My name is Tara. I'm 31yrs old. A working full time mother of 3 wonderful children 11,8,and 5 all by c-sections. Married to a wonderful supportive man for 10yrs next week! Yay!
My story is a lot similar to many others. I gained a ton of weight (75 pds) with my first pregnancy and the weight steadily crept up between my 1st two children. I got all the way to 242pds before I even realized. I'm 4ft 11inches. It's not a good look. One year after I had my 2nd child, I remember going to see my OB/GYN for my yearly visit. She stated my weight and asked "What I had decided to do about my weight problem?".. That is when it hit me, so the weight loss journey began. I spent the next 9 months dieting and lost 100 pds then I got hit with a surprise pregnancy intermission. ;) I had a very active healthy pregnancy, nursed, and as soon as I stopped nursing I started gaining weight back slowly. In September of 2009, I joined a local gym and the rest is history. My life is night and day from where it was. I've never been an athlete in my life. Now I call the gym my 2nd home and I'm a clean eater. I have done triathlons, marathons, extreme races, and strength competitions to stay motivated. To date, I have lost 127pds. I'm down to 118 which is 2 pds below my goal weight. I have great muscle definition everywhere except (you guessed it) my tummy area.
For the past 6 years, I have complained about my skin.. It is excessive. I constantly joke that I have a 4pk. The other 2pk is just hidden. I do feel like this tummy tuck is the last piece of the puzzle. The medal at the finishline. The last bit of "fat girl" that needs to be cleansed from my soul...
Anyway, I have been considering and interested in a tummy tuck for a while. I have 2 friends and know a few other people that have been to my surgeon. She is wonderful! She lacks a little bedside manner but I like that she is honest. :) I went for a consultation last year and decided to hold off. I wasn't financially ready or physically ready... coming to realize "mentally" as well.
Well, I went ahead for a 2nd consultation and discussed things with her again 2 weeks ago. A few days later, I booked my surgery with her for Tuesday, October 18th.
Now that it is booked, I am having constant 2nd thoughts, fears, anxiety, and hesitation. I know I do want it (the flat tummy). I grab my flab everytime I walk in the bathroom. I have talked about it with friends for years. I have the "finances" all worked out providing a car doesn't break down or anything else doesn't pop up. ;) I waited until race season is over. My husband has a week off to be with me. I can take up to 6 weeks off work paid 80%. Everything has worked out...Why not do it?
How much panic is normal? I am starting to think of everything -Will I absolutley regret the scar? Realize this- I don't even think of my c-section scar. :)
I go from up to down. The risks are just like anything else in life to being completely freaked about the risks. Everything from anesthesia to the recovery..
I've gone from welcoming a break from the gym for a few weeks to completely obsessing when I will be able to get back to working out. My doctor has said 3 weeks and I can do "light" activity. 4 weeks back to the gym with moderate(spin,running, and light weights). 6 weeks until full intensity (Crossfit-Bootcamp). 8 weeks until crunches. Is this realistic? I've read some stories on hear and I'm starting to worry. I do not want to be down, bed ridden, and out of the "game" for 6 months! Any workout junkies on here? haha
Money- Do I really want to spend $8k to chop off some skin? Is it really going to make that much of a difference in my appearance?
These are just the few of the examples of the range of emotions going through my head...
One more direct question - My PS does a technique that does not require drains. I was pretty stoked about that but after reading on here for days... It seems like they are the norm. Anyone with any experience with no drains? I am expecting swelling but do not want to be in swell hell forever. She also said no fat tissue therefore no lipo will be needed. Some tightening of the muscle but not extreme. It seemed pretty straight forward. (How funny does that sound!)
Thank you to anyone still reading. I tend to be long winded but this "elective" surgery stuff is not for the weak in the mind.
Any words, answers, thoughts, or prayers that could be offered is greatly appreciated.
Toodles and Terrific tummies to all!
Hello everyone: My name is Tara. I'm...
Today feeling a bit better in the mind. I spoke...
We also discussed all my "normal" pre-surgery fears (anesthesia,recovery,scar placement,result) and really made me feel more confident.
I am feeling much more confident that I can do this.
Thankfully, I have a CROSSFIT competition this weekend and a half marathon next weekend to occupy my mind.. then it's crunch time. MY pre-op appt is just a few days after that. I think that is when reality will really hit.
If this experience isn't mentally exhausting...
I got a call from my mother last night. She waited until the end of the conversation and then brings up the surgery. Now I already know that she doesn't agree with it. I have heard nothing but "if you feel you need too" or "what are you on a quest for perfection?" anytime that I had mentioned it.
Last night, she decides to tell me about 3 girls that she worked with that went to "NY" to have tummy tucks. Well, 2 came out great. From what it sounds like the 3rd girl has had some set backs, some infection, and other side effects... She follows this all up by telling me. You better hope you are back up and running like you think. Or, what will you do if you can't train...or work. Really? Talk about being a Debbie downer.
AH..Where to begin? Tomorrow is my last appt...
Tomorrow is my last appt with my surgeon prior to surgery. Anyone know what exactly happens at these? I'm not sure how to feel. I have been thinking about this for years. I only made my surgery appt a little over a month in advance, so the time seems to have flown by. My surgery itself is only 2 weeks away at this point. Scary business! I am looking forward to getting all my questions answered tomorrow, a little more of an idea of what to expect result wise, my post op instruction, my prescriptions, and signing that credit card slip for the payment. It will all be real then. No turning back! Which I think will be a good thing.. In a way, I still feel like I can back out now. I know once I pay the money that there will be no backing out. I will just have to show up and shut up.
I have had every single thought, emotion, and fear come up since I scheduled this thing 2 weeks ago. It's weighing on me. It's a complete distraction. I'm just ready to get it done! Move onto the next chapter and be back to a normal mental state.
A nice low point was this morning when I called my OBGYN's office and asked the nurse if she could have my doc give me a call to give me a little reassurance on my PS selection. My OBGYN was one that has been mentioning this to me for years. As she was very proud of my weight loss. She also performed 2 of my 3 c-sections. Well, she called back and said highly experienced, well trained, and I'm in good hands. This made me feel much better.
