Tummy Tuck Scheduled for Jan. 3rd. W Dr Hochstein in Miami

I'm a 38 yr old mother of 3. I'm active and in...

I'm a 38 yr old mother of 3. I'm active and in fairly good shape but I have stretch marks that I hate. Although I look great with my clothes on I want to look great without them also. I don't have a huge belly but when I lean over I get that ugly pouch. Plus I feel like I always need to pull up my pants to give me that extra support.for that ugly loose skin. My teen age daughter once told me I'm giving myself.a cel toe by doing this. Finally I've decided to just get rid of the ugly skin by having a TT. I'm scheduled to have surgery on Jan.3rd in Miami with Dr Leonard Hochstein. I'm terrified! I know he's the best but I'm still freaked out.

Starting a new year with a new tummy...

So,it's new year's eve and I'll be under the knife on Friday. Most of my friends think I'm crazy but I'm hoping I'll be the envy once I'm all healed up. I had my boobs done years ago and I know I heal well. My scars are totally invisible and I hope my tummy scar heals as well over time. My biggest fear is by not being
ableto stand up straight for a long time or
Oh my gosh, I am so excited for you. I have seen his work on here and he does a beautiful job!!! I am considering traveling to Florida to have my tummy tuck with him also. Please take lots of before and after photos and good luck with your surgery :).
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When I went to see Dr. H, I saw all the pics of the playboy models he's done work on and thought his prices would be even higher than what I was quoted in Chicago. Much to my surprise he was a couple thousand less! I figure if you are going to do a TT,.do it in the land of the beautiful where they expect to prance around in bikinis. you
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I couldn't agree more! The drs where I live don't care about bikinis so much. Did he do your breasts? I'm just curious to know more about your travel plans...how long you will stay before you go back home? Are you traveling with someone?
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my old tummy

Don't freak out! You totally know u r in good hands. I felt the same way but now I know that if you're healthy and have a great surgeon you will have a great outcome. I couldn't stand up very well for over 10 days but I have since. Just give your body time to heal don't rush it. Good luck. I'll check your status....so exciting!
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Things will go great for you and yes you won't be able to stand up straight for a little while but you can work on it! I'm hitting my 6 week tomorrow. Good luck! Time goes by fast~here's to a great start to your 2014!
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ringing in the new year...

So we just ring in the new year. My.hubby and I went out to dinner with other family members who know Im doing this procedure. I was good and didn't drink. Can't sleep because I'm thinking about this procedure. Everyones encouragement has been great. THANK YOU all! I better get to sleep because I know I won't be able to
sleep on my side or tummy in a couple of days. I'll postie pics

Travel Plans

I'm lucky my sister lives in Miami so I'll be staying at her house. I'm flying out tomorrow morning at 5:30 am. My oldest daughter is home from college for Winter break so she will be going with me. My return flight is scheduled for next Friday (7 days post op)although if I'm feeling up to it I might come back sooner after I see Dr. H for my post op. He told me I could probably come back home 4 or 5 days post op but I'd have to have my drains in most likely. I told my primary care Doctor here in Chicago about this and he said he could remove them if needed so that help ease my concern with that. My hubby can't take an entire week off work right now because he is very very busy but said if I want or need him there he will book a flight out immediately. Love him! He didn't really support me on this at first because he said I'm fine and most women would love to look like me but he understands its a part of my body that I'm really unhappy with and he knows how much I work out to try and address it but can't fix it. So he's on board now. He will be staying home with our 4 yr old son. Probably for the best because my recovery would be tough with a 4yr old to attend to. (although my sister has 2 kids under 3 but they go to daycare during the day so I hope it will be ok). I figure this will be good bonding time with my daughter and a good distraction for her too. She just broke up with her boyfriend right after Christmas. I'm going to miss my son and hubby terribly. I'm dreading not recovering in the comfort of my own home. I've had to really plan ahead, pack everything I think I'm going to need and I've rented a recliner from a service the doctor recommended that's being delivered tomorrow before I go in to see Dr. H for my last Pre-op. This is CRAZY! I can't believe I'm doing this. I'm very lucky that I have my sister and daughter to attend to me after but I must admit it's a bit awkward to have my brother in law know I'm staying there because I'm having a TT. He's a great guy though so it's all ok.
I am also having a tt on jan 3 2014 in miami. Ill be traveling in a few hrs for my consult. Ill be having at coral gables cosmetic surgery I am am very excited nd wish you all the best. Post pics nd keep us updated tty soon
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Lol. What city r u from? Best wishes to you too. I'll say a prayer for you. Safe travels. My stomach is in knots and I cried.when I put my 4 yr old to bed tonight. I'm scared but hope know it will b worth it.
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I know how u feel. I am leaving two of my kids with a friend and kissed them goodbye they said everything will be ok it made me feel so much better. I live in bradenton fl is about 3.5hrs away from Miami. I will also pray for you, what clinic are you having yours? Is your consult tomorrow as well?
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on the plane with my daughter....

This morning was tough.I could barely get out of bed this morning. My son woke up several times last night...I let him crawl into bed with me and we snuggled ( I usually never let him in our bed). when we were about to leave my son woke up again crying and it made me very sad.airport was so slow and I'm worried our luggage,won't make it to Miami.

getting ready for my pre-op... tomorrow's the day!

so I finally arrived in Miami got my luggage and I'm now at my sisters house settled in. the recliner supposed to be delivered between 12 and 12:30 and my appointment with
Dr H is at 1:30. my stomach is in knots I have a migraine and I'm totally riddled with anxiety. I hope this recliner gets here soon so I can head off to my appointment. I'm going to call the guy now I'll send pics when to arrive
Good luck to you! Hope all goes well and looking forward to hearing from you on the flat side!
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my recliner arrived

It's fully automatic. Reclines backwards.and forward to help me get on my feet without using my abs at the touch of a botton.

waiting to see Dr. Hochstein for my final preop

Fancy surgical center. I'm very nervous but hope my concerns will be put to rest after I see Dr H.

last night with my old tummy...

