My Journey To Tummy Tuck Land Begins

I will have my procedure in 2 days and I am...

I will have my procedure in 2 days and I am anxious. I have been scrounging the internet for stories and I spent all day shopping for items on my pre/post op list. My preop was Thursday and I have a million emotions.

I underwent RNY gastric bypass 5 years ago and my weight has been stable for the past year. I lost about 90 lbs but gain back about 15 following a divorce a couple of years ago. My health is OK now but I am terrified of how much pain I will likely have following this TT. My gastric was the most pain I have ever felt post op and I had 3 children - 1 natural, 1 C-section, and 1 with epidural. The pain from the RNY was better after 24 hrs but before then I thought I was going to die.

I look forward to hearing feedback and journaling my process daily as I press on. I am so embarrassed to add a photo at this point as so many of you looked great even before the TT. One blessing is that my insurance is covering the cost due to this being a result of RNY surgery. I plan to have a panniculectomy and abdominoplasty with lipo.

Can't sleep- surgery in 4.5 hours

Ok - so my bag is packed and everything appears to be in order.....except that I can't sleep. I'm anticipating all of the pain I'll endure for the next week, particularly the next 24-72 hours. The swelling...I know it will pass but I'm anxious as I am having a lot done at once.

Reading the posts here has been encouraging and I know all will go well. I must follow Drs orders and stay on top of the pain. I'm sure it will all be worth it when this bulk of irritating skin and flab is gone.

Still no real pain

I am extremely happy. It's day 3 post op and I still have very little pain. It's really just discomfort. I'm at my surgeon's office for a follow up. I believe he is going to rebind me. I'll get my drains out on Sat. The only
Thing really annoying me is this cotton/dry mouth. Also, I started getting a headache this morning. Took Tylenol bu it's still not going away. I may just need to rest.

3 days post op

Yeah!!!! Still virtually no pain and the headaches of the past two days are gone. I am getting tired of laying in the bed all the time. Now I see how people get bed sores. I'm having terrible constipation as I haven't had a bowel movement since Sunday, the day before my surgery. Otherwise, everything is going great. I'm still anxious to see my stomach when the drains are removed on Saturday. I had a small peek at the incision yesterday when I had my bandages changed. It looks okay I guess. I can't really tell.

Some pics

Wow, I didn't realize how self conscious I am. Even after the tummy tuck, I am still ashamed to show myself. I am even dreading the whole bathing suit issue.

I need a pick me up

I need a pick me up

Swelling has begun

I'm 4 days post op and still feeling very good. Last night around midnight was my worst bought with pain. I couldn't sleep or get comfy so around 4am I took a Percocet and felt wonderful. I'm sleeping in my daughter's bed because mine is too high off the ground. My bottom is just getting sore at times.

I'm much better emotionally today. Just having a moment last night. Had a friend talk to me about our kids and life in general and I remembered what is important in life.

My mom took these pics this morning.

Feeling Great

I am really feeling great. My mom changed my bandages today and I got a really good look at myself. I'm quite pleased and excited that I am on the flat side!!!! There is minimal swelling and I notice it is heavier when I eat certain foods with more salt and when I walk a lot. I've lost about 2-3 lbs from surgery, nothing major. I am looking forward to working out more regularly once my Dr permits. I feel like a new person. Hopefully, the emotional roller coaster has parked :-)

The stretch marks are a bit unsightly but they are what they are. I'm still happy. However, there will not be bikinis in my future :-).....and that's OK with me.

Drains out tomorrow!!!

Yeah! I'm looking forward to 9am. It's like the night before surgery and I can't sleep because I'm anxiously awaiting the removal of these two drains so I can take a relaxing shower. I know it will feel "icky" when the drains are pulled out but it'll only last a few seconds.....then freedom :-)

I'm interested in hearing any new instructions Dr. Valentini might have. Thus far it's been wonderful. The staff called today and checked in on me. They have been amazing and so warm. This process has been a blessing.

The cost is not a typo

So far I've only paid $186 but my deductible is $296 so I expect another bill. I was blessed that my insurance covered the procedure because I had gastric 5 years ago and the extra skin was causing rashes and back issues. So, it was a covered procedure versus being deemed cosmetic.

