Hi everyone! I am 5 days post-op, and am just...
Hi everyone! I am 5 days post-op, and am just getting around to writing my review. I will add pics and more information in the next few days, but I wanted to at lest get started! Pre-op I was 5'5" and 160 lbs, with a body that definately showed the effects of having four children! My children are 9, 11, 13, and 16, and I adore them! But I had weight gains of 40-67 lbs with each pregnancy, pre-eclampsia, poly-hydramnios, and 9.5 lbs babies. My body was stretched out badly each time, and was left in the end with a deflated flabby belly that sat on my thighs when I sat down, and deflated barely B breasts. I was embarrassed and very self-conscious about my body in clothes, in swim suits, etc. I wore padded push-up bras every day - the ones that are supposed to add two cup sizes - and had lots of trouble with them riding up or shifting, so they always looked funny or had a big gap at the top of each cup. I wore shapewear under my clothes every day to try to control my belly, even though it made me hot and sweaty and uncomfortable all the time. I always longed to fix my body, but never had the finances to accomplish it, and was resigned to being depressed and uncomfortable. I was even self-conscious when trying to exercise - I love to bike, but was always trying to hide my belly rolls in my bike shorts and jerseys, and had a hard time with my self-esteem when biking with my friends. Add to this a painful divorce after 16 years of marriage, and I was very nervous about even trying to date again, given the state my body was in, and trying to hide that from any new person I was trying to look nice for. It was very difficult. However, after the divorce settlement, I finally had the means to do this for myself! I could not be more thrilled! I am finally doing something for myself after all these years of devoting myself to doing things for others (my children, my other family members, my patients as an RN, etc.). While I feel just a little guilty about spending the money on this, I truly feel like I have earned it! I could not be more pleased! It is a dream come true!
Had my surgery July 2nd
July 2nd I reported to the hospital at 5:30 am to sign in and get ready. I was really nervous, but had all the supplies at hone that I was going to need, had my bf to help me, and was super-excited to get it done! They registered me, placed my IV, got my fluids and antibiotics started infusing, and asked me a bunch of health questions foe their computer. My PS came in to take my "before" pics and mark my body with a marker for where she was going to make her incisions and do lipo and such, and answer any last-minute questions. My anesthesiologist came in to discuss his role in my surgery and ask questions about my health history also. I knew from getting my tonsils out and getting my tubes tied that general anesthesia makes me nauseous afterwards, so we discussed meds that he could give me before, during, and after that would prevent me from getting sick. And they worked! I never felt sick through the entire experience.
They wheeled me back and had me transfer myself to the operating table. We were chatting when he put something in my IV, and the next thing I knew, I woke up in recovery!
I woke up sore but not too bad, and with a scratchy throat from the breathing tube during surgery. But after a little time dozing on and off and sucking on some ice chips, I was ready to be wheeled to my room. I had to stay overnight one night, but I was really greatful. This meant I could have an IV morphine pain pump all night, and a urinary catheter so I wouldn't have to keep getting up to pee all night from the IV fluids.
I had some pain, but it was very well-controlled all evening and night until I went home the next morning. My bf and I even watched TV and players several games of UNO! Lol!
I was placed in compression garments from bra to thighs, so I hadn't seen the results yet....
Here are my before pics I took at home.
What I Got.
My breasts were a saggy B, and I am hoping for a full D (will have to see after they have time to drop and fluff). I got 400cc Mentor gel mod plus profile unders, and I am very happy with them! They are a little high so far, but that's what I should expect this early. I also knew that with my height and weight (5'5" and 160), my tummy couldn't be made as flat as some because I still have some intra abdominal fat, but she was able to take off rolls of subcutaneous fat and lots of skin, which was a big improvement! I am thrilled! I have to wear my compression garment from waist to thighs except for changing my bandages once a day, and my abdominal binder, and my surgical bra with a band on top. I have two drains that I will hopefully get out Thursday. I had a full TT with lipo on my abdomen and flanks and thighs, so the compression is very important. I also got the aforementioned BA, but no lift was needed.
