I am having so many second thoughts now!! I just...
I am having so many second thoughts now!! I just spent last week in Cancun on vacation, most of it in a bikini on the beach. (See picture below). I do not feel that I need cosmetic improvements at all. I know my belly isn't perfect, but it is good enough for me. I like myself the way I look now. My husband likes the way I look now and that is all that matters from a physical appearance stand point to me.
I really really want my ab muscles to work again and for my back pain to go away, I am just not convinced that this surgery will work. What if I go through all of this pain and torture of recovery and my abs still don't work the way they are supposed to? And my back pain still doesn't go away? Then my belly will look all weird and different than the way it does now that I am currently happy with. Especially if there is going to be a visible scar...
I have looked everywhere and talked to everyone and no one can tell me that this surgery will for sure improve my muscle function and back pain.
I scheduled another (3rd!) consultation with my surgeon to talk to him again-- we've already talked for ~3 hours over the course of my last 2 appointments. I also scheduled a consultation with a different plastic surgeon in the hopes that he might have something different to tell me.
Does anyone out there have any thoughts or advice for me???? I am just so confused and don't know where else to go for information...
Someone on this site suggested that I look into...
Someone on this site suggested that I look into the Tupler Technique-- a series of exercises to close diastasis without surgical intervention. I had a Tupler technique trainer come to my house about 1.5 weeks ago to teach me the exercises, fit me for a splint, etc. My measurements were as follows:
Diastasis 3" above belly button: 3"
Diastasis at belly button: 3 3/4" and deep
Diastasis 3" below belly button: 2"
Waist 3" above belly button: 28"
Waist at belly button: 29 1/4"
Waist 3" below belly button: 31 1/2"
I did the exercises religiously for a week and wore my splint 24/7 with the exception of showering and running (I didn't want to get it sweaty). She came back after 1 week and remeasured me. The results were astounding.
After just 1 week, my measurements are as follows:
Diastasis 3" above belly button: 1 3/4"
Diastasis at belly button: 2 1/4" and shallow
Diastasis 3" below belly button: 1 3/4"
Waist 3" above belly button: 27"
Waist at belly button: 28 3/4"
Waist 3" below belly button: 31"
In addition, my umbilical hernia is significantly smaller. It feels significantly smaller and looks it as well. Also, when I push it in, it stays that way for a period of time, instead of just popping right back out like it used to.
Unfortunately, I cannot make a comment about back pain because the Tupler Technique works your back muscles as well. So I don't know if my back is still just sore as it has always been or if it is getting better and the soreness I feel is from the exercises. So that is a wash...
I am very encouraged by these results, at the same time, I am a little worried about if I can get the diastasis COMPLETELY closed like this and the hernia COMPLETELY gone. I also already have the surgery scheduled, the time planned off of work, and $5k set aside in my pretax healthcare spending account to help pay for the surgery. Additionally, there is no way I will do this surgery in the summer because I refused to be cooped up in the house during the glorious Chicago summer months. I also would prefer to avoid football season (too much screaming. Go Blue!) and the holidays. So, if I am going to do it, now is the time.
I just want to do whatever I can to avoid the pain of the TT. And that scar. I am happy with the way my belly looks right now, I just want my back to stop hurting.
I am going to see a 2nd PS today for another consultation to get his take on things. I am frustrated because most PS don't seem to know anything about muscles. Evidence: I asked a question about muscle functionality post TT to the Doctors on this board and have gotten ZERO responses. Real nice... I get that there job is more cosmetic in nature, but if they do alot of TTs with MRs they should know ALL ABOUT ab muscle functionality. It makes me trust them less that they don't. How are they going to operate on something that they know nothing about???
So, anyways, I go to see a different PS this afternoon and then my PS tomorrow after to get their perspective on my new results. Then, it is just a matter of making the call by Friday-- which is something only I can do, I know. but I love getting others' perspectives. So if you've got thoughts, please share them.
Well, I've been doing the Tupler Technique for...
