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Mommy Makeover... with a twist

That's right. I have no kids. I did, however,...

That's right. I have no kids. I did, however, loose 35-40lbs (there's always a 5lbs fluctuation in my weight) 4 years ago which left my dog ear breast even flapper and lower than they were. I also acquires a proper muffin top that despite working out 4 days a week and watching my diet won't go away. Anyone will tell you I have an athletic physique. I'm not thin but I'm fit; strong, toned legs, strong abs but they are hidden under a layer of skin and fat. So, after moving to South Africa and comparing the cost of the mommy makeover here to the cost in the US, I decided to get it done here.

Next Thursday, I'm having a mini tummy tuck w/no muscle repair, lipo on love handles, breast lift with implant (I'm a 34D and want to keep my size. All PS (plastic surgeons) I've consulted said that I need an implant because the skin below my boobs doesn't have the right amount of elasticity, so if I do a lift without an implant they would likely fall bank again.)

I'm nervous about the recovery. I'm nervous about the scaring, the swelling and the depression everyone talks about. I'm also concerned that I have family here to help me. Staying overnight at the hospital and then friends will come by to help but... Is it enough???

I hope the fact that I'm fit and healthy helps in my recovery.

4 days to op.

So anxious!

The pain and discomfort is freaking me out. Well maybe not the pain but the fact that I don't have any live in support. Friends have all offered to come check on me but is it enough? Has anyone done this alone before?

Surgery is in 8 hours. Sheesh

Well... This is it. Have to check in at 6:30am. This is the last night my body will look like this. It's exciting but I'm a little anxious. It's surgery after all... Also anxious about the recovery... I hope all goes well and that the doctor gets the results we talked about.

Had my last pre-op today. Did all sorts of measurements, markings etc... Doctor said my upper body will look so much smaller when I heal. I can't wait. Grant it, I've totally gone off diet since deciding to do this. My body is now completely 'inflated'. I look forward to seeing the change.

In the meantime, I solicit your prayers. Please pray not only for me but for the plastic surgeon and the surgical team, for friends who all volunteered to help me after the fact.

I'll share updates tomorrow afternoon.

Forgot to post pre-op pictures

8 hours before surgery

Surgery complete. Day 1 Lots of surprises and unexpected things. Didn't get what I paid for.

Woke up after surgery, a little groggy but instinctively new that I hadn't had the mini tummy tuck I was scheduled for. I couldn't see my lower abdomen because there are so many gauze etc... But I did "feel" like I'd been cut open.

I was schedule for and paid for a mini tummy tuck without muscle repair, lypo on flanks, breast lift with implant.

I woke up with:
- lypo on abdomen & flanks
- breast lift with implant
- lipo on thighs (which PS had mentioned that if there was enough time in operating room, he would do it. I told him to go ahead but my priority were my tits and stomach. So thighs ONLY if he had time. He did it anyways.) We'll address ethics later.

Since I'm staying the night, PS came to see me about an hour later. I, of course, asked what happened and he said: the mini TT was 'just not necessary', there was no need to remove any skin, he could achieve same results with lipo, I'm young (Erm, I'm 37. Yes it's young, but not THAT young)... Which bewilders me because I've had 4 separate pre-op appointments with him and he never said any of this before. We 'worked together' and planned a mini TT.

Anyways. I could be irate about the whole things but truth is: he's right. I look at my stomach (and yes it's too early to tell) but I love what I'm looking at. I can see my vag for crying out loud. I haven't been able to do that without sucking in until I almost pass out before. Also, I did a lot of praying before the surgery and asked God to give the surgical team the wisdom to do what's best... So I accept that this was the best thing to do.

Doctor also said that if he didn't have to leave a scar, he wouldn't. So... Ok! I surrender and accept what was done.

On a recovery note: I'm surprised that I have as much range of motion with my arms and upper body. I can move my arms and can lift them enough to scratch my head which I didn't expect. I'm soar. Right noob hurts more than the left. Pain is at about a 5 out of 10. Some movements hurt more that others.

