Peace out Mummy Tummy - Cary, NC

I've had 3 totally awesome children in 4 years. ...

I've had 3 totally awesome children in 4 years. What's not totally awesome is the way my stomach looks like now.It's pretty much like a scrotum hanging sadly on my midsection. I have no weight to lose, but the loose skin and abdominal separation have got to go. We're not going to have any children and my husband agreed to support me doing this. (He's not the biggest fan of having elective surgery, but he loves me and wants me to be happy. He's a really good guy.) I did tons of research and chose a surgeon about an hour and a half away.

On Friday I am getting my CBC drawn by my PCM, and soon I will have my preop visit. I'm looking forward to getting rid of the old lady face on my stomach.

:(

So this is what I'm working with right now. Every time I tell someone I'm getting a tummy tuck they look at me like I'm crazy until I show them this.

I can't wait to be comfortable in my own (considerably less) skin again.

Getting close!

We've already paid for surgery and picked up the meds! It's crazy to think next Tuesday I'm going under the knife!

My parents have arranged to come into town very briefly to help with the kids, and I'm also looking forward to seeing them.

My husband is acting very nonchalant about the whole thing, nothing phases that guy! He is pretty amazing, I'm kind of excited that he will be able to take off from work so I can see more of him. Hopefully he will still like me after I'm all grouchy and weird from the pain meds.

Almost there!

Woo, surgery tomorrow! My bag is packed and everything is ready. Today I am cleaning the crap out of the house, bathing the three kids (I swear bathing them all at once burns like 7 million calories) and baking cupcakes for my almost 3 year old's birthday party in two days! I'm trying to do an insane amount of chores and stuff so my poor husband isn't overwhelmed. I even froze a few meals so he won't have to cook much. I love that dude. I have no idea how I am going to be able to sleep tonight, haha.

Gutted like a fish, in a good way

I had my surgery! I feel like butt on a butt cracker, but I feel like I made the right decision. I didn't get much lipo, but my abs were sewn together and the skin removed.

So what does a tummy tuck feel like? Like doing a brutal Jillian Michaels ab workout and getting kicked in the stomach repeatedly. I don't feel the incision, just sore as I'll get out.

I'd update more, but I'm kind iof a hot mess.

Starting to feel beter

Those first 2 days were rough! I felt like my pain meds were barely cutting into the pain, and that it was actually the antihistamine (phenergan) which helped the most by knocking me off my feet.

I have had a few times where I feel like I pulled a stitch, some really sharp and awful pains usually from trying to re-position myself, but I think everything is probably okay. I changed the dressings and got a shower, which was great but short.

I'm having trouble pooping (and I have ibs type d, which makes it odd) probably from the pain meds. I bought some magnesium citrate and hopefully that will help.. I've been religiously popping colace, drinking water, eating granola, no dice. Or should I say no deuce?

Anyway here are some progress pics. I'm pleased as punch.

I plan for today to be my last day of pain meds. My pain is at a level finally where I feel like I can almost deal with it.

Who is off pain meds???

This guy. Phew. I'm starting to feel really good! And my magnesium sulfite plan worked like magic. No pushing and no pain, but poop. It took one and a half bottles (which as my mom joked would have sent her to the ER). I remembered it from my colonoscopy as the least disgusting laxative, I would die if I had to drink milk of magnesia again. I used to have to drink it because of the zofran related constipation during pregnancy. Zofran was great because it stopped me from recreating the exorcist.

So I am feeling good, laughing is painful and my incision feels hot and tight (but looks good) but that's pretty much the limit of my discomfort. I even managed to cook a fancy dinner and do the dishes last night. And I am getting around like a champ.

I just have to work on making my husband less funny. He keeps saying funny stuff and the laughing brings me to my knees. Laughing is the absolute worst.

I can't wait until I can cuddle the kids more (without them jumping on me) and play with the dog again. She keeps jumping in my lap which isn't cool. Oh well, corgis gonna corg. She's the welsh menace.

