I have wanted a tummy tuck for over 15 years and...
I have wanted a tummy tuck for over 15 years and have been bothered by my nose since my teens. I have decided it is time for me to fix these imperfections and have scheduled a tummy tuck and rhinoplasty for January 15th, 2013. I am also considering lower and upper eyelid surgery to take care of some minor hooding.
I am 51 years young and have two beautiful grown children. I work in an industry that strives on vibrance, youthfulness, and energy, but relies on mature experience. I take good care of myself physically and feel mentally young; but I am looking forward to feeling as vibrant on the outside as I do on the inside.
I met with my chosen PS and his staff on 10/24/12 and discussed my plans for surgery. I was given a folder with all kinds of information regarding the procedures I am getting and what to expect. His office provides a lot of the items I will be needing for both pre and post op. One less thing to worry about!
On 12/13/12 I received the go-ahead from my primary Doctor to proceed with my surgeries. I did all the required blood and urine tests last week and today completed my ekg. I have submitted my 20% down payment to hold my surgery date, so it is a go!
I feel I have done my research well and feel I have selected a Doctor who is up to date on the latest techniques and procedures and shows a maturity and excellence in his work. His support staff seem dedicated and loyal to his practice and patients, and his office is comfortable and welcoming.
I plan on staying at my mother's house for several weeks and know her TLC wiIll help with my recovery. Luckily, I am self-employed and have full control of when I will go back to work. I have planned very well to do absolutely nothing else but concentrate on my healing to the fullest. I am so grateful to have my mother to help me!
I have read through many of these blogs for advice and I am not skimping on items I know will make my recovery easier; I purchased a used walker, toilet seat riser, and shower seat at the local thrift store and have reserved my electric lift chair rental. I also ordered a rolling laptop table for the convenience and ease of reaching items I may need.
I have posted some PreOp photos of my tummy and a side view of my nose. I will continue to read the blogs on this site as I find them reassuring and very helpful; I look forward to any advice from those who made it to the flat-side.
I will post more thoughts and news on my impending surgery as the date gets closer ...
Today I had my PreOp visit and it went well. I...
Today I had my PreOp visit and it went well. I had tons of paperwork to read and fill out and made the final payment on my surgery. After a brief picture taking session of my stomach from all sides, I met with my PS and discussed the upcoming surgery and any concerns. Surprisingly, I felt very at ease and almost excited that the big day is almost here. I will be first up on Tuesday 1/15/13! The countdown to the flat side begins!
The Dr. and his staff have been exceptional as have my family and close friends. It is important to surround yourself with positive energy and people. I have only had a couple of folks give me negative feedback and little support. It is hard to think positive when there a those who think they are helping with their negative comments. I have been thinking about having this surgery for a long time ...
I have started my iron supplement regimen and the rest of this week will be dedicated all the last minute details like picking up my prescription meds, although I feel I am ahead of the game at the moment.
I am having multiple procedures (tummy tuck, nose job, and upper/lower lids) therefore I have removed the picture of the side-view of my nose and plan to start another post with pictures in the rhinoplasty forum.
I am three days out from my scheduled tummy tuck. ...
I am three days out from my scheduled tummy tuck. I have been taking my iron, multi-vitamin, and vitamin C supplements as prescribed during PreOp. Today I start Bromelain. Aside from my recliner rental being delivered on Monday, I think I am ready for this. Saying a prayer and thankful that my Mother and Aunt are here to take care of me during my recovery. Also thankful for this site; the comments and suggestions have been a wealth of knowledge, have answered a lot of my questions, and have helped ease my fears. Here is the the final countdown to the flat side ...
Can't believe tomorrow is the big day. I am...
Can't believe tomorrow is the big day. I am scheduled to arrive at my PS office at 7:30am. My mom will be with me up to when I go into surgery and that makes feel better for sure. Fighting off a little cold but the PS seems to think I will be fine. Drinking lots of fluid and feeling a little congested but not too bad; no sneezing or coughing. Hoping for the best. Will post pics from the flat side.
Feeling pretty good Day 1 Post Op. I arrived at...
Feeling pretty good Day 1 Post Op. I arrived at 7:30am and was greeted by the nurse who went over my meds and what to expect. My cold seemed to clear itself up overnight so I was very happy that I did not have to postpone my surgery.
