I am 50 years old, 4 kids ranging from 24 to...
I am 50 years old, 4 kids ranging from 24 to nearly 8 (first one C-section, good scar; the rest VBAC), and family propensity for belly apron. Top weight was 235 in 1998 at 5'3" - morbidly obese BMI. Started Atkins several years ago and have slowly lost 80 pounds now. Apple body habitus so I know I will never have a lovely curvy shape but frustrating to lose all that weight and only a handful of inches in the waistline, lol. Now just shy 15 pounds to making normal BMI, and from what I can tell they're all sitting on my belly. :( So figured while my money is still of any value would use it to take care of this while I can still heal from it and enjoy it. :) There seems to be a limit on which doctors in the area do medial thigh PS so it narrows my choices but I don't mind, the choices are still good.
Thank you for the suggestions and encouragement. ...
Thank you for the suggestions and encouragement. Have been researching more in earnest lately - motorcycle riding season and paragliding training weather are rapidly approaching and I suspect I'm already going to be missing some, or will have to postpone PS until after summer... either way will not be a tragedy, I just didn't move on this fast enough. :) Have scheduled two consults - one at the end of February and one mid-March. Both are no charge. One other doctor has a *very* good reputation but charges for the first consult, and I guess I'm balking at that until after I visit with the first two. I suspect I would only pay for a consult if the complimentary ones didn't feel right.
Also making peace with my weight that refuses to go lower than 155 - according to some goofiness I read I really am big-boned (according to wrist and elbow measurements) even though I'm short plus I do have decent muscles soooooo... I *think* with TT and lipo and medial thigh lipo/lift there will be enough difference that I'll be satisfied, then maybe arm lift later. I think the breasts will be left alone, they're "udderly" out of shape it's true ;), but meh, just not worth the $ and pain to me at this point to change.
Not sure spouse is totally on board with this yet, but it doesn't matter. That "You're fine the way you are, I love you whatever you look like" just doesn't cut it, never really has, and it just sounds wrong although I doubt he means it the way it sounds. Tbh, it's not for him anyway, it's for me. And it may wind up being a mistake, but I'd rather give it a try than not and wish I had. :)
First estimate for damages is $12,140 for full...
First estimate for damages is $12,140 for full tummy tuck and medial thigh lift, not including preop lab work and medications or $700 cost for overnight stay in hospital should I choose to take advantage of that. I have another consult with another physician with this practice (their policy) who specializes in PS after weight loss. Dr. Rast is extraordinarily nice - *everybody* in the office is! - I just want to see what a specialist in surgery for my particular situation has to say about it, and I left without asking a few questions I should have so will write them down this time. :) Like, is there any health benefit to getting this excess skin and fat off the midsection? And I should have asked for some different quotes - full abdominoplasty alone, abdominoplasty plus brachioplasty, abdominoplasty plus medial thigh, medial thigh alone. It may be better doing belly and arms now, then thighs in the fall when riding season is not such a big deal to me. If I get the thighs done now, it is possible I will miss a whooooole lotta riding time this year. Talk about PMS (Parked Motorcycle Syndrome)! ;)
Picked up a new-to-me electric lift chair for $75...
Picked up a new-to-me electric lift chair for $75 (craigslist) and got busy deodorizing it with Lysol and baking soda. It's not horrible but cigarette smoke is a migraine trigger for me so want to make sure it's ready to use when I need it. :)
Second consult today, this time with Dr. Gary Hall...
Second consult today, this time with Dr. Gary Hall. Very nice place, office pristine and personnel very nice as is Dr. Hall. Asked more questions this time including how much improvement in my thighs could I expect with tummy tuck alone, and his response was "To be honest, not much." He has never seen much improvement in the thighs with a simple full tummy tuck. He would expect a lot of improvement in the pubic mons, but not the thighs. He did explain the full range of risks in the medial thigh lift including dehiscence of the wound, but he has seen that in 2 (partial, not total) out of 30 MTLs he has done in the past year, and none of those became infected, and both healed completely to the point where one could not tell which incision has dehisced. He recommended some lipo of the flanks to contour. Felt scar could be limited to front, but would be very low, into the pubic region. We discussed pain management since I can't take codeine or codeine derivatives; he recommended pain pump whether I stayed overnight or not, and I need to call my ortho surgeon to see what he eventually gave me (seems it didn't really work, but at least it didn't give me belly pain). I saw some before/after pics they showed me; none looked like me though. This office is further than the first place, and the price is pretty much the same, maybe a smidge higher. Also just the one physician in the office so no coverage if he's sick or off. Still, not bad.
