Discreet TT: BB concerns 2+ wks post-op

I’m 50 yrs old, 5’6”, 170 lbs,...

I’m 50 yrs old, 5’6”, 170 lbs, married. I have never had children. I am in the midst of menopause and am having an increasingly difficult time shedding the pounds I’ve gained over the past year. I have always had a belly pooch, even in my more slender days of running, weight training, and bicycle adventuring. It is a genetic trait evident on my mom and sisters. The weight gain makes it all the more pronounced. A couple years ago, someone asked me when the baby is due. (I’m actually surprised that hasn’t happened more often.)

I have a high-profile, demanding, public sector job and very busy schedule. My husband also has a high-profile job and fully supports my decision to have a TT. I no longer fit in my size 12 clothes and the clothes I can fit are not flattering. Shopping for new clothes is torture. I feel awkward and self-conscious. It negatively affects my self-esteem and confidence. I am hopeful that the other parts of my body will more directly benefit from any weight loss I can achieve after the TT.

I live in a close community where most folks know everyone and I work in a small office with other women. Given the recovery time involved, there is no way I will be able to hide the fact that I will be having some serious surgery. And, given the nature of my job and workload, I expect I will need to be back on the job after 2 wks and will still be dealing with post-op issues. People will be concerned about and interested in my well-being and will ask questions.

I do not want ANYONE , including my mom, sisters, and in-laws (all of whom live in another state), to know I am having this procedure done. I hope I will be able to accomplish that by simply not mentioning it to them when we talk on the phone. But how do I go through the TT process without letting all the other folks around me know the truth? I cannot let it slip to even one person. What alternative explanation can I provide? I don’t want to fabricate some story that I could get tripped up on. I don’t expect my outward appearance will be shockingly different when I return to work because of the post-op swelling. As the swelling subsides, I expect I will be able to explain the apparent weight loss as the result of successful dieting, summer activities, and effects from the “whatever” surgery I had—all of which I hope will be true.

I am grateful so many people have shared their experiences on this Web site. In all the posts I have read, I have not seen anyone mention this dilemma. I will appreciate any advice.

Hello,
I have a somewhat mid-profile job and I didn't want my surgery to become known as well. I have not told anyone- no family members or friends other than the one who has helped me out during my recover. I simply went in for the surgery, came back and rested. To anyone that called during that time I just didn't answer. The emails I answered in time. My recovery to be able to do basic work has taken less than two weeks (i'm 10 days out). I have seen people I know since my surgery and they didn't know at all- and I didn't mention it. Walked a little slower, maybe... but no one has commented.
To one person who insisted on a meeting the day after my surgery and wanted to know why I couldn't make it I said that I was having my tubes tied. That shut him up.
Someone asked him where I'd been (fallen off the face of the earth) and he said I'd had my tubes tied.
Without having to tell any people other than the one, every assumes that's what happened..... I had my tubes tied. (I have two children)

I'm guessing "tubes tied" might not work for you, but you could simply say hysterectomy or ovarian surgery.... or say a female surgery and mention your ovaries. usually shuts people up.
Good luck!
Reply
Hello. I live in Northern NH, so not that far from you and I hope to have my TT done in Lebanon, NH in December. I too want to be discreet b/c of work. I plan on telling people "I have to have surgery in December. I am not terminally ill, it is just something I need to have done." I hope it works but you know how office smut goes.
Reply
Thank you, Taylor in NH. I feel some comfort knowing I am not alone in trying to do this discreetly. I am also glad to learn--at 50 yrs old--the difference between discrete and discreet!! Duh.
Reply

Date is set. It's for real now. More later.

Date is set. It's for real now. More later.
Thank you, abbydude, for sharing your experience and your recommendations.
Reply
I completely understand. I haven't told any family but told two friends with opposite reactions. Regretted telling them both. One friend was happy for me and offered to help. The other one said I was being shallow and superficial! Bottom line....you have to do what's best for you :) good luck
Reply

The day of transformation is more than two months...