The Past Week
I have been spending my days since discharge from the hospital in my comfy recliner. I have been sleeping in my recliner each night, and napping in it during the day. I have been moving around as I should, though, getting up every hour while awake to prevent blood clots. I get up to use the bathroom or stroll around the apartment or get a snack. I have been unable to eat proper meals, because with these tight compression garments on I can't eat but a small amount at a time. So I have been eating small amounts of nutritious food and supplementing with protein shakes and vitamins to keep up my nutrition for wound healing. I take a multivitamin, extra C and D, arnica montana to help with bruising, and bromelain to help with swelling. I am also on Percocet for pain, Benadryl for itching, Cipro for an antibiotic, and Zofran in case I get nauseated. Good grief! Lol!
I remove my compression garments once a day to sponge bath, then I clean my incisions with peroxide and let them air dry. Then I apply bacitracin, cover them with abd pads, and put all my compression stuff back on: the girdle, abdominal binder, and surgical bra with the built-in strap. Once I look like a hunched-over Mummy again, I'm done. Then I put one of my bf's button-down shirts on and a pair of shorts on, pin my drains to the hem of the shorts, and I'm good to go! I have left the house twice, though, for brief outings when I was getting stir-crazy. Went to Panera post-op day 4 for 45 minutes, and to Michael's post-op day 5 for a crochet hook. Those times I hid my drains well. Still walked like I was 90 years old, but it went just fine otherwise! Lol!
I have my first post-op appointment at the PS office tomorrow morning, post-op day 10. I am really really really hoping both drains and all stitches can come out!! My drains feel sore right where they go in, after 10 days. They aren't putting out but 15-30 cc every 24 hours, so I am hoping they meet criteria to be removed. I am scared it will hurt, but I really want them out! I have my compression garments and bra in the dryer with no heat on after getting all washed and fresh for the occasion. Now I'm lounging around in a sports bra and PJ pants in the recliner, watching TV. It feels very nice to be free and not all wrapped up like a Mummy for once! Lol! I feel pretty good today - almost like I turned a corner with having less soreness today. Even went to Chick-fil-a with the bf for a little outing. It has been a lovely day! Will post pics, although I'm not sure I look any different from two days ago! Lol!
Yay yay yay! Drains are out!
What a great day! At my appointment this morning, I got both of my drains out! Yippee!! I feel like a new woman! It feels so freeing to get those pesky things out. After 10 days of emptying them, pinning them to my clothes, hiding them when I go out, etc. I don't have to do that anymore. I can also take a real honest-to-goodness normal shower tomorrow after the little oozing holes are closed up. :-) I also got the dressings off of the crease incisions under each breast. They didn't have any stitches to be removed or anything, so now they are healed shut and I have been instructed to massage them with Bio-Oil to moisturize and soften the scars. I can also stop wearing my surgical bra, and wear regular sports bras with a band on top. Those will be cuter and more comfortable. (I only had one on yesterday because my surgical bra was in the wash.) I also got the couple of stitches out of two tiny lipo incisions in the top crease of each thigh. Next week I will get the stitches out of my big incision and bellybutton, and will get to graduate to regular Spanx instead of my industrial-strength compression garment with abdominal binder over top. Can't wait! Had to pick up a few things at CVS after my appointment, and a few more sports bras at Wal-Mart, and I even got treated to Chick-fil-a by my bf. Such a wonderful day! Came home and immediately started snoring in the recliner, though. Too much excitement for one day! Lol!
Does a big fat kitty cat sitting on my tummy count as even better compression? Lol!
