Extended Tummy Tuck with Muscle Repair, Lipo of Upper Abdomen, Flanks, and Lateral Thighs - Carmel, IN

Hi everyone. So, a little about myself...I am...

Hi everyone. So, a little about myself...I am 5'9", 45 years old, and weigh 250 lbs. The last time I was truly happy with my figure was about 20 years ago. I’ve had two children, and my weight has fluctuated up and down over the last several years. To compound the weight issue, I have had back surgery. Prior to and after this, I have been pretty limited on activity. And the pounds crept on. Boy did they ever. I have, however, managed to lose 40 pounds strictly by counting calores and have been recently walking (3+ miles/day) and swimming (but my body seems to enjoy this weight because it's hanging on to every pound for dear life!). My sagging “apron” and bulging upper belly have caused me to become very self conscious, so much so that I regularly cross my arms over my belly when I do not have a desk or table in front of me to hide the monster. I am a pretty outgoing and bubbly person, but my low self image (due to the waist down) really has had an impact on me. I have gone to great extremes to hide that gut—very loose clothing always, and I do not enjoy standing up in front of people (presentations at the office). To add insult to injury, prior to my recent weight loss, I could not fasten airline seatbelts and had to ask for the dreaded extender, which you completely understand how appalling this is if you’ve ever been in this position and had to endure the glares of the various (tiny) flight attendants who inevitably draw more attention to this extremely embarrassing situation. Ah, but I digress...

In viewing hundreds of before and after pictures, I have seen some pretty miraculous results. So, after much research and deliberation, I have decided to do something about this.

I narrowed my search to three plastic surgeons with whom I wanted to schedule consultations. The first consultation took place mid-May of this year. First off, if you’ve never stepped foot inside a PS office, you may be surprised (at least I was). I was expecting the staff to be in typical scrub attire. Nope, not at all. Instead, what I saw was a group of very attractive women, in skirts, heels, fully accessorized to the last detail. My first thought, which came from years of self doubt, was, “I don’t belong here. Has my vanity taken control? I’m not built like this. I think I’m in the wrong place.” I did not resemble anyone walking into the waiting area. My husband was with me and reassured me that I was in the right place…”just relax,” he said. He’s been very supportive through everything, and I love him dearly! He's my rock and steady support system.

When we were called back for the consultation, the PS had a terrific bedside manner and was very personable. This PS is local (25 minutes from my house) and performs the drainless tummy tuck (“TT”). I am very drawn to the drainless TT. From what I’ve read in multiple reviews, it seems a lot of the discomfort after surgery comes from hassling with those darn drains. During my consultation, the PS was thorough and was pleased that I had some knowledge and familiarity with the procedure. I have watched numerous TT operations on YouTube and also simulated surgeries on various PS websites, not to mention reading hundreds of reviews here (thanks everyone, you rock!!). My main questions for the PS related to: TT vs. Extended TT vs. Lipo. I told the PS that I am looking for the most cost effective solution that will give me the greatest results; in other words, I want “the biggest bang for the buck”. Since I’m a big girl, I’m not at all expecting a washboard tummy afterwards. Let’s be realistic: I’m certainly not going into this with the expectation that I will become a swimsuit model. My goal is to gain a greater sense of self confidence and less “hiding” in clothes/behind desks. The PS believes the greatest results specific for me will come from an Extended TT with muscle tightening/correction of the upper abdomen (a/k/a diastasis) plus lipo of the upper abdomen, flanks and outer thighs. After a general discussion, he said I appear to be a good candidate for this surgery, both physically and emotionally. He said my head is in a good place. (In other words, I think my expectations are realistic.) I know I will be very, very sore afterwards, but I do believe this will be worth the effort and expense. With the lipo, he will insert a couple of very small drains to drain the excess fluids from my sides/back (so I’m not totally getting away from drainless, gah!). In case you have not heard of a drainless TT, the PS takes extra time to suture the abdomen which closes up the space where fluid would normally collect, thereby eliminating the need for these drains. (I am also considering upper arm lipo but thought of this after my consult and have not yet discussed this. Anyone who had this done, I'd be interested in hearing your results.)

I’ve read many reviews by ladies who are petrified to be put to sleep. My own personal experiences with general anesthesia have been very positive. Once they start the drip, it seems like it takes about 5 seconds for the room to start spinning, so I close my eyes and then BOOM I’m out. Best sleep ever!

I had such a great feeling about this PS that I’m going with him. The main considerations are 1) neither of the other two PS perform drainless TTs; 2) one PS is located in Cincinnati, which is too far from home (I live near Indianapolis), making it difficult for follow-up appointments, not to mention the ride home; and 3) the PS with whom I had the consult keeps you overnight in the hospital (which I truly believe I will need). My PS was very calm during our consultation, very knowledgeable and seemed extremely confident that he could provide some much-needed contouring to this bod of mine. At one point, he had me stand next to my husband. The PS used both hands to simulate what my belly would look like after surgery (drawing in my waist). He also said the extended TT and lipo will smooth the dimples in my butt. When the PS pulled up extra skin in my hip area, it lifted my butt. The sound that was emitted by my husband was all I needed to hear. Let’s just say it was a good sound (I think he almost swallowed his tongue. LOL). I left there with some very good information and was encouraged for the first time in a really long time.

A couple months have passed since my consultation, but I called yesterday, scheduled the surgery, and paid the deposit! I’m very excited, and a little anxious. I think it’s just the fear of what's yet to come...not that I won’t wake up. My pre-op appointment is this Monday, August 5, and my surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, August 21. OMG. It was the most amazing feeling when I hung up the phone after scheduling the surgery. I was so excited and relieved…I started crying. It’s going to be a whirlwind between now and the surgery because I was not expecting to do this until November. Any helpful comments would be greatly appreciated. I have purchased a shower seat and a walker (I have a bad back, so I assume this will really come in handy). I feel like I'm behind the 8 ball here since they were able to get me in so quickly.