The day of transformation is more than two months away--ugh!. Now that I am committed and it's no longer just an idea, I wish it could happen right away. I am so ready to be rid of this frontloaded protrusion.
Hi lady I'm having my tummy tuck done on July 12. I'm 41 years old and tryi g to figure out what I'm going to be telling people. I'm a teacher so I won't be seeing anyone from work but we usually go to a pool during summer where my 9 year old does swim team. They are probably going to be wondering why I don't go. I was thinking telling them I had an hernia repaired lol . I don't know. The other problem is how to keep my daughter from saying anything ... Yes is a big dilemma
Reply
You could say that you're having a hernia repair. That should be good enough. I can understand not wanting anyone to know. Rcady, I'm glad you didn't let that other friend make you question your decision. Certainly, everyone is entitled to their own opinion but no one has a right to try and make you feel badly about a decision you've made for yourself. Good luck ladies. I'll be checking in on you.
Reply
Thank you so much rcady and CarJen. I thought about hernia. I wonder what the risk is that I could get tripped up by not knowing some basic thing that someone who went through a hernia repair would know. Regarding tubes tied (abbydude): that could work well for someone, though the recovery process is far less involved (small BB incision and a gut full of gas). Some folks know I've already had that done (hence, the no kids). I must say, thinking about laying the groundwork for my explanation is causing me more stress than thoughts of the procedure itself which, BTW, I absolutely cannot wait for. Two months away and I wish it could be tomorrow!
Reply

Like so many others who have posted here, I am...

Like so many others who have posted here, I am grateful to all of you who are sharing their stories and experience. Many of you have had more than one consultation. I guess I shouldn't worry about this since I am already committed, but I am intrigued by that process nonetheless. Me: I went with the first person I met with. At $125 for a consultation, plus travel time and gas$, I didn't see shopping around as much of an option. Plus, in VT, I didn't imagine there are loads of options out there to shop around for. I am especially pleased I have a woman PS, whom I expect (hope) will be sensitive to female sensibilities.
Greengal, you could also tell people that you've been exercising more, and twisted an ankle, which kept you off your feet for a while. I too am not telling anyone but my husband and my two teen boys. I stupidly told 3 people at work, but one was the secretary and I had to explain why I didn't sign up to teach summer school. The secretary had her arms and legs' excess skin removed after bariatric surgery, so she understood. My parents would be a different story. They still have too many opinions on what constitutes money well spent, and my decision wouldn't sit well. Let them think I've just lost more weight than the 43 I've already lost.
Reply
I completely understand what you mean about your job. I too work in a small office (not high-profile like yours though) with all other women and I don't plan on telling any of them about my surgery, period. I am 10 days PO now and I will be going back this coming Monday (which will be just off of 2 weeks, 15 days PO to be exact) and I feel great now. I will have my last tube out by then and I can walk straight, though I am a bit slow. If they ask anything about my slow pace (if it hasn't quickened by then) or anything else I'm just going to tell them I threw my back out over the weekend. Maybe this would work for you too? Either way there is a huge difference in how much you can do by the 2 week PO point so don't let it get to you, there is a very good chance that you'll be just fine and they'll never know! :D
Reply
Telling everyone I injured my back worked like a charm for me. No one suspected a thing
Reply

I am worried now that, with my procedure scheduled...

I am worried now that, with my procedure scheduled for Thurs. July 26, I have not allowed enough recovery time--exactly two weeks--before I have to jump back into work. The workload picks up that following week and I will have preparations to attend to. What if things don't go smoothly? I don't really have a Plan B. Will I be able to drive? And how to do all this and not let the truth be known what the real procedure was? I am wrestling with doubts and second thoughts, but when I pull my belly in and see what it could be like, I wish I could do it tomorrow.
Thanks for your comment, with each day my husband notices something has changed. It will take 3-6 months until I start my exercise program. I want everything to be really tight and connected. I would do this again in a heartbeat.
Reply
I understand your concers. Monday will be week 3 since my TT and my husband and I are the only ones who know. We purchased a TT vacation. I had a three day hospital stay with nursing care (he was with me), the remaining days included meals, daily assistance with dressing changes, showering assistance and visits with my PS.
Granted taking two weeks off from work required planing, but after three PS consultations in my local area, the idea of going under general anesthia and then home the same day with a set a instructions didn't thrill me. My PS performed my procedures with an epidural and twilight sedation. I had lipo and a complete TT and my pain was managed very well intravenously. On day three the IV was removed and twice a day pain meds took care of what pain was left. The basic cost for the package including meals surgery and the stay was $6500. My body appears to be changing everyday, just as my PS explained. Even though this is not a weight loss procedure, I am 13 lbs less than I left home. My first exercise will be walking to begin one month after surgery. No abdominals until 8 weeks after surgery. So not to stretch healing replaced muscles. We don't want to do this again.
Reply
Wow! A TT vacation. Brilliant, Metro. This will be a sort of vacation for me, though I may end up sleeping through the first several days of it. Sounds like your package was quite a bargain. My stuff comes with an $8,000 flat fee and, to be honest, I am not entirely sure what is included with it. I intend to ask more questions when I go for an early July visit. Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope you are satisfied with the outcome (no pun intended) and that you are healing well.
Reply

