38 Years Old & Re-shaping Body - Chicago, IL

I've had a curvy, hourglass figure my entire life,...

I've had a curvy, hourglass figure my entire life, with my adult weight ranging from 150-160 which is anywhere from a size 6 to a size 10 on me. I'm not a skinny girl, but since my shape has been good, I've never wanted to be. However, I did know that most of the women in my family start getting fat into their late 30's or early 40's. I had always thought that this was due to eating habits, but then it happened to me!

I went from my normal adult weight up to 195-200 lbs in just over a year. Yes, I gained about 40 lbs in a year for no good reason. My doctor ran tests and checked everything and blamed a combination of stress and genetics. I wasn't eating more and I was exercising, though I have never been an excessive exerciser, I've always been pretty regular about it. I just piled on the pounds with no real explanation other than family history.

I tried every diet from low-carb to medifast to even the extremely low-cal 5 bite diet! I can lose a few pounds here or there, but only when I exercise 2x a day and eat near starvation levels. The good news is that my weight has settled and I'm no longer gaining, but the bad news is that I am now size 14! I'm not unhappy with my butt and legs and actually like the increase in breast size.. am a DD for the first time in my life and yes, it's a bit much, but I look great in a bra :)

However, the back rolls and the stomach fat are too much to bear and after doing everything humanly possible to fix this on my own, I went to a consult today with Dr. David Ross in Chicago. I chose him because of his experience and really appreciated his honest approach to posting prices on his website. I figured that if he's that up-front about pricing, I will be less likely to have hidden fees down the road. I even considered going to Mexico for this procedure, but for the prices he charges, there is no reason to do this when airfare and other expenses are considered.

In my meeting with him today, he explained very realistically what I can expect and what I'll like and what I might not like. He was very busy this morning, but that didn't stop him from spending plenty of time with me. I did hear him apologizing to someone in the hallway about the long wait times, but I believe that this was just because he wasn't rushing anyone. I would rather wait and get a full consultation from a doctor than be rushed, so I appreciated his approach. He definitely has a lot of experience and after this morning's visit, I paid the $500 to hold my surgery appointment time. I'll be going in on July 30 and am going next Saturday for the pre-op. I'll post more next week after the next visit.

Requested time off....

I'm pretty much in control of my schedule and lucky enough to be in a position where I tell my boss what days I want off and unless there is something really unusual, she will just confirm my request. However, when I went into the office today, I noticed that my entire week and a half after my July 30 is free except for August 7. I had set an appointment a few months ago for a key partner to fly out to meet with me. Since I'm the major person involved in this relationship, there is NO way to substitute and the partner has already booked tickets.

I am a bit nervous because I don't know how I will feel, but I am planning on taking July 30 - Aug 6 off, which is a Wednesday to the following Wednesday.. then come in for the meetings on the 7th and then take off the 8th, which will give me another long weekend.

I wouldn't normally worry, but the August 7 meeting will be a full day of meetings and dinner will most likely be an expectation. I can easily get out of drinking at dinner, but am concerned that the full day may be too much too soon. Not sure if I should re-schedule, but I am hoping that a full week of rest beforehand will make the day tolerable. Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated. I don't want to reschedule because I travel quite a bit for work and have to get back on the plane in September, so I want to be 150% back to normal by the time mid-September hits.

Thanks

Today's the day!!!

I'm really nervous.. I was scheduled for a 2:30pm appointment today and really not thrilled about the time. The anesthesiologist called me yesterday to go over questions and said that while I shouldn't eat past midnight (last night) that it was ok for me to drink something this morning before 7am. So, even though I am totally nervous and hungry now, at least I got to have my sugar free Red Bull this morning.

I've been trying to kill time all day... hubby is being super sweet and taking me on some random errands. I decided that I was done with errands and now just making last minute preparations. I took my shower and washed up with the antibacterial soap as instructed and had hubby take some "before" pics, which I have uploaded. I need to be at the office at 1:45 and it's a good hour away in downtown Chicago. We'll leave here at 12:30pm just in case.. and also because I'm nervous as hell and just want to get there!!

I will post some after pics (probably) post-surgery, but definitely once the swelling has subsided... wish me luck!!!

Back from surgery and feeling good enough to be on the computer!

I am on pain meds, so may not make sense, but I had a good experience today so I want to share before I forget.

