Look at Me!!!! I Have a Better Reflection!!!!!

I am on my phone right now, so I apologize in...

I am on my phone right now, so I apologize in advance for any errors! I am 40, 5'2", and weigh 162lbs. I exercise regularly (3-4 times a week, cardio), and eat healthy for the most part. I have 2 kids, and I am not having any more. I am happy with my life, my marriage, and my health.......but I want to be happy with my body. I want to be able to strut my stuff in front of my husband! I want to wear clothes that fit my frame, not my belly. I want perky breasts! Until I found this website and read your stories, I did not think it was a possibility.

I have read reviews, pored over countless before and after pictures, and practically stalked doctors. I like Dra. Baez. Her work is beautiful, natural, and just what I am looking for. So I emailed her and am waiting for her quote. Hopefully I will be meeting her in person soon....and enjoying a better view in the mirror, too!

Here are some before pictures....try to keep your food down! Oh well....the after pictures will be what counts, right ladies? :D

Before pictures

So, for some reason I couldn't upload before pictures from my phone...so here goes. I'm giving you the edited version...trust me, you'll thank me for it!

Better before pictures

Okay, so I have better before pictures (not to say they LOOK better...just that they are a better representation of why I'm getting this done!), but I have to get up the nerve to post them...maybe AFTER the surgery is done, and I can post side by side my before and afters? We'll see, haha!

Different doctor

It's frustrating that Realself won't allow you to change the doctor after you begin this process. I originally wanted to go with Dra. Robles, but after checking, I also contacted several other doctors, and then I wanted Dra. Baez because it seemed like she was really good, but not well-known yet. But I heard back from Dra. Robles, and her assistant Lara, VERY quickly, and so I am booked with her! But I can't change my doctor. It was frustrating looking at reviews as well, because if someone changes their mind, the review they give won't help the doctor they actually went with! Of course, I guess I have the choice of not adding anything else to THIS review, and starting one under Dra. Robles....hmmmm.....any ideas?

Another lovely photo-- NOT!

Another before, other side

Change is coming!

I messaged Angiemcc (sorry if you wanted to remain anonymous!) and she said she would change my doctor. Yay! I also contacted Real Recovery Armonia, and reserved a room for my upcoming dates. My wonderful husband is coming with me. To be honest, I could not bear to be away from him for that long! I have found so many wonderful and informative things on this site, but I wish it was all in one place....so....I am thinking I might just post everything I find here (giving credit to the original posters, of course!). We'll see....

Surgery date!!!!!

I am so thrilled! I got the surgery date I wanted, the recovery house I wanted, and everything is falling into place. I have to tell you-- I have prayed over this. It's a tough thing for me, spending that kind of money on myself. But my husband said if we bought a car, we would spend more, and what would we have to show for it five years down the road? Yep, he's a keeper!

A little OCD, anyone?

It's a running joke between my husband and I that I am a little obsessed with this surgery. But he says that it makes him feel better that I am doing as much research as I can, since we're going out of the country for the surgery. I am really happy with the responses I've gotten from Laura, Dra. Robles' assistant. I think all of the doctors could use someone like her! I sent my deposit today, and added a tracker to my phone....77 days!!!! So, here is some information I've seen on other people's pages that I found helpful....not sure if I will end up using it all, but as part of my research, it gives me something to do! Hopefully, it will help someone else to see it all in one place. Please know that all I've done is copy and paste others' information, and thank you to all the ladies who did all the original research!

List of Supplies from other posts:
• Space bags (for travel)
• puppy pads or Depends
• Maxipads (overnight size) or Poise pads
• Granny panties, 5 prs.
• 2 Fajas, powernet **research best brand and style
• Lipo foam (can get on Amazon)
• Antibacterial soap
• 4 Maxi dresses
• 3 nightgowns, button-front or zip front
• Robe
• Slides or flip flops
• Snacks (dried fruit, nuts, power bars)
• Pillow
• ear plugs
• towel
• antibacterial wipes
• baby wipes
• Milk of Magnesia
• Stool softener
• 2 Fleet Enemas (1 for the night before surgery, 1 for the morning of!)
• exercise band or elastic hairband (whole head kind) to secure drains while showering

Tips from posts by others:
(Tattoomama36) SO some tips and tricks I've learned so far:
1. Sit backwards on the toilet for the first few days. You can use the toilet lid as a "crutch" and it's much easier to get up and down.
2. Sit on the side of the tub to wash the nether parts. Use a stretchy headband to attach your drains to so they are up and out of the way.
3. To wash your hair, get a towel put it on the floor then put a pillow on top of that. Lean over the tub and have someone wash your hair for you. The pillow helps so much!!
4. When getting in and out of bed, swing your legs over the side of the bed while at the same time, dig your elbow into the bed to help give you leverage to get up.
5. Go to Costco and get their tank tops!!! Super soft, they come in a pack of 2 and they are wonderful against your skin. I wear one under my binder so there are no compression marks on my skin and everything is evened out.
6. A grabber is the way to go. It's probably the thing I have used the most. It's hard to bend over and pick stuff up.
7. If you can get ahold of a scooter, Like a kids scooter... it's awesome to take walks outside with. Instead of the walker, I have used that. No one knows what is going on and it glides right on the road perfectly.
8. Drink protein shakes!! Your body needs that protein, just as if you went to the gym and lifted heavy weights. It needs the protein to help rebuild!!

Advice from Dra. Robles' assistant on pre-surgery prep:
1- Please start taking 300mgs of Iron twice a day,
2- 5mgs of folic acid once a day. Also, stop taking aspirin or aspirin related compounds, and vitamin E and Vitamin A as well.
2- Schedule an appointment with your local lab or clinic, in order to have a CBC (complete blood count) done.
Dr. Robles needs to check your hemoglobin levels, as well as other important things the test shows.
3- Please drink 2-4 litter of water daily.
4- Eat healthy.
5- Complex B once a day
6-Vitamin C once a day

Here are some tips for getting ready for your surgery:

Good nutrition
Protein is the building block of healing:
I recommend about 1/2 gram of protein per pound body weight in the weeks before surgery
Exercise:
cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness will help to reduce complications
muscle toning will help your tummy repair
your body stores the protein you'll need for repair in your muscles
Vitamins: ask your surgeon about the right supplements to help with healing
Care full!! Some supplements can cause undesirable thinning of the blood
"Unhook the Phone!"
Make sure you will have enough quiet and unobligated, stress-free time
Choose a good nurse
choose someone who is nurturing, a good caregiver
plan for someone to be with you 24 hours/day for the first 3-5 days
help you get out of bed
make sure you are hydrating well
keep track of your medications
assist with dressing changes
get you to post-op appointments
Rent a Hospital Bed for a week
this will help you position comfortably
use the bed to sit you up so you don't stress your abdominal repair
set the bed up in your living room so you're close to the kitchen and don't have to climb the stairs
Rent a walker
You'll be bent over by the tightness of the repair
the walker will take the stress off your back when you are walking
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
hydration is important to help healing
hydration is important to prevent complications
hydration is important to feeling better
you know you are drinking enough, if you have to urinate every two-to-three (at most!) hours (during waking hours)


That's all I've got so far. I'll add more stuff as I find it!

Milestone!!

It's been a very long time coming, but I have FINALLY hit the 50lb. mark!!!! After I had my second child, I weighed 209lbs. As of today, I am at 159!!! I think the upcoming surgery is giving me that extra motivation to lose. I don't want to lose TOO much more weight, though...maybe if I get down to 150 before the surgery, that would be good. I would rather be at a decent, healthy weight, but not skinny, and know that I will maintain it and still be happy than lose a ton of weight in a short period of time by starving myself and have to continue starving myself after the surgery in order to maintain the loss. My husband called me skinny today....I have to admit, that felt amazing!

Excellent video on drain care

In my obsessive research today ;-) I found this helpful video about caring for your drains. Who knows? The doctor may go over this with you, but ten to one it won't be during a time where you're in the right frame of mind to pay attention! I am going to ask my husband to watch it, too, since he will be the one with me during my recovery. The doctor in the video, Dr. Reath, also has a very helpful plastic surgery planner ebook (free, I might add!) at his website. I found it very informative! Here's the link for the video and his website.

http://youtu.be/Idp15TwPLr4

http://site.dbreath.com/download-plastic-surgery-planner

Updated Doctor

I understand this process so much better now. I've read review after review about how important it is to have a good rapport with your doctor. I've contacted 7 doctors total. The first one was an immediate no. He didn't even really listen to what I said I wanted. The second, whom I thought I wanted based on photos and reviews, took awhile to respond, and then she wasn't available when I want to have surgery. The third has a wonderful assistant, and great reviews, but I haven't seen any pictures of her breast lifts without implants, and when I requested some, what her assistant sent were obviously with implants. Plus, I've seen comments on reviews that her breast work is not the best.

One doctor who started out very high on my list because of his photos and credentials offered more surgery than I asked for, said he could do it all at once, and didn't express any qualms at doing so. That scared me, because I've seen so many doctors who won't do too many procedures at once. I'm not looking to be a Barbie doll, ladies! I just want to nip a little and lift a little, no bada boom bada bing for me, haha! So I dreamed for a minute of a Kim Kardashian booty...amd then said no, thank you!

Let's see, we have three left...so, number 5 never even responded. I stumbled on number 6 in the comments on another review, researched him, and became very quickly impressed. I'm very detail-oriented. I like to be informed, and not only did his assistant contact me quickly, but he responded quickly as well, and asked me questions about what I wanted, gave me some options, and explained in detail the pros and cons. His resume is superb, and his before and after photos are wonderful! I was excited! I had sent a list of questions to every doctor, and he responded with the most detail. He took time with his responses. I had found my doctor.
Oh, and he asked a local patient to switch dates so that I could have my surgery on the date I wanted it!!
Then number 7 contacted me with an apology for the delay and

cont...

Sorry, I'm on my phone....

anyway, her quote was (brace yourselves!) $1500 cheaper than number 6...$1500!!! That's a LOT of difference! I talked to my husband, my mom, my mother-in-law...they all basically said the same thing. $1500 is not a lot when it comes to my body. If you take away the money aspect, I would choose #6 in a heartbeat, I really connected with him, and I was happy with his price before I got that last quote. So.....I went with number 6! I messaged Angiemcc to ask her to change my doctor again. His name is Dr. Luis Fernandez Goico. He's young, but he studied in Brazil with the man considered to be the father of modern plastic surgery, and he did a clinical rotation at Harvard...call me a snob, but I'm impressed!

Someone on here inspired me. She said that she was going to give the review for her doctor, and get him on the map. Currently, Dr. FG has very little on here. I plan to give him a detailed review so people will know him better. Stay tuned!

Recovery House

Oh, and I am going to Real Recovery Armonia. I've based my choice on reviews, pictures, and what's included. I'm so glad my husband is coming with me!!

Crisis Averted

This process can be so stressful! I am waiting on the check to come that will be funding my flight, passport, supplies, and surgery, and every day I go to the mailbox and....no check. :-/ And then I got an email from Karel, Dr. Goico's assistant (who is WONDERFUL, by the way!), and she says that it is best that I wait 24 hours after I get off the plane to have surgery. We have an airport that is about thirty minutes away, and the earliest I can get there on the day before my surgery is 1:14pm. Eek! So I started frantically searching other airports (all at least an hour away) to see if I could get an earlier flight, but my husband has to work on Monday until 11pm, so we can't leave the night before, because there aren't any flights that leave later than that. So I emailed her back, and she could probably read the panic between the lines, because this is her response:

"Don't worry, I did think of that because of the short time between your arrival and the surgery. I contacted the patient scheduled for the 15th, so if it becomes too tight or your flight gets delayed, that she takes the 14th and we move you to the 15th.

Don't carry any pressure or stress about the time of your arrival, leave that to us."

I will tell you, I am so incredibly impressed with Dr. Goico and Karel....they are wonderful! I can't wait to meet them in person!

So hopefully the check will come TODAY, and I can stop planning and start DOING things to get this ball rolling!

Have a great day!

Topic of the Day: Time Management . Talk Amongst Yourselves.

So, does anyone else come on here to update, then check a few others' updates, then two hours later realize they are now researching whether heated massagers will work for lymphatic massages, or whether a P-ez is better or you can make your own, or what the exact right concoction to reduce scarring....or the worst-- WHO posted that really cool tip about helping stretch marks fade?? *Sigh* I need to focus on non-sx things for a change!

Hemoglobin

It's 13!!!!!! Woohoo!!!!

Progress

The check is deposited, flight is booked, cbc results emailed to PS...what a difference a day makes!!! I am so excited!!!!