Post-op day 10, and feeling good! Got to take a normal nice long warm shower this morning for the first time since the morning of my surgery before going to the hospital. Luxurious!! (My PS didn't want me to do anything but sponge baths until the day after my drains came out.) I feel like I am getting some of my energy back. It's hard not to do some housework that I'm not supposed to do, or exercise very much. I just feel good, and bored! I will go for a relaxed little stroll outside in a minute, though. I'm allowed to do that much. Lol! I am SO glad not to have to fool with those drains anymore. Yay! The little holes are already healed over for the most part. My bellybutton is a little gross, though, but my PS says it's normal. Apparently our bbs don't have a particularly good blood supply, and healing takes longer than everything else. Mine is oozing yellowish fluid (not thick like pus, no odor - important clarification) and is kinda red (not exceptionally sore though). I am to gently wash it daily, use a little bacitracin once a day, and keep it dressed with dry gauze that I change a few times a day. Hoping to get those stitches out when I get my others out next Wednesday, if I can get it to heal a little more. My tummy is a little more swollen over the incision today I think, but not bad. I was 8 lbs heavier when I came home from the hospital the day after surgery than when I went in the morning before - the IV fluids, anesthesia, meds, lipo and surgical trauma to my body made me retain fluid. This is normal, and I expected it, but I felt uncomfortable and puffy. Well, now 10 days later, I am 1/2 a lb less than when I went in. Yay! I am feeling so much better! Been drinking lots of water and avoiding salt, and taking my Bromelain. My compression garments are easier to zip up and Velcro now, too! I celebrated my wonderful progress with a Venti mocha at Starbucks with my sweet bf. It was lovely! I have been avoiding caffeine and sugar for the most part, but really enjoyed the treat. :-)
Well, That Was Special....
OK, so I have this compression garment on that goes from just under my boobs to right above my knees, because I had my thigh lipo along with my TT and flank lipo. Then I have a Velcro abdominal binder over that. And a bra and a strap on top of it. So I'm all wrapped up like a Mummy. Anyway, my big garment has a hole in it for me to use the bathroom through without having to take all that stuff off. Which usually works out just fine. Usually. You see, my labia have been the only parts not compressed, and have been pushed through that hole for a week and a half. So they are pretty swollen - the fluid I retain has to go somewhere, right? So I just sat down to pee, and they apparently were swollen and in the way of the stream or something. Because the stream of pee shot forward instead of down, and right through the little horizontal space between the toilet seat and the toilet itself! I didn't notice at first, which resulted in my peeing all over the floor, my right ankle, and my shorts! What the heck?! Sure surprised me!! I had to laugh, though! Boy, this whole process has been quite the adventure.... :-)
Good News and Bad News
I have all of my compression stuff and bras hanging up to dry. So I've just been hanging around in regular clothes for a couple of hours. The good news is that my breasts feel softer each day, and my implants have dropped a little more. That makes me happy! The bad news is that in just a couple of hours, my belly has really swelled. I haven't had much swelling, but it feels big and tight tonight. I hope I can get the compression stuff back on! Lol! I hope you aren't tired of pics...I have nothing else to do.... Lol!
