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No- Drain Full TT W Muscle Repair and Lipo - Cary, NC

I am 31 years old and have 3 awesome kids ages 9,...

I am 31 years old and have 3 awesome kids ages 9, 5, and 2. What is not so awesome is how my stomach looks post pregnancy x3. It resembles something between an apple doll and fredi krueger's face. Lots of deep stretch mark scars and loose skin. My husband and I decided it was time to close down the baby factory and he was kind enough to take one for the team and get the snippy snippy. I knew after my first baby that I wanted a tummy tuck once we were done having kids so I have been researching it for quite some time and after discussing my goals with Dr. Stoeckel I decided to get a full tummy tuck with diastasis repair and lipo on my sides to achieve the best possible end result.

3 days PO- feeling great!

Day 1 was great... numb all over, very tight and sore but no pain. Day 2 was a little rough, I had a hard time getting out of bed and realized just how much every movement engages your abs. I felt a little helpless and tearfull, but called my mom (critical care nurse) who advised me to step up my pain
meds to the max prescribed doseage and to get up and walk a bit every hour. I followed her advice. In between walksaround the house I lounged in
the recliner with a large size cool pack (refrigerator cool not freezer cold)
on my lower abdomen with a ten pound bag of rice on top for 20 ish minutes. I also made a point to drink tons of water and ate lots of small
healthy meals all in hopes of fastrack healing. By the evening I was exhausted and sore and a little worried that I may have overdid it.
wWell today is day 3 and I feel great! Still very tight and sore, but muchh better then yesterday AND I was able to maintain the same routine while cutting down my pain meds by half. Tomorrow I plan to try go off the meds totally.
One thing, I found early on that the surgical binder was pressing into my incision, making me very uncomfortable. With permission from my PS I ended up putting on a Marena stage 2 garment and wearing the binder with minimal tension on top... much more comfy now.
I have a little swelling but to be honest it is much better then I expected. I love how low my incision is too!

Day 4 and a trip to the store!

So the continuing trend for me has been that each day is a little better then the next. Today was no exception. I showered this morning and was able to bend enough to do a decent job shaving my legs, yipee! I was so happy with myself I decided to ask my best friend and neighbor to take me to the store to knock out grocery shopping for the week. My husband is driving today to pick up our kiddos from his parents so I thought it would be a nice surprise if I got the shopping done and tidied up a bit. My trip to the store was great. I may have looked like the hunch back of notre dame, but I put my pride aside and hunched my way through the store with my best friend giggling behind me. Her giggling made me giggle which of course hurt like heck, but other then that it was a good trip. When I got home I tidied up and folded the laundry in hopes of winning wife of the year award when my husband gets home. As a result of all my motivation today, I am now all swollen and puffy. I have uploaded a picture of a puffy day 4. Now I am off to the recliner to rest, ice, and munch on pineapple before my hubby and kiddos get home. Take care my fellow TT survivalists!

Day 5 Taking things slow

Day 5 post op, we decided to skip church and I am giving myself a "day of rest" since Monday will bring a little more activity to my recovery schedule with taking my kiddos to and from school. One thing I noticed this morning, I have an increased amount of "puckering" down by my incision. I plan to ask my PS about it at my follow up tomorrow, but I am wondering if anyone else has experienced this? Is this common, does it smooth out?

Day 7

Went to the Dr. For my post op check up. He removed the stich from my belly button and the non-dissolveable stiches from my incision. He looked at my incision and put new surgical tape over it. He said everything looked good and that the puckering is normal and will smooth out over time. He gave me dosing instructions for a tylenol/motrin combo since I am off the percocet. Overall I am feeling pretty good. Looking forward to each day as I can do a little more and stand a little straighter. I am still wearing the Marena stage 2 compression garment 24/7 with the surgical binder on top. I
bought a few more of the compression garments so that I dont have to be
doing laundry constantly. I got a few "flexees" from wal mart to add to the
rotation. They offer decent compression and have the crotch snaps to make
going potty easy and were only $15. The Marena ones are great, but at $80
plus per garment I needed something cheaper.
The photo quality turned out funky from my cell phone, I will get a better one tomorrow.

question for TT veterans...

