So.... I've been on a 2.5 year journey to lose...
So.... I've been on a 2.5 year journey to lose about 90lbs. I was always athletic and heavier than I looked thanks to being more muscular than average, but there was no excuse for the 269lbs that I hit in my late twenties. After turning my life upside down heading into 30 (will turn 31 this year)...downsized from corporate america, career reinvention, financial shifts, personal challenges... I somehow decided I was done being so physically unhappy.
I lost 25lbs the first year, 55 the second, and 10 so far this year (boy it slows down as you get closer to your goal weight). The strict doctors' weight charts would say I have 30lbs to go, but honestly, if I didn't have this stomach layer that I've already been told in my initial consults will NOT go away no matter how hard I work, I think I'd be pretty happy. It's utterly infuriating to me that I cannot undo the damage I did to myself on my own and that the new body I've built can't be seen because it's hidden by this seemingly permanent fat badge of dishonor. But, I've been trying to come to grips with that these past few months. It's a slow process. :)
So anyways, I'm going for my second round of consults this week to make my final doctor decision, get the ok that my body is in the right shape to procede, and schedule for this June. By then I will have finished my certification to become a Pilates instructor and will have just the right amount of downtime to heal up before I start working full time at a new studio. Here are the things I am agonizing over and would love to hear any thoughts/experience/advice from this lovely community on:
1. Getting the breast lift, tummy tuck, and hip lipo all at once. I'm terrified of how vicious it may be on my body, but I know with my perfectionist tendencies I won't be ok with one part of my torso being "fixed" and the other being a loose mess. Most people on this forum seem to have only done one. I'm nervous too, that if I break it up, I might never go back for the second procedure if the first one doesn't go to well.
2. Recovery while being a new fitness professional. How will my body feel while I'm recovering, will I lose a lot of my muscle, how hard will it be to get back at the level I left off at? Will it be somewhat of an easier recovery since my core muscles are in a good place heading in, or does it not matter? Given that I'm a pilates girl and am being told I can't curl/crunch/round the abs for quite some time, how do I deal with not being to do something I love so much and that motivates me to stay on the healthy track?
3. The whole not talking myself out of it as I get closer to the date because I'm honestly sharing in the terrors that everyone else seems to have... not waking up, taking an incredible risk for something elective/cosmetic, what I'm asking for my husband and family to deal with, etc.
4. Not having had children yet...I don't know if/when that will happen. Some doctors have gotten pretty insistent with me about not doing this before children, which puts a whole other layer of pressure on. I know there is a risk that a pregnancy could really hamper the tummy tuck results, but with it being such an unknown, I think I have to let that go?
5. Losing weight after the procedure...I'm trying to head into the surgery as prepped as possible. Training hard, eating clean, etc. What were other people's pre surgery decisions? I've considered doing HCG to target some more abnormal fat... is that a bad plan?
I think that's enough of my mental download for now. My brain feels like a ping pong ball going through all these decisions. I talk myself out of it frequently, then I cry because I know I want to be done with this final layer that just has plagued me my entire adult life. I feel selfish wanting to use our money to pay for a cosmetic change, but I constantly wonder/dream about not having to worry about my stomach anymore... not having to choose clothes that conceal it cleverly and not having to sit certain ways so my rolls don't bulge too much.
Anyways, I'll stop for now. I'll post pre photos closer to the date. In the meantime, I'll keep combing this forum because it has been sooo helpful aleady. I think it'll be my source of courage when it all comes down to it!
Well, the date is set! June 15th for certain. I...
Well, the date is set! June 15th for certain. I have a feeling this is going to be the longest and quickest 6 weeks all rolled into one. :) I talked it through with my PS and we both landed comfortably with doing the lift and tuck at the same time. His nurse is fantastic too... she already knows I'll be freaking out the week prior and made it very clear that all will be ok and she's there for what I need. I'm so thankful I found a practice that is top notch, modern, and yet very personal too.
While I work daily to keep my fears to a manageable level, the people I've told are beyond excited for me and that makes me feel a tad better.I even learned that a woman whom I look up to quite a bit, a woman that owns her own fitness studio and is in amazing shape, is also having to do the same thing. We all apparently hit our "walls" of what we can do on our own. She has mentioned the same worries I have... from recovery to having to start from square one with her activity level. Her surgery is next week so she can pave the way! :)
On the diet front, I tried to do HCG but couldn't find a happy medium between no weight loss and 3lbs a day. I didn't feel strong, I didn't feel like my body could do what I needed, and I made the decision that I should keep on the path that has gotten me this far... healthy, steady, and from a happy place. But, always good to try and learn than wonder, no?