I'm so happy

The swelling has gone down, and today I got a pretty good look at my tummy after my shower. I am amazed at how many things my doctor was able to get rid of, my stretch marks, loose skin, my scar above my belly button from my belly ring rejection, my old surgery scars from my gall bladder removal... I knew things were going to look better, but I really had no clue how much skin he would be able to do away with. And I know I am still swollen and will continue to see improvements, but holy cow, I am impressed.
I feel like I made the right decision, for sure.

So, my poor husband has to go back to work (after working his butt off for 1/3 of his vacation taking care of our kids) and we hired our friend who watches our kids sometimes to help me out tomorrow. I'm starting to feel better, like I can get back into baby-wrangling but it is probably better to wait until the doctor gives me the all clear.

My swelling is getting a little better, so I'm posting a pic of my stomach.

Argh

The biggest obstacle to my recovery so far is my husband and his ridiculous jokes. Never in my life did I actually want him to stop talking. But now he needs to stop, like woah. It's like getting shanked in prison by a scary dude named Bruno. Laughing hurts so freaking bad, and this freaking buttface that I married is unremorsefully hilarious.


Potential tuckers of tummies, Heed my warning and ban everything funny from your house. Make it cold like a Siberian prison.

Where my stitches at?

Not in my tummy anymore, that's for sure. (I got them removed yesterday at my 1 week post op apt.). Everything looks like it's healing well, besides the whole swelling thing.

My binder is way too loose and my surgeon said it didn't really matter much anymore, so I'm toying with the idea of abandoning it on the side of the road, alone, in the rain. That way it can reflect on how it annoyed me, how it clung to me desperately, squeezing my poor internal organs. Just kidding. There seems to be a lot of conflicting information on whether wearing them does much for the results. I couldn't find a single study that confirmed that they did much more than lower blood clotting risk in the first week.

Anyway, I'm feeling pretty good and I am back to changing diapers, walking dog, doing light chores and feeling mostly like a person. It's good too that I am back because the lady that we use to babysit our kids looked absolutely wiped out after one day of watching my 3 little monsters...

2 weeks post op

I feel great! So great in fact that I have to keep reminding myself to take it easy. Laughing, coughing and sneezing are so much better! And I am only using the binder at night. I still have some bruising but it is looking better. I started wearing silicone strips, it's a little early but right now we're at the beach and that extra layer of water proofing is probably a good thing. (I'm not getting wet but my babies are and they live in my lap, soooo) I'm bloated like a mofo (period and tummy tuck bloat at the same time). Still I think I look pretty legit.

Look,ma! It's like I never had a billion kids!

I'm doing great. I'm back to all my usual chores (and child wrangling) and I am binder-free!


One sucky thing though is that I spat two stitches. They eventually merged from 2 pencil eraserish holes to one larger hole. I developed this problem on Saturday and called my surgeon yesterday (Monday). He gave me some really excellent advice that I haven't seen anywhere else here so I'm going to post it here in case it helps anyone.

Spit stitches are little holes in the sutures where your body rejects a stitch. My immune system is crazypants, so it's no surprise it happened to me. Anyway, the typical advice is to dig around in there with some tweezers and cut the stitch and remove it. It does need to be removed for things to heal well. He offered the option to come in, and I declined because it's a waste of everyone's time so he described the following process very well and it worked.

He said to get gauze that's cheese clothish and to dip it in saline/ salt + water mix (even contact solution will do) Then you cut it into small strips, roll it into balls, and press them into the wound. Next you cover them and change them twice a day.

Not even 12 hours into this process, I removed my gauze and low and behold- There was that bugger of a stitch! So, if you're uncomfortable digging around in an open wound or you can't find that bastard of a stitch, you might want to try this method.

"I'm especially good at expectorating"-Gaston, and me apparently

I'm guessing these stitches have had enough of my bad jokes. That must be why they are all making their way in a serious haste through my incision. I took a photo to send to my parents (my mom's a physician and my dad is a surgeon.) I wanted to make sure what's going on isn't wound dehiscence. My mom was feeling really uneasy but she doesn't see incisions very much in her practice. Dad thought it was likely spitting stitches but he thought it prudent that I put a binder back on and try to remember to walk hunched over for a while to minimize stretching the wounds.