post-op day 11: belly more swollen
It is a good morning! For the first time in 12 days, my legs are shaved and lotioned, my make-up is on, my hair is styled more like normal, and I am wearing a dress! I feel SO good! I have managed to get the four kids up and ready, and we have come to church. It feels great to do something that helps me feel back to normal! Shaving my legs was very interesting, since I can't bend much or twist or anything. And I am used to laying down in a bathtub to do it. But I managed to do an OK job! The kids are in Sunday School and I am sitting in the van in the shade, with a gentle breeze, listening to the birds chirp. My bf will hopefully be pleased when I walk in for the service looking like a girl again! Lol! (He has been wonderful, and hasn't minded my appearance during my recovery AT ALL, though - don't get me wrong.) Just feeling really good today. A bit swollen, but I don't look any worse in my dress than I did before, that's for sure! What a nice morning. :-)
Had a very busy day yesterday (the 16th - it's after midnight now, so barely the 17th). I was post-op day 14, and feeling pretty good! I went out to get spanx that I can wear after my doctor's appointment in the morning (yay! I get to upgrade from the medical compression garment!). Just getting out and driving myself was exciting - only just now completely stopped taking the Percocet and was able to drive. Got what I needed at Kohl's, but they were also having a swimsuit sale. I ended up with two bikinis and a one-piece! Lol! For the first time in my life, I was crying tears of joy instead of misery while I was bathing suit shopping! Seriously! I never had much in the way of boobs before, ever! And then for 16 years I had a terrible huge doughy belly to boot. Well, not today! I am not finished healing yet: boobs still have to drop and fluff, tummy swelling has to go down, bellybutton has to heal. But when I put on those bathing suits, I looked like Marilyn Monroe! Wow! The bikini bottoms covered my scar, and my boobs looked fabulous! I was so excited and felt so good! I didn't think to take pics in the dressing room, it will put some up later today. I also ended up with two new dresses. I have always wanted to wear cute sundresses that you don't have to wear a bra with (like tube top or spaghetti strap ones), but always looked like a boy with a pot belly when I tried them on. Well, today my curves were in all the right places! I almost squealed in the dressing room! I got a sundress with thin straps, and a tube top maxi. I felt so beautiful! Pics of those coming, too. I know I am supposed to be wearing a sports bra with strap 24/7 except for showering, but I might cheat for 2 hours on Sunday for church. :-) I also got two tank tops and a pair of shorts at Old Navy while I was out, some supplies at Walgreen's, and filled up the van with gas. That much activity wore me out! That was enough. I took my clothes and multiple compression garments on and off several times over the course of trying on outfits, and that coupled with carrying bags of stuff around made my chest sore. I probably carried over 5 lbs...don't tell my surgeon! But it did make my chest muscles and breasts very sore afterwards. Probably too much arm activity. I felt better after lying down for a while, though.
I also went for a walk this evening on a nice little paved path around a pond near my neighborhood. Leisurely walking is the only exercise I am allowed so far. It was very nice though! I got to wear new sneakers that I bought two days before surgery and hadn't worn yet, which was fun. Saw two swans, a fountain in the middle of the pond, a flock of Canadian geese (one of them hissed at me - lol). Found and played with a huge moth, which was interesting (my first degree is in biology). It was very nice to get out an stretch my legs, even though it was 89 degrees out and so humid the heat index was 98! A cool shower after felt so good, though, and I washed all my compression stuff for my doctor's appointment in the morning.
In the morning, I hope to get all of my stitches out of my big incision. They are mostly hidden - just a knot above the surface every few inches. Will try to get good photos on here before and after. My BB is still oozing and weird, so I may not get those out... I dunno. I hope I can, just to have it done with and move on, but it's no big deal. My stitches have been in for two weeks now, and I hope it doesn't hurt to get them out. I hope my skin hasn't grown too attached.... Wish me luck!
The only other thing I need well wishes for is my sweet bf. Tonight he told me that he can't tolerate looking at my incisions, even the healed up breast ones. Those are pretty much looking as good as they are gonna get for a good while - months! I was hoping he was finding my new breasts attractive, even though we can't do much of anything yet, but really he's just freaking out and has asked me to keep my new breasts covered so he doesn't have to look at the incisions! And we haven't even tried to address the big one or the bb! I had been giving him peeks of the new boobies, thinking he might like them, but apparently not yet. Has anyone else had this problem? Trying not to get my feelings hurt.... He is such a sweetheart otherwise, though! I still have issues from a bad marriage and divorce, and had hoped to be able to feel attractive after my surgery....