I saw Dr H today for my final consultation. he told me not to worry that it would be a piece of cake. he reassured me that it's safe surgery and then he does them all the time. we did have a little misunderstanding about lipo on my inner thighs. I know we talked about it during my initial consultation and he said he could lipo it but he didn't included in the price. I have to make a decision today weather I was going to do the inner thighs as well but I had to spend a little bit more money
Good luck hun.. btw you already look great can't wait to see our results. Tc nd don't worry everything will be ok
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Go Big or Go Home...

So I decided to go ahead and spend the extra money to have him lipo my inner thighs along with my TT w/ Lipo. At this point, I've traveled all the way from Chicago, spent thousands...what's another several hundred dollars. It's done... I don't want to regret not doing it later so I'm going to do my inner thighs too. I'm set for 10:15 am tomorrow. Right now I'm numb but all day it's been a mired of emotions. I pray my results are worth it in the end and the recovery is speedy. In all honesty I'd like to go back home sooner (Wednesday if possible). I'm way out of my comfort zone. Away from my home, husband and kids (except for my daughter who came with me). Maybe I'll be so comatose that it won't even matter where I'm at. Everyone please pray for me everyone! I believe in the power of prayer and the more the better.

todays the day...

I just arrived at Dr H office. I'm excited but very scared. I've prayed about it and feel at peace with my decision. I hope I'm still at peace after. Please pray I have amazing results and that my recovery isn't nearly as bad as I expect. Thanks for the support.
Best of luck and speedy recovery ;)
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Best of luck to you. Can't wait to see ur results!
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Sending prayers your way....Look coward to seeing your updates and pics...
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Post Op day 1

When I woke up from surgery I was in horrific pain. I kept begging for more pain medication but they said they had given me the most they could. My body was shivering and my teeth chattering even though I was under nice warm blankets. The nurses said it was because of the anesthesia and would wear off. It slowly started getting better when the nurses said I had to try to walk. I couldn't believe it. How could that even be possible I was still shivering. Walking helps to prevent blood clots so they helped me onto my feet and it actually helped the shivers. I was so tight and Im so hunched over that I afraid I'll never be normal or be able to stand up straight again. By some miracle I got in the car and slept the entire ride home. When I woke up my pain had subsided a bit and I waddled on inside to my comfortable recliner. more on day one tomorrow. I'm falling in an out of sleep because of the pain meds.
I'm glad that surgery went well for you. You are doing great, and are going to look amazing! Keep us posted on how things are going for you. I'm curious if you received a pain pump to help with the pain?
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Happy to hear you're well and on your way to having great results!
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I'm so glad you are ok. Is the exact way it was for me too.. keep up the good work ma we will make it nd love our results soon :)
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Day 1...the pleasantries of recovering from a TT...NOT!

I've been told to walk around for at least 5 minutes every other hour or so and I was given some device (Air Spirometer) that I have to suck air out of and try to hold the little marble up for 5 seconds. I Guess it forces me to expand my lungs. Let me tell you -it feels so tight that it's hard to take very deep breaths. Once I got to my sisters house and the Vicodin kicked in I was relaxed and in and out of sleep for most of the day. Dr. H called me around 7 pm to check in on me. He told me the surgery went well and that he took off a little more skin than he anticipated. I asked him if I'm stretch mark free and he said yes, I'll be able to strut my Bikini again in this lifetime. Now I know why everything feels so tight. Overall, I've been pretty comfortable for the most part other than the occasional nausea and lower back pain. The lower back pain has been the worst part of this other than the sever pain I felt after waking up from surgery. I haven't been able to eat much because I've been feeling nausea. Our routine has been that I do my breathing exercise, walk around for 5-10 minutes, take a couple of bites of something, empty my drains, pee and take my meds if it's time for them. I was looking forward to ending the day with a nice slumber. I was given a valume pill to help me sleep just for today and tomorrow. Anyway, I took my Valume to help me sleep, then I took my scheduled dose of Vicodin. Within 2 minutes my mouth stated to water uncontrollably - I had to throw up. I survived the muscle spasms that come with throwing up. It didn't feel good but I didn't feel that I had ruptured anything either as I've heard others describe. We called Dr.H, left him a message on his personal phone and he texted us back within a minute or so. He said the Vicodin an Valume was too much pain meds at once and that's why I threw up. I asked my sister and daughter to ask if I can take another dose since I just threw up the last one. They both refused saying there is "NO WAY" they are going to give me more and the simple fact that my body reacted that was a sign that my system must have absorbed it. I'm in no position to fight back and don't want to endanger myself so I'll just have to wait it out another 4 hours. Since I'm awake, I decided to write to all of you lovely ladies about the pleasantries of recovering from a TT. Oh Wait, I'm starting to dose off again...maybe my body did absorb some of the pain med and I can sleep! To be honest... I wish I could just be comatose and sleep my way through my recovery without being aware of any discomfort but that is not going to happen. I'll have to tough it out. No pain no gain right?

Pain Pump

I did get a pain pump. I'm sure it's been a lifesaver because I have not felt very much discomfort.. mainly e just soreness around my belly but not any worse than the lower back pain I'm feeling.
You looked good before surgery, but you're going to look FABULOUS after surgery!! Happy Healing!!
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Congrats! I'm sore too. I 'll keep you in my prayers,
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Glad to hear that you're home, I hope the discomforting will be better tomorrow!!! Have a good healing!!!
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Day 2....