For those of you who have had a TT, when were you able to start sleepin on your side or stomach? I hate sleeping on my back!

Oops day 8 not 7

Vitamins

I started taking the vita medica recovery supplements about a week before surgery and will continueto take them until two or three weeks post op. I was naughty and did not get this approved by my PS (oops). I read it as a recommendation on a different PS' s for website with tummy tuck recovery tips. Have no idea if I would have healed any differently without them, but I think they may be helping with bruising/swelling.

2 weeks PO

Today is the two week mark for me. I started back to work yesterday and found the greatest challenge to be... laughing. Apparently everyone thinks they are a standup comedian and as soon as they figured out making me laugh causes me agony, they were full of jokes and for some reason I find EVERYTHING hysterical. Yup, they have no hearts :) so by the end of the day
I had laughed myself sore and was totaly exhausted. I started out in the morning standing fairly upright and as the day progressed I was curled over like an old lady. I am happy with how my tummy looks and notice improvement with every day. Looking forward to being fully recovered!
what I miss:
laughing pain free
sleeping in any position other then on my back
SEX (I am sooo ready but husband is scared he'll hurt me)
working out
Standing up straight
Holding my kids- yup this one is the toughest

What I am LOVING
husband doing dishes
husband doing laundrey
husband dealing with whiney 2 year old
NOT running (kind of a love hate thing I have going on)
My new tummy!



What I am

3 weeks PO

I am still not standing all the way upright, but I am much straighter then last week. I wore a medium top and size 6 pants before my surgery. All of my clothes fit well and seem to have an inch or two of extra room (yipee! ) This morning I fit comfortably into a pair of size 4 slacks. I am totaly off all painkillers to include plain motrin and tylenol and have stopped icing at night. I am doing a fair amount of walking from one meeting to the next throughout the day and am finally able to keep a mostly normal pace. I have also been doing more around the house... laundrey, dishes, dealing with the kids (to include my nutcase 2 year old) etc. Today I noticed an intermittent tugging kind of sharp pain behind the top of my belly button when I move certain ways and sometimes when I was just sitting there. I searched the q/a's on real self and it seems quite common and often attributed to nerve pain or some poking internal stiches. None the less, I have my 1 month follow up next week and plan to ask my surgeon about it. While I had planned to start back to the gym next week just for 30 min. of daily walking on the treadmill, I have decided to take it easy until I get in to see Dr. S and he says the belly button twinges is normal healing. Tummy is looking good, everything is starting to smooth out nicely!

4 weeks PO

I can't believe it has been 4 weeks since my surgery. I love my results and am finding that I am just now able to get through a normal day of work and parenting my 3 "energetic" kids without feeling so exhausted in the evening. The little poking, pulling pain I had in my belly button last week has gone away and I am regaining a lot more feeling in my skin over my stomach and sides. I had some lipo of my love handles area with my tummy tuck which up until now was totaly painless because I felt numb all over for weeks after my surgery. I am now noticing an occasional mild burning feeling under the skin in my sides and lower back. The post op documentation my Dr gave me describes this as normal for healing lipo areas, but I find it interested that I have felt nothing in those areas until now. I am still wearing my marena compression garments around the clock. In just the past few days I have been taking the surgical binder off for a few hours at a time. While my Dr has approved me wearing only the Marena garment, I find the binder gives me comfort and stability especially when doing a lot of standing or walking. I am going to continue to start taking the binder off more and more though so I can begin weaning myself off it. I decided to try on (and buy) a bikini today to celebrate 4 weeks, hurray!