That’s about it, fellow TT’ers! Any words of wisdom to make things easier/more convenient would be greatly appreciated.

I look forward to your comments and would be happy to answer any questions anyone has.

Pre-op complete! 15 days and counting

I completed the pre-op with the surgeon yesterday. All went well. The embarrassing part is those darn before pics in those tiny tissue panties. Argh! I do not have copies of those, so I will take some of my own soon and promise I will post them. I know pictures are worth a thousand words, and I know I've scoured loads of pictures myself and realize the importance of them. I will try to get those posted this week.

I received my scripts for post-surgery and will have those filled and ready to go. It doesn't sound as though a CG is required. My PS is more about the compression garment afterwards (and suggested bicycle shorts or Under Armour) and not so much the binder. He does not believe Spanx will provide enough support (I agree with this). I know I've read reviews from you guys about this very topic and haven't made any decisions yet. Any thoughts?

Before pics

I am posting a few before pictures (as hard as it is to do). So ready for this!

Getting ready! List of supplies and purchased items so far

So I filled all of my prescriptions today that were given to me at my pre-op visit:
Antibiotic (short dose of a very strong one...my PS says too much of this could cause a yeast infection, so only four were prescribed)
Percocet
Flexeril (muscle relaxer)
Anti-nausea med (sounds like pretty potent stuff)
Lovenox shots (anticoagulant to reduce blood clots)
I also picked up some Arnica Gel (Boiron brand)...the pharmacist said this stuff is awesome and uses it personally on sore muscle pain/stiffness). Also per d37 (shout out to you, lady!) it works great on reducing discoloration from bruising. The other stated uses on the box include reduction in pain and swelling.
I've purchased my supplements (thanks to several posts from you guys):
Vitamin C
Zinc
Turmeric (but need to make sure when I can take this since I have the Lovenox shots)
Bromelain (natural pineapple enzyme to help reduce gas/bloating, reduces inflammation, speeds healing)

I also picked up:
Some wonderful wild cherry flavor MoM (cramp free of course) for those sure-to-come difficult bm's due to anesthesia, pain meds, etc.
A couple cold packs for swelling
A variety of compression garments (my PS does not like anything too tight)

I plan on taking with me to the hospital (I will be kept overnight):
Soft blankie
Pillow
Walker (Texas Ranger...sorry, getting loopy here with excitement)...read this is a tremendous help getting to/from the bathroom
Shower chair (will not take to the hospital, but did find one of these cheap for home use)

I've also purchased maxi pads and liners...read from you guys how fantastic these are for drain leaks and also as a cushion between my bod and the compression garmet. I have several books and magazines ready to go, should I be so inclined to read (I typically only have the chance to read on flights, so this would be great). I'm also recording movies, shows to watch when I'm not knocked out from pain meds.

Since the countdown is really on (9 days!), I'm trying to ensure I have everything ready to go so that my husband doesn't have to try to find any of this at the last minute. He'll be with me Wed-Tue, and I am forever grateful for him taking off work to be with me!

So I'd like to ask your opinion on something if you don't mind. I'd really like your feedback...only my husband knows I am having this surgery. My kids know I'm having surgery (but I've just stated it's for girl stuff). No worries...they're boys, and that was plenty of detail for them! lol At work, I've told a few people I will be out for surgery, but I haven't told anyone why. I, like many of you other gals who have posted something similar, believe there will be negative feedback, and I really don't want to deal with it. This is for me, and I don't want/need their criticism, etc (sorry if that sounds selfish). What I'd like to know from you guys is what have you told folks at work? I don't have any family locally, so that part is no big deal. I'm just curious as to how to address the questions that I am sure will be coming soon. I've read a review stating they said it was abdominal hernia surgery because the recovery is very similar. I don't like lying (people at work ask for my opinion because they know I will be honest and give them a straight up answer), but I also don't want to get into the personal details (the who, what, where, when, how, why's of it all). You with me? I'd be very interested in hearing your thoughts on this.

Wishing all you who have gone through surgery already a continued and speedy recovery, and for those of us still waiting...we'll get there and we'll be all the better for it! A special shout out to those of you having surgery on the 21st of August (woot woot!)!

Wednesday is the day!

I'm in countdown mode because I will be at the hospital in less than 34 hours checking in and all that good stuff. I am taking measurements at home tonight and getting all my stuff ready to go. One issue is I've caught a cold! Ugh The timing couldn't be worse. I just hope I don't sneeze after the surgery. No fever...just a good old-fashioned cold in the middle of summer. At least I don't have the flu! :)

PO day 2

I made it through. It's been a little rough though. Getting in and out of bed hurts the most right now. Got to my room around 2pm and slept a lot. I was released yesterday and came home. I feel like my incision is splitting open when I get up to walk. Slept pretty well last night in the guest bedroom with dh. My bedroom has steps and I'm not comfortable doing that just yet. I highly recommend a walker. It helps my back so much (and I have back issues). Today is better than yesterday and I hope tomorrow is even better. I puffed up quite a bit overnight. Appetite is not there but I'm drinking lots of water and Gatorade I've only had half a piece of toast today.

PS says he is very pleased with the outcome. I'll continue to post pictures as dh continues to take them. Dh seems very pleased. He said he can't believe how much smaller I am already. I look forward to about 3 months from now when I can get in and out of bed by myself. So far so good!

PO day 3

Wow. What a difference a day makes! I slept nearly all of yesterday. I'm up and eating a little oatmeal and drinking G2. I'm posting some nee pics that my dh took just a few minutes ago. I'm so surprised (GIDDY) with the results so far. Started taking the arnica 3x/day (orally) and then rubbing lightly on my thighs. Maybe it is too soon, but my bruising is not bad at all! I going to take a shower today. I Have more energy so I figured I should do that. Going from bed to standing was the worst but not so bad now. I highly recommend using a walker. It's been a real life saver! It felt great to get the compression garment off. After my shower later, I'm going to put a tank on underneath the compression garment. I read a few places here that this helps a LOT with the itching. I hope you all continue healing quickly!

