I'm 5'3, 144lbs and even though I'm having the...
20 months ago I weighed 236 lbs, so I'm close to losing 95lbs and my whole front from my breasts down to the pubic area is a saggy mess!
I'm getting really nervous.... But excited too... I've been reading a lot about the emotional roller coaster so I'm trying my best to be prepared for that. I sometimes think I must be out of my mind to put myself through this, but then I think of the reality that I could have non droopy breasts, I could potentially find bra shopping fun instead of a chore... And as for the belly... Well look at the pictures!! I can't ever remember having a tight belly, even as a teen and in my early 20's before any serious weight gain I always had rolls and puppy fat, so I can't even imagine what it's going to feel like, so I'm excited for that part.
I am trying to get my supplies and everything in order. I was thinking of renting a power recliner, and was quoted $325 for a month rental, but then I looked on Craigslist and somebody was selling N old one in perfect working order for $65, I feel like that was a great score...
I just bought some Manuka honey for wound healing, has anyone used it?
I had a great consult with Dr Stoker, he spent serious time with me well over an hour, and the nurses and coordinators are all great too, I feel really confident that he will do a great job, plus he was referred to me via a friend of a friend and she showed me her tummy tuck scar and her boobs, she looked great! He has a nice manner about him, made me feel very relaxed while standing there virtually naked, he told me he was going to make me look amazing... Fingers crossed xx
Well I will continue to update and post pictures as I continue my journey....
Surgery in the morning...
Funnily I was more nervous 2 weeks ago, than I am now, I do have a sense of calm, I have bought a bunch of stuff, toilet riser, power recliner, hand grabber/reacher, got a little shelf unit and lamp area set up. I am glad I have booked myself into a recovery center for 3 nights, I'm really hoping I will be over the worst of it by the time I go home.
I hope I can sleep a little... Positive thoughts....
Few hours post-op...
Surgery went very smoothly, it's been 8 hours since 10 hours since I left surgery, and the nurses said I should take a pain pill, just to be on the safe side, I am only slightly sore, but no pain! I ordered Exparel, the slow release drug that the surgeon injects into the abdomen/wound before he closes you up. It must be amazing because I've felt more soreness doing exercise. I am for sure more sore around my areola, but it's just slightly irritating, not painful. I am so relieved. However, I know not to jump the gun, and it could happen, and if it does I will let you know. Funny thing I was telling my nurse how good I was feeling... She put her finger to her lips, raised her eyebrow and said shssh (lol) read on....
Now the one momentarily bad part. I've had slightly low blood pressure since I got released from the surgery center, not too bad, but the nurses have been trying to get it up. I'm in a recovery center and after 6 hours they said you need to take a few steps, which I was really nervous about. The nurse got me to swing my feet over the edge of the bed, then she held out her hand and together I pulled my self into a sitting position, she supported a pulled slightly, but for the most part I did that mostly myself. She put a walker in front of me and very gingerly I managed to get myself in a standing position. I was shaken and nervous, and started to feel nauseous, it was getting worse, I managed to shuffle myself towards a chair about 3 feet away, at this point the nausea was getting real bad. I managed to lower myself down, and I told the nurse seriously, I'm going to vomit... The ringing in my ears started, i said, i think im going to faint... next thing I'm waking up, I did faint, only for a few seconds. Apparently my blood pressure took a nose dive, causing me to faint. I will say though I do tend to faint pretty easily. They got me sorted straight away, got me some OJ, got a foot stool for me to elevate. I will say though, I wasn't in any pain, I think it was just caused by my BP. I will add, I'm now nervous to move from the chair, LOL... At some point I have to make it back to the bed, eeek.
The one thing I was feeling when I stood up, was the tightness of my skin especially over my hips, again not unbearable, just similar to a Chinese wrist burn before you say "I Quit"
Oh also be prepared for a NUMB BUTT!! I eventually, about an hour ago got the nurse to alter my position because my bum was just so unbearable putting added pressure on my Butt. I'm now in a full upright sitting position in the chair, with my feet on the floor. Awesome!
Loving the catheter... Loving how hydrated they are keeping me, I normally have such a hard time keeping myself hydrated generally, I love this... I should think about investing in a IV, for home, (kidding) but still I love it!
One note I should add: I can for sure contribute my ease of pain in particular, to NO muscle repair, my surgeon joked that I have better abs than him! I've had no children, and I just needed my flabby belly, and loose skin dealt with. So if my first few hours differ wildly from yours that may be the reason. However folks ask for the "Exparel" it's worth every penny!!
Dealing with low blood pressure
Getting in and out of bed is the most painful, they want me to walk more, but also they realize its more difficult when your pain meds have been suspended until further notice... Also I had to undo my binder, to see if the release of pressure was contributing to my low BP.