I had a brief consultation with Dr. H and he marked me up; I was in surgery 4 hours and recovery for abut an hour. The whole OR team was excellent and I felt at ease and in good hands from the get go.
I also had my upper and lower eyelids done, rhinoplasty and a chemical peel. The chemical peel was probably the worst of the surgeries because of the burning, but it felt like a bad sunburn; nothing cold compresses could not take care of.
I originally purchased bags of frozen peas but found that they were cumbersome and the peas got mushy. I found a product at CVS called Peas. This is a great cold/hot compress product and is a good size for the face. I purchased the rectangle shaped ones but also bought the kiddie style goldfish and star fish, too. These compresses are like the same material baby teething products are made of. I highly recommend them.
During the mark up session I was told that i had a 4" separation of my stomach muscles, This was not surprising since I do yoga and pilates and have never had success in getting slim and trim around my mid section. I also had lipo of the hips so i am really excited to see the final results; should be an amazing difference.
My mother has been wonderful, helping me change dressings, keeping track of my meds, and feeding me. She had been keeping up with my meds and tracking my drainage amounts. I could not do this without her. She is my Angel.
I am also very happy with my electric recliner rental and the walker, toilet riser, rolling computer desk and Contour Back Max pads I purchased.
My first PostOp visit is Thursday. Looking forward to seeing my progress during my recovery. So far so good.
Yesterday was my first PostOp visit to my PS. The...
Yesterday was my first PostOp visit to my PS. The PS was stuck in surgery so I saw one of the OR nurses. She removed my binder and examined my incision and drains. It was pretty uneventful. So far so good. I love the placement of my belly button and my scar is super low and I am very happy about that. The scar is also clean and straight. Dr. H did an amazing job. My drains are situated near my hips instead of over my pubic area and so far they have been of no issue.
My swelling has ben minimal and I think it is due to really watching my salt intake and taking Bromelain. And the bruising from the lipo of my hips is really minimal too thanks to the Arnica Forte. If your PS has not suggested these two supplements, I highly recommend them!
I will say that getting out of the house, even if it was for a coupe of hours, was exhausting and I was happy to get back home and back into my recliner. I cannot say enough how much help my mother has been to me. What a blessing it is to have her here to help me.
My next visit will be on Monday and I will have the pain pump removed. Aside from having to wear it from a pouch hanging from around my neck, the pump has really helped with keeping my pain to a minimal.
To all of my fellow January tummy tuckers, keep a positive attitude, drink lots of water, and don;t forget to walk every two to four hours. To all of you future tummy tuckers, we are waiting to welcome you to the flat side, too!
Thank goodness to all the positive powers that be....
Thank goodness to all the positive powers that be. Today is Day 6 of PostOp and I am feeling pretty great today. Dr. H removed my pain pump today and I was glad to get that bag off of my neck; it was so cumbersome and heavy. I think the pain pump meds ran out Friday evening so I was a little uncomfortable over the weekend. I took my percosets and tylenol religiously but could not really find a happy medium. I was grateful for my nightly valium and counted the hours until I would see the Dr. on Monday.
So today Dr. H came in and examined my stomach and was very pleased. My scar is super low and my belly button is perfect. There is very little swelling. I made sure that I would have pain pills to make it to this visit today and asked him if I could get something a little stronger than tylenol to help with the next few weeks of recovery. He prescribed a few Vicodin to get me through it and that was a big relief.
So now I am supposed to check my drains once a day and once they are draining at 25cc or less, they will be removed. The drains have been in one week and have been of no issue at all. I think it is because of the placement of these drains being by my hips and not over my pubic area. I also feel that being able to have them in longer has greatly reduced any swelling and have helped me stay comfortable.
I will post pics of my new tummy once the drains have been removed, but needless to say I am looking pretty good in my clothing even with the side drains. I am so happy that Dr. Hochstein is new school and up on current techniques. He is a wonderful surgeon and an artist in his own right. Kudos to Dr. Hochstein and his wonderful staff.
Today I finally got the nerve to take a picture of...