PO day 4

I woke up feeling very swollen and tight this morning. I took off the binder and put on my compression shorts that go from mid-thigh up under my boobs. It is definitely more uniform in compression than the binder. Using the restroom is going to be a bit of a challenge because they're tight and harder to pull up and down. It already feels better to have them on.

I'm on my 2nd glass of 32 oz of water and have eaten fresh pineapple and a little oatmeal. No BM yet but took MoM for that plus stool softener. Hoping those will kick in soon.

I will try to post more pics later today.

PO day 4 pics

Taken with the compression garment on. I like it much better than the binder from the hospital. This feels like it gives me a lot more support. OH! One more hurdle...had my first BM! Yay!!!! I'm no longer using the walker and am pretty much getting up/down into chairs and in/out of bed by myself. I feel better today.

Day 5 PO

Good morning everyone. I hope everyone is doing well today! I had a really good night last night. I only woke up 2-3 times which is great for me. I'm up and had some oatmeal with a tall glass of ice water. Hubby went back to work today for first time since my surgery. I'm a little nervous how I'm going to do by myself. He's been so great through all of this...don't know how I could've done it without him. He's supposed to be leaving for an overnight business trip tomorrow, and I'm really anxious about that, but it is part of his job. I'll survive!! lol The kids will be here and can help if I need something.

Going into this, I was really concerned about my back hurting than my actual belly pain. I've had back surgery and just generally have a crappy back, so I was scared that I'd lose my momentum the last year that I've spent trying to get it back where it needs to be. I'm still taking the pain meds as I still have a lot of pulling where the incision is (which goes all the way around) and also the drains. I had a drainless TT and lipo. The drains are specifically for the lipo areas, not for the TT itself. The ps sutures in a way that closes up pockets where drainage could accumulate. I was shocked that I have 4 drains though!!I do believe the drains are the worst part. They pull, they get in the way, they sting and burn occasionally, they are a mess.

One major thing to note going into a surgery with drain tubes is: strip the tubes several times each day! I discovered yesterday that we were to be stripping the tubes. Unfortunately, neither my husband nor myself read this piece of paper. So since we hadn't done it yet, I was really getting puffy and swollen. So I went to work on those. Ladies, make sure you do this because mine were pretty well clogged and not draining much at all for several hours. I was less swollen this morning when I woke up. I had drained several cc's in each tube, so it must've worked.

I'm still swollen but am feeling better each day. For me, PO days 2 and 3 are the worst. I was still groggy from all the anesthesia, plus the pain meds on top of that. What really helped is when I started taking the muscle relaxer. This has been great!

My bruising has been minimal so far. I think the arnica and bromelain are working nicely. My lipo sites are still very tender. I've been using maxi pads as cushion between the compression garment and my underwear. This has helped with the tenderness.

The days seem to be going by pretty quickly. As I mentioned, I'm staying on top of my pain meds. I'll start weaning off those soon enough and will eventually move to night-time use. I'm uploading a few before and after shots. The after shots were just taken this morning.

More pics

Sorry, hit update button too soon!!

PO day 6

Slept very well last night. Hubby said I look smaller this morning and is really loving my butt. Lol. I guess I understand his priorities now. Haha. It's getting easier getting in and out of bed but still not easy. My drainage has slowed a lot, which hopefully means I will get my drains out at my post op appt Thurs. sorry if this is tmi, but man oh man did I have the BM of a lifetime last night. I has posted yesterday that I felt very swollen, and now I know why. I was a little backed up. I have been taking 2 stool softeners each day, but that wasn't enough to cut it. I took a dose of milk of magnesia earlier in the evening and that did the trick. I had already gone to bed, but I was feeling so much pressure I got up one last time to pee. That's when it kicked in. I felt so much better afterwards. I think that's why I slept so great!! Appetite still minimal. PS said it'd be like that for awhile, so no worries. Taste buds are off for sure, but I don't mind that part at all. I had a baked potato (no salt) and a small bowl of watermelon for dinner. I had taken off my compression shorts because the swelling was painful with them on, and had gone back to the binder I received from the hospital, drank water, and got in bed so my feet were up with pillows under my knees. It took me awhile to get to sleep, but once I fell asleep, I was out! Best night of sleep I've had in awhile. I'm taking extra strength Tylenol today to see how that works vs the Percocet. I'm going to try that with the muscle relaxer and see how I do. I still have some burning where the lipo was done, which I've read is more painful than the TT itself. Not so sure about that, but it certainly does hurt. One thing I've noticed that has helped tremendously with the lipo areas is that I've been putting ice packs on them (2/$5 at Walgreens) regularly. I've also been regularly taking the arnica by mouth and applying the arnica gel and have VERY little bruising! Very happy about this. I'm posting a picture of both legs so you can see the bruising (or lack thereof). Plus I'm posting a couple more from a sitting position when I got out of the shower. I can already tell a vast difference but am really looking forward to getting rid of the drains!

Hubby left for a business trip this morning, so I'm a little anxious. He went back to work yesterday, but just knowing he would be home later helped my mindset. I've got teenage boys, so I'm sure things will be fine.

I took another shower last night by myself and standing up, washed my hair, the whole production. I was exhausted when I was done! Thinking I easily could've used the shower chair again, but I was trying to push myself a little. There's plenty of time for that! I just need to remember to take this time to heal. My body needs it.

I'm really beginning to see results. The panties I had on from the shower picture are soooo big now. Before? Not so much.

This, without a doubt, is a tough process, and the first six days have kicked my butt. But if I can make it through this, I'm convinced anyone can! I had so much done to my body. Yes, it's been painful, but the results are going to be phenomenal. I just know it. :)

Hope everyone is healing well today. Get some rest and treat yourself right. I'm thinking about everyone going through the recovery now and to all those who are yet to decide to go through this. Without a doubt, this has been a changing point in my life. Take the plunge and do this if you're having second thoughts! You won't regret it!

