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Okay, so I am starting this journey. Well...

Okay, so I am starting this journey. Well actually, I started it a while ago, stopped, and now I'm ready to do it for real this time. So many of you have gone through this and it is so encouraging to see all of y'alls transformations! I'm seeing my PS on Monday to set a surgery date and I'm feeling the "I'm really excited, but nervous as crud but it really doesn't seem real yet" feeling. You know what I mean?

So, a little background on me. I'm 34, a mom of two precious kids ages 12 and 4, cancer survivor, and 2 years post-hysterectomy. I'm 5'8" and 180. I wear a size 16 pant. Before kids i was a toothpick, weighing in at 114, and a size 0 pant. (Don't worry, I don't want to go back there again!) About a year ago, I was up to 215, my largest. So diet and a little exercise has rewarded me with 35lbs of weight loss, which is nice. But I realize, I HATE doing cardio because my stomach skin jiggles so much, it makes my stomach hurt! Lol! Also, it's very disheartening to lose 35 pounds and still hate your body, and know that even if you lost 35 more, you'd still hate it because no matter how much you lose, or how many situps you do, you are still going to look pregnant. I have spent 12 years with people asking me when I'm due. At first it was embarrassing, but I got used to it. SAD!

So I'm taking control, and doing this for me. My hubby is so supportive, he's the BEST guy in the whole world, and he's happy as long as I'm happy. But he has no idea what I'm going through, and that's where you guys come in! I'll keep you guys in the loop with what's going on in my life, and you guys let me know what to expect, okay? :-)

Getting excited, I'll update on Monday (9/16) after my appointment!

Surgery date scheduled!

Okay, now it's a little more real. I met with my PS this morning, and he said I am an excellent candidate for the TT, and he expects really good results for me. I have three main areas that will be addressed. My "mommy apron", my muscle separation, and my love handles. He's going to avoid lipo as much as possible and instead he said he "cuts out wedges" (as he put it). He said it gives him greater control and it results in less swelling and bruising. Anyone ever heard of that before? I guess that's the only thing that makes me hesitate using him. He's a wonderful surgeon, Board Certified, 21 years doing this, great bedside manner, price is right where I want it to be, surgery date fits perfectly into my schedule, etc. I guess it doesn't really matter to me, as long as he fixes the muscle and I don't look prego anymore!

So surgery is scheduled for October 15th. Gotta pay for everything next week. My pre-op is on the 7th at 8:00am. I'm planning on renting a hospital bed for at least the first two weeks, if not a month. (I'm a big baby if I don't get proper sleep!) Anyone else rent one? How long did you need it for? What other things do you suggest I plan on getting to help me along the way?

Okay, since I got up this morning at 6:30 to shower and shave to go stand naked in front of a man I barely know, I guess my humiliation couldn't be much worse, so I'll post some pics so you guys can see my before. I hope to get my measurements soon too so I can post them for you guys.

Time to get real!

Well, just paid in full. WOW that takes a chunk out of your savings, doesn't it? I see where lots of you guys say that paying makes it more real. I'm still waiting. I think it's my body's coping mechanism to the waiting game. My body for some reason doesn't treat "excitement adrenaline" any different than "fear adrenaline" and when I get excited for something, I end up with a panic attack. So my brain takes on a Scarlett O'Hara approach (as in, "I'll think about that tomorrow"). It's annoying to me because I'd really like to get excited about this but instead it just makes me more nervous. So, I guess it won't feel real until my pre-op?

I've started cleaning my house like a crazy person. Rearranging furniture and everything. Gotta start making freezer meals and stocking up on frozen pizzas for my family! Anyone have a great freezer meal recipe? Or crockpot recipe?

Feeling SO much better about this!

So, I've been stressed. Not about the surgery (I'm not letting myself think about that yet), but about everything else. Things that usually don't stress me out have become life and death situations in my head. I'm making mountains out of molehills. Finances, meal preparation, laundry; everything just seems more dire.

But the thing that has been bothering me the most, has been telling my parents. My mom in particular. I love my mom, and she is my best friend, but she is also very judgmental of me and can make me feel like a naughty 4 year old with just a stare. So telling her that I am having an elective surgery because of my vanity (which is how I thought she would see it) was really stressful and was causing me to be grumpy and overreact to everything else. I had already told one of my friends that I was doing this, and she suggested I do sit-ups instead (which kind of hurt, but she just doesn't understand). And she is the most non-judgmental friend I've ever had, so I was ten times more concerned about telling my mom. But that's what I did today. And you know what?

She is HAPPY for me!

Like REALLY happy.

My parents are in the end stages of building their retirement home. It's less than a mile from my house. I'm so excited. But my mom has also been stressed. So me dumping this on her a week before closing was not the ideal timing, but I couldn't wait any longer, I'm less than a month away from surgery day. But I think my mom is just so excited that she will be close and will be able to help out. My hubby has already taken 2 weeks off of work for me, but my mom said that he could go to work and not worry about it because she would be glad to come help and watch my kids.

I had to check the phone number I called to make sure I was talking to the right person.

I love my mom, but she sure keeps me on my toes with her unpredictability! So now I'm feeling a WHOLE lot better. Finances are still tight after paying for the surgery, meals still have to be planned and made, and there will ALWAYS be laundry. But I know my mom loves me and is being supportive, which makes everything else seem insignificant and the mountains are molehills once again.

Anyone else have problems telling friends and family? What is the WORST thing someone said to you after you told them about your surgery?

Just a little pick me up saved for later when I'll need it...

No! I can't be getting sick!!!

I'm what, 17 days prep now and I'm getting sick! I know that the sickness will be good and gone by then, but my sinuses are a wreck, and I have drainage down my throat. (YUCK!) The drainage in my chest is now causing me to start a cough. And I know my body, when I get a cough, I have a cough for WEEKS. I don't smoke, so it's not because of that. I just have issues shaking a cough. And It's allergy season here, so my cold will just change into allergies and I'll be a coughing sneezing ball of pain in a few weeks. Anyone have suggestions on what I can do to QUICKLY get rid of a cough?

My weight loss in 2 weeks

I've been trying to lose a little weight before the surgery, even though my PS said 10-15 pounds wouldn't make much difference. Well, at least I feel better doing something about it! And, from looking at my pics, the 10 pounds I've lost certainly LOOKS different to me! Maybe I can lose another 5-10 before the 15th?