Well, I've been doing the Tupler Technique for almost 5 weeks now and I have had GREAT success so far. I still have a bit more to go, but I am seeing good enough results that I decided to cancel my TT. This makes me really happy because instead of being 3 days post op and miserable right now, I am feeling great and looking forward to my weekend.
My diastasis above, at, and below the belly button is less than 1" in all three places. In fact, the separation above my belly button is almost completely closed up.
I still have a slight umbilical hernia, but it seems to be getting smaller still too. I am really hoping it goes away completely. I am going to keep at the Tupler Technique and it should. If not, I will have to have the laproscopic surgery to get that corrected, but I think I will be able to avoid that too.
I guess overall i am so grateful someone on this site suggested the Tupler Technique to me as it appears to have allowed me to completely avoid surgery and I am thrilled. Thanks!!
So.... I'm back on for my full TT w/ MR this...
11 Nov 2012
8 months post
So.... I'm back on for my full TT w/ MR this Wednesday. The Tupler Technique DID work. However, because of my scoliosis, it gave me a spasm in my right shoulder complex. So I had to discontinue the exercises for a period of time to try and release the spasm. Within a couple months of stopping the exercises, my diastasis was right back to where it was before I started the exercises. I'm like, ok, so I guess I will be doing this every day for the rest of my life. (which I can't because of the dang spasm). So, TT it is....
I am less than 3 days pre-op today and, of course, starting to get a little nervous which is why I am back on this site. I am soooo dreading that hideous scar on my skin. We have a Mexican vacation planned at 3mos post-op and I am terrified I am going to look like frankenstein in a bikini.
I am also dreading the pain. YIKES! I spent the whole day today with my boys (ages 6.5 and 3) just having fun. We went to the (indoor) pool for a few hours, then went to see Hotel Transylvania. Fun! Finally, I'm just REALLY hoping I don't die and leave these poor boys motherless.
I will be scouring this site tonight for tips and tricks I need to remember. I've already forgotten everything I read 9 mos ago...
Wish me luck!
Forgot to add that I posted some new pre-op pics...
11 Nov 2012
8 months post
Forgot to add that I posted some new pre-op pics.
I am just so confused. I do not need or want this surgery for cosmetic reasons. I'm sure many of you are looking at my pre-op pics like, this girl must be insane. But I really want my ab muscles to work again and I really want my back pain to improve. I have no idea how much worse the back pain is going to get as I get older, but it scares me. I'm also scared that I will go through this whole painful surgery and my muscles STILL won't work and my back will STILL hurt. I am dealing with 2 unknowns, neither of which I can gain any perspective on since most people who have this surgery do so for cosmetic reasons, not functional ones. In fact, my PS said he has only had one other patient who has ever done this for functional reasons.
I'm not sure if I am just having "surgery is in 3 days" jitters, or if I am really making a mistake. My husband said he will support me in whatever decision I make. When pressed for an opinion, he said, if you don't give the surgery a try, you are still going to be wondering about it 1yr, 5yrs, 10yrs from now. And I am more likely to have a better recovery at age 35 than I am at 45 or 55 or 65... So I guess it is on. i guess I won't ever really be able to make an informed decision.... :(
Side note: anyone know how to change who your doctor is? I have decided to go w/ a different doctor-- he has a technique I like better for cutting through the pubic hair line to 1) have lower scars and 2) pull the lower skin up as well as the upper skin down. But I can't figure out how to change it....
Well, I am officially fasting now, as I go in...
13 Nov 2012
8 months post
Well, I am officially fasting now, as I go in tomorrow at 10:30am CST for Full TT w/ MR at noon. I guess at this point I am just anxious to start recovering.... I went today to get a bikini wax. My PS ok'd this so I wouldn't have to get shaved. Thank goodness! The only thing worse than recovering from this surgery would be recovering from this surgery AND dealing with the itchiness of shave regrowth. LOL.