PO day 7-one week already!

I showered by myself. My husband does not get back from his trip until around midnight. I've really missed him!! We're best friends, and I just miss him when he's gone. I love talking to him about anything and everything. Sorry, must be the 7-day blues. I've been pretty emotional today. I knew this would come, just wasn't sure when.

I'm pretty swollen today. I go back for my first post op appt with the ps tomorrow. I really hope I can lose the drains!! I guess we'll see in the morning! I still do not have much of an appetite. I've only had a banana, some applesauce, a few vanilla wafers, and water and Gatorade. I tried to eat some salad, blah. It didn't taste good at all. Sure seems like my taste buds are really off. I had a scrambled egg and a piece of toast last night. It tasted really good. I'm sure I need the protein and should probably have that again tonight.

I'm taking Tylenol during the days and Percocet at night. I'm only taking one muscle relaxer per day now and hoarding these puppies like they're gold!

I'm getting around much easier--in and out of bed by myself for a couple days now. I still tire easily, but that's to be expected from what I'm told.

I hope everyone is doing well. I will post pics tomorrow after my pre op appt, hopefully without the drains!

Post Op visit (from day 8 post op)

The drains are gone! Hallelujah (singing voice)!! They stung for me when he was taking them out. It didn't last long, but it is nice to be rid of them!

It felt so good to get out of the house! I feel like a new person since those nasty drains are gone. I can move easier. I don't hurt with every movement anymore. Life is good! The ps is very happy with the front and back, and I have to agree with him. He did a fantastic job, and I can't thank him enough!

So call me stupid, but I didn't realize the importance if protein. I've read it many times in here but my ps made it very clear. Your scar healing depends a lot on how much protein you eat. It helps the skin heal back together where the incisions are. He told me to have a lot of protein, and just put a thin layer of Vaseline on the incision as needed for now. Since my incision goes ALL the way around, it is important that I follow his advice. My next appt is in 2 weeks.

He said if I feel like it, I can swim in 24 hours. Chlorine is my friend and will help heal the incision.

I am posting various pictures from last night.

I hope everyone is healing nicely!

PO day 11

I am feeling so much better since the drains are out! I cannot believe how much of a difference getting those darn drains out has made! Friday evening, my husband got home from work, and I was going stir crazy. I'd only been out of the house once (for post op visit) since the surgery. We just went riding around. We went up and down every country road in the county, windows down, just enjoying life. It was fantastic and we had the best time doing nothing!! We ended up stopping at a small mom and pop ice cream place (walk up window). I had a peanut butter fudge ice cream cone, and I swear it was the best ice cream cone I've ever eaten! Lol. Chocolate ice cream with ribbons of peanut butter throughout. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven! Yum. My taste buds have been so off and I really just haven't eaten much since the surgery. Things just haven't tasted "right" and nothing sounded good. It's fine with me. I view it as an added perk from surgery that I wasn't expecting! Haha We made our way home for the evening, and I flattened out in our bed (first time to sleep in my own bed since surgery). It was awesome! That was by far the best night's sleep I've had for quite some time!

Saturday we got up, went out for breakfast, and I had half a turkey and provolone sandwich (yep, that was breakfast at 8am). It sounded good, had the protein I was looking for, and I'm still watching my sodium, so it fit the bill. I got a side of cottage cheese to go with it. It was great and really hit the spot! After breakfast, we went putzing around, running errands. We were out for about 3 hours or so, and I felt like I walked quite a bit (and was getting a little tired). So we headed home. I felt fine, just tired. Flattened out in the recliner for a couple hours, got some more energy, and so we took a couple of the boys to an outlet mall to do a little back to school clothes/shoes shopping. It was HOT yesterday! Holy cow. The car registered 96! We were gone about 6 hours. I was beat when we got home (I sat quite a bit throughout the day...not Wonder Woman here), but it felt so nice to seem somewhat normal again!

I'm using fewer pillows in my bed, which is great, but I still can only lie on my back comfortably. I'm still hunched over somewhat, but it is getting better. By the end of the day, I'm moving more slowly and hunching over a little more. I'm wearing my compression shorts/ab garment everyday and sleeping in it as well. I'm patiently waiting for a lot of the swelling to subside so I can see what my waist will look like. I'm very straight in the flank area now (i,e., no waist whatsoever), but I'm not complaining whatsoever! I'm thrilled with my results so far and that I've been able to bounce back pretty quickly. I hope to continue down this path to keep moving because it really has helped me tremendously, both mentally and physically. I'm feeling very blessed right now.

Take care ladies!! Have a great remaining Labor Day weekend!

PO day 20

I went for a checkup today to determine if I have an infection. My incision above my mons area has split open. As you can see from the photo, it is not overly attractive. Lol I was concerned that a) the incision had become infected, and b) the incision would continue to split open even more and possibly create issues. I was also worried the ps would have to restitch the incision, which I wasn't overly thrilled about. What I learned today is that when the tummy tuck takes place, the blood flow is pretty much severed or slowed quite a bit particularly in the area where I'm having the issue. So my specific issue is caused by lack of blood to the region. I now am applying a topical cream to the incision twice daily. I need to also make sure I get plenty of protein in my diet because that's how the cells rejuvenate and the tissue will grow back together. Okay, I can handle that. Huge relief! I stopped and bought some protein bars and am eating more chicken, nuts, boiled eggs, and other foods containing protein. Hopefully this will kick my recovery up a notch!

Today was my first day back to work (office job), and, yep, I was tired by the end of the workday. I felt fine...just tired and swollen. Very tight, like Braxton Hicks, is how it felt. He also said lymphatic massage would be good for me, which will reduce my swelling. I need to set this up with my massage therapist and am looking forward to it!

