were able to walk upright? I am 8 days post-op today and going back to work in 5 days. I really hope I am not still walking like this!
Happy Thursday everyone!
9 Days Post Surgery
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE that my excess skin is completely gone, but right now I feel like my waist got square. Is that due to the swelling? (the swelling that feels very firm!)
For those of you who have gone through this journey ahead of me:
(1) When did your waist feel normal again?
(2) When did your measurements go DOWN?
(3) When were you able to button your pants again?
(4) Was your swelling very firm like mine?
This is all so new to me. Obviously :)
I included more pictures! I like my belly button. You can also tell from the sides how swollen I am. I kind of look pregnant and my girth is pretty big! Thoughts?
I would love to know what others take, if anything at all, and if they have helped! I would also like to know if anyone takes what I take and if you think it's helped you with healing, swelling, inflammation, etc.
* BROMELAIN: From what I have read all over these boards, this supplement aids in reducing swelling. I think it's working, but I'll continue to take it anyway. I take one 500mg pill on an empty stomach three times a day.
* TUMERIC: This is an anti-inflammatory supplement that I took everyday but because it's a natural blood thinner, I stopped it two weeks prior to surgery. I just started taking it again. I take one 500mg pill a day.
VITAMIN C: Vitamin C promotes healing. I love Vitamin C! I take one 500mg pill, once a day.
* ARGININE: I am a big workout fanatic and love Arginine. It's a non-essential amino acid, but boy does it make me feel good. When taken in large amounts on an empty stomach before bedtime, this stuff increases your human growth hormone and promotes healing while you sleep. Of course, I am not a doctor, but I've been doing the Arginine thing a long time even before the surgery. I take 3mg - 5mg an hour before bedtime on an empty stomach.
* DANDELION ROOT: This aides in getting rid of excess fluid in the body. I take this when I am about to have my period to help with bloating. I'm not 100% sure it's helping with the swelling, but I take it anyway. I take three 525mg pills together at once, just once a day.
P.S. -- I just sneezed for the first time since having this surgery. I thought I was going to DIE!
I lost 107 lbs after my boys were born (40 lbs or so came off naturally after their birth, the rest was lost on Weight Watchers). I learned how to eat correctly with portion control, etc. I started in October 2011 and plateaued in March 2013. In August 2013 I hired a personal trainer. He REALLY opened my eyes as to how to not only lose weight, but BURN FAT. I lost 4 lbs and 1% body fat in about 3 weeks prior to my surgery.
So, here I am, typing this knowing I cannot do my PX90 workouts, or cardio, or lift weights for what is it, 6 - 8 weeks? Good grief! So I have been sticking to my meticulous eating plan from my personal trainer to make sure I don't pack on any unwanted pounds while I am not working out. I also want to mention that I eat very low sodium after this surgery. Not only does eating low sodium help with flattening your scar, but it doesn't make you feel bloated and retain unwanted water.
This is how I eat:
* 5 - 6 small meals a day
* Each meal is less than 5 grams of sugar
* Each meal has a lean protein, a veggie, and a starchy carb (if you want, don't have to)
* Protein shakes & protein bars (made with Whey & less than 5 grams of sugar) are your friend
* I don't eat 3 hours before I go to bed
I have to say, I feel fantastic as far as knowing I'm keeping my weight in check during this non-cardio time and not feeling bloated from over eating or too much sodium.
It's hard to be non-active, but my time to be able to workout again will be here before I know it!
Walking Upright & Seroma
In other news, I think my left side above the pubic area has developed a small seroma. I have an appointment with the surgeon at 12:30pm today. I honestly didn't know how to tell if it was in fact a seroma until I went to You Tube. Gotta love that website! I found a video of a women who had one and showed how it moved throughout her belly. It's a waterbed effect when you press down. Sure enough, that's what's happening with me. But it's not as bad as hers. So for all of you out there that are unsure if you may have a seroma or not, check out the videos on You Tube.
Going back to work Wednesday! I'm scared I won't make it through the day. I work in an office environment, think they'd care if I wore my pajamas all day? ;)
2 Weeks Post Surgery
I am walking SO much better, however I still hunch when I get up after sitting for awhile. I'm still swollen, but know that this will be going on for a few months at LEAST.
I have some seriously compressed Spanx on as I type this. So much so that I don't even have my garment on!
I'm still sleeping on my back with 8 million pillows under my head and legs. For all of you tummy tuckers out there, when did you sleep on your side again? Or stomach for that matter?
I attached a few pictures. My scar is looking really good and will be even better once it turns white. I love how thin it is!
Thoughts & Questions Going Through My Head at 2 Weeks Post
* Did I seriously swell 2 inches just from sitting at my desk at work?
* When will the puffiness in my lower belly just go away?
* I hope no one notices how much I hunch when I get up from my chair
* I feel so dependent on this compression garment
* Some days I feel fantastic!
* Some days I feel AWFUL
* Is my pubic area going to de-puff already or what?! It's creeping me out!
* I want to fully stretch SO BAD when I wake up in the morning
* When, oh when, will I be able to sleep on my side again?
* 4 more weeks and I can lift my boys again!
* Feel the skin right above my incision
* Could get in and out of my car like a normal person
* My pubic area didn't look like a Ken Doll
* People didn't look at me funny when I walk slow
* I could sleep at least SOMEWHAT on my side
* It was 6 weeks already so I could lift my kids
* I didn't get so tired after work (and I sit at a desk!)
* The swelling would just hurry up and GO AWAY
* I didn't have to wear compression (makes me claustrophobic)
* I could get out of bed without 8,000 maneuvers I have to do
* My cat realized she simply cannot walk on my stomach!
* I could gorge myself with 2 dozen chocolate chip cookies and then just work it off on the treadmill tomorrow!
And lastly, I wish it was 6 months into the future so I know the swelling is gone and my jeans look super cute again (or even better!)
My Wonderful Monthly Friend!
Fast forward to today. It is one week before my period is due. Awesome. And guess what? My belly is bloated just like it was prior to surgery. I guess I was hoping that would just nix itself after the surgery!
So here's to sucking it in once a month for a good few days. Booooooo
Anyone else deal with this?
In Pants! Yay! (tight though, of course)
My pubic area still has that seroma I mentioned last week too. The surgeon tried to drain it but there wasn't "enough fluid". So I am back Monday for him to look at it. The fluid is still there and doing that oh so fun waterbed motion under my skin. I'll say it again: Icky. anyone else ever go through that? NOT being able to have a seroma drained? I couldn't find anything on google.
Anyway, back to my pants post! These pants are my size 8's from Express pre-op pants. My faaaaavorite pants to wear to work. I love how great things look from the front, but not so much from the side. Patience, I KNOW! I would also like to mention that I HATED the way the pants felt on my skin. It was a weird sensation with some pain and numbness. I normally wear a soft t-shit or cami with the compression garment over it.
3 Week Post Visit to the Surgeon
My surgeon also said that on a scale of 1 - 10, my swelling is about a 3 or 4. Not too shabby for 3 weeks post! And this was at the end of a workday! I'll feel much better when my lower belly pooch and fluid filled pubic area is normal again.
Here are some accomplishments of 3 weeks:
* I can laugh harder now
* I can sneeze a bit better (without passing out)
* I can blow my nose better
* I can cough a bit better
* I can walk a bit faster
* I twist better reach behind myself for something
* I can stand for longer periods of time
* I can wear my pre-op again!
My waist prior to surgery was 29", and below my belly button was 36". My waist now at 3 weeks post is 29" and below my belly button is 32". At one week post, I saw 28" at my waist and 30" under the belly button. However, I'm assuming swelling took it up an inch.
Tomorrow is officially 3 weeks and I will post pictures then!
3 Weeks Post Surgery
I only put my binder on for an hour when I get home from work and when I sleep. All the other times during the day I am wearing Spanx. When did all of you ladies stop wearing your Spanx?
I can't wait to see what 4 weeks brings!
3 1/2 Weeks Post
I have to admit as well that my period started today. I normally gain 4 lbs in water weight, so maybe it's that as well. It feels weird to have my monthly bloat with such a tight belly. Really weird quite honestly. I also read somewhere that the first period after your TT is the weirdest and worst. Again, for all you post TT'ers, true? Not true? Let's discuss!
I had my period for my surgery. Yeah, THAT was fun.
Here's my wish list for being 3 1/2 weeks post....
* I could sleep on my side already!
* I could wear my jeans and not have them feel weird on my belly
* I still didn't hunch when I get up from sitting
* My lower belly didn't feel so TIGHT
* I could do my lower body Pilates routine. God how I miss that. My legs need a workout -- BAD!
And finally, I wish this swelling would hurry up and just go away already!
For being 3 1/2 weeks out, I can do the following much better:
* Get in the car a little faster
* Walk way more normal
* Twist better when reaching behind myself
* Get out of bed a lot better
* Not have to take pain medication hardly at all (just here and there)
And this is a big one for me: I can FINALLY blow my nose, like, REALLY blow my nose! :)
Yay for 3 1/2 weeks!
4 Weeks Post Surgery
I have pictures that I will post tomorrow.
Not too much has changed since 3 weeks, but some things have gotten better. So here is my 4 weeks post surgery list:
* The swelling is all pretty much lower, lower belly and crotch area (Ken Doll syndrome!)
* I'm still pretty tight in the lower belly, especially when I get up from sitting
* I never had my belly button scab or have weird junk in it, even to this day (just a little bit red inside)
* I can twist better than 3 weeks
* I can get up from a chair and couch a lot better
* I can move around a lot better and walk faster
* I still grab under my knee when I get out of bed
* I am somewhat sleeping a bit angled on my side finally!
* I cannot lay totally flat yet
* I'm still scared that I will rip my incision open if I do a full body stretch in the morning!
