For comparison's sake, I'm 45, 5ft 5in, and was...
For comparison's sake, I'm 45, 5ft 5in, and was 173lbs on surgery day.
Before deciding whether to have any surgery done, I discussed it with my regular doctor and a few ladies I knew who had undergone these procedures. My doctor recommended this website as a way to read about "the good, the bad, and the ugly". I read dozens of reviews on this website (rated "worth it" and "not worth it"), and they were very helpful in understanding both the technical and practical aspects of plastic surgery, including selecting a doctor, things to do to prepare ahead of time, what to expect in recovery, etc.
Like many others, I once had a decent, proportional shape (think classic glass Coke bottle), but lost it over time. In my case, following spinal surgery and a decade-plus of no ab workouts allowed (= Coke can). My trunk shape bothered me the most, but because I'm pretty wimpy when it comes to pain, I decided that if I was going to have surgery done, I would need to do everything at once.
I have always had "pendulous" breasts (even as a young teen), but after a 55lb gain/loss and 6mos of breast feeding my only child, they were pretty deflated. Add the effects of nearly twenty years of gravity, and the amount of suspension that was required on a daily basis had become pretty ridiculous. These four photos were taken the morning of surgery. Definitely not great looking.
Surgery day went well. The arrival and prep were quick and efficient-- the only delay was for a fire alarm that sounded just as the nurses were rolling me toward the OR. The procedures took about 4 hours total, and although I woke up feeling sore, it was manageable. Hubby took me home about 90 mins after waking up. (At the time, I felt like I was being rushed to leave, but everything has gone well, so that might have just been my perception at the time.)
I left with one drain at my right hip and a pain pump, and went home to my power lift recliner. The drain wasn't overly annoying, and I would strongly recommend both the pain pump and the recliner. (My hubby found the recliner for sale in the local newspaper's classified ads-- we bought it specifically for this surgery and will resell it once I'm recovered.) My doc covered all the bandages with large tape squares (about 6in squares), so if I had felt up to it, I could have showered right away. (I felt good enough to wash my own hair in the kitchen sink, but not good enough to climb a dozen stairs to get to the shower.)
I took the recommended 2 Percocet pills every 4 hours until my post op appointment, then transitioned to 1 pill every 4-5 hours, and now on day 3, I'm taking 1/2 pill every 5-6 hours. I plan to switch to over the counter pain medicine after my shower tonight. (No, I don't have a high pain tolerance-- I just really hate taking pain meds of any kind.)
I went to my first follow up yesterday, two days post op. The nurse removed the binder and all the tape squares and gauze. No pain with that (thanks probably to the pain pump), but hubby was a little grossed-out by all the bloody gauze. She removed the two pain pump leads (felt weird but didn't hurt). She gave me a mirror so that I could see the incisions-- I was very happy to see how low the TT incision is placed, and am happy with the first looks at my belly button and lifted boobs / reduced areolas. The doctor came in, looked at the incisions (he was very happy with the way they looked), and he clipped the stitch holding the drain tube and removed it. (That also felt weird, but didn't hurt, but I've read about very different experiences on this website. I was putting out
Days 3-5 post op
Took a shower on day 3 after hubby returned from work. I wanted his "overwatch" before climbing the dozen-plus stairs to our bedroom for the first time, and needed his help to get out of and back into clothes and the binder (stairs turned out to be no big deal as long as I went slowly). The showering process took longer than I thought. I didn't feel like I had time to stand for photos and get put back together without over-extending myself, so no photos. (Turned out to be a good choice-- I felt great about being clean and was tired when done, but not exhausted or in any undue pain as a result.) I switched to using extra- strength Tylenol as planned, and haven't looked back.
Day 4 brought the much-anticipated post-op poop. I'd been taking a stool softener (colace) each morning starting the day before surgery, and added 2 tbsp of milk-of-magnesia (1/2 the label's adult max dose) each day since surgery. I normally only go every other day, and these kinds of meds usually give me horrible gas and cramps (no matter what the label claims), so I was intentionally conservative with them. Although there was a lot of internal, lower abdomen tightness beforehand (for about 6 hrs it actually felt like my binder was too tight), the actual "go" didn't hurt at all. I definitely think that eating light/soft foods the day before surgery and until this point helped. At that point, I decided to drop the MOM and keep just the colace, and start adding regular foods, just in smaller portions. So far, so good.
I took a bird bath and changed clothes, but didn't opt for a full shower. (I figured my hair could wait one extra day, and wanted to use that energy to do more walking, standing, etc.)