After work, I had to run several errands and finally got home at 8pm. I'm very happy with my recovery so far. My ps said he's very happy with my progress and that I'm ahead of the norm as far as energy level and recovery. Yay!! I do feel pretty dang good. I'm wearing a compression garment (bought at Cato's) that seems to work pretty well. That's what I've worn since I was about 4 days post op. I like it! I wear it almost 24/7 (have two) but sometimes take it off for a couple hours when I get up to go to the bathroom around 4 or 5am and then get back in bed and enjoy the freedom. It's my guilty pleasure. Lol

I'm sleeping on my sides and back at night. No naps for me, except for Saturday. My hubby tuckered me out. Lol We ran around doing a lot of errands, getting groceries, going to garage sales, etc., which meant I was climbing in and out of our SUV over and over and over. I needed a nap when we got home! Slept for about and hour and a half in the recliner, woke up, then had to get ready for a wedding. We went to the wedding (outdoor and man was it smoking HOT!!), stayed for the reception (which included dinner), then took our granddaughter (age 18 mos) home with us and kept her for the night. Yes, my energy is coming back, but that little squirt wore me out! Lol

Also had "relations" with my husband this weekend for the first time since surgery. It was great, but I had a hard time relaxing. I was afraid I was going to pull something or harm the area of the incision! I didn't harm anything and survived.

I'm still taking zinc, vitamin c, bromelain, turmeric regularly and drinking plenty of water (still watching sodium and no soda still). Bruising has been very minimal, but arnica took care of that! I'm not 100% by any means, but I'm feeling better each and every day and am very thankful for my highly skilled and talented ps. He has really given me more hope than I've had in a very long time. Since I started my weight loss program last October (including the lbs removed with TT and lipo), I am down 60lbs. I'm thrilled and am looking forward to more swelling to vacate the premises. Lol I'm down a pant size already but am certain I will lose at least one more when my waist appears and the swelling goes away. Lol That's great progress and am grateful!

If you are looking at having a TT and are undecided, don't wait another second. The first week is painful, but the results are so rewarding! I will post more pics soon but wanted to get this posted.

Cheers! :)

3 weeks PO

As promised, I'm adding updated pictures as of 6:50pm today. These were taken after a full day at the office, and I am very swollen! This is the first time that I've included pics of the incision of my backside. I'm still healing but am still thrilled with the results so far!!

Quick weight update

So I am down 22 pounds after surgery for a total of 60 lbs since last October with my prior weight loss. Yay!! (If I've said this previously, I apologize. I'm not gloating,) I'm feeling good and am looking forward to walking some mileage again soon. I know my weight will continue to drop a bit because I'm only 3 weeks PO and still very swollen. That's encouraging! I'm still dressing the incision but have noticed it has split a little more, but the ps said that this is possible. I'll just have to apply more medication (Silvadene 1% cream by prescription) to it and more gauze and sanitary covering to protect it. It's just funny because it really sticks out and looks like out of place. Lol I'm still applying Vaseline to my scar, which is all I'm supposed to put on it per my ps. It's flattening out some and is pretty smooth. I have the bio oil to start when I'm given the green light. But honestly, my husband is the only one who will ever see it, and after all he's seen me go through the past few weeks, I'm not going to sweat it because I categorize this as the "small stuff". It doesn't bother him, so it doesn't bother me. 'Nuff said. :)

Still swelling a lot. It doesn't seem to go down much at all overnight right now like it used to. I'm watching sodium still and have started eating protein bars for some extra grams for healing. Drinking lots of water, too. This too shall pass.

Funny story. My earring got caught on my phone at work and popped out of my ear and flew under my desk, beyond reach. Yes, I tried using my foot to reach it. No such luck. It was way back in there. I had to go ask a coworker to crawl under my desk to get it for me because it still is painful to maneuver my body into awkward positions. I was afraid if I crawled under there, I'd never be able to get myself back up into my chair! Lol

My pants are very, very loose. The slacks and sweater I wore to work today are both getting donated. Waaaay to big and very sloppy looking. This is a good problem right?! It's so nice to sit in my chair at work and not cross my arms to cover my belly anymore! It's so liberating, and I feel so free! I know that sounds crazy, but it's such a wonderful feeling.

One major upside that I've noticed since the surgery...Back pain GONE. I used to have quite a bit if trouble with my lower back, and that was a huge concern of mine...that after all the progress I've made with my back, the surgery would reverse those efforts. It's been the exact opposite! I have not had one iota of pain and cannot tell you how overjoyed I am at this development. My ps had told me before that since my stomach muscles were so far out of whack, my core muscles weren't being utilized like they should've been, and my back was working overtime. I thought, yeah, well, okay. We'll see. I was not convinced because I've been struggling with back issues for the last 6 years. He was right!! I just get happier and happier by the day! Lol

Okay, signing off for now. Good luck and/or happy healing to my fellow TT sisters!

24 days PO

So this has been a very busy weekend so far. Went on a date with my hubby last night. We went to the movies and made a few stops afterwards before heading home. Stayed up the latest since surgery (midnight) making sure kids arrived home safely for curfew. Slept until 3:30am before having to get up to pee. We have a closet in our bathroom, and as I was heading back to the bedroom and right next to the aforementioned closet door, the door popped open. Scared the living bejesus out of me! But that was the only time I got up last night (normal is 2 or 3x/night so a definite improvement!). Today we went out for breakfast, followed by many errands, garage sales, stops at various stores (including Walmart, Cato's, GNC, and Walgreen), etc, before heading home. Then swept off deck and put things away. Went out to dinner. Then cut hubby's hair because he leaves for a business trip tomorrow. Then son, soon to be daughter-in-law, and granddaughter stopped over for a couple hours. I changed the 18-mo-old into her swimsuit, carried her up and down the stairs twice, and now they've gone home. Tried on purchases for husband from Cato's, redressed my incision, and am in my nighty clothes. Yep, I'm pretty sure I'm going to sleep well tonight. Incision is looking better. Seems to be closing up some, so this is great.