The deposit on the surgery has been made...no...
The deposit on the surgery has been made...no turning back now! At least not without a hefty financial penalty, lol. I'm exactly one month and two days out. It feels like forever, but I'm certain/hoping it will fly by. I've started gathering "supplies" for post surgery. I bought my arnica tablets to minimize bruising/swelling and have nabbed a few inexpensive yet oversized lounging pieces from Old Navy to be comfy in. My husband is starting to ask a lot of questions about how I'll be, how long the surgery is, what I'll be able to do/not do, etc. I think he's getting nervous, but I'm grateful the man who isn't too into details, typically, is trying to get his arms around this one and be prepared. An annoyance I didn't foresee...clothes. I don't fit in any of my warm weather clothes from last year, but I can't bring myself to buy any new ones knowing that they'll likely not fit after the surgery and therefor would be a waste of money. Guess I'll limp along looking a little silly for the next month (and for some time after depending on swelling). Hope it doesn't get too much hotter in the meantime!
Adding two before pics. I plan to get the official...
Adding two before pics. I plan to get the official ones from the doctor when I head into surgery, but these are kind of it for now. I feel a little odd posting such pictures of myself, but given that I'm doing the breast lift without implants, I thought it'd be most helpful to see all of it "before". I haven't seen many pics of lifts without reductions or implants, so hopefully these will help give a comparison for the next lovely gal in my situation.
Question for everyone on the scar management front...
Question for everyone on the scar management front. What has everyone tried? I've been doing some research and it seems like the silicone sheets are a good way to go over topical gels/creams. However, the price range is cra-zy from type to type. I have no idea what to look for to decide what is worth paying for and what isn't. If anyone has had great luck with certain products, please send me a message. Any recommendations are much appreciated!
I missed so much yummy commentary while I was away...
I missed so much yummy commentary while I was away today! :) Couple things... I have heard the same about the BL vs BA. BL is supposed to be much more traumatic than a straight augmentation. But, I am in the same boat. Was large chested through most of my life and since the girls are the first to go when you lose weight, mine are like the balls in socks too! I think the "bat wings", i.e. loose skin on the side bother me even more because no bra can fix those. Luckily, both will be fixed with the lift. I am hoping that, since the brain can only register so much pain, mine will just focus on the tuck and forget about the lift during recovery, lol. Kind of like when you go get a massage b/c your right shoulder hurts, but once it's addressed, you realize the left hurt even more! If only all of this was like a massage.... /sigh. :)
Anyways, the augementation was a big point of contention during my consults. Having always been larger, I never even thought about implants, but my second consult said he was afraid that once the bat wings were gone, my cup size would actually be a small C or full B at best. What?! I'm not fixated on size, but I want to stay proportional and I know I will always have a booty. I instantly started worrying about going through this and being pear shaped when it was all done b/c my girls were gone. Well, I talked to the PS I finally selected for my procedure and he feels he can keep them at a good C, which he says is technically what I am now but I have to wear a larger size b/c of the side issues. He said he could like pull some tissue from there anyway to put back in the cup. So, my fingers are crossed hoping that it's all proportional and hourglassy when done.
Sommie, I'm with you though...I worry that I'll start fixating on other areas once this is done. One surgeon told me plastic surgery is like a carousel and once you get in, it's hard to get off. Probably a really fair point. BUT, my PS said the reason the TT is so special/important/different is that it addresses the one area you can't really mask. You can wear a padded bra if you're small, you can wear the right sleeves for jiggly arms, good pants to show off your bottom part to perfection, etc etc. But flabby tummies cannot be hidden. Even if you lived in medical grade Spanx all day, it would still show. So I'm hoping that my subconscience can really absorb that and maybe once my torso is streamlined I'll be so joyously happy that the rest will fall into place. Plus I know I still have some weight to lose in the leg area and I'm ok to keep working on them. But my husband let it slip that he's got the same concerns...that the TT/BL will not meet my expectations so I'll want to have more work done, or that I'll be so happy with the results that I'll want more work done. I told him to have a little faith in me, and I need to keep reminding myself of that too.
So today I started looking for recipes online for "regularity" smoothies. I'm hoping I can compile soem ingredients to help with the BM issue post pain medication since that seems to be a big hurdle in recovery. Any suggestions or recommendations are gladly welcomed! I'm also definitely going with pre and post surgery supplements. My mom told me she did that when she had her full hysterectomy and reminded me how insanely quick she recovered. She was walking around the mall after a few days! I know there are a lot of factors in her being that "up and at 'em" so soon, but any that I can mimic I will glady try.