Today I finally got the nerve to take a picture of my stomach 17 days PostOp. My drains are coming out Monday morning; the left drain is a yellow color and the right is light red, which is totally normal. I am looking forward to getting these out but know that having them in is the reason I did not swell too much. I love how clean and low my scar is. There is numbness and burning around the cut occasionally, but sometimes tylenol extra strength helps with the uncomfortableness, but an occasional pain pill is still needed on some days. There is also a slight soreness on the left side of the tummy, maybe where the pain pump needles were. I put neosporin on it. I wear my compression garment religiously and plan to for a few months, but I do make sue my stomach gets air to it for about 15 - 30 minutes a day. Yes, it does get better everyday but the level of discomfort varies day to day so some days are better than others. I am also happy with my belly button. The only regret that I did not do this sooner. My mom has been a real trooper helping me through this and makes my recuperation a priority. This is quite a journey and I am blessed with having help.
I will post on Monday regarding the drain removal. Ack.
I had my drains removed this morning and it was...
I had my drains removed this morning and it was nothing to fret about. I had actually taken a xanax to calm myself because I was freaking myself out. The process was quick and the only thing I felt was when the PS cut the stitches holding the tubes in place; it was a little pinch and next thing I knew, I was drain free! I go back on Monday to make sure that any fluids are being absorbed. I feel pretty good but a little sore where the drains were pulled; another small step toward recovery!
Entering week 4 PostOp yesterday and I was feeling...
Entering week 4 PostOp yesterday and I was feeling a lot of discomfort; the hardness of my lower belly, the bloating, the numbness and tingling of some areas of the skin where it is trying to repair nerves, the cg chafing my skin was almost unbearable. Up until my drain removal, I had not really experienced swell hell. I was really feeling helpless and down but found comfort in reading, and then commenting, on Kimmers25 month by month posting on her tummy tuck experience. Today, I bought some Palmer's Skin Treatment Oil and massaged my tummy as she suggested. It really eases some of the discomfort of the swelling and soreness. I applied it all over my body and my skin is so happy! I am also diligently taking arnica montana and bromelaid; it really helps with the swelling and pain. I had run out and decided I would not need the arnica nor the bromelaid anymore, but after yesterday's tortuous day without them, I am now back on my regimen. To combat the tingly and numb skin, I am now taking vitamin B6 to help the nerves repair themselves and taking magnesium citrate pills for muscle and nerves as well. The magnesium citrate can serve as a laxative so adjust your dose as needed. Naproxen is also a blessing in disguise; Tylenol Extra Strength did nothing for the discomfort. My incision is now closed and not scabby. It is smooth mostly but weird and bumpy on some of it. I am using bioCorneum on the scar as well as the Palmer's Oil massages. I feel so much better today. Wish I could stand up straight and move a little smoother. Tomorrow is another day.
Next Monday will be my 4 week PostOp visit. I...
Next Monday will be my 4 week PostOp visit. I have uploaded new pics today at 3.5 weeks. Overall I am happy so far with the results but progress seems so slow. I know, I know - it has not even been a month but I feel like it has been 3.5 months. I hate the swelling around my incision therefore I took pics in my underwear covering the incision. The incision area looks like a mini muffin top and the swelling between the belly button and pubic area makes me look like I have a little pecker belly. Time heals all but sadly patience is not one of my virtues.
I had my one month PostOp appointment today. I...
I had my one month PostOp appointment today. I see some improvements but they are happening slowly. My PS says give everything six months. I knew recovery would be hard after a tummy tuck but I did not know it would be such a long journey. I am still a bit swollen around the incision and it still tender. The incision is low but there are a few wrinkles that seem to be working themselves out as the swelling goes down. Today, I started applying bioCorneum skin supervision cream to my incision for scar treatment as recommended my my PS. I have been massaging my tummy with Palmers Skin Therapy Oil for about a week now and really this has helped the hardness, numbness and tingling. My last visit for awhile is scheduled for next Monday and if everything looks fine, my next visit will be at my three month mark around April 15th; half way to the big 6 month date!
Today was my 5 week (as opposed to 6 week) PostOp...
Today was my 5 week (as opposed to 6 week) PostOp visit with Dr. Hochstein. I am very happy with my progress. I am still a bit swollen and he says I will only get smaller. Yay! I am also cleared to start exercising again at my discretion. I am still sore and will take it slow and easy, for sure. I have posted a pic of me in my "day of surgery" outfit and and also a pic of me in the same outfit taken today, at the 5 week mark. The pictures aren't the greatest but you can see a difference. I also had rhinoplasty and lower/upper eyelid surgery so there is a difference not only in my body, but also in my face. Kinda surreal, but it is me, and I am so happy with the results thus far. My next office visit is in one month. Happy healing everyone!