I did well last night. My daughter has been so so caring, patient and good to me. She set her alarm to wake up every two hours to do my breathing exercises, walk around for 5 minutes, clean out my drains and take me to the bathroom. I purchased a memory foam pillow before my surgery and I've been using it for additional back support. that along with the electric recliner have been the best investments I've made. I haven't used or needed a walker so far. This morning I woke up around 6am and my daughter was asleep on the bed beside my recliner but I felt good enough to get out of the recliner (remember it gets me onto my feet without using my abs) and take myself to the bathroom. So far the hardest thing has been the nausea and the lower back pain. I'm only feeling a very slight but very tolerable burning feeling at the incision site. I'm sure the pain pump has made all the difference. My daughter teaches fitness classes back at her university and she showed me how to do some standing back stretches that don't involve your abs at all to relieve the lower back pain. Overall my recovery is going better than I expected. I'm trying to push my pain meds out to every 5 or 6 hours versus every 4 hours. I still have no appetite. I only ate a handful of grapes, some teddy grahams and water for breakfast. No doubt I'll be loosing more weight if I continue with this lack of appetite. Overall so far so good.
Hi bella I am glad you are doing good and have the help you need. Is def not a walk in the park. Have you been able to see the incision or take any pics? I think my Dr did more lipo than expected I have bruses everywhere near my back but if he did I am not complaining I love my results so far. Cant wait to see to yours soon tc hun :)
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If he did that much lipo then be happy. Go big or go home is my moto. To be honest I'm afraid of seeing the results. I'm going to wait till Monday to have Dr. H do the first reveal. I'm know it's going to be very raw and not pretty at first but I think I'll be more at peace after Dr. H tells me "It looks great" even if in my eyes it looks sort of gross. He knows what it should look like after all. I know this is a marathon and not a sprint so I'll try to give it time. Have you seen your results yet? I'm so glad you see a huge difference already. If you have seen it, how does your belly button look? I'm worried about having a "fake" looking belly botton. Funny, my sister and daughter told me my belly button has been so stretched out that it looks like a line and anything will look better than what I had before the surgery. I guess I've grown fond of my vertical belly button over the years- LOL.
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A friend of mine bought one of those earring gauges to shape her belly button.
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More Day 2 updates....Emotional rollercoaster...Out of town surgery isn't easy

Some of you have asked if I've had a chance to look at the incision yet. To be honest, I'm terrified to. I'm sure I will look like Frankenstein at first and I don't want to freak out. I know he did some lipo on my flanks (back) because I have gauze pads that have to be changed. My sister and daughter said there isn't much fluid coming out or bruising. I hope he did enough of it. Based on where he drew me up he was supposed to. Well I told him before we went into surgery to go aggressive and get all the fat off so I hope he did. Remember my moto is go big or go home. I hope and pray I have amazing results. Emotionally I started to struggle towards the end of he day today. My daughter who just broke up with her boyfriend went to meet him at the airport because he is doing a study abroad program and he had a 4 hour layover in Miami and asked her to please meet him so she did. This left me in the care of my sister. My sister also has a 2 and 3 year old who require way more care and attention than I do. I get it, I'm a mom too but I was left to fend for myself for the most part. I did a lot of walking around today and felt ok for the most part. My sister was here but busy with her kids, doing laundry etc... She checked on me throughout the day but was not sitting there at my bedside to help me out of my recliner or check my gauze pads etc... I'm pretty self reliant but being in this physical state where you just had major sugery the day before you wish someone was there at your bedside. It makes you so so vulnerable. I'm a strong independent woman but this has been a very humbling experience. As the day progressed I started to really wish my hubby was here. He called me and told me he wishes he could give me a hug and I talked to my son and my other daughter back home. I started to get very homesick and felt lonely. I felt like I should be recovering at home in my own surroundings where I would be the priority. I was hoping my daughter would get back quickly from meeting her ex at the Miami airport because she has been so caring and helpful. Then my sister had some friends stop by and they stopped in my room to say hello. I felt awkward, a little embarrassed to be seen in my ugly jammies - no make up etc... (I'm usually very well put together and don't like to be seen this way). After they left I just started to cry and told my husband I wanted to go home. He told me to hang in there and see what Dr. H said on Monday as to when I could go home. He doesn't want me stressed. Thank God my daughter arrived shortly afterwards and realized I was two hours late on taking my pain meds. No wonder I was an emotional wreck. She immediately got me some crackers and cheese and gave me my antibiotics and my next dose of vicodin. I'll tell you she is definitely making up now for all those times she wouldn't do her chores at home or would leave all her laundry and her room a mess for me to have to clean up after. She has redeemed herself and earned the college tuition I've been paying for. It's been a major bonding experience between her and I. I think I've been able to listen to her more and she has opened up to me about her relationship, views on life etc... Sometimes she and I clash but this situation has softened both of our hearts towards each other. My other daughter back home has been great too by keeping her brother distracted of the fact that mommy "is on a business trip" (that's what I told him, my in laws and my parents- I don't want to worry them) by taking him to the movies and out for ice cream and skyping with me so I can see their lovely faces. Well that's the end of Day 2. I hope tomorrow is a bit more stable.
Thank you all for the words of encouragement. I really appreciate it.
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Hi ...Take it easy .dont worry we all felt that way IT IS GETTING BETTER each and every day .yuo will look great im sure .happy healing
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Hi Bella. I loved reading your blog. Thank you for sharing this experience with us. I have my consultation on Wednesday and honestly recovery is my biggest fear. I also am worried that i'll still be pudgy after the TT. I hope that you are feeling better and am glad that your daughter is taking such good care of you. I have two girls, one 3 and the other 9 months, and I am worried about their care while I recover. Reading your blog has really made me realize that I need someone who will be able to tend to me and only me... as selfish as that sounds. I can't wait to see your after pictures.
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Day 3...Second day Post Op...