I made it to the flat side! I am sitting here and...

I made it to the flat side! I am sitting here and cannot believe it. Pain has been manageable. I've got two drains, with one putting out about twice as much stuff as the other. Mine was the first surgery of the day yesterday at 9:00 and I was home around 3:30. I am so thankful I did have any nausea. Not a bit. Cannot stand up straight and that is already wearing on my back. We don't have a recliner, so I've been set up on the couch with pillows to keep me propped in a recliner fashion. I slept there last night very comfortably. Taking 1 to 2 pain pills every 3 or 4 hours. I definitely feel more tender today.

I went to the hospital weighing 167.5 lbs and came home weighing 173 (including clothes, shoes, drains, etc.). Not worried about that. I and the medical staff were suprised by how little discomfort I had yesterday. And I am usually a big baby. They think it was because I had such a positive attitude.

I've had a horrendously busy schedule these past weeks and have been on a sort of autopilot in terms of dealing with work stuff and preparations for the upcoming TT. I didn't have time to think about the procedure itself, instead focusing on the preparations for my absence and making sure I had my story straight. The surgeon did the mark-up the morning before and I filled my perscriptions. I didn't think twice about having the dr. phone two of my perscriptions to my regular, local pharmacy; the third one I had pick up with a script. I was horrified when I saw realized the script said "Fletcher Allen Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery" in big bold letters. Ugh! This being a small town and the pharmacy staff not being a particularly professional lot, I am concerned about this potential breach in my cloak of discretion. I realize they have better things to do than gab about me, but you never know when an potentially interesting factoid comes up in conversation.

Back to yesterday morning. The only thing left on the to-do list was to get my wedding ring off. The hospital staff was very clear that if you can't get it off, they'll cut it off. It was later explained to me the reasons why simply covering them with tape wouldn't work, which made sense. I started the night before trying to get if off. No go. I went to bed stressed that my 20+ year custom-made, inscribed wedding band would have to be cut off. I worked and worked at it on the hour drive to the hospital. Ice, soap, and a lot of twising finally got it off! I don't see how it will ever go on again--I guess I'll have to get it resized.

My hub was with me right up until they wheeled me to the O.R. I was in good, cheerful spirits. Moments before show time, tears began to leak and then came the waterworks. An avalache of pent-up emotions let loose. One of the nurses said, "Now it's time for the I don't give a shit medicine." Valium was added to my I.V. and all was well.

I'm glad I remembered to buy some "granny pants" to wear. They are high-waisted and help hold the drains in place. I have not yet tried on the binder. Well, that's all for now. I'll upload some pics in a few days.

Thank you to all you for sharing your stories and photos! You really helped me to know what questions to ask, what I might expect, and so much more.
Lol I like that. I have a growth removed. A 4 lb growth ;)
Reply
And when (or if) someone asks if you've by any chance had "work done," you can say what I plan to say, which is, "The answer to that question is between me and my plastic surgeon--who may or may not be imaginary."
Reply
I like that first part. "It's between me and my plastic surgeon," and leave it at that. I may try that if it comes up. Though, I'm still so swollen, I don't expect anyone to notice anything for a while. I've kept it to abdominal surgery to have a growth removed. Well, it's true!
Reply

I started to write this yesterday as an 8-day PO...