Supplies

Here's what I have so far:

Two zip-front/snap-front nightgowns

5 prs. granny panties

4 soft ribbed tank tops

flip flops

3 maxi dresses

snap-front shirt to wear back to RRA after surgery

pull-on skirt

Poise pads

puppy pads

flushable wipes

hibiclens, 4 oz.

hydrogen peroxide, 16 oz.

waterproof bandages (to cover BB during shower--won't take to DR)

bio-oil (won't take to DR)

Cortizone-10

Bacitracin (I'm allergic to Neosporin)

Motion-relief wristbands (I hear they help with nausea, and I don't like Phenergan)

3 hot/cold compresses

dried mangoes, pineapple, and apricots

protein bars

Positive Impacts

I started out on this site just looking at before and after pictures. Then I started researching doctors, and then I started researching what to expect. In the process of doing so, I have read many of your reviews, and have gotten to see all the many reasons for doing this, fears, emotions, and triumphs. Not only has this site helped me have a realistic expectation, but I feel like part of a sisterhood....The Hot Mama Brigade? Haha!

One More Pound!!!!

I'm at 157!! Yay!

The Cat is Out of the Bag

I teach an exercise class, and had already arranged for a sub while I'm recuperating. Apparently, that sub already announced my leave to her class (by telling them she would be taking over my classes). So this morning, someone asked me about it. And.....I told them! They were very supportive, and several stayed after class to ask me questions. I'm not sure how I feel about everyone knowing...not that I'm ashamed, but nor do I want to unwittingly welcome any negativity by being my typically overly-honest self. We shall see what happens.....

Internal vs. External

As I'm losing weight, I occasionally go to the thrift store and buy jeans in smaller sizes. After all, I don't really want to waste my money on clothes that hopefully will be too big, soon! The last time I went, I was shocked to discover that I can comfortably fit into a size 10, and even snugly fit into a few size 8. I had to check the labels again to be sure!! I haven't been a size 8 since I was in college, and that was TWENTY years ago!!!! The weird thing is, I'm in better shape now than I was in my twenties. I exercise, eat right, don't smoke or drink-- and I think I have more muscle, because when I was in my twenties I weighed about 10-15lbs. less than I do now, yet I feel stronger. Once I get rid of this horrible hanging belly and bring my girls up to attention, it's gonna be awesome!

On the flip side, some mornings I wake up, and I just know when I step on the scale, I will have gained 20 lbs. back overnight. My eyes do not process what my mind knows is fact-- I am smaller. I was a size 14 just six months ago. I am now a size 10. And yet I look in the mirror, and I don't see the change. I don't FEEL the change. How is it that I can still paw through all the clothes in my closet, and not find anything that I feel looks good on me??

I'm a positive person. I don't focus on the negative. Today, in my size 10 Anne Taylor loft jeans ($4.50 ladies, oh yeah!), I turned and checked out my butt in the mirror, and I looked kinda smokin'! But naked? Yeah, I don't see the change. I see......blob. I feel sexy. I feel strong. I feel beautiful. And then I catch a glimpse of my pasty white, stretch mark-covered, gelatinous mass of a tummy, and my ego is deflated. Talk about an exercise in humility! haha!

That's okay.....the blob's days are numbered.....57, to be exact!

Things I Won't Miss

1. Not being able to see my hoo-ha!
2. My frowning belly button.
3. "When are you due?"
4. "You'd look great if you lost twenty pounds in your stomach (because wishing for it makes it happen....)."
5. That horrible split-second zero gravity jiggly feeling when I jump.
6. Play time with my husband....with a shirt on!
7. Facing my blob reflection every time I step out of the shower.
8. Feeling like my clothes don't fit me right.
9. Ugly panties.
10. Saucer areolas (yes, ladies, I said it!).
11. Sensible bras.

New Weight

156!!!!

Changes

It's funny how you change your mind sometimes right before the surgery. I've seen people decide not to get implants, Lipo, to add implants, to get smaller implants....I've been thinking about a reduction. I've had big boobs since I was 13, went from a B to a D in one summer, and then a DD during my pregnancies and breastfeeding, I was even bigger! I think I would like to go to a full C. I'm going to talk to my surgeon about it. My husband is supportive. He said he wants what would make me happy!

I think I will ask DR. FG to use his judgment to suggest what would be proportionate to my frame. You ladies who are looking to supervise, more power to you! But be ready for feeling top-heavy, cumbersome, and having them get in the way. I, for one, am ready for a change, I do believe!

CG Hatred

Ladies, I have a question for you. Hearkening back to Dolly Parton's comment in "Steel Magnolias" ("Well, these thighs haven't gone out of the house without lycra on them since I was 14!"), most days I don't go out unless I have SOME type of compression garment on. When working out, I wear a tank top under my shirt that has spandex in it. When going out of the house, I wear either a tank top that is full support or a body suit that is. This has been standard practice for me since I had my second child and started losing weight, almost 10 years ago. I can't remember the last time I even walked around the house without some form of tank top with at least a shelf bra (to keep the ladies from bruising my knees!) and a small bit of compression. So.......how bad are the CG's compared to what I would normally wear?? Are they really that much more uncomfortable, or is it coming from the perspective of women who are not used to being encased like sausages prior to surgery? I appreciate any answers!!

Updated Before Pictures

I'm not sure I see much of a difference. I FEEL a difference, and I do in clothing (there's no way even a month ago, I would have been able to squeeze into a size 10 jeans!).

Passport Frustration

So, I went to the post office two weeks ago and got the paperwork to apply for our passports. But I have to schedule an appointment to submit them. So I put in a call, again, two weeks ago, for an appointment. On Monday, they called while I was teaching my exercise class, and left a message to call that same number back. And so I did....only to get the same message to leave my name and number for a callback. That was Monday. Still haven't heard back. So, if you miss their call, you're put to the back of the line?? *sigh* Our tax dollars at work.....

The Old OLD Me

So, I found these pictures in an old book. When I started my weight loss journey in 2006, I did the 6 Week Body Makeover. Here, I was 209 lbs. I was "visualizing" what I wanted to look like. In a couple of months, I will finally be there!!!! Woo hoo!!!!

Passport Appointment Scheduled!!

They called me today, and we have an appointment for Wednesday! Yay!!!

50 Days!!!!!!

That's all I've got to say about that! :-)

Disappointment and Truth

Yesterday, someone made a comment that just shows ignorance. We were ordering dinner at a restaurant, and the comment was made that I could eat whatever I want, because I'll just have it taken off when I have my tummy tuck. I have worked VERY hard to lose weight, and it's been a journey filled with highs and lows. I've struggled with my eating, made permanent changes in daily choices, added exercise to my habits, and changed my thinking about food altogether. I am PROUD of my hard work, but that hard work has only gotten me so far. It is clear that my loose skin is getting worse. I'm losing fat, but the skin is not shrinking. THAT is why I'm getting a tummy tuck.

Then my dad told me there are foods I can eat and exercises I can do to shrink my stomach. Ummmm....no. There aren't. Some people just don't have enough elasticity. And some people just won't get why I'm doing this. It's disappointing.

A woman from my exercise class the other day told me that if I keep exercising and losing weight, the skin will tighten up. Funny thing is, I would have bet you that she has had a tummy tuck! She's lost a lot of weight, and has loose skin on her arms and thighs, but her tummy is flat and perfect. So....she doesn't want to admit it? Or her belly skin is somehow much more elastic than everywhere else on her body.

So what is the truth? For the first person, perhaps she's jealous. She still has a lot of weight to lose. She also doesn't have the financial ability to have surgery. For my dad, I think he's scared. His health is failing, and I think he's worried that something will happen to me. He's also worried that I'm too focused on the physical, that my relationship with the Lord will suffer because of the surgery. For the last person, perhaps she is embarrassed because she hid the fact that she had the surgery from everyone, and so now it would be hard to admit it. I don't know.

Does this make me seem petty? Has anyone else experienced adverse reactions in surprising ways? It doesn't sway my decision at all. I'm happy about the surgery. I've prayed about it. My husband and I have talked about it. I'm comfortable with my decision. I'm actually very excited! And I'm also rambling, lol! Time for bed, I think. Tomorrow, we will apply for our passports, accomplishing one more goal in this journey. Yay!!!

Passport!!!

Our passport applications are done, and I was wrong about the time. We have just shy of 7 weeks, so we should be good. And I actually like my passport photo!! As I was standing there, I compared my driver's license photo and my passport photo, and I can't believe how much my weight loss shows in my face!

Ponderings....

As of this morning, I weigh 155! I am 10 lbs. less than the weight below which I just COULD not go previously. I cut out processed foods, sodas, sugar, switched to whole grains, ate more vegetables and salads, started exercising-- at one point I was in the gym 6 days a week! I did weight training, cardio, and ran. But the scale would not budge. So, what changed? Now, I work out 3-4 days per week. I don't run or use weights; I only teach a cardio class 3-4 times a week, that's it. I stopped counting calories. I eat when I'm hungry, sometimes I eat processed foods, although I try to stay away from any wheat products (I think I may have a gluten intolerance). So, how did this change occur NOW?

I think it's attitude. I'm exercising less and eating more, but I'm not stressing about it. I'm excited about the upcoming surgery, and although I want the best possible results, I am not worried about whether I lose any more weight. So maybe the attitude change is helping! Should anyone care to know, this attitude change started in January, when my husband prayed for me because of my food struggles. The next day I stumbled on the Harcombe Diet online, and my thinking about food has drastically changed since!

Crazy Thoughts

Okay, ladies, the more I research, the more things I find that I didn't even consider...for instance, my husband is coming with me to the DR for my surgery. So, will he be with me in the room while the ps is marking me up? While I discuss with him how I don't want a puffy panis (talk about Ken doll complex....I have that NOW!), while I talk about my saucer areolas and how I want them to be small, or while I ask what areas he will lipo? Ummmm....not so sure about that. So, a little back story.....

My husband and I have been married for almost a year and a half. This is my second marriage. We met in 2011, and very quickly became best friends. He is truly amazing, and the best stepdad to my kids, as well. And did I mention he's hot? haha! Now, here's the kicker. Before we got married, we only kissed.

That's right, and just pop kissed! I told him it was important to me that I model for my kids how I want them to find a spouse. We are both Christians, and while we were friends we had talked about the desire to save sex for the wedding night. Our first kiss was in October of 2012, and we got married in December! The wedding night was stressful, because thanks to social media, I was able to see many of his former girlfriends, who were all skinny and gorgeous. And I knew what I was bringing to our marriage was a body that had seen better days.

I feel confident with my husband, and I adore him, and I know he adores me....but I am self-conscious about my body. As a result, I've never been completely naked while intimate with him. Most of the time I wear a tank top with a shelf bra (so the girls won't hang to my knees, and to hold my belly in a bit), and then a T-shirt over that. I know-- sexy, right?! On special occasions, I will wear a cute black nightie, but a full underwire bra under it, so, again, the girls don't hang. But when I wear that, I'm very conscious of my belly, should the nightie come a little too far up, and show it. Not exactly conducive to romance.

Now that I've lost this much weight, and am seriously thinking about being in the room with my husband before and after surgery, I don't want to scare him! So, the other day, I came out of the bathroom in my bra and panties and showed him my belly. I had shown him the same pictures I've posted here (I think that was easier, because my head wasn't showing, if that makes any sense!), but this was the first time he had seen my belly in person, so to speak. Isn't that sad?

So, why am I sharing these intimate details with you ladies (and potentially everyone on the world wide web)? I think it's important to talk about these things. I know we all have body issues. That's why we're here, right? And I am quite sure that I am not alone in understanding that I can feel sexy, and yet completely NOT sexy, depending on whether certain parts of my body are covered. I don't want to feel that way anymore!

So, back to the room, and being marked up by the ps. I want my husband to be part of the whole experience, as much as he feels comfortable with, at least. I want his input when we talk about the possibility of a lift vs. a reduction. I want him to see under bright fluorescent lights the BEFORE me, so he can fully appreciate the AFTER me in all my glory!

Of course, I might just chicken out and ask him to stay in the waiting room....lol!

Email response from Dr. FG's assistant about the death of Yily's patient

Below is the response I received from my doctor's assistant to my concern over the recent death of another PS's patient in the DR earlier this week. I have to say, I am more and more at peace with my decision to go with Dr. FG! She also responded to a request for an English-speaking nurse.

I personally haven't heard about it, but as you mentioned yourself our medical center has nothing to do with those clinics.

It's obvious that every surgery involves risks, but many surgeons perform these procedures even when the patient is not in optimal health conditions, specially when it's a combined procedure such as a mommy make over, etc, and that's when normally you hear these unfortunate situations.

Dr. FG declines more patients than those he accepts for surgery because most patients that look for plastic surgery procedures are overweight or have health issues. Popular thinking is that plastic surgeons make women "thinner" and "loose weight", when it's not like that at all. They just change the shape of the body and enhance it according to socially established beauty patterns. (Important: when I mean decline, is not that he'll deny surgery, just asks to normalize whatever health condition they have). The sad thing is that we have sometimes seen these patients had surgery with other surgeons.

Another point is our modern medical center, but most of all, the medical staff that works with us. Our chief anaesthesilogist is the Chief of ICU in one of the most important hospitals in DR, as well as one of the only certified anaesthesiologists for Heart Transplant Surgery (in other words, the man is a reliable solid rock physician that has Dr. FG's complete trust). Plastimedic is at the moment the most updated and safest plastic surgery center in the country (by far). If you haven't taken a look at the medical center appearance, just click here: http://fernandezgoico.com/english/medical-space/the-clinic/

I'm contacting a few nurses for you. Don't worry cause if I cannot find anyone, I'll stay myself as long as you feel comfortable and your husband feels more secure.

