Pulmonary Embolism after Tummy Tuck, Lipo, Breast Lift - Denver, CO

I put on 65 lbs during my second pregnancy and my...

I put on 65 lbs during my second pregnancy and my body has never recovered. My youngest is almost 3 and I'm ready for a Mommy Makeover. I am getting a breast lift without implants because I have enough breast tissue. I'm currently a "D" and will probably go down to a "C".

I am tired of crying every time I try on a pair of pants so I'm getting a tummy tuck to help with excess skin and tighten the laxed-muscles, as well as lipo to my outer thighs. I'm sooo scared about the recovery, scarring and bruising. I'm trying to be realistic that it will take months to see optimal results. I hope that by next summer I can confidently take my kids to the pool.

I should mention that I freaked out about two...

I should mention that I freaked out about two weeks ago about the scars and recovery time. I called my doctor's office and he saw me the same day. He alleviated all my fears. Now I'm feeling pretty calm, although it's still difficult to wrap my mind around the procedure.

I will be leaving for the surgery center at...

I will be leaving for the surgery center at 5:30am! I'm a bundle of nervous energy so I spent the day cleaning and getting ready. Also snuggled my kids as much as possible, it's going to be hard not to hold them for awhile.

I rented an SCD machine to prevent blood clots, medical wedges to help with positioning, a shower chair, and a "toilet assist". My wonderful hubby is taking a couple weeks off work to help out.

I have been reading a lot of blogs on realself and the stories are helping me try to figure out what to expect. All I know is that it's going to hurt, but it will be worth it!

Day 3 Post Op. I think it would have been easier...

Day 3 Post Op. I think it would have been easier to recover if I hadn't done the lipo on my legs. The combination of the TT and Lipo makes it impossible to move. At the beginning the Lipo pain was the worst, but has subsided in the first two days. Now the TT pain is the worst. I'm just wondering when all this pain is going to come to an end.

Day 3 Post Op Continued..... All I've...

Day 3 Post Op Continued.....

All I've been doing is sleeping. I'll post some pics once I'm able to take a shower.

Post Op Day 4- I've managed to get around...

Post Op Day 4-

I've managed to get around a bit easier with the use of a walker. The pain from both the Lipo and TT are still pretty bad, but I'm managing it with my meds. I think this recovery would have been much easier if I hadn't had the Lipo done.

I posted a picture of the results of my Lipo. The dark red area was a blister (originally about the size of a baseball) that has popped. There's quite a bit of swelling but I can already see an improvement.

I see the Dr. in two days for my first post-op appointment. I'll post pics of the TT and breast lift after that.

Thanks for the encouraging comments...keep them coming!!!

Post Op Day 6- So today started off pretty...

Post Op Day 6-

So today started off pretty rough. It was probably a good thing that I had my post op appointment with the PS today, because it forced me to get up and move around a lot. The trip to and from the appointment, along with the time there was all really painful, but the PS says that everything looks great. I got my first good look at my tummy and even with the swelling it is skinnier than I ever hoped for.

As far as the lipo, as the PS put it, my body is very angry with me about the lipo, and my skin is really aggravated. No signs of any infection so that's a relief.

I took some advice and switched back to percocet for pain, which works much better for me than vicodin. No reason to punish myself if I don't have to!

My husband went out after we got home and bought me a couple of really soft cami's to wear under my binder, which has made it MUCH more comfortable to wear.

I know that I've got more days of a lot of pain ahead of me, but I'm starting to see the light at the end.

I'll try and take some post-op pics tomorrow and get them posted.

PO Day 7- I'll add a comment later, but...

PO Day 7-

I'll add a comment later, but here's the first pic of my new tummy!

Post Op Day 9- The last two days have been...

Post Op Day 9-

The last two days have been BAD. About 11:00 Thursday night I arrived at our local ER with a fever, chest pain and shortness of breath. Two hours later I was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism. They admitted me to the hospital and started me on meds to break up the clot. The pain I was in from the TT and Lipo is nothing compared to this pain. Hope to be out of the hospital in a couple of days.

Post Op Day 12- Still in the hospital....