Oh jeez, is it time yet?!
I am getting obsessed with the concept of going to...
I am getting obsessed with the concept of going to the beach after this is all said and done. I have a level of fascination with Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) that I have not experienced since wanting to try Pilates (and clearly that intuition was right on the money, lol!). Can I really be the girl that gets to enjoy the water without fear of judgement and defeating body images? I think I just might be able to...
Got my pre-op paperwork today... it's getting...
Got my pre-op paperwork today... it's getting real now! Love reading all the "this could go wrong" points. Little scary. But seeing all the instructions on what to do pre-surgery, getting my prescriptions for pre-filling, and having my first post-op PS visit scheduled makes me kind of giddy. 3.5 weeks and counting. It gave me something to daydream about when my mind needed a break that my body didn't have the luxury of feeling during my certification work today. I hurt from tip to toe, but at least I can feel like I'm just prepping my body as best as possible for June. :)
On another note, still working on post-surgery entertainment once I arise from the pain medicine stupor and start to get restless. I found this blog post about the best summer beach reads. I figure trashy and shallow reading will be good for recovery time too. Not too much to stretch the brain but something fun to keep me occupied. Anwways, here's the link in case anyone else wants to use the same anti-boredom strategy. Enjoy!
One week and counting. Picking up my post-op...
One week and counting. Picking up my post-op prescriptions today and piling up my supplies somewhere within reach of where I'll be sleeping (guaze, meds, tylenol, post-op vitamins, fresh jammies, books, etc). I had my pre-admissions testing and bloodwork done last Thursday so I'm guessing no news is good news. Paid my PS, paid the anesthesiologist, and have my calendar marked to pay the surgical center tomorrow. Ahhhh.... I guess this is really happening! I'm getting past the nerves and just looking forward to giving the recovery my all. I've been working out like crazy and I find myself getting a little sad that I'm on my last week of being this strong and capable for a while. I have built a good network of trainers to help me get back at it in a safe way once I'm ready, though, so I need to focus on that positive. I just can't wait to be on the other side of this and enjoying not carrying around this extra baggage anymore. Guess I don't have to wait much longer!
Wow... this week has been surreal. I won't say...
Wow... this week has been surreal. I won't say it's been a walk in the park, but I'm definitely making steady strides in my recovery. I think if I had only done the TT or the BL I'd be smooth sailing by now, but I have to give myself some leeway since I combined two pretty intense proceedures into one recovery. I did spike a fever on the second day, but each day that lessened and I seem to only heat up when my body goes into recovery mode when I sleep. Thanks to some regularity tea, I didn't have much issue with getting my systems up and running again. My pain has been manageable and I am constantly exhausted. Every day, though, when we clean and change the dressings, the suture lines look great and my incisions are already flattening into a nice smooth line. My biggest challenge is managing these drains. My biggest amount of pain is around the drain sites. So, it goes without saying that I really really really hope they come out when I see my PS in two days. I seem to be making progress in terms of it fading in color and lessing in qty, but I don't really know what the number is that would make him say it's ok to take them out. I really hope they do, though, b/c then I could wear real clothes and maybe get to see and feel the changes. Everyone keeps asking if I'm thrilled, but being stuck with giant nightgowns to not bother the drains and not being anywhere near the full length mirrors in my house (I'm sleeping downstairs and am not interested in trying to scale the stairs to get to my bedroom mirror) means I really haven't been able to see the results too well. But I know it's all worth it, that in a week or so this will be very much behind me and I'll be closer to resuming my normal life, and so I'm for once being patient and letting my body do whatever it needs. I will post more now that I'm actually conscious for most of the day now and will def get some pics up as soon as I can. Thanks again to everyone for your well wishes and support!
It's been 13 days since my surgery and things...
It's been 13 days since my surgery and things are starting to become manageable. I am finally sleeping through the night. I can't believe how relieved I am when I wake up and see that it's 6am and not 1am. Sadly I am still on the painkillers, but mainly for this last drain. I hate it soooo much. I can feel it from the inside and if I twist or my binder holds things too tight, it feels like the drain is slicing me open from the inside out. Happily, though, there is barely any drainage coming from it now (maybe 15cc a day) and it's pretty clear, so I'm certain it will come out when I see my PS on Thursday. Then I feel like life will improve by leaps and bounds... real showers, real clothes, maybe even getting to sleep in my bed again. But for now, I must be happy that I can shuffle to the mailbox for my daily Vitamin D dose and actually get out of seats and beds on my own. Slowly, but still, on my own. :) I can't wait to start walking a little more outside and maybe lift some tiny weights just to keep things active. I am definitely getting a complex about eating meals throughout the day and not really excersing off the excess. I was a boredom and stress eater in my heavier days so it's something I struggle to keep in check right now. I can do it, though, I know it. I didn't just go through all of this to just undo it!