The nurse told me the wax hurts worse than recovery from the surgery. Yeah right... I asked her if she ever had a TT and she said, "Well.... no...." hahaha. Ok, lady, then keep your helpful comments to yourself. The pain of the wax was gone in 15 seconds with no drains, binders, sutures, etc. I don't think the TT will be quite the same. :P
Ok, well, my next update will be post surgery. Wish me luck!!
I tried to post yesterday 1DPO, but my phone was...
16 Nov 2012
8 months post
I tried to post yesterday 1DPO, but my phone was not cooperating from the hospital Any at 24 hours post-op. I was MISERABLE. The pain was even more than imagined. Surprisingly, i was not to incision that hurt, but the tightening of my ab muscles from top to bottom. They were/ are so sore it fells like an elephant is sitting on my stomach. In addtion to theTT/ w MR and lipo, I also have a urethral sling put in at the same time. They is where they pick apiece of tissue from your own body and then use it as a support below your urethra, supported by your tailbone. It will make it so that I no longer leak when, coughing, sneezing, laughing, jumping, etc. (yes, my son #2 do a really nice job destroying my entire body!) So I have 2 pencil eraser size holes in my public mound and my drains are coming out there too. That may be the worst part now. That area is very swollen, so I am keeping ice packs on it. However, whenever I get up, all the pressure of gravity seems to go right there and it hurts like hell.
I was incredibly nauseous all day yesterday. Besides water and few pieces of jello I did not eat anyting. I have an anti-nausea patch behind my year (the kind people use on cruises) and some oral anti nausea meds too.
I had a one-night stay in the hospital, which was very cozy with the exception that was up every 45 min or in pain. needing new meds, someone checking my vitals, alarms going off in room down the hall, etc. The nurses did get me up to walk 3 times yesterday and it was torture. I tried jockeying for a second night in the hospital, but no one would go for it. So I got home last night around midnight (the only nice thing about leaving so late was that we did not hit any of the traffic for which Chicago is notorious.
We we got home from the hospital, i was able to make it up stairs and to my own bed. That is where I felt I wold be most comfortable. And out of the way of the kids (ages 6.5 and 3) when they are here. The last thing i need them to think is that I am all better and they can come jump on me again!
Anyways, as for 2DPO, I doing a little better. Getting out of bed is still incredibly painful, but I guess I am able to deal with it better. I was able to make it downstairs this morning and ate breakfast (a bagel) standing at the counter. Sitting still does not fell good because of the aforementioned holes in my pubic mound and they pain it is causing me.
I am now alternating between Norco and Valium for pain meds. I'm also on an antibiotic and a stool softener, in addition to the anti-nausea med. I have passed gas already, but have not had a BM, nor am I able to pee. I had the catheter removed yesterday at 6am. I tried peeing on 3 separate occasions, but nothing came out (apparently this in no uncommon for people who get urethral slings.) So I was sent home in a catheter. I have appts on Monday to get the catheter out with my urologist and Wednesday to get my drains out with my PS.
So basically, I am just laying in bed trying to recoop and getting up every now and then to walk-- probably not as much as I should, but again, it hurts like hell. They said every hour and I am doing every 2-3hours. today. Babysteps, I guess...
As for the results of the surgery, both surgeons said it went really well. The urologist went first with the sling. It took about 1.5 hours. She did nick my bladder during the procedure, although that is pretty common during this type of surgery. She stitched it up right away and no real problem. The PS was next. He said everything went great. he told my husband multiple times, OH SHE'S TIGHT! In addition to fixing my umbilical hernia, he found 3 other hernias in there that he repaired at the same time. Geez! Who knew that could happen! In addition to the swelling in my pubic mound (which my PS said is from the urethral sling because she had to flush the area with alot of fluid), I am also swollen at the upper abs where he yanked them together really tight. So far the incision looks very low and straight, and the belly button looks good. I've only looked under the binder once when the PS crew came over to look at me, and even then I could barely raise my head to see. I haven't had the strength to take pics yet, but hopefully will soon.
On to more healing....
It has been 49 hours since my surgery ended. I...