I can only tell you, you'll be in excellent hands. Dr. FG pampers his patients like very few doctors I've seen out there nowadays.

Let me know anything else you may need. I'll get back to you when I have confirmation of an english speaking nurse.

Hmmmm.....Other Things I Won't Miss

1) That wet flappy sound my belly makes when I'm getting out of the shower.
2) Repositioning my boobs in a bra so that my nipples will be even.
3) That horrible feeling when I'm working out and my panties ride down under my overhanging belly.
4) Wearing jeans that fit my belly, but are too loose everywhere else.
5) Lying in bed, on my back, and having my boobs lying on either side of me!
6) Knowing I have abs, but not being able to see ANY evidence of them! (Okay, so it may take awhile for this one to change!)
7) Looking pregnant in some clothes.
8) Feeling horrible in a bathing suit.

A Little Humor

I got this in an email years ago, and it is still one of the funniest things I've ever read! Enjoy!

(If you've just had your surgery, and it hurts to laugh, you might want to wait until you read it!)


The first thing you should know is that hair removal is not my friend.
The particular talent of removing unwanted hair has eluded me.
True story.
All methods have tricked me with their promises of easy,painless removal - the Epilady, the standard razor, the scissors, the Nair, the EpilStop, and now
. ........
'The Wax'.
My night began as any other normal weekday night. I came home from
work, fixed dinner for my son and we played for a while. I then had the
thought that would ring painfully in my mind for the next couple
hours: maybe I should use that wax in my medicine cabinet.
I set up my boy with a video and head to the site of my demise, um, I
mean bathroom. It was one of those cold wax kits. No melting a
clump of hot wax, you just rub the clear strips in your hand, peel them
apart, press it on your leg (or wherever) and ignore the frantically
rising crescendo of string instruments in the background. No muss, no
fuss. How hard can this be? I mean, I'm not the girly-est of girls but
I'm mechanically inclined so maybe I can figure out how this
works..........................You'd think.
So I pull one of the thin strips out. It's two strips facing each
other, stuck together. I'm supposed to rub it in my hand to warm and
soften the wax (I'm guessing). I go one better: I pull out the
hair dryer and heat the stuff to ten thousand degrees. Cold wax, my foot.
(Oh, how that phrase will come back to haunt me.) I lay the strip across
my thigh. I hold the skin around it and pull. OK, so it wasn't the best
feeling in the world, but it wasn't bad. I can do this! Hair removal
no longer eludes me!
I am Sheera, fighter of all wayward body hair and smooth skin
extraordinaire!
With my next wax strip, I move north.
After checking on the boy and verifying that he was, in fact, becoming
one with Bear and learning all about smells, I sneak into the bathroom
for The Ultimate Hair Fighting Championship. I drop my panties and
place one foot on the toilet. Using the same procedure, I then apply the
wax strip across the right side on my bikini line, covering the right
half of my vagina and stretching up into the inside of the right butt
cheek. (Yeah,it was a long strip.) I inhale deeply. I brace myself.
RRRIIIIPPP!!!!
I'm blind! Blind from the pain! Vision returning. Oh crap. I've managed to
pull off half an inch of the strip. Another deep breath. And RIIIP!
Everything is swirly and tie-dyed? Do I hear crashing drums? OK,
coming back to normal again. I want to see my trophy - my wax covered
pelt that caused me so much agony. I want to revel in the glory that
is my triumph over body hair. I hold the wax strip like an Olympic gold
medallist.
But why is there no hair on it? Why is the wax mostly gone? Where
could the wax go, if not on the strip? Slowly, I eased my head down, my
foot still perched on the toilet. I see hair - the hair that should be
on the strip. I touch. I feel. I am touching wax. I look to the
ceiling and silently shout "nooooooo!!" And realize I have just begun
living my own personal version of "The Tar Baby."
I peel my fingers off the softest, most sensitive part of my body that
is now covered in cold wax and matted hair, and make the next big
mistake - up until this point, you'll remember, I've had my foot on the
toilet. I know I need to move, to do something. So I put my foot down
on the floor. And then I hear the slamming of the cell door.
Vagina? Sealed shut.
Butt? Sealed shut.
A little voice in my head says "I hope you don't have to potty anytime
soon. Your head just might pop off." I penguin walk around the bathroom
trying desperately to figure out what I should do next. Hot water!
Hot water melts wax! I'll run the hottest water I can stand and get in -
the
wax should melt and I can gently wipe it away, right? Wrong. I
get in the tub - the water is slightly hotter than is used to torture
prisoners of war or sterilize surgical equipment. And I sit.
Now the only thing worse than having your goodies glued together is
having them glued together and then glued to the bottom of a tub. In
scalding hot water. Which, by the way, does not melt the cold wax. So
now I'm stuck to the tub.
I call my friend, C, because she once dropped out of beauty school so
surely she has some secret knowledge or trick to get wax off skin. It's
never good to start a conversation with "So my nether regions are stuck
to the tub." She doesn't have a trick. She does her best to suppress
laughter.
She wants to know exactly where the wax is on the butt - "Are we talking
cheek or hole, here?" she asks. She isn't even trying to hide the
giggles now.
I give her the run-down of the entire night. She tells me to call the
number on the side of the box, but to have a good cover story for where
the wax actually is. "You know that if we were working the help line at
XX Wax Co. and somebody called with their entire crack sealed shut we'd
just put them on hold then record the conversation for everyone we know.
You're going to end up on a radio show or the internet if you tell them
the truth.
"While we go through various solutions, I have resorted to scraping the
wax off with a razor. Boy, nothing feels better to the girly goodies
than covering them in wax, sticking them to a tub in super hot water and
THEN dry shaving the sticky wax off!
In the middle of the conversation (which has inexplicably turned to
other subjects!) I find the little, beautiful saving grace that is the
lotion provided with wax to remove the excess. I rub some in and start
screaming "It's working! It's working!" I get hearty congratulations
from C and we hang up.
I successfully remove all the wax and notice, to my dismay, that the
hair is still there. So I shaved the stuff off. I was
numb by that point anyway. And then I put the box of wax back in my
medicine cabinet. Never know when a moustache might start to come in.
Tonight, I attempt hair dying.

Countdown, Eating, Hydration

40 days!!!! I am so excited! Can you tell?? Haha! I decided that starting today, I am going to eat super clean, and transition slowly to the diet I will be eating after surgery. It will consist of green smoothies (with pineapple, berries, protein powder, super greens, and kale), lean proteins (chicken breast, fish), salads with EVOO and vinegar, and nuts. I will also begin to cut out salt now, so that I will not miss it so much after surgery.

I have been applying coconut oil to my upper belly and breasts every night after I shower. I read that coconut oil helps your skin absorb the water, so it provides extra hydration as well as moisturization. I want my skin to be in the best shape it can be before for my surgery!

I've been having weird dreams, which for me usually means that I'm under stress, but that's to be expected. I have a lot going on in my life right now, and juggling it all can take its toll. Normally, that also manifests itself in my eating habits going awry, but with a goal in mind and a plan in place, that should not be an issue.

I keep reading all of your reviews and making mental notes that swelling is to be expected, my expectations should be realistic, I need to take it easy and let my body heal-- it's like a mental checklist. I'm wondering-- how much of this will I actually remember after my surgery?? lol!

But it's keeping me busy now. Sad truth...I started packing last night. In my defense, I bought a carry-on for a really good price at Costco, and it's been sitting on my bedroom floor next to my growing pile of supplies, all in neatly tied bags. I decided to consolidate, and went ahead and packed the carry-on. So, that's not REALLY packing, is it ladies?? haha!

Have a wonderful and blessed Friday! :-)

Five Weeks!

The time seems to be flying by, partly because of all that I have on my plate. My husband has been working six days a week, I always have extra responsibilities this time of year, anyway, and I have something going on every day for the next few weeks. AND I still haven't done our taxes! Yikes! With all of that, it's amazing that I still have the time for Realself, but I do! I love looking at all of your updates, and enjoy the waiting with those who aren't yet on the flat side, and the results and recovery stories of those who have already crossed over. My eating goals have flown out the window, partly because of my hectic schedule. :-/ But I decided today that this is important enough to prioritize, and I will do that! Goodnight, ladies!

Take time

I know this really has nothing to do with my surgery, but I felt like I needed to say this anyway. Today I was told that last night the pastor of a local church which several of my friends attend took his own life. I also learned that a friend has been dealing with the breakdown of her marriage. Both of these things shook me to the core. It saddens me that anyone would see no hope for the future to the point that they would end any possibility of one. It saddens me that marriages fail, that people hurt each other, that death encounters us all at one time or another. So I will say this:

Take time. Take time to show love to your family and friends. Take time to talk about the things that matter. Take time to share your heart, give of yourself, and enjoy life. Take time to breathe. Take time to consider others. Some may need a friend. Some may need a hug. Some may need a little grace on your commute to work. Some may need a smile, a wave, a "thank you" or a card. Some may need prayer. In fact, we ALL need prayer!

Take time to play. Take time to enjoy life. It is fleeting. Take time to tell the people who are instrumental to you that you appreciate them, that you care.

Most of all, take time to consider your purpose. Take time to consider why you are here. I assure you, you are NOT an accident, nor are you the legacy of a primordial ooze that was a chance happening. You are created, and your Creator loves you! Take time to consider what happens after this life. The single most important questions you can wrestle with are this: Who is Jesus? and What does He mean to me?

You may not believe. You have free will. But don't go through life from one event to another, from one distraction to another, never allowing yourself to consider these questions. If you have, and have decided against believing, then that is your choice. But don't let life pass you by without taking the time.

I am saying this for one reason and one reason only, I care. I have read your stories and have seen your hoohas! We are connected for a reason, I believe, and maybe that reason is so that today, when I am struggling with the mess that is this life, I would share my heart with you and spark a small desire in someone to seek out the answers to these questions. If so, it's worth it!

30 days!!!!!!!!

Okay...so technically, it's not 30 days for another 26 minutes, but nobody's counting other than me....and all the other lovely ladies who will be having their surgeries on May 14th!! I am so excited! Sure, I've had my doubts, fears, freak outs, questions, and slight (very slight!) panic attacks, but my overall outlook has been one of eager anticipation. I love to fly, and I get to do that. I love to travel to new places, and I get to do that! I love to experience new cultures, and I get to do THAT! I love to do things with my wonderful husband, and I get to do THAT!! We refer to my upcoming surgery as "the adventure". Most of all, I get to have a flat belly and perky breasts again! Woo hoo!

Okay, okay, so there are.....drawbacks. Am I minimizing them? Maybe. It is impossible for me to know exactly what my healing experience will be like until I'm actually in it, but I feel like you ladies have helped me SO MUCH in preparing for whatever may come. I still haven't received our passports, but they should be coming soon. I have printed out, bookmarked, and copied and pasted paragraph after paragraph of advice, information, warnings, suggestions, details, TMI! haha! All from this wonderful website and all of you! I will be taking you on my journey, and I promise to pay it forward by being honest, helpful, and detailed, so that others who are taking the same path will benefit (hopefully!) from my review!

Sooo......30 days to the flat side! Yay!!!!!!

Happy Surprise!

So, last night I had to attend a function, and pulled out my dress pants (which I rarely wear), and they were way too big on me. So I ran out and bought another pair of dress pants...and they were a size 8 Petite!!!!! They fit me perfectly! I have not been a size 8 since college! I was so thrilled! My husband asked me, "So, what size will you be AFTER the surgery??" I hadn't really thought that I would be smaller than an 8-- I mean, that's just not something I can even begin to wrap my mind around at the moment. Thankfully, with all the swelling, I will probably have some time to get used to the idea before I can actually WEAR a smaller size, lol! But the thought itself is pretty amazing.

No Weight Changes :-(

I keep getting on the scale, hoping to show 154....or 153. I've upped my protein intake as of one month pre-surgery, so maybe that's part of it. Don't get me wrong-- a smaller size matters more than the number on the scale! But I would like to meet my goal of 150 by surgery.

I've been working on logistics. My husband and I will be in the DR for 13 days. Two days after we come back, he goes back to work. My biggest fear is that I would have to have a BM, would be home alone with my kids, and wouldn't be able to get out of my CG! I don't want my kids to see my incisions. Ladies, will that be an issue?? Will I be well enough at 2 weeks post-op to be able to get in and out of my CG on my own?

I've worked out where the kids will be while we're gone. Thankfully, I have a big family and a wonderful support system when it comes to that! I keep looking at that number on my countdown app go down (unlike the scale, but I digress!), and I can't believe it's 25 days!! My youngest's birthday is coming up, and then Mother's Day, and then we leave the week after that! But what a way to celebrate 10 years since I was pregnant. My Mother's Day gift is a Mommy Makeover! :-D

On a humorous note, my mom told my 90 year-old grandmother about my surgery....in her words, "She is getting what?" "Where?" "That's nice, dear." My sweet grandmother, lol!