My surgeon also wanted the nurses to be aggressive with pushing IV fluids, I was having a liter pushed through me every 2 hours, Dr Stoker thinks I was pretty dehydrated, not surprising as I do generally have a hard time getting fluids in me. I apparently have small veins, and am difficult to stick, and they have had to redo it twice because my veins collapsed, jeeze... I was supposed to go see my surgeon tomorrow morning at his office, which I was dreading, getting in and out of a car, I can't imagine the effort that would take, however he decided to come and check on me around 8pm, so now I don't have to go, phew...
I got my first peek at my tummy and boobs, it seems like he has done an amazing job. I can't barely believe it, I got a friend to take a picture, I keep staring at it in disbelief! I'm kinda awe struck... Dr Stoker is amazing, he's an artist, my scars seem so thin... Unbelievable!
Day 2 tomorrow, I am staying positive, and giving my body a chance to heal. Thank god for the after care center, I can't say enough good things about these ladies, so warm, kind and gentle, I surely don't know how people get through this with staying in an after care facility. My hats off to you if you went home!
Aiming to be more mobile today
It makes a difference not having all the tubes hanging out of you. I had a more "spirited hobble" the hardest thing has been getting in and out of bed, I think my recovery in terms of mobility has been slow due to my low BP and fainting, the nurses haven't pushed me to be super mobile, but my aim for today is to walk more. I underestimated how long I would need to spend in the recovery center, I thought 3 nights would have been sufficient, but seeing I live alone and have no one to help, I have decided to stay 2 more nights, frankly I am still having some help getting out of bed, so I can't imagine going home right now.
I am still in really good spirits, ALL my nurses have been so kind, really helpful and I am so grateful to them.
(I have writing this review all morning) so since the last paragraph I have managed to get in and out of bed twice, and have done 2 good pee's, yay! I was worried since I have had the catheter in for 3 days. I feel like I'm turning a corner... For sure the hardest movement is any type of twisting or turning, the sensation is so weird, the skin on my left side seems so tight, and like everyone else has said, the pressure on my back, can get intense if standing or walking for more than a couple minutes.
All in all, I'm pleased with my progress... Can't wait to get a proper look at my body, I may be having a nurse assisted shower later, so hopefully I'll get to take more than a quick peek ;-)
Day 4 emotional roller coaster
I ended up staying in the recovery center for 2 more nights, i have no one at at home to help, and i just knew i wasnt mobile enough to be independent.
My nurses changed this morning and for the first time they didn't introduce themselves, I guess they had patients checking out so I was left alone for a few hours... They popped in briefly to say my surgeon had ordered a laxative, and asked if I'd like a shower. They left the room and they didn't come back, I was left wondering when this stuff was going to happen.
Then I realized I'm going home tomorrow, & I haven't been able to walk without a walker, so I asked a friend to look for one, she found various ones advertised locally for cheap on Craig's list, but then told me she couldn't pick it up until "sometime over the weekend". I guess she didn't quite get that I needed it for when I got home.
My ride home hadn't been confirmed, I called my friend and said I was having a few coordination issues and could she call me. As soon as I heard her voice I started sobbing uncontrollably... I think I had some anxiety issues,
So she got everything sorted out... Like my own mini superwoman...
The nurses came in my room and found me crying...
So they then felt bad... Up until that point I had had a super happy upbeat disposition so then they were super attentive. I even told them through my tears I didn't know their names (lord thinking about it now, poor girls...)
Anyway I had the suppository and that was so hard, I was cramping, but couldn't push... Once it happened I got dizzy and faint, again my BP went down, I was sat on the toilet trying not to faint, they were putting wet wash cloths over me by the end I was totally wiped out...I took a pain med, and went back to bed and took a deep breath. I just got overwhelmed, I think I have some anxiety about being at home with no one to look after me.
But I am definitely more mobile, and I have my room and bathroom set up to make life easier...
Feeling much calmer now. I figured everyone goes thru a roller coaster of emotions... the funny part is that it's not related to pain, which was my worse fear... Lol
Again I loved the shower, I could have sat there with the warm water running over me fo an hour, it was bliss!!
I must say Andrea has been my savior, bless her heart, but a couple days ago she started to feel sick, sore throat, so she hasn't dared come visit the last 2 days, and she feels so bad...But I've had other visitors I told her its fine, but she wants to be here to look after me...A new day today, and I'm sure all will be fine!!l
Although I have loved being here looked after 24/7 I think it will be nice to be finally home, & real recovery can begin!
My lovely friend Andrea came and picked me up, it felt good to be back out in the sunshine, I managed to get in and out of her car, gingerly, and once we arrived at my apartment I had a set of stairs to climb, there is a good hand rail, and I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't painful, and did it with relative ease. I really think the hardest thing is simply standing, like when I'm washing my hands, or brushing my teeth, everything else seems easier in comparison.
I got my couch all set up with pillows, I'm all cozy in my reclining chair with pillows and a comforter, surrounded by Gatorade, water, snacks, medication etc. I had a friend bring over dinner. So far a happy peaceful transition home.
New pictures: First few days at Home
I'm walking around quite a bit, like everybody else the strain on my back can be a killer. I notice standing to wash my hands, brush my teeth etc hurts more than just moving around.
I went to the Dr and thankfully my drainage was low, so he took them out, (Yay) I am so thankful, it immediately felt like I could stand a few inches straighter. It felt so weird, the initial pulling, loosening of the drain stitch stung a little, but I can be a bit of a baby... Then it was a weird pulling sensation within my tummy, it was over momentarily which was good.
The big issue I am having right now is constipation, I am taking benifiber, stool softener and eating prunes, I am delaying taking an actual laxative because I had such an awful experience in the recovery center, I might increase the dosage of the stool softener and take more fiber and increase my fluid intake and see what happens...
I took my first shower at home, I was nervous, but it felt good, and I was steady on my feet, getting in and out of the tub was a non issue, drying my hair after, I had to keep sitting down.... As I said, standing is a chore!
I took my first at home pics, I'm really amazed at the difference already, I am completely swollen, so I can't wait to see the transformation over the coming few weeks, I'm really getting excited now that I can compare the before and after pics. It's funny though when I look at my body, it doesn't feel like mine yet, I'm not used to it I guess, it's a strange feeling looking at your naked body and not feel like Its a part of you... I also think its connected to my lack of fluid mobility, and as that increases and I start going back to my regular activities that will change.
Acupuncture & Recovering fast....
6 weeks post-op, Sensational Results so far...
I had another wonderful post-op visit with Dr Stoker at 4 weeks, he is very impressed with my recovery, and thinks I look amazing, after he had checked out the scars and we were sat talking, I was telling him what a life changing and rewarding positive journey this has been for me, he laughed and said "let me take another look" he was so seriously impressed with his own work... Lol! He said it was ok for me to exercise gently but no core work, I said I was for the first time looking forward to Doing abdominal exercises, he laughed and said "that's because you now want a 6 pack don't you?" of course I do... He said that I was going to make him look "REALLY GOOD"! I feel so blessed to have found Dr Stoker, he has such a warm and funny personality, its always a pleasure to go see him.
I work I post partum infant care, and I work nights, sleep deprivation is part of my life, so I have only just gone back to work 5 nights ago, I feel fortunate to have been able to take 5 & a half weeks off, it really helped with my recovery getting a full night of sleep every night. However now I am back at work, I have for sure noticed I am getting more swollen as the night goes on, I figured its just a process, and the swelling will go as my body continues to heal itself.
I have started my scar treatment, Dr Stoker wants me to use Biocorneum, he said its one of the best scar treatments on the market (should be too, its $$) Last week just before bed I was putting it on underneath my left breast and I felt a tugging sensation, and for a few weeks I had a prickly spot, so I called the office the next morning, and they had me go in, turns out a stitch had popped through the skin, and had irritated the area, so Dr Stoker pierced it, and told me it was common, and no big deal, and if it happens again, just pop in and he will deal with it. I have to say aside from that, my scars are amazing, so fine and thin, I imagine they are going to be barely detectable by the time I am a year out...
I feel so happy and so appreciate my life right now, I would urge anyone to do this for themselves, it's the greatest gift you can give yourself, the physical change perpetuates an emotional change and all I can say is its totally awesome!
Feel like life is just beginning...
Where has the time gone?
The one thing that seemed to take the longest to feel better, in terms of reminding me that I had just had major surgery, was sneezing, finally by around week 6-7 I could sneeze again without having to hold on to my tummy or brace myself for it.
I have just started laser hair removal at my surgeons office, I've wanted to do it for so long, but would typically end up not having the patience of waiting out the period of time needed to start laser without waxing, fortunately after having the TT the last thing I even wanted to do was to get waxed, so laser it is! Just after I had my first session I was leaving the office, and the nurse told Dr Stoker I was there, and he called me back because he wanted to say hi... (Did I mention he is charming?) lol... As he approached me he started grinning and was like wow... I told him a disclaimer needed to come with his work, i mentioned how in 1 week 2 guys had asked me out, and another had told me I was beautiful, I swear he couldn't keep grinning, he asked if that had not happened in the 2 weeks leading up to surgery?, I told not in the 10 years before surgery!! I think he was patting his own back in terms of a job well done, & I can't say I disagree.
At 4 weeks he gave me the OK for "gentle" exercise, he has now cleared me for all exercise including core work. I have run a couple times, it kinda feels weird, like a run/walk, and when I stop I get this tingly feeling in my tummy, it doesn't hurt or feel uncomfortable, just weird... I started back at my spin class today, it felt good, I was surprised how comfortable it felt, and actually easier now I don't have the loose skin and extra flab attached to me, and felt like a skinny flat tummy(ed) girl in class yay! Just need to build up and work on my stamina now!
