I'm a mom of three kiddos, two were c-sections. My...
I'm a mom of three kiddos, two were c-sections. My stomach has taken a serious beating. I've jokingly spoken for years about getting a tummy tuck, but never thought I'd actually do it. I am a Christian, so I openly struggle with the vanity issue of spending money to do this. My husband was the one who suggested it. Not because he was repulsed by me, not that he'd ever have the guts to say that anyways, but because he knew it always bugged me and he thought we were finally in a place where we could swing the cost of it. I admit that once I started thinking about it I had a hard time stopping! Thoughts like, "wow, what would it be like to have a normal looking stomach again?!?!" Or, "maybe I could actually wear a tankini again!" I'm not asking to become a brazilian super model, but it would be nice to be able to wear a full coverage tankini. Right now I can not. This awful flap of skin comes out and folds over my underwear or bathing suit bottoms. The scar tissue is so bad that most of it is numb, so that leads me into some humiliating territory when it somehow escapes my clothing and I don't notice it hanging out. I don't want it so I can wear skin tight clothing or look hotter at the dance clubs. I want it to feel normal and feel attractive to my husband when I'm naked (though he swears I still am).
So this is the beginning of my story. I'll try to be good about posting updates and pictures.
I first met with Dr. Vath back in January. He is definitely a "no pressure" sort of guy. I begged him for his honest opinion of basically what would he do if he was in my shoes. He was slow to answer. I could tell he was concerned about hurting my feelings. I had to practically beg him to give me a blunt answer. I'm more of a "give it to me straight" kind of gal and I appreciate honesty, even the kind I might not like to hear. People who beat around the bush annoy me. Anyhow, he was super nice and I do understand that this is a very sensitive topic for women. Me too, so I do get it. No one wants to de-robe to hear the doc gasp for air and then say, "what the hell!!!" His answers were very thoughtful and well put. We came up with a game plan and what we thought would be realistic expectations.
After I met with him I sat down and spoke with Kim. She's a patient counselor. I just LOVED working with Kim. She was super great about answering all my questions, even the ones that I thought were kind of dumb (but I was still curious about). She ran several different quotes for me. Ones for just the tummy tuck, the tummy tuck plus upper abdomen, tummy tuck plus hip lipo, etc. Then we talked surgery dates. What was possible with kids, what times would work, when I would be able to have the most down time due to my husbands work schedule, etc. She was great about helping me to weigh all the possibilities and never made me feel rushed or that I was taking up too much of her time. What I felt was understanding. She has kids herself, so she knows the importance of being there for them as well as taking some time out for you. I really appreciated that about her. Anyhow, she helped me set up my surgery date. I ended up calling her back a couple times with questions after that and she was awesome and always got back to me quickly.
Fast forward to just a couple weeks ago when I had my pre-op appointment. I met with Lisa the nurse to go over pre and post op instructions. She told me she'd go over the post op instructions with my husband again the day of surgery, but she just wanted to give me the heads up so I'd know what to expect. Then she had me get in some itsy bitsy panties for pre op pictures. Oh so humiliating feeling. She did her best to get through it quickly and I never felt like she was judging me or anything, it was really just my nerves getting the best of me. Whose wouldn't right? Anyhow, Lisa was great and answered all my questions and made me laugh a few times. She's e-mailing me my pre op pictures so I can post them here.
So now I'm 3 days out and the nerves are starting to act up. I will update when I can. I'm sharing because I know there are more of you out there that are like me. We don't want to talk about this flappy looking thing on our stomach, we just want it to disappear. Well how do you do that, where do you start, who does it the best, etc. I get it. I don't facebook or twitter, I care less about social media. I do care about people though. So for all you strangers out there who feel like me, I'm doing this for you. Feel honored - you've read my first ever blog =) j/k
Okay, I finally got the before pictures. I'll try...
Okay, I finally got the before pictures. I'll try to update pics within a couple days of surgery. Just so it's clear, I'm 5 foot 4 inches and weigh 177 lbs when taken.
Okay, it's been almost a week. It's been a little...