Have a wonderful Easter, ladies! Christ is risen!

Full before photos

Okay, three weeks from tomorrow I will be flying out for my surgery. THREE WEEKS!!!!! I can't believe how fast time is going by. Here are some before pictures, more....ummm...revealing pictures. I think of all the reviews that I have found the most helpful, and they are the ones that show clearly the difference between before and after. So I am going to be as helpful (and humble) as those of you who have gone before me.

Other Pictures

Ladies, HOW are you getting these sitting and hanging belly pictures??? Every one I try, all you can see is my belly, and frankly, I look like Jabba the Hut! Not to say I thought for a moment that these would be remotely flattering poses, mind you, but seriously! And there is NO ONE I would ask to take the pictures FOR me-- ewwwwww! Yuck! I could see that being a form of punishment for crimes against humanity, but no one I love shod be subjected to such a horror show! I don't know, maybe I will get it figured out... in the mean time, a sample of my efforts.....brace yourselves!

Passports!!!

Yay! I got an email this morning that our passports have been processed and sent Priority Mail!! We should get them by the 28th. That's one more thing to check off my list. I need to go over my packing list, as well, just to make sure I've got everything I'll need. THREE weeks from today, I will be crossing over to the flat side!!!

Feeling skinny

Yesterday, we took the kids to the movies. I was wearing a tank top and v-neck t-shirt, and my favorite pair of size 10 jeans, which are now a little big on me, and I looked down at my little body, and couldn't believe what I was seeing. I felt SKINNY! There was room on either side of me in the seat (lots of it!), my belly looked flat (thanks to the jeans being a little big, no muffin top), and I wasn't staring over my expansion of belly to the tops of my knees...I could see ALL of me! Now, those of you who have never been overweight will have no clue what I'm talking about, and bless you for it! But I guess there's a moment after losing weight when it catches you by surprise that you are NO LONGER FAT. And that was my moment! I'm guessing the moment I feel skinny NAKED will come AFTER surgery! ;-)

It's Here!!!

My passport arrived today!!! Still waiting on my husband's...it will probably come tomorrow.

On a side note, someone please stop me from shopping online!! I'm buying cute summer dresses like they're going out of style...or in this case, like they're the hottest style, haha!! I've bought 3 maxi dresses and 11 short dresses! But they're on sale (some for $8!!!), super cute, and I wore one today for lunch with colleagues, and got so many compliments on how skinny I look! Love it!!!

New Surgery Date

My PS emailed me today and said he would feel more comfortable if we go ahead and push my surgery back a day, so that I will have more than 24 hours from the time I get off the flight until my surgery. I'm more comfortable with that, because now I won't be tense about our flight and any possible delays. We'll have plenty of time when we get there, and can maybe even go to the beach and relax! :-) So, there's not much downside to it, except that I will be seeing this belly for one more day, but I've lived with it this long, so one more day won't hurt!

154!!!!

So, my weight loss had stalled, mainly because I wasn't eating clean like I knew I should. But I've got 2.5 weeks left, so I've kicked it into high gear. Here's my regimen: weight loss shake in the morning, along with my coffe, water, and supplements. For lunch, a protein shake with greens and fruit, Greek yogurt with berries as a snack, then a light dinner with a salad and chicken or fish, plus a juice. When I juice, I do an apple, several carrots, kale or spinach, and a beet plus the greens. It tastes really good! And the beet is a natural blood builder for those worried about your hemoglobin! It cleans me out! One week out, I will transition to just liquids and yogurt, to give my digestive system a rest before surgery. Hopefully, I will also lose an additional 4 lbs. and reach my pre-surgery goal of 150!

Our pastor spoke this morning on living in community, and being authentic with people. During the message, I prayed once again if this is something the Lord is good with, or if I am justifying what I so selfishly want. I asked the Lord to show me that He wants me to walk through this door. After church, I talked to one of my friends from church in private, and without planning to, just blurted out that I was having the abdominal repair and a tummy tuck. She was beyond positive about it, very happy for me, and supportive. I look up to her for her faith and so it confirmed for me that the Lord was giving me the go-ahead. She also told me something that I hadn't considered before. She said what a great thing it was that I wanted to do this for my marriage and my husband, but also for ME, to reward myself for the weight loss, and to be able to really see the results of my hard work. She's very active and athletic, so it surprised me that SHE would connect that before I did! But she was so right! So today, I'm celebrating the new me and excited about the final step--my new flat tummy and perky breasts! Have a blessed day!

Two Weeks!!!!

I cannot believe it is only two weeks until my surgery!!! I have so much going on, they will probably fly by. My youngest will be 10 next week, then we have company coming after that. I've got lunch dates and coffee dates and plans for every waking moment, it seems....hopefully, I will still be able to get the house in order as well.

I know some people have been unhappy with their results. I'm trying to set my expectations at a realistic level. I look in the mirror and try to shift my belly this way and that, trying to anticipate how many stretch marks will remain, and wondering where they will end up. I know I will still have them, unfortunately that's a foregone conclusion. I look at my breasts, and I know I will have an anchor scar. Will I be able to wear a v-neck dress or top without the scars showing? It's not often that I show that much cleavage, but in a bathing suit or on a date night with my husband I may want to show a little. How small will my areolas be? Will my breasts be even? Will I be happy with them if they aren't? My PS has amazing TT scars, from what I've seen, they are elliptical and low. Will mine look the same? Is a little curve to my waist too much to hope for? Bottom line, will I be happy with an improvement, which there will most certainly be, or will I continue to cast a critical eye on my body, seeking an ever-elusive standard of perfection? My prayer is that I would maintain the right attitude and perspective.

5 lbs.

Years ago, in a women's bible study group I was in, a good friend of mine told a story about her mom. There was a woman at her church growing up who was slender and beautiful, whereas her mom felt frumpy when around this woman. Her biggest frustration was when the woman would complain that she needed to lose 5 lbs. This would frustrate the mom, who was always at least 40 lbs. overweight, to no end. It was only years later that she told her daughter that if she, too, had set her limit at just 5 lbs. of extra weight, she would have remained slender as well.

As I reflect on my years of yo-yo dieting and face the fear that I will let my weight get out of control again, I think about how much motivation my reflection will provide for me to keep my focus on "just 5 lbs." of weight fluctuation. I will no longer have the frustration of a sad, hanging belly and droopy, sagging breasts to face me when I step out of the shower. I may even shower with my husband in the future...you know--conserve water! ;-) I will be HOT!!! And I want to keep it that way!!!!!

About Last Night......

So, last night I had a meltdown. It's not that I'm scared about the procedure, or even about my results, but I think there's just so much to process and my mind can't wrap itself around it. How does one prepare for different reflection? How does one prepare to look at a different body?

Yesterday I was trying close on at one of my favorite stores. I love dresses now and I tried on only body con dresses and they were all size 6 or 8. And they all fit me-- even the 6!! It is enough for me to get used to being a little, but now to be able to look at my reflection in the mirror and be happy about what I see-- the prospect of it is a bit overwhelming. So when my husband asked me if I was okay and I got silent, he pressed me to tell him what was going on and I broke down. That poor man! I'm so emotional! I'm usually very positive about this whole process and I'm actually really excited!! In less than two weeks I will be joining those of you have crossed over to the flat side, and I realize my recovery time when I look back at it will have gone just as quickly as this time leading up to my surgery. Before I know it I will be walking around with a flat tiny little tummy and perky breasts! The scars will be fading, I will be walking upright, I won't feel any pain anymore, and I'll be back to my normal routine. But my body will be significantly different.

In my 20s I didn't appreciate the body I had. I don't remember ever looking at myself naked in the mirror and thinking, 'You're one hot babe!' I think I took my body for granted. Let's face it-- I took a lot of things for granted in my 20s! For most of my 30s I was very unhappy with my body. I was happy that I was a mom, but I felt frumpy and very, very unattractive. Even after I lost some weight, I still wasn't happy with my belly.

I think I'm just really going to have to process this whole change..... But I barely have time to pack!! Maybe on the flight down there? Or the extra day that I have now that my surgery has been moved to the 15th..... I tell you what--pondering THAT while on the beach in a bathing suit would be a really great idea! Haha! Maybe I should wear a bikini for the first time in forever...... let my tummy go out with a bang!! ;-)

Have a wonderful Friday, my RS sisters!!!

Let's Get Physical

Alright, ladies. Time for some input! I've read many, many reviews, and some of you talk about sex after surgery, and some don't. Here's the thing. I have been paying close attention, and I flex EVERY muscle in my abdomen during orgasms. E.V.E.R.Y. How in the world am I going to handle sex after? My PS says no ab work for at least three months!! I swear I have abs of steel under this sagging belly, because I paid close attention during our play time, and I could feel each part flexing. I tried to NOT flex, but my body wasn't having it. Apparently, no flexing= no orgasm for me. Now, I'm not worried about my husband...we'll figure that part out. But spill it, ladies--how are the orgasms? How long before your sex life matches your new sexy bod??

10 Days-- Can It Be Possible??

I'm going to the flat side in 10 days, ladies!!!!!! This whole process is surreal. I want to thank you all for your reviews, for sharing your stories and for being so wonderful! I would be lost without you guys!

Happy!

Yesterday marked my youngest's 10th birthday. It's so hard to believe! We had a party and sleepover, and the day was wonderful! Spring is here, the sky is blue, the birds are singing....and I'm going to be in the Dominican Republic, just two days from the flat side, this time next week!!

I have been so blessed through this process to experience very little negativity. I've told several of my friends from church, one at a time, and they are all very supportive. Some have shared their insecurities that they have dealt with, and a couple have even said they would like to have some work done. My husband is, of course, awesome, and we have talked about how much fun it will be to experience this time together, just the two of us. We both feel like it will bring us even closer together.

I'm feeling strong today, and grateful for this opportunity, and healthy, and happy! I just did a new routine for my cardio dance class to "Happy" by Pharrell Williams. Here are the lyrics, and they describe exactly how I feel!

It might seem crazy what I’m about to say
Sunshine she’s here, you can take a break
I’m a hot air balloon that could go to space
With the air, like I don’t care baby by the way

[Chorus:]
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do

[Verse 2:]
Here come bad news talking this and that, yeah,
Well, give me all you got, and don’t hold it back, yeah,
Well, I should probably warn you I’ll be just fine, yeah,
No offense to you, don’t waste your time
Here’s why

[Chorus]

Hey, come on

[Bridge:]
(happy)
Bring me down
Can't nothing bring me down
My level's too high
Bring me down
Can't nothing bring me down
I said (let me tell you now)
Bring me down
Can't nothing bring me down
My level's too high
Bring me down
Can't nothing bring me down
I said

[Chorus 2x]

Hey, come on

(happy)
Bring me down… can’t nothing…
Bring me down… my level's too high…
Bring me down… can’t nothing…
Bring me down, I said (let me tell you now)

I hope each of you are having a HAPPY day! :-)

One Week!!

Ladies, I'm one week out! It's so hard to believe! When I started the countdown on my phone, I had 88 days, and now, a week from today, I will be going to the flat side!

For the first time in about two weeks, I slept well last night. I was so exhausted, I didn't even tuck the kids in--they tucked ME in, haha! I went to bed at 9pm, and slept until 6! I woke feeling refreshed and my mind is clear. Praise God! Now, to pack! :-)

Back to the Drawing Board

After getting some amazing sleep Wednesday night, last night after three hours I woke up and could not go back to sleep. My poor hubby had to get up at 5:45, and here I am wide awake at 2am. So I got up and went into the living room, read, stalked RS, and went internet window shopping for clothes. At 7, when my husband left for work, I went back to sleep for 3 more hours. Not so bad, except that I have to work until 1:30am tonight!

Usually, a lack of sleep means my mind won't shut down. It means I'm stressed about something. The stress I feel about the surgery has to do with what I can control...have I packed everything (yes! I'm packed!)? Am I missing something? Those things I can't control--or even truly anticipate, since I don't know what to expect-- I have to let them go. Yes, the thought has crossed my mind that something could happen, but I'm not really worried about that so much. I'm in my best health ever, have a positive mental attitude, and the chances of complications are slim. Flying is not a stressor for me. Going to a new country isn't, either. I know, I must be crazy, right? No, I just have a very healthy sense of adventure!

I am worried about my husband. He doesn't do very well with any perceived threat to me, whether it be sickness, injury, or even the the thought of something bad happening to me. I pray that he will be able to handle seeing me in pain. I'll try to minimize the extent of it for him, but I'll be REAL with you ladies!! :-)

Yikes!

In two days, we'll be flying down, and in four I'll be getting my Mommy Makeover!!! I'm so excited!!!!!!!

Happy Mother's Day to all you mommies!!

Two Weeks Away

I said goodbye to my kids today. I won't see them again (except on Skype--praise God for technology!!!) for two whole weeks. I've never been away from my kids for that long. I saw my best friend, my parents, and all my siblings today. My baby sister hugged me for a long time. I'm very thankful for my wonderful family. We leave at 6am...which means I need to get to bed if I want any sleep!!!

We're Here!!!!

