Hello Real Self! I've been reading (obsessing)...
I'm in a long-term relationship with no biological children, 34 years of age. I'm 5'6 and currently 165 pounds. I fluctuate between a size 10-12 depending on the store. At my heaviest weight I was 200 pounds, size 16 and at my lowest I was 137, size 6. I'm at a comfortable weight that I can maintain with regular exercise and a moderately healthy diet.
I have wanted this surgery for the better part of 15 years. I never had perky breasts as a teenager and with my weight fluctuation they are now deflated and saggy. Much like most the gals here, I'm comfortable in clothing, but in my own skin I am not confident. My significant other loves me just the way I am, but I am doing this for ME. I want to wear a bikini with confidence, rock a tank-top sans bra, and feel good in my birthday suit. Thankfully my old stretch-marks have faded to nothing, so I have hope that my scars will do the same.
I've started nesting and I've got most of my supplies either on hand or ordered. I look forward to joining the group here and I hope I can be of assistance the same way so many other gals have been for me.
supplies and procedure specifics
I will be having a tummy-tuck, breast lift with augmentation and I have chosen silicone implants that will be placed under the muscle. I currently wear a 38 D, however there is a large gap in the cup. I am not sure what size I will be (cc-wise) but I have asked for just enough volume to fill the gaps and look appropriate. I choose Dr. J because he is conservative and won't perform augmentations that aren't suitable for the body. My only concern is that the implants will be heavy and cause back/neck/shoulder pain.
My surgery is in 24 days. I've only shared the news with my significant other, my parents, and 3 very close friends. I timed the procedure with two weekends and the Memorial Day holiday, as well as 7 vacation days. I have the option to work from home should I not be ready by the 27th of May.
My pre-op consult with Dr. J is on Tuesday. I have a few questions to ask such as the brand of my implants, approximate CC size, drain sites, etc. The nurse who drew my blood yesterday said that she referred her neice to Dr. J for a tummy-tuck and that in her opinion he does the most beautiful work. That made me feel happy with my decision. It's the little things. :)
I also keep forgetting to mention that I'm also having lipo performed on my hip region. I didn't want to have this brand new flat tummy and fat on my sides. Might as well go for the gold, this isn't the time or place to get cheap. I also asked about lipo on my flanks but he said he wouldn't do that because it would require that he use three total sources of blood flow and I was already using two with the breasts / tummy / hip lipo. I will say I was surprised considering I see gals on here all the time who have that combo, but in the end I appreciate his concerns. He could easily take my money and do it, but he chooses not to for my safety.
I need to go buy my surgical bras today and I've seen them at Walmart, but I don't know what size to buy. Should I buy two and keep the tags on and let them decide in surgery?
At my thinnest - 140 pounds, size 4/6
I'm starting to feel like there isn't any point in going to the gym between now and my surgery date because its not like I'm going to lose 20 pounds in the next 12 days. I should change my mindset because exercise has always been a great stress reducer for me.
I'm also starting to worry about going under. So much so that I created a will and added beneficiaries to my banking accounts and 401k. It isn't a bad thing to have just in case, but it does feel morbid.
Pre-Op Appointment with Dr. J | 10 Day Countdown!
I selected my implant style and size - Sientra textured round, low profile. The size will be either 280 or 310 cc's which will bring me to a D cup. Dr. J estimates with my sag that I'm about a full B cup. I'm so used to wearing a D cup bra and the padding that comes along with it that I wanted to stay around that size.
My surgery is expected to last 4 hours and 45 minutes. That seems like SUCH a long time to me! My bloodwork came back and everything looks good. I purchased two front close bra's (Hanes) from Walmart however he sized me tonight for my binder and surgical bra. I guess it doesn't hurt to have a few extras.
My balance is paid in full and all there is left to do is wait. This all feels very real now. I have this odd feeling, I've waited over a decade for this day to come and now that it's close, I feel like I'm not ready. Kind of like when you count down the days to a vacation, but when it comes time to pack you have that moment of "I don't want to go?" Like now that the wait is over there is nothing to wait for therefore there is no excitement? Am I making any sense? LOL. Of course I'm excited and there are 100 things to look forward to once it's over.
40 hours until surgery time...
I spoke with the hospital nurse today who went over my entire medical history (again I might add) and answered any final questions I may have. I'm paid in full for my two night stay at the hospital. All that is left to do is clean house a little tomorrow night and pack my bag. Yay!
On the flat side...
When I arrived at the hospital a volunteer brought me back to my pre-op room. All the usual - got changed, IV inserted, pregnancy test, etc. Several nurses and doctors went over my medical history. Although it was repetitive, it was comforting that they took so much time to review every last detail. Doctor J. came in and marked me up. My surgical nurse brought me into the surgery room and that's when I got nervous. I wasn't prepared for all the people and the size of the room and all the equipment. She told the anesthesiologist that I needed a cocktail and I was out moments after that. I had a breathing tube and catheters.
Surgery time was 5 hours. When I woke in the recovery area I was totally out of it and needed ice chips. The pain was intense. They switched me from morphine to dilaudid because I was feeling terrible. I have an existing back issue and they decided that because of my tolerance for pain meds I would end something strong. I was able to push the bottom every 8 minutes and was advised for when I was awake to continue pushing. It made me a zombie. I ordered food that night but barely got a few bites down. I had no interest in food (which is so unlike me).
I struggled to find a comfortable position and I couldn't move myself. It was as if I were paralyzed. Two of the patient care assistants got me in a more upright position but over time I'd start to slink back down. Around 6:00 pm the first night I asked again to be "boosted" and one of the previous PCA's and my night nurse did it and the nurse was very aggressive. I yelped out in pain, I thought my body had been ripped in half. Her response was "I'm sorry but this is how we have to move you." I was emotional about it and asked to be left alone. After the RN left I started to dry cry to the PCA and asked why she was so abrupt about it. Needless to say, I didn't move for 10 hours I was so scared. About 4am two new PCA's helped boost me and they were so gentle and took all the time I needed.
I tried eating again Saturday morning without much success. Only a few bites at a time. I started drinking the coconut water and that was at least something. Dr. J arrived around 7am to check everything and was kind enough to take 2 pictures for me. He said everything looked good and told me that the binder was a necessary evil. Everyone says it, but until that thing is strangulating you it's hard to prepare for the pain/discomfort it causes. The drains in my pubic area seem to hurt the most because the binder rubs against them. I also had 2 drains in my breasts. Seeing the results made me smile but I was still regretful. He removed 3 pounds of skin from the tummy and 1 liter of fat from the hips.