Such a day of ups and downs! Lol! Will try to keep my chin up. Gonna get some good sleep and will post again after my PS appointment in the morning. Hope everyone is healing well! :-)
Forgot to mention...the swans I saw reminded me of us - plastic surgery patients! Corny, I know. But we are emerging beautiful and graceful after our recoveries! How wonderful! :-)
PS Appointment This Morning
Had a PS appointment this morning, and she said everything looks great! Even my oozy BB - not infected, just slower to heal. Will include a pic of the drainage for you - not to be nasty, but so you won't worry if yours does that. Got all of my stitches out in my big incision and in my bb - was thrilled about that!! Did anyone else have mostly hidden stitches with a knot and really long tails every couple of inches? Will post pics. Now I am free to gently massage my big incision with BioOil and use silicone scar sheets. Yay! I have been using both on my breast incisions for a couple of days, and both are really soothing and feel really good. Have to wait on that for the bb until it gets with the program.... I am now able to ditch my surgical compression garment, binder, and boobie strap!! Yay! She said I could go to Spanx or to long athletic compression shorts, which she hasn't said before. That was right up my alley! My new UnderArmor compression gear is in the washer now for me to put on later. That will be SO much more comfortable and easier to deal with! I have also been okayed to take tub baths, which thrills me to death! As long as I thoroughly dry the belligerent bb after. I love to soak in a warm bath! Gonna do that this evening. I am still not supposed to do any exercise other than walking, lift over 5 lbs, do housework, reach for things over my head or bend at the waist for another two weeks. But things are looking up! Lots of progress! A sports bra and compression shorts I can handle! :-) Will post bikini pics later...have to run to the store for something to fix for dinner when the bf gets here after a meeting. Later!
I know I am chubby still, and I know that most of you are younger and/or thinner. But TRUST ME, this is a new personal best! Lol! I have NEVER been able to fill out a bikini top, for one thing. Lol! Here are a few pics. Dresses might have to wait til tomorrow getting sore from an active day. Oh, and in some pics one boob looks bigger than the other. I don't think they look like that in person. Bikini top must've been crooked! Lol!
From Surgical Compression Garment to Under Armor
Going to bed tonight in my Under Armor compression capris instead of my surgical compression garment. MUCH more comfortable! By this point after an active day, though, my tummy is swollen. Might put the binder on over top. It would still be better!
Doing Pretty Well
The past several days have been decent. I have gone for evening strolls, grocery shopped (which wore me out and made my back ache), taken the kids to the lake where I just read a book sitting in a lawn chair (but bravely in one of my new bikinis), and did a little housework (but nothing I wasn't supposed to do, like reaching and bending and lifting over 5lbs - mostly wiping things down, doing a few dishes, dusting, tidying). It's been nice feeling a little more like my old self again. I am still not walking completely upright, even though I am allowed to, which makes my lower back ache when I am on my feet for a while. 1) my muscle repair is still too tight and will need to stretch gradually, and 2) my incision has a tiny spot in the middle over the pubic area that started to widen just a little after I got my stitches out, so I don't want to put any unnecessary tension on that spot. So I will be patient. I stuck a couple of butterfly bandages on that spot, too, to be more support. The two skin edges started to pull apart a little to where I could see the white layer of fascia underneath - just a small spot like 3/4 of a cm long and a mm wide. But I think it's good now...just has to finish healing. Have been enjoying taking tub baths - I love soaking in a warm bath to relax my aching back and muscles.
Something weird - my thighs and lower tummy are still numb from lipo and surgery, but that is normal. The weird part is that shaving my thighs feels like I am shaving someone else's legs! And my tummy itches like crazy sometimes, but I can't feel myself scratch it, so I can't fix the itch! Feels very strange....