After much confusion and a thorough testing of my rusty Spanish, we are here!!!! I'll upload pictures of the recovery center. For those considering Real Recovery Armonia, you should know that they just moved. The location is beautiful, and Myra asked us if we were hungry right away. She was very sweet and accommodating, and the food was fantastic-- stewed beef, rice, salad, fried plantains, fresh-squeezed pineapple juice, and very hot, very strong coffee!!! Oh, and the absolute best chicken noodle soup I have ever tasted (sorry, Mom!!). The air is so-so, but the Wi-Fi works and is free!!

I didn't sleep much last night, had a teary moment in the airport thinking about how much I'm going to miss my kids, and I just started my period....oh.joy.

I'm going to coordinate some things with Myra, then take a NAP!! Later, taters! :-))

Quick Update

We drove around the city for a few hours yesterday, with a driver who didn't know any English, and me, who has very rusty Spanish! The address he had was wrong, but he didn't know it. Finally, I called the doctor, who speaks impeccable English (yay!!), and he called the recovery house where we are staying, and they gave him the right address. We have air conditioning and wi-fi, and all the food has been delicious! They fed us fried plantains!!! And we have had fresh fruit coming out of our ears, so I am in heaven....my husband, not so much, haha! I brought plenty of snacks for him, though, so he's happy. Our room is extremely nice by D.R. standards, I'm sure, although it's not a luxury hotel. It's a beautiful Spanish style house, with a courtyard in front, one in back, and stained glass windows. I'll upload a picture later. Today is my pre-op, and I should find out the time of my surgery. I did not realize, geography novice that I am, that we are so close to South America....closer than we are to the U.S.! And really close to Cuba, and on the same island as Haiti! There are beautiful mountains and tons of farmland, and not a lot of paved roads outside the city. There are amazing, beautiful homes with pools and tennis courts, and then tin-roofed shacks all jumbled together. And my husband says it's a country full of drivers who are just like me! There are very few street signs, no posted speed limits, what street signs there ARE seem to be seen as suggestions, and no one really follows the lines on the road. You are as likely to see a moped going 20mph as an old beat-up truck with 20 people on the back going 80...on the same street! Our driver used the highway as a parking lot as he checked with the doctor about the address. We saw 2 intersections with traffic lights. It's a huge city, too. Lots of horn honking and weaving in and out of traffic. We will not be sight-seeing. We are content to spend our time here at the recovery house, reading and watching Netflix. They were all shocked because we unplugged the tv so we could charge our electronics. I told them we don't have a tv at home. Myra, the owner of the recovery house, speaks English, and some of the girls do, and for what I can't communicate, well, there's an app for that! So, we're getting along just fine! We talked to the kids last night via Skype (gotta' love technology--free from here and I get to see the kids!!), and that was fun.

On to my pre-op!!!

Technology

How amazing it is that I am in a foreign country and still able to communicate! Technology is so cool! We are at the doctor's office, waiting for the cardiologist. Xrays done, blood test done, after the cardiologist, we'll see Dr. FG. I'm more nervous about being naked under fluorescent lighting in front of my husband than anything else! But as I said before, that will make him appreciate my body even MORE after! Haha! Uploading pics of the recovery center and doctor's office now.

Real Recovery Armonia

Dr. FG's office

Dr. FG

We just met with Dr. FG, and he is wonderful! All my tests came back with great results, and we're moving forward with the surgery at 8am. He said including recovery it will take about 6 hours. In less than 24 hours, I will be on the flat side!!!!

It's Here!!!!!

So far, my experience has been amazing! Real Recovery Armonia has been amazing. Myra is wonderful, all the girls are very sweet, and the nurses I have met, Veronica and Olga, are wonderful. They already want to wait on us hand and foot! I told them there will be plenty of that AFTER my surgery!!

I go in at 7:30, and my surgery should start around 8. Dr. FG and Karel have been amazing as well. He's very funny! And Giovanny, his driver, is very nice, although he does not speak English, so our attempts to communicate have been comical!

I'm a little worried about laughing after the surgery. My husband is very funny, and makes me laugh all the time! And I hear the pain in your abdomen is no joke when laughing, coughing, or sneezing....in this case, laughter is NOT the best medicine! But I guess we will have to see, because I won't know until it happens.

We skyped with the kids again last night. I felt a pang of guilt because I promised my youngest I was going to be fine. Sounds crazy, huh? But I know there is a small chance of something happening, and the thought crossed my mind that she would be angry because I had lied to her if I die. Morbid much? Haha! Other than sending a Facebook message to my parents, best friend, and mother-in-law saying I love them, I haven't bought into the notion that anything bad is going to happen, and that was just a precaution, so to speak.

I slept well, snuggled up with my husband, and this morning he said some very sweet things to me. I love that man!

Please keep me in your prayers, and I will update later today!

I Made It!!

I'm all loopy, so I'll make it quick! The PS said everything went well. More later.

Yuck!!

I hadn't eaten anything since before 10 p.m.last night, so when they brought in a food tray for me, I was ecstatic!! But after only a sip of hot tea, I threw up. After I was do e,my stomach felt much more calm, so I tried hello....and threw up again. :-/

So now I have to wait for the anti-nausea medicine to kick in. The doctor came in tonight, but I was too loopy to remember.

Oh, now I remember what I was going to tell you guys..when I threw up, it didn't really hurt my abs. It was sore but no more than that!

No Pain So Far.....except.....

I threw up again! And again...even though I had nothing left in my stomach. And the last time hurt and it felt like something went "pop" in my upper abdomen. I will ask my PS about this when he come to see me. It's 1:50 a.m. and I'm not tired. :-(

Hi, Everyone!!

Thank you all for praying! I feel good when I'm not moving, but when they got me up to take a sponge bath this morning, there was a burning sensation, which the doctor said was to be expected. I remember taking a little blue pill yesterday, and then they moved me to a gurney. I woke up twice during the surgery, but felt no pain, and promptly went right back out.

I had thought I was starting my period the other day, but it was a false alarm. Instead, it started last night! Thankfully, I have a Mirena iud in, so it's just spotting.

Dr. FG came in last night and talked to my husband, but I don't even remember him being here. I'll get the whole scoop later, but apparently I had a couple of hernias that he had to remove as well. My husband prayed with him and his surgical assistant.

My husband said the surgery too several more hours than he planned, perhaps because of the hernias. He spent three hours on my breasts alone, so hopefully they will look fantastic!

They've given me Phenergan, but I keep getting nauseous. And I can't see the rest of my body, but my arms and hands are very swollen. Overall, I feel good, even with the nausea. I love the surgery center, Plastimedic--the nurses are wonderful! It's a modern facility, too. No issues like I've heard of at other places.

I would also like to point out that Dr. FG spent a lot of time with my husband and me, and even gave me a cellphone to use while I'm here. I feel very at ease with him. I'll wait until I see my results before I give a detailed review on him, but so far everything has been amazing!

GOT A PEEK!!!!

Today, before he released me to go back to the recovery house, Dr. FG changed my dressings, so I got a quick peek at my breasts and belly. I am VERY happy with the results, but I'm going to wait a few days to take some pictures,when I'm not standing hunched over like an old woman! You guys have no idea how sorry I am-- when you were post-op, I was itching to see after photos, but now have plenty of wisdom that comes from experience....plus a healthy dose of grace, lol!

As for my results, I am extremely happy! The girls are higher than I thought they would be, even accounting for the fact that they will drop into their permanent position within the next two months. My incision is low, and he said he took 10lbs. of skin off my abdomen, and 2000 ml of fat from my back and flanks!! I'm very swollen, but impressed with my shape already. I told him to do whatever he thought best with my breasts (reduction or just lift), and he made me a full C. I am thrilled beyond belief with that! I haven't worn a C-cup since I was 13!!! He got rid of most of my stretch marks and said that if I lose any more weight, it will be proportionate to my body. I had FOUR small hernias, all of which he removed, and he said I had severe diastasis-- my abdominal muscles were 6 inches apart! Overall, he said he is very pleased with my results, and I am, too!

I will say this-- I cannot imagine someone coming here who does not know the language. What I remember from high school and college has thankfully come back to me. My husband was very frustrated last night because I was in pain, and although he had the translator app, he didn't think to use it. I don't remember any of this, but I'm so glad he is here!

Let me tell you-- the cook here at Real Recovery Armonia is phenomenal! Her name is Helena and she pays attention. I told her the other day that I loved the soup, and she made more for me today. She doesn't put vegetables or salad on my husband's plate because he doesn't like them. We are getting awesome care!

Odd Angle....

3:21am

Yes, I'm up. I woke up in serious pain because my legs were very swollen and it was time for my pain meds. My husband woke from a dead sleep to take off one pair of compression stockings (I was wearing two pairs) and massage my legs. He has been so incredible during this whole journey. I would not have been able to do this without him! He has helped me empty my drains and go to the bathroom. The nurse scolded him (in Spanish, of course!) for not letting her do her job, and he responded, "Es mi esposa!", which means, 'she's my wife!" Haha! Not only has he acclimated very well to a recovery house full mothering women (most of them younger than us!), he has taken on the role of caregiver and is learning Spanish all at the same time!

Didn't mean to submit...

So here's how I'm feeling now. My back hurts a lot. It's a combination of the Lipo and the strain from hunching over when I walk. But it only hurts when I move. I have spurts of energy, but very quickly get wiped out. I cannot stop looking at my breasts!!! I'm amazed at what he did with what I had.

I woke up from surgery with a binder on. When my PS took it off to change my dressings, I knew exactly what you ladies were talking about when you said you felt unprotected. I felt like i was going to split open! NOT a good feeling! When they put the cg on, I immediately felt better.

Speaking of the cg, I have a love/hate relationship with it already. Mine does not extend to my thighs, but is cut like a bathing suit. There is so much swelling in my legs that the pain is horrible in the crease between my inner thighs and pubic area. I have to put something soft between my skin and the cg or I will go crazy with the pain!

I've also felt the burning, stinging sensation in my back, like being stung deep by the biggest hornet ever. It's only happened twice so far.

I cannot find a comfortable position for my butt. Even with a pillow under it, there's all this pressure! I have two wedge pillows and six regular pillows that I'm lying on. My hubby says I look like royalty....now all I need are grapes and palm leaves, lol! Speaking of the lol, my husband has made me chuckle, and there's a tightening in my abs, but nothing like the pain I felt when I threw up. Praise God for that!!

I'm not trying to complain...I just want to be honest about my journey. For those who are considering surgery, Day 1 post-op, walking like a granny, feeling like an invalid, and having weird pains in different parts of my body, I would still say hands down it's worth it! When I slipped on a size Medium maxi dress that I'll be wearing to go home, and even with the swelling I could see curves in all the RIGHT places, when I stare at my perky boobs (did I mention how happy I am with them??), when I look down and see the flatness of my tummy.....I simply cannot stop grinning, even through the pain!

Oh, and it does not take much for me to feel full. A few bites, and I'm not hungry anymore, a few more and I'm stuffed.

Totally worth it!!!

Emotions

Well, it happened. I got all emotional, wondering if I made a mistake, if I am crazy for doing this. My husband talked me through it and I knew, thanks to all of you who have gone before me and written about your experiences, that this was to be expected. In pictures, I think I look awful. I see the sutures and the swelling, and miss the rest. But I took my faja off to take a sponge bath, and then put a tank top on to give my body a break, and when I saw myself in the mirror, I was very happy. I have curves!!! All of this other stuff-- the hunched back, the swelling, the pain, the sutures-- will be gone, and I will be left with this wonderful shape!

5am, Pain in the A$$, Commode Conversations

So, it's 5am and I can't sleep...why? My butt hurts!!! I don't remember anyone else mentioning this, but oh my WORD!!!!! I cannot get comfortable, cannot sleep, the pain meds don't touch it. It's pressure. I've got my legs elevated with a wedge pillow, and my upper body elevated with an additional wedge pillow plus regular pillows, and all the pressure goes straight to my butt! So, although I didn't get anything done to my butt, it hurts the worst! I cannot find a comfortable position, and the pain starts writhing about 20 minutes after I get settled, which is just enough time for me to fall asleep, and then BAM! Pain! Not fun! And I CHOSE this!? I'm a little cray-cray!!

So, while I'm sitting on the toilet, about to fall asleep, because the porcelain throne is preferable, my wonderful husband asks me how to say "butt" in Spanish. Only I don't remember the word for "butt"...only the word for "A$$"! So he goes to the night nurse and says, "Mi esposa culo dolor"....haha! The night nurse came, I explained to her what was going on (nothing she can do about it), and I ended up telling her my whole life story in broken Spanish while sitting on the commode at 5 am....that poor woman! It didn't occur to me that maybe she would rather be sleeping. I was just enjoying the company.....while sitting on the toilet. No shame! Lol!

So, for those of you who haven't had your surgery yet, look out for the pain in your butt!

I've heard that days 2 and 3 are the worst, and after that it gets a little better every day. Day 2 down, Day 3 to go. I've got this!!

Day 4--Spanish, Cerra la puerta, y mucho dolor en mi espalda

My healing is coming along much more slowly than my Spanish. :-/ Last night, during one of the few times I slept, I even dreamed in Spanish. I answered my husband in Spanish this morning!