Post Op Day 12-

Still in the hospital. I've spent the last few days working with my Dr. on being able to manage the pain from my PE. They tell me that I'm a prime candidate for developing pneumonia, so I'm doing everything I can to avoid that. Probably looking at another 2-3 days in the hospital before I get to go home.

As far as the TT, breast lift and lipo goes, they're all looking great. My tummy has been pretty swollen as I haven't been allowed to wear my binder due to how much it restricts my breathing. My PS said that was okay, as I have bigger things to worry about.

I'm looking forward to getting home to my kids and my own bed!

I'm home from the hospital. I knew there was a...

I'm home from the hospital. I knew there was a very small risk of a pulmonary embolism, but it was the scariest experience of my life. I was in the hospital for nine days. From what I hear, my results look great, but I'm not in a place mentally where I can really look at myself right now. I'm on oxygen 24/7 and using a walker. I have to visit a lab once a week to have my blood checked. It's going to take longer to heal. If you spike a fever (I was at 103) or have trouble breathing after your surgery please go to the ER right away, it could save your life.

I'll post pictures soon.

Today is three weeks post-surgery and as far as...

Today is three weeks post-surgery and as far as the surgery results, I am very happy. The lipo did hurt more than the tummy tuck. My thighs burned for about three days and then the pain started to subside. While my PS was drawing on me the day of surgery he mentioned that the right “twin” was bigger than the left and so he made them even. My right breast is still a little sore from where the tissue was removed. He also mentioned that my bellybutton sat over to the left and he would make it more central - strange all these years with my body and I had no idea about my right breast or bellybutton! My PS does a no-drain tummy tuck which is supposed to hurt less and keep excess fluid at a minimum. Maybe it’s because of all the pain killers I was on at the hospital, but the tummy, breasts and thighs were not that painful. I had spoken with my PS about the chances of a pulmonary embolism prior to the surgery and he said the risks are about 1:125000. So I’m a little bummed today because this is the week I was hoping to go to Victoria’s Secret and find something cute, but instead I am still in pain and exhausted - besides it’s hard to look cute in Victoria’s Secret with an oxygen tube, walker and compression stockings:)

I will post new photos today, I'm still swollen but can already see the results.

Back from the dead! I'm starting to recover from...

Back from the dead! I'm starting to recover from the Pulmonary Embolism, which is a 4-6 month process to full recovery. Another fact I learned is that the death rate from a PE is up to 30%. But the good news is that I am off oxygen and no longer need a walker.

I visited my Plastic Surgeon and told him my tummy muscles were sore. He explained that it's just because I pretty much stayed in bed for two weeks (at the hospital then home recovering from trauma) after surgery and the muscles are just getting a chance to start stretching out from day-to-day activities. He's right, the more I have been able to move, the less my stomach muscles ache.

I am looking sooo tiny even though I am still swollen, I can hardly believe it. I am very happy with the results of the surgery. If had I known that I would get a PE, then I would have been avoided the lipo to the thighs because blood clots usually start in the legs.

I didn't get out of bed the first 24 hours after surgery so my husband called the nurses. They were alarmed and told him to get me up to use the bathroom. I don't remember the first week post surgery. It's funny to read my post-op updates, apparently I told my husband what to type on the blog and I don't remember doing that.

I think because I was in so much pain and refused to move much, the blood clot was able to get to a dangerous place. So my advice is to get up and move asap. Also, your caretaker needs to check your mental state to see if you are truly coherent otherwise a hospital stay may be helpful for healing if you have a body like mine that HATED surgery.

Hopefully the rest of my posts continue to be about healing and some new pics!

6-month post-op. I'm feeling so much stronger. ...

6-month post-op. I'm feeling so much stronger. It's amazing what the human body can endure. I'm no longer embarassed to go swimming with my kids. My thighs are still swollen, but the doctor said it could take up to 18 months for that to go away. I need to wear my undergarment during PMS because that's when I seem to really swell. So it still feels like a waiting game to see the fiinal results, but I'm on the right track.
Denver Plastic Surgeon

Dr Wolfe has great qualifications and is highly skilled. With my unexpected pulmonary embolism, he came a visited me at the hospital. I would recommend him,

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
4 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 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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Comments (26)

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I'm sorry you had such a rough recovery. I had the no drain TT & loved it! Your looking great!
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Thank you for talking about the blood clot and what you think you may have done to prevent it! I believe that you have helped a lot of people by speaking about your experience! You look fabulous and I pray for complete recovery and look forward to seeing more updates from you in the future.
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You look great. Thanks for sharing about the pe.
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You look beautiful.