Gauze squares over nipples, belly button, and drain site had a little dried discharge on them, but came off easily (sites still numb). I originally thought I would want to use sanitary pads for those sites- to take advantage of the adhesive on the other side- but they are really hard to place inside my bra and buckle in strange and uncomfortable ways. I've given up and switched to simple gauze squares-- the amount of discharge and ease/speed of placement adjustment make that better for me.
My awesome power recliner is still super helpful, but it's starting to get old. The other reviews I've read which warned of back and bottom pain are starting to become real. While that was expected, it's still a drag. I've got good leg and thigh strength, so I think that has offset the worst of the back pain, but it's getting harder and harder to settle in comfortably enough to sleep well.
Day 5. Based on many of the other reviews I've read, things are still going as expected: the chair (and probably the lack of narcotics) resulted in a crappy night's sleep; my internal stitching and lipo sites hurt a lot more than my still mostly-numb incision sites; I'm swollen but still look better than beforehand; bathroom results are still good; my back hurts a bit and I still can't stand up straight; and when I do manage to sleep, I'm having really vivid, weird dreams.
I will take another shower this afternoon, so I will try to take photos at that point.
Day 5 photos, day 6-7 notes
Photos after shower day 5. Lots of lipo bruising and can't stand very upright yet. Swollen, but still better than beforehand! Still sleeping in the recliner, but it's more difficult to get comfortable.
Day 6. Slept for about 5 hrs in my own bed!! Napped in the recliner later, but wow, that bed felt great! I'm stiff and extra hunched-over when I wake up, but ok after the first 15-20 mins. Every day I can stand a little more upright and for longer periods.
Day 7. Can't take the mess any more! (Hubby has been awesome, but he just doesn't see dirt like I do!) I did some laundry, cleaned toilets, did dishes, and "swiffered" the hard surface floors. I took a nap afterward, but was happy to have those little things fixed. I am a little sore, but not too bad, and don't feel swollen, so I'm happy. I have my next post-op appt tomorrow, so we'll see what the doc has to say.
Day 8 and second PO appt
Slept all of last night in bed-- felt great! Still stiff in the morning, but even after some light cleaning around the house yesterday, nothing out of the ordinary. After about 15 mins, I can stand upright, so that is a big improvement.
Went to my second post op appt today-- the doc was happy with my progress so far. I'm still swollen and bruised, but all the incisions are healing well. I have a small bump on my left side where a stitch from the BL may be thinking about "spitting", but it doesn't hurt so I'll kust keep an eye on it for now. The doc removed all the steri strips and put on scar tape (brown, "medipore" brand), and gave me a supply of it to replace any sections that might peel. (Pictures for day 8 soon.)
Because of a planned family trip, my next appt is five days from now, then I won't see him again for about 3 weeks. We'll see how that goes!
Day 9. Did more light housecleaning today to prep for the holidays-- our son is returning from college today, and we have a few errands to run. Took some tylenol early and spent the rest of the day up/moving for the first time since surgery. Finished the day pretty tired and swollen, but not wiped out. Managed to sleep the whole night without any issues.
Day 10. Felt great this morning-- I really think I've "turned the corner" as far as energy level and activity. Still swollen (see photos-not a lot of change) but I checked this morning, and I've lost 5lbs from pre-surgery. As the swelling subsides, I may lose a few more, but I'm most happy about having boobs where they belong and no kangaroo pouch!
One month post op...
Feeling pretty good overall. Very happy that I chose to do it.
Best parts-- rarely have any pain (some occasional "zingers", or if I overdo things), I look and feel better in clothes (people I haven't seen in a long time notice how I look), and my hubby and I are thrilled with the results so far. Oh, and I have been able to go "shopping" in my own closet-- some of the clothes I figured I'd never wear again are back! (Some are even too big!!)
Not so great parts-- still wearing compression garments during the day (I swell a lot more if I don't), have a stitch under my right breast (intersection of vert/horiz scars) that is not healed (it has been "thinking" about spitting for two weeks now), having to be patient about returning to exercising so that I can get even better results (have lost 10 lbs since surgery day, but have not done any actual exercise in the past month).
Photos show a big improvement from before surgery. Incisions are covered in micropore tape, but are almost completely healed (small area at drain site and the section of the anchor incision mentioned above)-- scars are light and barely visible in some areas, and a bit red in others, but all are very flat, so that gives me hope that mederma, etc. will lighten all of them to a great final result.
Next follow up appt is approx 10 days away-- hoping to get cleared for regular bras and a full range of exercise.