Speaking of my wonderful, dear husband, he lost it last night. I was in so much pain, had already taken my pain pill (which hasn't really done anything for me), and could not get comfortable. It was 3 am, and he went all through the recovery house trying to find the night nurse (there are two), but could not find anyone. He said, "hello" several times, but no one came. He's not happy. He's also not happy that every time they come in our room, they leave the door open. The main areas don't have air conditioning, but the bedrooms do, so when they do that, all the cool air goes out. Add to that the fact that he's not sleeping well because I'm not sleeping well. He messaged the PS this morning. The nurse suggested at my follow-up appointment today, I ask the doctor for sleep medicine and something stronger for the pain.

For those who have not had surgery yet, I will describe the pain the best I can. When I am getting up from a reclining position, or lying down in a reclining position, it feels like my skin and flesh are tearing apart. It's like my body is trying to knit itself back together, and I'm undoing the healing when I move my back. This may not be what is happening, but it is the best way I can describe the pain.

I'm trying to stay positive, but it is really hard. My husband messaged the doctor, and he said he's going to remove my drains today, and that will help a lot. He said the back drain adds more pain, but with the Lipo on my back, it was the best way to drain the fluids and assure healing. I'm confident in his abilities and care. I will also ask about sleep medicine and better pain medicine. My appointment is at noon.

There are ups and downs to this journey. As I watched my husband sleeping at one point last night, I thought to myself I would trade the surgery for one good night's sleep. Lack of sleep can drastically change one's perspective!

Meet Juan and Pablo

These are my drains. I named them Juan and Pablo. Hopefully, they will be leaving me today!

Housecoats!

Okay, I know I look like an old lady, but I bought these very comfortable housemates at Wal-Mart for $3 each on sale, and they zip up and have a pocket on each side that is the perfect size for each of my drains. Since I don't plan on wearing ANYTHING frumpy in the bedroom once I've healed, $3 each is not an investment I'll lament after I'm done with them!

*Autocorrect....

Housecoats!!! Hahaha! My husband would NOT have approved houseMATES! ;-)

What a difference a drain makes!!

I'm drainless!!!!! I cannot tell you how much better I feel. The difference between this morning, when I felt like death warmed over, and now, is phenomenal. Plus, Dr. FG had a prescription waiting for me for stronger pain meds and sleeping pills. I won't lie-- the drain removal was no joke. It was painful and weird at the same time. But the difference in getting in and out of a car, walking, clothing options, lying down and sitting up-- there's just no way to accurately describe it! Compared to this morning, I feel like I could run a 5k. I WON'T, of course, haha! But I feel like I could. I am sitting up in bed. I snuggled with my husband for a bit. I also took one of the stronger pain meds, so that could have something to do with it.....:-) And.....I get to shower tonight!!

In my mind, I'm doing a happy dance!

I will try to load a picture of me from today. It's bride of Frankenstein, BUT focus on the difference in my breasts and tummy. I have a ton of swelling that will eventually subside, but I am so incredibly happy already with my outcome! I love, love, LOVE my breasts, and my belly button!!

Day 4 photo

Day 5

I took half a sleeping pill last night at 9, and then the other half at 10, when it hadn't kicked in. I had expectations of being knocked out for 12 hours. That did not happen. :-/ I still woke up with any noise, recognized my discomfort, and was unable to go back to sleep for a bit. BUT I slept on and off until 8:30 this morning, so I did get rest. I feel much better, having taken my first shower!!!! My husband washed and conditioned my hair and washed my back and dried me off. So, basically, I went from wanting him to see me naked to asking him to bathe me and take naked pictures of me! Haha!

I have a two-hour lymphatic massage today. I'm still very swollen, and I know exactly what you ladies mean by "swell hell"! But I am so happy to be here in swell hell rather than in my saggy boobs and hanging belly! This too shall pass!!

A note on my pictures....my husband says I look so much better than the pictures indicate. He said my coloring is better, and the scars are not as dark. Everything in my tummy is swelling, and after that resolves, I am confident I will be flat. I am over the moon about my breasts, though!!! My thighs also have a ton of swelling. I've never had thunder thighs before!!!

Day 6

Each day truly does get better!! I went for my second lymphatic massage yesterday. I had to pee TWICE and then about every thirty minutes in the evening! It really makes a difference! It's sore on my back, where the Lipo was done. The best way I can describe it is that it feels like my flesh has hardened, and the massage therapist is slowly softening it again. And it hurts, but afterwards I feel a lot better! Everywhere else, the massage is gentle and relaxing, and I fell asleep yesterday!

I slept in two four-hour stretches last night, so I'm seeing great improvement in my sleep. It's easier to fall asleep and go back to sleep, and if I wake up uncomfortable, I can slowly and carefully adjust my position so that I can go back to sleep. I will continue taking the sleeping pills until the end of the week, and then try a night without them to see if I can continue on my own.

The new pain meds are working better. I don't get loopy, but I get more talkative (I'm sure my husband loves THAT side effect!). I take them every 8 hours. This morning I woke up with a shooting pain in my left breast. I am not sure where it came from, but I took a scheduled pain pill and the sensation has subsided. I will mention it to my PS today, but I think it's probably just nerves reawakening. Up until now I have felt no pain at all in my breasts. My tt incision has not hurt, though I feel a tightness in my belly, and sometimes a pain in the crease between my right thigh and my pubic region. I think it is because of the swelling. The vast majority of my pain comes from my back, where the Lipo was done, and from hunching over.

Dr. FG is pleased with my progress, and will check me again today. He said that when I return home, I will still be in his care, and he will ask me to email him pictures or Skype with him so he can see my progress. He also said that if I follow his direction regarding my scars for three months, they will not be noticeable to me after that time. A bold claim! I think I will take him up on that! I really like him! He's very down-to-earth. I am flat-out astounded by his breastwork. It's difficult to envision my tummy because of all the swelling right now, but I am focusing on the fact that my hanging belly is gone, my scar is low and my belly button is perfect! :-) There was a lot of trauma to my body, between the Lipo and the hernias and the muscle repair, in addition to the breast lift and tummy tuck!! Because of that, I have more pronounced swelling. It won't last forever, though!

There's a scale in my PS's office. I was very tempted to get on it yesterday. I think I probably weigh about the same as when I had the surgery. I could be wrong, but with all this swelling, it feels like it. But I would rather wait until I get home to weigh myself, so that I can deal with it in the privacy of my bathroom....or yell out for everyone to come see, haha! I'd be good with that!!

My PS did talk with me about the importance of not striving for perfection. He said that a PS is not there to make you look good in clothes, but to look good naked. Scar placement is key, as well as sutures and scar care. Having a healthy diet, getting plenty of water and vitamins and minerals also play a part. But I should not compare my body or my progress to other women's. I'm not them. I don't have their bone structure, body type, skin, etc. That's a very good reminder. My PS is amazing, but he's not God. I need to be happy with the skin I'm in. This surgery is not a fast fix to a self esteem. It certainly will boost your confidence, but unless you already have a healthy attitude about yourself, the surgery will only exacerbate any insecurities and you will become more obsessed with being "perfect". True beauty comes from within. What is outside is fleeting. Okay, sermon over! :-)

Have a great day, ladies!! I'm going to shower (an hour process!) And get ready for my massage. Be blessed!!

Dumb Idea

My husband and I watched, "Dan in Real Life", and then decided to watch one of the suggestions at the bottom of the screen, once it was over.... "Dinner for Scmucks". I've laughed, don't get me wrong. My husband is very funny, and so is my PS, and I've laughed a lot. I don't feel pain, just a bit of pressure, so I thought, eh, why not? Bad idea. REALLY, REALLY BAD IDEA! That movie is so funny!!!! Belly laugh, tears flowing kind of funny!

Oh, my PS gave me a 5lb. bag of rice to wear on my abdomen while implying down, so that the pressure will help redistribute the swelling that is pooling in the middle of my lower abdomen and pubic area. I slept with it last night, but woke up with it by my side. Hopefully it made some difference before falling down on the job!

Good morning!! It's been one week since my surgery, and I really do feel better every day! Life is good! Not everyone can afford to have this done. We are all so blessed to have people in our lives who will help out after, the financial resources, and the bravery (as my husband says) to follow through with it!

autocorrect....

*lying...not implying...sheesh!

Fluid

I'm at my PS' office now. The fluid did not resolve with the bag of rice, so he's going to drain it today. Other than that one area, I'm very happy with my results. Hopefully, I'll see a big change after this. Here are some pictures that show the fluid build-up.

Day 8

I had a meltdown yesterday. Although draining the fluid wasn't really painful, it was uncomfortable and weird....and now that I process it, I guess it felt like a setback to me. I have a very small drain in, because Dr. FG wants as much fluid to drain as possible. He also wanted me to keep as much pressure applied to the area as possible, so the fluid would drain, and so the area would not fill back up. When we got back to the recovery house, I had to change my cg, because the one I had worn to his office was my one-sided one, so it wasn't as tight. When Veronica began to take it off, I felt horrible pain in my back, where the Lipo was done. This next part is hard for me. I like to be positive and strong, but I also want to be real for you ladies. I had a meltdown. I was very close to hyperventilating, could not stop shaking or crying...I was falling apart. I'm not sure what triggered it. Like the lack of sleep before, I think the overwhelming monotony of pain, cg, being away from home, thinking I should be further along in my recovery.....just all of it, got to me. My husband has been so great, and my Dr., and Yaniris, the massage therapist, and Karel, his assistant, and all the wonderful ladies at Real Recovery Armonia...they are fantastic! I have no idea how I would have handled it if I had had communication issues with my PS, like some of you have, or problems with the recovery house staff or the massage therapist.

The ONLY negative about this experience for me (outside of the expected pain, discomfort, etc.) has been the lack of reliability in what are everyday expectations in the States-- lack of hot water for showers, sporadic internet accessibility, and electricity that flickers, and generators that won't power the a.c.....these are annoyances. I've read a lot of other reviews about D.R., and knew what to expect, but it is still frustrating at times.

Back to me, haha! I eventually calmed down, my husband messaged Dr. FG, and I put the stronger faja on (with help, of course!). I settled down and slept almost 8 hours without waking up! I will not be taking anymore keeping pills. They make me feel lethargic during the day, like the sleep I got was not quality sleep, so it's just not worth it to me to take them.

I am hoping that when I go to the Dr. today, I will see a remarkable improvement in the contour of my belly. Dr. FG said that my belly skin is very soft. He's right--I have NO elasticity. Which means my belly will not look like a teenager's. But he assures me it will be flat, and that I will be happy with the results.

On a perkier note *ahem*, my breasts are still fabulous and problem-free! :-D

Have a wonderful day, ladies!!!

*Sigh*

*pre-surgery, NOT one-sided....oh, my WORD, auto correct!!!

A Dose of Surreality

It's been a long, but productive day. I have a new faja, MUCH smaller than the one before, the swelling in my belly is getting much better, and I feel a lot better. I have to remember that this is an experience that will test me emotionally and psychologically as well as physically. My body has changed, and my perception of myself must also change. This is going to give me a jumpstart to a new life....not that the life I had wasn't great, but now I will move forward with a new appreciation for my body, my health, my strength....this will benefit every area of my life!

There's No Place Like Home

I typed (on my Kindle, no less!) a long update yesterday, only to have it disappear on me when I went to upload a picture...can we say frustrating??

User Error.....

Okay, so maybe it was user error, since I just submitted an update without even being done....lol!

My husband took some pictures of me yesterday in the dress I'm wearing home today. It doesn't look as good without my face (okay, okay, not being vain, here! It's hard to have a frame of reference for my size with my head cropped off!), but I want to maintain my anonymity on here. At least it gives you an idea of the curves I've got!

We are leaving for the doctor's office at 8:15. Yesterday was tough. I feel a mixture of excitement and sadness. These women here at the recovery house are so amazing! I will probably misspell some of their names, but Reina, the cook, is flat out amazing! She has a smile that lights up a room, and she pays attention to details. She makes sure that my husband gets lots of coffee, has wowed me with her soups because I complimented her on the first one, and her cooking is wonderful. The nurses-- Olga, Veronica, Elsa Rosario, Ingrid, Beanisa, and Carolina-- have been attentive, but trusting of my husband's desire to take care of me. They've given us a lot of space, but been there when we needed them. The rest of the staff are wonderful, too. Milagros made me smile every day. I'm going to miss them!

And Yaniriy, the massage therapist that Dr. FG uses, is wonderful! She spoke very little English, but somehow we managed to become friends. And Karel, Dr. FG's assistant, is just wonderful! We hit it off the first day! Now about my PS....I won't recommend that EVERYONE go to him, because then he would be too busy!! Seriously, surgery outside of the States is not for everyone. I would suggest a minimum of two weeks spent there, a very positive and easygoing companion, a basic understanding of Spanish, and thorough research. But if you are already thinking about heading to the DR for your surgery, you can trust that with Dr. FG you will be in excellent hands! I will miss them all!

But HOME!! I miss my kids so much! And my family and friends, church, house, BED!!!! I can't wait to get there!