My schizophrenic mind...

I keep going back and forth. Sometimes I am SO excited for this and positive I'm going to have amazing results. Other times I am depressed thinking that there is no way I'm going to look as great as you ladies and I feel like I'm going to be in the very small percentage that says "Not worth it". I had a dream the other night that I was on the flat side, just by a few days, and I was so happy. It was a wonderful feeling and it showed me the mental weight that I have carried for 12 years in dealing with this tummy. I realize now that it's not the physical results that I'm worried about, it the mental one. Will it make me feel better about myself? I had no idea I was so down on myself before that dream. Just the difference in the way I felt was amazing. And not once in the whole dream did I look down at my tummy to examine how flat it was. I just felt better knowing it wasn't there anymore. :-)
I went shopping the other day for spring clothes for my family. I shop clearance sales at the end of each season to save money for the next season. Bought a ton of stuff for my kids and my husband ($860 worth of clothes for $81!!!) but I had trouble figuring out what to buy for me! I realized, I have no idea what I will look like in 6 months! I bought a few dresses that I would NEVER wear right now since they belt at the waist, but afterwards, who knows! It's strange when you've been shopping for one body shape for 12 years and then suddenly you change body shapes completely. It will be interesting to see what looks good after! But I figured at $4 a piece for dresses, I wasn't wasting too much money if they don't fit right. :-)
My preop is tomorrow. It seems surreal. I had a bunch of questions but now my brain is all "It doesn't matter what you ask, the result will be the same either way" so my hubby is writing down questions that he wants to ask. Lol! Any questions you guys suggest me asking at preop? I already had him write me an RX for a hospital bed. I know that sounds funny, but since I have a script for it, I can use my FSA card to pay for it. We put $1000 in it at the beginning of the year and still have $700 left. The bed is only $130 for the month, so I'm SUPER happy! Will one month be enough?

I'll update tomorrow after my appointment!

Preop appointment done!

Sorry I didn't update yesterday, but it's been crazy! I got all my meds filled. 6 of them to be exact. I told my surgeon that pain was not my concern, but the nausea was. I can stand some pain, but I HATE being nauseous.

So my meds are:
A transdermal nausea patch that I put on the night before surgery and they will take it off afterwards.
Promethazine tablets for nausea after surgery.
Promethazine suppositories in case I can't hold down meds.
Lortab for pain
Flexeril for muscle spasms
And Keflex for my antibiotic.

Another thing I found out that I'm actually quite thrilled about is that my surgeon is VERY against binders/compression garments until after drains are out (about 2 weeks) He believes that it can restrict blood flow to the area and slow healing. I actually have found many other surgeons that agree with him. So I'm looking forward to NOT having to deal with a binder! Anyone else not wear a binder after surgery?

Less than 48 hours to go...

and I'm freaking out. Up until last night, I was calm, happy, ready to get it done and start healing. Now I'm having small panic attacks. I pray they don't become full on panic attacks the closer we get to surgery. I am just having irrational fears of dying and leaving my kids without a mom. Surgery is serious business and having an elective one is super scary for me. I've had two surgeries before, one was my hysterectomy and the other was spinal surgery on my neck. THAT was a scary one. I hardly remember anything for a month after that one. That has made me more determined to get off of pain meds as fast as possible after this surgery.

I have nested thoroughly. Every possible piece of dirty clothing in my house is now clean. I have run out of hangers. I pulled everything out of my closet and rearranged it. I usually have a huge "donate" pile after going through my closet, but now since I have no idea what will fit afterwards, I just kept most of it. I moved more furniture, removed some to the basement to make room for my hospital bed thats being delivered tomorrow. I have a sitting room off of my master bedroom so it will go in there perfectly. Puts me close to the bathroom and close to my hubby. I totally did not want to sleep on my recliner in the living room. (My kids get up WAY too early for my taste!) I have a small dining table that we have also put into the master sitting area and today I'm going to stock the table with all my meds, gauzes, books, etc. Luckily for me I work from home so I won't have to take much time off. As soon as I'm sure my judgement isn't impaired from medication, I can hop back on the computer and keep working. Hopefully it will be a nice distraction and I should be able to log a bunch of hours since I can't really do anything else!

Now that I've cleaned the whole house, I'm without busy work to distract me. Ugh. Maybe I'll shampoo the carpets next? :-) My hubby's 2 weeks off of work start tomorrow. Yay! I think that's half the reason I'm excited about this surgery. I get him home with me for two whole weeks! I've started his "honey-do-list" for when I'm sleeping or working, but other than those times, I want him with me! :-) My parents finish their move into their new house tomorrow so they will be literally a mile down the street to help out too. I suspect my kids will spend lots of time over there helping them unpack and take hikes in the woods and go fishing in the pond. I hope I'll get to spend some recovery time over there too (but no hiking or unpacking for me). This is my favorite time of year. The weather is perfect, the leaves are changing, and football is on the TV. :-) I hate to miss any of this season laying in bed. It's already been hard on me because we won't get our monthly camping trip in this month. :-(

Okay, now I'm just rambling on about things that no one but me cares about. LOL. Trying to keep myself busy I guess. I'm going to go see if the baseboards need cleaned...

Emotional wreck!

Not me, my husband. I know he's totally stressed with my surgery tomorrow. He was a basket case through my previous surgeries also. It's actually very sweet that he cares so much. But I'm stressing too, and he's picking fights with me. We are both in crappy moods, but he is angry and I'm emotional. Not a great combo. We NEVER argue. EVER. We've been together almost 10 years and we still act like newlyweds, I swear. But tonight it's like he is scared to death and he's taking it out on everyone around him. Even the dogs are not immune to his outbursts. He will come around. He always does. And he'll apologize and everything will be fine. But right now I really just needed him to hold me and let ME be scared. Instead I'm sitting on my hospital bed in my master bedroom while he is out in the living room watching TV. :-(

Emotions aside, the bed was delivered today. I'm thrilled that we got it. I feel like it's going to make a world of difference in my comfort level! If I can keep my kids off of it though! My son who is 4 keeps faking that he's sick and saying he needs to go lay down in the hospital bed. Lol! He just wants to push the buttons. :-)

I took my measurements finally. Here they are:

Waist (4 inches below bust is smallest point): 39 inches
Bellybutton (9 inches below bust): 46 inches around
Hips: 46 inches

We will see what changes happen tomorrow! Woo!