* I still take Bromelain religiously (3 times a day on an empty stomach)
* I am flat as a board in the morning and about 2" - 3" bigger by dinnertime around my waist
* I'm only using Palmer's Cocoa Butter (concentrated formula) on my scar
* Upper abs are tender, while lower abs are tight
* I've been doing my lower body Pilates routine again, but if I feel it too much in my abs (and it's more sore), I just don't do that particular move
* I wear Spanx under my clothes and quite honestly I cannot WAIT to not have to wear it anymore. I wear pants to work and the Spanx under the pants are making me crazy!
* All my pre-op clothes fit me now (I don't think I will be going down a size, I didn't have that much skin removed and I didn't lose weight)
My main wish is for this swelling to go away in my crotch. I can't stand looking at it!
4 Weeks Post Surgery Pictures
Before Surgery / 4 Weeks Later
To compress or not to compress?
Question for all you past TT'ers: When did you feel comfortable NOT wearing any type of compression at all?
Happy Thursday everyone!
Exactly One Month Today!
I have to say that this past month has been quite a roller coaster of emotions. I seriously had no idea I would have the feelings I would have. Especially the first week. I was so depressed for a number of reasons. Basically because I was in so much pain (I'm a wuss) and the mere fact that I couldn't walk right. Oh, and not to mention the swelling that made me feel fat. Or how about just not feeling normal? Or not being able to do basically anything! I laid in bed and pondered why I did what I did and thought I could have been happy with my old body. I thought I made a mistake.
BUT THEN CAME WEEK TWO. I could walk upright, I could walk faster, I could stand for more than 30 seconds and not feel like I was going to die. I saw a small light at the end of the tunnel. Week three was even better. I was able to walk faster, cough, blow my nose, go back to work, AND my swelling was going down!
So here I am, one month out. I can wear all my pre-op clothes, I ditched my binder 2 weeks ago and only use Spanx. I sleep with 3 pillows behind my head instead of 5. I walk on the treadmill (slowly), can lift low weights (without using my abs), and I can do my favorite lower body Pilates routine again. Maybe not AS good yet, but still!
When I wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, I still cannot believe the difference. I can't believe I regretted the surgery the first week. I was nuts to think such a thing! :)
As each day passes, I still have my emotions. I want to feel normal. When I say normal, I mean being able to feel my lower belly (it's completely numb) and not have swelling. However, my swelling is mainly crotch area. UGH. I know that my belly is bigger by the time I get home from work, and I'm sure some of that is from swelling, but I also know that my belly was like that prior to surgery. Food, fluids, moving around all day, etc. causes that.
Tonight was the first night I put my kids to bed alone. I was nervous, but I did it. They're still in cribs and I got them up a 3 step stool (they thought it was fun). I have not lifted them since prior to this surgery. I was not about to chance messing up this muscle repair! I have an appointment with my surgeon Monday. I will ask then when I can lift them (they're both around 35 lbs each).
I can't wait to see what the next few weeks bring!
Stretching in the Morning
I would love to be able to do a full body stretch in the morning while laying in bed, but I am scared outta my mind to try it.
So....When were you able to do that stretch my body is trying so hard to do? :-)
1 Month Appointment with the Surgeon & Compression Talk
Here's the lowdown of my appointment:
* I can resume all cardio (starting slowly)
* I can lift weights (gradually increasing to where I was)
* I don't have to wear compression anymore!
* My pubic swelling is just tissue swelling now (no more fluid) and will go down
* He said I look so good that I pretty much am seeing my final result (I attribute a lot of this to how clean I eat)
* He doesn't need to see me anymore because I am healing so well!
In regards to the compression, I am actually HAPPY I don't have to wear it anymore. I ditched the post surgery binder 2 weeks ago but I will throw it on when I start my rigorous treadmill and PX90 routines again. I have to admit, after I ditched the binder a couple weeks ago and put some Spanx on ONLY, I felt so much better. I was wearing the binder 24/7 and my doctor even told me at my 1 week post op visit that I only needed Spanx. However, I kept wearing the binder.
But after taking the advice of a fellow tummy tucker and sticking with JUST Spanx (no post surgical binder anymore), my body got used to no binder and any crazy swelling that was going to happen months down the road (if I were to wear it for months longer) was going to happen at 2 weeks. Might as well get it out of the way. I'm so glad I ditched that binder and went to just Spanx. I didn't want to the post surgical binder to become a crutch or an addiction. Does that make sense?
So after 2 1/2 weeks of wearing just Spanx, I started to hate those too! I actually got a pair that were somewhat too big so they weren't really compressing the heck out of me, but had just enough compression. I have to admit, I couldn't stand the way Spanx felt under my pants, so now that I don't have to wear compression at all anymore, I can wear my pants and just my undies. Ahhhh, normal! I can even walk around naked at this point and I don't feel like I need anything to 'hold me in'.
So here's my advice on the binder: If your doctor says you don't need it anymore (whether it be at the 1 week visit like me, or your 6 week visit), get rid of it. Don't depend on it. Do Spanx until your surgeon says you don't even need that anymore.
One more thing: Just because my surgeon said to ditch the binder at 1 week doesn't mean YOUR surgeon will say the same. Always go by your surgeon's advice.
5 Weeks Post surgery
Measurements before surgery:
Smallest point at waist = 29"
Below belly button: 34"
Measurements 5 weeks post:
Smallest point at waist: 27"
Below belly button: 31"
The scar is starting to turn red, but that's normal. It's called 'scar maturation'.
Happy Wednesday my fellow TT'ers!
5 Weeks Post Surgery Updates
* I can sleep on my side again! Thank GOD!
* I can walk at a 10% incline on the treadmill, 2.0 mph and feel GOOD
* I can lift 5 lb weights (each hand) and it doesn't hurt
* I can do my full lower body Pilates routine
* I can twist pretty well
* The only swelling I can see is in my pubic area, and that's gone down
* My waist has gone down 2" since the surgery
* I am NOT wearing ANY compression all day at work and my pants look fabulous!
* I can lift my boys up! (they're 35 lbs each) but I do it slowly
* My incision does not bother me at all (no itching, pain, etc.)
* I still can't sleep on my stomach
* It still hurts for a full body stretch (but my maniac dreams about it have stopped!)
* I still put my Spanx on to sleep at night (makes me feel better when sleeping)
* My lower belly is still quite tight, especially after getting up from sitting
* My upper abs can be pretty tender at some points during the day (varies)
* Lower belly is quite numb, but this can take a year to come back!
Happy healing my friends!
I wonder how many times I'll 'suck it in' tonight out of habit?!
6 Weeks Post Surgery
I don't know if it's my period about to start or swelling starting for basically the first time (say it ain't so!)
In any case, I feel pretty good and don't see much of a difference picture wise from 5 weeks. However, I do see a bit of bloat and/or swelling in the side pic. I obsess, I know.
Things I can do much better:
* Walk at a 10% to 15% incline on the treadmill
* Lift 10 lb weights
* Walk faster
* Wear no compression
* Get out of bed without having to grab under my knee!
Things still lingering, things that suck, etc,:
* I am still super tight in the lower belly after I get up from sitting
* I'm actually still pretty damn sore! (Normal? Chime in people!)
* My skin above my belly button is very tender
* It does not feel good to lift my kids (35 lbs each) so I only do it when I have to
* I can't run yet
* I wake up a lot when I sleep on my side because my body is trying to go all the way to my stomach which does not feel good yet to sleep on
Would love to hear thoughts....
PMS & Bloat
I just got back from the surgeon's office and the nurse told me it's bloat from my impending period. Good grief. She also said that because the muscles are tighter now, the bloat & tightness will be more amplified.
7 Weeks Post Surgery
I made it to 7 weeks. A drop in the bucket of healing from a tummy tuck, but to me, it feels like I would never make it here. Thought I would update my review while my boys are napping and it's quiet in my house!
I added photos that I took AS SOON as I woke up because I have been very active lately and I ate pretty damn bad last night, so I wanted to make sure I got shots of my belly in before I even made it out to the Christmas tree with my boys this morning! LOL
You can see from my pictures that not much has changed since 6 weeks. You can also see some indents in my skin because I actually had to wear my binder to bed last night. Not Spanx, but my binder. That's HOW MUCH food I ate last night. Ridiculous. It's 2:00pm right now and I have only had a couple eggs and maybe 2 cookies because nothing fits in my belly!
Not only have I been active and eating with the Holiday season, but I also have been walking at a 15% incline on the treadmill AND doing my P90X cardio/plyometric workouts again. I can tell I have some swelling from this, and I can also tell that I am bloated not only from holiday food but also from my period that started today (Merry Christmas to me!)
Things I can do much better:
* I can sleep on my side without hardly ANY twitches or weird pains
* I can lift my boys better, but I still do it slowly and not too often
* I can lay flat on my back (I was scared to try this one for awhile!)
* The tightness in my lower belly is not AS bad as last week
* The tenderness above my belly button is a bit better
* I'm a size 8 in pants, but they're actually getting bigger around the waist (my booty is still the same!)
* Squatting and/or kneeling down has gotten easier
Things that I am still working on:
* Twisting still bothers me, although I can do it
* I can't get up the nerve to sleep on my stomach yet
* I haven't ran on the treadmill yet, still afraid of that one too
* My belly in general is still pretty sore
I've been extremely good with my eating routine and lost 3 lbs. So now I am 150 lbs. Well, maybe not at this exact moment ? I've also noticed that my belly skin has softened up a bit. It's a bit more lax than it was a couple weeks ago. Anyone else go through that? I'm so used to that super tight feeling!
Hope you are all healing well and have a great Christmas!
Stomach Flu at 7 1/2 weeks
It started last night around 7:00pm, mind you my husband and I JUST sat down at the theatre to see Anchorman 2. Needless to say, we left and it didn't end until 1:00am. I woke up this morning to the flattest I've ever seen myself. So maybe Emily Blunt WAS right in 'The Devil Wears Prada' when she said "I'm one stomach flu away from my goal weight". ;)
Incase anyone is wondering what it felt like to vomit for almost 6 hours after a tummy tuck 7 1/2 weeks out, it was a little sore, but I have a feeling that if this would have happened within the first couple weeks of the surgery, I would have been in a lot more pain and possibly messed up my muscle repair.