Feeling Energized

I'm feeling great and had a burst of energy this morning. It's the first time I've gotten dressed and styled my hair. Yes, I'm anxiously awaiting the removal of my drains in about an hour an a half. Pics to come....I hope!

I've walked around the house this morning and made my own oatmeal. From getting dressed to that, I'm tired. :-) But, I'm still happy I've been able to move about.

Drains are out!!!!

It was so much easier than I expected. Dr. Valentini has been nothing short of amazing. He removed both tubes while I breathed in deep and released. It was not the queasy feeling I expected. This has truly been such a pain free experience for me, other than back discomfort. I feel so blessed. I am happy I had this procedure....and even more thrilled that my insurance covered it.

I am much more free to walk around now that the drains are out. Standing straighter is easier too. I was worn out when I came home from the Dr. My mom and I stopped off at a yard sale down the street from my home after the appt and it wore we out. We were only there for about 7 minutes.

I can't wait to take a warm shower later but I can't now cause I'm ready to pass out. I took 1 Percocet about 30 minutes before my appt as I as anticipating pain. It must have worked because I didn't feel anything. These pictures are from today's appt. I go back next Wednesday for a follow up. The staples and stitches will be removed the following Tuesday.

Until next time......

My first shower

I was so worn out after my tubes were removed. I came home and have been sleep ALL DAY! I finally took a shower and it felt good but afterward I was in the worst pain I've had since my surgery. It went away shortly after taking my Percocet. Now I see why people on the site recommend taking it at least 30 minutes before you get in. The pressure from standing (and I only stood briefly because I have a seat in my shower) made me feel like my stomach was going to fall out. :-) I can't wait for the swelling to go down. But it's great that I can see my feet and the pouch is gone!!!!

No leaking from the tubes being removed and all else is progressing well. I notice that I tire so quickly. After about 15 minutes of walking around the house (like a turtle), combing my hair, or getting dressed, I am ready to pile back up in the bed and take a 2 hour nap. :-) Today was the first day since my surgery that I actually put on "nice" clothes and makeup. It was a workout. :-)

I am looking forward to working out as soon as I am able - in about 3 weeks. Now that my tummy is flat I want to get my thighs to match. I do not plan on any more surgery, and I am so happy with the "new me".

Oh yeah, the nasty part....

Well, this is not so nasty I think because I appreciated when others on RS shared when they finally had a BM. I had mine 3 days ago (Thursday). It took 5 days. My last BM was the Saturday before surgery (Monday). I took 2 Dulcolex around 6pm and had movement the next day mid morning. No strain. Nothing since but it's only 1:20am on Sunday so we will see.

Pain from shower is gone

Whew. Last night was rough. I am not sleeping well at all. I didn't go to bed until 5 o'clock this morning and I can't seem to sleep more than two hours at a time. I loved my shower last night but I hope to never have that pain again.

Today has been much better. The swelling has gone down a lot and I'm watching a movie withy daughter.

6 Days Post Op

More pictures

Slight Staple Scare

Okay I haven't posted in the last day and a half because I had a slight scare yesterday. I was going to bed a couple of nights ago and I've been sleeping on the couch for the past week. I was feeling better so I thought I could get into my bed which sits pretty high off the ground. Long story short...... I was wrong. As I kind of slid in the bed I felt a burn on my left side (Near where the incision wraps around my back) but it went away fairly quickly so I didn't take off my compression garment to check.

The following morning I got up to shower and when I took off my garment and my bandages I noticed that my skin tore a little. I know this sounds horrible but it's not as bad as it sounds. I will attach a picture. Nevertheless, I immediately called my surgeon (Dr. Valentini) and he asked me to come in. When I got there he didn't feel that it was a big deal. He rebandaged me and I am scheduled to go in on Wednesday to have my staples removed. This appointment was already scheduled on Saturday when I had my drains removed so nothing new or moved up because of the small tear.

I am very pleased with the process. I am that much more appreciative of the surgeon that I have because of his care and compassion when I called and came into his office. He was so calm and reassuring and supportive on the phone and when I arrived to the office his staff was amazing and I went right back to see him. Once again, he encouraged me to call if I had any problems after I left.