The most important for others who read this are my tips, so I'll post those first:
1) Wear dark and comfy clothing. I know others tell you that you'll get messy.. but DAMN it is messy! I had no idea. My black sweatpants and dark purple t-shirt combo was a great idea.
2) Bring a shower curtain with you for the car ride home. You will leak in the car and if a friend is bringing you, there is no way you'll avoid staining unless you are plastic wrapped
3) Bring a hoodie (that you don't mind staining) and maybe even an old blanket for the trip home. It's Chicago here in middle of summer and I was freezing.. it's normal, but since hubby needed A/C in the car ride home, I totally wanted something warmer.
4) Bring a small snack and several bottles of water for the ride home unless you're within 10-15 minutes of your house. I was definitely thirsty but only a tiny bit nauseous. A snack could have helped with the nausea on my hour long car ride.
5) cover EVERYTHING in your house with plastic. I am not kidding here guys. I can't sit on my couch because we only bought a shower curtain for the bed and a towel would not be enough to keep the fluid from ruining the couch.
6) If you have carpets, cover them too.. I dripped bloody fluid everywhere I walked. Thank god I have ugly flooring that we'll be replacing in a few months, but if you don't want to ruin everything that you're near, just cover it. Please trust me on this one.
7) Make sure you have a decent supply of sheets, blankets, towels, etc that you don't mind ruining. I'm still a little cold and am really glad that hubby thought ahead to prep the old blankets for me.

Those are all the tips I can think of for now.. In a moment I will post about the overall experience. I'll post other tips that I think of if any more pop into my head. I know a lot is already covered here, but I want to add for emphasis. I really am making a mess!

Post-surgery part 2

Starting to get sleepy, so I may cut this short, but here goes:

I live in the Chicago suburbs, which means that the trip to the downtown surgery center took just over an hour. I arrived and was so nervous that I literally felt light-headed. I was absolutely terrified, but once I met the nurse, Chelsea, she instantly put me at ease.

I had to do some pre-surgery paperwork, but not much at all since I had already done the majority at Dr. Ross's office several weeks prior. Mostly it was just a bunch of questions about the medications I had taken in the last few weeks. They REALLY want to make sure that you didn't accidentally take one of the (aspirin or related) drugs that they had told me not to, but I had followed the pre-surgery instructions to the letter, so there were no worries. I also had to take a pregnancy test just in case, even though husband has a vasectomy, but I think that this is standard procedure.

Once all of this was handled, I changed into my gown and the anesthesiologist came in. I wish I remembered his name because he was great. I would call him a "straight-shooter," meaning that he was very direct and even a little humorous. The nurses said I'd be a little sore after lipo and he laughed and said I would probably be in quite a bit of pain, but that they would take care of me. I felt reassured and got the iv put in my arm.

The anesthesiologist left and Dr. Ross came in to answer any last minute questions I had and to cover me with sharpie. He seemed very happy and I got the feeling that he genuinely enjoys surgery. (good news, right? I don't want the guy who hates his job operating on me!) We chatted a bit and then he used the sharpie marker to circle all of the areas where he would be working.

Just a moment after Dr. Ross left, the anesthesiologist and the surgery nurse came to get me. I really wish I remember the surgery nurse's name as she was also wonderful. I think that on the way to the operating room, they put something in my IV because all of the sudden I wasn't nervous any more and actually quite relaxed. I vaguely recall some conversation with the Dr. and nurse and then I was out.

Next thing I knew, I was being woken up. I was told that I'd be cold and that this is normal - they then proceeded to cover me with blankets and I believe one of them was heated. I felt a little out of it, and remember thinking that the Dwarfs from Snow White were all picking at my back with their little pick-axes. No this is not a logical thought lol so sure it was the anesthesia wearing off, but that's what it felt like. So yes, there was pain, but not terrible.

They kept me in the recovery room for a while and then once I was ready, they had my husband bring the car to the front door. My legs felt wobbly so they wheeled me out and helped me into my car.

The car ride home was probably the worst part of the day.. see my tips - I needed a snack, though my sweet hubby had thought to stock the car with several bottles of water. My throat was a tiny bit sore from the breathing tube, so the water was refreshing and yes I was thirsty. The soreness wasn't aweful.. just maybe like I had been screaming at a concert the day before. Nothing unmanageable, but a lozenge might be nice if you have a sensitive throat.

We left the surgery center at (maybe?) 6:30pm but managed to catch the tail end of Chicago traffic back to the 'burbs. Hubby offered to stop somewhere to get me a snack, but I didn't want to. I knew he had made me some chicken soup, which was waiting for me at home, so I just sucked it up and dealt with the drive. (Did I mention that I am married to the most wonderful man in the world?)

Nothing tasted better than my warm chicken soup once I finally made it home. I was cold and hungry and it felt like the elixir of life. I did get a little nauseated while eating, so had to take one of my anti-nausea meds. After eating, I felt really tired, so I went to bed and passed out for a while.