In October, the son I mentioned above will be getting married. We will be having an additional 18 people (family and close friends) staying at our house for 4-5 days. They're a really fun group, and I'm very much looking forward to it. I'm trying to get my energy level back to pre-surgery so I can survive that extended weekend! It's gonna be busy to say the least!

The reason I've told you all the above (and described in such excruciating detail) is because I want you future TT'ers to see that you won't be down forever. Honestly, time has flown ever since I got the drains out. You will get better, and you will improve. My ps said I can't really hurt myself at this point and have no restrictions, so I'm going for it (within reason). I listen to my body and don't push too much.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Cheers!

4 weeks PO

So it's hard to believe that it has been four weeks since the surgery. Time seems to be flying by, and I seem to be getting with each passing day. My incision is closing up more each day, except now I have a small spot on each hip that has opened slightly. I'm a mess when I have to go to the bathroom. Between the layers plus the miscellaneous gauze pads that I'm trying to keep in place, it's a major feat to pee. :) No complaints though. It's all good. I'm moving better and easier each day, and for the first time since surgery, I didn't have to get up in the night to pee! Yay! What a major accomplishment!! Lol

I mentioned a lymphatic massage that my ps recommended. Well, I had that Monday and highly recommend them if you can swing it! My abdomen was so incredibly tight. The massage therapist ("mt") couldn't believe it. She worked it quite a bit and massaged my belly in circular motions. She was very curious about the procedure and had several questions but knew quite a bit already because she's watched surgeries on utube. She showed me how to massage my belly at home (as you're lying down, massage circles around your belly in a clockwise pattern as you're looking toward your belly button...so the area between your breasts we'll call 6 o'clock, with your bb being 12 o'clock). The reason for a clockwise motion is you're going "with" your intestines. Going in a counter clockwise motion is not good because it works against your intestines and bowels, this reducing the elimination of excess fluid. Makes sense! The area was a little tender (she also worked my flanks and back), but I felt so much better afterwards. I was afraid that lying on my stomach would be painful, but it was not painful at all. The mt had me feel my abs when she was done. It was amazing how much "softer" they were. Don't get me wrong...they were still taut like they should be, but they felt "real" as opposed to a statue, if that makes sense. I still feel much better but scheduled another massage for next week. My swelling has been down as well. I'm posting some pictures to see if you guys can tell any difference. I can finally see my waist starting to appear!!

I haven't started exercising yet, but I plan to start walking again this weekend on a walking path near our house. It has some inclines and slanted trails, so it works several leg muscles. It is also marked every .25 mile so I can see my progress. Pre-surgery, my husband and I were walking 3-4 miles 5-6 days/week. I don't expect this but would be happy if I walked 1/2 to 1 mile, but I'll play it by ear and see how it goes. I'm excited to get back into walking!

I'll wrap this up because I know it's long! :) I hope all my TT sisters are healing well, and to all of you future TT'ers, good luck!

5 weeks PO

I had my follow up appointment yesterday, and it went very well. My incision is healing nicely. I'm still swelling after a full day, but it's totally tolerable. I have some little lumps under my scar, so I am to start massaging those twice daily. My ps said I'm ahead of where he thought I'd be at 5 weeks. He suggested two lymphatic massages per week if I can swing it because I'm still puffy and need to get some fluid out of my system. I had a massage yesterday afternoon, and the ps wanted the massage therapist to work my abdomen and my thighs. I've been approved for scar therapy so that's great! It's pretty flat but still pretty "brightly colored". My bb is getting cuter. It's still an outie, but it's because of the swelling. My ps said in another 4 months, he thinks I'll be thrilled with my results. I told him I'm already ecstatic with the results! My waist will start appearing in another month or so. I just keep reminding myself to be patient because the results will continue to get better. I'm posting some pictures of some slacks I tried on over the weekend. These were all being worn pre-surgery. Let's just say Goodwill received a hefty donation this weekend! When I told my ps that I had to get rid of my slacks, he said he believes I will go down at least 4 pant sizes. I'll be thrilled beyond belief if that comes true!!

5 wk PO scar update pics

I wanted to post a few photos of my scar, my incision (front area that split apart), and bb. Progress has definitely been made, but not fully healed/closed up yet. I'm pretty happy with my scar. It's flat and very low, so I'm just looking for it to lighten up a bit over time. Then I'll be good to go! ;). Happy healing all!

5-1/2 week PO update

This has been a banner day! I tried on multiple coats and sweaters that were snug last fall/winter. Wow! The difference is astounding! I'm going to have to donate several of those as well (like I did with slacks last weekend). The very, very best thing about all of this is I tried on my wedding dress from 8-1/2 years ago, and it's looser now than it was then! My husband was watching, and I started crying because I honestly cannot remember when I've been this size. When I wore the dress for our wedding, I was at my lowest weight since 1997! I still cannot believe it. This has been such a motivating and rewarding weekend. It makes the pain and lengthy recovery, not to mention the cash outlay, totally worth it. I thought this before today and never doubted it for a second, but words cannot express what I'm feeling inside.

On a different note, my scar is looking better, my BB is healing nicely and looking pretty great, and my incision is really making progress and closing up more each and every day! My energy level is pretty high. I'm doing all kinds of household chores. Life is pretty much back to normal, but I still have to be careful of sodium intake and swelling. I have broken my diet Pepsi addiction (nearly 6 weeks without any soda). Yay! Personal victory!!! Lol :)

I am standing up very straight. The only time I'm slightly "stooping" is when I first get out of a chair and my muscles tighten. It's a little uncomfortable but goes away within a minute of getting up.

Hopefully this info helps someone along the healing process. I'll keep adding as long as I can help someone! :)

6 weeks PO

Well, ladies, it's been 6 weeks since the surgery, and I must say I feel amazing! My incision is just getting better every day, and my bb is looking saweeeeet! Lol.