I napped on and off on Saturday. Didn't eat lunch and nibbled on dinner. I noticed that dairy makes me phlemy, so I've been avoiding it. I had to cough and that was no bueno. They also had me on anti-nausea meds as I was terrified of throwing up. They removed the catheter on Saturday morning which was a relief. One less tube. Also had the oxygen removed on Saturday.
I slept on and off on Saturday and made a few trips to the bathroom. The first time they undid my binder while standing and that was very painful. I decided from there I'd urinate through the hole and I didn't care if I got urine on it.
Sunday morning I was fearful that if wouldn't do well at home. Doctor came at 9am and looked at everything again. Removed the drains in the breasts. It pinches for a second but now they are gone. He said I was healing well and that I could go home that evening. I was starting to get out of the bed easier and take walks around the nurses station. Tried lunch again with little success. My mom and boyfriend arrived in the early afternoon and we left the hospital around 4:30. I was really nervous about the car ride but my sweetie drove very slow and took it easy.
I didn't eat but a few bites last night. I'm getting in and out of the recliner okay, but standing for too long wipes me out. I took my first Valium last night and I'm taking pain meds every 4-6 hours which is better then I expected. I haven't had a BM yet but I'm not surprised since I'm not eating. I seem to be warm most of the time. The nurses said my room was very cold compared to the rest of the hospital and I was still sweating!
I had some bad gas pains earlier but thankfully I was able to pass that without any discomfort. I'm comfortable in my recliner chair and I've had applesauce, some pineapple and a little graham cracker. Not much but it's something.
I cannot say enough nice things about the nurse staff and the PCA's. They were wonderful and so gentle and patient. Perhaps my experience is more extreme, but I honestly don't see how doctors send patients home the same day after this procedure. There was absolutely no way I could have safely gone home. I'm finally turning the page where I'm not totally regretful but all I can say is this surgery is no joke. Even with 36 hour access to dilaudid I was still experiencing intense pain.
My breasts feel pretty good, only experiencing some pain around the left nipple. My tummy incision burns a little and the ends itch. The drains suck. I dread having them removed because the area is so tender and bruised. I meet with the doctor on Friday.
Having my mom here has been an added resource which allows my boyfriend to go to work. He's been wonderful from the drive home to lifting and encouraging me to eat. He doesn't seem to freaked out yet by the scarring which was his main concern.
I suppose that's enough from me for now. I know I left out so much but that's the general idea. :)
Strange feeling in left breast
I've taken two walks around the block today and I'm eating more. Still no BM but bouts of gas. I've had 2 doses of MOM thus far. I removed my surgical bra today and tried on a bikini top. There is a bubble in between my breasts just below the bra line. I'm thinking it is just swelling from the binder and bra being so tight. On that note, the binder is still very uncomfortable, but is a little more bearable. I'm also walking upright with no issues and getting to the potty without issue. Fingers crossed that I've turned the page and the worst is over.
PO Day 5 Updates
My drains aren't putting out too much anymore. I'll be happy to have them removed on Friday. They are both stitched in and one is leaking a little and they both tend to slip. The leaky drain is also bruised and so angry looking. The 10 seconds of pain will be worth having that bad boy removed.
I'm feeling really good today. Took two walks around the block so far and I'm eating more solid foods. I dug out some newer VS bra's that I never got to wear because they didn't fit right and holy moly my breasts are so big! Did anyone find that once their implants dropped their cup size decreased, or should I expect to go UP a size?
My binder is so tight that I'm bruising in the upper abdomen area. I can only attribute the bruising to the binder as I didn't have any "work" done in that region (I don't think anyway?).
I'm really enjoying reading everyones reviews and comparing stories. When I was in the hospital I really thought that my experience must be on the extreme side but after reading everything here I understand I am not alone. That is very comforting. At least I know all my bitching and moaning is validated (amongst you gals anyways).
My boyfriend has been sleeping on a couch with me in the evenings and has been doing all the cleaning, laundry, mopping, and fetching things I ask for. I appreciate all his help and being my photographer and caretaker. As much as I love being catered to, I'm trying to be independent at the same time. My friends have been awesome and always available to text when I have an update to share or need encouragement. Having a support system during this journey is very important.
Feeling human again
I'm still taking pain meds on a 4 hour schedule, staying on top of that seems to be key. I'm also taking arnica montana. I took a break from the MOM and I think I'll take a 2 TB dose before bed along with my valium.
I mustered up the courage today to take my CG off to take a peek and I do have a small area that is bleeding. Spoke with Dr. J and he said that since it isn't too bad I can cover it with gauze. My left breast is still oozing just a touch. The drains are still putting out a little, and now I'm growing a little concerned that maybe the one won't be removed tomorrow. Of course it is the one that is painful and angry. I'm still sleeping in the recliner but I'm thinking I may try the bed tomorrow for a nap just to see how it goes. Still drinking lots of coconut water and keeping up on my fluids.
I've joked with friends that these days off from work have been the best vacation I've had in a long time. With the exception of the 2 nights of misery in the hospital, I'm really enjoying just being home, watching trashy television and resting.
One week follow-up appointment yesterday
Dr. J and his nurse came in and helped me lay back in the exam bed. He removed all the tape from my incision lines and took the stitches out from my belly-button. Then it came time for the drains..... The nurse offered her hand and I felt so bad, I think I was squeezing it really hard! The pinch/pain lasted all of 2 seconds and then the area just burned for a minute. I felt the tubing all the way through my hips.
Dr. J said I'm healing very well for only being one week out. I'm cleared to shower and I can also drive. No bathing or swimming (obviously). I need to continue wearing my CG and bra 24 hours a day and I'll see him again next Friday. I honestly attribute much of my healing to all the coconut water I've been drinking. I highly recommend it.
Dr. J and the nurse left the room and my boyfriend looked grey. I asked him if he was okay and he was nauseous and light-headed. He wasn't expecting the graphic nature of the drains. Poor guy. Dr. J refilled my Norco for 5 more days and we were on our way!