16 Nov 2012
8 months post
It has been 49 hours since my surgery ended. I just got the strength my last time walking around to take some pics. See attached. So far so good, I guess. still in quite a bit of pain, still can't get in and out of bed myself. But it is getting just a hair better. Anxious for this first week to be OVER!
I'm already anxious for the drains and the catheter to come out, but the worst pain I am having is the top of abs where they are sewn tightly together and the two drain spots on my pubic mound. Still no BM, though I have eaten some solid food today-- bagel for breakfast, noodle soup for lunch, and 2 pieces of french toast for dinner. Somehow I got some phlegm caught in my throat on 2 separate occasions today and coughing it out was BEYOND painful. Yikes!!!! Any thoughts on how to prevent that from happening??
My husband has done an AMAZING job taking care of me (emptying the urine bag and drains, helping me in and out of bed, cooking for me, remember which meds to take when.) I seriously don't think I could make it through this without him. I also have my mom here taking care of my kids (for 20 days), so we hanging in there.
The boys (ages 6.6 and 3) stopped into my room when they got home from school today. I don't look that bad just laying here. So they are not worried anymore. I won't go for a walk until they can't see me though. I don't want them to see me hunch over, walking so slow with all the bags hanging off me. Actually, I am walking more vertical than I expected. Not quite totally erect, but not hunched in half like I thought I would be.
I hope all my other 11/14 and 11/15 TT pals are doing well too!
I'm still hanging in there. I...
17 Nov 2012
8 months post
I'm still hanging in there. I definitely still have a significant amount of pain, though it is getting just a hair less everyday. I can't get out of bed by myself yet, but I can stand up out of a chair by myself (Thank you strong quad muscles!) I don't see much change in the way much stomach looks today vs. yesterday, but I've uploaded a couple more pics-- see above. Still alot of swelling as my waist is bigger now than before the surgery. And my muscles are so tight that it hurts to breath deeply. My incision is starting to get just a little itchy/ burny. especially on the edges.
I've been able to eat good solid food today without nausea. French toast for breakfast, noodle soup for lunch, meatloaf and baked potato for dinner. No nausea at all anymore, so that is a good sign.
When I get up, I am able to do so with just a little less pain and stand just a little more vertically. Everyone here on this board said the first week is the hardest. In 6 hours I will be at the half way mark for the week. Hopefully it is all down hill from there.
I still haven't had the energy to shower. When do you guys usually take the first shower? I'm thinking I should wait til the catheter comes out, but I don't know... That is not until at least Monday.
Tonight I am using my body pillow from when i was pregnant to help me sleep on my side. My butt is getting a little numb sleeping on my back, so hopefully this will help.
Well, hurray! I made it through the dreaded 1st...
22 Nov 2012
8 months post
Well, hurray! I made it through the dreaded 1st week!! Monday (6DPO), I had an appt to take the catheter out. I made it to the urologist's office and was very disappointed to hear that they did not have a bed for me to lay down in. They say they are too busy to have an empty bed. The plan for the catheter removal was to remove the catheter and then wait 4-6 hours in the waiting room for my bladder to refill and see if I can go on my own. Well, I have never sat for that long since the surgery. Oh, AND I had to go down to the Starbucks on the first floor to get my own water (I thought I would be in a bed and they would be handing it to me!). I told my husband he could go to work when he dropped me off becuase why should he have to sit there for 6 hours, right? Well, I dragged my butt down to Starbucks and bought 3 bottles of water. The person there took mercy on me and got a wheel chair to cart me back up to the 20th floor. I was sitting in the waiting room for another 2 hours or so (3 bottles of water later) and thought I had to go so hobbled over to the restroom. When I was sitting there, the pain on my incision and my whole lower half was so intense, i thought I was going to pass out. No pee came out though. I was white as a ghost. Thought I was going to die. I was waiting for some other woman to come into the restroom so I could ask her to go for help. but no one came. It was all I could do to practically crawl out of the bathroom where 2 different people saw me and immediately gave me help. Miraculously, a bed opened up in urology and I got to lay there for 2 more hours. Tried again, but still no pee. So I have the catheter for 1 more week. They think perhaps my pubic mound is STILL too swollen....