Happy Sunday everyone!
8 Weeks Post Surgery
So here's my run down for 8 weeks...
Things that I'm happy about:
* I am back to doing P90X and love it!
* I can fully twist and not cringe when I do it
* I can get in and out of my car like a 38 year old can, and not a 95 year old!
* I sleep on my side with no problems and it feels amazing
* I do lower body Pilates with no problems, but only a couple AB moves (no crunches yet!)
* Absolutely no compression during the day
* My pants are getting big around the waist (I am an 8), but I don't think a 6 will fit my booty! LOL
* I went from a size 6 though in a suit jacket to a 4
* My belly button has deepened a bit
* The incision scar is turning red (I only use Palmers Cocoa Butter, no scar treatment)
* My belly is starting to soften up and on some days, I don't even feel like I've had a tummy tuck!
Things that are still progressing:
* I can't sleep on my stomach yet (my body tries, but it hurts to lay on my belly)
* I still have some lower belly swelling, and sometimes upper belly swelling
* I am not ready to run yet on the treadmill (I'm still a wuss to try)
* I still wear my Spanx 'higher power' when I get home from work and sleep in them
* My twins are 35 lbs each, and I still keep my arms close to my sides when I pick them up
* Full body stretching in the morning still hurts
A few things I want to mention while I'm updating this review...
THE INCISION SCAR: I think that cocoa butter is fantastic to smooth the incision scar and I honestly believe that the scar is going to heal the way it wants to heal regardless of treatments like Mederma, or silicone sheets. You know who else agrees with me? My surgeon. In fact, he recommended NOTHING for scar treatment. If you look closely at my photos that I put up today for the 8 week mark, you can see a white scar around the end of my boob. I had a breast reduction in 1997. I didn't use anything and it turned white. The same thing is going to happen to the tummy tuck incision. It will turn white. I honestly don't care how long it takes, so the only thing I like to use is the cocoa butter because it makes my skin feel amazing down there.
LIFTING: I am a momma to twins. They are around 35 lbs each. My surgeon told me no heavy lifting for the first four weeks. I abided and did not lift anything. Including my kiddos! There was no way I was going to take the chance of disrupting my muscle repair, 'cause you know what? I was NOT about to go through that surgery again! Heck NO! So if you're having this surgery, make sure you have help for kids. No joke.
SWELLING: I have to admit, I google too much. I want to see if anyone is like me, if anyone had issues like I did, or if anyone goes through the same things as me when it comes to this tummy tuck roller coaster mess! The truth of the matter is, no one is alike. My swelling was pretty much non existent in the beginning, however, I find now that I have days where I wake up with lower belly swelling, or get upper belly swelling after working out, or wake up with swelling for no reason what-so-ever! I keep reminding myself that my belly is trying to reconnect so it can drain properly again. Everyday can be different. I am 8 weeks out and a very active person, so this swelling is normal.
THE STOMACH: Ok, so basically, what I have to remind myself about is the fact that my stomach MUSCLES were sewn back together. My actual stomach was not touched. Sooooooo, when PMS comes to visit me a week before my period, or ovulation is knocking at my door, my stomach blows up like a hot air balloon. The first thing I do, of course, is freak out and think my muscle repair failed. But I have to remind myself that it's my stomach. Not the muscles. If I eat too much (hello Christmas!) my stomach will expand and because my belly skin is nice and tight now, it's quite noticeable! And scary :-)
Happy healing my gals!
Why You're Not 'Flat as a Board'
So then I started googling (of course, because I'm a maniac about google) and I found this question that someone posted on Realself about the very same thing I was wondering.
I wanted to share this with everyone because it definitely makes me see things in a different light after this tummy tuck surgery. The response from the first doctor really hit home.
I posted the link to the question at the bottom if you wanted to see ALL the doctors answers.
THE QUESTION: "I had a full TT 5 months ago I was 5'4 and weighed 123lbs. I workout and have a low-cal diet, I never had a fat stomach just separation of muscles and loose skin. I expected to look completely flat after my full TT with slight liposuction but its not, I still have a slight pouch. I told my PS and he said everyone will still have a slight pouch or they are sucking in. I am back working out but the change is not like I expected. No one can tell I had anything done and I am 120 lbs. Is this true?
ANSWER: "You certainly sound fit and non-obese, but your surgeon still had the same volume and weight of intra-abdominal contents to "contain" within your tightened abdominal wall after removal of excess skin and fat. No matter now tightly your surgeon sews the rectus muscle sheaths together, your "insides" (intra-abdominal organs, intestines, mesenteric fat, and omental fat) still had their exact same size, weight, and volume "pushing out" against a tightened, but not rigid and unyielding, abdominal wall and skin. That's just anatomy, and this has nothing to do with your surgeon's skill (or lack thereof), or the technique used. (Unless, of course, he "skipped" the muscle repair.) It's the natural stretchiness of your (even surgically-tightened) abdominal wall combined with your own intra-abdominal contents.
An example might be helpful. Think of your loose stretched (pre-op) abdominal wall as a trampoline (one that is a bit older and well-used; i.e., a bit stretched out). Now put some pressure on that trampoline, like a bowling ball tossed onto its center and being pulled by gravity. No matter how tight you screw the turnbuckles on that trampoline, the bowling ball with still stretch the fabric somewhat, even if you somehow also tightened the fabric by removing some of it. An imperfect example, I know, but one that illustrates that your "insides" still push outward, no matter how tight your abdomen has been made. True, some patients do achieve flat, but usually only if they were flat before surgery (just loose skin and stretched muscles).
If the amount of skin and fat removed was 3 pounds, this would be a good amount for a woman your size. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it sounds as if the only problem here was unrealistic expectations. Unfortunately, sometimes we surgeons are the cause of these expectations if all we show are the "perfect" results with the "flat" after photographs.
Yours is the more common result. Talk to your surgeon, but there is likely nothing further that can be done except to lose 10 pounds or so, and this may still not even give you the "flat" tummy you seek."
THE LINK: http://www.realself.com/question/flat-stomach-after-tummy-tuck1
9 Weeks Post Surgery
Things that I am happy about:
* Sneezing makes my belly tingly now instead of all pain, so that's good!
* My swelling is pretty minimal, if anything at all
* I really don't workout anymore with my binder - I can do it without!
* My belly skin is softening more, and feels more and more like I didn't have a tummy tuck
* I can do full outright squats now! YAY!
Things I'm still working on:
* I still cannot sleep on my stomach - I tried it and it hurts!
* I can do some Pilates AB moves (the '100' and the 'saw') but crunches hurt
* The area directly under my belly button to my pubic line is still completely numb
* I can still see just a bit of tissue swelling in the pubic area (not much at all)
* I still wear my Spanx to bed!
* Anything jumping related doesn't feel right either (jumping jacks, etc.) while working out
* I find that I will swell if I am on my feet too long (i.e. - standing at a party, etc.)
* I feel some pain in my lower belly once in awhile when I lift one of my kiddos (35 lbs each)
* Running doesn't feel right to me yet
* Boy does it HURT when one of my boys kicks me in the belly by accident!
Just a few things....
MEASUREMENTS: They have only changed below the belly button. I was 31" and now I am 30". My waist above the belly button still remains at 27" (it's almost 26" though, but I really don't see it getting any smaller).
EATING: I'm still following my 5 to 6 meals a day, every 2 to 3 hours with every meal being less than 5 grams of sugar. I am starting to see some serious definition in my abs and plan on really having it shine through by summer! I have to say that I am a huge advocate for clean eating and you are what you eat!
AB EXERCISES: As I mentioned above, there are a couple Pilates moves that I can do that feel ok. However, if you're familiar with Pilates, there are a couple moves that really still hurt: the 'double leg stretch' and the 'teaser' for instance. I am in no hurry to do crunches, and to be quite honest, I was never a crunch girl anyway. I read somewhere on Realself, posted by a doctor, that Pilates was the best form of AB exercise to do after a tummy tuck instead of crunches anyway.
BLOAT: I am about to ovulate. If you're lucky like me, you bloat during ovulation AND period. (Seriously, kill me). So my belly is about to blow up any day now! It's crazy how now the skin is tighter and when my stomach gets bloated, it REALLY shows! all that flabby, yucky skin I had before pretty much hid just how big it could be! But at least it's temporary. (phew!)
SCAR: It's in the maturation phase where it's turning very red (the camera isn't doing it justice with how red it really is). Anyway, I am just using Palmer's Cocoa Butter in the concentrated form to smooth it out. As I posted previously at 8 weeks, my surgeon recommended nothing for treatment. I'll be happy though when it turns white. I attached a picture of just how white my scar is from my breast reduction a few years back. Eventually the tummy tuck scar will turn that white as well.
PEEING: Ok, this is going to sound crazy, but there are other women I've have seen write this on their review as well. My pee angle has changed since the surgery due to my lady part being lifted a bit! I have to lean more forward on the toilet to make sure my pee doesn't go OUT! It's actually quite hilarious. In fact, if I wanted to, I could write my name in the snow. I live in Buffalo, NY so there's plenty of it here! I would love to know if this has happened to anyone else on here.
10 Weeks Post Surgery
* For the most part, I feel really normal!
* I really don’t swell anymore (crazy, I know)
* Scar is healing nicely (still very red, but that’s normal)
* Belly button scar is also turning deep red (healing well)
* I sleep on my side completely fine
* No compression during the day (since week 4 actually)
* I do not hunch at all anymore when I get up from sitting for awhile!
THINGS NOT QUITE THERE YET:
* I still can’t sleep on my belly yet
* I still have to wear my post-surgical binder if I am doing any jumping during a workout
* The skin over my muscle repair can still be quite sensitive to the touch
* AB workouts are still quite sore (no crunches for me yet!)