I started to write this yesterday as an 8-day PO review. But today, 9 days PO, is a slightly different story. Yesterday, I felt I was doing OK. I still am, just had a rough night with almost no sleep. Biggest issues right now are trying to stand up straight (Dr's orders), watching the fluid level in my remaining drain, and monitoring my aching, bleeding BB.

Post-op: Had one-wk post-op visit two days ago. The Dr. said I was healing well but quite swollen and still had fluid. She peeled away part of the tape over the healing incision and said it looks good. She also specifically directed me to stop walking hunched over. She said there was no risk of pulling anything out or ripping anything apart. She was surprised by how little bruising I had from the lipo. One drain (the more painful one) and BB sutures came out. BB was still crusty w/ blood and I see the reason why: it continues to leak. I need to get that checked out. I am hoping to go back Monday to have the remaining drain come out, but only if the fluid level remains below 30 cc two days in a row. I am now doubtful I'm going to make that goal for Monday. I don't know if they meant to keep my drainage records for my file, but I left the office without them, so I cannot recount my drainage progression.

Garment: The drains poking out of my pubic area, the right one more than the left, were too uncomfortable to be able to wear the "SPANX Higher Power High-Waisted Power Panty" compression garment (hospital recommended) for very long. The Dr.'s office said it was OK not to wear it until the drains come out. Now that the more painful drain is out, I'm able to wear it pretty much all day. I've tried to sleep with it on, but have ended up stripping it off in the middle of the night because it is still too uncomfortable for sleep. I got more high-waisted granny panties to wear during this process. They're nylon w/ cotton crotch. Wearing them under the CG helps make it easier to slide it on and off over the tender areas and helps hold the tubes and bandages in place.


Pain: Overall, the pain has been manageable except for this one thing: a stabbing, burning pain in the left groin area in the crease of the leg that emerged sometime around PO day 3. There appeared to be a lipo entry opening in there, but I couldn't be sure. It almost brought me to my knees in tears. On-line info suggested it could be temporary nerve damage. I called the doc's office the next day and a nurse suggested putting bacitracin on it. I don't know why, but it worked. It's flared up a few times since, but a hit of bacitracin would put it back in check. Now I put it on pre-emptively. But now trying stand up straight, which also means sleeping with minimal pillow support, has launched a new batch of aches. The BB feels increasingly sore. I wonder if my straighter posture is pulling on it.

Drain management: I didn't read the directions closely enough at the beginning to realize that the bulb should be uncorked for milking the tubes. I tried it both ways, corked and open, and didn't really notice much diff. But the instructions did say to open it. One thing I wish I had discovered sooner was to wet my fingers to milk the tube. So much more effective and no more fear of breaking it.

I neglected to mention that I slept on the couch downstairs for the first 4 nights propped on pillows, recliner-like. The upright part of the couch provided welcome support and leverage for getting up and down. I used pillows similarly propped to transiton to the bed, though without that upright couch support.

Photos: Since the captions don't seem to be...

Photos: Since the captions don't seem to be working, the first photo shows part of my mark-up the day before the surgery. The 2nd photo shows the dressings 2 days PO and before first shower. The 3rd photo is 3rd day PO after 1st shower. The dressings came off easily in the shower.
Hi greengalvt, Your results look wonderful. Happy healing!
Reply
Thanks for the review. i know it is hard to do this. I hated posting my before photos on mine. I am 53 and had my TT and lipo done July 10th, It does get better so hang in there. I went back to work after 2 weeks and I dealt with it but really needed 3 weeks, I am a manager and so much work piled up, I had to go in to get work done. I keft early some days when my energy level tanked and my work understood. My advice to you is take care of you first and worry about work later. Do not go back too soon and make sure you keep your doc informed of any issues you are having.
Reply
Thanks, NewKay!
Reply

Second drain out today. Yay! Not a minute too...

Second drain out today. Yay! Not a minute too soon. I don't think I could have tolerated it much longer. The binding stitch at the entry point was extremely tender. BB is still a concern to me, but the Docs think it's doing OK.
I'm really glad to hear from you. As a loner up here in the "Northeast" I was wondering if you had gone through with things. Good luck and congrats.
Reply
Love it! You're too funny!!
Reply

Has anyone else had lingering BB healing issues? ...