Today I have reached the 5.5 week PostOp mark and...
Today I have reached the 5.5 week PostOp mark and it is the first time I have weighed myself ... 121.5 lbs PostOp weight, down about 7 lbs since my PreOp weight! I am still swollen so I imagine this number will be going down even more! Even though there is still swelling, it has gone down quite a bit; today as I stepped out of the shower, it was the first time I could see the indents from the lipo the PS did on my flanks. Funny that I have never noticed these before. Feeling pretty good and taking it one day at a time.
Tomorrow will be six weeks since my surgery. This...
Tomorrow will be six weeks since my surgery. This 6 weeek Post Op mark seems to be the time where you can resume "normal" activities. I will definitely say that things are a little easier: I am sleeping fine on my side and have actually been able to catch a few zzz's on my stomach. I am walking taller and straighter, but find myself slumping after standing/walking for awhile. Today was the first day I actually wore underwear, but my scar is so low that the legs of my underwear rubbed on the scar and had to be adjusted several times during the day. I still tire easily and am still very aware of my incision and the tightness of my tummy. My jeans do not fit, nor would I really want them on because anything against my incision is so irritating. I am continuing to use bioCorneum silicone Scar Treatment religiously and have seen moderate results; the scar is still red and sore, and I have some pleating and possible dog ears at the end of the scar, but I am hopeful that these issues will work themselves out as I continue this long recovery process. Still have not been back to work and hope to keep it that way for a few more weeks. Have not started an exercise regimen yet but when I do it will be slow and steady. I have posted new pics at the 6 week mark. I feel that I look a little more swollen today than I have in the past, but the scar is healing fine, my clothes fit better, and my side view profile has definitely gotten flatter as the days move forward. My next visit is in three weeks; looking forward to the progress.
It took seven weeks but I was able to put on my...
It took seven weeks but I was able to put on my size 7 skinny jeans. Last week none of my jeans fit! I have pretty much avoided wearing anything that rubs against my scar because it is irritating; feels like a rope burn. I am still most comfortable in yoga pants or a dress. The main swelling for me is at my hips and right above my pubic bone. I still have a lot of numbness at the top of my thighs and under my belly button above my scar. I can see great improvement in some areas of my scar as time goes on, but there are other areas where I have concerns. I continue to use my silicone gel on the scar and massage my tummy with Palmer's Oil in hopes to get a better outcome.
I just hit my 8 weeks PostOp mark and am feeling a...
13 Mar 2013
2 months post
I just hit my 8 weeks PostOp mark and am feeling a bit down about my scar recovery. I realize that I have a lot more healing to do but I also am prepared for scar revision in the future. It seems that I have a small dog tag at the end of my scar on my left hip. It sticks out like a little wart and there is no way this is going away with time. It is minimal but so discouraging. Also, although the pleating is getting better, I am pretty sure I will need some revision on this in the future. I have been healing at my parents house in Florida which is near my PS. Next week, I have a 9 week appointment scheduled with my PS and will ask him about these issues. Of course, so far any concerns I have I am told by my PS to give it time. On the positive side, my stomach is flatter and my belly button is cute. Aside from the Franken-scar healing process, my stomach looks better than it did before I had the procedure and my clothes look amazing on me. This week, I am finally able to have tight garments touch my scar without it feeling like a rope burn. I will be returning to my home in NC for a few months and plan to return to FL around my 6-month mark in July and I suppose we will see where I go from there. I am getting married NYE of this year and dread the thought of any revision before the big date. It is bad enough not to live in the same state as my PS; I could not imagine going out of country and then having to deal with the concerns that could/will come up. Trying to stay positive since there is nothing I can do but wait it out and deal with the issues when the PS gives the okay to do so.
I had lunch today with an old high school friend...
19 Mar 2013
2 months post
I had lunch today with an old high school friend of mine who is a veteran of the cosmetic nip and tuck. She had her tummy tuck over 15 years ago and since this has had some work here and there. Talking with her about my procedure was really great because she really made me see how early in this recovery process I was and to slow down and heal. And here I was wondering why I am not ready to do 12 hour shifts or a full abdominal workout and feeling guilty about ... healing! Tomorrow is my 9 week visit, a little shy of the three month mark because I am heading back to NC. I will be back in Florida for my 6-monther.