Okay, off to sleep now. Got my anti-nausea patch on and I'm hoping I can sleep tonight. You guys are so awesome and I can't wait to see you all on the flat side!!!!

delay delay delay....

Got to the surgery center at 7:00 for my 7:45 surgery. The back-up generator is down and until its back up they can't do any surgery. The emergency tech from the generator company just got here at 7:45. As soon as he fixes it we will be in our way. Nothing like getting yourself all mentally prepared and then having to wait.

I'm on the flat side FINALLY!!!

Now I get to write my drugged up review and see how many typos I can do. Lol

My day was NUTS. We arrived at 7:00 for a 7:45 surgery. I was greeted by the surgical nurse letting me know that the back-up generator was down and they were waiting on the repairman. O_o So he got there around 7:45, it was fixed by 8:30. I went into surgery around 9:00 and went off to sleep.

I woke up around 11:00. And NOTHING had been done. Apparently, all the turning on and off of the generator blew a fuse in the anesthesiology machine. So they had to bring me back out of that, which took almost 2 hours to bring me back. They had a repairman called for that also and they decided to get all of the equipment serviced while he was there just to make sure nothing else would happen.

By 12:30 he was done, and by 1:00 I was back on the table for surgery FINALLY!

I came to around 4:00 and by 5:00 I was home. I'm in LOTS of pain. I have a whopping 3 drains (yuck) and the fact that they had to put a breathing tube down my throat twice today makes my throat hurt and I coughed once because of it. DON'T EVER COUGH! I felt like I ripped everything. SO painful. I did get up once after I napped for a bit to go pee. Also painful because they put a catheter in me TWICE. I have my little leg massagers on right now so I'm only walking if I have a needed destination right now. My Dr took pics after the surgery before they bandaged me up so I'll see those at my post op tomorrow. He told my hubby he took off 7 pounds of tissue and. WOW! And no lipo with that!

Okay girls, my lortab is kicking in, so I'm going to rest now.

Swelling hurts!

I am able to get out of bed myself to to go the bathroom now, but I can't get back in without help. Every time I get up and walk, within 5 minutes I am swollen so much that it feels like my belly is going to split open. Ugh. I'm eating oatmeal and some crackers and some pineapple. I have no appetite, but I have to eat to get better.

Okay, my daughter just got home from school. I'll update later again!

Few more pics

So here are a few more pics we took at some point in the last 48 hours. The days are all running together for me right now!

My eating is better today. I've had more pineapple, a peanut butter sandwich, prunes, an apple and some almonds. Still no BM so I took some colace. Hopefully that will work out because I am seriously hurting from all this bloating!

Appetite has returned, along with pain...

I haven't had much of an appetite the past 5 days. That's been good and bad. Good in the way that I can snack on light healthy stuff and not get bloated, but bad in that I need to eat more to heal and not pass out. Well, my appetite has returned and I'm wishing it hadn't. I'm craving horrible things like tacos and pizza and hot wings. Greasy stuff. The sodium in them would make me explode, I'm pretty sure. So here I am, snacking on grapes still and dreaming of mexican food. Lol!

I'm still majorly swollen. I am not in a compression garment yet. PS may put me in one tomorrow. He doesn't want anything interrupting the blood flow to the area for the first week or two he said, and I agree. But I feel like it's keeping me less mobile than those of you in CG's right out of surgery. When I stand up to walk around or go to the bathroom, I feel all the fluid pressure shift down to my scar area and it HURTS. I can't walk for more than 3 minutes and sitting up straight is limited to 5 minutes at a time. Then I am totally exhausted afterwards. Also, a main concern of mine is a few of my wider stretchmarks on my sides are swelling up HUGELY and I'm actually worried one will split. I'll post a pic so you all can see. My swelling is mostly on my left side, which is normal for me with the way my spine curves, but it is frustrating wanting to get up and move or at least go sit in the living room with my family for a movie or something, but the swelling is too intense and I have to lay back down. :-(

I did manage to get out of the hospital bed, go to the bathroom, go into my closet, pick out a clean shirt, walk back out to the bedroom, change my shirt, do a circuit around my bedroom, and then get myself back into bed all by myself today. I feel sad that this is an accomplishment, but it really wore me out.

I have started with the creepy crawlies under my skin. It takes everything in me to not scratch! I just have a cold damp washcloth and lay it across my belly and that helps tremendously. But it is a weird feeling. Especially around my belly button.

Oh, one of my drains has a large clot in it that is stuck. My other two drains are doing great, but this one is draining almost not at all due to the clot. It is right at the base next to my skin so I can't strip it out. I tried squishing it around to break it up and it helped a little, but where my other two drains are draining 50 and 60ccs, this one is doing maybe 10ccs. Anyone have this happen? I have another post op tomorrow morning so I'll ask my PS. Maybe he'll just take the dumb thing out and leave me with two drains like a normal person! Lol!

Time for an update!

Sorry I haven't posted in a few days! Let's review..

Day 6 was my PostOp appointment. Things went well, my PS was super excited about my results and he can't wait until all the swelling is gone so I can be excited too. They unclogged the drain I was having issues with, refilled some meds, and sent me home saying that next week Monday he will probably take my drains out and put me into a CG. (I haven't been in a CG yet.) Went home and CRASHED. The hour trip in the car plus the 45minutes at the office were enough for me! Had my first BM since surgery. I've been taking colace in the morning and at night the whole time but drinking strong coffee is what got it moving. It was painful and felt like I was being sodomized, I swear. But afterwards I felt SO much better!

POD7 was a really good day. I felt more energized and wanting to get up and go. My husband washed my hair in the sink (no showers until after drains are out) and dried it for me. I stayed out in the living room and kitchen for about an hour with him. It felt great to NOT be in the bed for a while. Got a few hours of work done on the computer, but got worn down pretty quickly and went back to bed.

POD8 was the first time I was left on my own for a few hours. I was able to get myself up, gave myself a sponge bath, changed clothes, fixed myself some apples and grapes and did a few more hours of work.

Today I am on my own again for a few hours. Hubby is helping my parents move today and took my son with him. My best friend is coming over in a few hours to visit with me. But i the meantime, just a big lonely house all to myself. Think I might go spongebath again and get some more work done.