This evening, I couldn't relax and around midnight I wanted to take a shower to relax myself and I removed the bandages. He was completely right! You cannot even tell anything tore and it's completely healed back and I feel wonderful. Needless to say I am laying on the couch or in my kids' bed from now on :-) They are very low to the ground.

11 Days Post Op

Things are continuing to move quite well. I had all but 3 staples taken out 2 days ago. They were left because I have a little tearing near my hips were the incision comes around to my back. Remember my last post?

I have been more mobile in the past two days. I asked the doctor to prescribe me something weaker than Percocet. He gave me Lortab. I really take it before my showers and/or right before bed. Lately I've been very anxious and it has been extremely difficult for me to fall asleep at night.

I am experiencing very little pain but more pressure as I am swelling a lot as the day goes on. I'm still eating very little because after a few bites I feel full and as if I'm going to pop. It has been good to put on clothes the last couple of days and actually return to some household activities.

Driving has been interesting to say the least. The couple of times that I have gone out I don't go too far and I try not to stay gone longer than an hour. I still get very tired very quickly. I did laugh yesterday and it didn't hurt hurt. I felt as if I was going to get a cold because I've been scared to cough and phlegm was building in my chest.

I am glad that I have more time before I go back to work. I'll post a few pictures.

Photos - I'm Making Progress

Photos from the last 2-3 days

13 Days Post Op

I feel amazing and I am fitting into a lot of my clothes again. :-) There is still some swelling and I sometimes leave the button on my pants undone because I don't want to "smoosh" my incision.

My swelling seems to increase with being on my feet. For the past couple of days, I have been driving and cleaning the house. It actually feels like I am nesting like I did when I was pregnant. Sitting and laying around for the past 2 weeks was driving me bananas! I did take a nap today. Speaking of sleep, I am having a hard time sleeping more than 2 hours at a time. Anyone else?

Has anyone goen back to work since your TT? If so, how long did you wait? ANy words of wisdom? I am not scheduled to go back for another week.

Emotions, Emotions, and More Emotions

I believe we are all on the same roller coaster ride....sometimes up and sometimes down. I experienced the same thing when I had gastric bypass 5 years ago (April 18, 2008). I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and I still experience emotions I can't quite describe. This is a time when we are redefining ourselves. I have given myself permission to live in whatever the emotion is at the moment. I don't tell myself irrational or negative things like "You shouldn't have these mixed feelings because you're a counselor". Yes, I have been trained to help people work through his/her problems, emotions, and mental health disorders. But, this does not negate the fact that I am still a human being. Hang in there.

I don't know what I'd do without this site. I have had tremendous physical support from my family. However, the emotional support I really desire is lacking, particularly from my boyfriend. They don't understand my psychological and physical struggle with my weight. Thank you all for being here for me during this great transition in my life.

15 Days Post Op

Today some of my sutures and 2 remaining staples were removed. One of the staples looked like it had become embedded in my skin. Ugh!!!!! I went to the dentist and had to get a tooth extracted too! It's been one painful day full of anxiety. Well, not much pain as I have been doped up on meds since the dentist appt.

I am very happy to share that m boyfriend and I talked extensively last night about how I'm feeling. He really didn't understand that I wanted to be taken care of and babied. He didn't grow up in that type of environment. He took this week off work just to be with me. I am so thankful for that. So, today he came to my dentist's office when I called to tell him I had to get my tooth pulled. I was very nervous and he made me laugh and feel calm by making faces. He then drove me to my follow up appt with the PS to have my stitches removed.

He filled my prescription for pain meds for my tooth and now we are on our way home. Oh, and he picked up dinner for my kids and is staying over to help tonight. I am so happy to have this support.

Oh, now back to the Dr. Appt. my tummy is so flat and the Dr. said it will still get smaller because I am still swollen. I am so happy. Guess what? My pants were falling down. I didn't put on a belt because I've never needed one. WOW!!!!

Look At Me Now

The day of surgery and 15 days post op!

$9 Girdle from WalMart

The black girdle I am wearing in the pic is from Walmart and it is made by Cupid.