Oh, and I just had to share... the highlight of the last two weeks was that my mom and husband took me to Target on the condition that I use one of those motorized scooters. I was mortified at first, but it turned out to be a lot of fun. They laughed at me and took pictures but it was glorious to be in public and not wearing a nightgown! I even went to Meijer the next day and their scooters have horns. Watch out! :p
Well, the last drain did not come out today. It is...
Well, the last drain did not come out today. It is scheduled for next Wednesday. I am trying to stay positive as I know the decision was the right one and in my best interest, but I'm pretty bummed. I was so looking forward to stopping the antibiotics, weening off the pain meds, switching to Spanx, getting closer to driving, and most importantly, starting to do some light exercise. I used to work out 2x a day and then train people in between. I was so active and social, so being the queen of sedentary and isolated is starting to take its toll. I also finally saw myself today. I don't know what to think. I know it couldn't look better for the time of day (afternoon swelling, ugh) and only being 15 days out from surgery, but for some reason I'm shocked and ready to cry. Maybe it's just the emotionally draining nature of the day that has me being irrational and mopey. I feel bad. I know my husband is exhausted from helping me through this and now I'm cranky. I need to pull out of this and be happy that I've had such a relatively smooth recovery, have a top notch surgeon guiding me through this process, and the most supportive family carrying me along the way. Perhaps tomorrow it'll all feel a little better...
Oh, and I uploaded some pics. I still can't...
Oh, and I uploaded some pics. I still can't stand up fully straight so proportions seem a little off. My back looks forward to the day when I can!
Feeling a little better today. I got a good...
Feeling a little better today. I got a good night's sleep and that always helps with mental clarity. I thought about it a lot and I think the breasts freaked me out a bit, and I have to let that go. I was super excited that the "bat wings" are gone, but the shape took me aback. Then I realized, they're not really set yet. I was told they need to "drop" and settle in. I also need to remember that I didn't get implants, so instant perfection isn't realistic. This is my body, a little adjusted, but still mine and I need to give it time to heal and adjust to what it's really gonna be. I am very happy with my tummy. I saw it before swelling started to set in and it was really flat. I wonder how long until I get back to that? :p Another bonus I didn't expect... the bulgy point that used to be just below my hips, at the top of my thighs, seems to be much minimized. It used to bother me so much that I agonized over adding thigh lipo to the surgery. I don't know, maybe it's the lipo of the hips/flanks (leaving less fat to weigh down into my thighs?) or pulling up my skin for the suture lines, but my outer thighs are def smoother. Woohoo!
So yeah, a day can make a big mental difference. Need to get back on the patience train. In the meantime, I am perusing my fav workout clothes sites and getting excited about getting back to it in cute little tanks. If I looked pretty decent in 4-way compression stretch workout gear before the surgery, I can only imagine what it'll all look like after this surgery. See...looking on the bright side!
Well, with the holiday weekend I have been trying...
Well, with the holiday weekend I have been trying to fight the mopey feelings. I had been hoping to maybe shop a bit since I have no summer clothes and everything is on sale, but with the drain, not happening. Oh well. Guess I'll get back on the fashion train in the fall. I did try on a beautiful sports bra I had bought in a smaller size pre surgery and it looked soooo pretty. No side flab to hang over the edges under my arms! I am thrilled! I threw on a smaller tank for funnies and, even over the binder, it was clearly going to fit. So I promptly put my old bras up for sale on an exchange site and am funding new pretty ones asap. My breast incisions are in good shape and as soon as a few scabs come off, I think I can stop wearing the pads/bandages under my bras. So that's my plan, focus on the fun parts that I can enjoy while my tummy continues to heal.I probably did too much yesterday... went to a movie (sat in the first elevated row so I could keep my feet up on the safety rail in front and stay in that comfy flexed position), ate at a restaurant, and walked a bit. I got home and my tummy was way swollen. Today I have taken two naps and pretty much laid around all day, lol. I can't believe that such little activity can put me down for the count! I worry about starting to exercise again, but I guess it's all about baby steps. I'm hoping my rest today means I can maybe hit another movie tomorrow. Gotta get in my entertainment while my husband is home from work to drive me around. Sitting at home all day while he is gone is maddening, lol. At least my last drain comes out in a few days. I should start counting down the hours. :)
Woot woot... the last drain is gone! Boy oh boy...