* I still wear Spanx at night/to bed (but I know I don’t need it anymore)
SWELLING: I gotta tell ya, this past weekend was a very busy weekend for me. I was in heels, drinking, and standing for most of it. I did not swell! I couldn’t believe it. I still looked flat at the end of the night when I got home! Hallelujah! The night I posted the party dress pictures, I was in heels all night, standing most of it, and I swelled pretty bad by the time I got home. That was 5 weeks ago, so the past 5 weeks have really made a difference in regards to the lymphatic system draining! I want to point out as well that I still take Bromelain each day. Usually first thing when I wake up, and then before bedtime. I really haven’t noticed any swelling at all anymore. I know this is not normal, but I’ll take it! I only bloat when I ovulate and a few days before my period is due. I can definitely tell the difference between what the swelling used to be and when I bloat. I also want to point out that sometimes I FEEL super swollen, and look down only to see everything flat. It’s bizarre. Anyone else experience that?
LOWER BELLY: I still have numbness right below the belly button and to the incision line. I do feel a bit of my insides underneath the skin (if that makes sense) but I do not feel the skin. So if I itch my skin, or scratch it with my nails, I don’t feel it. THAT creeps me out!
UPPER BELLY: Ok, so since I am feeling quite normal again and the belly has softened up quite a bit since the surgery (that oh-so-amazing super tight skin doesn’t last?! WTF!), I have noticed that mu belly button has sank in a bit and my upper belly skin is soft just as it was prior to the surgery. I did not have any liposuction done, and I know I do not have a lot of fat up there, but there still is fat there. No matter HOW well you eat. This is why I am such a stickler for what I eat (granted, I have my cheat days, but they’re usually once every two weeks or so). Needless to say, I know it will take dedication for the rest of my life to make sure my belly looks good. To make sure I don’t gain weight (and I mean more than 20 lbs), and to stick to a low sugar diet (no more than 15 – 20 grams a day). Even though working out & weight lifting is one of the keys to a successful body, eating right goes hand-n-hand with how your body will look and how it will burn fat.
PAIN: Sometimes if I sit too long and then get up, I have a stiff pain all over my belly. But it goes away pretty fast. I also notice that if one of my boys hits/kicks me in the belly, it REALLY hurts. Or how about when I grab a shopping cart at the grocery store, use my hands for something else, and proceed to push the cart with my stomach. Um, yeah, that hurts too!
SIZE: I am still a 27” waist and 31” right below the belly button. I wore a size 8 pre surgery, and still wear an 8. However, the waist on my pants/jeans are pretty big now. I would love to go down to a size 6, but I don’t think my booty is going to allow that! I have 39” hips.
Notice the Eiffel Tower’s on my new Victoria Secret underwear in today’s pics. Fancy, huh? LOL I took full advantage of their semi-annual sale!
Hope everyone is healing well!
11 Weeks Post Surgery
* My belly is softening up quite a bit and feels more normal
* The incision is still very red, but quite flat (same with belly button scar)
* I can do a full body stretch now without being scared!
* I am 90% of where I was working out prior to the surgery
Debbie Downer Facts:
* I still can’t sleep on my stomach yet. UGH
* Crunches hurt too much (I can do Pilates for my abs, and heard it’s better than crunches anyway!)
* Jumping still hurts (jumping jacks, jumping rope, etc.)
LOWER BELLY: Well, this is probably the biggest ‘whoa’ moment of this review because I am starting to get some feeling back UNDER my skin below the belly button (and above the incision). It’s not on the skin yet, but underneath it, if that makes sense. I feel pressure from my jeans or pants now, whereas before I didn’t. I almost liked the numbing feeling better! This is just wEiRd. Sometimes too it hurts down there because the nerves are waking up. The feeling can sometimes be tingly as well.
UPPER BELLY: I am still super sensitive under the skin here. In fact, when I put my kids to bed in their cribs, it will actually hurt to lean over that railing.
SWELLING: I don’t really see swelling anymore. However, I still wear my Spanx at night around the house and to bed. Security maybe? Like a child’s blanket? Who knows. I think my pictures look the same from week 4 or so and to today. I just got my period yesterday, so my bloat is starting to deflate! I bloat a week prior to my period and once it starts, my body goes back to normal. It was all bloat, no swelling. I don’t swell anymore either when I workout (I used to get some swelling when I started working out again). I only use my binder when I do P90X, but I think that will be going away soon too.
12 Weeks Post Surgery
* I have A LOT more feeling now where it used to be numb (especially around the incision line)
* I can workout (P90X, running, etc,) at about 95% now
* I can do crunches – but they hurt! (but I prefer Pilates for abs)
* I can lay completely flat on my back
* I can do full body stretches with no weirdness underneath
* Quite honestly, 90% of the time it doesn’t even feel like I had a tummy tuck! I feel pretty normal
* Still numb directly below the belly button to the incision
* It doesn’t feel right to sleep on my belly
* Still get a weird pain directly under my belly button when I life one of my kids (not all the time though)
* Skin is softening quite a bit now, so I really have to watch what I eat!
* I still have sore pain above my belly button, especially when I lean over something like a railing
* I still wear my binder ONLY when I do super intense workouts like P90X or Insanity
* I can't do planks yet (ouch, ouch, ouch)
INCISION: It’s so flat that I can barely feel it. It’s still red, but it seems to be getting a bit lighter now. Almost pinkish. But of course the camera doesn't really show that. All I use is Palmers Cocoa Butter in the concentrated format. I’ve never used scar treatment (silicone, Mederma, etc.) due to the fact that my surgeon said there’s no need for it. Ok, well, he just saved me a bunch of money! I also want to mention that I do not feel any stitches around my incision. I know some people have them pop out.
SWELLING: Swelling is pretty much non-existent. In fact, I would go as far to say that it’s not there AT ALL. I don’t swell when I workout, and I don’t swell at night. I basically don’t swell after doing anything. Maybe my lymphatic system learned how to drain pretty fast, but I also believe that, at week 4, when my surgeon said I don’t need compression anymore, I DITCHED it! Don’t depend on your binder many weeks out. Be done with it and let your body adjust to no compression. You'll be so happy you did. The swelling gets so much better if you just push through it. The only thing I notice now is bloating when my period is about to start, or when I am going to ovulate. I will also notice puffiness in my upper belly area if I eat too much sugar or high sodium foods. It’s not swelling though. I also want to point out that I still take Bromelain each day (twice a day). I take it because I still have some left, and I also heard it's good for breakouts (which, at age 38, I still get!).
JUMPING: So I have to say that I am a huge P90X & Insanity fan, and there is a lot of jumping, plyometric type stuff in the series. When I do a jumping jack, my lower belly gets SO tingly! It feel like pins-n-needles, but not in an ‘ouchy’ way. Just a weird sensation way. It feels like I am swelling up, but I don’t. So strange!
Hope you are all healing well! Can't believe how fast this is going by!
p.s. -- I am loving my new Victoria Secret rainbow undies today! ;-)
4 Weeks and 12 Weeks Comparison
The reason I wanted to show this comparison is because at 4 weeks is when I ditched the binder and stopped relying on it all day and night. My body stopped swelling and adjusted.
I have not swelled since around week 4. In fact, if you look at all my pictures from all the weeks, they all look the same.
I was given the advice to ditch that binder and stop relying on it from another tummy tucker on this website who had her tummy tuck 9 months before I had mine. Like I stated in an above update I did a few weeks ago, always go by the advice of your surgeon. However, when he/she says to get rid of it, do yourself a favor and get rid of it :-)
13 Weeks (3 Months) Post Surgery
* I finally started running again! Oh how I’ve missed you! And it feels great!
* I still CANNOT sleep on my stomach. In fact…..
* I still have to sleep in Spanx because it somewhat hurts to not to!
* My incision is still quite red
* I have some feeling coming back lower belly and it’s not pleasant
* I have a lot of tingly feeling after working out still (feels like I’m blowing up, but I’m not)
* My whole belly is still quite tight
* I can do intense cardio at 100% now
* AB workouts definitely hurt! (see more below)
* I can squat, twist, bend over, and move every which way with no issues
AB WORKOUTS: Well, I’ve been hitting the Pilates AB moves quite hard this past week. Holy crap. (1) it hurts and (2) my upper belly gets quite puffy from it. I know it’s only temporary swelling, but of course it still freaks me out to see it! However, I think the benefits of Pilates outweighs the puffy swelling I get from it. Besides, it’s not going to always be like this. Another tummy tuckers on Realself shared with me what her surgeon said: “No AB work for at least 6 months. It takes time for the internal AB sutures to totally fuse, bond, and heal. Causing resistance with the AB muscles would only irritate and slow the healing”. So maybe that’s why I am puffing out after the AB work and why it hurts so much. I have been doing Pilates for my AB’s everyday for the past week and a half or so. I am going to cut back to maybe two days a week and go very slow. After all, I am only 3 months out!
GENERAL SWELLING: I only really see some puffy upper belly swelling after doing AB work. I do not see swelling at all. My belly protrudes out by the end of the day, but it did that prior to the tummy tuck from moving all day, working out, eating, etc. It’s not swelling. I measure my waist every morning (I’m a freak) and it’s always the same as the morning before.
SKIN: Well I have to report that my skin looks pretty normal. It has relaxed and loosened up. I can pull it now. Weird. But I haven’t gained weight, so I guess that’s what’s supposed to happen! I was so used to that super tight skin from the tummy tuck, but now I have to really watch what I eat. I also bloat pretty bad with ovulation AND my period (good times) so my upper belly (where the skin has loosened) really puffs out. It is what it is I guess. My lower belly has NOT loosened up. I also read online somewhere that the fat underneath redistributes a bit during the surgery. I could have some fat hanging out in the upper belly. After all, the upper portion of your belly is NOT pulled as tight at the lower (otherwise your boobies would come down too! LOL). Who knows. I am not flat as a board, and that’s ok. There are numerous factors here (ovulation, period, AB workouts, fat). What means the most to me, is that I look good in my clothes! You can read my post above, a few weeks ago, about not being flat as a board. Everything relaxes. Makes me yearn for the super tight skin days around week 5!