So its Sunday and my Surgery was on Friday morning. I'm on my second day post op. I slept pretty well and continued waking up every two hours to do my walks and taking my vicodin every 4 hours. My last dose was at 3:00 am. I woke up again at about 6 am to go to the bathroom and I was hungry so I decided to have some mandarin organs that my sister had in the fridge for her todders. It's the small cups of mandarin oranges that come in a light syrup. I had a couple of bites and I threw up again. Throwing up is hard on my insides as you know. I decided to just take two extra strength Tylenols instead of more Vicodin because I can't take the nausea and the muscle spasms that come with throwing up. I went back to bed and slept until about 9:30 am. I can't believe I've gone so long without the Vicodin. When I woke up I was hungry and my sister made me a single pancake with fruit. Funny it's the same portion my 2 and 3 year old niece an nephew eat and when I finished the entire pancake we all celebrated for me and the toddlers finally eating our toddler portion breakfast without any incident. I actually felt a little stronger. My sister's family decided to go to church this Sunday morning and I encouraged my daughter to go with them because its only an hour and I want all three of them to pray that I have a beautiful result during my big reveal tomorrow when Dr. H takes off my binder. Funny---I wonder if during their prayers God thinks "These crazy women are so vain...there's other people with real problems in the world and these women are praying for tone tight tummies and nice belly buttons"- LOL. But I don't think God is like that. I think he will give me a nice result. I haven't peaked at it and haven't posted pics but will try to tomorrow unless it's freakish looking. Even though, I should show you the raw ugly truth to this healing process. So after everyone left I gave myself a sponge bath with a wash cloth. I am a clean freak germaphobe and I really needed it. I changed into flowy sun dress and I did my make up today. I actually look somewhat normal and feel so much better. The craziest part is that I haven't had any Vicodin since 3:00am and it's now noon. I can't wait for everyone to arrive and see me looking half way normal. Again, keep in mind that this pain pump is still on and continues to administer a local anastetic to my incision so that's probably why my discomfort is tolerable. That's all for now.
Hi Bella2014!!!! I hope everything doing good!!!
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You are going to look great! Thanks for the details on the matter at hand. Atleast I know I need to do lower back work outs!
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Your "before" body was amazing to begin with! Three kids my ass! Lol! I know your results will come out great! Happy healing!
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Today is my big reveal!

On my way to Dr H's office to have my bandages removed. I'm very.scarred. Hope I like my new belly button. Hope my scar is low. My heart is racing and I'm afraid to look
good luck with your appointment today! glad you pulled through the procedure. :)
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Hi!! As I read on your review, you didn't stay overnight in his recovery suite... is there a reason other than financial? I have a friend that did TT and stayed overnight... thanks!!!!
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I believe the recovery suite was like $650 a night more. My reason for not staying there was not financial but simply because I thought I'd be more comfortable at my sister's house. The suite isn't really a suite. It's more of a hospital bed with a curtain barrier around it very much like a hospital setting but there's a nurse there attending to everyone overnight. I think that's more appropriate for patients who have multiple procedures all at once who need more extensive care. Like I said a TT is no walk in the park but once you get past the initial shock when you first wake up, the pain has been tolerable with the pain pump in. I have been much more comfortable with my own room with a door where I can shut the drapes and surrounded by my family at my sister's house. Other than that one day when her friends came over and she was attending to her kids it's been good.
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The big reveal....

I went into the examining room at Dr. Hochstein's office and the nurses instructed me to remove all my clothes and all the ace and Velcro binder I had been wearing and that the doctor would be in to see me in a moment. I thought to myself, "Wait, aren't you guys supposed to remove all this?" But my sister and daughter were there with me to help me do it. Suddenly fear set in about what I would find underneath. I started to panic and started to cry. Just then Dr. H walked in and asked what's wrong and I told him I'm Scared. He kindly told me, "Don't be scared, everything went great". The compression garment was completely off but the gauze bandage covering the wound was still concealing the final result. Slowly he removed it all and he revealed a very cute perfectly shaped belly button. My inner thighs that I debated having lipo'd looked amazing. I no longer had the fat pockets that used to jiggle when I ran on my inner thighs. What was most amazing was that I DIDN'T HAVE A SINGLE STRETCH MARK LEFT!!!!! NOT ONE! I was pretty young when I had my first daughter so I've lived with stretch marks on my tummy almost my entire life. For the first time I didn't have them anymore. I could not believe it! What still freaks me out is the long frankenstein like incision. It's very very low and Dr Hochstein assured me it will flatten and fade in time. It's only been about 72 hours since I went under the knife so I should be more patient I guess. My right side had a piece that sort of looked like what some describe as a "Dog Ear" and I pointed it out to Dr. H who assured me it was not and would heal perfectly. I'm still very very swollen at 3 days post op and I know this will only improve. What a relief. All that said, I know I've posted before pics and many of you have said I looked good already but let me admit I choose he best ones of the bunch. I am now prepared to show you the up close and personal pics of me just before surgery and what I looked like today. Although this is very personal, I'm doing this because there were other ladies out there who had the courage to post their pics and it was very helpful to me so I too want to help other ladies. Here are the side by side pics. What do you think? Dr. H, sent me home with my pain pump an said I should come back on Wednesday to hav it removed so you'll notice all the wires... Drains, Pain Pump and all still attached.

before and 3 days post op

The before pic shows all my problem areas marked up by Dr H just before surgery. the after shows today's reveal
Did he lipo other areas besides your inner thighs? You don't seem to have much bruising but your waist looks a bit smaller.
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He always included waist and flanks,I think. You are right, I didn't bruise very much. I was afraid he didn't do enough lipo in those areas but I guess if you see a difference maybe he did
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I've been taking Arnika Forte and Bromelian since 3 days before surgery. It's a natural herbal.
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Day 4...final showered, getting off the meds feeling more normal and went out to dinner...