I haven't showered yet, I'm still a little nervous to do so. I've got a few open areas from the tape (no broken incisions, THANK GOD) so I'd like to wait another day to shower. The scabs on the incision line are thick in some areas and they ITCH so bad but I won't pick them off. Was advised not to use any triple antibiotic cream as it will cause a rash and I was given "the look" when I told him I was icing my breasts.... so no more frozen peas for me.
I'm shooting for a minimum of 2 walks per day and standing on my feet as much as possible. I've driven my car 2 times now with no issue. Can't believe the difference from last Saturday. For those of you on PO Days 1 & 2, it really does get better each day. Focus on deep breathing and distract yourself as much as possible and get as much rest and sleep as you can. And coconut water. Get yourself some coconut water. :)
Last day of recovery & day of reflection for those who gave their life for our freedom
I'd like to treat myself today to a mani/pedi and a brow wax. I took my first shower yesterday and used my boyfriends trimmer to shave down my bikini line and I shaved my legs, under arms and cleaned up the bikini area. The hospital sent me home with a drain kit that included a body wash, so I used that along with a new soft loofa to wash my body. Most of the glue/blood came off, but there are some areas that I'm doing my best to leave alone. I do have a few stitches that have popped through that I started to pull, but they started to bleed and I decided that since I'll see Dr. J this Friday that I'll leave it alone until then. I've found 3 so far. One is in my nipple, I hope it doesn't effect the scar.
I forgot to mention that during my appointment on Friday that my muscles were separated 7 cm, which is just under 2 inches. For someone who has never been pregnant, that is a fairly large gap.
On Saturday one of my BFF's came and spent the night and wouldn't you know we had each other laughing within the first hour. It was the first real laugh I had in a week and my tummy muscles ached from laughing so hard. But it felt really good. She took me to the grocery store and provided some much needed one-on-one girl time.
I'm so thankful and feel so blessed that I'm feeling as well as I do. I feel guilty admitting it because I read about so many gals that still can't stand upright. I think because my first 72 hours were so rough I got all the pain and discomfort and "I want to die why the hell did I do this to myself" feelings out of the way. I washed my binder yesterday and put on a fresh bra and I'm feeling great. I want to focus now on eating clean and taking nice long walks. One of my favorite running trails is within miles of the office, so I think I'll start walking that this week. It's a 4 mile loop with the option to add a 1 mile extension.
I'm set to start my period today. I'm so thankful that the timing worked out and I didn't have that to contend with on top of everything. I'm still taking MOM but I think when the bottle runs out I'm going to try and go without.
I wish you all a Happy Memorial Day and a special thank you to those who have served our fine country and deep gratitude for those who have died doing so.
Back to reality...
I went to the mall yesterday and got myself a mani/pedi and brow wax. The pedicure felt amazing not because of my feet but because of the amazing massage chair. My back hasn't felt that great in a week! I walked around and bought a few things. I plan on dressing somewhat baggy as I don't want my co-workers to suspect anything. Being on my feet all afternoon took a toll on my back and I went home last night and relaxed. I was swollen for sure, my CG felt like it did the first few days.
I'll check in later and let everyone know how the first day was!
First day back at work
I arrived to the office to find 15 boxes of items that I need to sort through for a huge client we just started with. I'm the only female in our office and one co-worker noticed immediately that I looked thinner. He said "holy cow, how much weight did you lose?" so as I planned on doing, I lied and told him I was wearing a back brace. He believed me and even asked me a few times throughout the day if he could get me anything. That was a nice gesture although I didn't take him up on the offer.
The day went very fast but I will say that by 9am my back was breaking. Thankfully I still have pain medication and I function just fine while taking it. I stayed at the office until 4:45 and came home and got into some comfy clothes and climbed into my recliner chair. My boyfriend gave me a back massage tonight. That was the first time I'd been on my stomach. I was fearful at first but once I got comfortable and relaxed it felt amazing. For someone who professes not to know how to give a proper massage he did awesome. Perhaps it was just feeling his hands on my back that brought comfort. Afterwards I just laid on my back on the bed for 10 minutes and I rubbed my stomach. I asked him to bring me a long mirror and for the first time my breasts are staying up and not rolling into my arm-pits. That makes me so happy. :) He thinks I should give sleeping in our bed a try tonight. Worse case scenario it doesn't work and we move back to the recliner.
I also forgot to mention yesterday that I had Victoria's Secret measure me and currently I'm a 38DD. Should I expect to stay this size, or will the cup size decrease? I hope my breasts don't drop too much more because I like where they are at and any more drop will make me feel like they are sagging.
I will also say that having a cute new outfit helped me get over the hump of returning back to work. I also have a cute new wrap / cover-all from H&M that I'll wear tomorrow with leggings. I even managed to wear heels today - my cousin thinks I'm crazy but I live in heels so to me it wasn't a big deal!
Second day back at work
Sharing a few photos of me in clothing and a new breast shot. I really appreciate all the kind comments everyone has left below. Had it not been for this website and all the resources I don't think I would have managed as well as I have. You gals have been amazing. :)
Week 2 Check-Up
I had my two week appointment today. Dr. J snipped a few of the stitches that had popped through, didn't hurt at all like I anticipated. Took a look over everything and said that I was healing great. He had me stand up and that's when he told me I had a seroma.... I've been watching out for that and as of this morning I hadn't developed any so I was disappointed that it happened. Thankfully my abdomen is still pretty numb, so he assured me that I wouldn't feel anything. Dr. J told me to look into the nurses eyes and look away and they pulled the needle out. Of course I turned to look and they tried to hide it but it was too late. Holy cow that needle/syringe was enormous! I made him promise again that it wouldn't hurt and to my surprise, it really didn't. Felt odd and only felt a split-second of pain once. He removed 3 oz. of fluid and wants me to come back on Tuesday so that I can have it drained again. I asked him about the weird sensation in my lefty (I can feel the implant moving around) and he said it is totally normal and will subside over time.
I'm so impressed with Dr. J. I had a gut instict about a year ago and he's exceeded my expectations. I'm really pleased that I selected him and should I ever have any future procedures it's not even a question in my mind that I'll return to him.
I tried to sleep in bed again last night and I'm really struggling to get comfortable. The first week or so the meds were knocking me out and I think I slept through any discomfort, but now that I'm taking less, I'm not sleeping as well. I know it will get better. Maybe I can try Tylenol PM in the evenings??