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Wow, I am so glad that you are 6 months post op and feeling good after the terrifying complications! Thank you for the advice. I will definitely be sharing your words of wisdom with my mom and husband to make sure they get me up even if I try to stay in bed. This is actually my worst fear about this surgery.
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OMG I am glad you are ok and I hope alot of women will heed your advice about moving around. Also watching for the fever. You are looking just fabulous here!
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I am so happy to hear you are doing better.  What a horrible scare you had:(

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u are soooooooo tiny!! Sorry about the complications, but Im so happy you are doing better and looking so fabulous!
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So glad to hear you're doing better:)
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Bless your heart. This is the one complication that we all worry about and you have faced it. So happy you were diagnosed quickly and are recovering. You seem to still have a positive energy even though you've had a hard recovery. Best wishes!
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Sorry to hear your journey took you on a detour to the hospital for a PE but glad you are home now and on your way to recovery! Hope you are feeling better every day!
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I'm so sorry you're recovery has been so harsh! I'm on that road with you-I have pseudomonas. It's the worst type of infection you can get-normally only found in hospitals/surgery centers. I'm one month out today so I was looking forward to getting into VS to look at bra's too- sadly I can't even get into normal clothes to go to the mall. Dr/PS says I have 4-6 more weeks of recovery!! Wasn't really prepared for that but it is what it is!! Oddly I can tell I'm gonna love the end result if I can get these wounds closed!!

Just know we're all here for you!!
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Wow, I am so glad you went in to get checked out. I bet that was one of the scariest experiences ever. Keep positive, and focus on recovering. I am glad you posted so that others know what signs to watch out for. Do let us know how you are doing
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Prayers being sent to you! I will be thinking and praying for you... you look great in your photos. keep us updated :)
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OMG...I am so sorry this happened to you.  I am glad you are home and improving.  Keep us up to date.  

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Ouch Paix, that sounds very painful and on top of the TT & lipo you are probably in agony! I am really sorry to hear about your complications. I have a co-worker that had the same thing happen to her after partial knee replacement & she said it hurts like H___! Keep your chin up and know that this will pass and it will be so worth it. Sending healing vibes your way.
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I am so sorry your in so much pain. The hospital is the best place for you right now. Hang in there and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Keep us posted.
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looking good! Hope your doing well. the first wk is tough... wishing you healing vibes! :)
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Ouch!  Now that looks really sore.

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Hi there, glad your surgery went without a hitch and you are back home resting where you should be. I also found the Lipo sites really sore and not being able to lie on the side was a real pain !!! Can't wait to see some post op pics, your shape was not too bad to begin with (similar to mine). You are going to look fantastic. Remember your binder is your best friend and rest as much as you can during this first week Post Op. Let us know how you doing .... Take care !
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Hope you are doing well and resting:)

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I think the MR and lipo r more painful, the just a tuck, but I am day 9 post - op and doing well, first 3 days were the worse, but I expect smooth sailing from here on out, good luck to you. I also was under for 6 hrs and was fine..u will be to:)
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Thanks for the encouragment! My surgery will take 6 hours, which seems like a really long time to be under anesthesia but my dr says it will be fine. The lower abdomen muscles will be tightened as part of the tummy tuck. After reading other blogs, I think the lipo may be more painful than the tummy. My doctor is Andrew Wolfe at the Center for Cosmetic Surgery.
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Your doctor would not put you through any more than you could handle.  You will be just fine:)

The lipo areas do hurt.  It feels like a super bad sunburn on the areas.  Worth it though!  


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Three more days and your journey begins:)   By next summer you will be very comfortable and confident at the pool.  It does take months to see the final results so try to focus on the spring.  Shopping, shopping and more shopping for cute little bras, panties and clothing.  The wait is all worth it!

I will be thinking about you on the 11th and waiting to read your post op updates.

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