I'm getting two lymphatic massages each week, and they seem to be working pretty well for me. My tummy isn't nearly as rock hard as it was before, and this is good because it was freakishly hard. When I would bend over at the waist (sitting in a chair) to pick up something off the floor, it used to be very uncomfortable because my tummy was so hard. The relaxed feeling is working its way inward and has provided more mobility than before the massages.

I did some more shopping yesterday. I used to not look forward to shopping at all because I never liked the way I looked in clothes. Well, I'm happy to say things change! :) I love, love, LOVE to shop now. It's so much fun to fit in smaller sizes now. When I was my heaviest, I was wearing 24 pants, and now I'm fitting into 16's but fully expect to be in 14's next summer. My tops used to be size 2 or 3x. Yesterday I tried on and purchased 14's and a couple 16's. I still can't get over how much better things fit!

I'm posting some pictures from this morning. My scar is looking better. It's very flat and smooth and getting lighter. Yay!

8 weeks PO

Things seem to be going really well. I have no restrictions and can do just about anything I want. The incision in the front has all but healed. There is a small area on my right hip that has a small hole. The ps says it is an area under the incision that has come apart. No biggie. It happens. It seeps a little, so I keep it covered with a small gauze pad. I can't use bandaids because I have reactions to the adhesive, so I have been using small pieces of paper tape to secure it slightly so it doesn't move around and muss up my panties. :)

The lymphatic massages have helped tremendously! The area between my belly button and the incision was hard as a rock, but with the work my massage therapist has been doing, she has managed to loosen this up significantly. I think this has helped my incision because above and below the incision was so hard that the skin wouldn't go back together. The ps believes in 2 weeks it should be completely healed. He could try to restitch it, but I'm good. Haha. I'm a weenie so I'll just wait it out. Lol

Hope everyone is happy with their results. Hang in there. Things will get better! :)

10 weeks PO

Things are going really well. I have so much more energy now and am receiving a lot of compliments (yay!). I went to my stepson's wedding a week and a half ago. I danced more than I have since high school. It felt so good to dance with reckless abandon! We had a blast...the whole family was out on the dance floor, and we shut the place down (wedding at 3:30pm...didn't get home from reception until 12:30AM). My 16-yr-old son was showing me dance moves. It was so much fun...we're still talking about it! I danced to everything from "Shout" to "Holy Grail" to "Good 'Ol Boys" to "Macarena". Such fun! My stomach felt terrific, and I had so much confidence to be out there. The only problem was the next day...my hips, knees, and ankles were totally ticked off at me! Haha I was painfully aware of the fact I'm not a spring chicken any longer . It's all good though. A year ago, I would not have believed that I would be out on the dance floor boogieing the night away with family and friends. This surgery really has changed my outlook on life.

I am getting lymphatic massages still but only once each week now instead of twice. I didn't get one last week, and I could really tell a difference. I have been puffy but am back on track now.

I'm posting some pictures. It's truly amazing to look at my before pictures and then look at the ones from this morning. I can hardly believe the transformation. My bb is looking great, and my incision issue has pretty much healed. It's all closed, which is a major improvement. There is still a bubble that will hopefully go away soon. I'm just pleased with progress to date.

Best wishes to everyone. Apologies for missing my update last week but I was still recovering from having 13 extra people stay with us for 5 nights (for the wedding). We had a great time, but my body was pushed more than ever since the surgery. I was on my feet cooking, cleaning, and entertaining/hosting for nearly the whole time, so it was a true test. I think I passed with flying colors!

11 weeks PO

I'm quite happy with my bod. Sure, it's not perfect, but that wasn't my goal. I wanted to feel better about myself and have more confidence. Mission accomplished. It's amazing how the little things make me feel so good. Case in point: being able to pull my knees up to my chest in a chair. I didn't realize how good this feels! I'm walking taller, chest puffed out a bit (not cocky like...but with some oomph), and making more eye contact. I talk to more people openly and even seek them out for conversation because I'm not so self conscious about how I look. I NEVER cross my arms over my belly anymore. I don't need to because my arms are perfectly comfy resting on the arms of the chair instead.

I haven't mentioned what I'm wearing under my clothes for several posts. I'm wearing a compression garment (mid-thigh to underneath breasts). I had a big oops yesterday. Somehow, I forgot to put it on after my shower. Keep in mind, I have several in rotation, so I always have 2 clean. I've never forgotten to put one on in the last 11 weeks! But, hey, I survived! I wore one to bed last night, which I normally do. Surprisingly, I didn't feel more swollen. My skin felt a little tingly in my hips and belly. Other than that, it wasn't a big deal except I felt like I left my a security blanket at home.

My scar is feeling pretty good. I'm rubbing Vaseline and/or liquid vitamin e on the scar twice daily. My incision is completely closed, which makes me very happy!

I hope everyone is healing nicely, gaining courage for your upcoming surgery, or just enjoying some reviews to tackle your own personal demon. This site will arm you with the best information you can find, which will help you mentally and physically. Best of luck to all you fantastic ladies!

12 wks PO

Hi everyone!! I can't believe I'm at 12 weeks already. My incision is still completely closed up, and I think (knock on wood) I'm done with open areas! Yay!! I still have some rope-like areas in my incision that I believe are stitches that have not yet dissolved. Generally, the scar is soft and smooth. It feels pretty good. The color isn't as dark now either.

I'm wearing a compression garment (Sweet Nothings at Walmart is my favorite, believe it or not) that extends from mid-thigh to just under my breasts. It is very comfy and feels really good without being too tight. I have noticed I have some extra swelling in my pubic area. Now?! Yep, no time like the present, I suppose. Lol. I'm really looking forward to this puffiness going away. It's below my incision, but I recall the ps saying this will be the last area where the swelling will leave. That's a positive sign, right?! I also wonder if the time between my lymphatic massages hasn't helped. I was scheduled for one last Tuesday, but my massage therapist was sick. I couldn't get back in until this Friday, so it'll be 2+ weeks since my last massage. Let's just say I am ready! I feel like I'm hanging on to some fluid, so Friday can't come soon enough.