I totally slept through taking my muscle relaxant last might! When I woke up this morning, I asked my hubby why he didn't wake me up to give me my meds. He looked at me funny and told me that he did wake me up and give them to me. Oops! HOw in the world did I sleep through that!

I am trying to work my way off of the Lortab. It's messing with my digestion way too much. And for some reason every evening I get the WORST gas bloating. It's painful. Feels like someone is inflating balloons in my stomach. Can't figure out what is causing it, but GasX isn't helping. Could it be the apples I'm eating? The gas started about the same day I added apples back into my diet.

Well, off to find something I can wear over these drains so I'm at least decent when my friend comes over!

Not much change...

Okay, so today is definitely a down day. Woke up this morning a little later than usual. My husband had to go help my parents with one more thing and when he came back, he came in drinking a big cup of McDonalds coffee. He went to go make some coffee for me and realized we were out of coffee. That just set off a big pity party for me. Crazy how emotions are so raw that the smallest thing can set me off lately. I cried because my husband didn't bring me a coffee from McDonalds too. I cried because we had no coffee in the house. I cried because I can't even go to the store to buy more because I can't walk without getting tired. I cried because my drain tubes are placed in a way that makes it impossible to wear underwear. I cried because I can't shower and my hair is nasty. I cried because I am so swollen. I cried because it feels like there is no end in sight. I cried basically because I just needed a good cry. Now that that is over, I can drink my Pumpkin Spice Latte that my husband quickly ran out and got me move on with my day. :-)

I'm planning on getting out of my house today for a small bit to go visit my parents at their new house. It's only a mile away so the car ride will be simple. My grandfather (who is almost 90) is in town staying with them and I really want to spend some time with him. My parents have a large pond on their 8 acres and he spends his days down there fishing. It's something that he and I always love to do together so I'm going to go watch him fish for a while. I obviously can't fish with him, but it will be nice to be outside enjoying the cool temperatures.

I am getting worried that my PS won't take my drains out on Monday. I have three of them. Drain 1 is doing great, only draining about 15 a day. Drain 2 is draining about the same amount, but it is still blood and not the straw color that the others are. Should I be worried that it's still draining blood? Drain 3 is still putting out a lot. Yesterday it drained 50 all by itself. Here's hoping they all straighten out by Monday. I really don't want these drains over Halloween. It's one of my favorite holidays and even though I can't wear any of my usual costumes, I do have one that would work, but I don't know how to hide the drains. Oh well, now I'm just being petty again.

Oh! And I have yet to see my bellybutton too. It's still under gauze so I'm anxious to see it on Monday. It's been 12 years since I've seen my bellybutton so I have no idea what to expect. But I hope it looks good.

Eating habits are different.

I have heard from my PS and read where others of you have found that your stomach capacity after surgery is smaller. I haven't run into that too much eating small meals and snacks, until tonight at dinner. I got tired of eating low-sodium and we decided to order pizza from the new place around the corner. Now usually I eat three slices of veggie pizza and I'm full, but I have to make myself not reach for that 4th slice (I love veggie pizza). Tonight I ate two pieces without thinking and stopped because I knew I'd be pushing it sodium-wise and would be swollen later. About 3 minutes after eating my stomach felt like it was going to explode. That sick, nauseous, roll-me-out-to-the-car-and-get-me-home-quick feeling. I WAY over ate. Part of me is saying YES portion control!!! But my inner fat girl is crying because she loves to eat. Lol. Well, I will just have to get used to it. :-)

Two down, one to go....

Had another post op this morning. Two of the three drains were removed. Woohoo! I was SO scared that it would hurt. My last experience with drain removal was after my neck surgery and that was the most painful thing I think I've ever experienced. That drain was threaded UNDER my collarbone so when it was removed it scraped along bone and through muscle. OUCH! So I was quite nervous about this one. Thank goodness I barely felt it! It was odd feeling the drain tubes as they unwound inside of me, but no pain at all during the removal. I will say that I am in quite a bit of pain now from it though. I think the "tunnels" that were left where the tubes were are closing up and the nerves are reconnecting and it's causing some sharp stabbing pains, but that will go away soon. PS says that if my final drain can drain less than 30 for 2 days in a row, that I can come back and he will take it out! Last night it drained at 32 so I'm thinking by Thursday I will be drain free! Pants and showers, here I come!

They removed all the tape on my incision. The nurse who did it was NOT gentle at ALL and I actually ripped open on both flanks where my large stretch marks are. Ugh. They probably would have opened up even if she had been gentle, but OUCH! SO there I was, standing in the middle of the exam room, skirt around my ankles and blood streaming down the outside of both legs. If anyone had inadvertently walked in at that moment, it would have been a strange sight for sure!

Did NOT get a look at my new button, but with how violent the nurse was with the rest of the tape, I'm actually okay with that. I'll see if I can get him to take it off when he takes out my drain.

I am now in a binder. Yay! 20 hours a day for the next two weeks minimum. Not a problem. I am not bothered by a CG in any way. I am an amateur tight-lacer so I sometimes wear corsets. They help tremendously with my scoliosis and actually help relieve my weekly migraines. If I can be comfortable in a corset, I can definitely deal with this. It actually feels really good to have it on!

Okay, I think that's it for my day. I need a nap. I was up until 4:00am listening to my neighbor's 5 pound Yorkie yap it's little head off because they locked it outside last night in 40 degree weather. I was furious. But, nothing I could do without looking like a lunatic. If it happens again I'm not sure what I'll do. Have to come up with a plan.

FIrst day all on my own

The dreaded day is here. My hubby is back at work. :-( I've already cried twice about it and it's not even noon. It's just me and my 4 year old son until 4:00 when my 12 year old daughter gets home from school. My parents are right down the road and have offered to take my son today, but I'm determined to make this work. I know I'm being a hard-head and I should take the help, but the hardest thing about this surgery for me has to be the fact that my life has been disrupted. I want my old routine back. I am a creature of habit and deviation from the normal stresses me out. And the fastest way for me to get back to the normal routine is to jump in with both feet. I understand that I am probably wrong in this thought process and I'll be regretting it tomorrow when I am sore and swollen, but I like my independence.

Updated pics

I was able to blur out my girlie parts enough for my husband to approve me putting these pics on here finally. lol!

First shower, horrible stretch marks, and my first look at my button.