2 more weeks! Ahhhh! Anxiety is the name of this game.
Posting a pre-op picture. Forgive the close up. ...
Anyway-You can see the damage done!
Today puts me 1 week out from surgery. Tomorrow is my pre-op at the hospital and the final step before "Game day".
I'm feeling overwhelmed, stressed, excited, nervous... and about every other single emotion. Honestly, it feels like it is coming so quick in one sense but SO slow in another sense... Can't win!
Just to add a "funny".. I just sent out a text to...
Went to my pre-op at the hospital this morning....
Oh what an experience that was. I spent a good portion on my ride there questioning if I was done having children. Mind you-My husband is scheduled for his big-V consult tomorrow. We have talked about this for years. My youngest is almost 6yrs old. We are definitely done! It's just another "out".
I got to the hospital. Registered. Made sure to ask the person in registration questions about my PS. Yes, I'm serious!
Off to Financial department. I got a "new" lady that didn't know how to run a payment.. She spent a good 45 minutes trying to figure out why my cc wouldn't go through. She was putting in my medical ID number. People, really get your shit together. I'm almost having a major panic attack in the chair. Poor thing. I did feel bad for her but come on...*sigh*
Then I went upstairs to the surgical nurse who was on the phone with my PS office telling them that I hadn't showed up. Um, no I was downstairs with someone trying to figure out how to pay. She went over a brief medical history. Of course, I had to ask her if she had heard of my surgeon. She quickly answered: Yes, in fact a few girls that have worked here have had procedures. She comes HIGHLY recommended. I have seen her for minor things. Very well known. She is suppose to be the best. :) Ah..I was very thrilled with that response. We got into a rather deep conversation after she revealed that on her way to work today she ate a bagel and then thought to herself how she has over 100lbs to lose. She immediately got excited for me. This is your reward to yourself! Funny that I had that thought this morning and here you are a piece of inspiration in my office. All good flowed from there..
We did weight, pressures, bloodwork, and then she took my temp. It was high 99's.. She took it again. It seems the thing that I've been fighting all week wasn't just mental exhaustion. I'm sick! She is positive things will have taken it's course by surgery time but just more to think about. I am to watch things closely and notify my PS if things haven't improved by Monday. As I sit here and sneeze with sore abs from a workout.. I'm thinking this would absolutely SUCK if this happened after surgery!
She sent me home with more reading material. Oh joy! She also sent me home with special soap to wash with the night prior and the morning of surgery to reduce the chance of infection. Hell yeah!
Side note: My mom picked me up a used recliner the other day... surprised me! Everyone in my house is getting ready for the madness that is about to take place.
Alright - my first post op update. I had surgery...
Let's see -- From the moment I walked in the hospital I received nothing but kindness and great care. I brought an old overweight picture of myself. I became a superstar! Even the nurses and doctors not taking care of me came into Congratulate me. It was wonderful and it really helped me feel better about the situation. I got there at 7am just like I was told..Changed into my little johnny, got my IV put in, and put on my special Ted socks.. I applied my patch for nausea and took an additional medication by mouth.. It was time to go upstairs to the surgical suite. I quickly gave my husband a kiss and off I went...
My PS came in and marked me all up. The Anesthesialogist came in and spoke to me. The surgical nurse comes in and asked the PS if she needed the LIPO machine..My PS said absolutely not. Which made me happy. I didn't really want LIPO unless it had to be done. Then they snuck something in my IV..
Next thing, I was awake in recovery area with nurses talking to me and feeding me ice chips. I was completely comfortable. I was flexing my legs and moving them.. They were impressed and told me that normally they have to really beg people to start moving...I spent a good hour in there with them chatting about weight loss, diet tricks, and exercise. It was a bit odd. LOL
They finally brought me downstairs into my recovery room and I got up to go the bathroom several times on my own. They said "You are more than ready to go home!". So they gave me a shot of Demorall to keep me comfy on the ride home. Between the Demorall and Morphine, I was quite out of it. Falling asleep mid sentence the entire day.
I spent Tuesday night laying down in my recliner, eating crackers, and taking naps every 5 minutes. LOL
Wednesday - I was feeling FINE. I stopped taking my pain meds. I couldn't stand the groggy sleepy feeling..So advil it is.
I had to go to my post op appt on Wed at 1pm. By then, I was moving quite well, eating fine, and pretty comfortable.
They revealed my tummy...WOW! At first, I was completely freaked out. I have significant swelling and my scar is ugly. My PS said that everything went wonderful and for 1 day Post op that I look phenomonal and that she isn't worried about the swelling. She told me to put foggy glasses on for a month so that I'm not worried about all the little bumps and ledges. She did say that I had MUCH more skin and wrinkling than she originally thought and that she had to take a great deal of skin off.
I can't say that I'm thrilled with how my tummy looks right now because the swelling and scar are so ugly but I know long term that it is going to look fabulous. My pubic area is bruised and swollen badly.
Thursday-I'm still lounging around. I took a shower and then back to the old recliner. I am really scared for the "other shoe to drop" because I feel wonderful. Don't get me wrong, it is uncomfortable but it is not NEAR what I was anticipating. I haven't taken any pain meds at all today.
Well my husband has just brought me lunch so I'm going to eat now and hopefully come back to post a picture in a bit.
Ok...forgot a few things: Binder SUCKS. I hate...
Binder SUCKS. I hate the thing. I will probably have a burning ceremony when this is all over.
No BM yet. I just had a plate full of spinach and grilled chicken. Protein and fiber. I hope to go today!
I also just had a meltdown...I'm going to post a picture of 2 days post op. It's scary ugly.
Today makes 1 week from surgery. I took some...
Today is Wednesday, October 26th which puts me 8...
I haven't updated as much as I would of liked so I am going to recap my week thoughts briefly..
Man, I thought with all the reading, researching, opinion seeking, and question asking I did prior to surgery would of prepared me for this past week. I thought all wrong. As much as the internet and other resources are informative there is nothing like living through this.