Wednesday, I had an appt w/ my PS to have my drains removed. The whole appt took 5 minutes. He snipped the little stitch around each drain, tugged, and boom, it was done. Just a gauze pad covering each hole now. Doesn't really even hurt. He did say that he thinks I am pretty constipated. I did have one BM on 5DPO, but that was it. So PS thinks I need more. he recommended Miralax in addition to stool softener. My pubic mound and lower half of my belly is still ROCK solid and thick. A little tender. but SOLID and thick. I'm hoping it it just swelling and that it will go down with time and perhaps a few BMs.
Today is 8DPO. I had 2 BMs today, the first of which was pretty difficult/ constipated. Hopefully a couple more of those will make some of the swelling go down.
I am basically off the hard core pain meds now. I take 600mg of Advil a few times a day, supposedly that will help with swelling as well. but no more Norco, no more valium. The antibiotic course is done already. I am still taking the stool softener. Anti-nausea meds aren't needed anymore. A week ago I couldn't even imagine an hour without the pain meds, so I guess I am glad with how I am healing. I am basically able to get in and out of bed on my own, though sometimes the catheter makes it a little difficult.
The incision is not very painful. Just the swelling below the belly button and on the pubic mound. I have not eaten a single thing with salt in it. Any other suggestions on to help the swelling?
OK, 10 days after surgery almost to the minute. I...
24 Nov 2012
8 months post
OK, 10 days after surgery almost to the minute. I am feeling a bit better each day. I have taken 3 showers so far-- the first when the drains were still in, the next two post drain removal. Taking the binder off is the worst part. I feel like my support system is completely removed! Today I was able to perch each leg on the bench one at a time and almost just quite bend over enough to shave my legs.
I take 600mg Advil once a day, Miralax to help ensure I don't have constipation... and that is about it. So not bad in terms of meds. You can see from the sideview pic that I am standing up relatively vertically.
I have been able to rest somewhat comfortably on my side, which is a nice change of pace. I try not to do that too long because I don't know what it will do to the swelling.
I have 2 big problems remaining at this point:
1) the fact that I still have this DARN catheter. It truly is annoying. My next appt to attempt removal is Wednesday at 8am. Fingers so tightly crossed that it works this time.
2) The swelling from the belly button down. I wear a binder fulltime, but not a compression garment. My PS said I do not need one as he usually only uses them with patients that have had liposuction (which I guess I ended up not needing!) I'm kind of wondering if I do.... if I should go out and buy one on my own... what would I buy? I am tired of the swelling and the "Ken doll" syndrome. ANY THOUGHTS????
Last thing, my PS had me get waxed before the surgery to avoid having to get shaved, which I was happy about. However, the hair is growing back now and even with the wax it is itchy as all get out. not sure if it is that or the healing of the two holes from the drains. Either way, not fun!
I posted 2 new pics today. You can definitely still see alot of swelling.
Hi everyone. Just wanted to write a quick update....
Hi everyone. Just wanted to write a quick update. I am now 18DPO-- it will be 3 weeks on Wednesday. I had the steri-strip removed from my scar on Wednesday at my 2wk appt and the PS said it looks great. He is very happy with it-- low, even, straight, etc. (I posted 3 news pics from that day-- last Wednesday). He gave me the go ahead to start using silicone strips, which I love. It feels so cushy and protective on my scar. Worth the $100! (bought it at his office)
In terms of recovery, my lower half is actually getting MORE swollen. I thought the swelling was supposed to go down??? Guess it hasn't been long enough yet... I have big time "Ken Doll" syndrome as well. The area there up to my scar is rock hard. Not sure if it is supposed to be like that or if that is a problem? anyone know? Also, it seems like a bit of a bruise is developing around my scar, particularly in that middle area also. Is that normal? I'd appreciate any input...