Has anyone else had lingering BB healing issues? It's now 2+ weeks PO and my BB is still oozing goo, including hints of blood from the brown color in the bandages. (I uploaded a post-shower photo.) It's also quite sore, especially when in the binder. Since the last drain came out I've been wearing the binder regularly, including to bed. Last night I did not sleep with the binder on and the BB was so much more comfortable. Rather than the usual bacitracin and gauze pad, today I decided to give it lots of air--maybe it just needs to dry out. I'm wearing the binder rolled down below the BB. The nurse who removed the drain last Tuesday was not too concerned. The Dr. is now away for 2 wks.
Definitely let it air out and dry out some. I was having issues where they removed the drain and I couldnt figure out why, then my husband suggested I go a day w/o putting my ointment on and covering it up. Sure enough all it needed was some fresh air. Hope this helps.
Reply
Thanks, tigereyes. Yes, the BB loved the fresh air again today and again seemed to respond well. The dilemma is the binder: wearing it is important but it covers up and puts pressure on the tender BB such that it starts oozing again and seems to go back to square one. Arg. I'm not quite at the point of cutting a hole in the garment. Now that I'm back to work, I don't want my BB oozing into my work clothes. And now that I'm back at work, I cannot air it out so easily. Double Arg.
Reply
You look great! Sorry I don't have any advice about your bb, just wanted to tell you that you are looking good:)
Reply

Almost 3 wks PO and BB is still oozy and angry. I...

Almost 3 wks PO and BB is still oozy and angry. I wore the binder all day yesterday and thru the night. This morning BB had fresh blood in with the ooze. Went w/o the binder this morning to give my BB some air, and now this puff below the incision showed up (new photos uploaded). Yikes! My next appt w/ my PS is not until mid-Sept., though I have an appt. in two days to see her nurse about the BB. Very anxious to hear what she says.

As much as I want to give my BB some air, I put...

As much as I want to give my BB some air, I put the binder back on in case it's a seroma.
Thats great news!, I am pleased it is not as bad as it looks and you feel better, just try to air and dry it out when you can for a couple of hours a day! Happy healing
Reply
Hi greengalvt, After seeing your new pics , This has to dry out you must keep it open to air as much as possible. I would cut the hole and then bring with you to work a supply of the sterile gauze pads( not the shiny ones as this needs to breath) and just tape them down over the bb lightly with some micropore tape and wear a very loose top. Then keep checking and replacing during the day as needed.
Before you go to work I would clean with hibi scrub and then a watered down peroxide or saline solution and then use Betadine on a gauze pad and dap, blow dry or air dry this and then use the sterile pads gauze pads to cover lightly. I hope this help with your recovery.
One question though are you using a sugercal binder or a compression garment?Because the CG's are breathable and you could just take your breatheable gauze pads with you and replace as needed over bb under your garment.
I was shocked when my PS said I should have no dressing under the CG if everything is healing fine and no oozing and just use these pads on any spots that are oozing. Of course I would not use the CG's that you have to pull up over your incision unless your lower incision is completely healed up. Maybe something like one I got from my PS in my hospital pic that hooksup either at the side or the middle. I would suggest the sides for youn as this is a bb issue and its in the middle, Good luck and keep us all posted!
Reply
Thank you, NewSue for such a thoughtful response. One of the nurses at the Dr.'s office was able to see me today after all. By then the new puff had subsided (thanks to the binder, AKA compression garment, which is a pull-up-to-the-ribs Spanx-like thing.) She thought the BB didn't look that bad and there were no signs of seroma. Bottom line: she put me at ease that nothing dire is going on, which is what I needed to know. I will meet with the Dr's assistant later in the week for more info.
Reply

4 wks post-op today. I'm back full-time at work. ...