Woot woot... the last drain is gone! Boy oh boy did that one hurt. The drain site had gotten so aggravated that it felt like fire coming out. I nearly lost my breakfast. But it's gone!!!!! The nurse also snipped off the end points of my stitches so that everything can just dissolve away and I don't have little tie-offs anymore. I've been cleared to wear spanx-ish garments for going out instead of the binder, can switch to nicer sports bras instead of this zip up monstrosity, and can now start putting on the scar gel and ditch all the pads/guaze. I feel like this is a BIG turning point in my recovery. I can now stand up straighter and move/twist in all directions without feeling that god awful drain pinching me from the inside. I'm still only allowed to do light walking and won't be given the OK for full exercise until my 6 week follow-up, but I'll take it! Just being able to wear pants without issue now is such a huge victory, lol. All this excitement has tired me out, though, so I think it's time for a nap. Just had to share my joy before I did so... :)
It's been 42 hrs since my last prescription...
It's been 42 hrs since my last prescription painkiller. The first 15 or so were a tad rough. I've been on narcotics for 3 weeks and I'm the type that can get rebound headaches from taking advil for a day or two. Freaking drain that kept me needing painkillers! Maybe it would have been easier on Vicodin, but given my allergy to codeine, that wasn't an option. Guhhh. Anyways, I'm on advil now. I don't feel shaky and I'm acclimating to the sensations and weird feelings that must be the healing process. I've also started wearing my spanx type garment under my binder to protect my skin but still feel supported. I'm trying to walk upright more and am going to get my hair done tomorrow. Woohoo! Trying to actually look human for a change. Good thing that activity is involving sitting. I don't know why I still feel this way, but I'm still so winded from the littlest bit of movement. My lack of lung capacity is killing me. Taking a shower requires many breaks to lean against the wall. I am trying to practice deep breathing while I'm sitting upright, but since Pilates had made diaphramatic breathing my natural habit, feeling my belly expand is a little nervewracking and uncomfortable. Oh well, I've said it before and I'll say it again... baby steps. Just trying to make a little progress each day and fight swelling so that I don't need to be manually drained. So back to resting I go!
Adding some new wk 3 pics. Even though it's...
Adding some new wk 3 pics. Even though it's evening, swelling isn't too terrible. Definitely a rounded belly but things seem to be much better with wearing my compression garment under the binder. Although, it does give me those hot hot wavy lines on my skin, hahaha.
Wow, four full days since the drain came out and I...
Wow, four full days since the drain came out and I feel a world of difference. Definitely am in the next phase of healing/recovery. I went out yesterday...got a haircut, saw a movie, tried on some clothes, even put on a little makeup. It was cra-zy! My hairdresser (and very good friend) could not believe how I looked. She was soooo thrilled and in awe. I'm not gonna lie, that made me feel good. She's the first person to see me clothed and looking semi human w/o drain bulges and what-not, so that reaction was even more important b/c it assuaged some of the doubts I was having. I find I am getting hyper critical of myself in this recovery. Every morning I stare at the incisions as I clean and dress them, and I am getting manic about what changed/improved/looks worse/etc. That's not good, I know. I mean jeez, I know my breasts are going to keep changing shape for a year, so freaking b/c a nipple seems lopsided one morning probably isn't fair to myself or anyone around me. I am having some issues with my right hip and the incision keeps getting a little raw. Not sure why, but I'm trying to not obsess. Not successfully, but still. :) I will say that trying on some clothes was fun. It was all stretchy workout stuff to teach in, but for the first time ever, it was just form fitting tanks. Not something ruched are loose or drapey to hide my pooch or my batwings. I felt hot. I tried not to look at my back and shoulders, though, b/c the muscle definition is disappearing by the second and just turning into flabby skin. Aghhh. But, I do believe that a few weeks into working out and my body will snap back into place. Here's to muscle memory!
I drove yesterday for the first time in a month....