Someone on here posted that they were frustrated because their mind was ready for more than their body That is exactly where I am right now. Mentally, I am ready to be done with this recovery and get on with my daily life. I've been off the pain meds for a couple weeks so I don't have that groggy I want to sleep all day feeling anymore. I get up and around well enough, but I definitely can't be up, walking, sitting, moving more than about 4 hours right now. After that, my back is killing me, I get more and more hunched and I am begging for bed. Last Thursday, I had a dr's appt for my son followed by a school board meeting I had to go to. I was out and about for ~6hours. When I got home I was crying I was so ready to lay down. I got ready for bed, took a Narco and a Valium for the first time in over a week and went right to sleep. So now I try not to be up for too long at a time.
It's hard because it is also time for me to get back to doing my real life. My mom, who was here helping out since my surgery, left today. So tomorrow morning I need to be back to getting the kids ready for school (which means getting up in a timely manner in the morning. Not lingering until my breakfast is brought to me!), packing lunches, etc. I think that should be ok. I have friends who are helping me walk/ drive the kids to school in the morning for 4 of the 5 days and I'm taking the 5th. So, it is what it is. I also am back to work-- I am an entrepreneur so I control what I do, sort of-- my business partner is here to push me along. We have some meetings with some important people this week and next. NOT looking forward to hobbling in and hiding my pee bag, but I am looking forward to the meetings! It feels good to use my brain again...
In non-TT news, I STILL have my catheter from the urethral sling surgery. I had it taken out last Wednesday and tried to pee on my own again (2 wks PO), but couldn't. SOOO frustrating. So I still have the cath. I am going to try again on Wednesday. If it doesn't work, then I will go back the week of 12/17 to have another procedure to have the sling loosened slightly. This is an easy one, not under general, so it should be easy. I will be very glad to be done with this darn catheter though. If I have to have the surgery, it will be 5+ weeks with a catheter, which is ridiculous!!
Otherwise, I guess I would say my healing is going as planned. I am anxious to do more, but I know it is a long process. My husband and I are going to Mexico for a week when I am 3mos PO. I cannot wait!!! I should be a normal person by then. :)
I am just about 5 weeks PO and I am really really...
18 Dec 2012
9 months post
I am just about 5 weeks PO and I am really really ready to be done recovering already. I just want to be a normal person again. Without swelling. Able to wear jeans and not worry about a button digging into my scar. Able to run, jump, stretch. I know I shouldn't complain because I have had a pretty easy recovery, but still.... I'm anxious.
For those of you following my catheter drama, I had a re-do on the sling procedure on Friday (4wks, 2 days PO) to loosen the sling. I am now able to pee without a catheter (YAY!), but it doesn't come easily. Which is frustrating. Worse than the TT recovery, I am worried that I may never pee like a normal person again. And that is a very scary thought. You don't realize how much you take something for granted-- like going pee-- until you can't do it anymore. My urologist said I need to give it time to heal and get back in the swing of things. We'll see.....
In other news, I have been using the silicone strip on my scar for about 3 weeks now and I do think it is working. The scar looks way better than it did 3 weeks ago. Yes, some of that is just healing with time. but i do think it is even more improved than I thought it would be.....
Hi Everyone. I am 7 weeks PO as of yesterday. ...
3 Jan 2013
10 months post
Hi Everyone. I am 7 weeks PO as of yesterday. Had a check up with the PS and he gave me the all clear for just about everything with the exception of situps/ crunches. I can go back to Bikram (hot) yoga. I can wear jeans. I don't have to wear the binder anymore. I can lay on my stomach. I can get massages. etc. So that is pretty good...
I am still fairly swollen. Which is annoying. I'm ready for that to go away already. He said it should be better within the next month or so and all gone within 9 months. I am going to Mexico for vacation 5 weeks from yesterday so I hope it is sooner rather than later!
I still can't say whether or not it is worth it. I need to wait and see what the FINAL results are like.