LOWER BELLY: My nerves are coming back to life. Good God. It feels like pins-n-needles sometimes, super tingly, and sometimes painful. It's a tolerable pain, but annoying! I actually feel some pain when my pants/jeans hit a certain spot. There is still a small triangular portion below my belly button and down to my incision that is completely numb. I feel better when I put my Spanx on at night around dinnertime. Sometimes I won’t wear them until bedtime and sleep in them. I tried sleeping with the Spanx off Sunday night and it did NOT feel too good! I’ll try ditching them again in a couple/few weeks. My pants at work feel funny around the waistband now that feeling is coming back. I actually preferred the numbness!
UPPER BELLY: I still have very tender pain here. Especially leaning over something. We put our twins in toddler beds, so at least I don’t have to lean over the crib railing anymore! The waistband from my pants somewhat hurts this area as well if they’re pulled up too high while I’m sitting at my desk at work.
Hope you are all healing well, my tummy tuck gals!
14 Weeks Post Surgery
* I am working out at 100% (included a gym pic today too!)
* I’m only doing ab work two days a week (and yes, it hurts to engage the core!)
* Still can’t sleep on my belly (but I can at SOMEWHAT at an angle)
* Jumping jacks make my lower belly all tingly
* Getting a bit more feeling back around the incision
* I don’t swell at all anymore
* Still wearing my Spanx to bed! (mostly because of the weird nerve feelings)
* Upper belly is still tender, but it’s actually getting better!
* My incision is starting to lighten a bit
LOWER BELLY: There’s still a small triangular spot below the belly button and to the incision line that is completely numb. BUT, it seems to be getting smaller meaning that the feeling is coming back in small portions around that area. I still feel a bit of pain for a brief moment when I lift my kiddos (they’re about 37 lbs each) but that is slowly starting to diminish.
UPPER BELLY: The pain is still tender here, but it’s actually getting better and it’s really not that bad anymore. However, at work the other day, one of the guys actually punched me in the stomach (goofing around) and I was OK! I nearly passed out though from all the thoughts that went through my mind at that one moment!
BELLY BUTTON: I feel a bit of feeling coming back around the belly button. It’s nothing major, but it’s a change happening! I also see that the belly button is getting more depth. When I stick a q-tip in there to clean it, I can't feel anything inside. The feeling I am getting back is around the edges.
AB WORK: Yeah, this is not going to be at 100% for awhile. I have gone from 5 days a week to 2 days a week (you can see why in my 13 week update above). No crunches either. I am only doing Pilates moves for the abs. I’ve also noticed that the abs feel stronger and better since I started running again.
INCISION: I see that it's actually started to lighten a bit. Nothing earth shattering, but it's a start. I don't know if my camera does it justice though. I also notice some sensation coming back right ON the incision. Now this is just a weird feeling, let me tell ya! Especially when I have hiphugger/low rise undies on that hit that area. Oh, it's so weird! Has anyone else experienced this yet?
Happy Wednesday and happy healing my friends :-)
15 Weeks Post Surgery
* I can sleep on my stomach! I repeat…
* I CAN SLEEP ON MY STOMACH! Halleluiah!
* The feeling around the incision is coming back more
* Running again full fledge (couple miles a day)
* Upper belly is still tender
* I am STILL sleeping in my Spanx! (especially now that the nerves are waking up around the incision line)
* AB work still hurts
* Measurements are the same as they were a few weeks ago (Waist: 27” / Below BB: 31”)
* Still in same size pants as I was prior to surgery (my waist may have gone down 4”, but my a$$ didn’t!)
LOWER BELLY: I have to say that when I workout now (whether it be running, lifting weights, walking at an incline, P90X, etc.) I feel like I am blowing UP with swelling in the lower belly area. But the crazy part is, I’m not! It’s this tingly feeling all over this area and it makes me feel huge. I can’t explain how strange that is to look down and expect to see Santa’s belly, but I’m flat. I’m also still numb from below the belly button to the incision line. If you take the area from the belly button down to the incision line, and DRAW a line, then extend about a half inch out on either side, that is the area that is numb.
UPPER BELLY: Still tender in this area. Sheesh. When does that go AWAY!? Leaning over anything like a shopping cart still hurts. I’m wondering if it has anything to do with me doing AB work now and actually USING these AB muscles that have been so nicely hidden by my twin-skin (as I call it) for so many years. This area has always been tender, but I wonder if the AB work is hindering the tenderness from finally going away.
AB WORK: Still only doing this 2 to 3 times a week and that’s it. If you’re familiar with Pilates, I can’t even get to 100 yet with the ‘Pilates 100’. I can only do up until 70 or 80. Baby steps! I posted before that I refuse to do crunches, and well, I still stick by that notion! I’ve also been working my obliques like mad to bring in my waist and strengthen my lower back. Just taking it easy on direct AB work directly in the middle.
INCISION: Ok, so if I throw on a pair of bikini undies, and it hits right where the incision is, it does NOT feel good at ALL! It’s such a bizarre feeling. However, if I put on some low rise hiphugger undies that cover the incision all together, then I don’t feel it. Even when my hands are pulling my pants or jeans up, the movement OVER the incision is just unpleasant. I preferred the complete numbness! This weird feeling is the reason I still sleep in Spanx. They just seem to help. The incision is lightening up a bit still though, so that’s good. I still just use Palmers Cocoa Butter in the concentrated format. Another thing I want to point out in regards to the incision is the ridiculous itching that has been occurring all around the damn thing! And the worst part is that I just can’t get any satisfaction when I itch it! I can’t use my nails because that just feels WAY too weird, so I’ll just take the palms of my hands and just go nuts rubbing everywhere. It sometimes helps. Other times I just have to let the stupid itch subside.
PUBIC AREA: I gotta be honest here, I really don’t know if my pubic area is still swollen or if the 'free lift' that I got is now my final result. It looks a bit more puffy than what I remember, so I am going to give it more time (I’m only 3 months out). At least it pretty much looks normal (both in and out of pants – lol) and nothing like the first couple of weeks! Holy monster crotch!
EATING & WEIGHT GAIN: So I’m that type of person who likes to binge on sugar when my period is about to start. Sugar is worse than fat. On any given day, I eat less than 10 grams of sugar for the entire day. Normally I allow Saturdays to be my cheat day (I eat very clean Sunday – Friday). In any case, this past menstrual cycle I let myself binge almost 4 days. I gained a couple pounds and let me tell you, I could REALLY see it in the belly area. I think the skin I had prior to the surgery hid it more and now with that skin gone, any weight gain is more noticeable. My stomach really pushes out. Booooooooo. So now I just limit those cheat days to 1 day a week, if that. I am not about to ruin my result. No, no, no! As I’ve posted previously in other posts, I believe in clean eating. You really are what you eat and it shows.
I have to end this post today by saying that ever since I had this surgery and the swelling has subsided, Victoria’s Secret has made a BOATLOAD of money from me! Someone needs to make me stop. PLEASE! But I just can’t help it :-) The purple undies I have on today are the ‘Rose Lace Cheeksters’ by PINK (Victoria’s Secret). I had these on in my last update as well in the pink color. I have five of these babies. They hide the incision SO well!
I hope all of you are healing fantastic and if your surgery date is coming up, good luck on the journey you’re about to start!
16 Weeks Post Surgery
* I can still sleep on my stomach
* Still sleeping in Spanx though (I feel more protected when laying on my belly)
* More feeling coming back around the incision
* Upper belly still tender, but actually a bit better
* AB work still hurts quite a bit
* Drove in my car for 3 ½ hours without stopping at all and was quite sore upper belly!
AB MUSCLES IN GENERAL: They’re still sore. Maybe not AS bad as last week, but still sore. Especially during AB workouts, but I am still just doing those 2 to 3 days a week and I am just doing Pilates. No crunches. I still get quite sore when I lift my kids (one is about 35 lbs and the other is about 40 lbs). I feel it lower belly and up the middle when I lift them. I notice too (and forgot to point out last week) that I still sometimes have stiffness when I get up from sitting in my chair at work. When does THAT end?! This surgery is a bitch of a healing process! I’ll tell you that much! LOL
SWELLING: My swelling is completely gone. I don’t swell at all anymore, not even during working out. I also don’t swell when I’m on my feet too long. I notice I get bigger when I ovulate or when my period is about to start and that is only due to bloating. Not swelling. I attribute a lot of this to me ditching the binder when my surgeon said it was ok (which was 4 weeks).
INCISION: It’s getting lighter but I also have quite a bit of feeling coming back around this area. I itch but get no satisfaction! The nerve pain I’ve had for the past couple of weeks has diminished quite a bit, so the feeling I am getting back is just plain old feeling of the skin again. It’s strange because it’s been so long since I felt anything there. However, I do want to point out that I am still completely numb below the belly button and about a half inch out on either side.
BELLY SKIN: It’s pretty much normal now. Doesn’t feel like tummy tuck skin anymore. Sad but not sad, if you know what I mean. When I sit down, yes, the skin shows and if I sit a certain way, it can still ‘roll’. However, I have to make it do that! When I lay on my side, it looks pretty nice. Doesn’t fall down to the floor like it did prior to the surgery. I think I had it in my mind that my skin would be SUPER tight after this surgery forever, but the truth of the matter is, is that your skin DOES loosen and it’s ok. The skin drapes itself over your new muscles and contours over time to what it should look like. Basically, a normal tummy :-)
Happy Wednesday everyone!
17 Weeks (4 Months) Post Surgery
4 months actually tomorrow!
* Still sleeping in Spanx
* Slowly getting better with Pilates AB workouts
* Upper belly still tender
* Belly as a whole stiff sometimes after sitting then getting up
* Incision itchy and more feeling coming back
* Skin loosening up and looking more normal
AB MUSCLES: I am starting to really see a difference in my AB’s after starting Pilates again. I have been doing Pilates specifically for the AB’s (and a lower body routine). Don’t get me wrong, it still really hurts to do these exercises, so I am not overdoing it by any means. I am still only doing AB work 2 to 3 times a week. AB muscles seem sore though even at almost 4 months out. But this I attribute to my workouts as well as how active I am. It could also be the fact that a tummy tuck is freakin' major surgery! ;-)
INCISION: So I took some of my husband’s blue painter tape to show the triangular area that is still 100% completely numb. I can’t feel within this area (see pic). But all the area outside of that triangle, I CAN feel. The bottom of the triangle is the incision line. I am super itchy around the incision (the entire incision) and it also seems to be fading more and somewhat peeling. Is the peeling normal? I dunno. I hate that I can’t wear certain bikini bottoms because the scar will show, but then again, who cares. I don’t have a pregnant looking belly anymore.