Yesterday was a very busy day for me. It was the...
21 Mar 2013
2 months post
Yesterday was a very busy day for me. It was the first day that I did not think about my tummy at every move and turn I made. It was also the first day I wore my skinny jeans all day! I still wear my compression garment but bought my first pair of spanks at the mall and will be alternating between the cg and the spanks. I have been in Florida at my parents house for 10 weeks for my surgery and recovery and yesterday my fiance flew in to help me drive back to our home in NC. We have not physically seen each other in a while so I was a little anxious of our first encounter with the new me. He has been so supportive of me through all of this and of course he had his concerns, but he is very happy with the results and thinks I look super hot. Everyone need a positive force when contemplating and then going through with any surgery; he is my rock.
I am at 10 PostOp weeks now. Healing has taken...
25 Mar 2013
2 months post
I am at 10 PostOp weeks now. Healing has taken some time and I have my good and bad days. The scar is healing nicely but I am still taking it easy. My tummy is still numb in places and it feels like I am taking care of someone else's tummy, not my own. I put my scar cream on twice a day and massage my tummy and incision, but not having full feeling is an odd feeling, for sure. There are areas that are numb, on the border of numb, and areas at full feeling. I can feel the nerve ends crying out to be touched; my skin is so tingly and sensitive. My stomach is getting smaller and things are looking good. I have been back home in NC a few days now since recovering at my parents house for 10 weeks. My fiance is a little less compassionate than my parents were with my recovery but I expected this; this was one of the reasons I knew I wanted to have surgery and recover near my parents. My fiance was not there for the initial surgery and first few weeks of recovery, so seeing me at 10 weeks after surgery does not really put the severity of the procedure to light in his mind. I am put in the position of feeling guilty for healing, feeling like I should be doing home remodeling projects and yard work. I will admit that having the 10 weeks to heal at my parents was wonderful, but being back home is great ... getting back into the groove, however, will definitely take it's time.
Just added a few pics of my front and side view...
26 Mar 2013
2 months post
Just added a few pics of my front and side view and a close up of my scar at the 10 week mark. I still have swelling in the hips and back but things are so much better than they were prior to surgery or the first few days following. Looking forward to more progress and only time will tell.
The last couple of days I have been trying on my...
29 Mar 2013
2 months post
The last couple of days I have been trying on my old clothes. My tight shirts fit me beautifully and most of my pants are too big. Some of my smaller pants that look good are actually a little loose. My dresses hang nicely on my body. If what my PS tells me is true, that I will only get smaller with time once the swelling goes down, then I will need new pants for sure. I used to wear a size 10 - 8 comfortably but now my size 7's are a bit loose; still wearable, but loose! I think I may end up as a size 4 or so! Crazy!! As my tummy gets smaller, my CG gets pulled a little tighter so I know I am losing inches. But there are days I still feel so bloated and am pleasantly surprised when I am feeling this way that I can just slip into about anything in my closet and it looks great or too big! I am still getting used to all these changes and I feel like I am dressing somebody else's body when I put on clothes. Loving this feeling! My scar continues to need my attention and is healing nicely with the help of the silicone cream. I am trying not to be too concerned about the minor issues and hope that time is on my side.
11 weeks PostOp already! I cannot believe how fast...
11 weeks PostOp already! I cannot believe how fast my body is healing. My scar is flattening out and my tummy is shrinking everyday. The nerves in my tummy are super hyper sensitive. I love it when my fiancé strokes my stomach and scar area, gently touching it with his fingertips. It is pure ecstasy. Our sex life is amazing and even more so now with this super hyper sensitivity. I kind of hope it always stays this way. It is an incredible feeling. My torso is one giant G-spot!
Wow! Here I am at the THREE MONTHmark and what a...
Wow! Here I am at the THREE MONTHmark and what a journey it has been so far. I have been much more active lately, riding on the Harley a few times, and even took a small boat ride yesterday. I am wearing a light weight spanks when I am out in public, and always have my CG on when at home. It is still my comfort go-to place. My tummy is still slightly stiff and sore, especially when I am overly active like I have been this past weekend. There is not too much swelling. Most of my clothes fit or are too big, and that makes me happy. I am currently about a size 7. I am also rediscovering a few old gems in the closet and trying to makeover my wardrobe with the pieces that still fit. It all feels like new on my awesome, improved body. My scar is healing up nicely and has flattened out quite a bit. It is still a bit dark but I am sure it will lighten up as time goes on. I still have about a four inch area under the scar above the pubis area that is still kind of hard but this is diminishing as the weeks go by. My sex life is pretty awesome, too; confidence is SEXY.