Biggest shock is that it doesn't hurt to touch my boobs. They are tender, don't get me wrong but I was expecting to scream in pain if I touched them. It's actually ok to the touch.

Another surprise is that I left the catheter in until tomorrow. #gross.

Finally, drugs aren't making me as loopy as some people report. A little sleepy but I'm alert enough to have conversations.

Day 2 - soar, tight, compressed

Maybe I'm too optimistic but the pain nowhere near as bad as I expected it to be or what I read. Pain is at approx 5 but once you take something it soothes. I do little 5 minute walks around the house to make sure blood circulates. The worst are the little spasms in my breast. Doctor says those are nerves in breast tissue. The stitching of the compression garment also digs into my skin. Which is a sign I'm swelling... Which I expected.

I am sleeping a lot but welcome the rest.

Overall feels like I went way too hard at the gym. Like I added to much weight when doing chest and abs.

Day 3 - the swell is on

Thought I'd be the exceptional the rule. I've been so surprised at my recovery and mobility I convinced myself I'd be back on my feet next week... But the swelling has caught up with me. It's like I have a 3rd and 4th boob under each arm. My chest is so swollen.

The compression garment is on 24/7. Doctor says I have to keep it on for the first week. The good thing about it is that it suppresses my appetite.

No bowl movement yet but gassy. Odd (read that other women we're struggling with this. Not a problem yet but should I start taking the dulcolex?

Was hoping to make it to church tomorrow but now that I look like a marshmallow, forget it.

Day 3 or 4 post surgery... Depending on how you look at it. Doing better

The chest swelling is likely my biggest issue. Doesn't hurt but it's weird not being able to put your arm completely down. I was expecting swelling so I'm not panicking. Also took a sneak peak under the compression garment and I like what I'm seeing. My thighs are definitely smaller, the muffin top is gone, the bulging tummy is also gone. Swollen torso though so it's hard to tell but I know I'm smaller.

A few lessons learned:
- careful what you eat. the compression garment compresses your tummy so you feel full fast and are generally constipated because of the meds. Made me feel a little queasy at times, until I had a bowel movement.
- tone your legs. Squats and lunges are part of my normal workout routine now and thank God because getting in and out of bed, using the bathroom etc... will require leg strength since you can't bend at the hip.
- move. No matter what, walk around, wiggles your toes, flex your legs.
- pineapple. Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple juice and is used for reducing swelling (inflammation), after surgery or injury. I can't tell if it's helping but I'm eating pineapple till I'm blue in the face.

I feel well enough to leave the house. Wanted to go to church this morning but the friend who's nursing me is being mother hen and won't let me out. Lol God bless her.

P.S not ready to post pictures yet but I will soon. :-)

Day 4 - so swollen and fatigued

URGH. I'm really swollen. Took the suppression garment off for 5 minutes and took a look at myself: I'm a blimp. I see difference in my shape but I'm basically as big as I was before. It's weird. I'm as big but no gut. Its psychology hard to grasp; the fat is gone but I'm just as big. Legs aren't as swollen and show more of a difference.

Taking drugs much less often. Every 7-8 hours now but they still knock me out.

Other than that all is well. First post-op appointment is in the morning. Since I have no drains (since I didn't get the tummy tuck), I don't expect major suprises. Would be nice if PS gave a&e a magic pill for swelling though ;-)

Swelling, gas and all sorts of bloated

I feel like this (see pic). Urgh

Day 5 - so much better. Not AS swollen but still a blimp

Still swollen. I swear I have a 3rd and 4th boob under each arm but it slightly less than yesterday. Doubling up on dulcolax may have helped (I don't recommend it, just sayin'). Hope yesterday was the worst day cause I felt horrible but seems like I may be better now.