Today, I decided to lay off the Vicodin. I started taking Extra Strength Tylenol instead. I didn't want to be nauseated anymore and I felt much more clear headed, my appetite returned and my pain was tolerable. My mission today was to take a shower and try to have a BM. I took a "smooth move" gentle laxative tea last night but that didn't work so I took a Dulcolax Tablet. Eventually much much later in the day it worked- Thank God. As far as the shower went I went into the shower shaved my legs first with the water running and then I got on all fours and stuck my head under the running tub faucet to wash it. I wore bikini top and stuck my drain bulbs in the cups so they wouldn't be in the way. After I washed my hair I ran the shower but quickly just rinsed any excess conditioner and washed my body down with antibacterial soap trying not o get near the wound. I ended up having to change the bandages on the ends. By the time that was done, I was exhausted and needed a nap. After I awoke I did my hair and make up- this process was exhausting and took up most of my day. My sister and Brother in law took us all out to dinner and it was nice to be clean and out of the house. I'm so tired of the drains and pain pump. I'm hoping they can be removed tomorrow. I'm loving the belly button but the scar is a still very raw and I'm trying not to look at it because it's very discouraging. I am terribly homesick but my hubby's been skyping with us every night so that helps but I will tell you how hard it is to go through this process away from home. The best part of this is that every night my sister hangs out with my daughter and I after the kids have gone to bed an her hubby's upstairs watching football. We all talk, bond an laugh. Although they try not make me laugh because it's very painful. It's been a bonding experience.
You look so good! Glade your ge tting to have bonding time with your daughter and sister. Do you have any tips on how to prepare for out of town surger?
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Bella you look great! I had the same experience with Dr Hochstein amazing! July 19th will be 6 months for me. Everything will turn out great, fade, get smaller, lower and disappear! Try to just be patient, it's really difficult but every single day you will get closer to being what you were before surgery only hotter! Continue to heal and feel good.
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Hi! I finally had a chance to read thru your whole review and I love it!! Your review is going to be so beneficial for patients looking to have a TT and I thank you for going some much into detail. You looked absolutely gorgeous today!! I have my fingers crossed that your drains will be ready to come out on Friday!! See you soon and Happy Healing!! Xoxo
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Morning of Day 6

So I didn't get around to posting an update yesterday so I'll do it all at once. I saw Dr Hochstein yesterday and he finally took out the pain pump but I still have to keep the drains in for now. Removing the pain pump was painless. They just removed the tape and pulled it out. I'm flying back home on Friday at 5:00 and I don't know what I'm going to do if I have to return with these drains on. The Doctor's office told me they'd call me today to set an appointment time for Friday since its a surgery day they need to squeeze me in between appointments. It looks like the incision is beginning to heal in some spots which is surprising to me because it hasn't even been a week. It still looks very gory. I'm very anxious to get back home to my 4 year old son and hubby and other daughter. The homesickness has been almost as tough as the recovery. My sister and brother in law have been so so gracious and I've enjoyed my bonding time with them but I also have come to realize how much I LOVE and miss my family. This has been such a time of self reflection for me an I realize that I'm such a busy body workaholic that I am not often in the moment when I am with my family. I vow to do a better job going forward. As far as pain is concerned the most discomfort I have is my lower back pain and how difficult it is to stand up straight. Last night I really wanted to sleep on the bed but my family wouldn't allow it. Stll in the am, I crawled up next to my daughter and kept my legs bent but allowed my aching back some relief. I've even been getting on all fours and doing my downward facing dog pose to stretch out my poor back. I'm still being very careful to not use my abs at all but I'm trying to get some of my mobility back. I think at this point, I've already healed enough where I'm not going to rip my internal or external stitches. Besides, now I'm only taking Tylenol so I think I'd feel the pain if I hurt anything. I only take a Vicodin at night but even stopped the Valum. I'm a little nervous about how my trip back is going to be tomorrow at the airport. Can I walk far enough to the gate? I'm going to ask for a Doctor's note and call the airline tonight to find out about having a wheelchair to get me to the gate. Maybe the doctor's note will also explain why I have bloody tubes sticking out of me.... Although I hope Dr. Hochstein can remove them tomorrow.... Even just one. I really want to be free from this science experiment I've been wearing this past week. On a Side note, Dr. Hochstein has been very kind and reassuring through all this. I've read that his bedside manor isn't the best but I totally disagree. He is one of the best in the business so he's a very busy man. We need to understand that he can't and won't spend a ton of time holding your hand and building rapport (he gets right down to business) but he has been kind with me, addressed all my concerns, confident in his work and reassuring. I appreciate that. If you want a good Doctor go to Dr. H. So far I'm very happy. I've had no complications also so I'm very lucky.
excited to have you back in the Elm.I tear up thinking of how you miss Blake...I understand that totally. You will be able to hug him real soon! Take care best of luck getting thru airport, you made it this far the next phase is the easy part! Let me know when I can visit you. xx
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I'm about 4 days ahead of you and since I've been sleeping in the bed my back is better-- but yes that hurts!! I hope you have a very safe flight home-- maybe save a pain pill for the trip home!! Good luck!
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Back pain... found some relief.

So a quick update on the past days... yesterday, was feeling better... still lots of swelling and lower back pain but good enough to go out to dinner with my sister and her family. I got home and decided to take a hot shower. Dr Hochstein allows showers as long as you've gotten the ok from him post op. I still had the drains in but I put on a bikini top and put the bulbs in the cups. The hot water really relaxed my back muscles and I felt so much better after. After I decided to put a heating pad on my back and it really works. I was able to almost stand up straight. Last night I decided to sleep in the bed with lots of pillows under my knees and back. My back felt so much better this morning. I can almost stand up straight!