If I'm being honest, the thing I worried most about has turned to be the least significant piece to this puzzle. I had a great deal of anxiety about the surgery procedure, the risks involved, and the not being able to workout factor that I really didn't "sweat" the recovery part. I totally underestimated this recovery not because it has been painful but it has been emotionally hard on me. Honestly, the surgery process itself was a breeze from my emotions at arrival to the departure from the hospital.. The pain or discomfort was barely enough for me to mention. It's more of a discomfort that requires me to think twice before making any swift motions. ;) Luckily, risks didn't play a part.. And, I'm enjoying the break from the gym. Though, I miss my team.. I'm enjoying low key evenings at home of reading and relaxing on my recliner. I've started to refer to my life as "Another episode from the recliner"...
I will say Friday (Post op Day 3) was by far my hardest day. I woke up with something that I was completely NOT expecting. My girl parts were swollen like a ken doll and bruised like someone had beaten me with a bat. Not to mention, the swelling in my tummy set in this day as well.. I could not believe it. I was already used to being hunched over but I was so tight at this point that I was walking looking at my new (really friggin cute!) belly button. I also had to drink some Mag Citrate to try and have a BM. Colace didn't do anything and at this point it had been 5 days since I had went...I also chose to venture out to my sons football practice on Friday evening. Big mistake. It was just all around a bad day. I woke up Sat morning with an emergency bathroom situation!!! Have you ever seen someone that has just had a tummy tuck in pure panic trying to get off the recliner and to the bathroom..? I sat there and literally cried..It hurt. It was brutal. It took almost 45 minutes. I think that is what spiraled me into the "weekend depression"... I spent a good portion of Sat napping and crying. Sunday was a little more of that and some of my son’s football game.
Thankfully, Monday came around. My husband went back to work and the kids to school. I got a little quiet time to relax and was able to do some work from home to keep the mind busy.
Today, I went for my 1 week post op appt with my PS. I did not have drains. She does not use them in the majority of her patients..She uses a different technique of skin separation and suturing that does not require her to leave drains as the fluid is suppose to be minimalized.. (Someone please tell my body that!) It was a pretty straight forward appt. I was kind of hopeful that she may aspirate some fluid with a needle to relieve some pressure but she said it looked GREAT. My swelling is considered normal...I got my next set of instructions which will carry me to week 4 when I see her.. So not another visit for 3 weeks.
Binder stays on 24/7
Keep drinking water and watching sodium
Wound care-starting at 14 days vaseline my incision to ease the glue off, once that is done wash with hydrogen peroxide to get all the dried blood and remaining marker off..
Start trying to straighten up
Remain sleeping propped as needed
Drive at 14 days (next week)
Work at 14 days (next week)
Get back into regular life activity slowly
Remain following all other post op instructions..No lifting heavier than 10pds etc.
I was told that I am only 8 days out which means very beginning stages of healing. Things will slowly and steadily improve but real healing takes months...By my 4 week visit, I will be well enough healed that restrictions will be lifted but that I will still continue to heal for some time.
Overall, I think physically that I was ready for this surgery. I’m in the best shape of my life and I fully believe that it plays in a big part to how well I feel. My energy hasn’t been too low. My pain has been more than manageable. I was prepared for the tightness though it is annoying.. I’d say that I was not prepared for the swelling and the emotional havoc it wreaked on my brain early on in this process. You have to wonder what the heck is going on… when you go into surgery and come out with less skin but are 10pds heavier, clothes don’t fit, and you don’t feel any thinner. In fact, I feel bigger than before I went in… It’s like taking on a mental challenge at the same time. Realizing that recovery is only half physical and is very much just as mental has been the real hard aspect of this journey to date.
Still – At just 1 week post op, I feel like I have turned that corner. Physically I feel great. I’ve come to terms that this is going to be a longer process than I originally thought… Results are not going to be immediate like I had dreamed of…
I will get there. Slow. Steady. I’m going to look fabulous in the end.
Last time I updated I was 8 days post op and saw...
Happy to report LOTS has changed since Wednesday. It's almost like my body woke up on Thursday morning like "Let's do this"...
I had a big day on Thursday. I ended up going into the office and working for 5 hours, had a birthday dinner for my oldest which required me to cook and host 25 people.. I was sure at the end of that night that I would of paid the price for it on Friday. Well, I woke up Friday and honestly felt like my old self. I got up and got my kids dressed, drove them to school, came home worked from the recliner, made dinner, went to football practice.. But most importantly - I woke up walking straight, my energy was back, have a lot less tightness, and barely any pain at this point.
It's like slow steady improvement..but honestly I feel like my healing is going at lightning speed now.
The best part is that I woke up today and each morning I do this "peek" at my tummy to see if anything has changed swelling wise..
Well, this morning when I opened up my binder the most exciting thing happened... I fell in love with my new tummy. The pooling of fluid below my belly button (above my incision) is decreasing and for the 1st time since surgery I was able to turn to the side and have a fully FLAT profile. It's incredible. I almost wanted to call into the PS office to tell her that I wanted to kiss her. It's been tough for me.. I can't say that the moment I opened up my binder that I was happy to see my new tummy. It honestly horrified me at first glance..I guess the scar, swelling, and just overall alteration to my appearance was a lot to take in.. I needed to digest it. I have spent the past decade not seeing my girl parts! All of a sudden to look down and not have skin there didn't feel like me.. Didn't feel right. I can finally see a glimpse of the finished product. It was like it all hit me at once.
Great day today. We are having a freak 12inch snow storm in October today but it was my son's football championship game in the snow. They beat their biggest rivals and the best part was that I was there.. Feeling great! I was able to cheer, clap, yell, bend, stand, cough, laugh, chat, and do pretty much anything else without any discomfort.
Yet-I'm sitting here questioning is this normal this early on. Was there enough tightening? LOL I also noticed that I'm able to engage my core a little again..Like sucking in my stomach, bending over, sitting with criss cross legs up straight..