I had my first shower tonight since the surgery. TWO WEEKS with no shower. I'm going to my son's preschool Fall Festival tomorrow and I was NOT going smelling like a bum. So I put some Vaseline around the place the drain goes into me and put a Tegaderm patch (one of those clear sticky tapes that they use over your IV line to hold the needle down) over it to keep the water out and I took a shower. My husband helped me take off the gauze that the nurse had put over my incision where she ripped my stretch marks. Stupid (insert derogatory word of choice) put the gauze on it but put it on wrong and taped it down ON MY INCISION AND STRETCH MARK. UGH!!! So I cursed while my husband gently removed the tape, but it ripped again. I held gauze over it until it stopped bleeding. So, whereas others have said that their first shower after surgery felt amazing and wonderful, mine was the worst shower ever. I think I'll sit in my own stink again for a week or so...

Since I showered, my steristrips over my BB got soaked, so we took them off. Most of the tape came off well, but some of my skin came off too. I was so horribly covered in stretch marks before that there was no good skin to cut a BB into, so the skin was very thin and some ripped off with the tape. I bled some but it looks okay. So glad Miss (insert derogatory word again) didn't rip that tape off. Gauzed it up, binder back on, and time for bed now. Big day tomorrow. Hopefully there will be plenty of places to sit. :-)

Overdid it yesterday. Paying the price...

Well, I knew I was going to eat my words. I was so sore this morning I ended up not going to the Festival. My mom went with my son and they had a great time. I was so worried I would be in so much pain that I would have to leave early and make him miss the festival. I figure now I'm good and rested for Halloween tomorrow.

I wore my binder today and I'm getting kind of attached to it, but I had to take it off for a bit and lay down. My muscles were screaming at me. So I laid down and Wow! My tummy is nice and flat! Hubby was excited and snapped a few pics, I'll post them.

Also have a place I'm concerned about. I think I'm just paranoid, but there is a spot along the incision below my BB that the nurse ripped some skin off of when she took off my steri-strips. Now its turned a brown color with some yellow spots. I'm hoping it's not infected. I'm gonna hopefully go in tomorrow to have my last drain removed and I'll have him look at it. Pray that it's nothing!

DON'T OVER DO IT!!!

OMG, I am miserable. two reasons:

1. I totally overdid it yesterday. I was so excited about getting my last drain out, I didn't wait until someone could drive me there, I drove myself. 35 minutes there and 35 minutes back. Got my last drain out (yay)! My husband's work is about 5 minutes away from my surgeons office, so I decided I'd go have lunch with him too. And then a trip to Walmart and Lowes for some paint. And why not run into the mall for a quick look at some stuff? And, oh yeah, my daughter needs one last thing for her costume, so a run into the costume store. Oops! Forgot to grab candy for the trick-or-treaters! Run to the grocery store. Got home, did some painting, finished sewing my daughter's costume. Ran to my parent's house to pick up my son. Came home and helped my daughter get her costume and makeup on. LOTS of makeup. Face, neck arms, basically any skin showing was covered with grey facepaint. Then I did her hair. Then got my son into his costume. Then set up chairs in the driveway so I could sit and give out candy while my husband took the kids around the neighborhood. I was so busy, I even forgot to fix dinner. Good thing we had leftovers! I was so exhausted, I think I died when I got into bed.

2. I have a stomach bug, courtesy of a kid whose parent thought it would be terrible for their kid to stay home and miss the festival on Wednesday, so lets bring little Johnny to school and get everyone else sick just so he doesn't miss out. Really. I didn't go, but my son told me today that several kids in his class have "bad tummy aches" and had to go home. My mom told me the other day that there was one kid at the festival on Wednesday that was so sick, he was carrying around a bucket to throw up into. SERIOUSLY!?!?!?!? Thanks a whole freaking lot.

So these two things equal me feeling like I've been beaten by a gang of angry people wielding baseball bats and crowbars. I am swollen so badly that when I sit down, my tummy hangs over my scar and rests on my thighs. My worrisome spot has actually started oozing too. My hubby took off work for the rest of the day and came home to help me out. Bless him.

Moral of the story: Don't think just because you feel better that you actually are better. Take it easy and REST. And don't send your kid to school if they are sick. PERIOD. You don't know how miserable you are making everyone else.

Pretty good day. More pics.

Today was better. My son went to my parents house for the day and I slept, worked and watched football. Basically, I rested. Which was needed.

I do have an issue with walking. When I put pressure down on my right leg, I have a shooting pain in my groin area on the right side. Like a pulled muscle or something. This is day two of this issue. If it's still around on Monday, I may call and see what to do about it. It's keeping me from walking around a lot and I want to keep active.

Well since I slept most of the day, not much to report. I took a few pics tonight when I took my binder off for a break. Still have swelling, of course, but the stretch mark swelling is what bugs me the most still.

Feeling good today!

WOW! This day has been fantastic. There are good days and bad, and this has been by far the best day yet. Yes, I still have some pain and swelling, and that's going to happen for a long time to come. But for 20 days post? I'm doing great. Took some pics this morning and it's amazing to see the difference in morning vs. evening when it comes to swelling. Since I started wearing my binder, I've only taken it off in the evenings to shower and air dry. I had no idea my swelling would make that much of a difference from morning to night! It really has made me look at this recovery in a different light.

Well, I did some things today that were not recommended, but whatever. Lol. I weighed myself and took measurements.Here's the results…

Weight: Down 11 pounds! Woohoo!
Waist Before: 39 Now: 36
Bellybutton used to be 9 inches below my bust, now it's 7 inches below.
Around at bellybutton before: 46. now: 41! (5 inches? WOW!)
Hips before 46. Now: 42 (I didn't have lipo, so i have no idea why this went down. But I'm not complaining!)

Posting a few pics to show Before and After. Feels so good!

Another good day!

Just a quick update. I got to go to the mall today for a short visit. My best friend's birthday is tomorrow and I needed to pick some things up for her. It was fun to get out. My husband came too. I was too intimidated to look at clothes, but I did try on a peacoat. I've always wanted one, but they require somewhat of an hourglass figure, so I never had one. All of my coats are big and bulky. Zip up hoodies and stuff. I tried on this peacoat and fell in love with it. I didn't buy it, I still have too much swelling to buy a $80 coat, but I can tell, this is going to be good. :-)

I need clothes!

I have one pair of pants that I can wear that don't put too much pressure on my tummy. I'd like dresses, but winter makes that a little more complex. I could wear them, but then I would need tights which would put a band around my tummy again. Suggestions?