I have one more consult scheduled at this point, with Dr. Cannova back at the first place. Still hoping somebody here on RealSelf will come forward with a review on him. ;)
Also uploaded a more accurate thigh pic to hopefully enlighten those wondering why I would bother. It's a relative thing I'm sure... just realize that what you aren't pleased with and are trying to change (with plastic surgery or makeup or hairstyle, etc) somebody else would probably be happy with too. ;D
Just back from third consult - Dr. Cannova at...
Just back from third consult - Dr. Cannova at APSPC. Quite excited. He specializes in PS after weight loss. He says underneath it all I'm probably not as apple-body as I think... hmmm, that would be nice. His plan would be abdominoplasty with lipo to trunk, wedge excisions of bilateral inner thighs. The lipo would include the upper belly skin that will be covering the abdomen (to thin it) and extend to back through nick incisions (I wasn't sure about this after reading all the comments about pain and he confirmed it wouldn't be fun postop but explained it would make a big difference, yet left the decision up to me). The TT excision would be hip to hip - my apron is wide as is obvious. He was honest and up front about the very low weird circular stretch marks in bikini area (I call them my blow-outs, lol), there are no guarantees on how much can be taken out, but *meh* that was never the point for me anyway. He felt the thigh lift would be minimally invasive, short incision lines in the groin, so I'm going for it. And the damage estimate was *get this* LESS than the other two - $9754 total not including preop lab and meds. I again think I'll skip the overnight stay, still on the fence about a pain pump, he is not sure it's worth the $300, thinks he can figure out something that will do better. I'm 99.9% sure I'll be scheduling with Dr. Cannova within a few days, for procedure near end of June (if there weren't so many scheduling conflicts I'd be doing it a lot sooner!). :)
P.s. - had to throw this in - last night I visited...
p.s. - had to throw this in - last night I visited youtube to watch an abdominoplasty being done (just as I'd watched acromioplasty done before my shoulder surgery, it wasn't that bad at all)... and in the middle of the pannus excision I started getting *really* lightheaded and had to stop watching! So very strange, because I want to see it done. Didn't feel barfy, just the room got bright and knew I needed to stop... maybe forgot to breathe, lol. Gonna try again later... morbid curiosity. :)
Well, that didn't take long. Scheduled for June...
Well, that didn't take long. Scheduled for June 20 (after out-of-town guest leaves). No bowel prep, just NPO after midnight the night before (I plan on liquid diet for at least one and maybe two days prior anyway, just makes sense). Only lab will be a hemoglobin check the morning of surgery. They'll call closer to the date for more info, but that's what I asked about and know so far. Time to stop obsessing for a while (I hope) and build up strength. :)
Okay, scheduler called and outpatient surgery...
Okay, scheduler called and outpatient surgery center was booked on the 20th already, the 22nd it is. :)
One month out - thanks for the reminder...
One month out - thanks for the reminder babyrainbo, lol! Time flies... ;) It's been a little eventful. I had gone off birth control pills at the end of February 2012 because they were not really working (breakthrough bleeding) and I knew I would have to anyway for surgery. Had a "pill period" (light, short" in March, and nothing in April, and got worried. Very slim chance of pregnancy (one exposure, used a sponge but discovered the failure rate is high - wth?) and nipple tenderness, got worked up and upset, nausea set in, I'm too old for this, some of you know the drill... lol. Very happy when period started April 30. Taking no more chances - no more whoopie, lol. Also gained 5 pounds within a week or two of all these body changes (when I thought I was pregnant), and they would not budge no matter what... finally coming back down. Read some people gain weight coming off BCP. Nothing I did on BCP was normal, so maybe that's what it was. Frustrating! Anywho, bought shower chair for $4 and toilet seat riser for $6 (no arms) at thrift store and cleaned them up *really well*... Lastly, got approved for 15 months interest-free credit card for half the surgery amount, and will pay cash for the other half, guess that's all due in a couple of weeks. I do have an annual check-up with my primary care physician next week, so if anything is amiss she can catch it before I'm locked in.