I'm feeling normal. The one thing I dreaded before taking on this journey was that I wouldn't feel "myself" again or for some freak reason I would have some limitation..Not seeing it now.
Oh and I weighed myself this morning again..
I was 122 before surgery. 3 days post op - I was 128.5. Today-118. Best part is I can still feel fluid under my skin.. Goodbye water retention! Hello 115pds! LOL
115 has been my secret goal since I weighed 242pds..I saw this celeb mag with Jessica Simpson one day that said she was 115 and I always just thought "that would be nice".
Shit-It's going to be REAL nice!
In other news.. Glue starts to come off the incision tomorrow and I get to take a real good look at the scar itself. Thank god because the itching has become INSANE in the last few days.
Oh and appetite is back in full swing. I can also...
Life is getting back to normal now if our weather could...
Trick or Treating in the snow on Monday. :)
Well, Holy Moly - I woke up this morning and...
Woke up today and applied the Vaseline to my incision to start working the glue off. After about 30 seconds, I started getting real nauseous and had to put my binder back on..I took a seat and it subsided. Phew! I will be back at it soon. So anxious to get all this ink off! I want to see my incision line..
I also had to refrain from taking another picture today. My swelling is definitely working it's way on down and out. My girl parts are back to swollen! Though-My upper stomach is starting to REALLY look good. I am starting to see definition! I told myself that I wouldn't obsess since things can rapidly change for better or worse with the swelling and that I would take pics on Tuesday because then I will be 2 weeks post op. So 2 days, 4 days, 1 week, and then 2 weeks.. but I'm not so sure I can wait.
Today is 14days post or 2 weeks. Warning - I'm...
Warning - I'm feeling kind of "WTF?!" today so this may turn into a vent post at some points..
I made it 2 full weeks without working out. :) I have another 2 until my PS will lift restrictions to gradually work back into routine. I know and now realize more than ever that I won't be able to jump back into my Crossfit workouts, attempt bootcamps, or even SPIN right off the bat...Which means, my intentions is to start walking on the treadmill a few miles each day.. I'm feeling a bit bummed over it honestly. Shit, I'm not feeling like the "little powerhouse" that people refer to me as these days.. I know it's worth it. I know that in a few weeks I'll be back at it but way to mess with a girls ego.
As far as recovery - I'm moving around normally. I'm fully upright until like 9pm and then I begin to slump a little..that's to be expected. It's only week 2, so I'm cool with it. My energy is through the roof. I honestly didn't sit down for a minute yesterday until 8pm..I have this after surgery nesting thing going on.. I made 3 different chili recipes, 2 batches of cookies, decorated them, cleaned out a closet, organized my recipe books..had company all day long and entertained my 3 kids home from school..
Sleeping has to be the worst part. Last night, I ventured off the darn recliner 1 night earlier than my PS rec but I just can't freaking stand it anymore. I was able to lay down flat on my back and even flip from side to side comfortably. I used extra caution but I was able to do it... Now, if I could only sleep on my tummy! I'm headed back to my bed with my husband tonight. No more recliner and sofas for me.
Let's not forget the swelling. What is this about? If someone would of warned me about this swelling, I'm not so sure I would of gone through with this...It's making me insane. After such an active day yesterday, I fully expected to be a little more swollen today when I woke up and of course that is true. The scale is holding steady at 118..and, I haven't exactly held to my low carb thing over the weekend.. Who knows but I definitely don't feel like my swelling has decreased as much as my energy has increased which is irritating at this point. Don't get me wrong - I've seen some improvement in the swelling and it's not so attacking. Even though my tummy is smooth, the puffy look is frustrating. I am missing the tight feeling. All I have now is this hollow and fluid filled feeling.
Posting my pics..My daughter took them for me so they are not the best.
Today,Friday - Day 17 post op Little has...
Little has changed in terms of recovery. Lots has changed in terms of getting back to normal.
As approved by my PS, I went back to work on Day 15, drove, and picked up normal routine minus the gym of course. I worked 2 straight full days in the office and did all my mommy duties after including Trick or Treating with my kids last night. I can't say that I was wiped.. My energy was fine. Pain not a problem. The only thing would be that I noticed a bit more swelling... I planned to stay at home today and work all along so I am able to relax and recoup over the weekend as well. Next week, I will go back to the office and will do full days..Take a break day in between and work from home if necessary.
One strange thing-- I must of wrapped myself strange in the binder. After all day sitting upright at my desk, I came home and removed the binder and there was literally a line where the binder was sitting..and the swelling was gone above but below was a 4mth preggo belly. Squeezing it right out of me girls. LOL
I have never had any incision issues..Well the other day, I noticed a small open pin hole a little after my incision stopped. Strange! I woke up the next day and it was kind of like a pimple, white head, and oozed... I thought to myself "Really, you got to be friggin kidding me - almost 3 weeks post op and getting an infection!" but after a few days applying antibiotic ointment seems to be fading and healing. Unless I have a fever I'm not calling the PS. LOL She already thinks I'm a nutso anxiety filled freak. If I ever need other work, I'm afraid she'll refuse me.
I don't know if it's just me or if I'm not normal but this swelling seems to be way more intense than other people (Bella!)..
Anyhow, I see my PS at 4weeks which is 11 days away. She originally said walking and light exercise at 3 weeks and then 4 weeks she would lift most restrictions meaning that I could swim, spin, and do light weight/strengthening stuff. 6 weeks for Abs and Crossfit. All along I planned to go to the gym and start walking at 3 weeks but that is next Tuesday and as GREAT as my energy is I just don't feel it's right yet. The 100 calories I'm going to burn "walking" just doesn't seem worth a setback. I think I'll just wait until I see her at 4 weeks. Then take those 2 weeks between 4 and 6 to slowly ease back in...6 weeks - I'm hitting the ground running! Realistically, I know that I'm not going back to doing multiple sets of pull ups and my normal 7:30 mile..but man I am itching to lift something heavy. I can't wait to do a 500 row. So many things I miss..