Just wanted to add a pic with clothes on.

Scar update.

My PS said I could start moisturizing my incision area. Yay! So now my scabs are coming off and I'm really getting a good look at my scar. I must say, I am impressed! My left side is still scabbed over in most places, but my right side looks SO GOOD! I am a little worried that my belly button scar will show too much and give me that "I had plastic surgery" look. But I don't plan on showing it too much, and it's way to early to tell that anyways.

Also had a fashion show in my closet today. Lol! I am amazed at how nothing is right anymore! All my clothes were bought to hide my biggest insecurity, my tummy. Now they all make me look bulky and fat. My favorite dresses, that I was so sure that they would just look even better on me, now look frumpy! I'm kinda sad about it, but way more excited. I will spare everyone the dozens of pics I took and only post one or two. Lol!

Made it to 1 month post-op!

Woohoo! Sorry it's been a few days since I updated! I've just been feeling so good that I've thrown myself back into life. Not 100%, but enough that I feel almost normal again! So nice to see the little "1 month post " in grey under my posts now. :-) Didn't think I'd make it!
I slept all night in my own bed last night. I have tried sleeping in it a few times before now, but always ended up not sleeping well or changing back to the hospital bed in the middle of the night. Last night I made it the whole night, slept well, and I'm not sore this morning! Yay!
I finally found a faja that I LOVE!!!! I have a Leonisa in the mall near my house, so I went in, explained my situation and she found one for me that is PERFECT! And it was on the clearance rack to boot. So my $80 faja was only $40! Woo! I love a good deal. WHen I was trying it on, the sales woman kept asking me if she could come in and help. Of course my gut reaction was HECK NO! See me naked?!?!? But then I realized, I don't have the embarrassing gut anymore! So she came in, helped me out, and let me wear the thing the rest of the day. It was HEAVEN! I'll find out the info on it and post it later with a pic. I kept seeing posts on here where people swear by their faja, and I thought "They must be crazy! Who is actually comfortable in a CG?" But now I understand! I love mine!
Okay, updating some pics and then back to real life. I have to go buy some jeans as mine are too big now. WOO! I have started swelling around my scar a lot and monstercrotch/Ken doll syndrome has started to set in. Oh well, this too shall pass. :-)

CG info: I love it! It doesn't love me. We will work it out...

So I wore my CG for a few hours today. We went to Home Depot and Kohls and then out for sushi (yum!) so I am about as swollen and bloated as I could possibly be in these pictures, forgive me! It is by Leonisa. It is the Power Slimmed Mid-Thigh Body Shaper. Here's the link: http://www.leonisa.com/en/products/power-slimmed-mid-thigh-body-shaper/018674/ It's not on sale online, but the salesclerk told me that Black Friday, they will be half off online, so I may pick up another one! I got the XL and it should last me a while. It REALLY compresses. The zipper is not uncomfortable and has a cloth panel under it so it doesn't touch your skin. Takes me about 5 minutes to get into, and about another 5 after that until I'm comfortable. But it really does a great job at helping me to feel secure. If I had tried my outing today without this CG, I would have come home after an hour. This thing helps me to be comfortable all day. It has the open crotch, so I don't have to take it off to pee. (Word of warning, make sure you trim up down there or it can pull on your hair and make things very uncomfortable!) Taking this thing off in the evenings shows some pretty funny bumps and odd swelling places, but it shows me how much it's helping. The one thing I am not happy with right now, is the one open spot on my incision, below my BB. The CG must pull on it funny and it usually oozes. Today it downright opened up and bled. :-( So, don't wear it unless your incision is closed up.

First time out on the town...

I decided that I was healed up enough to go out yesterday to watch football with some of my friends at our normal sports bar downtown. I haven't seen these friends since before the surgery, and only one of them actually knew I was even having the surgery. He was discreet and made excuses for me for the last 4 football games, which I was grateful for. The reactions I had from everyone when I showed up just made every single thing I have done over the past month worth it. Every penny spent, and every pain pill popped, totally worth it. I have never had so much confidence in myself, it felt so wonderful. I did tell everyone what I had been up to, as the difference was so noticeable, there was no other way to explain it. I was so happy that it was noticeable, just made me feel so good. :) I also ran into one of my sister-in-laws from my husbands side of the family that we don't talk to. They have never liked me, I have no idea why not. The look on her face when she saw me was priceless. I guess after 4 years of not seeing her, the difference was much more pronounced. Besides the fact that my waist is smaller, I am 40 pounds lighter than the last time I saw her. BOY that felt good!

Word of advice: Do not go out, stand on your feet for 4 hours, drink 2 beers on an empty stomach, and then stop at a fast food place on the way home and eat a cheeseburger and fries. I bloated up SO MUCH! I couldn't sleep last night, I was so uncomfortable. I swelled up in places I have never swelled in before. Lesson learned. But besides that and the fact that my football team lost a heartbreaking game, it was one of the best nights I've had in years.

Possible infection.

Well, I'm off to go see my PS today. The open place on my incision is just looking worse and worse and now it actually hurts, so I called and told him what was happening. He said he wants to see me today because it may be infected. Pray that it isn't. I really am terrified of infections. I just wanted an easy recovery with no complications. I'll post later about what I learn.

Wet scab, gross!

PS says its a wet scab. That sounds lovely. Wet. Scab. It would only be grosser to me if it was called a moist scab. I hate the word moist. LOL! Anyways, he said there is a small infection and only a very small actual opening in the incision, the rest is covered in a "wet scab". He said the skin around it is all very healthy so it should heal up on it's own in a week or so. So I have to keep it uncovered, no lotions or creams or neosporin or anything. I can put a covering on it loosely to keep it from oozing onto my clothes, but otherwise, just leave it alone. He was really REALLY happy with my results so far. I even overheard one of the nurses in the hallway remark to him about what a great job he had done on me, and he said, "I know! She looks great, doesn't she?" They didn't know I was there, so it felt really good to know that they are so happy with the results too! He said that my next appointment, which is in two weeks wasn't even necessary, that it was just a "hover over you" kind of visit and if I wanted to push it out a little farther, it would be just fine with him. :-) I love my PS.