SCAR TREATMENT: I want to add that on February 27th (pretty much one week ago) I started Mederma for scar treatment. Why? Because I had a tube of it on my dresser that I forgot about and thought why not, let’s give it a shot! It’s rolled on once a day. That’s it. So I have been putting that on at night, and then using the cocoa butter in the morning. But it’s only been a week, and according to the Mederma tube, it should take 8 weeks or so to see a difference. When the tube runs out, I will not buy a new one. Quite frankly, I really don’t care. I am just so happy to look better in clothing and bathing suits! And besides, my surgeon said no scar treatment was needed. So I’m pretty much just doing this as an experiment not expecting much of a result.
BROMELAIN: I still (and since week 2 after the surgery) take 2 Bromelains a day on an empty stomach (once in the morning and once before bed). I’ve read that Bromelain helps with scar healing and of course everyone knows it helps with swelling. Even though I do not have swelling anymore, I take this for the scar aspect of it and for acne (yep, it helps that too that I STILL get at age 38!).
BELLY SKIN: I was driving this morning and I made the belt too tight on my coat. My belly skin felt very tender because of it. Sometimes at night when I have my Spanx on, the top of the garment hurts my upper belly skin as well. I can’t believe that 4 months out, that skin is still so tender.
HOW I FEEL: I want to add that I pretty much feel normal now. I have my moments where I’m sore from sitting too long, or the top of my Spanx at night actually hurts my upper belly. But I have to remind myself that this surgery was SUPER major. I know I pointed this out before, but I will say it again: I’ve had liposuction, a chin implant, 2 nose jobs, and a breast reduction but this tummy tuck takes the effin’ cake! I’m anxious to see how I feel one year out. I’m only (almost) 4 months out. My belly looks normal to me, minus the redness in the belly button, but that will turn white (I think it’s hard to see in my pics). I still feel like a kid on Christmas morning everyday I put my pants on for work and (1) there’s room at the top and (2) they look SO much better!
Happy healing gals!
18 Weeks Post Surgery
* My upper belly skin is still tender
* I STILL get tight after sitting too long
* I am still sleeping in Spanx
* I am still 100% numb in that triangular area (I put a pic up in my last post)
* Skin is pretty much completely normal now
* Belly button is deepening a bit
PMS & BLOAT: Wow, this month really threw me for a loop with bloating related to PMS. My stomach looked like someone blew up a balloon and placed it under my skin. Insane! I can't believe how much more noticeable bloating is after this surgery. Sometimes it's so bad that I think the sutures popped or something. I mean, my belly is HUGE when it's that time of the month.
INCISION: I posted in my last update that I was starting to use Mederma. Well, no more. Not only did I have some sort of reaction to it (super itchy, red bumps, etc.) but it actually made all the skin on and around my incision line peel. Yuck. So I am just using Palmers Cocoa Butter in the concentrated format again (which I have been using since week 2 after the surgery). The incision is definitely starting to lighten up a bit too! Hopefully you can tell in the pictures.
AB WORKOUTS: I was able to do a plank for a whopping 5 seconds without wanting to die! LOL! However, I am still only doing Pilates for the abs about 2 to 3 times a week.
OVERALL: I feel great (minus the monthly PMS bloat and sometimes during ovulation too). My belly looks completely normal to me, minus the occasional gasp I get from my friends when they see just HOW LONG that incision line it :-) Thank God for hiphugger panties! Perfect coverage. It still hurts when I get hit in the stomach by one of my kiddos, or a lean over the grocery cart. I workout without my binder now (yes, even P90X without the binder).
Happy healing and happy Thursday to all of you!
19 Weeks Post Surgery
* Feeling coming back under the skin, but not ON the skin (below belly button)
* Slept without my Spanx on AND didn’t really like it SO I am still sleeping in Spanx (wah-waaaah)
* I get weird tingly feelings when I jump (i.e. – jumping jacks)
* Still tight when I get up from sitting too long
* Scar is lightening up more and more
* Belly skin feels TOTALLY normal now
LOWER BELLY: Ok, this is weird, but the area below my belly button (and above my incision line) is starting to have SOME feeling some back underneath the skin. It’s almost a bit painful too and I don’t know if it’s because I’m not used to feeling under the skin there, or what. However, I want to point out that I cannot feel the skin’s surface. So if I run my finger nails over that area, I don’t feel it. Hopefully I’m making sense here! I want to add as well (unrelated to the feeling thing) that I still find myself pulling the waistband of my pants up when I sit down to ‘hide the skin flap’. But that flap isn’t there anymore. Anyone else do that? Old habits die hard I guess.
UPPER BELLY: So is it considered a milestone when your toddler can kick you in the stomach (accidentally of course) and you don’t feel the need to puke, pass out, and die? My upper belly is not as sore as it has been in the past couple posts I have done. That tenderness seems to finally be going away.
AB WORKOUTS: Still doing Pilates for the AB’s, and only doing it twice a week. I think I puff up a teeny tiny bit in the AB area when I do it, but it’s gone in a couple hours. Prior to my tummy tuck, I would do a routine called ‘Standing ABs by Laura London’ on You-Tube. LOVE this workout! I forgot about it and started it again about a week ago. I highly recommend you guys check it out when you’re able to (or already can) do AB work!
INCISION: It’s lightening up quite a bit! Very exciting. I am still using cocoa butter once a day, sometimes twice if I’m not lazy. I thought it was peeling a couple weeks ago, but it was that reaction I had to the Mederma.
I hope everyone is doing well on their TT journey (or soon to be!) ?
If You're Planning on Having Surgery in the Dominican Republic
For all of you considered your tummy tuck or any cosmetic surgery to be done over there, please read this article first. I know that not all experiences have been bad, but I still wanted to share this with everyone.
Just copy the link below and paste it in your browser:
Hope everyone is doing well! :-)
5 Months Post Surgery
I'm just going to bullet point some things here:
? I am 5 months out and still tender. What's weird to me is the fact that I workout 6 days a week, I do P90X, I run, I jog, I sprint, I squat, I lift weights 5 days a week, and I do Pilates, but having a weekend of running around and eating more food than I should have will STILL hurt! I hope that eventually goes away. Good grief.
? My scar is definitely getting lighter! I can see on the left side that it's a tad bit lighter than the right. Oh well. I'm still using cocoa butter only.
? The nerve sensations around my incision are driving me CRAZY! It's like nails on a chalkboard when I shave my va-jay-jay and the razor goes up to the incision line. OH-M-GEE! I hate it. I also still have to sleep in my Spanx because of this weird nerve sensation. I am really hoping that simmers down before summer! I don't want to sleep in Spanx in the summer.
? The feeling below my belly button is starting to come back, but underneath the skin only. I still cannot feel my skin when I run my nails over it. It's just below the belly button and above my incision.
I hope everyone is doing well!
5 1/2 Months Post Surgery
Just wanted to throw a quick update on here today and mention a few things!
CARDIO: Who would have thought this far out I would still be sore after cardio, but I am. Guess it goes to show just HOW MUCH was really done under my new skin. I do a lot of high intensity interval training, running, plyometrics, and walking at a high incline. I am mostly sore after the running aspect. Hoping that will diminish soon!
AB WORK: Still only doing AB work twice a week. I am quite sore after I get done with just a few minutes of Pilates for the AB's! However, I can see more definition and I love it!
NUMBNESS & SENSATION: I cannot feel below my belly button and above the incision yet. I know it could take a year, and I'm almost 6 months. So we'll see what the next 6 months bring! The sensation around my incision is driving me crazy though! I can't stand it. It's like nails on a chalkboard to me for lack of a better phrase! When I get an itch along the incision line, I cringe. Quite literally CRINGE. I try to itch it as fast as possible!
BELLY SKIN: Oh how I miss those days right after surgery of the uber-tight belly skin! Now it's completely normal. However, I don't have rolls when I sit, but it's definitely quite soft now as opposed to the early stages after the surgery was completed.
DIET: I have to admit, I am a strict human being when it comes to diet and exercise. I don't ever want to (1) gain those 110 lbs back I lost and (2) un-do all the amazingness of my belly! I eat 5 to 6 meals a day. Each meal is less than 5 grams of sugar, and less than 40 grams of carbs. Each meal is a couple hours apart, and includes a lean protein, veggie, and starchy complex carb. I eat about 1,500 calories a day and then throw in some high days once or twice a week to keep my metabolism guessing. I'm burning the fat to feed the muscle by eating this way. I'm also losing weight as well (bonus!)
Happy Easter to all of you!
6 Months Post Surgery
SENSATION: Oh my is this weird. Everytime I put on my undies, the seam rubbing over the incision line just feels so strange to me! Sometimes I can tolerate it, other times I CRINGE. I still cannot feel right below my belly button down to the incision line. However, I am getting some feeling back all around my belly button. Another weird sensation I get is when I lightly grab my leggings to pull them up. It's the most bizarre feeling on my belly! It almost hurts, but it doesn't. I wonder if that made any sense at all :-)
SCAR: I can't believe how much it has lightened up. I will be a very happy woman when it turns white like my breast reduction scars. I am still using just Palmers Cocoa Butter in the concentrated format. I use it at night before I go to bed. I have noticed that the right side of my scar is a bit darker than the left. It's fading more slowly.
WORKOUTS: I am 100% with cardio, P90X, etc. However, I am still limiting the AB workouts to twice a week. I am still doing just Pilates for the AB's as well (no crunches). I am doing planks, but not for long. They hurt. However, with the way I eat and the AB workouts I am doing, I can see definition!