Something did hit me though - I looked down at my hand yesterday. I'm still sportin the wonderful bruise from my IV..Shit, if my hand is still bruised 17 days later no wonder why my tummy is still swollen. I mean, I think I get it. ;)
Sleeping is still upright. I can sleep flat and on sides but my PS said to continue sleeping upright to help with swelling as long as possible...
11 days until I can ditch this binder. She has be wearing it 24/7 until I see her...
So - Swelling still sucks. No huge improvements in tummy. Sleeping sucks. I hate my binder..
That about wraps it up folks!
Day 18 After about 8 solid nights of 3-4 hours...
After about 8 solid nights of 3-4 hours of sleep, I returned to the recliner last night and got a solid 6 hours and then 2 hours. Feels good.
I headed to a local gym this morning to meet up with a friend of mine. She recently found an interest in wanted to gain some strength, so she asked me to help set up a training program. It felt great to just see her. She did a 1.5 mile sprint warm up then we headed over to what she calls "The big girl weights"..I walked her through the exercises using 3pd dumbells. She admitted to me that it looks almost ridiculous for me to use them...Seeing that I'm normally pushing up 40's but either way it just felt great to be out socializing with my friend. I enjoyed coaching her through her workout even though I really would of rather been the one sweating. LOL "We" worked chest and back..
Most importantly, she said even through my disguise (lol), she could tell an immediate difference in my shape. I did lift up my baggy t shirt and showed her how much undergarments were underneath.. It just blew her away! The compliments just kept flowing. She has had a breast aug from my PS before and really pays attention to things like that..So coming from her it made me feel good because she is aware of the recovery process. She immediately said "I know you don't feel that way because of the swelling"...
There ya have it - It is a noticable difference!
Today - Day 21 post op or 3 weeks into this long...
Let's see... Not much has changed.
I am still following strict orders from my doc. Pretty much anything she told me pre op and post op..No Advil, No sex, No exercise, Sleep reclined, Binder 24/7...
I don't see my PS until next week which will make me 4 weeks post op. I may hold her hostage or beg her to "pop" me if this swelling does not calm by then. I'll post my 3 week shots. I don't see a huge improvement from week 2 to week 3. Overall, I don't feel any real HUGE improvement.
Sleep has still been a major issue for me. I just don't do the recliner any justice. We are not friends. :) I fall asleep just fine but as soon as I have to wake to go to the bathroom (thank you tons of water!) then I'm up...Most days, I'm up at 3:30 or 4am for the day. I may drift off again for a few minutes before my day starts at 5am. I'm back in the office full days, so it's a bit frustrating. Though, I still have energy to get everything and then some done throughout the day. So, I guess I'll stop complaining.
Binder- I'm at WAR! My tummy feels so sore now with it on..It actually feels better with it off. I can't wait until next week. Hoping to set it on fire!
Healing-Strange. My healing seems to be working it's way down from breastbone...Above my belly button feels back to normal. There is still some swelling but it is minimal but I do not have any real tightness, soreness, and other issues.. That of course all changes when you get to my belly button. Nothing from my belly button to my girl parts feels healed. My incision feels great and I've seen major improvements in that..It is fully closed and smoothing out nicely. Other than that, everything from belly button to pubic bone is sore, tender, tight, SWOLLEN. It is almost like all the swelling is running down and pooling against my incision like a dam..if that makes sense..Let's not forget the girl parts. My poor husband will be lucky to see any action until next month at this point. Things are just so tender and swollen. So all set. I'm kind of over feeling like a doll that was sewn back together too.
Swelling -Man, it is brutal. My PS was pretty serious when she said put blinders on for 4 weeks...I'll see you then! Well, I'm hoping that there is big improvements by then or that she gives me a bit more of an explaination on this swelling. I'm just not buying that this is normal. I have YET to see a flat profile. I'm definitely the flattest first thing in the am but 1 hour after being up and about it all starts tightening. Though, I did come home from the office today still standing straight. LOL
My clothes still do not fit. WTF! Wearing the same 3 pair of comfy pants and the same 2 pair of pj pants is getting old ladies.
Exercise-Yeah, as much as I anticipated being ready to walk by this week (My ps said 3wks) there is no way. I don't feel ready. My lower abdomen still feels like it went through recent trauma. At this point, I just want to be able to get back to regular workouts.. Screw walking! I'm going to rest up and see what the PS says next week.. My plan is to start slowly easing back in next week depending on what is said.
I do fear that this is some abnormal fluid build up..It doesn't seem Seroma like to me but I'm not exactly a medical school graduate. ;) I do think it is possible that my lymphatic system is taking a little time adjusting...
I recently broke out with a cold sore in my nose...so I know I'm fighting something viral. Which is amazing to me. I am never sick and right before surgery I had a fever that never amounted to anything and now this.. I've been eating super foods like crazy, drinking water, no sodium, taking Tylenol occasionally, Arnica for swelling...Doing all the right things over here! Someone throw this girl a bone.
Well, I have to go play referee. My children are fighting the bedtime routine.
Posting 3 week photos now.
You saw the caption. I went to bed last night...
You girls know what I did next... Hopped my giddy ass right on the scale. It proved exactly what I saw (so I know I wasn't delusional). My weight prior to surgery was 122-123..After surgery as high as 129 and was holding steady for the past 2 weeks at 118.5. I just weighed myself yesterday and it was 118.5. Well this morning, I am down to 116.5. Um hello?! Can you say swell HELL?! I'm feeling like next week will be better. Optimistic now that this lower tummy situation is swelling not a seroma or some other freak situation that I didn't go into surgery with. LOL
Tried a pair of my old skinny jeans on this morning. They are up and zipped just like prior to surgery...but uncomfortable!!!
Headed to the office and I'm prepared for swell battle. I decided to wear a little dress today ditching the yoga pants etc.. I have a tank, my binder, and control top pantyhose. Take that! You can't even tell I have all this equipment on either.
Girl feels real good right about now! ;)
Evening ladies! Today marks 4wks-2days post op....