Hello, and Welcome to SWELL HELL!!! (Insert evil laugh)

Oh dear Lord. I have entered swell hell. I hurt, I am huge and I just want to sleep at this point. This is what happens when you sit in the floor for 5 hours sewing curtains. For now, my sewing machine is being put away in the closet. I *might* bring it out in 6 months or so. We will see. I am going to go drink some tea, take some tylenol, and lay down.

Measurements update 6 weeks PO.

Well, my incision is almost healed, thank goodness! Not wearing my CG for the past week has helped tremendously! No oozing anymore, and closed completely. Just a small bit of scab left to go!

I wore my CG today for the first time in almost a week. Family is in town for Thanksgiving and they weren't aware of the surgery. Wearing the CG made me feel safer and cut down on the horrible swelling I've had lately. Took my CG off this evening and I looked smaller than I ever have, so I took measurements again, and I am right! Smaller!

Weight: Down 13 pounds
Waist Before: 39. 3 weeks PO: 36. 6 weeks PO: 35 :-)
Around at bellybutton before: 46. 3 weeks PO: 41. 6 weeks PO: 38!!!!
Hips before 46. 3 weeks PO: 42 6 weeks PO: still 42

I am amazed that I am down 8 inches around my bellybutton. Really amazed. Every day I am happier and happier I did this. It truly is a life changing event. So proud to be among you ladies on the flat side!

Where I was then and now...

I just had my mind blown. I cried actually. From relief. I remembered last year at Thanksgiving, my family and I went and had pictures made on my parent's property where they built their house. I looked back at the pictures and realized I still have the same outfit I wore in the pics. I just put them back on now, and took pics. So here they are. Almost exactly 1 year ago to the day.

Worried...Swelling? Or MR failing?

Freaking out a little now guys. Over the past week or so I've been noticing that my area above my BB is starting to push out again. It's solid, not fluid. Could this be swelling under my muscle? Or is it my biggest fear, that the MR is not working? I know that my muscles were extremely lax before surgery. I could deduce that muscle would work the same way as skin, in that if your skin is prone to not 'tightening back up' after being stretched, then muscles might work the same way? Since my muscles were prone to giving out once stretched, now that they were pulled tight, could they be giving out again? This was the ENTIRE REASON I wanted this procedure. Not weight loss, not stretch marks, not extra skin. The MR was what I wanted so I wouldn't look pregnant anymore. Now it's starting to look distended again, but only above the BB. The swelling everywhere else has subsided. I haven't gained any weight, so it's not fat in my intestines. I was supposed to have an appointment with my PS yesterday, but I pushed out another 2 weeks after I saw him last because he was so happy with my results and said my next appointment wasn't necessary. So I don't see him again until the 19th. Please pray that this is only swelling and temporary. I was so happy with my results before this. Just feels like it's being taken away...

Still in pain?

I had a bunch of friends over last night for a Christmas party. Had lots of fun and for once, I wasn't trying to hide from the camera. :-) It was a very freeing feeling!

My concern right now is that I am in quite a bit of pain. Below my incision on my right side, it feels like I've pulled a muscle or ripped something? I noticed it last night while laughing. My friends are hysterical when we all get together, and I spent the entire night cracking up at them. But about halfway through the evening, I noticed every time I laughed I had a sharp pain. I ended up putting my binder on to sleep in last night because it helped ease a bit of the pain. Today, I'm still wearing the binder, and the pain is getting worse. Wondering if I should call my PS tomorrow, or just wait for my appointment on Thursday?

2 month post-op appointment

Wow! 2 months. Amazing how much your life can change in that time.

Had another follow-up with my PS today. I love him so much. Puts me at ease and makes me so happy when I see him. I talked to him about my concerns (the pain and the hard lumpy places). He said the hard swelling is internal scarring and it will not flatten on it's own, so he will have to do a revision at about 6 months PO. It's also the reason for my pain, the nerves are getting pinched or something by the scarring, so the pain stays until it's fixed, which is in 4 more months. Oh well. It's fixable at least. :-(

I'll update with some pics tonight after I get my iPhoto working again.

Updated pics, 2 months PO.

In some of these, you can see the bump along the incision below my BB. That is extra internal scar tissue forming that my PS is going to take off in a revision in 4 months. Meanwhile, IT HURTS!

Comparison

Just wanted to put the before/after pics next to each other and do a quick recap for those of you who don't want to read through my book of updates to get the basic info. The before pics are a month before surgery. I lost 10 pounds after the pics but before the procedure. No lipo, just MR and 7.5 pounds of skin removed. I've lost 12 pounds since surgery. I am blissfully happy. :-)

Well, that could have been embarrassing!

Went out to dinner last night with my hubby. Before getting dressed, I noticed a small place on my incision that had started to "bubble up" and turn dark purple, like a small hematoma or blood blister or something. I didn't think too much of it since, lets face it, my body has been through so many tiny weird things lately that unless it sticks around a few days, I don't worry about it. Came home, changed into my pajamas, decided to wear my binder (since I ate badly at the restaurant and I knew I would swell uncomfortably), and went to bed. I woke up, not too long after falling asleep and thought, "Maybe I need to make sure the binder isn't pressing on that blistery thing too much" so I rolled up the bottom of the binder to feel for the blister in the dark. Instead of finding the "blister" I found myself with a very wet hand. I jumped out of bed, ran to the bathroom and flipped on the light. It looked like I had been shot in the abdomen. Blood was EVERYWHERE. The "blister" had popped, blood had soaked through the binder and through my shirt. There are now two tiny holes in my incision that are not scabbing over, and I can actually see through them into my body, YUCK! I guess I'm glad they aren't scabbing up because then whatever is in there can drain out unimpeded, but now I have another open wound that requires me to care for it, no baths, careful showers, extra gauze (it's still seeping blood). Can't call my PS as he is on a Disney Christmas cruise with his family. So jealous! :-) I'm sure it will be fine to wait. If it gets infected or anything, I'll go see someone, but I'm not worried.

All I keep thinking is, I am SO glad that didn't happen at dinner! Imagine having to explain that I have not been stabbed, my hematoma just exploded, it's okay. LOL!

One more.

Here's the close up of the openings. The skin around it looks healthy, so I'm sure it will heal up just fine. Anyone else have this happen to them though?

3 month mark and Real Friend now!

WOW! Been a few weeks since I updated. Life has been so super busy, I haven't had time to do anything! Sorry guys! Hope everyone had a great holiday season!