I drove yesterday for the first time in a month. Woohoo! I'm definitely not ready for cross country trips, but it was nice to know I could get out a little on my own. I had to steal my husband's car b/c mine is more like a go-kart, with tight steering and a clutch....not gonna happen with these under arm incisions, hahaha. But his worked for sure. Got a little rough when it started raining and I had no idea how to work the wipers and whatnot, but I survived. In a little funny twist, I took a friend for an outpatient procedure at my PS's office. My one week w/o a schedule appt there and I'm still hanging out like a groupy! I thought it was comical. I find I have a favorite chair there that makes sitting with my tummy not too uncomfortable. Oh, and a little protip... cut the binder! I was getting dressed and was getting annoyed that the top of my binder was gapping so much the back and scraping under my breasts (owwie). So I went downstairs, grabbed the scissors, and cut the top panel off. Much better! It still supports from above the belly button to below the incision, but it's way more manageable and makes it easier to sit in. My poor binder, though... looks like roadway trash. Stained, stringy, and now mutilated. My good friend has been so abused, hahaha.
It's been a bit since I checked in, but that's b/c...
It's been a bit since I checked in, but that's b/c I'm actually feeling and acting rather normal!!! Woot woot! I did a little Pilates teaching this week to ease back in. Funny how I had to shake the dust off after 6 weeks. I finally stopped wearing the binder out about 4 days ago. I made sure to put on my most supportive compression garment I owned, but it worked! I kind of overdid it yesterday, though, and I looked preggo to the max when I got home. I've realized I can use my belly button as a swelling measuring stick. When the scar lines are more inside the button, I'm doing ok. When they migrate to the surface of my tummy I know the swell, or as I like to call it, "high tide", as set in. I do feel like I've found a trick for swelling. I finally started back on my supplement that pulls water out of the fat to feed the muscles. It really helps to get the most out of exercise, but seems to be helping with swelling too... bonus! Figured it was time to start prepping my muscles for, you know, actually having to work again. My 6 week post-op appt is this Thursday and that is when I'm supposed to get cleared for exercise. You best believe I will have a gym bag packed in my car for when I leave! I've been doing a little 5-10 min routine at home just to warm them up. I look ridiculous walking around pumping my arms and doing silly moves with 3lb weights, but I don't care. Time for muscle memory to kick in!
A fun recent experience has been bathing suit shopping. We booked a last minute vacation and I started to stress about the suit hunt. Turns out, when you don't have rolls to hide that require creative ruching/seams/lengths/etc, it's easy to find one! Heck, I found two! I went with a tankini that still covers everything, and a one piece for water sports. I'm sooo pumped! Dressing in general is easier now. I can just throw on a tank and a skirt and be comfy in this horrid heat. No artful masking of the belly. It makes me downright giddy! Obviously I have some work to get my limbs back in their pre-op muscle state, but that's something I can do on my own and so I'm cool with it. Hopefully the remainder of the time before full ab work can resumes passes quickly b/c all will really be back to normal. It's crazy... what a slow and fast post-op time it's been. Sooooo worth it!!!
I will check back in after the dr. appt. I am nervous I'll need to be manually drained b/c that swelling doesn't seem to subside. Oh well. It can't be that bad in comparison to the things I've already done. See...postive thinking has returned! I must be getting back to me. :)
40 day post op pics!
40 day post op pics!
First off, I just have to nearly scream with...
First off, I just have to nearly scream with delight... I'm down to a total of 97 lbs lost! 3 more and I'll have really hit a landmark. Woohoo! Ok, enough of that. Two things have been on my radar since my last update: working out and managing the scars.
1. Working out - Had my first workout session at the studio last Friday. I am working with the owner, who has undergone C-sections and so has an idea of how to manage the tummy tuck type scar and also has gone through her own experience of coming back from tummy trauma. The workout was more akin to a rehab session. We were careful to not overdo it, sticking with really baby movements... toe taps, heel slides, a little bit of reformer. The goal was to start working on pelvic floor stabilization, which requires a little "abs in and up". That used to be such a simple concept but it took all I had to do that without pushing too hard and hurting. I had weird sensations return to my stomach and, despite not even breaking a sweat, I promptly crashed for a two hour nap when I returned home. Needless to say, this is going to be a slow process when it comes to rebuilding core strength in a safe manner. A bonus, though... the next morning my tummy was flattest it's been since the surgery and I even saw a little definition coming back in around my ribs. Guess the work must have helped move some fluid around. I have a training session at the gym today. My trainer has recently had stomach surgery so again, at least I'm working with people that have some idea of what this process is all about. I expect to only work peripheral parts like arms and legs so I'm hoping it's a little more "normal" and not so scary. We shall see! Any movement is good and I need to keep remembering that. I was informed that, when our bodies create scar tissue for trauma areas, scar tissue can end up in other parts of the body so it's extra important to work/move to break that tissue up (often it's found in the legs/butt) to allow the body to release it. That's a new fun fact I was not aware of, lol.