Saw plastic surgeon today. All is well. Finally gave to the ok to take off suppression garment for an hour, which I did. Felt so good. My bruises are smaller as well.

Couple of takeaways:
- should have invested in exfoliation pads. Since you can scrub your body due to tenderness and soreness, you feel cleaner when bathing with exfoliation pads
- consider getting an extendable back scratcher if you don't have live in support to reach place you can't bend or twist to reach

Anyone else swelling more in the evening? Anyone else getting headaches?

Oups... Forgot to mention

Doctor took 1.5kg from my abdomen and flanks. That's approximately the 3lbs that I always juggled with and would appear and re-appear in my tummy. He also said he out in 2 liters of fluids to perform the surgery. Can't wait for my body to flush those out.

Day 6 - careful what you wish for.

Oy! As much as I want the swelling to go down and all the fluids to flush out of my body; the bathroom runs are gonna be the end of me.

Almost off pain meds. Only took 1 out of 4 allowed dosages today. Feel fine, the discomfort and swelling is worst than any pain I feel; it also means I don't get knocked out all the time.. But kind wish I would sleep more since being home all day is getting quite boring.

Day 6 - sleep

So... Being off meds has it's perks but...

Now I can't sleep. It's 2am. Slept like a baby the past 5 days but realize now that it was the drugs.

Two, I can feel every tingling sensation in my body. Not pain but it's definitely a realization that the meds numb you to certain things. Very weird.

Day 8 - recovery isn't easy.

There are things you simply cannot prepare for: the fatigue, the restricted arm motion, the discomfort, the tenderness, the stiffness, the irregular bowel movement... You read all the reviews and think you know what to expect but you can't prepare for it all and it takes it's toll. (And I say that despite my recovery going really well and having no complications).

Surprises:
The swelling occurs in areas not compressed by the compression garment. That is: your vagina, under arms, breast, knees, ankles.

I'm an active person. Haven't been to gym in more than a week and I can tell a difference in my body. No weight lifting, no cardio, no yoga, no stretching. Wish I could at least walk on a treadmill to flush these fluids. I see reduction in the swelling but welcome any suggestions anyone has on how to reduce swelling. Any natural remedies outside of pineapple, ginger and mint?

Call me desperate if you want, but I'm gonna try this - swelling remedy

Got a tip that cabbage poultices help reduce swelling. What's a cabbage poultice? Or how do I make one?

Glad you asked! The cabbage poultice must be one of the most traditional of kitchen remedies around. Used for inflammations and swellings, particularly mastitis, it is very simple to prepare:
- Use the leaves on the outside of the cabbage and cut out the midrib.
- Cover with boiling water for 10 minutes. Apply warm but not hot. This wilts it and makes it pliable. Place the underside of the cabbage leaf over the swollen area
- Then hold it in place with a piece of cling wrap (Saran Wrap) or towel and leave on for an hour.

Now... My recommendation (I AM NOT a medical expert) is to do this AFTER you wounds are completely shut/ no bandages, dressings or anything.

Don't believe me? Ok! Here are a couple of links:
- http://learnandlivewell.blogspot.com/2011/04/cabbage-leaves-relieve-pain-and.html
- http://earthclinic.com/CURES/lymphedema.html

Day 9 - the Michelin man effect

Well, dressings have been changed AND I get to wear the compression garment 12h/ day but, I still wear it for 16-20h every day. I only take it off and wear MaidenForm Control It! Hi-Waist Brief when I leave the house. Allows me so much more flexibility while I'm running errands but the swelling hits me as soon as I get back in the compression garment and anytime I lay to sleep. I wake up with swells in odd places and I still feel like the Michelin man.

Should be mentioned that some surgeries occur without drains & removeable stitches. My Plastic surgeon didn't use drains and used dissolvable stitches. I guess that makes me really lucky as I've read many women complain about the drains.