Today marks 4wks-2days post op. Just came from my PS appt. I will also post some pics taken this morning when things were all flat. LOL
First off, this past week I have had some improvements in my swelling. Last week by 3pm at work, I was hunched over and came home to a full blown tire.. This week getting home at 5pm still standing straight with little tightness. The swelling is still there.. It's still puffy and very swollen from my belly button to the incision but it is slowly decreasing.. Things are looking up! 4 weeks have gone by so fast. I can't believe it. Everything is pretty much back to normal. I have even been able to sleep on my sides and almost on my tummy (kind of half way) the past two nights.
So - You have all read my complaints about the soft, fluid filled area below my belly button that seems to be taking it's sweet time healing..deflating.. whatever you want to call it. Well, the PS confirmed for me that it is normal today. That I am definitely a "sweller" and that it is indeed a small pocket of fluid that at this point my body will absorb on it's own over time.. She said that it is normal for this area and my girl parts to remain swollen for a bit longer...That it will work it's way down and out of my body in due time.. She said to expect some form of swelling for 6 months! But-Just like last week to this week that I will see steady improvement.. She also said not too worry that my skin has reattached to the muscle at this point but it feels like it is still hollow and soft because fluid is in there... Makes sense. Once the fluid is gone, things will feel as tight as everywhere else and flat. Nice to know!!! WHEN? LOL
She also said ditch all my binders and such.. Said that if I wanted to continue to use them on and off that would be fine but no need at this point..
She also said that my scar is looking GREAT and that she thinks it will be pretty much invisible in a few months. Again, THANK you! I asked her about scar treatment and she really played it down.. No need. Some people and some doctors think this works and that works.. Well, ok then. She did say massage if I would like..
She also released restrictions on exercise. Told me get back into doing everything normally except any direct ab work until 8 weeks. She said to be smart and take it slow..ease back in and gradually add more..At 8 weeks, I can start crunches etc.
I have been dying for the approval to work out and now I feel like a nervous freak. Ah well, just like everything else.. gotta build my confidence back up! I plan to start doing a little something starting as early as tomorrow..work gradually back up until 6 weeks when I plan to hit the ground running. LOL She did remind me to STOP if it HURT but to expect discomfort, pulls, twinges, and a completely different sensation of engaging my core now.. because I had SO much muscle work in my lower abs..
I'm also free to resume life as I knew it.. Advil, coffee, shaving, sex, exercise...
She had this be patient conversation with me. Yes, it feels like forever but it's only been 4 weeks... And, then she whipped out my before pictures. HOLY $hit! I nearly passed out. Moral of the story. Remember where you come from... you don't get where you are at overnight!
She also complimented me.. You are melting away before my eyes. Tiny Tiny little thing you are!
Back to life. Today stops the obsessing of when I'll be normal. It'll happen. I just need to let time roll...My body will do it's job. I did my job. My PS did her job. My body will do it's job.
I see my PS again in 7 weeks. Almost 12 weeks post op. We'll discuss anything I have questions on..
Should of asked her when it will be safe to sneeze since that is the only time my tummy bothers me. Yikes! LOL
So today marks 1st day of getting back to life.....
So funny..I walked in the house last night and took Advil just because I could. I wasn't in pain. In fact, I was probably beaming from being told I could exercise. Rode all the way home from my PS without my binder. Still thinking of the best way to burn it. My husband (LOVE him!) had a bottle of Skinny girl Sangria on the counter. I haven't busted it open yet but I was itching..I am NOT a big drinker. I can count on 1 hand how many times a year that I have a cocktail but tell this girl she can't do ANYTHING.. it makes me want to do it more. LOL
My sweet husband got sex. If that was what you can call it.. Talk about nervous wreck! Ah well, did it's job.. :)
Well, I decided to sleep without the binder.. not so sure how I feel about it. I spent most of the night awake worrying about not being protected. *SIGH* But - I will say I woke up LESS swollen today. LESS tender.. I wonder if being so tight in my compression garment was a problem...
Anyway- Anyone who has read up until now knows that I'm a workout freak. My main issue with this surgery was being out of the gym. Until about 6 months ago, I have been into marathons, races, triathlons.. basic bootcamp classes. Then I found my instructor that offers crossfit. I've been in love but still very new to the box... but it will become my main focus for the new year. My PS gave me the ok to start exercising. There is NO way I was in any type of condition to go for a Crossfit workout and I've made a promise to myself that I will not do any heavy weight or Crossfit workouts until then.. I'm going to ease back in over the next 1.5 weeks. So 4:45am came and off I went to a good friend's BodyFit class. She's a great instructor and really arranged the workout for me to go at my own pace. Love her for that! We warmed up in spin for 10 minutes. Circuit work - Overhead presses, suicide runs, box jumps, and Rows with a hallway and stair run in between. I took it very slow probably about 50% of the intensity that I normally would... Spin went fine. I used 10-12pd weights for the presses and rows. I normally do 25+ so it wasn't that bad..My arms definitely still felt it. Jogged the runs, and stepped up on the box jumps. I felt completely out of shape. :( AH well.. Nature of the beast. 4 weeks down. 4 weeks to I get back to the top. ;) I probably could of pushed it a little more but I am being cautious. I don't want to ruin anything..I don't want to have setbacks. I wore my binder. It was very important! I don't see exercising without it for a while.. I will say that I left feeling a little tender in my abdomen. I'm wondering if that is normal.. My PS said expect discomfort and to HURT but if in PAIN. STOP! Everything is fine.. Day has progressed like normal. Came to work without my binder. Very little swelling in fact. Most of my soreness has gone away.
I know it's normal day 1 out of the binder (actually, I was wearing 2!) to feel vulnerable but when does it stop? I feel a hot mess. I'm walking over in protection mode. Hunched not because of swelling (a little) but because I want to protect my tummy from the world.
Another day, another episode of Tummy Tuck Recovery Survival. Can't say from the recliner anymore. Girl is MOBILE! :)
Morning Everyone Well, I have taken a break...