Bandage Photos

My doctor removed my surgical tape two days after the procedure. Below is a picture of how I'm bandaged each day after I shower. I use bacitracin and gauze pads secured with tape to cover my incision. It's healing very nicely and will be a minimal scar when complete. I did develop a scan that peeled and looks disgusting. The Dr said it should heal with new skin and look fine in a few weeks. I hope so. Yuck!!!

18 Days Post Op

I am on my way to have my last few stitches taken out. I am still overjoyed with the results that I continue to see each day. This is a picture of me at the start of the day before the swelling sets in. I am loving the flat side!

3 weeks post op....return to work

Today I went to a training at work from 9-2. I am not scheduled to go back until next week but I didn't want to miss this training. Although I was sitting most of the time, I was exhausted when I got home at 3:00. I left my home around 8 so this was a 7 hr day.

My feet and hands have been swelling for the last two days. I've gained 4 lbs too :-( I'm watching it because I have a history of retaining water, which occurred right before I experienced double side heart failure in Dec 2007. When I prop my feet up the swelling goes down a bit. I hope the weight gain does too.

Surprisingly, my tummy is still flattening and I had virtually no additional swelling. It is still numb right in the center above my pelvic area. There is also a hard mound in that area. Anyone else have this? My love handles have just about gone down and my scar looks so good. I think it will heal nicely andbe very thin.

I've already hopped in the bed so I'll take and post pics of my belly in the morning. I return to the Dr this Thursday for a follow up. I've seen Dr. Valentini every week since the surgery. He and his staff continue to be amazing. I pray all of you are well also! Thank you for reading my journey and sharing your experience.

Is This The Swell Hell I've Heard Of???

This must be what I've been reading about in posts from people farther along than I am......swell hell. I've now gained 6 lbs this week alone and it's all from swelling because I haven't changed my eating habits. I have a follow up with surgeon tomorrow so I'll ask about it. My tummy is getting flatter but I notice puffiness and my feet and hands routinely look like chubby sausages.

I went to work for half a day today (730-1130) and came home at noon and passed out until 4. I can't believe how exhausted I am after just a few hours of work. I'm a therapist so it's not like I'm doing any heavy lifting. I guess the mental is adding to the physical workout and just giving me a run for my money. I have to upload some pics this evening. Not much has changed except the scarring from my scab and where the staples popped looked much better. I think my scar will heal nicely. I'm pleased with the entire process thus far....except this swelling :-)

Some pics

These were taken this week as I returned to work part time.

Update 1 Month post Op today

Here are some pics of the healing scab and my tummy. I'm reading some people getting tale after stitches and staples were removed. Now that my incision has closed fully, my surgeon has me using Bio-Oil. It's sold at WalMart. I rub it on the incision line 2X daily. I'll see how it works.

So far, same story - flat in the morning and swelling by noon. I have a lot of swelling at the too of my tummy after I eat and a sharp type pain whenever I laugh still. :-( it's on the left side of my BB. I also had a muscle repair and it feels like it's going to bust open if I eat too much or laugh too hard. :-(

Still numb right above my pubic area and in my lower abdomen. My BB is even still numb but I can tell its wearing off a little because I get a prickly feeling every now and again.

6 weeks post op in 3 days

Ok. It's been a minute since I posted. I've had several deaths and tragedies in my personal and work life over the past 2 weeks but I am still blessed. I had my 6 week follow up yesterday. Unfortunately, I have a lot of scar tissue in my lower abdomen. There's abig hard lump. I'll begin massage therapy next week but it's not going to be the soothing kind. The nurse said it'll be painful. Ugh!!!

Otherwise, all is well. I have my bouts with swelling but it's been much better over the last two days. Dr. says to expect this when close to my cycle starting. I notice it worsens when I don't get enough sleep or when I stress. With recent life events this has been status quo.

I'm fitting into my size 6 clothes again which is nice. I haven't worn them comfortably in the last year. My weight seems to be stabilizing a bit. I'm down about 9-10 lbs from preop.

7 weeks 2 days post op

Wow!!! The time now seems to have flown by. It seems like yesterday that I was wondering if it would get better. I am so happy with my progress but still have some healing left. I have scar tissue in my lower abdomen and have Endermologie treatments twice a week. It's breaking up and will flatten soon.