Discovered that my Under Armor doesn't give me near the support for both my back and swelling belly as it feels like I need, so I think I will back up and get some Spanx today. Have been wearing my binder much of the time, even though I don't have to. That makes things feel better. Annoyed by the swelling, but I know that's how things are supposed to be for now and for the next many weeks. Will get worse before it gets better...but I will hang in there. It's not all that bad, but it's very uncomfortable at times. Also experiencing shooting pains in my breasts as nerves regenerate, along with hypersensitivity of my nipples and my breast skin in general - feels like sunburn on them. The best thing I have found for that is the gel ice packs made for nursing mothers that you can get at the drug store. Those are awesome! They are shapes just right and fit into your bra. I am using silicone sheets on my scars (you can only use them once your incison has healed over). They feel good - almost soothing, and they are supposes to make my scars flatter and smoother after several weeks. I wear those about 12-18 hrs a day, and also massage with BioOil, which feels and smells good. I am finally at the point in my healing where I feel like I am doing spa treatments! Lol! The most exciting thing that has happened is that I measured myself for a bra size after looking up on the Victoria Secret website. I am going to wait to buy anything new for a little while longer, as the girls are still dropping and changing and such. But I measure at a 36 DD right now, which thrills me to death! From a deflated B. They will likely get a little smaller once all the swelling goes away and they drop and fluff, and I was going for a full D if possible. So I might be just right! Whatever actual cup size I end up to be is fine by me, though, because I am really loving my new breasts! :-)
Forgot This Pic
I took this pic like 5 days ago but somehow forgot to put it on here. Look at the difference in this one and my pre-op pic bending over! Wow! I know I am swollen here and still chubby, but look at all the Michelin man rolls that are GONE!! Yay!! :-)
OMG OMG OMG! I was not getting enough compression from my Under Armor. So I bought a Spanx Ultra Compression High -Waist Mid-Thigh Focused Firmer. I am supposed to be a size medium. But I just spent 10 minutes getting the thing on, have broken out into a sweat, have exhausted my arm muscles, and am now trapped in the dang thing! I will never ever be able to get it off! I can never go to the bathroom again! My ribs are always much wider than compression garments, and I can no longer breathe. I am going to be flat but dead. Lol!
I just typed a lengthy update for you guys, but the site erased it when I went to add my pics! Grrr! So I will add my pics, go calm down, and retype it for you soon. Lol!
Yay yay yay!!
Wow! These shorts were very snug before surgery. Hadn't tried them back on 'til now. Yippee!! :-)
Four Week Appointment
I was four weeks yesterday, and had an appointment with the Nurse Practitioner at the PS office this morning. It went well! I am now cleared to very gradually start cardio workouts again, although strength training and any ab exercises need to wait. I had a tiny dissolvable stitch end protruding through the incision under my right breast, and another on my abdominal incision. That's very normal - if they don't dissolve for whatever reason, the body brings it to the surface trying to get rid of it. The tummy one she just pulled on a little with tweezers and trimmed at the skin. The breast one, though, she just grabbed with tweezers and gently pulled out - all four inches of it! Guess I didn't need that anymore, lol! My scar looks fine, there was no bleeding, etc. And actually, now there will likely be less redness and bumpiness, now that it isn't in there irritating things anymore.... I can now do light housework, too, which is a relief. I am allowed to vacuum and do laundry again, which will be a relief to my sweet bf, who has been doing the work for two houses for a month! I had a couple of places on my tummy incision where the skin kept wanting to come apart slightly, and I stuck butterflies there to hold it together as it heals better. Those tiny spots are looking lots better, and the NP said that's all they would've done if I had come in for a visit about it. There was no bleeding or anything, you could just see the whitish fibrous fascia that is under all the layers of skin, over the fat. But now it is scabbing over and looking decent. My breasts are dropping and fluffing and softening, and will still continue to do so for a while. I am really pleased with them! I am having "zingers" occasionally, which are shooting pains at random. They are from the nerves growing back and reconnecting. It takes my breath away, but it is normal. Just difficult to pretend nothing's happening if I am in church or the grocery store! Lol! One of the nicest things I have found are the cold packs for nursing mothers that can go in your bra...found them at Walgreen's. Those feel lovely and soothing. Overall I am doing well, and looking forward to hitting the gym tomorrow morning for the first time in over a month! Will take it easy, though. :-)