3 months PO

Not much to report other then I am thrilled to pieces with the results of my surgery. I can do almost everything like normal. I have minor discomfort when I am in the push up or plank type of position and have not attempted sit ups yet, aside from that I am running and working out pretty much like normal. Here are the pics from my 3 month check up with Dr. S and one super recent picture.
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon

I found Dr. Stoeckel on Real Self while I was deployed. I read many patient reviews looked at tons of photos, not just the photos on surgeon's websites, but real self member reviews and their personally uploaded photos. What surgeon would really post bad results or complications as advertisement, no one! The proof for me was in patient reviews and their photos proved hands down better results in Dr. Stoeckel's patients. Less swelling, lower incision lines, thinner incisions, normal looking belly buttons, and a pulled in hourglass shape, even for his heavier bodied patients. I made my consultation appt. while deployed in Afghanistan and his office staff was incredibly nice and worked hard to fit me in during the busy holiday season. At my consultation, I felt very comfortable with Dr. Stoeckel. He took the time to explain to me in laymans terms the various methods for this surgery and why I would not require drains. His entire staff was friendly and worked hard to get me a surgery date on short notice to occomodate upcoming travel for work. I received numerous phonecalls from both Dr. Stoeckel and his staff to check on me in the days before and after my surgery. He gave me realistic expectations for discomfort after the procedure and tips for a faster recovery. Pain was a pretty big concern of mine and he offered three different pain control options. The first was the standard prescription of narcotics, the second was a medicine ball that would automatically release pain medicine through a port, the third was something called Exparel which is administered during surgery to numb the area for a few days. I gladly selected option 3 and can honestly say I have not experienced any pain. Just tight and sore, which was a huge relief because I was terrified of being in tons of pain as I have read from others. I absolutely love my new tummy and my only regret is not doing this sooner. My before/after photos speak for themselves, but in a nutshell Dr. Stoeckel was able to give me the results in a single quick procedure that I wasn't able to achieve on my own despite good diet and intense daily exercise.

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
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Comments (61)