1 Week post op....

So today is my one week anniversary. What a difference a week makes. I'm walking almost straight although I still have lots of swelling. I went in to see Dr H today for my final appt. He took out my left drain but I need to keep the right one in for a few more days. The drain removal was painless. They snipped the little stitch that was holding it in on the end and just slid it right out. No pain. My scar seems to be more stabbed up and dry know so not so raw but still very very swollen. My sister said I look fantastic! I feel like I still look strange with all the swelling.
I just celebrated my one year anniversary PostOp with Dr. H. He does amazing work. I was in the office on Wednesday 1/8 and had a small dog ear removed yesterday 1/9. No issues. And now my recovery journey ends with Dr. H. Seems we were at Dr, H's office on the same days; like ships passing in the night. My best advice is to take the time to heal and don't rush anything. Everyday will be different, some good and some not so good. But everyday you will move forward in your recovery. Good luck!
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finally back home!

I got a Doctors note in case I wanted to use a wheelchair or of I was questioned about the final drain sticking out of my body (you never
know what to expect w airport security these days). But I decided to,walk it and go through the motions like a normal passenger. It went smoothly without incident. I was pretty swollen by the time I got home but,not in any pain. I'm only taking Tylenol now. 1 week is enough for those who are traveling in from out of town to do this. Any,less is probably not realistic. I was so happy to be home and see my hubby and kids. Tonight I'm sleeping in my own bed w pillowa under,

sleeping in my own bed tonight...

I'm just going to put pillows under,my knees so I don't put any strain on my abs or pull on the incision. My tummy is very swollen and hard and itchy. Can't wait to be back to normal. It's so good to be home again. I cried when I saw my little son for the first time in a week. There's no place like home
I'm so glad that you are back home with you family!! Keep healing!! It'll feel great to sleep in your own bed-- I'm 4 days ahead of you so still swollen but pain is okay!
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I slept with pillows under my knees, and about 4 pillows under my head for a few weeks. It was like a make shift recliner in my bed :-) You look awesome!!!
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Congrats you look amazing! Can't wait to see what's to come...thanks for journaling your experience, it really helps calm my anxiety. As humans we're scared of the unknown and this helps soothe my mind! Happy Healing, I'm praying for you.
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Day 8

So today I took a long hot shower which really relaxes my aching back and I decided to put some silicone strips on my incision that many have recommended on this site. First I put the biocornum lotion I got at Dr. H's office let it dry then layered the silicone strips on. I feel like it protects the incision when I put my compression garment on. I got a couple different ones I can use...spanx, one with a panty and corset type waist and a few others. I felt a lot better today. Less swelling in the am but by the afternoon I'm swelling like crazy. Maybe I'm overdoing it. I have more fluid in my one remaining drain. Today there was a lot less lower back pain and I'm pretty much standing up straight. If I have the same level of improvement in the next 7 days as I had from day 1 to day 7, I'll be so happy. I haven't shown my hubby the results yet because I want the swelling to subside first and my belly button to scab off. Any idea how long before this swelling goes down? I'm going to leave this last drain in until it's totally ready because I hope it's relieving some of the swelling. Today was a good day overall, Hope tomorrow is even better.
Do you have to follow up with Dr.H again? Who's going to take your drain out?
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Nope. Only if I do it via Skype but I think I'm just going to remove it myself once it's no longer filling with fluid. It was so easy and painless I can do it myself. My primary care doctor said he'd do it but it's totally not necessary. I just have to snip the stitch that holds it in and slide it right out. I'm thinking another day or two.
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Second day at home

Today the swelling was a bit less. My hubby told me I looked tiny so I was pleased but my drain is still over the 25 mark in 24 hours. I'm standing up straight feeling a lot better and my back was only sore in the am and at the end of the day. The swelling gets bad towards 3 or 4 pm. Every day is so much better. My scar still freaks me out but I try not to look at it. I know it's still so early in the healing process. My waist is definitely a lot tighter and smaller and I'm still swollen so I'm excited about what the final outcome will look like after the swelling goes down. I'm feeling about 65% today. Maybe sleeping in my bed is what's doing it for me. I'm no longer concerned about bending my legs when I sleep. My inner thighs are still pretty sore and I've been putting on arnica gel and continue taking my Arnica pills and bromelian pills to help with the healing. Things are getting back to normal a bit. I'm going back to work tomorrow and hope all goes well. I'll keep listening to my body and hope I continue to heal well, swell less and that my scar improves.

I'll try to post a pic in the next day or two.
you really look amazing! congrats!
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I'm glad you doing good girl. Can't wait to see pictures. I'm in miami right now. Tomorrow am is my f/u app hopefully both drains will be out. I'm happy your swelling is going down. Post pictures soon. Happy healing ;)
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2days back at work...feeling 75%