Questions:

- Is anyone using diuretics to flush the fluids/ reduce swelling?
- what about a few minutes in a sauna or steam room once the wounds are closed?
- I never slept in recliner. Was comfortable in bed propped up with 4 pillows. Wondering how long I should sleep this way. Can I lay flat on my back by now?

Day 12 - improvements but no where near the finish line

Recovering from lipo and a breast lift isn't easy. Don't let anyone tell you differently.

Day 12- the swelling has reduced significantly but it's still there. Saw a friend today who said she can see a huge difference but it's still hard for me to tell. I see the difference on my flanks but not on my tummy.

The skin under my boobs is hard/firm. The swelling under my arm is also very hard and firm and tender to the touch. Is this to be expected?

Questions
- are you guys sleeping on your side by now?
- has anyone tried going to a sauna/steam room to reduce the swelling? Did it work?

Scar treatment

I've read a few reviews mentioning scar treatment. Didn't know what everyone was referring to so I asked my plastic surgeon. He said the micropore tape on my BL and lipo incisions IS scar treatment. I asked when it is safe to take off, his response was that the micropore tape should be kept on for as long as possible it helps keep the scar flat and puts pressure on it so doesn't become raised. I asked about other scar therapy and creams and he said that the micropore tape is the only scar therapy I need.

Anyone else only doing micropore tape?

Last time I saw my scars, they were healing really well... Guess I'm just wondering when the tape will fall off...

14 days. 2 weeks. Still bloated and discouraged

Sigh...

Boobs look good but sides/under arms still swollen and tender. There's minor rippling of the skin which I hear will go away. I'm already seeing it diminish.

Flanks are so much better. I look "narrow" and the muffin top isn't as visible as it used to be.

Tummy. As big as it was before I think. I see difference in upper abdomens but lower abdomens is still swollen. I look like I'm in my first trimester. I could easily pass for early pregnancy.

I've seen a few people who haven't seen me since before surgery. All said I lost weight. So I guess some people see something but...

Overall still glad I did this but don't think ill get plastic surgery again. The recovery time is longer than it seems. Not sure how women go back to work after 5 days. I went out to dinner last night and the swelling and discomfort cut my evening short.

Whodathunk?! Day 14 or 15 depending on wheee you are in the world

The bloating/swelling almost drive me batty... And then low and behold, I get my period. Whodathunk?! I was so preoccupied with finding ways to reduce swelling, I neglected to look at the calendar.

Once my period started the swelling went down by 30% or so. It's kinda awesome!!! encouraging!!! Was beginning to wonder what was the point of it all if I was going to still look bigger or the same as before.

Loving the progress now. Still want the swelling to go down but at least now I can tell there's a difference.

Alright. Gonna keep my compression garment on for 20+ hours a day while I munch on pineapple, drink buchu tea, take bromelain and lay flat on my back to help the lymphatic fluids circulate throughout my body. #sigh...

Day 17 - Took a turn for the worst

Not sure if it's something I ate or if it's a normal part of the process but the last 24 hours felt like a step back. Not sure if it's something I ate but I barely slept last night due to swelling and stomach cramps. I woke up extremely swollen with a headache. Felt horrible all morning until I finally threw up this afternoon.

I'm not taking meds. Only vitamins and supplements (arnica, bromelain...). Anyone else experienced this almost 3 weeks later?

Afraid to eat now...

On a lighter note, lady at church asked me what I've been doing at the gym cause I look like I've lost so much weight. Ha! Loved that!

Last face-to-face post op appointment

Leaving Capetown in a few days so saw my plastic surgeon for the last time today. According to him, I'm being too hard on myself because I'm healing very well. So well that he removed the micropore tape on half of my lipo incisions. I can't believe how tiny those incisions are. The scaring on my boobs is out of this world! Small, thin cuts that are barely noticeable. (Makes me wonder what if the doctor from my last surgery knew what the hell he was doing. Dr. Erasmus redid those scars and they already look better and aren't fully healed)

Anyway, still swollen and seeing an increase in swelling in late afternoon/night. According to other surgeons, going to the sauna or steam room could worsen swelling so I guess it's not an option. :-( looks like the only cure is patience.