DIET: Still sticking with my new way of life. Still eating less than 15 grams of sugar a day. This really lets your muscles really show through. Google why sugar is so bad for the body. I eat mainly whole foods, and very high protein. The only carbs I eat are complex starchy carbs (brown rice, sweet potatoes, kidney beans, black beans, whole wheat tortillas). Don't get me wrong, I have my cheat meals. But they're every couple of weeks only.
At 6 months post surgery, I am VERY happy with the results. I have to admit, I still feel pain and weirdness, but nothing like the first couple of months. Even laying (or is it lying) on my belly last night while playing with my kids in the family room, it didn't feel all that nice. It was tolerable, but I didn't like doing it on the hard floor. I am so excited to hit 1 year and see how it all feels then! Until then, I'll wait for month 7 to show up :-)
Happy healing to you all!
6 1/2 Month Post Surgery
I like doing these half month updates sometimes because quite frankly, a lot can change in a half of a month!
I only attached one picture. It's of me (duh) in the gym yesterday afternoon. I love the definition I see in my abs. I'll do more detailed pictures for my 7th month post update.
In any case, here we go!
PAIN: Yes, as weird as that sounds, I still have some pain. BUT, only when certain movements are done or I get kicked in the stomach by one of my 2 year olds! (Twins). The pain I mostly experience is from doing ab exercises. I do not do crunches. Ever. Not because they hurt, but because I would rather do Pilates and P90X moves for definition (well, that and alo eating less than 15 grams of sugar a day). Anyway, I am still only doing 2 days a week of ab workouts.
CARDIO: I still feel tingly stuff when I run or jump. But it's only AFTER I have finished my run (or jumping). It's such a bizarre feeling. Like pins-n-needles. It only lasts a few minutes though.
SCAR: My scar is really lightening up, but still more of a deeper color on the right side. I am still only using the concentrated form of cocoa butter. My breast reduction scars from 1997 are so incredibly white. I know eventually this tummy tuck scar will be that white as well. But who cares, I look so much better in clothes where you can't even see it!
BELLY SKIN: I notice my skin has really gotten to be as normal as it ever will be. I'm happy to report that when I sit down, I don't have rolls. That scared me that eventually it would loosen up possibly TOO much. But I also attribute a lot of this to my diet and how I eat. I would have to say that my week 5 photos are me at my ABSOLUTE flattest. After that, things got more normal. I often to refer to my post in this Review about why you're not flat as a board. It REALLY makes sense. Go read it if you haven't yet :-)
Happy healing gals!
7 Months Post Surgery
WORKING OUT: I am 100% with cardio (actually, I have been for a couple months). I’ve been doing a lot of running and sprints lately and what I want to mention is that I am still having that weird pins-n-needles feeling in my lower belly when I run, sprint, or jump. It only lasts a few minutes, but it’s so bizarre! I do cardio 6 days a week. Saturdays are my only day off. I only do 20 – 25 minutes because quite honestly, I can’t stand it! LOL! I would rather lift weights. I lift 5 days a week, doing single body parts each day. For example, Monday is chest, Tuesday is back, Wednesdays are legs, Thursdays are triceps and biceps, and Fridays are shoulders. I notice when I lift heavy for arm work, my belly hurts. It’s not a oh-my-God-this-is-killing-me pain, but it’s annoying to say the least.
AB WORK: I am still doing two days a week of AB exercises, sometimes three. I love Pilates for the ABS, and I am also doing stand-up ABS. If you go to You Tube and type in ’10 minute standing ABS’, you will see a video from Exercise TV (the instructor is wearing a green sports bra and white shorts). I love this video! I love what she does with the Abs standing up! I also will do Tracey Anderson’s standing ABS (also on You Tube) and I will create my own standing AB routine doing a figure-eight motion with my belly. The trick is to ISOLATE the AB muscles and not move anything else. And incase you’re wondering, it still hurts to do AB work. But I push through it because I know I am not going to hurt anything suture-wise at this point. I’m too far out. But I also want to mention that I didn’t do hardcore AB work until 6 months out (I wrote why about this in an earlier post). I also want to end my AB work section here with stating that sweet looking Abs start in the kitchen. It’s all about nutrition AND AB work!
NUMBNESS: Still cannot feel my skin at all below my belly button in that triangular section. Actually, I got quite sunburned and this area was very bad. I didn’t feel a thing! You can see from my pics where some of my burn was. In any case, I will have itchiness and weird sensations along the incision line. I have gotten past the point too of a very weird feeling when my jeans or pants lay on the incision. It’s not a nails-on-the-chalkboard thing anymore. It’s actually ok now! I wonder if that feeling below my belly button will ever return though.
DIET & WEIGHT GAIN: Good nutrition and exercise paired along with resistance training will make you lean. The big thing my personal trainer taught me was to stay away from refined sugar. Well, easier said than done. Especially when I am PMS’ing and ovulating. Yes, I am one of the "lucky" ones who get the cravings twice a month. Hello, my name is Amy and I am a sugaraholic! When I bloat and eat too much sugar, you can see the weight gain on me. It lands right on the sides of my upper hips and upper belly. I will put my jeans or pants on, and have to yank the sides up a bit higher to cover the hips so they don’t overflow over the sides of my jeans. LOL When I cut sugar out completely (normally I eat less than 10 grams a day, and yes, I keep track) I feel so much better and LOOK so much better. In any case, it’s a struggle for me and one of my demons. It’s my addiction. Did you know sugar is four times more addicting than Cocaine? Crazy. So yeah, when I gain weight (and I have fluctuated 5 lbs or so since the surgery), I can definitely see it more. So I have to say that my flattest picture since the surgery was at week 5. Scroll up my Review and check 'em out (the pictures that is). I gotta say, if you're not up to par with diet and exercise, you're really going to notice it in your mid section if you gain weight. My belly has definitely relaxed since the surgery (it was SO tight right after) and that's completely normal. This will always be a work in progress to maintain.
SCAR: My scar has definitely lightened up a bit. It's still more red/darker on one side than it is on the other. But, whatever. I don't look pregnant in clothes anymore! That's all I really care about anyway. I still only use Palmers Cocoa Butter in the concentrated form once a day. That's it!
I added new pics today of my new Victoria’s Secret bikini. I love this color. However, my husband said the ruffles make me look like a big flower ? For the first time in my life, I walked around in a bikini and didn’t have to suck in my belly! Halleluiah!
7 Month AB & Belly Skin Updates
BELLY SKIN: Well, I hate to admit it, but I did the ultimate test. I did a plank NAKED and LOOKED DOWN! My belly looks nothing like it did pre-surgery seven months ago, HOWEVER, the belly skin is absolutely 100% normal now. Two things I want to point out here. #1 - Your skin will be the absolute tightest the few weeks after your surgery. It DOES loosen up as time goes on. #2 - The skin learns to re-drape itself after your tummy tuck surgery and will soften up as time goes on, so yes, no matter HOW TIGHT your surgeon pulls your skin down (and trust me, mine was TIGHT - it took me three weeks to walk upright again), your skin will loosen and if you do a naked plank at seven months post op, you will see some skin hang ;-)
THE STOMACH: Everyone is different when it comes to how their stomach (the actual organ) is situated inside of you. Mine has always had a tendency to pudge out a bit. Even though I paid $7,450 to have my muscles sutured together and skin removed, I still 'suck it in' when I am out in public. If you are new to this site, or you just got your surgery done, or you're contemplating it - please scroll up and read the post a I did a few months back about NOT being 'flat as a board'. Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE MY RESULTS. Period. But I also am realistic when it comes to anatomy, etc. Oh and hey, let's not forget about period, ovulation, and bloating too! YUCK! Or how about just eating too much? EVERYTHING pushes out then! Yikes! I see a lot of people post on their review (months and months later after their surgery) that they still 'swell' after eating a big meal. It's bloating. Not swelling ;-)
CORE WORKOUTS: When I do the sitting bicycle crunches (and I only do 20), my ABs still hurt. Crazy, huh? But it's not the kind of hurt that would make me stop. I still only do AB workouts twice a week. However, I also want to point out that I have now added standing AB's to my workout routine. Just search 'standing abs' on You Tube's website. There are some fabulous workouts on there! It's all about isolation of the AB muscles. Love it! I have also been doing 'figure 8' motions with my AB's while trying to keep my hips still. What an AB workout! Seriously though, check out the standing AB workouts available on the internet.
Happy healing to all of you!
8 Months Post Surgery
BELLY SKIN: Oh how I miss those SUPER tight skin days like 5 weeks after surgery. What I wouldn’t give to go back to that! Since the surgery, the skin has draped itself over the muscle tightening and my belly looks completely normal now. Even when I am on all four legs, you can see the skin come down a bit. I want everyone to know too that I was pulled TIGHT. This is totally normal and what is supposed to happen months out. I was pulled so tight that it took me 3 weeks to stand upright again. The smallest my waist got after the surgery was 26”. That was a result of that super tight skin. Once everything went to normal, I am now 28” – 29” around the waist.
SENSATION: Ok, so this one sucks and I hate it. I am getting sensation back around the incision as well as under the skin beneath my belly button (but not the surface of my skin underneath the belly button). When I put hiphugger undies on, I feel them around the incision. I hate it. And because I am feeling beneath the skin (underneath the belly button), it feels as if my lower tummy is constantly bloated or sticking out. I can’t stand it! I miss the numb days! I am hoping that this is something I get used to pretty fast because I find myself looking down quite a bit to make sure the old pooch isn’t still there!
DIET: Still low carb, and still less than 15 grams of sugar a day. I believe that plays a huge roll in ab definition! I will admit that I probably put on about 5 lbs or so since the surgery, but I am still in the same size. Summer is tough because of parties, picnics, etc. but I plan out when I will cheat and those days are pretty rare.