I find myself maneuvering my squishy bits around (now I know how Stretch Armstrong felt!) and seeing what the contours might be here and there. I want it to be gone already. :)
Had last visit with my PS today, and paid for...
Had last visit with my PS today, and paid for surgery so I'm locked in now (surgeon's fees at one office, facility and anesthesia fees at the surgery site paid separately not far away) for June 22 at 8am, arrival at surg. cntr. at 6:45am.
Didn't have many questions really. There's a vessel or clot on one finger I wondered if he could deal with while I was under; he recommended taking care of it at a postop visit and I'm okay with that. The Flexees I have now might be okay some time down the road, but for now he said the binder they gave me will be best. The estimated time in surgery is 3.5 hours... not bad at all!
I've been under before for other stuff so not worried about anesthesia, but immediate recovery has me a little concerned; it's a crap shoot whether it will be easy or rough. Just going to be messy with the lipo to the back. Am going home right after but have a lot of equipment ready and a niece who is an OR nurse who's ready to help in case I need it (the two adults at home are squeamish and tbh not totally on board with this at this point, o well).
Soooo pain control is really my biggest worry. I get a terrible gut ache with codeine meds and derivatives, and they did prescribe Percocet which I thought was a no-no for me; I'm thinking I will try a half tab next week and see if it triggers a gut ache, so they can prescribe something else ahead of time if needed.
Not much more to buy, just some foodstuffs I guess. Will probably fix some Jell-O for when I get home, and try to find some low-sodium soup. They didn't really have any suggestions for foods, just diet as tolerated. It should be okay, I don't eat high-sodium and am already very low-carb. Just need to work on upping my water intake. Thankfully herbal tea is okay. :)
Will rate the doctor after all is said and done, but so far Dr. Cannova has been great!
Night before surgery, probably last preop update.....
Night before surgery, probably last preop update... like every other surgery I've had, in total denial (lalalalala I can't hear you so it's not happening :D) - some things I did not get done, the yews out front did not get trimmed and unless grandson wakes up soon my last-for-now motorcycle ride won't happen :(
Have been consuming green tea, protein drink and jello all day to keep stomach empty. Electric lift chair has been squeezed into the bedroom just steps from the bathroom, with netbook, MP3 players and walker within arm's reach and a bucket on the floor next to it. Will be mowing my legs in an hour or so. Toilet lift seat will be clamped into place soon as well.
Head hurts, probably means period will be starting soon... o well, why not, lol.
Let's get this party started. :)
*blinks and looks around* So this is what the...
*blinks and looks around* So this is what the flat side is like? Not bad so far, not bad at all. :) Nucynta and Valium seem to be working, surprisingly did just now have to take a Zofran for nausea at home, maybe too soon for jello? I keep looking down at my shirt-covered bandaged front and.... just... *smh*.... yay! :) I'm *sitting* here, and there is no shelf to put anything on!
I heard 3 pounds of mess came off there, and some other number lipo'd. The drainage from lipo is impressive, I must say, and my two TT drains are also producing. Hope the lipo drainage stops soon, I didn't buy that may puppy pee-pads, lol. The drains can keep producing all they want, I know it's a good thing ultimately. Drained them myself here at home (SO has a cold which I don't wish to catch); got a bit lightheaded but finished in good time, back in the lift chair now.
Spent a little more time in recovery than planned, body did not want to pee for some reason, but eventually produced enough to make RR nurse happy. *Dang* those people at the surgical center are sweethearts! If I get anything else done, will be there. :)
Will keep clicking "undecided" until I have a little more postop experience until my belt, but this is not horrific for me so far. Uncomfortable yes... but not unbearable at this point. :)
Today overall is better, barfing stopped, finished...