Well, I have taken a break from posting because I'm having not so great emotions right now and well.. I was keeping with the "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all.." kind of theory but time to let it loose. Maybe someone here is feeling the same. Who knows?!
Last time I posted was after 4 weeks which from 4-5 weeks I saw a pretty good improvement..thought I was on the upswing. I finally could exercise. I finally started to accept the swell. I thought I had found ways to keep it at bay.. I was seeing progress!
Unfortunately, after 1 good week it all came flooding back. I have had a bad week. I'm more swollen now then in week 2-3. My clothes are not fitting again. The scale is up. I know it is NOT weight gain because I'm eating the EXACT same diet and I've added working out so there is about 2800 calorie burn weekly. I track my workouts. Damn Swelling! I'm losing the LITTLE definition in my abdomen that I had started to see around that 4.5 week mark. My tummy skin is still not tight because of all the edema..It feels soft and squishy All of this has affected me worse emotionally than I truly care to admit. I'm typically a very positive and stable person. I find myself in crying spells wishing I had NEVER done this to myself. I'm begging daily for an improvement..I'm praying to go back to normal. I just need someone to tell me a SOLID it will get better at this point.. I have been told 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 2 months, 3 months..6 months and 12-18 months. Really? It's like a guessing game.. Instead of getting better from 4 to 6 weeks, I have regressed backwards. How is it possible? And, somehow I'm suppose to believe now that that magically come 12 weeks that I'll be able to see almost final results. Whatever. I don't even know what to believe anymore...
Ah well- Pity party is over now.
Onto the good stuff -- Yes, there still is good in everything. Even though these days I have to work a little harder to find it. ;) I am back to sleeping however and anywhere comfortably. Actually, I have been since about 5 weeks. Thank God!
Scar looks decent. I'm massaging daily..It goes from completely soft to hard in about 15 minutes depending on swelling. I assume this is normal just like all the other "normals"..some days it has a ridge. Some days it is flat. It's dark pink. Some spots fade to white and then back to pink. Again, whatever. It's there now. Can't cry over spilled milk! :) I'm confident with time this will be better. And, I'm patient enough about the scar that it doesn't bother me in the least. I do LOVE how low it is... Though with the swelling again it is rising by the day.
Bellybutton-It was doing this strange closing up thing a few days ago..Maybe swelling? Again, I'm on the outs. Not sure what this is going to look like.. ;)
Working out has been a WAY easier adjustment than I thought which is wonderful. I'm back at it..Gradually worked myself back into my normal workout routine with the exception of the 1 Crossfit workout I do on Sat mornings. I can pretty much do everything relatively comfortably now with a few modifications. Things I have found -- Spin has been great. I have only run 3.25 miles at the longest and compared to my 13 miles..but it's different. Not bad just different than I'm used too. I'm much tighter and seem to be able to go faster without having to really engage my core like before causing pain or cramping. I'm going to try for 5 miles next week. I'll do another 3.5 miles on my run day on Saturday. If that goes well again, I'll up it next week. As for speed, I'm about 30 seconds off of my normal pace. I'm running about an 8 min mile. Weights have come back to me pretty easily. No problems with lighter weight sets. I found jumping rope incredibly tough yesterday. Not cardio wise but everytime I landed I could feel the impact..A little burn/tightness. Same with box jumps. Rowing has been a breeze. I'm not ripping back and using strength still but gently rowing for an extended amount of time instead of for time...
What I have found in regards to working out is that I'm finding myself PARANOID to do any movement. I question everything and then typically go for it. I don't want to damage anything and by now I assume that if I've been cleared for all exercise except direct crunches (8 wks for that) that there is really no harm to be done but again don't know.. So it is effecting how hard I push myself. I did anticipate this and feel confident that with time I will become less paranoid.
Discomfort--Sneezing still kills. Very strange. I can do anything else but sneezing hurts bad. I have very minimal pain, tightness, or pulls. No issues there. I do feel like my old self in that respect.
I'm not really sore in my core after working out which I find odd..Maybe it's because I'm still numb and swollen. Not really feeling it. Some days, I'm tight and can tell I've engaged in exercise and a few days I've been tender after but not OUCH.
I've just decided that it's either workout and be swollen or not workout and still swell but be miserable.
Still wearing my flexeez garment to workout and all day... I wear no compression at night. Though today I'm going without anything. I can and it doesn't bother me...
I stopped the Arnica a while back... Wondering if I should start it again?!
Other than that. I am having a hard time being one of those people that says "Wow, this is so great!" or "I can't wait to see how fantastic this looks in 6,12,18 months!" because I can't even believe that the swelling is ever going to subside since I thought I was making progress...
Thanks for listening to me complain. :)
I'll work on posting some 6 wk photos.
Added 2 pictures. Sorry about being half naked in...
Swelling vs First thing in the morning (still swollen but the BEST it has been up until this point)
Please tell me all of you swell this bad at night 6 weeks post op!
Anyway, called my PS about the swelling, belly button, sudden pain.. She is having me come in today at 3pm. I'm sure I will get the forehead slapped with "It's all normal" and then she'll send me on my miserable way to "wait it out" a little more.
I'm going to tell her to break it down to me...Is it going to be sudden improvements or gradual? When can I expect improvement? Not final results but improvement... Final results? And, please confirm that I'm fully healed so I don't have to walk around leading with my head to protect my "vulnerable" tummy all the gosh darn time.
Where to begin.. At one point in time, I used...
At one point in time, I used to pride myself on being a very easy going, positive, and upbeat type of person. I'm ashamed to say that this "process" has me really doing some soul searching these days with my mind..I feel anything but mentally strong these days. It's frustrating! I know that this is all temporary. I know that this too shall pass but I am eager for that day to come. I thought that I mentally prepared for this though I'm realizing now that I prepared for other parts of this surgery and not what I'm experiencing now. It's been a rough week.
