Tomorrow will be my first appointment with a PS...
Tomorrow will be my first appointment with a PS about getting a TT. I have been seriously considering this for three years, but I just wasn't quite ready. Up until last year, I had never had surgery or been put under, so that was a huge worry. After having my gallbladder surgery last year, I now know what to expect on that front, and I'm not so worried about dying (lol) This is the surgeon that my sister used to have her eyes done and she was very happy with him. I hope I like him as well.
A few concerns I have
1. I am extremely active and teach fitness classes as a part time job - I'm worried about recovery time and time to regain my fitness level.
2. I am wondering since I have not had kids and am very fit if I will even need MR (my abs feel really hard and I can't feel any separation)
3. I'm not sure what to tell my co-workers. My two best friends know everything, my direct supervisor knows I'm planning a "surgery" but I didn't tell her what. It's the big boss and his crabby secretary that I'm worried about.
4. I wonder if I will need any lipo. I don't really want it, as I think it will increase recovery time, but I'd hate to go through all this and still not see that line down the centre of my abs!!
I'm 5"2, 129lb and very athletic. Look how great I look when I pull up the extra skin! PS said that he almost always does MR, even in people with no kids. Apparently you get lots of fat under the muscle as well when you are overweight, so usually the muscles are stretched. He also said no lipo.
Sept 23rd here I come!
OMG I'm so excited/nervous. I scheduled my surgery date. It's three months away. I have been working like crazy to get into the absolute best shape I can before surgery. I have a few reasons for that. #1 I think it'd be great if I could lose about 5 more pounds before surgery, #2 I want my recovery to be super fast, and being fit and healthy will help, #3 I want to see my results right away as soon as the swelling goes down! I figure I will lose some muscle tone during the month recovery off the gym, so I want to start with lots of muscle before I go!!!
My PS is going to send out a package including bloodwork requisition. The assistant told me any time in August I can go ahead and do the bloodwork. My final payment is due on Sept 9th, and my pre-op is Sept 11. I will keep you updated!
5 days to go!
So today I took a zillion pictures of myself. I know that at some point I am going to be feeling miserable, wondering why I am doing this - I want to be able to look at all those horrid pictures of my saggy yukky skin to remind me. I took pictures in every single orientation you can imagine, so that I can compare myself any time I feel icky after surgery.
On and off I am feeling very nervous and very depressed. I am really apprehensive about taking four weeks off from working out. I am a fitness fanatic and I don't feel good when I have days off, so four weeks is going to be a real challenge. I also want to be careful when I do get back to it, because I do not want to un-do any of the fabulous work that my PS is going to do!!!
I just have to keep remembering how much greater I will be able to look once this is all healed and swelling is back down months later!! Some of the reviews on here have been really helpful, girls who are all finished and have six pack abs. I'll never have a shot at a six pack without getting rid of the extra skin rolls!!! Mark my words, ladies. I WILL have a six pack after this is all over!!!
I don't want to bombard you with before pics, but here's the worst
PO day 2
So I went into the clinic Monday at 8. I had to wait for a while as they were running a bit late, but I was fairly calm. The PS marked me and took pics. I asked him if he could take the incision a little lower without ruining the results and he said yes, he can do that. I also had a strange request, and I think I may be the first person who has ever asked him this, based on his reaction, but I really want a photo of the hunk of skin they took off. He seemed very surprised but was willing to do it. He's a really nice man and he's been doing this a long time. He's probably had other weird requests over the years haha.
Anyway, I put on the compression stockings to wear during surgery. They didn't seem very tight, but the nurse was not concerned. She said as long as they measured for them then all was good.
The fellow I spoke to the most was the anaesthesiologist. He was a very happy sort of guy. You've got to remember that while the PS makes you look good, it's the anaesthesiologist who keeps you alive!! So I was glad to see he seemed peppy and alert. He took me back into the surgery suite and started an IV. This is a private clinic and the suite was waaay nicer than the operating room at the hospital.
He started me off with fentanyl, which made me feel drunk, then started the real stuff (not sure, maybe propofol) and told me to think of nice things while I fall asleep. The room got a bit spinny and then I was out.
So on waking up I was very groggy and cold. It took a while for me to wake up. I'm pretty sure I was saying stupid things to the nurse (I remember a few of them). I was very uncomfortable and in pain, but it wasn't as bad as I had expected. The anaesthesiologist had told me they would put a local into the incision sit, so I think that helped a bit. I was really rushed out of there quickly, which was really the only negative thing I have to say about the clinic. The nurse put my clothes on and put me in a wheelchair and bye bye!!
When I got home I managed to make it upstairs and into bed. I am very thankful for strong calf muscles. This is how I did it- right foot lifts up while I raise onto the left toes and then up. My legs are very mobile compared to surgeries where they actually cut the muscle, so it was do-able. However, in hindsight, perhaps just doing the recliner downstairs would have been just as good. Hard to say because in bed I was able to sleep a bit on my side thanks to the freezing.
My first night I had a very bad experience. At some point during the night I was very uncomfortable and I wanted to get up and pee. It seems like it shouldn't be that hard to do. So I rolled around a bit trying to sit up. Finally I got myself seated up and my hubby was woken up by then. I started walking to the bathroom but I couldn't breathe. Either the binder was too tight or the pain was too bad. I started feeling very nauseous and I was going to pass out. My whole body was tingling and I couldn't hear properly. I was flushed and hot and sweating like a pig. Only now I was stuck on the toilet, not in bed. Hubby was wiping me with a cold cloth and waving magazines at me to cool me off. After about 15 min I was well enough to make it back to bed. That was the worst feeling I've ever had and I was absolutely panicked because I was on the verge of passing out!!!