Either way, it doesn't look like everything is coming totally unglued or is infected. I have an appointment with my surgeon on Thursday.


You know what blows? It was such a nice incision until my immune system tried to go full on Rambo. I'm going to take pictures of it until it heals, and pictures of how it scars so that I could hopefully help people going through the same.

The agony and the extacy

I'd swear the swelling must be totally down. The prospect of this getting any better blows my mind. I would be happy if this is my final result. (Minus the suture hijinks) Sometimes I look in the mirror and my stomach almost looks ripped. There's a hint of a six pack starting to show through, and seriously it makes me want to cry (the good kind of cry)

My husband was deployed last year and I spent the entire year doing yoga and eating clean (I've actually been eating clean for 3 years, but I had a baby last year so there was +30lbs.) I wanted to look awesome by the time he came back. I can't even describe how hard I worked. One day I was standing in the mirror poking my belly skin and I felt a six pack. I straight up Brittany Spears Ugly Cried for about an hour. I knew it was there, but no one else would.

I did all this research about getting rid of the loose skin. There were all kinds of people selling false hope that it might come off without surgery, things like eating sulfur (MSM) which tastes like actual butt, or bovine gelatin, and rubbing the lotion on the skin until you get the hose again. I think the most outrageous of lies was that if you just got your body fat percentage to starvation levels, your body would reabsorb your skin. Noooo thank you.

I cant wait to get back to working out again. This time I'll actually get to see results from busting my arse. My arms are feeling kinda doughy from lack of chin ups, planks and such as. Anyway, that crap should probably wait until my scar gets its life choices in order.

Stituation

I saw my surgeon on Thursday for my one month post op visit. He checked out my stitch situation (heretofore referred to as "stituation") and like a total boss cheerfully pulled out several ninja stitches. I'd been looking for those buggers for weeks, and he manages to find them with must be record speed. I was brought back to my childhood and those bastard "magic eye" books where everyone sees the freaking sailboat but me. *shakes fist at the heavens*

Things are getting a lot shallower as far as the wounds go but they are just so freaking wide. My scar is going to look terribad when this is said and done. He actually thinks its not going to be so bad and I am holding on to that optimism.

On the other hand I have had the most evil of colds for 2 weeks now. My muscles had been feeling fine, but I am pretty sure I pulled something because I have been in searing pain for a few days. It's right next to by belly button and holy crap when I cough it is miserable. I actually took a Percocet because it hurts so bad. I try to avoid the crap out of pain meds because I've seen enough daytime tv specials to know that's how heroin addiction starts.... ;).

Sometimes when you stare into the abscess, it stares back

So it's about 2 weeks since I originally started with this stitch mumbo jumbo and here's a pic of what it looks like now. The first one is now rather shallow, but many others have popped up. Interestingly, one side has it much worse than the other. I guess this is what they meant in all those handouts by saying "Both sides might heal differently." I am starting to wonder if the silicone sheets helped because I was wearing them on my left much sooner than the right (the right side's tape stayed on a little longer) but that might be coincidence.

I've been using medihoney dressing, IDK if it helps but if it helps stubborn wounds to heal it's probably not the worst idea I've ever had. Keepin' it moist y'all. Anyway, everything is looking much more red and meaty than a week ago, which is good. It also tends to bleed more readily so maybe the vasculature is being restored?

Stitching and moaning

Things are getting better in stitchville. They are sort of healed. The problem is if they get wet at all they reopen. I wonder if there's still stuff in them? The healing looks good from the top but it is still really kind of weak and prone to reopening. The trouble is that I see nothing inside when they open, besides fluid. So, I am not sure what to do, besides general wound care.

Anyway everything else looks legit. Still happy with my decision, even with the massive scar that I'm going to end up from this stitch crap.

It's been a while

It's been forever. My spat stitches have resolved. I was starting to get yeast problems under the bandaids, so I started to air them a little. I used silver wound paste and I think that helped too. My incision is still prone to opening in spots, especially after showers or time in the water so I am being careful.