AB WORK & The ‘TUPLER TECHNIQUE’: Alright, so this is what I really wanted to touch on in this update. Basically, I have been doing Pilates moves for the abs, planks, and standing ab moves since I hit the 6 month mark. I’ve done a few crunches, but was actually told they are SUPER bad for you after a tummy tuck. The ab exercises I have been doing still hurt and do not feel right. I am 8 months out, and just last week I had to stop doing some Pilates moves and completely stopped doing planks because I felt like I was pushing my ab muscles OUT if that makes sense. So I started doing some research and talked to a few friends of mine who I knew had a ‘mommy tummy’ like I did. My one friend has Diastasis Recti and has been doing the ‘Tupler Technique’. She has closed most of her Diastasis and lost 3” around her waist. Of course I was intrigued about this Tupler Technique and thought maybe (1) it wouldn’t hurt my abs when I do it like everything else does and (2) strengthen my muscle repair even more. The creator, Julie Tupler, touches on the topic of tummy tucks to surgically correct a diastasis (how some people truly need surgery. People like me, with a 6” separation and an apron of skin). Anyway, she ends by saying that even after a tummy tuck surgery, we should continue to do her technique because it specifically targets the transverse abdominus, strengthening it and helping it to pull the two halves of the recti muscles together. She basically says this would help to stabilize our muscle repair. She also says that doing traditional crunches is the worst thing you can do if you have a diastasis, because that motion very specifically puts and outward tension on those muscles. That’s the exact opposite of what we would want to do if we have a diastasis or an extensive muscle repair tightening. So I have stopped all Pilates moves for the abs (I do lower body Pilates though) and I have completely stopped all ab exercise that make me feel like the ab muscles are pushing OUT (i.e. – crunches and planks). The Tupler Technique strengthens the transverse abdominus with an INWARD pressure on the recti muscles. I would love to know if anyone else does this!
I hope everyone is healing well and enjoying their summer :-)
8 Months Post - Tupler Technique & Weight Gain Update
WEIGHT GAIN: Well, in my last post just a few days ago, I mentioned that I was probably 5 lbs or so up from the surgery. Yeah, well, that was WRONG. I hopped on the scale Sunday morning to see a 15 lb gain. Oops. I freaked out completely, of course, and promptly emptied any cookies or M&M's into the trash! This is what I wanted to touch on: I have read all over the Internet that if you gain 15 - 20 lbs after your tummy tuck, it will alter your results. Well, that did not happen to me. The only reason I hopped on the scale was to (1) own all the gluttony I had been doing over the past few days of binge eating for the 4th of July and (2) see how much weight I had put on because my pants were getting more snug in the hips/butt area. I was not seeing any weight gain in my belly area. Just bloat. I guess I had more 'cheat' days than I wanted to admit to myself. I'm glad I got on the scale. I had to own it. I'm sure some of that weight gain was water weight, but I won't know until this weekend when I weigh myself again. I know I was lucky in the fact that 15 lbs didn't show on my belly at all, but it makes me nervous to think what would have happened if I would have kept going! I attached a picture of me at the gym today. Not too bad for a 15 lb weight gain!
TUPLER TECHNIQUE: I've been doing this now for the past week or so. Wow, my ABS are sore! I notice though that I feel stronger in there, and I know I am strengthening the core the way it should be after a tummy tuck. I have completely stopped Pilates for the abs, planks, crunches, and any AB exercise that makes my AB muscles feel like they're popping OUT. I've also noticed that even when I'm leaning over the sink to brush my teeth, I pull my muscles together. I even get out of bed differently now so I'm not doing a crunch to get up. I roll to my side to get out, just as I did when I first had the surgery! Funny, huh? If you haven't heard of the Tupler Technique, please Google it :-)
9 Months Post Surgery
SENSATION: Ugh. Where do I begin with this one. I have some sensation coming back all around the incision, and some not. I’m still completely number right below the belly button down to the incision line (that triangular area) however, if I lean on something or I get hit in the lower belly by my boys (who are 2), it hurts because the sensation UNDERNEATH the skin is still quite sensitive. I also tested this one out while I was in the pool last weekend. I jumped out of the pool halfway onto the side. You know, so you’re hanging over the pool a bit ON YOUR BELLY. I literally thought I was going to die. Don’t try that at home. LOL And I’m 9 months out!
SCAR: I hate how one side is WAY lighter than the other. It's bizarre. My left side is almost white, but the right side is somewhat red, and below my belly button it's a deep red. It is what it is. In the end, I know it will all be white eventually. At least it's all covered in clothes, bathing suits, and undies!
DIET: I’m so excited to say that I am down 7 lbs of the weight I gained. I realized that I wasn’t eating enough good carbs (sweet potatoes, beans, steel cut oats, long grain brown rice, etc.) and my weight crept on because I had horrible cravings that I would give into (cookies, brownies, etc.). Now I don’t and it’s been a month. I eat less than 100 carbs a day, but like I said, they’re the good carbs. I eat a lean protein with those good carbs and a veggie (5 meals a day). Each meal is also less than 5 grams of added sugar. My energy is amazing and my PMS is being treated as well. In fact, it’s six days or so before my next period and I have no sugar cravings or even bloating! I’ve also been using 2 TBSP of ground flaxseed on my egg whites in the morning because that helps balance hormones. I can see more definition in my abs because of the way I eat. Great abs start in the kitchen! :)
AB EXERCISE & THE TUPLER TECHNIQUE: This is what I was most excited to talk about! Since starting the Tuple Technique a month ago, I’ve lost an inch around my waist! YAY! I do the ‘elevator’ exercise 10 times a day, 100 pulses in each time I do it. That’s it. I do NOT do crunches, sit ups, planks, Pilates for the abs – none of that. As I stated in my previous post on my 8 month update, those exercises are horrible for someone who has, or had, a diastasis recti. They push the muscles OUTWARD. Yeah, not cool. My middle section just feels SO strong now and looks better! It’s flatter to me too!
OVERALL: I have to say that these 9 months have been quite a journey. Sometimes I get annoyed because I feel like my mind is constantly consumed with my belly. Everytime I go to the bathroom, I lift my shirt and look at it. Everytime I sit down, I still yank my pants up like I still have the skin flap to hide prior to the surgery. When I tuck a shirt in, it feels weird. I’m ALWAYS thinking about my stomach. Yes, I feel normal as far as doing my regular activities, exercise, etc. but mentally there is always something there making me think of my belly. I hope that makes sense. Mind you, it’s not a BAD thing, it’s just something I never experienced before. I have no regrets though and would do this ALL over again. I am so pleased with my result and will always invest physically (as well as diet) to maintain this stomach that I love!
Happy healing to all of you!
Still at 9 Months Post - Weight Loss & Tupler Technique Update
I also wanted to say that I have lost 1 1/4" around my waist since starting the Tupler Techique. I do the 'elevators' and that's the only Tupler Technique exercise I do. I do it 10 times a day, 100 pulses each time. So 1,000 in total. If you have any questions on it, email me or post a comment. I am SO glad I stopped doing crunches and planks. They really were making my mid-section WORSE and puffy! I always thought I was bloated or something. I was wrong!
I'm anxious to hit my one year mark in a couple months. This has been one hell of a ride on the tummy tuck roller coaster!
10 Months Post Surgery
Now, onto some updating!
BELLY IN GENERAL: I think the one thing I do remain in constant awareness about is keeping my belly in shape (along with the rest of me, but I also didn't spend 8 grand on the 'rest of me'. I spent 8 grand on this damn belly! LOL). I know when I'm bloated from eating too much, and I know when I 'm bloated because of impending menstruation. Yuck.
WEIGHT: I'm about 10 lbs away from where I want to be. When I used to gain weight, I would see it in my belly. Now, I don't. I feel it in my hips and butt area when my pants are snug. I always make sure though I don't go over crazy with any weight gain because this belly is an investment!
AB WORK: I still do NOT do crunches or planks or any motion that pushes my AB muscles outward. I only do those 'elevator' exercises as through the Tupler Technique. If you're interested as to what the exercise is, email me. They're so simple and HIGHLY effective. I lost 1 1/2" total around my waist since June 28th.
SENSATION: I still do not have sensation on top of my skin right below the belly button and above the incision line. It really doesn't bother me, but it creeps me out when I either (1) have an itch or (2) am tucking my shirt in. I HATE that feeling!
SCAR: My scar to the left is pretty much white! Yep, at 10 months it's white! However, the right side is a light purple, and the line right above my va-jay-jay is a deep red. So weird.
I don't have any pics for this update, but I will next time. Quite frankly, I look the same ;-)
Happy healing everyone!
11 Months Post Surgery ... Almost a Year!
Here's the low down, latest:
SENSATION: I have very faint sensation returning right below the belly button, and above the incision line. It's not a lot by any means, but it's SOMETHING. I can feel underneath my skin pretty well (especially when I lean on something or get kicked by my toddlers) but if I run my nails over the skin, I can feel SOME of it. Weird.
AB EXERCISE: It has been quite a few weeks since I did my first post on the Tupler Technique. Since then, I have lost 1 1/2" around my waist and I have NOT done ANY planks, crunches, or sit up. None! I plan to keep it that way for like EVER :) Right around month 6 or 7 when I started doing planks, crunches, and sit ups again, I noticed that my belly was starting to puff out. Now that I stopped doing all of those and ONLY do the Tupler Technique exercise called the 'elevator', the puffiness has gone away and my belly is more flatter. Just like it was after the surgery 11 months ago!
SCAR: The left side of my scar is pretty much gone and white. The right side has faded quite a bit since my last update, and the middle section is still a maroon color. I will post pictures of that with my year update.
I'm still extremely pleased with my results, but wow, what work to keep it up and maintain. It's worth it though.
I hope everyone is healing well!
ONE YEAR LATER !
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!
Dr. Rigan is simply amazing. He's a perfectionist and that's exactly who you want doing your surgery. When you have a major, major surgery done like a tummy tuck, you want someone with a lot of experience who is a true artist at contouring the body. Dr. Rigan is not a man of many words, but who cares. When you have someone with his true artistic ability doing your tummy tuck, you're going to be SO thankful!