Okay, it's been almost a week. It's been a little rough, but I should have expected it to be this way. The surgery went great. I'm finally posting some new pictures. I'm pretty happy with the outcome so far. I know I still have a lot of swelling. A word of advice, get a good laxative before surgery. I'm not someone who struggles with constipation normally, but between the surgery and then the drugs I didn't have a bowel movement for 4 days. I was so tight as it was from the surgery, then you add being backed up like that - oooohhh, it was awful. I've finally, praise God, passed that point (oh the irony). Dr. Vath called and checked on me the night of surgery. Then a nurse followed up for the next two days. All of that went great and I was really happy with the support. I did buy a power recliner from Costco prior to surgery, so that did help. I'm already back to sleeping in my own bed with some extra pillows though. I'm glad I had that recliner for the first couple of days though and even now it's still the most comfortable position to watch tv in. The other thing I've noticed is my thoughts aren't very fluid when I'm on these meds and I really don't like being on the computer. It makes me feel dizzy, but I did want to get on and do some updated pictures. I'll try to add some more full body ones next week so there is a good comparison. Last thing, I've been using the Arnica gel every other day and it has really, really, really, helped the bruising.
On 3/29 and I went in for my one week post op...
On 3/29 and I went in for my one week post op appointment and met with Jen the nurse. She told me that everything looked good, that I was still quite swollen, but that would go down with time. The day I went in was kind of a rough day. I woke up that morning and had started my period. So now I was dealing with your typical period pain and TT pain, plus I had stopped taking my Percocet and Valium because I was constipated and nauseated - and just wanted it out of my system. Bad plan. Jen told me if I wanted to lay off the Percocet and could handle it then that was fine, but I should keep taking the Valium. She said the Percocet was were I was getting the hot/cold flashes and nausea from, not the Valium. The Valium was just a muscle relaxer, not a narcotic, and it would also help with my period cramps. Just sharing the info in case someone else is in my shoes later on. Also, the Percocet was what was keeping me constipated. And I mean really constipated. It took 4 doses of laxative after 4 days of no bowel movement to finally have one. You think your tummy is tight enough as it is post TT - but try being totally backed up! SO AWFUL!
On to last night. Oooooohhhhh the ichy, pinchy, stingy, yuck! I can't stop wanting to itch at my skin where my incision is! I mean bad, like poison oak bad. But at in sharp pain that makes you want to wack your belly and itch it at the same time. I finally passed out at 11pm only to wake up at 3am with that stabbing, itchy, stingy pain again. I was writhing, having no clue what to do. My husband started looking up onfo on the net trying to come up with a solution. We even tried ice, but that didn't help. Then hydrocortizone, but beign careful not to put it on the incision. Finally I got in the shower, but couldn't stop the itching. It seemed to be coming from everywhere I still had tape.....so I took it all off. Finally I got out, felt a little better, took two benadryl and a Xanax (I had those already on hand from a few months back) and passed out. I did not put the garment back on. My husband was convinced it was the garment. I had received a new garment at my appointment on Friday, so he thought maybe I was having a reaction to it. I don't think so, but I don't really know what the answer is. I woke up this morning, still no garment on, and felt fine. I opted to wear Spanx to church since I was worried about wearing the garment before I washed it. I was fine for about an hour, then the itching started again. It seems to be the worst when I'm wearing a garment, especially if I get hot. Once I get it off I feel less itchy. We'll see what tonight brings.
The pictures are from the one week mark. I'll try to take more on Thursday at the 2 weeks mark.
Update on the awful itches! Dr. Vath's nurse...
Update on the awful itches! Dr. Vath's nurse called in a steroid pack for me. I think I was starting to have a reaction to the tape or something, because where ever there was tape left behind I was real red. Within 24 hours I felt some real improvement. I'm so glad she did that because it's made a huge difference. My energy is picking up and I've been doing some errands here or there and definitely back to chasing after my kids.
I'm 3 weeks post op and feeling pretty darn good. ...
I'm 3 weeks post op and feeling pretty darn good. No more itchy-itchy problems. The nurse thinks I started having a reaction to the tape on my tummy that was covering my stitches. That had to be it because all I wanted to do was get it off NOW. But after the steroid pack and all the tape being off (earlier than it should be but there seems to be no issues from the lack of tape) I've been doing great. Sleeping in bed on my sides with no problems. Back no longer hurts because I'm standing totally upright. All my swelling is going down and I continue to lose about a pound or two a week (but I'm not dieting or anything) from the decrease in swelling. I did need to replace my garment twice now. They just stretch out too easily. I went to a medical supply store and a lady there told me I needed one that was a little shorter and she was right. They are only around $20 to replace, so its worth having a couple extra ones on hand. I'm about to start using my Scar Away strips and hope that will help with the healing process for the scar (I've heard they work great). I'll update with a picture again at the one month mark.