Boob shrinkage ... Didn't see this one coming - 26 days post

When I first came out of surgery I was slightly shocked at the size of my boobs. They looked like Big Ds or even Es. I thought the PS had gone slightly too big but the longer I had them, the more I felt my body could support them without being vulgar.

But now that the swelling is subsiding, I noticed that they are more c cups than anything. Part of me is ok with it because then no one will know I had anything done but another part of me was starting to like my big tatas. Oh well.

One month!!!! Who hoo!

One month baby! Can't believe the change in my body (pics to come), things are slowly settling and it feel good to see progress.

Massive changes this week:
1. I can almost sleep on my side comfortably. Can't wait to be able to sleep on my stomach or toss and turn.
2. Back in the gym! - Ah man that feels amazing. Only doing low impact cardio but it still feels amazing to move and sweat and get the heart rate going.
3. Swelling - still swell in the evening but you wouldn't confuse me with Santa Claus anymore. I can wear non elastic waist band pants and skirts again.
4. Bruising - only bruises left are on my inner thighs. I wore shorts the other day without looking like I'd been beaten with a baseball hat.

Things to remember 1 month post-op
1. Not because the surface is healed means that you are out of the woods. There's still a lot of internal bruising. Can't run; thigh muscles are still bruised from lipo (even if you can't see it). Still stiff when I wake up in the morning. Breast are still settling in. Some areas are still tender to the touch. Wounds are closed on the surface but not fully healed.

I look forward to the next 2 weeks and expect to see even more progress: skin contraction, softness, flexibility... Bring it on.

5 weeks - don't fool yourself

Completely my fault but never expected THIS.

So, did a little mis-planning and laundry got the best of me, which means, compression garment (CG) and spanks needed to be washed. So I slept with spanks last night (not CG as advised by doctor) and did laundry this morning. Before I could finish laundry I had to go do some ministry work with kids, so I went 7 hours with no spanks or CG on. By 3pm my stomach was bulging out of control: unevenly swollen. It wasn't pretty. I've had the compression garment on for 6.5 hours now and I can still see my tummy bulging out. I hope I didn't reverse my results cause I was doing really good.

Also jumped on the scale yesterday and haven't lost a pound. Not to worried about it though cause I like what I see. Assuming the lack of hard exercise probably has a lot to do with it. I started light exercise a week ago. Mostly stationary bike, elliptical, walking on treadmill but I'm looking forward to stepping everything up soon.

Good news is that I can sleep on my sides all night now. Should I dare trying to sleep on my stomach? Wishful thinking?

Is impressed with my scars!!!

I took the micropore tape off my boobs. I am SO IMPRESSED with my surgeon right now. I NEVER in a million years expected the results to look so nice. My scars are tiny, flat and match my skin tone. I was very concerned. My black skin hasn't scarred very well in the past. I've always been left with dark blemishes... But THIS is so much better than anything I ever imagined.

7 weeks. Should I get more lipo?

They say plastic surgery is addicting. Been looking through this site and those Brazilian butt lifts are starting to look very appealing... Lipo on thighs/legs...

Anyway, not super happy with my abdomens yet. I still swell up and it's really annoying now. I've been cleared to take the compression garment off. Which is great. I don't wear the high waisted spanks during the daytime anymore but I feel insecure without them on. There's still swelling so it makes me nervous or unprotected not to have some type of shape wear on.

I do wish the swelling was completely done. It's making it hard to assess whether I need more surgery or not. My stomach is lumpy. Some areas are tender and swell more than others. Ex: around belly button.

Doctor seems happy with my results but... Giving it another month...

More... More...more

Based on other reviews, I think I'm going to have to get more lipo done on my abdomen. It's too early (I know, I know) but I'm progressing like other women who had revisions, so....