So I hit my 3 month mark a few days ago! Yay! I still have my good days and bad, but I have way more good. I find my biggest issue is the scar area that will have to be fixed at my 6 month mark. I am posting pics so you can see it. The area is so sensitive, that wearing pants hurts. So now I wear my CG just to keep the waistband of my pants from rubbing on my incision, not for compression. It's annoying. Anyone else have this issue? When did your sensitivity go away? I do NOT want to wear a CG for the rest of my life!

I am still having issues with swelling in my upper stomach area, above my BB. I'm beginning to think I'm just going to have to lose some more weight and see if it goes away, as I think it could be fat around my intestines. Not a big deal. Losing weight actually sounds exciting now to me, when before it was annoying and depressing because I knew it wouldn't make a difference. Now I want to see just how awesome I can look! :-) I have started walking a lot. I have found that I do better hiking than just waking around my neighborhood, so I go to parks and stuff and hike a few miles when I can. And the kids love it, so bonus. :-) Hard to keep it on a schedule, but I'm not pressuring myself right now. I want to enjoy this.

I am a RealFriend now! Yay! So excited. :-) Thanks everyone! I'll hopefully update again in a few days with some progress pics. Right now I only have the close up incision ones. :-) I'm going to go peruse y'alls reviews now and catch up on everything I have missed!

Been a while! Sorry!

Sorry it's been so long since I've updated, but I have been so busy out LOVING life!

I'm doing well. Still hovering around my post-surgery weight. But with the better weather coming, I'm out hiking more, so hopefully that will help motivate me more. We also bought a rowing machine to help work on my arms and legs. Funny how when your largest problem area is gone, the others just start coming out of the woodwork. Lol. But these things are manageable whereas the tummy was NOT going anywhere on it's own. :-)

I have stopped wearing my CG all the time. Sometimes I will wear it when I've eaten too much and I'm worried about stretching out my tummy muscles (I know, probably not an issue, but I'm paranoid). Sometimes I even sleep in my binder. It feels secure. :-)

Bathing suit season is coming fast, and I'm more than a little nervous about picking one out. Don't think I'll brave a bikini this year, but I can handle a tankini or something like that. I have started trying on spring dresses and such. SO much cuter things this year. I used to dread coming out of winter where I could hide my belly in sweatshirts and hoodies. Now I can't WAIT to get into tank tops and shorts! I'll post some updated pics tomorrow, I just ate dinner and my food belly is showing. Lol!

Updated pics (almost 6 months PO)

I'm 6 days short of being 6 months PO. Here are some pics for you guys!

I have NOT done scar treatment because of the hardened/thickened scar across the front that my PS said he needs to revise, so I left it alone.

I am still VERY happy with my results. I have a bit of a love handle left on my left side (right in the pics) but it is hidden easily in jeans, and I don't plan on it sticking around long now that summer is coming and I will be more active. :-) Not so much pain from the scar anymore, but I am still dealing with loss of feeling up and down the front of my tummy and on the tops of both thighs to my iliac crest area.

I still have to watch my sodium intake or else I will swell, but other than that, no swelling anymore.

Never in a million years did I think I would get here. 6 months PO!!! Woo! I have days that I totally forget that I had this done. I guess it's kind of like childbirth. You are in pain and miserable when you are in the thick of it, but afterwards, you forget about all that and all you see is the result of your labor. :-) I am going to go through y'alls reviews now and catch up a bit. Bunches of new faces (and tummies) I have yet to see, and I LOVE seeing all these life changes!
Dr. Glen Walton, M.D., F.A.C.S.

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Comments (273)

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Dang your results look awesome!
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Looking good girl!! I had a section if mine redone to. My scar was thick and hard like that in the exact same spot.
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Great results keep us posted please.
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Your before and after pictures look amazing!! Wow!!
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Looking great! I also have a small lump on my incision. But mine doesn't hurt. The PS said its wear he tied off. But to keep an eye on it and if it hurt to come in. So, not to scare you, but you may want to mention it to your PS.
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how r u doing, just chkn in on you? hope ur healing just fine. please update so we can know ur doing great..
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Wow I love ur then and now pics u can see a huge diffrence you look great. I'm on like day 13 post Op tt and Lipo waiting to when I can enjoy my decision.
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I'm shocked after two months you can still have incision issues. Was it from the drain being removed too soon??? Your before and afters are impressive congrats!!:)
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You look amazing!! We had the same issues with our incisions so I feel your frustration.
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Your comparison pics are truly amazing!!!! Beautiful
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OMG you look so amazing !! And Im glad to hear Im not the only one with incision issues. It makes me feel better to hear yours closed eventually.
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I have some openings like that in my incision too and my doctor said it's normal and will heal on it's own.... But i don't know how fast
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Wow, that's crazy about your incision! But Im glad that's all it was! Your looking great!
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Just an FYI...my incision didn't open but it was warm to the touch and blanching red, kind of like a slight sunburn. My ps took one look at that and put me on Bactrim antibiotic for a week. The redness cleared up and nothing more was needed. I just wanted to tell you that so you can watch your open spot carefully and get to your regular doc or even one of those after hours type clinics for an antibiotic if your spots start to turn red or feel warm to the touch. Not trying to scare you, but since this is a holiday week, you need to have a plan B if your spot starts to show signs it's not healing.
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Oh my... you look fabulous love. I hope my results turn out as good. I'm on my 3rd day post op and it's a roller coaster. I lay down on my recliner and get irritated just sitting there so I walk around quite a bit but then it feels like I'm over doing it and then my back hurts. When did u start walking straight? By the way... I can't get over your before and after pics... love the results.
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Thank you! I think I was walking straightish around 3-4 weeks, at least I felt straight. I don't think I was actually straight until around 6 weeks. It's a long recovery, but so worth it. Patience is key. Don't overdo it. You are going to look amazing!
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I just had the same exact thing happen last week! Its healing great now, no issues. You look fantastic by the way :)
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awesome results hon, you look great.
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You look awesome!
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You look absolutely amazing! I love to see transformations like this. Congrats! You must feel great.
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oh dear, you look absolutely fabulous. what great results. 2 months only?? great stuff. keep working it.
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That sux that you have to have a revision and that it hurts!! But you do look awesome!!!
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It does suck, but at least it's for a small reason and it can be fixed. Thank you so much!
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Great pics...Congrats!!
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Thanks!
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