Anyway-I did call my PS yesterday about the sudden SWELL and the all of a sudden discomfort again. She had me come in for a visit. Yikes. Well, it definitely didn't start out well. She came in the office as she typically does with a somewhat impatient and rude manner. She tends to do this and then warm up as the visits go on. I've become to expect it. However, yesterday I was way too emotional for that to take place. She basically had me open my robe and then stated "Oh yes. VERY swollen." yet it's all "Normal" and then proceeded to explain that I was "normal" in 5 different other ways to attempt to get it to sink in. I'm no idiot. Isn't everyone entitled to a bad day? Of course, I got on the defensive and she could sense it in my face..Asking me if there was something that I was worried or an underlying issue. She explained that she has seen my anxiety and it is typical with people that have lost a big amount of weight. They are afraid to "lose ground" or have a "set back" or even worse "get fat again"...By now, I'm in tears and she is comforting me somewhat with the reality that I have had a very "average" recovery and even though I want an "instant" recovery that it isn't going to happen. She said externally that I have healed absolutely wonderfully hence the reason my scar is fading. Internally, I'm healing average. It's very early on in the recovery period for all the trauma that took place but it will get back to normal. It will heal. I will recover. Then came the exercise discussion..Yes, I was seeing progress before because I had rested 4 straight weeks before exercising or really moving for that matter. Now I have put myself back a few weeks because my body once again is in shock and needs to adjust...but she also explained that my definition of exercise and 99.9% of other people's is completely different. She compared it to my mileage. Sure running 3 out of a normal 13 for me is nothing but after a surgery to this degree I shouldn't even be doing that. Huh? She did say that she is by no means telling me NOT to exercise but she does think that I started out way too hard, way too fast. No surprise there. That I also have to realize that by exercising I will deal with the reprocussions and right now that is a LOT more swelling than I was having..but this will be the case now or later. WTH?
I left the office pretty discouraged. I felt sad and beaten up a bit..but, always thankful for her honest opinion because it makes me stop and realize something new about myself. I'm a complete control freak! I don't do well with "eventually" and "letting it go".. It's not how I work. It's either black or white not gray. I am worried about losing ground. Shit, I've worked hard to get where I'm at. It's who I am at this point in my life...I'm not willing to give that up. It also made me realize that the thinking "Will this be FOREVER?" has to stop.. I mean, seriously a little logic here Tara. It won't be FOREVER. It's definitely LONGER than you think but nothing lasts forever.
Anyway-I've had a rough week. I'm still in a rough stop. I'm going back and forth in my head about what to do with this exercise thing. I mean, do I just keep exercising and maybe cut back some..then gradually build back up again. Do I stop and put my feet up for another 4 weeks? Hope that this stops the swelling and fear that it will just start right back up..Or, do I just keep up with my regular routine and go for it. Brush off the swell and just deal with that it may take longer to heal but will happen.. I would love any input.
Also-I do want to end on a good note. I do see...
I just express emphasis on getting mentally prepared for the swell. The swelling did not enter my mind ONCE prior to surgery. I spent months worrying about the gym, workouts, blood clots, nerve damage, anesthesia, being out of work, the scar...
All said and done -None of them became an issue. Thankfully!
Just a short update. I'm into my 7th week now...
I'm into my 7th week now. I'm seeing slow progress here each and everyday.
I'm still swelling but not quite to a basketball at this point more like a small cantelope. :)
I stuck with my workouts and glad I decided to keep going. Seems my body has adjusted to the shock of exercise and movement again. I swell just as much if I workout or not. I'll take it. So still swelling with minimal improvement but life is normal.
It does seem like it's one thing to worry about after another for me during this process. First it was pre-surgery fears, then recovery, then swelling craziness, and now my concerns have shifted to my definition coming back... Still not seeing much. I'm anxious to see final results. I also find myself obsessing about being tight enough or stretching back out. Damaging something... I'm telling ya. It's one thing after another.
My doc has reassured me last week that I wasn't going to damage anything muscle repair related by working out at this point..but after each workout.. I go home and rip off the flexeez to double check if my curves are still there. LOL Or, if I have bulges. I don't get why I'm doing this. I don't have really any discomfort or tightening. I feel pretty much the same as I did pre-op now except for a few burning sensations and little pinches of discomfort here and there. I have not had any "Oh shit" pains at all. Need to stop stressing it!
Hope everyone is doing well!
Ah...After a nice long break from here, I'm back...
In a short form - I feel like my old self minus the excess skin! I can finally sit here and say that I'm happy that I've went through this process. FINALLY! I was getting worried there for a bit.
My tummy is starting to feel completely back to normal. Firm. Tight. Solid. Healed even! I know that I still have some ways to go but I feel night and day from where I was at 8 weeks. It's amazing what time does for the body. I saw a GREAT difference from weeks 8-10 and it's stayed pretty consistent.
I did away with any compression LONG ago. I have done away with being completely paranoid over sodium and the swelling. I'm just back to LIVING and it's GREAT!
My workouts are back to full force which I'm loving. I have an occasional pull or tight feeling but no pain. Woohoo! There is nothing like throwing on a sports bra and some shorts..Looking in the mirror like HOT DAMN!
My definition is looking good. That is when I'm not so swollen. I still have swelling and some fluid that has not disappeared but it's been slow steady progress and it's such a drastic difference than where I was that it is leaving me much more patient now. I kind of know when I can expect a good swell session..Usually after the weekend when my diet has been a bit off or when I've done a lot of exercise concentrating on the stomach. It tends to puff up and there goes the definition.
My scar looks good. It is gradually fading, flat, and a thin line. I'm not concerned with it at all. It will do what it is going to do...
I saw my doctor last week at 12weeks post op. She took some updated photos and we compared the two sets. WOW! I was blown away. Everything including my posture is so different. My results are about 80-90% as she put them at this point. I will see a little more improvement as the swelling goes and stays away but not to expect anything too much more. It was nice to hear that actually.. It's allowed me to focus more on what I have for improvement vs what I am hoping, wishing, and wondering for in the improvement department. She said scar looks amazing. Expect it to drastically fade around 6 months. She also said that I will still continue to heal for 1 year but swelling should subside by 6 months.
So...there you have it! Life is good.