Now I'm up and feeling pretty good. I am sore, but it's not nearly as bad as post-childbirth pain. It's uncomfortable but manageable with the meds they gave me.. at least today. We'll see how tomorrow goes. For now, I'm feeling REALLY gross as I am all wet and bloody, but I know I can't take a shower until I can remove the arm wraps, which is on Friday night. The bed looks so disgusting right now that even my saint of a husband says that he doubts he'll be sleeping with me.

Oh and I forgot to mention, I think I heard them say that they took out 4 liters of fat. If I'm remembering correctly, and I think I was, I am very happy with this amount. I am not skinny as you can see and if I'm going through all of this, I'm very glad that Dr. Ross was able to get a decent amount. Of course safety is always first and it's not always appropriate to take out quite this much, but Dr. Ross has been doing lipo for many, many years. I believe he said that he's a surgeon since 1976 (year I was born!) and doing lipo since 1980, but don't quote me on it. Bottom line - the guy knows what he's doing.

Will update more soon!

Awake at 3am

I slept a lot yesterday and woke up at 3am. I don't feel terrible.. just didn't need to sleep any more. I believe that this is a good sign. Even though I've never had surgery like this before, I have had dental work. I can honestly say that I felt worse after having teeth removed than how I feel now.

Don't get me wrong, I am sore. I just have felt worse. Perhaps it's because I'm managing my pain meds well - I'm taking them precisely on schedule and plan to do this for at least the next two days.

My arms don't hurt at all and only did when I changed shirts. My tummy and back are sore, but perhaps I was expecting worse.. as I mentioned in my other post, this is a walk in the park compared to post-childbirth recovery. I know that won't help those who don't have kids (or have had a c-section, which I hear are very painful) but for those of you that may be nervous, I would say that thus far, it's not terrible.

One other comment.. my surgery consultant at Dr. Ross's office, Michelle, did tell me that I would have been more sore if I had done my thighs. No clue if I'll ever get them done, but for now I can only comment on my personal experiences less than 24 hours after tummy, back, and arms.

One more tip for dog owners

For those of you who have dogs, it may be worth it to have them stay with a friend for a few days. I have three dogs and they all seem fairly stressed out and I assume it's the smell of blood. My Airdale usually sleeps in the living room, but last night she slept at the foot of the bed and kept coming over. She hasn't left my side for anything other than eating and going outside. My other dogs also seem fairly concerned and their behavior is a bit different. I know that boarding can be stressful, but I'm worried that they think I'm hurt and it seems to be very upsetting.

Yup, I'm sore

My arms still don't hurt much at all, which is great, but my stomach and back are definitely feeling some pain. It's still tolerable w/meds, but feels a bit like I got into a car accident or something. However, any time I feel bad, I just think about the 4 liters of fat removed and it makes it all better! :)

Ouch

It's Friday morning at 8am and I got lipo on Weds afternoon. This is probably the worst I've felt yet. Not sure why it was fairly easy recovery at first and now I'm much more sore, but I'm definitely not feeling spectacular. For anyone planning on getting lipo and then working or flying a couple of days later, I would really strongly suggest reconsidering. I am still very happy about the surgery so emotionally I feel great, but I don't think I would be capable of making it to an airport.

Speaking of hopping on planes... when I first considered doing this, I assumed it would be too cost prohibitive and I would likely go to Mexico to get it done. Well, after investigating, I believe that anyone who lives in a major US city could get lipo done for about the same price here in the US when you factor in airfare, hotel, etc. I suppose that there are significant cost savings if you're having a lot more done, but I don't know. Now that I have done this, I am so happy to be in the comfort of my own home.

Bruising!

Just wanted to post another picture to show the extent of the bruising. I always have bruised very easily, so it's not a surprise for me, but wow I'm purple! Another update.. even though my arms have generally been super easy, I just got out of the shower. In the shower, I was supposed to take off my arm tape and it was excruciating! My hubby helped, but I literally almost passed out and threw up from the pain.

Feeling better

It's been a bit of a roller coaster, with the first 24 hours feeling fairly decent, but the past couple of days not so much. Today, I woke up with less pain and more energy. I actually went to Costco with my husband and walked all around the store. I am sleepy now.. makes me feel a little wimpy that a short trip to Costco makes me want to nap, but the good news is that I'm feeling better. Also, I'm very swollen, but even with all of the swelling, I am looking thinner. :)

More Pics - Really Swollen, but starting to see changes

I'm really frustrated because my swelling seems to be a lot worse than others on this site, but I guess we're all different, right? I'm still 5 lbs heavier than when I went into lipo, but I am posting this to help others out there that are struggling with post-lipo swelling.