Today overall is better, barfing stopped, finished a whole packet of low-salt crackers and now snacking on almonds so hopefully will get the gut moving again soon. Finding comfortable positions in the chair is a challenge because of the thigh lift incisions reaching around to under the buttock cheeks but it can be done, and sleeping 2 hours at a time sometimes. No headaches (Nucynta sometimes causes that) and pain is bearable. Was given Valium for muscle relaxant, not sure how effective that is compared to Flexeril that I've used in the past, if I run out and abs are still sore, will ask about switching. Supposed to be able to shower tomorrow. Might or might not, would like to wait until I can stand for longer periods of time even though I have the shower chair. Still pleased with what i see so far although have not seen belly button or below, just upper abdomen and side view. I know there is bruising to flanks and back, have started arnica montana, hope it works for me. :)
Had a bowl of low sodium chicken noodle soup,...
Had a bowl of low sodium chicken noodle soup, first real meal since Wednesday, and it was good! Still taking stool softeners, that milestone hasn't been reached yet but having taken in mainly liquids all this time I'm not surprised and not worried, I do feel bubbles rolling around so it'll happen. :) Period also started today, lol. Showered after the soup, that was quite nice, helped get the gauze and tape off, finally got to see things and I'm pleased so far. Definitely swelling involved but when it resolves this body will look like I feel - normal. Dressed in a body shaper top and underwear under the binder. Have the drains pinned to physical therapy elastic bands around my neck. Trying to increase fluids, I think I'm getting behind on that. Okay, time to upload pics of the aftermath. Could not get a shot of the thigh incisions to save my life, I know they're odd-looking though. Maybe next time. :)
First postop doctor's visit today with Dr. Cannova...
First postop doctor's visit today with Dr. Cannova. First thing the nurse said was "You are really pale, are you taking any vitamins?" Shoot, I'm on Topamax, I'm lucky I remember to breathe every day. So will be adding a multivitamin with iron to the daily regimen.
Did not expect to get drains out, still draining 20 to 30 cc fluid 3 to 5 times a day, and I was right, the little buggers came home with me. The three lipo stitches in my back were taken out though. Very pleased so far with results at this point. Even though there's a lot of swelling, I still fit in my old clothes so really curious to see where I land when the swelling is gone.
For anybody considering whether you can do this without traditional help of a significant other, you probably can - as long as you get all your supplies and meds bought before hand and a taxi ride home, and maybe rent a nurse the first day. The person I (halfway) planned to depend on came down with bronchitis, and between me not wanting him to be anywhere near me and him not wanting to see any of my ickiness it's been pretty much me taking care of myself. Even if you do have somebody in mind for support, have a back-up plan. :)
Next opportunity to get the drains out will be next Thursday. Probably sleep until then... airbus, I do not know how you managed to be so active postop, I am just plain sleepy. :)
Nearly three weeks postop and finally got the...
Nearly three weeks postop and finally got the bellybutton stitches and one of my two drains out today - the right one, the most bothersome of the two (it itched sometimes). Finally saw a drop at the scales this morning too, down about 5 pounds from baseline preop, and waist is down some 3 inches. Dr. Cannova tells me I am still swollen and the waist will be smaller and tighter still; this is hard for my mind to grasp. He was right, I am less apple-bodied than I thought. :) I knew the drain pull was not going to hurt based on y'all's testimonies, but still experienced vasovagal response (lightheadedness) all morning in anticipation of it. Stupid really - I felt absolutely *nothing* when the drain was removed. :) Plan to post new pics after the second drain is gone, hopefully Monday 07/16/12.
So now wearing the remaining drain like a pendant with my rehab band. Tried on my size 11/12 preop jeans (no muffin top!), and the drain tube comes out the zipper hole (not completely zipped up). I wear one of the huge shirts over it, can't tell the drain is there. It's funny these jeans fit even over the thick binder and another shirt, *and* the swelling. Will be interesting to see what size I land in when all is said and done. :)
I am getting off the fence and rating this "worth it" today. It was never *not* worth it but I don't like to rush into things... ;)
Free at last! Finally got the last of two drains...