Those who didn't have revisions have much better results at the 2 month mark.

Be careful what you post on RealSelf

While going through the surgery process I was happy to have found this site and this community. It seemed helpful... But a few weeks ago, I found the pictures I shared on the site on google. I thought I was sharing with THIS community, not the world at large.

So, given the weak privacy settings, I won't be sharing anymore updates.

Best of luck
Willem Erasmus

So far so good. I've bombarded him with questions and he's answered all of them. I went back and further confirmed everything he said and found that he is consistent with what other plastic surgeons are saying and feedback on this site. I wanted to schedule my surgery after my first consult with him (had already met other surgeons), he refused. Which I like. He sent me away to think about everything we discussed. In the end, he changed my surgery plan the day of. Turns out, he made the best medical decision and went above and beyond what he had to do: Revised old scars, lippoed my thighs. New scars are beautiful, small, clean and neat. His assistant Brenda is awful though. Sweet but clueless.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
2 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
3 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait tmes
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Comments (45)

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I think your results are amazing !!! Your scar looks natural and pretty soon it will complete disappear. Thumbs up !!! Allow time for your body to completely heal before you do more work on it. Docs say that it may take six months to 1 year before you see final results. Good luck and happy healing ;-)
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Thank you. My impatience is getting the best of me
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Absolutely BEAUTIFUL results...all the way around. Scars, shape everything on both breasts and tummy. Congrats and continued great healing and recovery. ;-)
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Looks great!. . Your correct your surgery is similar but im have little more lipo ..sldo I hsve ssme issues with fat over muscles! how maby ccs were the beast implants?
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Looking good.
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Your updates are fabulous! Thank you so much for helping all the other ladies embarking on this journey.
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Thank you :-).
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Your scars are so tiny and hardly noticeable! Love your boobs too! They look so natural! Mine still look so hard. I hope they will settle like yours! You look great!!
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Thanks Hun. I really like how my boobs are settling. Dr Erasmus did a great job. He's definitely surpassed my expectations. The swelling on my tummy is uneven though which makes me a little nervous but I think it will settle nicely in the end. How are you holding up?
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My swelling is uneven like you too! It's bulging at the top and bottom .. I hope it's turn out ok over time too :)
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Looking good! You have been on a roller coaster for sure! Hang in there.
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Looking amazing :))
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Thank you. I'm having a hard time seeing any progress so I appreciate the feedback. How are you holding up?
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I'm doing great. No more naps for me. Just got to get rid of this cold then I'm sailing! As for you, I'm sorry to hear that you got a bit if a stomach bug. (That's what it sounds like to me) but I must say I can even see a slight difference in your belly from day 14 to 17! Just over your panties. I wouldn't say it if I didn't see it. You do look wonderful. I've seen a lot of pics and there's always a big difference from 2 weeks to 1 month post op and 2 months usually u start seeing more definition. I'm excited to get this swelling down ;))
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You look great!!!
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Thank you. Hard to see the progress on myself.
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Hope you feel better soon. You look great!
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Thanks. Swelling dropped a lot today so now seeing progress...
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I would love to see some pics, happy healing!
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I will love to see your after pictures
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The swelling has gone down a lot but I don't have the confidence to post pics yet. Maybe a few more days ;-)
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Hey there!! I am swollen at night also and there is an explain action for this. See this thread: http://www.realself.com/question/what-can-do-get-rid-swelling-after-tummy-tuck-surgery I guess it will stay for months and laying down helps since the fluids travels to the back and the lymphs in the back help to flush them out.. I looked up on lymphs massages on YouTube also, will try it before bed every night. :)
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Stupid auto correct! Explanation, not explain action :)
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Thanks for sharing. Think I'll follow your lead and look up videos on YouTube. Again 2:30am and can't sleep. I'm swelling up like the Goodyear blimp. Weird cause I was actually better today.
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lol at the bloat pic. it threw me off at first
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