I have a terrible fear that all of the fluid will just stay.. that the doc pulled out 4 liters of fat only to replace it with fluid.. permanently. OK I know that I'm being really illogical, and this negative talk is annoying my husband to death, but I think I'm just getting tired of being in pain and swollen. Yes I am impatient, but since it felt like such a huge decision to get lipo, I waited for what felt like FOREVER to get it, now to have to wait more time to see results is terrible. Please be nice in the comments.. I know I'm being whiney..

Ultrasound for swelling

I called in today to schedule my follow-up and ended up on the phone with one of the docs because Dr. Ross is on vacation. Dr. T (can't remember his last name) is going to do ultrasound on me this Saturday to reduce swelling. I'm very excited! My shape is looking good and I'm feeling better every day, but still have quite a bit of swelling - can't even wear my wedding ring! So.. we'll see how it goes on Saturday. :)

Got Ultrasound and more

Went in today to get the ultrasound and I ended up getting a bit more than expected. The ultrasound was ok - it was like a massage with an ultrasound wand. I don't know if it helped, but it was nice to just go in and talk to the nurse about swelling. (I'm looking normal)

The interesting thing was that I decided to do a tear trough injection of restylane while I was there. The normal price is like $750, but since I am a lipo patient, they gave it to me for $500. Ohhh hubby was sooooo not happy when I came home. LOL - "You just spend 6k on lipo and you needed eye injections too?!?!"

I'll write a separate review about the restylane, but holy crap I got bruised! It looks like it helped for my dark circles, but it's hard to say with the bruising. In the meanwhile, I'm not allowed to go back to the cosmetic surgeons office with any credit cards. ;)

3 week pics

Hi all - sorry that I haven't been able to post some pictures. I'm actually almost to the 4 week point now, but have decided to upload some pics that I took right at the three-week mark.

Here's what's been going on since my last update:

1) LOVING my stomach and back.
2) LOVING my butt!! Who would have known that taking off a little back fat would make my butt pop like this. It looks so much more shapely and almost looks like I had work on it.
3) Not sure yet about the arms. I can't complain because my arms really didn't hurt at all.. they were very minor and if I need to get more work done on them, I feel like I could honestly go in on a Friday and be ready to work on Monday.
4) Still feeling some swelling. I can see my weight slowly going down, but I'm full of fluid.
5) I have been working out. Feeling better about my body has motivated me to step up the workout. No, I know that you're not supposed to get lipo with the intention of having it be a workout motivation, but it really has had this effect.

Overall, I love that I'm not skinny, but sculpted. I really like the way my clothing fit, and if I can't tone my thighs through exercise, I will have them done next summer. Dr. Ross did a wonderful job and this was the best 6k I have spent in my life!!

One more comment

A Facebook friend of mine recently posted weight loss pictures. She has worked hard to lose 20 lbs. I can honestly say that my before/after pics are significantly more dramatic. I asked my husband to confirm and he agreed completely.

I will always have to work out and eat very well based on my unfortunate genetic tendency to store lots of fat, but I LOVE having the option to sculpt the fat. I would really love feedback (be nice please!) but looking at my 3 week post-op pics, I don't think I look like a girl that weighs 190 lbs. I love that I have kept the fat in places I want it but have some control over where I want it removed rather than being on the constant diet/exercise cycle that wasn't resulting in any aesthetic benefit.

Went Shopping Today

My figure has totally changed and I LOVE IT!! It's not easy to shop now because my tummy is really small compared to my chest and hips, but that is not a bad problem to have! I have found that I now look best in form-fitting dresses and anything that highlights my waist.

It's funny.. I'll now be donating all of the larger sweaters and other baggy tops that I used to hide the stomach before. I feel great about my body for the first time in YEARS. This is truly the best $$$ I have ever spent. I am so happy!!!

Next summer I am going to do my thighs. I love my shape and I love just being able to focus on being healthy - eat well, exercise etc because I need to, but it's ok if I don't lose a ton of weight. I love my shape and if there are pieces of stubborn fat that I can't get rid of, it's off to Dr. Ross I go.
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

Pre-Surgery Comments: So far so good. I appreciated the time he spent with me at the initial consultation and feel confident in his level of experience. He was careful to set expectations and I went ahead and scheduled the procedure. *Post-surgery update* I can't say enough good things about Dr. Ross. Weeks after the procedure, I can see how well he sculpted my body. It wasn't just about sucking out fat, though he did that too - he really is an artist and I am so happy. I would definitely recommend him to anyone. Best $$$ I have ever spent!!

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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