I am doing so very well though. I have worn more bikinis in the last month than I wore in the last 4 years combined. I feel so much better about myself. I'm keeping the scar covered in the sun with the high waist-ed bikinis but I legit feel like I look fine no matter what- period? NO problem, IBS bloating? Nope, still look flat, not gonna stress it. I could do a jig I am so happy with my stomach.

I seriously wish mid-drifts weren't considered slutty and that as a 30 year old woman with eleventy billion kids it was acceptable to wear them.



Anywhoo, I am back to working out too. It feels so much better to be moving around in a body-weight lifting manner, I seriously was getting arm wings and cottage cheese butt. I'm taking it easier on the ab exercises (LEG LIFTS, OMG I AM GOING TO DIE) and adding more planks and such to get stronger again. Back bends are weird they make my scar feel stretched so I am avoiding them too. Basically if it feels uncomfortable, I stop, but other than that I am back full force! RAWR!

Abs so freakin lutely

I've been working out hard. I've been doing insanity and yoga almost daily. I managed to put on a few pounds of muscle and I think it's filling out my stomach quite nicely. I'm starting to get some ab definition which makes me so freakin happy. I tried to get a picture of it, but it doesn't really do it justice. I guess that means I'll have to work harder to compensate for this poor 4 year old web cam, which i refuse to give up on. ;)

I'm still very happy with my surgery. One of those blasted stitch buggers opened up again, but it is much smaller than it's predecessors. I see my surgeon in a few weeks for my 3 month visit, hopefully it will close by then. I should probably ask which brand of stitches he used so I can avoid it like the plague in the future.

I'm so glad I didn't get my boobs done at the same time. I don't know why but I feel like it would bother me so much more to have stitch drama on my breasts. My girls convinced me to wait saying they'd get better a year or two after weaning so I am holding out.

3 months post!

I had my 3 month visit. Everything is looking good, all my stitch problems seem to have resolved and I am feeling way better. My scar is redder than average, and Dr. Stoeckel offered to zap it to lighten it sooner but I declined. It's going to look the same at the end regardless, so I can totally play the waiting game. He took the 3 months pictures and emailed them. I kind of wish I hadn't eaten a brick of sushi before them. I blame whole foods. Anyway, I'm sure they look great to everyone who isn't me, but I feel like my results look way better than the picture shows. It might be that blue background stuff, IDK.

I've been sticking to insanity for a while now, and I'm starting to see some sweet stomach results. (Among other things. I just might have taken to flexing in the mirror every time I go to the bathroom) I am going to have that six pack, if only for 2 weeks or so because I really hate being knit picky about my diet. I'll just get it there because I can, and let it go. I'll be damned if I am going to count calories for a long period of time. I'm a lazy jerk.

5 months later!

I am still completely happy and excited about the results of the surgery. My scar is still pretty red but everything else looks incredible. I started weightlifting because I am gunning for a six pack. I'm loving squats and deadlifts! I don't think it's long until my abs become more visible, you can already see the outlines with overhead light (but that is cheating, right?) and I am working on getting them to pop so they could be seen from space.
I'm hovering at 18% bodyfat (measured by the slightly inaccurate bioimpedence)

Now that it's been a while I have to admit that I'm unimpressed with the silicone strips. I was hoping that everything would be lighter and flatter but parts of the scar are still a little raised and for the cost of the strips I can't say the were worth it. If I had a time machine I'd tell myself not to bother.
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon

I did a lot of research before deciding on Dr Stoeckel and I am really glad I chose wake plastic surgery. There are several surgeons closer to me but I chose to drive an hour and a half to see him and have no regrets. I am thoroughly impressed with the results of my surgery. I know everyone thinks their surgeon is the best, and I am no different. I would have no trouble referring anyone I care about to this practice. The practice itself is run beautifully. The staff are flawless. I walked away from every interaction with them feeling more and more impressed. I know someone else on here already mentioned that Janell is excellent, but it's worth repeating. She really helped streamline the whole process.

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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