2. Scar management - Just when I think all is well with the incisions something always pops up! I guess that's part of the healing process, but it's nervewracking to watch things change and no know what is normal and what is the first step in a bad direction (like keloids! ahhh!). I noticed Saturday morning that I had some red splotches around parts of my incisions and some areas were starting to feel thick. I am terrified of keloids , so it was time to ratchet up the preventative work. Here's what I started (2x/day) and things seem to be going better.
1. Shower/clean the incisions - I use the body brush on my Clairsonic every couple of days to gently exfoliate super dry/flaky areas and pull blood up to the surface for healing
2. Dab the incisions with colloidal silver to for disinfection and deep tissue healing promotion
3. Rub in scar treatment cream to break up rough/scarred tissue
4. Blot on Emu oil and massage in circular/zig zag patterns (I'm convinced this is the greatest product of all time and will keep it on hand for all kinds of skin needs go forward)... it is anti microbial, anti inflammatory, and penetrates deeply to provide the nourishment necessary to rebuild tissue
5. Spread thin layer of silicone gel to protect the incisions and help pull/flatten the skin together
It's a lot, I know, and sometimes I skip some things, but when all done together, the incision lines look great, my skin looks healthy again, and everything feels so much better.
Finally, wanted to give an update on the binder/compression garment front. I don't wear the binder anymore and was given clearance to take off the compression garment when I need/want but recommended to wear at night for swelling.I wore it to workout in and will do that for a while for the extra support. I'm going on a beach vacation next week so I wanted to start testing being out and about w/o the garment on for running around (I do not want to wear it with a bathing suit or under dresses when it's blazing hot!). It felt weird, my stomach got tight real fast, and I was not super comfortable. It eventually got a little better but last night, after two afternoons out without it, I was sooo swollen. I tossed it on to sleep in, but I'm still rocking a buddha belly the next morning. I'll keep testing the waters, but I think this is going to be a slow transition. If it weren't for the vacation I wouldn't care, but even if I need it during that week, I'll deal. It's worth the flat tummy!
Today is a day of aggravation. The swelling is...
Today is a day of aggravation. The swelling is driving me insane. I figured by now I'd be heading into the "relatively normal daytime shape with progressive evening swell" phase (which I know and understand can last for months). Not so. It feels like as soon as I take a compression garment off, we're off to the races. It's like I'm going through an aggressive preganancy cycle each day. I don't feel like I'm making progress. Ugh! Also, I feel like the top of my pubic area is not normal. It looks like I'm wearing a cup! I keep telling myself it's swelling but what if, in the long-term, it's not? I'll be mortified if the only option to look normal is to get my lady area lipo'd. :( Did other people notice this for a while? How long until it got better??
Well, back from vacation and almost have the...
16 Aug 2011
2 months post
Well, back from vacation and almost have the swelling under control. Flying is not your friend when it comes to fluid retention, lol. I enjoyed being in a bathing suit with a flat tummy. I didn't wear a bikini since the scars still need to stay covered and I felt a little dowdy being the only one at the beach under 65 in a one piece, but oh well. My tummy looked better than most of the bikini girls! I worked out almost every day there and that was great. I had a big victory this morning... I ran for the first time in 9 weeks! Granted, it was only 5 minutes, but still, I'm thrilled. The "high" started to kick in and I had to force myself to stop for the sake of not overdoing it. Things felt a little weird at first, but no pain, so I pushed on and it passed. It was funny once I stopped, though...I had those weird sensations around my scars like when your arm wakes up after falling asleep. Lots of tingles and such. Hope I stimulated some healing bloodflow to that area! I am scheduled to see my PS next week, but I think I'm going to push it back a week or two and hopefully by then I'll be ready to receive the "full exercise" clearance. Fingers crossed! I will post new pics soon too. I must say, I think the ocean was pretty nice for healing up the scars. I think they're looking good and not thickening up anymore. Hooray!
I had my 10 week check-up yesterday. I agreed with...