I found out Dr. Valentini removed 4.5lbs of skin and 800cc (1.69lbs) of liquid fat :-(. I've lost about 7 lbs since surgery and have been cleared to start working out as of last week. I hardly wear my binder anymore and last night I slept on my tummy for a few. I didn't even realize when I was doing. I'm still numb in some places. The Dr said it should subside around month 4. I'm excited about working out so I can tone up a bit.

Scar

I also use Bio-Oil and Silicone Strips on my scar. They're working small wonders. I won't know the final results until this endermologie treatment is over. I hope to look as good as so many of you. I love reading the posts and support.

8 Weeks Post Op

Wow time flies when you enter the flat side. I still have some swelling, which is par for the course according to other posts that I am reading. Here are some pictures of my scar. I am still undergoing Endermologie treatments twice a week to remove the scar tissue right below my belly button. Otherwise everything is perfect and I am extremely happy with the results.

More pics

I'm feeling pretty good but I need to start working out. The scar tissue lump is getting smaller but still there. Ugh. I swell maybe once a week now but nothing too major. I still very happy with my results.

Feeling Blue

Unfortunately, I've hit a depression slump. Not sure why. I tried exercising a little but honestly not motivated. I still swell a little but Dr said this is normal for starting to workout. My numbness isn't completely gone either so I still have moments when I feel weird in my tummy and belly button area. I'm still very happy with my results and I hope to kick this sadness soon so I don't mess up all the Drs hard work.

6 Months Post Op

Ok. I know I've been horrible with getting on and updating. I've just been in my own zone. I'm happy with my results but still disappointed in my own laziness. I have yet to exercise consistently.

My belly button is still a bit weird feeling when I touch it. There is an awkward sensation. My follow up with the Dr isn't until Next month due to the holidays. Also, I am still completely numb in the middle of my stomach below my belly button. I can pinch, stab, or scratch it and feel NOTHING. I mentioned this at my last appt and the Dr. said this can last up to a year. I hope not.

The only other thing is that my scar tissue lump hasn't completely gone down. It's shrunken a lot but I'm scared it will not completely be flat. ????

I have some love handles and I know if I get off my butt and exercise they'll go away.

A Year Later

I can hardly believe it's been a year since my surgery. I have not updated in a long time and there is no excuse. I have had some ups and downs but I am determined to keep moving forward. There is still numbness around my belly button and lower abdomen area. I have not exercised regularly like my Dr. recommended. I notice that when I do, my tummy get a bits tighter and tingles a bit. I do not think I will regain full sensation in my lower tummy. The scar tissue has shrunk but it's not completely flat. Again, I don't think it will go away.

I am ashamed that I haven't worked out like I should. I walk from time to time and did aerobics for a few weeks. Still, I have no excuse other than I have been lazy. I was a bit down for a while after my surgery. One good thing is that I have not gained any more weight. I lost about 16lbs since the surgery. I will try to muster up the nerve to post pics. I feel like I should look a bit better than I do. There is a small pouch where the scar tissue is and that's a bit depressing. Even though my tummy is not flat in that area, I still love that I am not as big as I was. All that extra skin has not been missed. :-)

A Year Later

Not as nice as most I've seen on here but my tummy looks much better than it did the day before my surgery.

More 1 Year Pics

Those pics I posted last night were horrible so I thought I'd add these.
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

Thus far, Dr. Valentini and his staff have been beyond amazing. Susan, coordinator, has gone above and beyond to ensure all needed documents are prepared for my insurance company. His bedside manner thus far has been outstanding. He took his time in answering all of my questions and ensured I was comfortable before proceeding. The countdown begins. Dr. Valentini, Susan, Julie, and the rest of the staff are absolutely AMAZING!!! They have held my hand through every step and taken time to answer each and every question - never once making me feel silly or inferior. Susan speaks fast (and so do I) and this may come across as insensitive to some but I speak fast and we follow each other well. There were times I needed her to repeat information and she did without hesitation. Dr. Valentini really cared about how I was feeling and it didn't seem as if he was asking just to ask. He meant it. I am glad I sought a second consultation with Dr. Valentini. He was much better than the first surgeon, Dr. Blalock, I met in Clarksville who seemed too busy and impersonal. While I do not plan to have any other procedures, Dr. Valentini would be my first and only choice!!!!

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