Okay, now that I got that out, lol! The post that disappeared had a revised list of things to bring. I'll update that later. I feel so good! My body is healing, the swelling has improved remarkably, I'm walking upright, with the exception of when I first get out of bed-- I'm hunched over for just a few moments. My appetite has decreased to the point where I eat very small portions, but I get hungry more frequently. No room in the faja, lol! I have no swelling in my legs, feet, or hands. The only areas where I am swollen are my back, where the Lipo was done, and my abdomen. But they are getting better and better. I'm still over the moon about my breasts, and I'm beginning to appreciate my tummy. While reapplying my dressings after my shower last night, I looked down and saw a flat belly. No overhang, no misshapen form. Is this really me?! It's hard to believe!

I'm sleeping better, only taking Tylenol or Advil as needed, and drinking plenty of water, pineapple juice, and eating soups. When I get home, I will transition to green smoothies with coconut water and pineapple and I will juice at least once a day. I can't wait to try on my clothes and see how they fit! And buy more!!!

I am so thankful for the people the Lord put in our life during this adventure! And I'm so thankful for the opportunity to have this experience with my husband by my side. He's been so amazing!

Okay, gotta get ready!! Have a lovely day, ladies!

HOME!!!!

One of the downsides to traveling for a mommy makeover......going home. Or, should I say, GETTING home? Our flight from Santo Domingo to Atlanta was uneventful. Dr. FG wrote a note to the airline asking that every consideration be given to me, because I just had major surgery. For that flight, there was nothing they could do, because it was full. I didn't think to give them the letter when we checked in, so I walked to the gate, which is not that far in that airport, thankfully, but by the time we got there...I was regretting it. During the three hour flight, I got up several times and flexed my ankles when I was sitting. But by the time we reached Atlanta, I was very swollen. Thankfully, they had a wheelchair waiting for me, and the man that escorted us was wonderful! He zipped us right through immigration very quickly. One comment: the airport wheelchairs in Atlanta are repurposed torture devices. I felt every seam in the tiles, every floor partition, especially in the jetway, which was horrible! So, please don't look with envy at people who are put at the front of the line in those little red wheelchairs....they are living their own personal hell!

We had a three hour layover in Atlanta, because I had read that going through immigration would take a long time and, well, it's Atlanta. Biggest airport, most gate changes, furthest distance from gate to gate-- I figured it was better safe than sorry. Our three hour layover turned into a nightmare. Our flight was delayed half an hour, then when they got us on the plane ( I will say this-- they bumped us up to Economy Comfort because of Dr. FG's letter-- yay, Delta!!). After 90 minutes, we had to deboard, because the navigation system wasn't working, and they couldn't get it fixed. Then after another hour's wait, we boarded yet another plane to get home. All in all, we were in travel mode for over 13 hours. By the time we got home at 1:00 a.m., I was so swollen, I was almost in tears. Despite the compression hose, my toes looked like sausages. My faja was incredibly tight, and here's a little TMI....my pubic area was swollen to the point of being hard to the touch! OUCH!

Annnnnd.....what's the first thing I did when I got home? Got on the scale! Sad, huh? But even with clothes on and all the swelling, I weighed 155, which is exactly what I weighed the day I went into surgery. This morning, with compression garment, bra, and nightgown on, I weighed 152 ( I peed a LOT during the night!) This morning I woke up with my nice, thin ankles again, even though some of the swelling has not gone down in my lady bits. Ken doll syndrome, here we go.

I'm delighted to be home! My husband goes back to work on Thursday, and I want to spend as much time with him and the kids as I can before then, so I will update more on Thursday, while he is at work, and I will check up on you ladies as well. In the mean time, happy healing and be blessed!

New Pictures

I am my smallest in the morning. Yesterday I did too much. I had a long grocery list to replenish our stores after being gone for two weeks, and I didn't want to put my husband through going to the store without me, so off to Wal-Mart we went. I rode a scooter, and I know my husband is biased, because he was complimenting me on how skinny I looked sitting in that scooter, lol! I was so swollen when we got home!

My son settled me on the sofa with tons of pillows, and we all sat down to a movie. Then we had my son's boy scouts court of honor last night, and we were supposed to bring a covered dish. I made baked macaroni and cheese and pasta salad, with a lot of help from my son. Then after scouts, we went to my mom's to see one of my sister's (or, so she could see ME, lol!). She oohed and aahed, and asked me if it was worth it. Ummm....YES!!!!

We got home at around 8:30, and I felt like I was wearing clothes that were twenty sizes too small for me! Ouch!! I drank some pineapple juice and put my feet up. I slept for 10 hours last night, and woke up feeling refreshed. After peeing for what felt like an hour (no joke!), I stepped on the scale, and.......151!!!!!! I'm in shock! So I did a little fashion show for my husband, and then put my cg back on, and I'm on the second row of hooks now!!! Here are some pictures from this morning. Have a great day!!!

What a Difference!

2 Weeks Post-op

Good morning! I'm two weeks post-op today, and in some ways it feels like it's been longer than two weeks since my surgery....that is, until I try to do "normal" things. It's amazing the amount of things I took for granted before-- driving, bending over to pick something up, reaching for a coffee mug in the cabinet, washing my own hair. I am so glad this part is temporary! I am way too independent to continue this way for long. I must admit that having my hubby wash my hair is very nice, though! ;-)

Yesterday I took it easy-- no trips to the store, no visits, I didn't even get dressed. I was either in bed or on the sofa, with my feet propped up, all day. We watched movies, snuggled, I napped while my husband and kids played outside-- it's so good to be home! My reward for taking it easy? 149.6 on the scale this morning! Woo hoo!!!

I'm feeling better every day. My incisions are itching the unscratchable itch, and although laughing doesn't bother me, coughing and sneezing do. I don't feel pain, per se, just an uncomfortable tightness in my abdomen. I laugh a lot more than I cough or sneeze, though! My left breast is beginning to drop, ever so slightly. I noticed it last night, after my shower. As per PS directions, I am keeping medpore tape on my anchor incisions (the vertical and under breast parts, not the areolas), and on my tt incision. I'm putting bacitracin ointment on my incisions, as well. I have a few places on my breast incisions that are seeping fluid a little bit, but I'm told that is normal, so no worries there. My tt incision is nice and thin and healing well. My belly button is adorable! Once the swelling in my lower abdomen and pubic area resolves, I think it will look even cuter. I don't feel that weird "coming apart" pain in my back anymore. When I first stand up, I walk hunched over for just a few moments, and then I straighten up. I've snuggled with my husband while lying on my side briefly a couple of times, but it feels uncomfortable. I will be so happy when I have other sleep position options!!

After I can start driving again in 2 weeks, I am thinking about going to Victoria's Secret and getting sized for a bra....and maybe buying some sexy lingerie! I am going to have to relearn shopping! For years, I've shopped for clothes that camouflaged my belly. I concentrated on V-necks because they elongated my frame, stayed away from horizontal stripes, because they made me look even bigger, bought blousy tops because they hid my tummy....now, I will have to throw out all of those rules! Something tells me I'm going to LOVE trying on clothes now!!

Have a lovely day, lovely ladies!

Updated Supply List

This is a list of the things I brought and actually used, plus some things that I didn't bring, but needed. It might be different for others, but hopefully it will help someone!

4 Maxi dresses -- I really could have done with one more, I think. Maxi dresses, because they hide the drains, while they're in, and the compression hose on the trip there and home.

1-2 light cardigans-- I brought a black one and a white one, to cover up the straps of the compression garment.

4 zip-front or snap-front housecoats. I bought mine at Walmart, two of them were on sale for $3! They were light cotton, had big square pockets in the front that were perfect for my drains, and were easy to get into and out of.

2 bars Dial anti-bacterial soap

rubbing alcohol

cotton balls

3x3 gauze pads

micropore tape

scissors

5 pairs granny panties, in a size larger than you are used to wearing

protein bars, dried fruit, raw almonds-- any healthy snack that will fit in your purse. You will want to keep something with you at all times, in case a doctor's appointment runs late or causes you to miss a meal.

vitamins and supplements

Advil-- check with your PS on this, but I couldn't take it before the surgery, so I didn't think to bring it after. It helps with pain AND inflammation!

muscle rub-- you will have back pain, and although the muscle rub doesn't really stop it, it feels much better once it's rubbed on. My husband rubbed it on my back before I put my faja on, after a shower, and I slept much better that night. Unfortunately, I didn't think to use it until a few nights before we left!

Ecodrink-- if you don't like drinking plain water, this is especially good. It's a vitamin drink mix that is berry or orange-flavored (I like both). I bought it at Costco, or you can get it on Amazon. This is a great way to get you vitamins if you don't like taking pills!

flushable wipes-- I brought six packs of them, and used 4.

anti-bacterial hand wipes-- great for when it's too much trouble to get out of bed, but you need to wash your hands!

flip flops

5 white ribbed tank tops-- wear them under your faja, it's much more comfortable

5 hand towels-- used exclusively for drying off your incision sites after showers

bacitracin ointment-- you can use Neosporin but I'm allergic to it. I put this on my incision sites, and in my belly button, every time I changed dressings.

fragrance-free moisturizer-- I use Olay body wash at home, so I don't usually need a moisturizer after my shower. The Dial soap dried out my skin big time, so I applied Cetaphil cream to it before putting on my faja after showers. It felt so much better!

Collapsible luggage-- you can buy it at Walmart. It's like a duffle bag. There's a lot of supplies you'll be taking with you that you will use in the D.R. Going home, you can just stow it in your carry-on.

Neck pillow-- I did not bring one, and regretted it! They let me use one at the recovery house, but on the trip home, I really could have used one.

Ask your PS before you start buying supplies specifically what they provide. I bought lipofoam and compression hose, and my PS provided them. I could have saved the money if I had asked first.

Bring lots of books, puzzles, playing cards, dvd's, a laptop, or other electronic device-- they have Netflix in the D.R., and a better selection than they do here! We watched a lot of movies, read, talked, wished we would have brought playing cards. It can get monotonous staring at the same four walls!

Almost 3 weeks

I will post pictures tomorrow. The recovery process is no joke. I have had so many ups and downs in my emotions! I had a breakdown last night in front of my husband. When I stop and think that it's only been three weeks, then the rational part of my brain (YES, I DO have one in there somewhere!!) says, 'Well, DUH! It's not been that long since you had major surgery-- of COURSE you feel like crap!!' The rational part of my brain is also quite sarcastic.

But the emotional part of my brain, which my husband can verify makes up certainly more than one half, has counted my recovery in the hours spent with my feet up, the loads of wash that aren't getting done, the floors that aren't getting swept, the grocery shopping that is not getting done, and the minutes-- then endless, sausage-encased minutes-- spent in that medieval torture device they call a compression garment!

Let's talk compression garments for a moment. Oh. My. Word. For those of you who may not have had your surgery yet, if you currently wear Spanx in an effort to smooth your lumps when going out on the town with your man, imagine, if you will, that you accidently washed your Spanx in hot water, then dried them on the highest setting, so that when they came out of the dryer, they looked more like a child's biker shorts. But, in this imaginary scenario, you really want to look nice for your night out, so you think to yourself, 'How bad can it be?', and then find out just exactly how bad it can be when you have to call three of your closest friends to help you get them over your hips!

For those of you who had already had surgery when I asked the very naïve question about whether wearing a compression garment was much the same as wearing said Spanx prior to surgery........have you stopped laughing at me now?

Here are the very positive things that are happening:
1) In the morning, I am T.I.N.Y. under my ribcage. It looks like I'm sucking it in with all my might, but I'm not.
2) 148. That was the number on the scale this morning. As my dear mother-in-law says, "Color me happy!"
3) I'm walking upright all the time, and when I walk, I walk at the same pace as normal people. I'm not normal, of course! I usually walk at breakneck speed, with my little legs scurrying along, and I'm definitely not there yet, but if I went to the store, I would be able to get around without looking like Quasimodo.
4) My breasts are falling into place, and I'm still very happy with their size and shape, and the size of my areolas.
5) My tt incision is thin and healing nicely.

Frustrations:

1) I have places that are slow to heal on my breasts, which I knew was to be expected. I will be skyping with Dr. FG tomorrow so he can see how my incisions are healing, and I will mention it to him then.
2) I have very sensitive skin, and I think I had an allergic reaction on my areolas to the bacitracin ointment I've been putting on them. Not too bad, though, and it seems to be clearing up now.
3) I still have a lot of swelling in my lower abdomen ALL THE TIME, and I definitely have the Ken doll thing going on. When I press on my lower abdomen, I can hear the fluid gurgling...gross, huh? Whenever I am lying down, I keep a 5 lb. bag of rice on my lower abdomen and pubic area for extra pressure, but it has still not resolved.
4) I am stir crazy. We need food staples, and I can't just get in the car and go get them. I am on the go all the time, and that's a big frustration for me. Today is going to be an active day-- my husband is off work, and we are going to visit friends this afternoon, go to the grocery store for those much needed groceries, and then tonight we're going to have a date night! I just hope by the time the afternoon is over, I don't look like a beached whale for our date!