I started to feel a bit better about 30 hours after the surgery. I was able to come downstairs and sit in a chair. I ate a bit of soup but I wasn't really hungry at all for day 1 after surgery.
So here I am now day 2 after surgery and feeling better still. At some point in the wee hours of the night, I started having real sleep with dreams, not just drug induced painful hazy sleep. I was able to roll on my side and sleep like that for a few hours. That is a BLESSING!! When I first roll over it is painful, but I stay there and let the pain subside and then it is more comfy. One hour after Percocet seems the ideal time to do this.
At some point today I am going to open this binder and adjust the gauze underneath. Yuck. Peeking in from the top I see a lot of dried blood.
Okay well I tried to be detailed because I find those reviews the most helpful.
So I now have that horrible gas that everyone complains about on day 2/3. It's not horrible as in offensive smelling, but as in excruciatingly painful. I guess it's a side effect from anaesthetic? Thankfully this didn't happen on day 1. At least I'm a little healed to be able to drag myself to the washroom in case I poo. It feels the same way as a horrible diarrhea spasm. Sorry for the graphic details. I realize that my be tmi for some people.
The good news is that my pain when sleeping is low enough to sleep on my side. Yay!!
As of this morning I've decided to cut my percocets in half. The pain is so much more bearable. After I posted last night about the pains I was having, I did end up having a bm, but it took about 45 min and now my back is killing me.
My PS said to try to walk straight right away, so I've avoided the back pain up until poomaggedon last night. Sigh.
PS called me yesterday to discuss a follow up visit. He said I could come today or wait until Sunday. I'd rather wait until Sunday, but I really need him to unstick this piece of gauze so that I can have a shower, so I'm going this afternoon.
I took off my binder long enough to snap some pics. I'm very swollen, but it looks darn good already. Loooooooooove that belly button!! It looks like a real one instead of a stupid frowny face!!
It's night #3 and I just had four hours of awesome sleep on my side. I don't think I moved a muscle. I am going to fill up on another 1/2 perc and attempt the rest of the night on my other side. So pleased.
Day 4 less pain
Okay at day 4 I am down to half a perc every 4-5 hours. I am able to get around the house fairly well but I'm only doing so when I need to because it's certainly not fun. I was able to cook myself breakfast this morning. It was a challenge but it was do-able.
I've been standing as straight as I can and my back pain has calmed down. I really only had one bad back day so far. Fingers crossed that it was the last. If that pain returns I will get sig other to dig out the heating pad.
DO NOT OVERDOSE SENOKOT! After poomaggedon I didn't poop for a whole day, so I decided to take another senokot last night. Now I have the trots. It's not easy to get to the toilet quickly at this point!!!
I have very lumpy, uneven swelling in my abdomen. I'm sure it will eventually go away, so I'm not worried about it. I'm also having itchy feelings in areas that are numb. Like it feels itchy in my belly button but I can't even feel the skin when I touch anywhere near there. It's a bit irritating. There is some pleating on my incision. I will try to get some photos later so I can track the healing progress.
Here's the photos of my incision. I'm totally not worried about any of the stuff I've noted here. Just keeping a record.
Day 4 report
So yesterday was day 4 post op. I managed to get out of the house for a treat. It wasn't bad but I was really worried that someone was going to bump into me so I kept a lot of distance from people. I was shuffling and had a time getting in and out of the car. Needed help from sig other, but it was worth it to get off my stupid couch. We were out for an hour or so, got ice cream. I was a bit extra sore last night but it was still bearable with the half percs. I'm thinking of switching to plain Tylenol or Advil soon. Tylenol doesn't seem to work great for me and I'm not sure if I'm allowed Advil, so I may wait for my appt Monday. We'll see how today goes. I'm really tired. I slept fine but I wake up halfway through the night when I need another pill, and I'm the kind of person that if I fully wake up it takes at least an hour to get back to sleep. :(
My. Incision area has been annoyingly itchy and I hate this binder. It's constantly riding up. I'm starting to get really bored of lying on the couch, but I'm not well enough to do anything else yet. Even sitting up for too long is uncomfortable. Blah.
The pulling and tightness is still there, but it is confined to beneath my new bb. Now it feels like a twenty pound weight has been glued to my skin and is dangling there. When I first got home on day 1, it felt like a grown woman had grabbed hold of my skin and was hanging off me with all her weight, while simultaneously standing on my belly. So the twenty pound weight is much better. :)
I plan on having another shower today! I'm so glad I was able to borrow a shower seat for this.
Day 6 update
Well I just got a whole lot better this morning! I feel significantly better. I took half a percocet last night at bedtime, and when I woke up during the night, the pain was not so bad that I decided to just go back to sleep instead of re-drugging. When I woke up in the morning, I was sore, but not too bad. I took another half percocet and that has taken away the pain. Now I feel great! Finally all the little things aren't hurting this morning. Making coffee didn't hurt my abs. Opening the fridge didn't hurt my abs. Going pee only slightly hurt my abs.
Another big problem is that I have not been able to pick up anything off the floor all week. It is super duper annoying to drop something and have to just leave it there for someone else to pick up. We take bending over for granted so much!! Well as of today, I am now able to fully squat down and pick stuff up off the floor. I am still staying fairly straight up and down in my back and torso, but the squatting is pretty comfortable.
So far day 6 is feeling darn good.
Last night I was feeling really cruddy, so bored of lying on my couch. My neck was actually getting stiff from lying on the couch! I asked my sig other to try to go for a walk around the block. We got down about five houses away and I started to feel a pulling in my belly. I really really don't want to mess up my results, so we turned around and went back. Now mind you, we were going so slow, it was probably a ten minute walk. It felt good to get out and move around a bit, and returning to the couch was more pleasant after that.
I am going to try really really hard to follow doctor's orders and not start exercising before I'm supposed to. This is going to be my biggest challenge because fitness is the main focus of my life, and it is so hard to be away from it. I at least have some choreography that I can learn from videos and do it from my couch, so I can live vicariously on that. :) Those of you that are fitness buffs will know what I mean! I already am fantasizing about going for a run.
I took a few photos but I look exactly the same as day 3, so I may or may not post them. I can't wait for the swelling to go down so I can see the definition in my abs. At least the lines down the sides again. Even with the extra skin I could see the lines down the sides, and down the middle when I stretched the skin up.
BB close up and another comparison shot.
I generally wear size 4, which can be pretty loose around my belly, but look what would happen when I sat down. Hideous!!! Even in pants that fit loosely, this bulgy gross skin would spill over the top. Sometimes I would tuck it into my pants, which is why I always wore them loose.
Okay not much has changed over the last two days. I went and saw PS. He says I have to continue wearing this binder at least another week. I hate this binder. I hate it with a passion. I hate it more than anything I've ever hated before. It's tight, it's not breathable, it's sweaty, it's got blood stains on it, it's uncomfortable and it's too long. My PS did a drainless procedure, which reduces the need for the binder, as I understand, but obviously does not eliminate it. It is very uncomfortable to sit upright in this stupid thing because it is too long and I am a short girl. PS said some people cut their binder shorter, but I really need a serger in order to do that, and I don't own one. I will continue to suffer with this horrible thing for now. He did show me how tight he would make it, and I was wearing it a bit too tight, so that is a tiny relief.
I am able to do a lot more things now, but I am frustrated that I am not able to do more. I know this stage is only going to last a few weeks, but man - when you are sitting at home bored out of your gourd, uncomfortable and feeling crap - it feels like every hour lasts a day and every day is a new week of endless boredom and uncomfortableness.
I got my sig other to bring the vacuum out and I was able to easily vacuum around the furniture. That was nice as the cat hair is really starting to collect around here!! I wasn't able to get into all the nooks and crannies but it was good to get the big fur balls out of the way. I'm still having difficulty getting things off the floor, but I can do it in a pinch.
I have started to enter into the bad swelling stage. I am having a hard time fitting into my loose pants (with binder too). I look a bit preggers too. I know this stage will pass in a few weeks, so I will try to ride it out and not freak out. I remember after gallbladder surgery I still had some swelling months later.
Warning: the next paragraph is a rambling stream-of-consciousness rant. Read at your own risk of boredom and tmi!! :)
This is a truly emotional journey. Every surgery is pretty emotional, but this one has my own feelings of self-esteem and personal self worth wrapped up in it as well, which makes it more difficult. I literally just looked down as I was sitting here and my shirt was bunched up right where my roll used to stick over my pants. I had a little mini heart attack and then realized it was just my shirt. I can't imagine going through all this and then not being satisfied. That is my worst fear. That no matter what I do or how much surgery I have that I will never be satisfied with my body. I struggled with this even before going in. I wondered if I would go through all this and be no more proud of my body than I was before. As a fitness buff, I worked so so so hard to get where I was. I am already thin - I look great in clothes (95% of them anyway) and for most of the world, I look like a thin, fit person. So why am I so unhappy with having that skin? I'm almost 40, nobody will think twice if I don't wear a bikini or a bra top. I don't know. I also work with and around mostly 20 year olds who even if they are fat, they still have smooth tummies. Some people don't work hard at all and don't have the lumps and bumps I had. Sometimes I was embarassed to get up there and teach a class. When I do crunches all my skin bunches up and it looks like a fat roll. :( In the change room I couldn't lean over when dressing without feeling so horrible. When I was reaching over my head to put my shirt on I would feel great, because with the skin stretched you could see my abs. But when I stood there, arms down, all you could see is yuck. I think maybe if only my bb had been a round little circle, I wouldn't be so self conscious. I have a friend who is all stretch marks and loose skin, but she still has a little round bb and she teaches with a bra top. Today in the shower I was looking at my tummy, looking at the parts that I don't think he stretched far enough, how high the incision is, how my hip bone sticks out now, how it looks like a little dog ear is forming - all these insecurities started coming up. What if I lean over in a bra top and my skin still rolls at the top where he didn't pull it down? Why are there overweight people who still have the confidence to wear a bikini and I can't??? What is wrong with me? I think other than this appearance issue, I have really good self esteem. I'm not embarassed by my face or my dark circles under my eyes. I am not ashamed of the car I drive or how smart I am or by the money I make - all of which could use improvement. Why am I soooooo caught up on this "fatness" thing??????
Okay well if you read that and understood my rambling I am amazed. I considered deleting it, since it's not really coherent, but I think maybe there are some people who feel the same way and it always helps to know you aren't alone.
Day 10 looking pregnant!!
Wow this swelling is yucky. I don't fit into my pants. I have to wear dumpy shorts and I feel fat. :( I hope this goes away over the next week. I won't be able to go back to work if I can't wear my pants!! The swelling is much worse than it was the first few days.
The last two days I have made small outings. (Today I went to two stores.) I can't believe how tiring that was. I actually had to have a two hour nap after that!!!
Soooo Sooooo Happy with results so far
So today I am going to officially update my review to say "worth it". I just tried on a whole load of my workout clothes and they look AMAZING. I normally wear high waisted shorts so that I can "tuck" my rolls into them. It smoothes out the look of my tummy. Well I tried on my shorts and guess what?!?!?! I can wear them as low as I want! My tummy is smooth!!!!!! I tried on all my tight workout tanks and none of them have that little bulge that I have to try to hard to cover or tuck in. I am so so happy.
So I don't know what day this is. Somewhere between 11 and 13 dpo. Today I am really exhausted. I'm not sure why. My body must be doing some major wound healing today. I slept in, got up reluctantly, and I'm kind of walking around like a zombie. I'm not worried about it, I'm sure my bod is working things out.
This morning I was not very swollen, and I am just now able to start using my abs again. I was able to get a few pics with my abs braced and I can see a bit of my definition returning under the skin. yay!
My biggest concern now is that little dog ear. As the swelling recedes, I can see it is starting to become a problem. I will point it out to the doctor when I see him next and see what he says. I guess there's still a chance it will flatten out as I heal. I have tried to capture a photo of it, but it is pretty hard to take photos of skin-coloured 3D bumps on an iphone camera. My doctor did say that anything like that will get fixed by him for free, so it shouldn't be a problem. I imagine that after ripping your skin up and pulling it down and reattaching it from hip to hip, it's not easy to make it line up perfectly on the first go.
My belly button still looks fantastic, and today after my shower some of the scabbing fell off it. In a few days I am having some of the bb stitches removed. The glue around my incision is starting to flake off now and I can see some areas are healing really well. The other areas it's hard to tell because they are still scabby.
I don't think I'll do much today since I am so tired. I am getting sick of TV and I can't concentrate on my book for too long, so maybe I will dig out some knitting or something.
I posted too soon. Here's another photo. Damn! I'm looking so good and still not even done my swelling phase. I'm so happy with the results!!
Seeing PS today
So I am sure that most of us looked up the negative reviews of tummy tucks on here before deciding what to do. I have seen a few with very disgusting wounds. Last night I really freaked myself out. My bellybutton, which I can't see very well, looks like maybe there is a little bit of a hole in it. Well I am very very good at over reacting and freaking myself out. I can't even tell if there is actually a hole or not, but I spent an hour imagining that wound getting bigger and bigger until my entire bb is ruined and my TT is ruined.
Thank goodness I have an appointment today with the PS. I hope he tells me I'm being ridiculous.
So it turns out that I'm just a hypochondriac! The doctor pulled this string of yellow gooey glue out of my bb. That was what looked like the hole. My mind gets out of control at times. Sheesh.
So he removed a bunch of stitches, only a few left now. My bb was bleeding just a touch, there's a spot on the gauze padding. I'm assuming that's normal, since he dislodged a bit of scabbing etc. he is pleased with how the bb is turning out, and so am I.
With respect to the possible dog ear, he said he waits a good 8 months before fixing it because they can resolve on their own, and it's too early to tell if it will remain. If he needs to fix it, it's a quick fix under local. So everything is going well.
He also said I can ditch the binder at night. Yay! I cut a bit off the bottom, and that has helped, but I still hate it.
Okay so I am starting to develop a bit of feeling back near the incision. I can feel some sensation along the incision line except directly below my new bb. The thing is, it is super freaky. I keep on feeling like the clothes are rubbing me along my upper abdomen, but it is actually near the incision. That skin used to be located up around my belly button, and it is now down by my underwear line. If I run my hand along the incision, it feels like I'm being touched near my belly button!! It's freaky and mildly unpleasant. Hopefully my mind/body connection re-adjusts for this feeling over time. My incision area is a bit sore the last few days. I'll admit I've been poking at it a bit trying to remove the glue and crusty scabs. The incision below the scabs is looking pretty good.
Well I'm at two and a half weeks. I'm still suffering and getting annoyed about it. I feel like I shouldn't have pain anymore, so I'm bothered that I'm having a lot of soreness today. I did a lot of shopping yesterday, so I'm sure that contributed.
I'm still concerned about my belly button. It looks open to me in one area, and it's oozing a bit of gross goo. I don't see ps for another week. I am trying to stay relaxed about it. Some of the other girls are having a bit of oozing too. It gets goofier when I use the ointment that ps gave me, but I don't want to quit using it because it's antibiotic and I think that's important.
I have a photo of the Halloween costume I got - one I could not have worn last year due to rolls!
Belly button update
I did some research on this site and talked to my doctors office. The doctor said that he is not concerned about this type of oozing (clear and no smell) from the bellybutton. He said it is fairly common after removing bellybutton stitches. From the other things that I've read on this site it is not very worrisome. The doctor told me to clean the bellybutton out with a Q-tip and apply ointment. Keeping it moist with the antibacterial ointment will promote healing.
Otherwise, I feel like I'm about 17 months pregnant due to all this swelling. I had pizza last night which was probably not a great idea.
2.5 week incision pics
Most of the scabbing is gone. Just a couple of tiny yucky bits.
I'm beginning to understand why people call this "swell hell". It is truly truly horrendous, depressing and uncomfortable. My clothes don't fit. I have worked so hard over the last few years to get myself down to this size. I spent years hating the way I looked because I was fat, then I hated the stupid droopy skin. I finally got to the point where I was thin and looked great in my clothes and decided to do something about the rolls. Well now I am back to being puffy and thick. My clothes feel gross and I still have some amount of roll left in my upper abs just under my boobs. My tummy is swollen and I can't bend over properly because there is so much swell there. It feels like back when I was fat and it was uncomfortable to bend over because of my enormous flabby belly. I feel gross and disgusting. I just feel so uncomfortable all the time. The last two days I have been swollen right from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to bed. The binder doesn't help. Who invented this crappy thing anyways? How many more weeks of this will I have to go through? I've read that some people go half a year with swelling issues. :( I didn't know just how sh*tty and depressed that this would make me feel. Lot of girls are saying that week six is a turning point. Oh my god I'm not even halfway there. :(
Last night I started having those feelings of "was this really worth it?". I knew that I would get those feelings, but somehow I thought they would be melodramatic and easily dismissed by looking at my before pics. I didn't expect it to be a real doubt, right down in my core. I'm wondering how I am going to go back to teaching. I've only booked four weeks off, and I teach a very high impact, high cardio class. I deffo won't be able to do crunches or hovers in a week and a half. I can't imagine doing a plyometric lunge - it actually makes me feel sick to my stomach to think about it. When I went for a walk two days ago, I felt out of breath just walking and talking. My lung capacity is way smaller now that those muscles are tightened.
I guess what I'm saying is that I am afraid. I'm afraid that I can't teach and/or that I can't be an effective instructor when I can't even do it myself. I hope I get my fitness back quickly. I hate feeling out of shape.
The good news is that I am feeling less swollen this morning and I have a few pics to share.
There is a giant hole in my body
I went to the doctor today. He opened up the oozing area. A giant gush of fluid came out. (Giant as in compared to the oozing). It is mostly clear but pink from blood. He stuck qtips right in the hole to suck up the fluid. But he left me with this big hole! He did not seem concerned about it, and I didn't really look at it until I got back to work. It's a big, deep, open hole. He doesn't even want to see me until Sunday!! I'm not sure I can emotionally handle this!! I'm scared of infection! I'm so creeped out!
BB improvement I think
I will write more about what the doctor actually said when I am at my computer. I did call him yesterday and everything seems to be okay. This morning it seems to have closed in.
call with doctor
So I wrote a bit on the chat board about calling my doctor. Basically after I posted the picture of the hole yesterday, I started really freaking out. Like I basically started panicking and I showed the hole to some friends at work and they thought it looked scary too. Then one of them asked me what I'm supposed to do to it and I couldn't even remember what the doctor said as far as caring for it. So I was trying to keep it together and call the doctor back and when they answered I just lost it and burst into tears on his assistant. I'm sure she gets that frequently because she was really good about it and got the doctor right away on the phone.
So he explained to me that the hole is just a small hole (in my mind it is HUGE). The hole is the size of the qtip head, and goes straight down. He was not able to sweep the qtip around, the hole is just the size of the qtip and no bigger. He said that the fluid that came out looked completely clear (blood tinged, but clear) and so there is absolutely no sign of infection. He said that this is not rare, he does see this fairly often. The wound is very much under tension around the bb, so this is a common spot to have problems. It was basically just a trapped pocket of fluid. He feels that now that it has been released that the hole should heal up quickly. He also told me that I can still shower, and to just keep the area clean and covered with gauze and a bit of ointment in the area.
He was really great and told me that I can call anytime I have a concern and that if I want to come in sooner than Sunday that would be fine. He said he is not worried one little bit about this hole and that it will not affect the results. He really made me feel so much better. I went from near-nuclear to feeling fine about this and realizing that it is just a little hole that will go away (hopefully with no more bursting events).
As of this morning, it looks like the hole is closing in. I hope that it heals properly and doesn't start re-collecting fluid. I know some people have holes that need to be packed and take weeks to heal. Hopefully this hole does not turn out to be a problem like that. But I feel reassured that I am not going to lose my belly button or have horrible scars because of it.
I talked to him about starting to work out too. I told him I don't think I'm ready to go back to teaching next week and he said he thought that was a good idea to give it another week. So next week I may start doing low impact stuff, but I'm not going to jump into teaching right away.
Last night I attempted some very gentle cardio. Like didn't actually even sweat 15 minutes. It felt weird and I don't want to mess with my bb hole. I will do that again today. I see PS tomorrow and will get more detail about how hard I can push with this bb hole (that isn't really a hole anymore)
Today I did about 40 min of step class. I did only the step, no risers, and I stayed low impact. No jumps, no bouncing. I had a slight sheen of sweat and deep breathing but not heavy. So that went well and I feel okay after doing that much. I'm not officially supposed to exercise until Monday, but it's close enough as far as I'm concerned. My abs felt very tight. There's no way in hell I could do a plank or any an work at this point.
Day 27 bb update
So I saw the doctor again today. He said he wants the hole to heal from the bottom up. Fat tissue heals slower than skin, so it needs to heal under the skin before the skin is allowed to heal over. He disrupted the top of the hole where it was starting to close over. So I am back to having an open hole. However, he thinks it will probably be healed up within a week. He left a bit of gauze jammed in the hole so that it doesn't fully close over right away. He is going to do the same thing again on Wednesday.
By the way...
I am feeling AWESOME about the results. Yesterday when I started getting sweaty at the gym, I pulled up my top to let my belly breathe. Even with the gauze over my bb I had super confidence showing my abdomen. It felt amazing. I was getting lots of compliments from my fellow instructors about how slim I look. I am so happy with the results.
Okay so I am giving detailed gym reports because I wish I had been able to read some before my journey. So it's not because I think everyone cares about my workouts! :) Just in case you were wondering why I'm going on and on about it. haha
So on day 27 I took the day off because the doctor fiddled with the bb hole and I didn't want to wreck it.
On day 28 I did a whole step class. Again no risers and no impact. I did really have to hold myself back during some parts of the workout because I was feeling ready to push a bit. However, I am going to stick with my policy of not being stupid and not pushing myself too hard and injuring myself or screwing up my results. I still am generally sore in my entire belly area, with some spots being worse than others, so I know that I am not finished healing. Oh and still way to sore to even think about attempting planks or pushups or crunches.
The great news is that after class, I put on my underpants covering my scar and strutted around the changeroom with confidence. I feel so confident I never would have imagined how great it feels. I thought I would be very self conscious about the scar and very worried about hiding it, but I was not preoccupied like I thought I would be.
Anyway, it's all good and today I'm wearing clothes I would never dare to wear before the surg.
not so good gym day
Last night I went to do a class, and I felt a painful tugging in my upper abdomen. It's a spot where I am still feeling a lot of achiness and pulling, but last night it just didn't feel right. So after three songs at very very low intensity, I gave up and left. I think after the step class the day before my abs needed a day off. I have an appt today for him to look at the hole in my bb, so depending on what he does/says, I will try to get to step class tonight. I'm really enjoying step at the moment because it's easy to do low impact without looking out of place from the other people.
For anyone following the bb hole saga - on day 27, he left that little bit of gauze in the hole so it would heal up from the bottom up. He said the gauze would probably fall out in the shower the next day. Well it didn't. But I didn't want to leave it in the hole, because now it was all wet with soapy gross water. So I pulled it out. Not sure if that was the right thing to do, but whatever. During that day, I could see the hole sort of closing in again and it was really oozy, so I kept using sterilized swabs to keep the hole open and soak up the crud. At some point it sort of stopped trying to close at the top. I go again today, but I will post a photo of what it looks like now.
More gym report...
Day 30 - waaay better than day 29. On day 29 I had serious pulling/pain when exercising so I left after 15 min. On day 30 I did step again and it was great. I was able to use a set of risers and I was doing some of the gentle impact. I was coming right off my bench. I was very tired, way more exhausted than before op, but I was happy to have some of my mobility back.
Day 31 - I went to my high impact class as a participant again. This time it went a lot better. I did do the whole class. I was doing light jogging but nothing high impact, so no jumping jacks (too painful), no plyo lunges (I would probably die)... I was able to do some jumping straight up and down, but I couldn't reach my hands over my head while doing it. That was too much stretch in the abdomen and felt bad. By the end of class I was very tight in the abdomen.
I am going to work on regaining my range of motion by doing more stretching of the abs. Nothing crazy, just gently stretching that area daily and doing reaching type stuff. I still would not be able to do any ab strengthening stuff, pushups, planks, crunches etc. I think that will be weeks before my abs are healed enough to support that.
BB hole is smaller but I'm surprised it hasn't totally closed up yet. I wish that would close up so I can bare my belly during exercise.
No swelling this morning
I woke up this morning with almost zero swelling! I am extremely pleased with my results. My scar is still really purple, I hope it starts fading soon. BB hole is teensy tiny but is really lingering! Just close already! It's the size of the qtip stem now. My bb looks like a black pit because of the dark purple was of the scar. I've started massaging the scar a few times a day.
Last night I skipped workout because I was still very tight from the night before. Today I'm back to step. I think I could probably co-teach step on low options, I'll think about that for today. I'm going to add photos of this am.
I think I will be updating less frequently because there's just less to say now! My bb hole is still annoyingly open, but soooo small. I keep on thinking it is finally going to close, but the blaggarty thing keeps hanging on. I really want it to close so I can have a bath!!
I shopped for a bikini on the weekend. I have never worn a bikini in my life. I was amazed that they all covered my scar no problem. It seems high to me (although it is still moving down, I can see the progression.) Then I shopped for a dress. OH MY GOD that was amazing. For the first time in my life I put on these dresses and they all looked good. I didn't have to pick apart the image in the mirror. I didn't spend my time figuring out how to suck in to make it look good. The dress just looked good. Right from the start. I won't have to wear a spanx or pull up my panty hose to my eyeballs to conceal a roll. It looked so good. This surgery was worth it so much. It just has washed away all those horrible feelings I had about myself, my body and my appearance. I feel like my outside finally matches my inside.
As for the gym, at 5 weeks PO, I am now able to do a bit of impact. I'm still not able to do jumping jacks (too much pulling). Moves with my arms overhead are difficult, and if I do anything too jerky it causes muscle spasms in the lower abs. Very unpleasant. Some moves with lifting the knees or kicking are okay at the beginning of the workout but by the end I have to just sort of do it half-assed because it starts to hurt. I have not attempted a plank or pushup yet, but will maybe try a quick one tonight, just to test. I feel ready to test it out. Plus I can tell my upper body strength has really suffered. I've done a bit of lifting light weights and my shoulders are definitely weaker than before.
Okay so tomorrow is my six weeks surgaversary. :)
My bb hole finally closed in yesterday, although I feel like if I gave it a good poke it would open again. Man that was a slow healer. In a few days I am going to start taking baths again. I miss bubble baths sooo much!!
I also often get this disturbing, itchy feeling that feels like it's inside my belly button. However, I think it is actually the skin at my incision. That skin used to be right near my belly button, and now it is irritated and I am having referred sensations. It's gross and creepy. Sometimes there is a very sharp burning pain with it.
Swelling - I still usually look great in the morning, very hippy by the afternoon, and very soft and hippy at night. It's still preferable to my before, so I am okay with it. I really really can't wait until the swelling is gone for good.
The gym - well oh boy, this has not been going as I had pictured it before surgery. I have been going every day, but only participating. I am not back to teaching yet. I have team taught a few tracks, but I can't finish a whole class teaching on my own.
Here's what I mean by that. I start out good, I have lots of energy, everything feels great. Then sometime during the workout, there will be a spot where the muscles in my abdomen start to tighten up. It becomes very painful and starts to feel like an injury. Those of you who work out a lot probably know what I mean. It's not good pain/good tightness, it's the bad kind. So at that point, I either need to take a break, stop, or go way way low.
So for being a participant, I think my progress is pretty good. Each day I am able to do a little more. I am now doing almost all of the moves, some just a little less energetically than before. I am doing jumping jacks, jogging, kicking, high knees (that one is a little harder with my knees not up as high as before), squats, lunges and weight lifting (no abs).
I have started to do some planks and a very very few crunches. I can't do anything that requires isolating my lower abs. I think that was where my major muscle repair occured. Those muscles just don't actually even work yet. I can't lift both legs at the same time even if I try. Squats can be very uncomfortable and pull a lot. I think they must use more lower abs than I assumed!
So for anyone who is a fitness addict - the news is pretty good. At six weeks I feel about halfway there. For fitness instructors, well, book a lot of time off. I'm thinking I won't be ready to teach a class until 8weeks. Now if it were my only job, and I really depended on the money, I could fake it and just tell people "tuck jump" and not do it myself sort of thing, so it's not the end of the world if you can't get the time off.
I am loving my new body! I purchased a home weight lifting system, because now that I don't have all that droop hiding my middle, I want to get super-ripped.
Finally a no swell morning!!!
Seven weeks minus two days:
Last night in bed I was touching my tummy and for the first time I felt my hard muscles under there instead of just firm swelling. Sure enough when I got up I have pretty much no swelling. Not just low swelling. Like almost none. Just a touch on the left belly area. This coincides with me feeling a lot less general pain. It's still there, but it has reduced significantly on the last few days.
I'm looking forward to what the next couple if weeks brings.
11 Nov 2013
2 months post
Well I have definitely turned a corner here. The lack of swelling has continued. I can now see some of my ab definition returning. (Not that I ever had a six pack or anything - just a bit of definition). I can feel my skin over my abs, instead of it all just feeling the same.
There is still some swelling, I can't pinch my skin like I used to be able to. There is also still the hippy look going on, but it is much less than it was before.
My abs are still sore almost constantly, and the other day I was feeling pretty good so I tried doing this tricky ab move. That was not a good idea. I'll be sticking to regular low range of motion crunches and planks for another few weeks. I need to take some photos to upload.
Week 7 photos
12 Nov 2013
2 months post
As you can see, my scar is still pretty dark. I just started using bio oil. I look forward to it lightening.
12 Nov 2013
2 months post
I just had a giant coughing fit because I inhaled a piece of almond. It was horrible. It goes to show just how far my abs still have to go as far as healing. I feel like someone has punched me in the gut. Ow.
Argh - injury
17 Nov 2013
2 months post
Well I managed to do it. On Thursday I didn't feel so good, so I wanted to skip the gym. Due to various reasons I ended up going anyway. Well I should have paid attention to my body and stayed home. I have managed to hurt something inside. For a couple of days it has been very painful around my belly button, and the swelling came back with a vengeance. I am five pounds heavier than last week due to swelling and I'm back to looking pregnant.
So I thought I would be able to get back to teaching this week, and I was on track, but now I think I am going to need another several weeks. This week I think I won't do any gym at all. It is a pretty sharp and deep pain when I laugh or do a lot of moving around. I have had Fri and Sat now with no gym and it is still not good. :(
I am pretty mad at myself because I should not have gone on Thursday when I was feeling sore already. I should have taken the day off. One day off on Thursday would have maybe saved me the whole week off now. stupid stupid stupid.
19 Nov 2013
2 months post
Well my injury is feeling much better after several days of doing nothing. Seriously, I have even been avoiding laughing. I normally weigh about 126, but after the injury I was hovering at 131!! All swelling and mostly in my belly. Gross. It has started to go down today, I am down to 129 and my belly is looking better. I should have taken a photo but it was too depressing. It doesn't hurt anymore, but I am going to stick to my plan of no gym until Thursday.
My scar is still dark. It's pretty thin in most places now, but still very purple. I hope that starts to fade out soon. It's most important on my belly button, where people may actually see it. I figured on my vacation in three weeks I can always dab a bit of makeup on top of it to help.
As for my incision line - it's really starting to flatten down. I had one area in the middle that poked out like a big gross dog ear, and it is almost completely flat now. the little dog ear on the side is still there, but has definitely flattened out a bit, so I may not need any revision there. That is very good.
The only thing I'm not too keen on is that my belly button is very deep. I am not sure why he did it that way - maybe to make it more natural looking in the end, because it kind of aims down. Anyway, it looks great, but because it is deep, I noticed that I went to clean it and there was some smelly stuff in it. That is so gross. My mom said to use rubbing alcohol on a q-tip like they do with babies. I hope that as the scar continues to soften that it opens up a bit and isn't quite as deep. I will use a qtip every night for the rest of my life if I have to, but I don't particularly want to. :/
Back at the gym... take two
22 Nov 2013
2 months post
Okay after my self-imposed week off, I went back to the gym last night and it was amazing!! I feel so much better now, and so much more "normal". I finally have back my range of motion. I can jump up and actually extend my arms overhead, for example. I can sink down low in a squat without pain etc. I feel that I have really made progress as far as healing enough to work out.
I am still definitely not where I was. I still can't do abs. Crunches are very weird. It's not that it hurts, exactly. It's more like I just can't do them. My abs just don't work. And if I push too hard, they are quite sore the next day. My lower abs are the worst. If I try to do reverse crunches I can't even lift my butt off the floor.
I also have really lost my cardiovascular capacity. I taught four tracks last night, and by the fourth I was totally winded. My muscles were okay to go and I wasn't physically tired, but man! I couldn't catch my breath! I haven't felt that way since I started teaching years ago. I hope that improves quickly. I guess after 8 weeks of doing nothing or close to nothing, this is totally expected. :)
Other than that, I have noticed something in my belly button. Possibly ooze or something, but there's so little of it I can't be sure. Belly buttons are gross. I've never paid so much attention to my bb until now. :) I think there may be a section inside that is still a little scabby.
25 Nov 2013
2 months post
Wow! Time flies. I can't believe it's been nine weeks!
So finally finally finally, the tightness is gone during normal daily activities. I still don't have the mobility for stretching that I had pre-op, but I feel normal when I'm just standing around.
I have been doing a weightlifting program for the last month (minus my injury time), and I am starting to see some definition returning in my abs. Yay!!! I tried to post pics but it didn't work. I will try again after I post the update.
When I do the weightlifting, I am using dumbells, not anything heavier than 30 lbs. I don't think it's a good idea at this point to be squatting huge weight or leg presses, that kind of thing. I think it would pop my stitches all back open on the inside. I will save any super heavy work for several months down the line. It's amazing how much you can do though with body weight and these dumbells!!
My biggest problem is doing stuff on my back, because I find it hard to get back up to sitting. When I'm on the bench doing a chest press, it is a real struggle to get back up to sitting. Sometimes my sig other helps me up. Other times I roll around to try to get on my side so I can sit up. It's probably pretty comical to watch.
Well I don't have much else to say. :)
a few more thoughts
25 Nov 2013
2 months post
I will be honest. The surgery has taken away about 85% of my craziness. There is still some there though. I think I will always be very self conscious. I think I will always compare myself to others too. I was at a party on the weekend, looking at all the people. The ladies at this party are all my age. I'm used to being around younger people at the gym and at work. These ladies all had average bodies for people my age and I stood there looking at their rolls and big butts and wondering "Why can't I be happy to be like them?" Like everyone was just there, having a good time, enjoying the party. I was probably the only loser wondering how much sugar is in the jello shooters. :( But then the next day I went to the gym and I actually worked out in a bra top, which has been a dream of mine since FOREVER. So who knows? Maybe all this pain (not just the surgery, also the working out and careful eating) is worth it in the end? Maybe I should enjoy those moments of not hating my body and not feel guilty? Maybe I should just stop trying to put a moral value on a surgery. Just say "I had extra skin, I didn't like it, now it's gone." Instead of constantly judging whether it's "okay" for people to have surgery or whether it's "vain" or "cheating" or whatever-the-eff people always say about it.
Okay so I developed that little spot on my bb that had a bit of pus and became a tiny small hole. Last night I could see a stitch inside and I tried to pull it out but it wouldn't come. Today I was able to pick it out. I hope the little hole heals up by next week for my cruise!!
I forgot to add that my scar is FINALLY starting to fade!!
Here are some pics. In the right light you can really see my abdomen starting to take shape. Yay!
I have started doing some rehab type exercises for my abs. Stuff like bringing knees to chest (carefully!) and lowering knees to the side. I feel like my abs are starting to "wake up" and learning how to work again.
I have been doing a body building program as well as back to teaching my classes now. I still haven't attempted a tuck jump, but I think I would possibly be ready for it. I'd say I'm back to 75% now.
19 Dec 2013
3 months post
Okay guys, my official three month anniversary is on Monday! Unbelievable!
Last week I went on a cruise and it was fantastic. I wore my bikini the whole time. I felt amazing. The salty and fatty food was really good. I put on four pounds, but it was gone within three days after I returned, so I'm sure it was mostly just water retention from the crappy food. (Crappy health-wise, not taste!)
I continued to workout while on vacation. The cruise ship has a gym, so I went there about four days. I also chose excursions off the boat that were active, like hiking and kayaking. I wore spf 60 on my bb and scar, and tried to keep something sitting on my bb when I was just lying around. Usually I wadded up a tee and put my book on top of it so that I didn't look to silly hiding my bb from the sun. :)
I have really started in on training my abdominals. Holy wow I am not as strong as I used to be. I used to hold a plank about three minutes - I can't do that anymore. I find the hardest moves are actually bicycle crunches, which is funny because that's supposed to be mostly obliques, which they didn't operate on!! I do feel a lot of soreness in my abs after exercising them, but it is exercise soreness, not injury type soreness.
I rarely feel any pulling anymore. Now I find the most disturbing feeling is the numbness. And on the edges of the numbness is sort of a yucky skin tenderness/soreness where the nerves are regenerating. When I lean up against a counter, for example, it is a very unpleasant feeling in my skin.
I had noooooo idea when I signed up for this just how long the healing would take. It is quite a journey we embarked upon...
Happy new year everyone! Xmas was challenging for me and I've put on a few pounds :( I have made my goals for the next little while and hopefully the weight drops quickly. January is a good time to focus on my body because all that Xmas food is gone out of my sight.
10 Jan 2014
4 months post
I don't have a lot to say.. Been working out a lot and while I'm not where I used to be, I'm certainly able to push my hardest. My abs are still very weak compared to before. It hurts to work them out, but I feel like it's no longer a surgery hurt. I think it's like when I first started working out and they just used to be weak and hurt after workouts. I feel very happy with my progress.
I wish this scar would hurry up and fade. There are a few spots it's starting to disappear, but overall it is still quite purple. I also am annoyed by this little dog ear. It make a funny shape stick over my workout shorts. It's not super noticeable, but I sure see it. To me it's like a big neon sign! Lol
I will add some photos in a separate post.
17 Feb 2014
5 months post
Things are going great. My scars around the bb have really softened up and are starting to fade. I'm so happy with my results and finally have gotten past the regrets that I was feeling. I am so happy I had this done.
I don't have much to say, but I thought I'd update some photos.
I forgot to mention that I have a small dog ear on one side that for sure needs to be fixed. It actually sticks out a bit over my shorts. I see PS in two weeks to discuss it. Does anyone know what the recovery is for that? I'm assuming it's just a small repair - I hope the scar isn't dark and purple again. It's taking soooo long for it to fade!
One year later!
Anniversary is in two weeks. All the swelling is finally gone. I am so happy with my results. I still need the dog ear fixed, but my PS has a very serious illness and I'm not sure if he's going to get better. I may be on the hook to get a new PS and pay. That sucks but it's certainly out of anyone's control at this point.
I wish my belly button were a bit different, but I would 100% do this again exactly as I did if I could turn back time.