I've noticed that I've developed spider veins along my tummy-tuck incision line. I'm not terribly upset about it as long as it doesn't worsen over time. Almost all the glue/scabs have come off and the incision lines look nice and clean and straight. I'm anxious to put lotion or oil or somthing on the incision as it looks so dry. I'm showering and shaving with minimal effort. I've got a few photos to share from recent days. I'm really excited for summer!
I wish you all a great weekend! I'm going tomorrow for a hair cut and color and I'm really excited to get a little pampering! I may also hit up Target to look at some bikinis. I can't resist. I know I need to wait but I really want to at least see what it will look like. I also need to grocery shop and I'm making an effort to eat clean and give my body the best foods I can. This surgery was a game changer for me so that I could reset my relationship with food.
What I've learned thus far...
- clean house
- wash linens & laundry
- nest (see everything below)
- prep a few freezer meals for family
- water plants
- clean cat boxes & if you are normally the cat box cleaner, set up fresh bags with litter in them so that your caretaker and pull the old bags, drop them in the trash and put the new bags in the boxes.
- This is a little morbid... if you are an unmarried person such as myself, it's not a bad idea to have your will situated. It's something you should have anyway to spare your family the drama in court should something ever happen to you.
- Pay bills and get finances situated so that you don't have to worry about any late payments
- I was told to remove nail polish. This is so they can check your capillaries after surgery. If you must, get a manicure but skip the polish.
- wash your hair and give it a good blow-out. It will be several days up to a week before you'll wash it again.
- Obviously whatever pain medication your doctor prescribes. Don't try to be a hero - take it on a 4-6 hours schedule the first 5-7 days
- Valium - this was prescribed for muscle spams but it worked wonders for sleeping at night.
- Anti-nausea medication. I was on Zofran in the hospital and it worked great. I had a huge fear of vomiting, so I asked for Zofran every 6 hours. I was also sent home with a script for it but never filled it because one I was home and started to eat a little more, my fear subsided.
- Milk of Magnesia - I did 2TB before bed and 2TB in the morning until I started producing. Once that happened, I dropped down to 2TB before bed only.
- Arnica Montana
- Cough Drops or hard candies
- I didn't make a log for my meds because I'm already on a pain management program, but it's not a bad idea for those who normally don't take medication.
- 4x4 gauze squares
- alcohol preps
- anti-bacterial soap
- hand sanitizer (kept bedside)
- gloves (bought a small pack, never used them)
- toilet riser (bought one, never used it)
- Face wipes
- Full Body wipes (found in the adult diaper section)
- Flushable wipes (BM will be very messy while taking MOM)
- Baby wipes
- Chap stick
- Toothbrush / toothpaste / mouthwash
- Small Hand Mirror
- Headband / hair ties / hair brush
- Nail file / nail clippers
- ear plugs
- body lotion / facial moisturizer
- tampons / maxi pads (thankfully my cycle started at the 11 day mark, so I was spared that annoyance)
- Phone Chargers
- Extension Cord
- Tongs (Grabbers)
- Small cart on wheels with drawers or shelves
- Travel pillow (for me this was a life saver)
- Extra pillow for lap if you have animals who like to jump or sleep on your tummy
- Recliner chair
- heating pad (for your breaking back)
- pen/paper to jot down notes (you'll be very forgetful due to meds)
- small garbage can to toss trash into
- coconut water - cannot stress this one enough!
- wet consistency vs. dry the first few days worked best for me
- room temperature or cool vs. ice cold water
- avoid dairy the first few days (causes phlegm = coughing = no bueno)
- avoid carbonation
- sugar free popsicles (avoid the first few days if causes phlegm. I wanted them because the breathing tube caused blisters on the roof of my mouth)
- sugar free jello
- apple sauce
- instant oatmeal
- naked juice
- scrambled eggs
- fruit - I liked pineapple, green grapes, strawberries and kiwi
- teddy grahams - I preferred these over plain saltines
- string cheese
- 100 calorie almond packs
- baby carrots & hummus (or ranch)
- greek yogurt
- cottage cheese
- english muffins
- when the time comes to start cooking more for yourself, rely on the frozen steamer bags of vegetables. Much easier and less clean-up.
- rotisserie chicken
Tips and suggestions:
- stay at the hospital for 1-2 nights if finances allow. There was no way that I could have safely gone home after my procedure.
- coconut water, minimum 32 oz a day. I purchased mine on Amazon.com, but it is available at most grocery stores. You want real coconut water, not the sugary variety. This will be a pricier "add-on" but I swear by the benefits of it. Plus if you are like me and you are used to drink diet coke, this is a nice switch-off from water (which you should also be consuming by the gallons!)
- eating..... this one was hard for me. I didn't eat much at all the first 72 hours. I tried to get a few bites down and my stomach wasn't having it. Your family will hound you to eat. You'll be fine. Get down what you can, when you are ready to eat you will.
- when driving as a passenger, have a pillow behind you and a bucket on your lap. Hold onto the "oh shit" handle - it will mentally make you feel better to not feel so loosy-goosy in the car.
- use your legs! use them for leverage, use them for squatting down, use them to walk. Avoid using your arms as best as possible. If you must use your arm to get up I suggest using the other arm to hold your breasts tight so that they don't move.
- pulling into parking spots to avoid backing out and twisting when you leave
- using kitchen tongs as "grabbers"
- I kept my wheeled cart next to my recliner and it held most of my items listed above. I kept an extension cord along with my charging cords looped through the bars on top. Just be mindful of the extension cord so that you don't trip on it during the night.
- Leave a light on when you sleep or keep a flashlight nearby.
- Keep all television / fan remotes nearby. I kept mine in a gladware tub which also doubled as my barf bucket in case of emergency.
- Ask those around you not to spray or wear heavy perfume to avoid sneezing.
- Take hourly laps around your living room / house to get the blood circluating. At times this will not be fun considering how hard it can be to get comfortable, but the more you move the faster you'll heal. Ask your caretaker to take you on slow walks outside. Being in the sun will do wonders for your spirit. When it is safe to do so, take laps up and down your stairs, but be CAREFUL!
- Drink your water out of a cup that has a lid/straw or sports bottle. This way if you accidentally drop it, you don't get yourself or anything else wet.
- Phlegm.... Thankfully I only had 2 episodes of phlegm. It may mildly annoy those around you, but I made every effort to clear my throat with all these annoying sounds and tried to "hock" it up vs. cough it down. Inevitably I did have to cough 2 times and it does hurt but once it's over you'll be better. I did NOT find that bracing myself with a pillow helped. It only made my breasts hurt. I leaned back in a chair and gripped the sides as if I were holding someone's hand.
- Drains. Mine were in the pubic area and were so tender from the compression garment. I kept a little gauze tucked under them to avoid movement. It also helped that once you sat down, make sure the tubing isn't bunched between your legs. When the drains are laying out from the exit site in the same direction they are inserted you'll feel them less. I copied what other women have done and pinned my drains to a lanyard that I wore around my neck. When I was in my recliner, I took the lanyard off and laid it by my side under my blanket. Just don't forget that they are there! (I never did, I was always aware of those damn things).
- I didn't have any issues with oozing from liposuction, but you can purchase puppy pads (or adult pee pads) to place on wherever you are sitting to avoid leakage.
- My doctor advised that I NOT ice my breasts. I did for the first few days which felt amazing, however it constricts blood flow. Your doctor may have a different plan for you.
- I personally watched an embarrassing amount of trashy television which was an awesome distraction however I also saved up 4 months worth of magazines to read. Also keep a bible on hand if you enjoy reading daily.
- take photos of your progress. You don't have to publicly share them but you'll enjoy looking back to see how far along you've come.
- In the evenings during week 2 I had to unhook the top hooks of my CG because I feel as if my ribs are bruising. I try to limit that to an hour and hook myself back up.
- Lastly... REST. Take as many naps as you can. In the beginning I napped 3 times a day. Let your body heal. Listen to your body, it will tell you what it needs.
I will probably have a "part two'' when I'm in the massage / scar treatment phase, but this pretty much covers the first two weeks. The first 3 days were the absolute worst. I was filled with regret and at moments I wanted to die. I promise you that the feeling will pass and it really does get better each day. Try your best to remain positive and remember all the reasons you wanted this. Also remember that the mommy makeover is to improve upon what we had, not to perfect your body. Do not expect perfection, you will be let down. There will be problem areas, you will have set-backs. Healing will take up to a year so be patient. :)
Yay for blowing my nose!
Since yesterday was the 1st of the month so I decided it was a good day to start a new goal, which was walking 3 miles a day. It went well, I did get tired towards the end. It's already starting to get humid here in Chicago, so had the weather been a little cooler I think I would have felt better. I don't do very well in the heat. When I came home I had to wash my CG. I have a pair of spanx that are underwear style that extend under the bra line, I wear those when I'm washing my CG. They aren't nearly as tight but at least it's something vs. nothing.
I decided since I'll be living in this damn thing that I might as well order a second one, but I purchased a nude color vs. black since it's hard to conceal this under lighter clothing. My CG is made my Design Veronique, style 850. If anyone else uses this brand (or wants to try it) it has suspenders, it hooks and then zips on each side, has a generous slit in the crotch wide enough for potty purposes (#1 & #2) and has shorts that go about mid-thigh with a lace elastic to keep them from moving. They are $109 on the website but if you enter "YELP20" in the coupon code you get 20% off. So that will save you some $$$. They charge $10 for ground shipping so I hope it arrives soon, I'm not known for my patience when it comes to online shopping. :)
I slept in bed last night (3rd try) and while I don't dig it, it was better than the recliner. I really miss sleeping on my side. Anyone recall how long it was before they could sleep in any position they wanted? Lastly, I'm still trying to eat as clean as possible. I know it's best for my body. I allow myself one diet coke in the afternoon and some days I don't have one. Still drinking lots of coconut water.
I see Dr. J again tomorrow to look at the seroma again and drain if necessary. Three of the stitches he had snipped have come out a little more, so I'll need to have those trimmed again. I'm going to fuss again over my lefty. It just does not feel right. My right feels totally normal, and the left feels like the implant moved or the muscle is separated or something. I don't know. I wish they could do an ultra-sound or something to look at it and put my mind at ease. I can feel something moving in there and I don't know if its the implant or my muscle. Hate to admit it but it has me worried that it will always feel like that and it would be a true annoyance since I enjoy bootcamp and using kettelbells and such.
Best wishes to all you gals going into surgery this week or traveling for surgery this week and happy healing to anyone on their first post-op days this week. Stay positive!
3rd Doctor's Follow-up
I'm cleared for scar massage / treatment. He suggested I purchase Mederma Advanced Scar Gel. I'm happy to be able to start putting something on my scars because they just seem dried out and I wanted to lotion them so bad!
He asked how my CG was doing and I was proud to tell him that I had ordered a second one. He seemed pleased with me for doing so which is good because he's patiently listened to me bitch and moan about how much I hated the damn thing.
And for the best news? He told me that I'm healing VERY well. Top 5%. TOP 5%! That was the best thing I've heard all week! After such a rough few days in the hospital, it amazes me that I came home and my body did a complete 180. My legs are ready to run but I'm not cleared for that yet. I see Dr. J again next Tuesday.
I didn't ask about the lefty because I'm trying to worry less and just let it heal. Maybe because the rest of me feels so good I'm bothered by it. Maybe both my breasts should feel this way and I just lucked out. It's like something is folded in there. When I move my arm I can feel a ridge or something. I wish I could put into words what I'm feeling.
Happy healing to you all! :)
Photo from this morning
Some more morning photos
I took a few photos this morning that I wanted to share. Going to the office today and will see some visitors, hopefully they don't have too many questions. It's hard to force yourself to wear baggy clothing when you want to wear things that accentuate your new figure! Thankfully my "back brace" story has been believed thus far. ;)
Lastly - I post updates from an iPad. Is anyone finding now that when they add captions while posting the review that they don't keep? I add them but then they delete so I have to "edit" my photos afterwards.... just curious if anyone else had that issue.
Today is Week 3!
I started silicone sheet treatments last night and I'm using the Scar Away brand. May have to consider coughing up the $$ and buying the New Gel Plus brand as it's one sheet. It's going to be a royal PITA to remove these little individual strips and wash them every 12 hours.
I've been walking 3 miles in the evenings each day this week and I'm not feeling any exhaustion afterwards. My legs want to run SO. BAD. I know I cannot, but it's going to feel so good to get back at it. I'll definitely need to invest in better sports bras now that I have something to bounce vs. my old breasts that just kinda laid flat.
My new CG arrived yesterday and I'm a little intimidated by it because it looks so small. It's the same size as my original but obviously hasn't been worn for 3 weeks. I know it will be worth it in the end.
I'm noticing some stinging and aggravation under my left breast. Just the incision getting angry with me. Keeping an eye on it. Doesn't seem to be too serious or worthy of a call to the doctor.
Hoping to get some quality photos this afternoon with a real camera vs. my iPad. Once we make it though the work day it's the weekend, yay!!! :D
Quick update on Lefty
I wound up calling back again because mid-day my breasts started to feel hot. This time Dr. J did call back and we agreed that it didn't seem like an infection since he just saw me and I looked great and I wasn't running a fever so we are blaming the Mederma for now. So I'm to skip that and use Vitamin E and I'm allowed to ice 30 minutes each hour. I feel better this morning. I also think maybe taking walks and sweating may be a cause too, so I skipped my walk yesterday. :(
Again, don't know why I'm so impressed, but I am. Each time I've needed to speak with Dr. J he's called within 30 minutes. I joke that I hope he finds a way to have fun on the weekends. It makes me sad, but I think that this job is his life and while I can appreciate that he loves what he does, I'd hate for it to cost him his own personal joy. I'm unsure if he is married or has a family, but I hope he has someone who is really good to him at home. He's just been so awesome to me. I've been holding off on updating my final review of Dr. J because I don't quite know how to put into words how outstanding this experience has been thus far. This process is life-changing and I owe him (and his staff) a lot of gratitude.
Have a great Saturday ladies! XOXO
Scar Treatment & Early Morning Photo
I've also included a photo from when I first woke up this morning. I wear my binder pretty regiously and I'm eating clean and went again for my 3 mile walk because the weather was so much cooler here this morning. I'm moving with ease although I can feel the "pull" on my incision. It doesn't hurt, I think it's probably what thin people without loose skin probably feel.
The numbness in my abdomen and hip region is almost gone, and I'm noticing now if I stretch a certain way I feel the fibers in my hip region pulling/burning. The lipo I had performed hasn't bothered me thus far, so I wonder if this is the sensation that's been there all along and I didn't notice it because of the numbness? I don't know what the procedure/product is called but Dr. J did tell me that my abdomen region would be numb. I hope I have no more seromas because I WILL feel the needle if it requires draining on Tueday.
I've noticed that my appetite is smaller. I think this is partially because I'm making an effort to eat clean and mentally I promised myself that I would treat this new body with respect. Where I'm having some struggles is my brain has been set to eat 3 meals, snack throughout the day, etc. When I find myself reaching for a snack I have to ask myself "are you actually hungry, or just eating out of habit?" I've given in a few times, but I'm not eating anywhere near the amount and the quality has improved.
I appreciate everyone who has kept up with me thus far. I tend to get a little wordy, so I apologize if some of my posts could have been said in lesser words. This place is my haven where I can bear it all (pun intended!) and I love that we have each other through this journey. :)
Week 3.5 Doctor Update | Compression Garment
I decided that I needed to break-in my new compression garment because the black one was starting to give a little and sweet baby Jesus this thing is TIGHT. Ironically, I don't mind the tightness around my abdomen. The area under the rib-cage bra line is nearly unbearable. I had to un-do the top clips after about 2 hours because I cannot handle the pain.
Was intimate for the first time on Monday night and while I'll spare everyone the details we were very gentle and it seems that all systems are a go! Not sure if I have nipple sensitivity because we didn't get overzealous in that department.
My New Gel Plus shipment arrived but since it required a signature and I wasn't home I have to pick it up at the post office. Booooo. So I'll go there tonight and pick them up and read-up on the instructions. I keep forgetting that I cannot use the lotion-based soap in the shower since it leaves the skin with residue.
I'm feeling pretty good otherwise. My breasts are sore, but nothing that concerns me. I'm hoping at my next appointment I can be cleared for some light running. Have a great day lovelies!
One Month TOMORROW!
I'm very happy that after 3 (THREE!) visits to different post offices I now have my New Gel Plus items in hand. Some of my original concerns about the cost factor have subsided once I saw that the pieces were very generous in size. The abdomen peice is 24"x2" and I'll easliy be able to cut it in half lengh-wise and get two treatments out of it. The lolly-pop and anchor pieces both come with the vertical section, so I'll be able to cut those down and hodge-podge them for an additional treatment as well.
I wore my new CG two days in a row and last night tried the "tank top under the CG" trick and it really does help with some of the discomfort. It is still very tight in the rib-cage area and I've found that my back is breaking like it did those first few days back to work. Hopefully it gives a little over the next week.
My swelling is next to nothing. I had an epiphany the other day that I shared in a comment somewhere here. I struggle with dehydration (especially during marathon training) and my body doesn't retain fluids well. In conclusion - I think my body is dehydrating itself and it's the one situation where it has worked to my advantage! I've also lost 2 pounds putting me at 161. My end goal is 150 but I'm in no hurry to get there. I was surprised at the loss considering I haven't done my 3 mile walk in a couple days.
AND! The highlight of my day? Having the opportunity to meet newlook2014 for coffee this afternoon. She was a beautifully kind friend to have the pleasure in chatting with. Only drawback to our date was that it went too fast! :)
Just a few new photos to share with everyone. I hope you all have a lovely evening! Happy healing!
Vogue - Strike a pose
Scar Treatment & First LONG Walk
This morning I met a girlfriend for a walk at a local trail. It turned out being 6 miles. I'm used to my 3 mile walks so this wiped me out pretty good. I wound up getting very hungry about half-way through but I didn't pack a snack like I would had I been running because I didn't think I'd be exerting myself that much. We had lunch afterwards at Whole Foods and once I had some food in my stomach I felt much better. Hoping to go every Saturday. I do see a nap in my future!
4.5 Week Update | Doctor Visit
I had my 4.5 week doctor's appointment with Dr. J yesterday. Not too much to update on. He drained my seroma again, only a small amount of fluid left. I don't believe I've read of anyone on here having their belly drained on a weekly basis but every doctor does their thing different. :) I have a strange "wire" of sorts that extends under my left breast when I lift my arm. Turns out it is scar tissue that I need to massage it to break it up. I will admit, it freaked me out at first and it hurts to massage it. Hopefully this resolves itself in a few weeks.
I'm healing well. Dr. J doesn't seem to be a big believer in the silicone sheets that I bought but he didn't tell me I couldn't use them. Things I am now "cleared" to do:
- Light aerobic exercise. I can do light upper body weights, light lower body weights, run/jog. No abdominal work, push-ups and NO kettelbells (so no bootcamp).
- Take a bath or swim in the pool for an hour or two.
- Resume taking Advil for headaches and such.
He still wants me in my CG for a few more weeks and I don't mind. I do wish it didn't have such long legs connected as it limits what I can wear clothing wise. I assume in a few weeks I transition to spanx type garments?
Just a few photos to share with you guys. I found a bikini from Venus that I'd like to purchase in white (I think white bikinis are so simple, classy and sexy!) I feel more comfortable in a bra style vs. halter as my breasts are still heavy and don't hold themselves up so the neck-strap would be problematic for me.
5 Weeks Post Op (yesterday)
I had a bit of a milestone today. I went for my regular 3 mile walk today except that I RAN 2 of the miles! I had to break it up but I know with each day I'll get my endurance back. I may have to wear 2 sports bras to keep my breasts from moving. Currently I wear a sports bra and a tank-top with a bra built in, but I'm still moving a little bit and I'd prefer not to have ANY movement.
Sadly, I've hit that timeframe where my scabs have all fallen off and now my scars are a bright red/purple color. I was afraid that this would happen. I'm using my New Gel Plus scar sheets in conjunction with Bio Oil massages. In my early 20's I had deep dark stretch marks on my belly that faded to nothing over a 2 year span and that was with no treatment. I'm trying to remain upbeat and positive but I'm fearing that maybe I won't be in a bikini this summer since my bellybutton will have that very noticeable "ring" around it.
Other than that, no new news!
PO Week 5.5 Updates
I had Dr. J take a look at my hips where there is some extra fat/skin and he said at the 6 month mark we can take another look and revise if necessary.
I was very honest with him and told him that I was having some concerns over my breasts. I can tell where the implant is under the skin and he assured me that it wasn't going anywhere and the way I looked today is the way I can expect to look long-term. I'm very happy that I don't have to worry about any further sagging and that I'm mostly healed. I'm second guessing myself that maybe I should have gone with a larger implant or perhaps stressed more how much I did not want a gap between my breasts. I don't place any fault on Dr. J as he gave me exactly what I asked for - a conservative implant and natural looking breasts. I love the way everything looks in clothing, it's just the gap that I don't like while standing naked.
I came home and because I'm dealing with some other hefty emotional stress in my life I decided to run on my treadmill and I went 3 miles without stopping. I was pretty excited about that!!! I slept last night without the CG and while it's nice to be free, I do notice a strong burning sensation in my back/hip area where the lipo was performed if I stretch too far in one direction. Not stressing it since I know it will heal in time.
I see Dr. J again in 3 weeks. He said that I really don't have many restrictions and that I can slowly start back up with old activities. For the most part, I feel pretty normal for someone who had these procedures nearly 6 weeks ago! xoxo
Weekend Update - PO 44 Days
I was told this week that I had until the 1st of July to break away from my CG. I've pretty much accomplished that since Thursday morning. I wore it to work and it was bothering my back so I took it off and haven't had it back on since! I do feel a little jiggly and less supported, but I no longer have the fear that my insides are going to fall out.
I'm running 3 miles daily with no issues other than I'm really slow. Yesterday I walked the 6 mile trail with my girlfriend again and this time was a little easier than the last - so I'm getting stronger!
I've been using the Mederma Advanced and it makes my skin itch and burn really bad. The silicone sheets were bothering my skin too. The only thing that doesn't bother me is the Bio Oil but I'm afraid that won't be powerful enough to heal the scars. I'd love some advice or suggestions on this. The Mederma also flakes and this is so gross - it's all over the house. It's in my bed, in my clothing, I'm sure it's even in my car. It's everywhere!
I'm sleeping pretty well and I can be on my side if I keep my bottom arm next to my body and not lay on my breast. My incision line on my tummy is still very tight on the right side. Almost too tight. It pulls and feels like it's tearing if I stretch too far in one direction. I'm scared that this will cause a stretch mark to form so I'm going to start putting coconut oil on it as well.
I need to go to the store today and buy some wireless bras. My doctor didn't tell me I had to be in sports bras but I have to believe I can upgrade to a wireless bra for now. I've been wearing a camisole with built-in bra and didn't wear a bra to work this week... That was REALLY refreshing. Don't worry moms - I had a cardigan on. :)
PO Week 7 Updates
Summer is flying by so fast. I cannot believe that it's been 7 weeks since my procedure. I'm mostlly excited that time is going by because it means that my scars are that much closer to fading and healing up 100%!
I havn't worn my CG in over a week. I don't miss it and thankfully I'm not swelling badly at the end of the day. I'm running a few times a week, around 3 miles. I tried to do a plank yesterday and my abdominals were NOT having it.
I ran out of Bio Oil and I've been just using coconut oil. I know coconut oil has healing benefits, but I feel like it just sits on top of my skin and I try to be naked for as long as possible but the moment I put clothing on it just absorbs into the fabric. So I'll buy more Bio Oil today as that seemed to soak into my skin better. I'm still experiencing a lot of tightness and a tearing sensation along my tummy incision when I try to sleep or stretch too far. That might be my biggest complaint right now. I read somewhere on here that it subsides around the 4 month mark.
Everything is healing quite nice. I do have two sections on my breasts that have always been red. Dr. J had explained that those areas (the inners of each breast) are taking on the bulk of the weight. I've noticed when I put any kind of oil on those areas that the skin itself feels different. Almonst like it has a texture to it. Anyone else experience this?
I also broke the 160's and I'm 159 today. Mentally, that's a big deal for me plus it will incentify me to keep going. I also discovered at the doctor's office that I'm 65 inches tall.... making me 5'5. Oops. I guess I wanted to believe I was taller! I swear I'm shrinking, I used to be 5'7 (or so I thought)!
Not much else going on. I'm really looking forward to my scars healing. Overall, I'm very happy with my results. I do wish I had gone bigger on the implants. The only area that I feel pretty confident will need revision is my hips. There is a fair amount of skin you can grab on each side. Dr. J didn't want to extend my inscision any further than necessary, but I wouldn't have minded if he went all the way around and got some of the back too! He said we would address it at the 6 month mark.
I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday. :)
Three Month Update!
Some weeks I'm disciplined and other weeks I'm not. I've always been that way. I'm either hard core or I completely fall off the wagon. It's very all or nothing and I recognize that there can be a happy medium. With that said - I can easily run 3 miles and I started weight training this week. I've got some other things I'm managing at the moment but once I get my head screwed on straight I plan on getting back to the "all or nothing stage."
I'm very pleased with how everything has healed. I understand that the incisions are going to take up to a year to heal. Considering the belly button is the only scar that will be visible to the public it's the only one I'm fussing over. Since I'm not working out on a regular basis I haven't lost any weight. I'm holding steady at 160 and I'm mostly comfortable there. I really love how everything looks in clothes.
My tummy is still really tight, Dr. J really stitched me up good! I no longer feel the muscle repair soreness and I'm gaining more mobility. I still cannot do a push-up without my booty in the air (lol) but I know I'll get there eventually.
I'm still using scar sheets on my tummy and recently switched to Metipac Silicon Tape. It's waterproof and can be worn for a week at a time. I use Bio Oil on my scars as well. I flip-flop between everything still. I think the biggest healer of my incisions will be time. :)
Without further ado - I've included some updated photos taken today.
xoxo - mkow
18 Week Review & breast pain while sleeping (question)
This Friday I'll be 18 weeks post-op. Visually not much has changed. I've included a few photos from today but you cannot see the progress of the scars as I'm using scar sheets regularly. Some areas around the nipple have almost totally healed. I'm being patient, I know they will take time to fade. My weight hasn't really changed much. I'm not 100% confident in a bikini yet but I've got all winter to work hard in the gym.
Almost overnight several of my dissolvable stitches FINALLY dissolved. I was beginning to doubt my plastic surgeon because the one on the underside of my left breast had become quite tender. The end of the stitch was poking through the skin and I considered breaking the skin to remove it on more occasions than I care to admit...
Tummy-tuck... I have zero regrets. There is a section between the incision and belly button that is still totally numb. My tummy is now flat and I've all but forgotten that I used to have stretch marks. I'm slowly learning to do push-ups and sit-ups again and while I'm building my strength and stamina back up I no longer feel like I'm going to rip in half. I still have the bumps on the sides of my hips that I'm holding out hope that Dr. J can correct after we hit the 6 month mark. In all honestly I wish I had asked for a full tummy-tuck. I'm sure the recovery would have been that much more miserable but I wouldn't have the bumps and the scar would eventually heal.
Breasts... I'm just not in love with them. In my opinion they still sag and the nipples are lower than I had envisioned. My implants are high-profile (I think) and they fill out where I was lacking in the upper breast area but because the implants are higher my breasts look like they did before when I'm bending at an angle. The good news is that my breasts still feel like breasts because you cannot really "grab" onto the implant. Which brings me to my next concern / question. I cannot sleep on my sides comfortably. I get this awful pain in my arm-pit area. When I roll over in my sleep I have to hold the breast and I almost always wince in pain. Does anyone else experience this? I have very small implants (280 cc's) so I never dreamed they would "get in the way" of sleeping. How do the women with huge implants do it?!? I have actually debated having them removed. I don't know, perhaps I'm just emotional and need to get over my disappointment. I see gals on here with full breasts and amazing cleavage and all I feel is jealousy. Had I known my results would be what they are I wouldn't have had the breast work done. I keep wondering if I had selected larger implants would the gap and sag not exist? I blame myself because I didn't bring any "wish" photos to my consultations and I told my PS multiple times that I did not want large breast implants. Maybe if he had known the look I was going for he could have suggested a different route.
I see Dr. J in a few weeks and I will have copies of my before/after photos. There are plenty of positive improvements for me to smile about so I'm trying to not let the disappointment get the best of me. I'm very blessed to have gone through this transformation.
*\o/* proud moment *\o/*
My body felt good and I kept my breasts secured with a sports bra and a tank-top with a built-in bra. At no point did anything hurt. Okay, my feet hurt but that had nothing to do with my surgery. :)
Pre-op: I've had two (2) consultations with Dr. Jejurikar. He spent as much time as I needed to answer my questions and made me feel 100% comfortable. I appreciate his conservative approach to plastic surgery and I look forward to working with him on my mommy makeover. Post-op: I have nothing but positive things to say about Dr. Jejurikar and his staff (Nurse Maureen and Assistant Marie). I didn't have any other consultations with other doctors, I had a gut instinct and I'm happy that I trusted myself. Dr. J visited me both days in the hospital and always enters the room with a smile and a hand-shake. He has never once rushed me through any of my appointments and explains in detail answers to my questions. He has shown nothing but patience and kindness during this entire process. I like to joke with him that he needs to try and have fun. The man is a true professional and perfectionist/workaholic. I genuinely hope that he has someone at home waiting for him to make him happy. He's a stand-up guy and has never made me feel anything less than important. When he walks in the room you get the impression that you are his favorite. I like the attention and the fact that I've made him laugh a few times with my goofy questions. Nurse Maureen has always been a nice face in the room and very upbeat and positive. Never once have I felt judged or sensed any annoyance from her with my questions. During the time between surgery and consultations she phoned me to make sure all of my questions were answered. She didn't have to do that and when I've made calls to ask a question she knew who I was. Clearly she is as vested in Dr. J's patients as he is. Marie is always pleasant when I check in and always makes sure that my follow-up appointments fit into my schedule. She is kind and also notices the little things like a hair cut and color. Always positive and upbeat, I feel comfortable knowing that when I need to call, she is going to address my concerns and ensure that I'm taken care of. The only "knock" I gave on my ratings was the wait time. Some days I have had to wait past my appointment time and honestly, I've gotten used to that when I need to see ANY doctor, so I accepted long ago that it's just the nature of the beast. I'd rather have Dr. J's full attention in the exam room and wait the extra 30 minutes vs. him being on time and rushing me. Anyone in the DuPage/Will/Cook county area should consider Dr. Jejurikar for any procedures they wish to have done. He's not a flashy guy, is genuine, and you can tell is smart as a whip. There is no question in my mind that any future procedures will be with Dr. Jejurikar.