26 Aug 2011
2 months post
I had my 10 week check-up yesterday. I agreed with my doctor when he commented he couldn't believe it'd been that long...feels like 6. Maybe it's because the first six weeks were so loooong and now everything has zoomed by as I work to return to normal. We had an extensive conversation about my puffiness in the "mons" area (just below pubic bone but before all the private business). He thinks some is swelling and some is just how I'm built, but it's too early to tell how much of which one is causing it. He did lipo the area as part of the TT and I definitely don't think anything was done/created incorrectly, just worry that this is my silly body giving me a lovely parting gift after taking care of the tummy, lol. But I am keeping perspective... even if a centimeter of swelling didn't go down, I'd still be thrilled with the results and amazed at how happy I am with the extraordinary job my doctor did for me. I don't think I did a great job conveying that to him yesterday so I'll have to remember that next time I head in. :)
I did get clearance to resume all types of exercise, with caution, of course. I'd pretty much worked my way back to daily exercise including weights, some running, yoga, barre, etc. The only thing I still felt/feel delicate about is the pilates and I've been super cautious with any ab work, but today I was able to do the full beginner routine today. That's a huge victory in my opinion. The session included abdominal rounding, working with my legs in the air, and lots of ab scooping. It's amazing, even from the work I did last week I can feel a difference in what I can do without feeling dangerous. I think as long as I stay smart I can get back to where I was, pre-surgery, in a reasonable time. I didn't think that would even be a remote possibility when I first started moving again a month or so ago. Those first 4-6 weeks post-op were far rougher than I expected, but the body is an amazing healing machine and it's starting to feel like the world is my oyster again. Hip hip hooray!
I'm a little over 3 months post surgery and I...
22 Sep 2011
3 months post
I'm a little over 3 months post surgery and I still find myself surprised at how manic I've become about the whole healing process. I'm so worried that I'm going to undo the wonderful work that Dr. Heck did or that I'm going to damage something and majorly set back my healing. My latest obstacle has become an increasing discomfort in my side after I exercise. I'm back up to exercising 5-6 days/week, including running, weight lifting, pilates, and barre workouts. My strenght has really come back, but as I've tried to transition back over to the pilates more and go deeper in my practice, what was once a twinge has become a more constant pain. It's manageable, but is so deep that I worried I was pulling the tissue wrong or ripping muscle. I talked to my Dr's nurse and she felt all was fine, but said I could come in and have them take a look to be sure. I really didn't want to because I don't want to jockey for the most-annoying/needy-patient-of-the-year award. But I did head in this morning just to make sure. Dr. Heck explained that with so many things that are rearranged internally as part of the procedure, the body starts to move differently, pulling on things in a new way and adjusting to the changes. He told me to continue what I'm doing, that I'm not hurting anything, and that those pains may last for up to a year. I really hope I didn't come off whiny. After all of this, I can handle pain, trust me. I'm just trying to not do my normal thing of muscle through it since I figure pain is still a warning signal during this recovery. All in all, though, I will say that for as much as I thought I prepared and educated myself before the surgery, I'm constantly surprised at how little I really know (and therefor am in a perpetual state of worry) about what is happening as I heal.
I am attaching updated pics. I doubt they look better than last time, probably worse. Being on my feet all day as a constant level of swelling happening so I try not to fixate on my torso too much these days. I just do my scar management routine every day, sometimes twice, and keep working on getting my skin up to par.
Quick update: I think Niacin has become my best...
22 Oct 2011
4 months post
Quick update: I think Niacin has become my best friend. I remembered a doctor having me taking a Niacin heavy supplement to support my lymphatic system during a series of procedures I had done last year. Fast forward to the post-op swell and it's explained to me that a big cause for the swelling is that a lot of the lymphatic pathways were severed as part of the surgery. Soooo...I try that Niacin supplement and voila, less swelling! Could be coincidence but I'll go with it. I take it in the morning and at night and my swelling has been far more manageable these past couple of months. I know I'm on the end of the "swell curve" since my surgery was in June, but when I've skipped it, I've noticed a difference. Plus, I figure it can't hurt supporting that system as we roll into cold and flu season...
Today marks 6 months since my surgery. Wow! It has...
15 Dec 2011
6 months post
Today marks 6 months since my surgery. Wow! It has gone by super fast and yet I remember those first few weeks lasted a lifetime. I'm tossing up some new photos to show that yes, the swelling does subside and the scars can be managed. :) I do still take my Niacin daily to help with swelling, wear a minimal compression garment at night, and work the scars every morning. But, by this time, if swelling sets in, it's really late in the evening and often after I've been on my feet all day. I'll be scheduling my next checkup with my PS for after the holidays. I haven't seen him in months. I'm hoping he's as excited about my results as I am. I agonized a lot about doing the surgery, was terrified heading in, had a challenging recovery, and yet still, every day, am thankful and extremely glad I did it. So, yes, for anyone still worrying or thinking about it, it's worth it! :)