I worked in the yard this weekend (blowing leaves which was harder than it sounds). I was exhausted by the time I was done. I slept like a baby though! Haha I also did a lot of walking that day. The next day I was a little stiff, and my hips were sore, but the physical activity felt great!

I'm still taking my vitamin c, zinc, and eating a protein bar for breakfast. I still am off the soda. It's amazing to think I haven't had a diet Pepsi (or any other carbonated beverage) in over 12 weeks! Personal victory!! Yay for me (lol).

My back is still doing very well (2 back surgeries previously and regular back issues). I'm convinced this surgery has reduced and nearly eliminated my back pain. I feel terrific!

I will post some additional pictures in the next week or two. I have to travel (fly) next week, which is the first time I've flown since the surgery. Anxious to see how the seatbelt fits on the plane this trip!

Hope everyone is healing well and learning all sorts of helpful information. Feel free to ask anything as you think of it. I'm sure there are things I'm not thinking about posting that could help someone's mind at ease. And chances are if you are thinking it, someone else probably is, too. So ask away! :)

13 Weeks PO. Cowabunga!

Hi everyone!! As I mentioned in last week's post, I had to travel this week for work. This is the first time I've flown in a year. Since I'd lost weight AND had the TT, I was really anxious to see how I'd fit in the airplane seat/seatbelt. Whoa! In my original and first review of this quite lengthy history (smiley, smiley), I referenced how incredibly embarrassing it'd been to have to ask for a seatbelt extender from a stewardess. Well, I am here to tell you I no longer need an extender! Not only that, I'm attaching a photo I took on the plane of the "leftover" seatbelt that I didn't need (once fastened and tightened). I had to take this as proof because I could hardly believe my own eyes. Yowza!! This is really fantastic, and I'm beyond excited!!!

Flying was no issue at all. It was a relatively short flight (2 hours direct), but I did puff up just a bit. What I've noticed more this week since I've been traveling and lugging around my laptop bag, purse, and other accessories is that when I go up 25 steps, I'm pretty winded. The extra weight I'm carrying (literally with the loaded bags and laptop) have really given me a workout. I'm doing fine though. No complaints! I just feel like I need to get moving more on a daily basis.

I'm also including some photos that I took in the hotel room this morning. The incision is still healing nicely. I still put my stuff on it 2x/day. I don't go back to my ps for my follow up appt until 2 more weeks. I've got what feels like stitches that are just under the surface of my skin. They poke, almost like a whisker, out of the skin. I would've thought the would have dissolved by now. Any other TT'ers who have had this happen after so many weeks post op? I'd be curious to hear what, if anything, you've done or were told about this.

Well ladies, I'm wrapping up for tonight. I've got a long day of meetings ahead of me tomorrow followed by my flight home.

Happy healing to everyone! :)

21 Weeks PO Update

I am attaching sme new photos. These were taken this morning, and I have some really teeny bikinis on, so I don't think the photos are as flattering as some others I've taken. The reason I wore them is twofold: 1) I wanted to show how low the scar is, and 2) I've never worn itsy bitsy teeny weeny bikinis before! They are super comfortable and SUCH a drastic difference from my past granny panty days! I'm still celebrating, ladies! :) lol. Seriously though, I wanted to mention again how much of a life changer this surgery has been for me.

All of my stitches have completely dissolved now, so my scar feels great. It's super smooth and no bumps. I am ready to get outside and walk though. Ready for the snow and frigid temps to go bye bye! I've been working extra long hours in a new role, so by the time I get home, get dinner around and cleaned up, I'm ready to plop. I have a lot more energy when it stays light until well after 9pm! My legs need the miles of walking, so I'm excited to get back to this for toning up.

Anyway, just wanted to check in because it has been awhile since I posted an update. Life is good. Enjoy it while you can...and in my case, I'm enjoying my second chance at really loving my body.

62 weeks PO!

Okay, you guys asked for it, so here it is: an update with photos! :) I'm still quite pleased with the results and wore some tiny panties so you can still see how low the scar is. Two things that I'm not thrilled about (but in the grand scheme of things are really pretty minor): 1) my innie became an outie, and 2) the scar area on the right side of my abdomen is hard and rope-like. Other than that, things are great! My scar is smooth and flat everywhere but in front right as mentioned previously. I'm not sure if you can tell from the pics how little the scar shows. I think what you'll notice is that my pants left more lines than the scar itself. Haha I'm still very glad I went through with it and am quite pleased with the results. As you can tell from the tiny panties, my scar is hidden below them and really not very noticeable at all anymore. Gone are the days of puffiness and redness. No more seeping, split scars. Yay! Life is good, ladies. Enjoy the new you and be thankful for what you have. Embrace life and live every moment to the fullest! Happy healing to everyone going through the journey. For those of you in waiting, best of luck to you. You are strong, and you CAN do this. You will not regret it. If you're afraid, that's okay. It just means you're human. :) Take things one day at a time and be patient with yourself. You're worth feeling great about yourself! Take care guys!
Carmel Plastic Surgeon

Dr Jones has been fantastic since the first time I met him. He has a wonderful bedside manner and is very down to earth. He answered all of my questions and took time to explain things to me without ever making me feel rushed. I felt like a person with him, not just another patient. He gives very realistic expectations and I can't thank him enough for treating me with such dignity and respect. I even received flowers delivered to my home while I was recovering! It was such a nice gesture, and one I truly appreciate. I believe he has my best interests at heart and took on my case with great interest. I can't speak highly enough of him. He's transformed my body and ultimately changing my perception about myself!

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 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
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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