Today I weighed myself and was 6.5 lbs heavier...
22 Apr 2013
3 months post
Today I weighed myself and was 6.5 lbs heavier than my after surgery weight and 1 lb heavier than my pre-surgery weight! That is a bit of a wake up call. I have not worked out and have been pretty lax on not eating carbs. As a diabetic I try to follow a high protein diet but have let it go this past month. It was much healthier eating at my parents house where I spent my early weeks of recovery. I have been home about a month and am just getting back into the groove here. But even though I have put on a few pounds I still look great in my clothes and nothing is tight. I will, however, be working on losing a few pounds, rather than continue to gain. My nerves continue to heal themselves and my skin is feeling normal in places; my tummy was a giant G spot a couple of weeks ago, but all that fun is now gone and it feels normal to the touch again. I continue to treat my scar with the silicone cream and it has healed nicely. I have good and bad days with the swelling with most of it in my hip areas where the scar ends. I still wear my cg a few times during the day when I am at home and sometimes when I sleep. I wear it a little lower to cover the hip area and try to aleaviate the swelling there. But all in all the swelling has not been consistent or too bad for me really. I am ready to roll with the changes these next few months. I am so happy with the results; seeing the final results will be well worth the wait!
So I keep thinking every time I post that it will...
29 Apr 2013
3 months post
So I keep thinking every time I post that it will be my last post for a while ... well at least until 6 months, yet every week I seem to find a reason to post to this site and update my review. I have reached week 15 and I have been super busy helping with a full master bedroom demolition in our house. It took my fiance and me three days to completely gut and dump the whole mess of a room. We worked hard and now have a clean gutted room ready to renovate at our time and leisure. I have found that the more active I am, the more bloated and uncomfortable I am. We have been taking it easy the last two days and that is good for healing up. I was so miserable from the swelling and soreness after the demolition that I decided to massage my tummy and scar area with Palmer's Scar Treatment Oil. I used to use Palmer's religiously but have not been as dedicated as of late. I have a Body Innovations soothing therapy "golf club" handheld massager with heat and massage functions that I also used for the first time on my tummy. The massager was the perfect trick to alleviate the soreness and also to help reduce the swelling; most of swelling being near my pubic bone and also at the ends of my scar at my hips. The soreness is mostly along the line where my MR was done. I don't know why I had not thought of using the massager sooner, but it really works and it feels amazing! I have not seen any posts regarding using handheld massagers for tummy tuck recovery, so I wanted to pass on my new discovery. Works for me!
WEEK 16 is here and things are moving along nicely...
WEEK 16 is here and things are moving along nicely. I am starting to wear my cg less and less and am not thinking so much about the tuck these days. I am sure this is only temporary. I have not been working out and have noticed weight gain in my thighs. Not totally fond of it, but I do have skinny legs and would rather my fat deposit there than back on my tummy. I would really like it if it would go straight to my butt (lol). I am back to my pre surgery weight of 128 and hope to get back to my 7 week weight of 122.5 lbs. I know I have been lax on a lot of things and I hope to get back on track. I have posted new pics of my tummy and my scar. My hips, where the incision ends, are still swollen and the area where the drainage tubes were seem to be darker and more raised than the rest of the scar. All in all there is not too much of a drastic change since my last picture postings, except maybe a little swelling today from the margarita and mexican food I ate on cinco de mayo last night. ;)
17 weeks Post Op: Back to Work
16 May 2013
4 months post
I finally went back to work in the real world this week and am happy I was able to take the time to heal. The recent remodel work at our house was a great way to work out and not know it. I am a little swollen in the upper part of my stomach and my belly button is sometimes a little sore. Healing slowly but surely. I am working on a project for the next seven weeks, 5 days a week, 12 hours a day. It is great to get my mind working again. Even though I have felt a little pudgy, my clothes fit differently and that is the measure I use to keep me from feeling like the surgery was for nothing. My before pics keep me grounded in my progress. Life is good.