Ladies, I hope you are doing well. I need to play catch-up on your updates! In the mean time, happy healing!

3 Weeks Post-op

Here are some pictures from first thing this morning. I've always heard the camera adds 10 lbs., but in this case, I can see it's true! My upper abdomen looks tinier in person. I will take pictures of my scars this afternoon, after my Skype appointment with my PS. They will also show how the swelling gets worse as the day progresses.

On Tuesday evening, my cg was cutting into my waist so much that it was painful. I took it off and put on a Flexees that I had from before the surgery. I slept so much better that night! I continued wearing it yesterday. I was really active yesterday. We went to Wal-Mart, and I decided I was up for walking, since I didn't need that much, but as usual I ended up going all over the store and getting more than I had planned. By the time I was almost done, I knew I had overdone it. We went home, and after putting the groceries away, I went and put my feet up. My husband and I had planned on going out, and I wanted to rest up for it!

I really enjoyed our date night, and didn't feel that bad, although I knew my swelling had gotten worse. After my shower, we put my new cg on (after a long conversation about whether Dr. FG would approve of the cg I'd been wearing all day!), and whereas before it was relatively easy to close it on the last row of hooks, it was extremely difficult just getting the FIRST row hooked!!! Ladies, learn from my mistake! Wear your cg. Follow your doctor's orders! I will say that I put Lipo foam in my cg around my waist, so it won't cut into my sides anymore.

Here's a few things I have forgotten to mention before:

My last dose of pain meds was taken the day we left the DR. I have taken Advil a couple of times since then for discomfort, but I haven't really been in any pain.

I'm wearing a size Medium in dresses, but I am not buying any other clothes until the end of summer. The dresses will be easy to wear all summer, and by the end of August, I should have a better idea of how shorts and jeans will fit me. Until then, there's not really any point in buying tops.

I think my bladder must be gallon-sized, with the amount of peeing I do first thing in the morning!

My wonderful husband is still washing my hair, but I can do everything else with my shower now. I rather enjoy it! ;-D

I find that the days when I drink a lot of water tend to be the best for me.

I'm keeping my sodium intake down. That little sprinkle of salt is just not worth extra swelling!

My Girls!!

3 Weeks Post-op Part Two

These are the promised pictures showing my scars. All the red marks and lines are from my cg and the allergic reaction to the bacitracin ointment. I will post a side by side comparison to show the difference between morning and afternoon swelling. I'm happy with my belly button and also with my tt scar. My breast incisions are still open in a couple of places, but that happens, and I'm taking good care of them. My PS assures me that although this will slow down my recovery a bit, it will not affect my scars in the long run.

Swelling From Morning to Afternoon

How Can I NOT Be Happy?!

Four Weeks Post-Op Update

Hello, fellow RSers! I hope you are all doing well! I cannot believe it has been four weeks since my surgery. When I think about the changes in my body that have occurred in the last four weeks, I am amazed! Even the difference between last week and this week-- it's huge! Or tiny, lol!

I will update pictures as well. As of this morning, I weigh 147!! Woo hoo! I'm celebrating every pound! And at night, when I weigh myself, there's only a couple of pounds difference, whereas two weeks ago, there was 5-7 lbs. difference by the end of the day. Yesterday I had a very active day, and I didn't feel horribly swollen at the end of it.

Per doctor's orders (and much to my husband's delight!), I have been air drying my incisions after my nightly showers. I walk around naked like it's the most natural thing in the world. I enjoy it when I catch my husband looking at me. The first thing I see when I get out of the shower is my body, and rather than immediately look away, I now take a long moment to absorb the fact that the reflection in the mirror is MINE! I am thrilled beyond belief!

Yesterday I tried on bathing suits. It was a disappointment, but not because of my shape for once. I have no idea what size I should be wearing in bathing suits, and the ones I tried on were ill-fitting. I will not be buying a bikini (that's showing way too much skin for me!), but I did try a cute one on, and it fit me and my scar was covered completely by the bottoms. Dr. FG did such a great job! I never liked trying on clothes before, but because of the way I looked no matter what I tried on. Yesterday it was more about the aggravation of taking off and putting on the cg between trips to the fitting room, trying on different sizes, looking through jumbled racks of tangled suits....I will try again when I'm not wearing my cg in a couple of weeks. We are going to the beach in July for a couple of days, so I need to find one before then, but there's no rush. I DID, however, try on a pair of size 6 boyfriend jeans, and they were LOOSE in the waist!!! It was probably just the cut, as I know boyfriend jeans are supposed to be loose, but that still means I could probably be wearing a size 6 jeans before it's over, and I am in awe of that possibility.

My incisions are healing nicely, and my T-incisions are closed up, except for one tiny hole that should be closed by the weekend at the rate it's going. I've been putting Vaseline on my incisions, but today I have graduated to silicone scar sheets!! I am excited about it, because I've moved onto the scar therapy part of my healing. My PS suggested Rose Mosqueta oil, which I purchased on Amazon, to start putting on my incisions. I also mixed up a concoction consisting of raw shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, vitamin E oil, and rose mosqueta oil, and I am using that as a moisturizer and massage oil. I apply it after my shower every night.

I am so happy to be done with medipore tape!!! I have very sensitive skin, and my poor belly looks like it has a rash from all the medipore tape I've used. But I'm done with that now. As of last night, I coiled up the gauze I put in my belly button area, then put on my tank top, and it held it in place. What a relief!

Starting today, I can wear my cg for only 12 hours. I haven't decided yet whether I will wear it at night and while I sleep, or during the day. I will try both, and see how I feel. I no longer feel....insecure not wearing my cg. I feel fine without it on. I feel a little twinge in my breast incisions when reaching for something, and phantom itches and needle-like sensations at random times in my breasts. I know it's normal, and I'm just thankful that I still have sensation in my nipples!!

My TT incision is healing nicely. It's going to look wrinkled in the pictures, because of my stretch marks and also because of my tank top and cg. But it's nice and thin, and I'm very happy with it. All the panties I have are either bikini or hip huggers, and my scar is covered by all of them. I can stretch with no problems, and last night I was aware of turning onto my side, and feeling comfortable, so I went back to sleep in that position. What bliss!

I am anxious to start working out. I tentatively tried a few hip moves yesterday (we do a lot of those in my class), and although I felt a little tugging, there was no pain, and I loved the way my stomach moved! I have to wait two more weeks before I can ease back into working out (translation: light treadmill walking--boring!!), but I do not want to overdo it, so I will obey doctor's orders. I want to go visit my class next week, though, and see everyone. And I might pick up a few new routines from the substitute! :-)

I feel more energy this week. The swelling is getting better in my lower abdomen and pubic area. When I look at pictures from the first week compared to this morning, I am amazed! I bought more dresses from Old Navy, size 8, and they're a little big on me, but they still look good, so I'm happy! That is one big change in me. I used to hate wearing dresses and shorts. Ironically, I've always had rather nice legs, but I just didn't think I looked nice in them. Now, I wear dresses especially all the time. I feel pretty and comfortable and fashionable in them-- what a great feeling!

I think I've about covered it all. Have a wonderful day!!

Four Weeks Post-op Pictures

Silicone Scar Therapy

Annual Physical

I went for my annual check-up today. My ob-gyn has been my doctor for 12 years, and he delivered my daughter. I went to see him a couple of months before the surgery, just to get an idea of how I was doing healthwise from someone here in the States. He knew about my surgery, and so I was looking forward to this appointment, to showing him my results. He was amazed! He must have told me he was impressed at least five times, and kept saying what a great job my PS had done. I refreshed his memory with pictures from before I lost the weight and right before the surgery, and he had me show them to his nurse, so she could ooh and aah over them, too. He said I am the picture of health, and all my stats are excellent. He also told me all my scars are healing nicely, but if I encounter any issues, to call him since I can't see my PS.

My husband joked that I keep showing naked pictures to more and more men, lol! It was just more confirmation that I did the right thing and chose the right PS for me!

I have had several friends ask me for information, and one after another who has said they want something done. Who knows? I may start a medical tourism company with packages to go see my PS, haha!

The number 1 question I get asked is if I would do it all over again now that I know what I had to go through. I give a resounding "YES!!" It is so very worth it for the change in my confidence, the ability to wear clothes not for their ability to hide my stomach, but just because I like them. I know the swelling, the exhaustion that comes when I overdo it a little, and the weird sensations I feel in my back and tummy will go away. But the changes in me--mentally as well as physically-- are long-lasting.

My PS cleared me for light exercise, so yesterday I went to the Y and walked on the treadmill. 30 minutes for 1 mile, and it whooped my butt! But it felt great, and I got to see the ladies from my cardio dance class, who were over the moon about my results! I am itching to get back to doing cardio dance, but I will bide my time on the treadmill and work my way up to it. Patience is not my forte, but maybe a lesson in all of this is that I could do with more of it.

I was wearing my cg during the day, and sleeping without it at night, but I'm transitioning to wearing it at night so that my discomfort will be managed while I'm unconscious, lol! We'll see how that works out! I find I have more wardrobe options without it. My husband said I'm getting shallow now, haha! I want to dress nicely all the time! :-)

I want to mention something else....as delicately as I can. Ease back into intimacy at a pace you can handle. Listen to your body, and know that things may be a bit different at first. I am more sensitive now, and my husband and I are enjoying the adventure of seeing how things work all over again! ;-)

Goodnight, RSers!

7 Week Post-Op Update

I wrote a long update, and then hit the wrong button and lost it......grrrrr!!!!! So, here we go again..... I'm a little late on my 7 week update...it was actually Thursday, and I missed my 6 week update entirely...can we say "SLACKER"?? haha! Between summer camp for the kids and getting back into the swing of life, it's been a rather hectic few weeks. I feel great, though! I will update pictures for my week 8 update (which will hopefully fall somewhere ON week 8!), but there really hasn't been much change that is noticeable in photographs.

Here is the rundown on my progress:
-- I weigh 146!!! Woo hoo! It is also my TOM, which means when it's over I may be at 145. I really don't want to go any lower, mainly because...
-- I went clothes shopping!!!! My wonderful husband took me shopping, and it was so much fun trying on clothes for him! Not to mention hot, lol! I wear a size 6 in dresses, a 6p in pants/jeans, and a small in shirts, with the exception of button-down, where I need a medium so the shirt won't gap at the girls. I also need to find a really good seamstress, as my pants gap at the waist.
-- I went from an apple to an hourglass figure-- talk about an identity crisis, but in a GOOD way! It has been an adjustment, though. Ladies, please don't take lightly the psychological changes that happen with this surgery. Be prepared for tears, a roller coaster of emotions and an adjustment period.
-- There are whole hours that go by without me thinking about the surgery. By that, I mean that my body doesn't remind me with little twinges or swelling. Usually by the end of the day, I'm a little swollen in my lower belly, but it is very little and certainly manageable. When I sit down, and get up, I feel that flesh-replaced-with-rubber-foam feeling in my back, but I am relatively used to it now, as it seems to be my new normal. I can sleep on my side very comfortably, and have woken up on my stomach a few times, but still feel not quite right lying on my stomach.
-- I've been very open about my surgery. I have had no negative reactions to it. In fact, most people are very happy for me, and then tell me that they would like to have something done.
-- I clean the house, do the laundry, even overhauled my closet yesterday to organize it and make room for my new clothes! I don't notice any extra fatigue.
-- My scars are healing nicely, no complaints there.
-- I'm still in love with my breasts!! haha!

I am thrilled beyond belief with the changes in my body. Dr. FG greatly exceeded my expectations! Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine the positive effect this surgery has had on me!

Merry Christmas!!! Updated pics!

I'll write more later, but here are some photos. I'm doing great!

More pictures!

Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon

Here are the reasons why I chose Dr. Fernandez Goico: 1) His tummy tuck and breast life without implants pictures. 2) His education-- he studied in Brazil with Dr. Pitanguay, who is known as the father of modern plastic surgery, and he did a clinical rotation at Harvard. Call me a snob, but that matters to me! 3) He's young, and establishing his practice. That means he has more time for each patient, and sees each patient as a person. 4) In his first email response to my pictures, he talked to me about my weight loss, what I wanted to do, my options, and asked me questions. NO other doctor I contacted did that. They all just sent me a quote, some of them for procedures I didn't even ask for! 5) Karel, his assistant, is a gem! She is wonderful! 6) They both speak English. If you are having surgery in the DR, even if you speak Spanish, too, this is a welcome change! Reasons I am happy with my choice: 1) The after care-- I never felt rushed. I never felt forgotten. He took the absolute BEST care of me! 2) My results--let's be honest, if he was amazing, funny, and caring, but didn't do a great job, I would not be singing his praises! I LOVE my breasts! I mean really, truly LOVE. And my TT scar is nice and low, and although I have swelling, I can see that my belly is flat and is going to get even more flat. And I have CURVES! Bada-bing! 3) I have read reviews where people compromised on bedside manner in exchange for results. I have read reviews where people chose based on their rapport with the doctor, and are unhappy with their results. I got bedside manner, rapport, results-- the works! No compromises!

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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