So I went back to work yesterday and wore my corset style girdle and tucked my drain in my bra cup. I looked totally normal only my waist looks smaller even though I'm still swollen. Todays,swelling was less than yesterday. I'm hoping to remove my drain before the weekend but only of it's ready. I haven't shown my hubby my results until that drain is out. I'm now sleeping almost totally flat in bed and that has really helped with the lower back pain. I'm loving my new figure...totally and completely stretch mark free but the scar is still intense. Please tell me it will fade. I'm using the buckthorn dr N sold me

new pics

I'm putting the biocornium cream on the incision and using silicone strips to protect the incisio but is it too soon? Should I let it dry out completely before starting these treatments or the sooner the better. Not sure. n
You are smoking up my screen! Lol....really looking great. The scar will def be fading slowly but for me it got worst then lighter then dark again. So it will improve it just takes a awhile. Good job.
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I think its too soon but ask DR H :) You look amazing girl. I'm 6 months PO a great place to be. I'm now so flexible and feeling normal finally. That stiff horrible feeling has gone bye bye yayyy!! I'm still a bit swollen but it's very isolated to that one pouch area. The numb feeling is going away in some spots and all around its not as weird as it felt in the beginning. I will post some of the office before & after's when I go to my apt next week.
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That's encouraging to hear. You look fantastic. Your posts really motivated me to do this. Thank you so much for your openness and encouragement. U r our idolĀ”
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12 days post op

Today was great.less swelling than yesterday. I almost forgot I had a tt until someone made me laugh at work. But I even feel my abs getting stronger. I am amazed at how well I'm feeling. 75% now. I've.decided to just tape up my incision and not put any creams or antibiotic ointments on for at least another week. My drain is still not read to be removed. I'll continue to wait till its ready. Overall I'm feeling great and excited for my progress so far.

2weeks post op

I'm feeling great! On Friday exactly two weeks post op my hubby he wanted to see the results but was scared because he is so squeemish. I decided to remove the last drain myself so I would not freak him out. It was not draining.g much and I was Beginning to worry about developing scar tissue around the drain or for bacteria to get into it. So,I took it out myself. It was weird..a lot longer than I expected but not painful. Here's some pics I took right after. I am wearing silicone strips over the incision to protect it and

hubbys reaction....

He cautiously looked and was totally amazed. He just said,"oh my God...that's crazy...you look tiny.. You look amazing. He made me turn around and asked me to please not wear tiny bikinis and skimpy clothing just because I have a bikini body now..lol. Then he put his hands around my waist and said everything was tiny and tight..it didn't feel like his wife. It was like I was a different person. He said it was amazing...better then he could have ever imagined and worth every penny. I totally agree. now that the swelling has gone down you.com see the muscleI worked do hard to build for years but was hidden underneath the loose skin. I'm totally happy I did this. Worth the pain and every dollar spent. I just can't wait for the swelling to be gone completely and the scar to fade. can't wait for summer and to wear a bikini..!
Wow your looking fabulous!! Gorgeous tummy :)
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You look great! Hopefully Dr. H will give me similar results!
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3 Weeks Post Op Today!

So far I'm feeling great. Still a little tightness in the front of my body and tummy when I try to stretch or stand up straight. I've got some swelling in my lower abs...especially at the end of the day. I have noticed it has been a lot less than last week but its still there. Not much swelling in my upper abs. My flanks swelling has gone down also. I'm still a little uncomfortable at night but its better every day. I'm sooooooo happy I did this! Dr. Hochstein completely exceeded my expectations. My waist is TINY! My mom (whom I didn't tell I was doing this to not worry her) saw me and asked if I was sick because it looks like I lost 20 pounds. She was seriously concerned and called me the next day to ask of I was sick. I saw her again yesterday and I got on the scale to prove to her that I had not lost 20 pounds. She pointed out that my waist was so small and she straight out asked me if I had some sort of surgery but I told her I was just working out. She's onto me...lol. My hubby keeps telling me I look incredible. I'm still freaked out by the scar and I won't show it to him until it smooth out and lightens up. My belly button is perfect...sort of looks like my 21year old daughter's. Can you believe that? I can't. I'm a little concerned about the fact that since I did my surgery in Miami I haven't had any more post op Dr. Visits. What if I get a seroma? Who the he'll would drain it? Would my primary doctor even know what to do? I'm a little freaked but all has gone well so far. I miss working out and I can't wait to get back to the gym. I was pretty fit underneath my lose tummy skin and I don't want to loose my muscle tone. Better start watching my diet but I'm going to wait the full 6 weeks. 3 more to go. I'll post pics tomorrow before I shower.
honestly u looked so well with the pre op pics. I wish I were like this then I wouldn't be undergone a major surgery. :)
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thank you but I had a ton of loose skin. you can't tell so much in the pictures but I always had to pull up my pants for extra support it would give me a camel toe. I have no regrets about doing this. the results are amazing
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Thank you all for the compliments. You all inspired me to do this. This blog is great. It really kept me encouraged leading up to the surgery and into the recovery.
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3 week pics...

here's some pics I took this morning. very happy with the results although I feel like I'm losing a little bit of the muscle tone I had prior to surgery. Can't wait to get back to the gym
Wow!!!
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Your tummy looks so good. I have the big reveal in about a couple of hours. Hopefully I have at least half the result ;)
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4 week update...

I'm feeling better everyday. Tightness still hasn't gone away but is better everyday. Swelling is less but still there at the end of the day. No issues so far. Thank God! My big concern is now for my scar to heal and fade. It's starting to flatten out and I know it takes time . My friends think my boobs and but look bigger but it's just because my waist is much smaller. I am beyond happy with the results. Can't wait forsummer! Bikini here I come..

side by side before and after pics...