4 wks post-op today. I'm back full-time at work. No none has commented about my changed profile, though I try to wear loose-fitting tops to not draw attention. Still a lot of swelling. I've been wearing the CG day and night, which seems to amplify the sensations of the nerves and other sensitivities as the tissues and nerves in my abdomen heal. Including my throbbing belly button. Because of all these sensations, the CG is increasingly uncomfortable. I went to the Dr.'s office last week to check the BB. The Dr.'s assistant thought it looked OK and wasn't particularly concerned. He said the tissue looks relatively healthy, there were no seromas, and that I just need to give it more time. His assessment seemed based on extremes (e.g., as long as the skin is not black,he's not concerned.) Ugh. I know I need to give it all more time. I am increasingly weary of these discomforts and am frustrated that I continue to weigh as much or MORE than when I went in for surgery, despite conscious efforts and exercise. Sigh.
Just peeking at your pics....my TT is on Sept. 25th. You scar looks really good at 4 weeks! WOW! How is your BB doing now?

I too haven't told my family what the surgery "actually" is...except for my mom. She is old school and doesn't tell anyone elses business so I know I can trust her. The few people that I mentioned surgery to asked and I told them I have having an umbilical hernia repair. I told my kids this too! A little white lie....right?
Reply
I go for my pre-op appointment tomorrow!! YIKES!!!! Im so nervous about everything...anyway GreenGal, your pictures look great and Im sorry about the swelling and the BB situation..my PS told me up to 8 weeks to a year healing time!! It's so hard to wait it out when you spent all that money, went through all that pain and uncomfortableness(?), doubts, second thoughts, etc, etc, etc.... I hope the BB is feeling a little better...enjoy your day!
Reply
Thank you, Letta61! A pre-op a month before the procedure? I guess that will give you plenty of time to get ready. Other than the BB issues, I am quite pleased how the rest of it is working out. In addition to the BB being physically uncomfortable, it's a bit unnerving that it seems to be an unusual case they simply haven't seen the likes of before, don't know what is causing it, or what to do about it. I try to take comfort that they don't seem too concerned about it.
Reply

Six weeks + 3 days PO and doing well. New pics...

Six weeks + 3 days PO and doing well. New pics posted. Still swollen. Went to Dr. on Aug. 30 to have the belly button checked out again. She said the stem of the BB appears to have died (yuck!), which is why it was not healing and continued to ooze. She put a dab of silver nitrate on the blob of tissue which cauterized it. The tissue shrank and turned gray. It still oozed for a little while, but then scabbed, which is where it's at now. It appears to be healing and is no longer throbbing. She said I won't have much of a belly button, but I think it's going to turn out fine. It wasn't much to write home about to begin with. She also said that at 6 wks, activities are no longer restricted. I think she recommended I continue to wear the CG a while longer, so I wear it during the day, but not to bed anymore. I go back later this week to see how things are coming along and will confirm about the CG. I have not been doing much scar treatment except in the shower when I'm soaped up. I bought some Eucerin lotion (recommended by the Dr.'s office) and will make more effort on that.
Well I am having mine tomorrow morning in Burlington as well. I am nervous but have read so many post and feel that in the end it will be all worth it. Thanks for the insight it does help.
Reply
My mom said "tell me how you make out...I want one too!" LOL!

I did have an umbilical hernia repaired before, while getting my tubes tied after my last child 5 years ago. I've since had a hysterectomy. I remember the umbilical hernia hurting more than anything else, they used mesh and it felt like I have a big orange under my belly button for a couple of weeks! My PS said because of this I too run the risk of my BB dying and possibly turning black.....I really hope this doesn't happen to me. I already have a 3/4" scar in my BB so we'll see. My fingers are crossed!

I have a pretty high pain tolerance and hope that I'll be back to my usual self quickly so my "excuse" looks more realistic. If it doesn't go that good then I'll have to say I had complications...yada yada! Luckily I have my own little business where I work out of my house so there is no worries about having to return to work PLUS my husband works out of the house too so the first couple of weeks I should be good.

New pics look great! =)

Thanks!

Dawn
Reply
Thanks, Dmags. I posted updated info & pics today. I wouldn't say an umbilical hernia repair is a lie: your umbilicus will definitely be repaired as part of the whole thing. I did not use the hernia option in part because I am under the impression that recovery time for hernia stuff may be less involved than for a TT. How did your mom take it when you told her?
Reply
Was this review helpful? 2 others found this helpful