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OMG your results are amazing! LOOOOVE IT!
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Go girl!! I'm also having a TT drainless...glad I found someone else as well
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Hey there! How's it going?
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Everything is going great. Thanks for checking in on me... it has reminded me to post my 3 month pics!
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Great update! I'm almost 3 weeks PO also. Thanks for talking about not standing up straight all the way...thought is was just me. Continued good healing, you look FABULOUS ;-)
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Thank you, since I have been back to work I have been a little lazy on my posts, but am loving keeping up with your progress and others who had surgery around the same time as us. Glad we are all healing up well and love reading the details of everyones journey.
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happy healing , you look great , I am 2 months 10 days PO but I still feel some pain suddenly , it goes off after sometime . Take care :)
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Thanks, glad to hear it is normal.
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You look great! I'm still swollen like the Goodyear Blimp...
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Hang in there and know that it will eventually subside. Have you tried any herbal remedies like Bromelain and/or Arnica? Some people swear by them to reduce post op bruising and swelling.
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I have both actually. My dr is "old school" perhaps and he said the Bromelain wouldn't help so I was planning on taking it back to a whole Foods. And I had excruciating heartburn for almost two weeks and I wasn't going to try to swallow anything I didn't have to! LOL! Perhaps I should rethink this now that the heartburn is gone. I thought the Arnica was for bruising. Does it help with swelling as well? I'm wearing my binder again which is helping, but boy, do I despise this thing! I have it pulled down low on my hips since most of the swelling is in my lower abdomen. Harder to hide under clothes. I'm going shopping tomorrow now that the weather is getting back to normal to look for some kind of compression garmet that's not so hard to pull on and off every time in need to go potty. What have you found you like best? Where did you get it? Thanks! You're looking great!
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You look WONDERFUL, Sounds like recovery is going smoothly, and that you are getting your energy back. I'm only 2 weeks PO, not quite got my energy yet. Keep up the great progress and take care.
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Thanks For Your Review! I Am Scheduled To Have A Full TT & BA With Dr. Stoeckel February 28th & Your Review Is Very Reassuring!! I'm Military Also So Extremely Picky But After My First Consult I Knew He Was The Doctor For Me.Good Luck With Your Recovery!!!
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Congrats on your upcoming surgery I am sure you will love your results. While I am impatient to be done with healing, my stomach looks soooo much better and I am just amazed that a simple procedure was able to achieve what years of working out HARD could not for my mid-section. My only regret is not doing it sooner.
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You look great. Did your surgeon change out your steri strips or did you do that? My surgeon told me I could take mine off this week but I am so nervous. I have occasional little spots of blood on my underwear band from the incision spot and I have this crazy image in my head that the tape is the only thing holding me together. I bought some steri strips today though and my mom is a nurse so I am going to ask her to change them for me. I wish you continued healing!
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Thanks! My surgeon changed the tape at my one week appt. The edges near my hips are starting to curl up, so I called today and I was told I could replace the tape myself or come in, but they definitely want the tape on at least until my next appointment. I picked some 3m micropore surgical tape (looks like paper tape) from the drug store and replaced the pieces that were no longer in place. Let me know how the steri strips work for you, they seem like they would help keep tension off the incision maybe even befter then tape?
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My mom did come over this afternoon and took off the old nasty bloody looking tape, cleaned it up a bit and put a bunch of 2 x 1/2 in. steri strips up and down ways across the length of the incision with small gaps between them. I do have a little area that looks a little raw, I think from my binder, that she completely covered with the steri strips to keep that a little better protected but she said it isn't infected, so that is good. This was my first look at my incision line and it isn't as straight as I had been hoping but it is early on and it is hard to tell I guess cuz I have a little pleating. I will be posting a pic on my review. Kinda scary looking...glad I have tape/steri strip back on :)
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You look great! Im a lot less afraid to bear babies one day, now! :) Seriously.
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Hahaha so thanful for modern medicine!
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Lookin FABULOUS! You must love your results. Congrats and continued great healing.
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Thank you!
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Hey there! How's the swelling going? I still have major swelling but I can see a little improvement. Can't wear my shape wear girdle right now though because I'm having some major esophagitis going on from the antibiotic I was taking. (For the area of my incision that split open early on). I don't think the swelling is worse from not wearing it, just wonder if it would be less if I could. Doesn't really matter though! I will do whatever it takes to get rid of the heartburn pain! Otherwise at 3.5 weeks I'm able to do most everything. Stay strong!
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Hi my fellow TT survivor! I am doing pretty well, still feeling very tight though and some soreness. Yesterday was my first day back to work and I am whooped by the end of the day. Thanfully I havent had too much trouble with swelling. I doubled up on compression garments since day 2... a high waisted flexees or marena type of with the surgical binder on top. I also ice with a large refrigerator cool gel pack that covers my entire tummy in the evenings for 20 min (I was doing it every few hours the first week). The compression garments I wear have hooks in the crotch area so you can go potty without pulling the garment up and down. That has been a lifesaver! Anywyas, I have no idea if all of my efforts have contributed to little swelling or if that is just my body's natural response. Swelling seems perfectly natural considering we have been sliced into I suppose. I still cant stand straight. My PS said it is because he sewed the muscles together pretty tight and that I will be able to straighten more each day. Looking forward to every day being further down the road of recovery :)
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Did Dr S. tell you to keep icing? I can see how that would help in the beginning. Dr Davis never said anything about ice. I'm wondering if it would help me at this point? It's almost like it's more fluid than tissue swelling though...probably wouldn't hurt to try!
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Hey there fitmom82, My PS uses this vitamin/supplement system as part of his per/post op protocol. I took them for my breast reduction and am using them for my Tummy Tuck too. I DEFINITELY believe it works. I healed well with the breast surgery, and I'm only 2 days PO on TT, and I feel good already. Best wishes and keep us posted.
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