Wow! Just 1month post op.
do have an extended TT? lipo and muscle repair? just look so good. your result becomes my dream. I only wish mine will turn out to be like this.
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I had a regular tt..hip to hip w some muscle repair and lipo.
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Omg you came out great! Big difference girl.. Isn't Dr. Hochstein just amazing? Im at the 6 month mark & I'm very happy with his work. Continue to feel good :)
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5 week update

Im now wearing spanxs.. Trying to wean myself off the compession garment. swelling is less and less but still there at the end of the day. My tummy is numb abd itchy. my biggest concern is that now that the swelling has gone down some i notice some rippling in my skin near the incision. almost like you can see where the skin was pulled tight.

more on week 5

Im hoping the rippling will go away in time. Ive been feeling some sharp pains near my belly button. i assume its because of the muscle repair. i am hoping to start workung out next week when i reach the 6 week mark. im starting to lose the muscles in my arms. im very eager to feel like my old self. i feel like im living in someone elses body. its annoying.
I might miss this fr your posts. What is your diet? R u taking bromelain, turmeric, arnica? U just look like no swelling so I must follow you. Your updates r informative, I read them but been reading too much fr here so all messed my mind up now....probably too nervous
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I took arnica and bromelian, a probiotic, multivitamin and calcium daily. I think my swelling was minimal because a got a crazy tight compression garment. I found it in Miami at a Columbian girdle shop. It had a zipper and hook eye closures and it was super tight. I did swell a lot but it became less and less after week 3. I eat pretty healthy and prior to doing this worked out regularly..4-5 times a week. Did kickboxing and strength training. I really miss it and hope to get back to my workout routine soon.
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You look great! You must feel so different now being so flat! I go for my TT on march 1! Did you have alot of back pain?
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its my 6 week anniversary!

I'm feeling less and less tight now but my tummy is still numb. I'm starting to wean myself off the spanxs. I am no longer in the crazy tight compression garment and usually only wear spanx now. I even went a day or two this week without my spans but then the numbness feels weird so I put them on again. The rippling in my incision seems a little less this week but its still visible to me. I'll post pcs later. Right now my biggest concerns are that the rippling goes away completely and my scar healing. I'm eager for it to start fading and I realize I must be patient. I'm also eager to start working out but I am scared. I'll try to start in the coming week and see how it goes. Last night we went bowling with friends and although I only played one game and I used an 8 pound ball my tummy was burning towards the end. Luckily I didn't wake up sore or swollen. I'll post 6 week pcs later today.
Do you think the Arnika Forte helped with the swelling and healing?
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I took it consistently so you should try it. I'm sure it didn't hurt.
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Thanks!
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went to the gym for the first time this past Saturday...

I went to my first body pump class this past Saturday. Its an all body strength training class with weights. I did half the weight I used to do and I was so so sore the next two days. Had more swelling too even though I didn't do any ab work. I need to get back to my routine. My arms are loosing their muscle tone.
Bella that's awesome you did Body Pump!! I have gone to the gym 3 times. Last night I did weights--like you much lighter--all in time. Yah for us at least getting to the gym!!
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You look amazing! Very inspiring :-) although I thought you looked pretty damn good in the before pic! I was told I could walk on the treadmill now at two weeks post as long as I don't push it and keep no incline so tomorrow I'm gonna give it a shot. How did you feel during your body pump class was there any straining feeling?
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7 week update...

went to a body combat class on Wednesday. My hamstrings were sore but no real issues with Tommy. Just body soreness from not having worked out in a long time. Then yesterday I went to another Body Pump class. Getting stronger every time.
Amazing!!! You look awesome. I'm surprised at how the swelling went down quickly. I'm trying to get a zipper garment here in Fl. Is so hard to find. Would you know the name brand? Perhaps I can order it on line. Thanks and blessings to you and yours!!!
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Go to the columbian faja stores. they are the best. You walk into a sea of girdles of all kinds. my sister took me. We arent columbian but were told those were the best. I think they are. Google faja store. maybe there is one in your area.
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They have the girdle stores all over the latin neighborhoods in Miami. Are u in south florida?
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2 months...

Swelling is gone and im not using a girdle or spanx anymore. numbness is starting to go away and my scar is pretty flat. i still have some rippling in my incision on the left side like my stitches are pulling my skin but even that has gotten better slowly. here are some pics i took today.
Hi Bella- It's been a couple months since your last post, I'd love to hear how you are doing and see updated pics of your progress since the surgery.
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I had a little lip in the inner thighs. total cost was $7,000
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You look awesome !!!! Hey I see marking on your inner thighs what did you get done please let me and the cost too. Hats off to you beauty
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almost 5 months post op

I've been working out doing body combat and body pump but I've had to cut back recently bcuz the soreness on my abs was almost as bad as in the beginning. maybe i should lay off the abs a bit. Overall. I like the definition in my abs and have no regrets. My scar is flat and thinning out and the rippling on i previously described is almost gone although i still have some rippling on the ends. My incision is still red and i can't wait till it fades. The incision is the only ugly thing about this. I've gained 3 or 4 pounds since slowing down on my work outs but overall im loving how i look.
I didn't start doing hardcore ab stuff until 6 months, and I am almost 7 months out, and it still hurts! I only do Pilates for the abs twice a week, but I also run, lift weights, and do P90X. I can't believe how sore it still is :-) You look GREAT though!
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You look good! I'm only 2 days po and feeling okay except for allergies. I'm trying hard not to sneeze. Ur redness will fade with time. Cute BB.
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6 month update

My body feels almost back to normal but my ab still isn't as strong as it was before the surgery. I've gained a few pounds because I haven't worked out like I used to plus the summer has been very social...lots of eating and drinking. Stil I think I look better than ever. Imagine what i could achieve if i got back to my workout regimne. These days i feel good in EVERYTHING i wear. So glad i did this.
8 months still a bit sore after workouts! I started doing only compound weight sets so I'm engaging my core but not strictly working isolated ab muscles. This is much more comfortable for now...my doc says I paid for abs lol;)
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Not doc sis lol
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Miami Plastic Surgeon

Prior to meeting Dr Hochstein I met with 2 surgeons in Chicago. Both didn't seem very confident in being able to get rid of all my stretch marks. When I met w Dr Hochstein he was very confident in being able to get me the results I'm looking for and is even going to lipo everything from the bra down to really chisel everything out. I'm excited but terrified about the recovery.

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