I've lost 10lbs now since surgery, and have gone down a clothes size, in some brands 2, I've had to take a bunch of clothes to the tailors and have them altered so they fit me more snugly, suddenly I'm a fan of figure hugging clothes... it simply just feels so good to have this lovely flat tummy, and I'm still in awe of it, and between you girls and I, I'm spending a little too much time admiring myself in the mirror, lol....
Big Milestone Today
Kicking up the exercise, 3 months post op.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been starting to exercise more, with more intensity, and I am loving it. I've done a few intense uphill hikes, I'm back at spin class, and it just did a SPX Power Pilates class, which is so intense, it kicks butt! I have an overwhelming feeling that I'm going to be stronger and fitter than I have ever been, to think 22 months ago I weighed 236lbs and walking up 1 set of stairs had me out of breath, now I'm hiking gigantic hills and pushing my body to another level, I feel incredible!!
I still get some swelling, usually in the evening, but it's not particularly significant, and even when I'm swollen my tummy still looks awesome. I am loving my breasts even more as time goes by, they have relaxed and have more movement now, and I can totally rock a wonder bra!
I went out publicly in a bikini for the first time, I felt a little self conscious, but fabulous at the same time.
Today I have been thinking about a friend who is having Surgery with Dr. Stoker as I write this, I can't wait to see her, and I hope her recovery is as easy and flawless as mine, you know who you are, love and hugs xxx
3 month follow up.
I am still so pleased with my results, I took Dr Stoker a mug that said Surgeon & Superhero on it, he laughed when he saw it, it's pretty cute! It was my way of showing him how much I appreciation I have fir the great job he did.
Great scar healing.
Getting ready for my second procedure in 2 weeks, face and neck lift to get rid of my excess skin in that area. Am hoping my results and recovery from that is as easy and flawless as this one.
Simply put Dr Stoker is the BEST! I had a tummy tuck and laser breast lift with Dr Stoker in July 2013. From my consult to my procedure, and my still ongoing post op recovery he has proved himself to be a step above the rest. I knew when I was deciding upon choosing a plastic surgeon there were several criteria I needed to be met: firstly my safety was important, I needed a safety conscious doctor, I asked many questions about his plastic surgery training, he went to the best schools and his education & training is impeccable, he surrounds himself with a great support team from the anesthesiologist to other Doctors and nurses in the operating room. Secondly I wanted someone who is highly skilled who has performed my procedure 100's of times, I wanted a doctor who takes pride in achieving the best possible results for his patients. and I wanted a kind caring surgeon that is compassionate and listens and works with you, Dr Stoker more than exceeded all of my expectations. My initial consult was simply amazing, he has a beautiful office and surgery center in Marina Del Rey, on the 10th floor, with stunning views of the Marina. Dr Stoker spent almost 3 hours with me answering my (4pages) of questions, going through the procedure, what I could expect in terms of results. I was unsure if I wanted implants, he told me I could have them if I wanted them, but I didn't need them, I'm glad I listened to his advice and I'm more than happy with my beautiful natural perky breasts! He is affiliated with Serenity post surgical care in Santa Monica and he has a ambulance transport you on a gurney, unlike other plastic surgeons who will sit you up and put you in a car... Dr Stoker is a surgeon whom is not only dedicated to his skill but his patients too, I believe he goes above and beyond for his patients, even coming to check on me in the recovery center the next day when my blood pressure had dropped. As for my results...I had lost almost 100 lbs, and had some serious loose skin, and a little extra remaining abdominal fat that wasn't going anywhere. What can I say, Wow, Holy Cow! I have the most amazing, stunning transformation, words can't describe what Dr Stoker was able to achieve, I have the belly and boobs of a teenager, even the nurses at the recovery center were impressed, and they also hold Dr Stoker in very high regard, and would say to me he is one of the best in LA (& they see a lot of plastic surgeons results) believe me Dr Stoker delivers fantastic results! So far I am 6 weeks into my recovery, my scars are so fine and thin, it seems almost impossible that he used a scalpel, his skill is phenomenal, truly impressive. Dr Stokers post op care of me has been wonderful, I have seen him at least 4 times since surgery, he obviously takes great pride in every aspect of his work including keeping a close eye on your recovery, which in my case has been flawless. I tell everyone I could not believe that I literally had NO PAIN, which goes to show the consummate skill of Dr Stoker. Also I want to mention his staff, all whom are wonderful too, Christina, Wendy and Bree are all a credit to his practice. Ultimately I would never go to anyone else, if you are looking for the best plastic surgeon in Los Angeles, and looking for a Dr whom is friendly, kind and cares... look no further, you have found him!!