Free at last! Finally got the last of two drains out today, feel really human for the first time (again, never felt this to be not worth it, but those drains were a drag!). Also more stitches taken out but some still remain from the thigh lift. I think I may be really feeling the swelling now, hadn't really noticed it before, but it seems more obvious. Completely off prescription meds now, taking extra-strength acetaminophen and ibuprofen once in AM and once before bed and that takes care of all discomfort (pretty much). Started using Bio-Oil today, that feels good. Bought a swimsuit today, top is size 12, bottom is a 10; they are snug but not tight, and I figure after swelling goes down will be perfect. It's not a bikini, was left with too many stretch marks for that, but thought it was cute in the mirror. Still think I look like a short sausage in photos :/ but at least not a tied sausage any more. Maybe I have more issues than I first thought ;) Really liking that belly button. :) Pics were taken in the mirror, I have no paparazzi... SO still has not seen the results; did not help in the care and did not ask to see. *shrugs* lol.
Today went for my 9-week postop visit. Dr....
Today went for my 9-week postop visit. Dr. Cannova and staff great and punctual as usual. He evaluated his work and decided he can improve on it: What I presumed was still swelling in the front (a la Ken-doll anatomy below the belly button in the pubic region) he said is residual tissue and he will do a wedge resection to remove it. At the same time, he will take care of the dog-ears. This will be done on September 25 early afternoon, local anesthesia, no extra charge. I could have lived with how it looks now, but... yeah, with the dog-ears gone and the Ken-bulge disappeared, will be even happier. Am hoping to drop some pounds beforehand, I consider this my second chance to get it *just right* before he makes the final cut. ;D Still numb in a lot of areas, doesn't bug me but thought I'd mention it. Belly button is a different color inside than the rest of my stomach; was told it is healthy tissue but I could use skin bleach if it bothered me - might, might not.
Posting pics before touch-up on Tuesday where Dr....
Posting pics before touch-up on Tuesday where Dr. Cannova will take care of the dog-ear on the right (not sure there is a dog-ear to take care of on the left), and the left-over Ken-doll package on the front. Will be a procedure done in their office's surgical suite, arrival at 2:15 (supposed to eat lunch)... will bring my Valium and Nucynta with me, and take them when instructed after I sign the consent forms. The belly is still rather numb (although itchy) but more anesthetic will be injected. Weight is still about the same as preop - work still begging me to sit on my arse more hours, yet walking more than before. *shrugs* Pants fit looser, went down one size from preop and all my shirts fit a lot better, wish I could figure out how to get a waistline to show up facing frontwards but I think I would have to grow a few inches taller in the torso. The biggest difference is from the side; still extraordinarily satisfied with that. :) Scar is red but smooth. Some areas are fading, and I have faith it will all continue to fade further. Time heals. Will post pics after touch-up as I can.
Touch-up procedure today is complete - not...
Touch-up procedure today is complete - not completely pain-free but I could do it again if I had to :) I signed the consent forms, took some Valium and a Nucynta, got gowned up, and Dr. Cannova got right to work marking me up. I then took my place on a table in the office's surgical suite and was draped and the operative sites cleansed. Dr. Cannova let me know he was going to start injecting Lidocaine, and then started some idle chat (good idea, keep my mind off the stinging feeling, lol). Topics ranged from how it feels to change people's lives with plastic surgery, to dissecting animals in high school. :) He told me any time I felt any discomfort during the procedure to let him know. This did happen a few times, and every time more Lidocaine was applied, and the discomfort was relieved. I did feel sensations of tugging, and I knew when he started stitching. :D The procedure itself didn't take long, probably no more than 15 minutes (I'm just guessing). The results are clearly visible to me although I won't be surprised if there is swelling in the coming days/weeks (as happened with initial surgery). Follow up appointment in two weeks.
Associated Plastic Surgeons of Kansas City was referred to me by my primary care physician. Although at the time there were no mentions of it or Dr. Cannova here at RealSelf, I did get positive reviews from others. Dr. Cannova specializes in breast reconstruction (in case that's what you need), and tummy tuck/body lift after weight loss, which is what I needed. He did a great job on my belly, exceeded my expectations, and has a great personality to boot. Never demeaning, never made me feel uncomfortable with myself or him, never gave me false hope, just told me what his plans were and what the results would likely be. Seems to genuinely care.
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars