6 WEEKS POST OP

BACKGROUND I am a 38 year old mother of 2...

BACKGROUND
I am a 38 year old mother of 2 children - both vagnial deliveries. My daughter was born 6 years ago and I was able to lose the baby weight within 4 months post delivery, however, I had belly bulge that never left. Truth be told, my belly was never flat, but the pregnancy only added to that. My son was born 3 years later and the weight was much more difficult to shed. I went on a strict calorie diet and as much exercise as possible while working and tending to 2 wonderful children. Although, my weight went to a reasonable level ( I'm 5'6 and 145 lbs), my belly just protrudes and makes my pants so uncomfortable. People tell me I look good but they don't see what is under the clothes and don't understand how bad my belly feels in pants. I used to be able to "suck it in" but after baby #2 I couldn't and just figured it was because of so much flab in that area. I've been running for 2 years now approx 10 miles per week with at least 3 hours of toning exercise mixed in each week. I've even worked with a personal trainer for strength training 2x per week. Physically I feel super strong and motivated, but this belly is going nowhere and it bothers me more every day.

Plastic Surgery Thoughts
I honestly never thought I would pursue plastic surgery. It seemed like such a cop out for lazy people who wanted a quick fix and were willing to put their lives at risk for vanity. I kept hearing ads on the radio for PS promos and recently watched a 20-20 episode about people who swear by it. 3 weeks ago I browsed google for a PS office in my area and made a call. my reasoning was that I really wanted a professional to be honest with me about how bad ( or maybe not so bad) my body was, and what I could do about it. I was hoping they might say there was this great new non-surgical body contouring procedure that would smooth me out perfectly. In this moment of temporary insanity, I filled out a contact form on the PS website and that was that. About 2 hours later I received a call from a nurse at the office and she suggested I come in for a free consultation. The office is 10 mins from my office so I scheduled it for my lunch hour the following week.

Consultation
I arrived at the PS office on my lunch hour. The office was very contemporary and inviting. Front desk staff was friendly and told me it should be a short wait. 10 mins later I was greeted by a R.N. named Maureen who was immediately disarming and made me feel comfortable. We went back to her office and I found myself pouring out my heart about how uncomfortable I am with my body. She was so understanding about my insecurities and gave me a quick definition of the surgical options that they offer. She explained that patient safety is their #1 concern and all procedures are performed by board certified surgeons at surgical centers. She did explain to me right away that because they use state of the art surgery centers, it is a minimum cost of $6000 just to book the hospital (bed, nurses, antestiologist, etc) and any procedures go up from there. Her point was, if im thinking of getting one thing done, i may as well get more done in order to optomize my $6000 "entry cost". I was happy she was up front about this, however, was immediately concerned that I wouldn't be able to afford PS costs on top of this initial $6000. Regardless, We had such an easy conversation and I felt totally comfortable. She then told me I would immediately meet with the surgeon to complete the consultation. I was very surprised that I would have the opportunity to meet with the surgeon during this free consult. I really didn't plan on moving on any major surgery done and didn't want to waste the surgeons time.

So, the surgeon (female) comes in and I immediately love her. She is very serious and matter of fact. She grabs my belly and says "Tummy Tuck"! She explains that after 2 pregnancies my muscles have severly seperated. This explains why with all of my intense workouts i still see no improvement in my lower belly. This explains why i can no longer "suck it in". She says I will love my pants once I get rid of this belly. She explains that she will suture the muscles back together so my workouts will start showing results in the abdominal area. She explains that she doesn't use tubes and instead takes the time during surgery to suture the belly as to minimize recovery efforts. Since i was already there, naked, disussing my body, i asked if a breast lift is an option for me. Dr says that my breasts are beautiful but beginning to droop. She recommends a full tummy tuck with abdominal muscle repair and a small breast implant to help round ot the top area which would make them look very natural and give them volume. She says with all this, I need 2weeks to go back to work. WOW, Im sold, except I haven't seen the cost! I have to get back to work so the nurse says she will email me with the quote. I leave there thinking how much I would love to do this but am fearful the cost will be crazy!

So, 3 hours later I receive an email with the full quote. $11,700. I was pleasently surprised as this is something I can easily afford. Now I'm getting super excited but how to even broach the subject with DH??

2 days later (after 2 sleepless nights) I tell DH we need to talk. I tell him everything and he says he wants me to be happy. Today he went with me for a second consultation. I wanted him to meet the nurses and Dr and have the opportunity to ask any questions he may have. Everything went great and he is comfortable. He loves my breasts and didn't want a foreign item put into them, however, once the Dr explained how breasts continue to deflate/sag over time and that implants are much less scarring than lifts, he was convinced.

MY SURGERY
We put the deposit down today and my surgery is set for Dec 26 -the day after Christmas. I will have a full tummy tuck with lipo to flanks and hips along with implants. The implants will be silicone and I'm trying to decide between 300, 325, or 350. I want them to look natural and not obvious that I had work done, however, I keep hearing that most women wish they would have went bigger. This site has become an obsession for me over the past 2weeks. I love reading about how happy people are post surgery. I hope people will follow my story and support me as I'm not sharing this with my friends or co-workers.

NOTE
At the beginning I mentioned that my previous thoughts of PS was that it was for people that were lazy. I now know that so many of us have struggles from pregnancies, medically conditions, or just unlucky genes. We are fortunate to have options like this with state of the art medical facilities. No matter what your age is, why not feel your very best??

I agree this is not a cop out! Why suffer with low self esteem and hating the way your clothes look on you! I am totally happy I did this! Can't wait to see your results!
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Love your review. I had many of the same thoughts you did. Like you, I am scheduled on Dec. 26th. TT & BA, no lift. I'm 46, 2 c-sections/2 kids (5 & 16). Again, like you, I am not sharing this with friends or co-workers (especially since I posted pictures! LOL) Have only told a few people. I'll look forward to following you!
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You just posted on my site so I wanted to comment on yours. I also never thought that I would ever have PS; however, the reality is that multiple pregnancies (4 for me), does a number on your body. If you see my pics, my extremities are pretty toned because I enjoy exercising (tennis, swim, jog) but there was nothing I could do about my stomach. Now with the TT, my stomach goes with the rest of me. I've only had a 2 pound weight loss, but I look different because the TT was not a weight-loss measure for me. It was simply refining areas that was affected by pregnancies. I think you will be happy with the TT. All the best to you. I've had an unbelievably easy recovery. That's why the excuse of the "back problem" was realistic. I am 3 weeks PO. Whenever I ask my 14 year old son to lift things for me, he just thinks I'm being careful with my back. If you have any questions, please ask them on my profile, otherwise I may not see it. Good luck to you. You'll do great.
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Today I met with the nurse to go over all the...

Today I met with the nurse to go over all the details. Since my surgery is the day after Christmas and the surgery center is closed on Christmas Eve, she said I will know my surgery time by the Thursday or Friday before Christmas. This made me happy. She also said it is almost always in the morning :)

Both my PS and the nurse have told me that the medication that will be injected in me (Experal) before I am closed up will take away the majority of the pain for the first 4-5 days which are the toughest recovery days for most people. I am still nervous but getting very excited. I haven't been on this site much because I was reading some reviews that were getting me down. I just have to stay positive and believe that my recovery will be a success because I just have to rid myself of this terribly uncomfortable kangaroo pouch.

I will not be getting a BA - just the TT and lipo. For all of you that have upcoming surgeries - stay positive. For those who are healing - wishing you comfort with each passing day :)

Oh, and god bless the families of Connecticut who suffered at the hands of a monster today :(

In exactly 48 hours I will be at the surgery...

In exactly 48 hours I will be at the surgery center! I'm excited and nervous. I've added pics from this morning. I am very hopeful that my surgeon can make this belly nice and flat with a shape to the sides. I hope that the muscle repair will allow me to get results at the gym. Results I have not been able to accomplish on my own after my second child (the boy did a bigger number on my belly than the girl....LOL).

I appreciate any comments, feedback, support, etc. I will update when I can post surgery.
How exciting!! I hope everything went well and I hope you are not in too much pain. Hang in there and update us when you get a chance.
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I meant today- sorry  
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Tomorrow is your day:-) Are you excited?? Do u have all ur supplies???
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My surgery took place Wednesday at 11am and I was...

My surgery took place Wednesday at 11am and I was out by 1:30. My PS does not place drains. She put Experel inside me before closing me up. Experel is a pain management drug that has been on the market for awhile but only recently approved for this type of surgery. The way it was explained to me is that it's like little bubbles of pain meds that slowly pop over the course of 3-4 days offering time released pain control. I woke from surgery with discomfort but not excruciating pain by any means. I was worried because I don't really have a gage on what my own pain tolerance is. Anyways, the nurse was kind of rushing me to get up to go home. As soon as I got to sitting position I was overcome with nausea and was sure I was going to throw up. Luckily that feeling passed within minutes and I was wheeled out to the car. The drive home was super bumpy and uncomfortable (Michigan roads). Once home I got into the recliner and started watching TV. My husband has proven to be an amazing caretaker and for that I am grateful. My kids were out of the house the first 24 hours but they are home now. They just think that I hurt my back. My daughter worries but I keep telling her this won't last long.

DAY 3 - morning update
I am able to get in and out of recliner and to and from bathroom by myself
I am able to go up and down stairs myself
I have been sleeping in guest bedroom propped with pillows since night 1
Last night (night 2) I got out of bed myself to potty so my husband could sleep through
This morning I asked for his help getting out of bed because my body is so stiff from single sleep position
I'm mostly drinking protein shakes and eating no salt saltine crackers (they are delicious)
Yesterday hubby made me a PB&J for lunch and I had one piece of Little Caesars pizza for dinner
My appetite is normal or perhaps a bit less than normal. I'm really focused on healing right now.

Medicines and vitamins I'm taking
Vicodin every 5 hours, Aleve 2x day, Celebrex 1 pill per night for 6 nights, Vitamin C (3000 mg per day), milk of magnesia (1-2 TBS) per day. I expect my arnica and bromeline to arrive via mail today and will start on those to help with bruising and swelling.

Tonight I take my first shower and I am very nervous to look under my garnet. I have no expectations of immediate results and I have seen pics of many women on day 3-4 so I know it is not pretty. I'm just scared that when I look down and see this partially mutilated skin on me I might faint.

Well, that was one of the most difficult showers...

Well, that was one of the most difficult showers I've taken but well worth. Got to see under my binder and I am happy! Lots of swelling and bruising but I can already see a much improved shape. I'm feeling really good and will meet with my Dr tomorrow for a post op check up!
KC - to be honest, my post op appt was disappointing. The dr and nurse were so short with me I barely got any feedback. I felt so rushed I forgot to ask some of the questions I had. I have a follow up in a few days to remove stitches and hope it goes better. I want to be able to say this was a good experience from start to finish. How are you doing?
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marykay - glad youre happy w results so far! how did post-op go?
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I was also very nervous about looking under the garment, but showering was a great feeling! I recommend lots of water and natural fiber to keep you "moving" haha in a healthy way, fruits and veggies so that you can manage any swelling. Don't forget having some hard candies or throat lozenges with you in case you cough or have a tickle in your throat. You will be amazed at the immediate results of the muscle repair! I also bought and used silicone strips religiously (as soon as the scabbing over the incision is done -- in a few weeks from now). My scar is very smooth. Congrats and thanks for sharing! Good luck!
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I can finally say I understand "swell hell"...

I can finally say I understand "swell hell" although I really didn't want to :(. I don't regret my decision, however, my mind constantly wonders "will the swelling ener go away?", "my tummy is stretched so tight am I going to tear open the stitches?", "is my belly button infected or are the stitches just making it look so gross?"

I feel so fortunate to have this site for reference because I know these are issues that almost everyone deals with but it's still getting me down. I hope tomorrow I can start fresh and feel positive again. Saturday I see the Dr. To have my stitches removed. I hope she is able to spend more time with me than at my 2 date post op because it was very rushed. This time I need my PS to spend some time talking me through these and other concerns. I just want to feel like she cares.
Thank you Blonde. I guess I'm only 9 days out and still have a lot to learn and accept. My primary concern going in was how painful the first few days would be and if I could handle them. Once I got through that I felt like I was out of the woods. Now I'm seeing all of the issues that come later like swelling, itching, continuous bruising. It's still a bit difficult getting in and out of bed. This is not a surgery you bounce back from quickly.
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I get ya. I'm only po 2 and already I'm thinking well why the heck can't get out of bed by myself?? I try but it's not happening yet.
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Oh it so hard with the swelling. I totally understand. Just because everyone goes through it doesn't discount how you are feeling- we all feel it differently at different times. It gets better I swear. Let your ps know you want time, you deserve it! Let me know how your appt goes. It will get better every day.
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So things are going really well. I had my 3rd...

So things are going really well. I had my 3rd post op yesterday and my PS said I'm healing really well. I've been back to work full time for a week and it was actually good to be back! I cannot wait to start exercising although I know I still have a few more weeks of healing to go. I'm just worried that this lack of exercise is going to make me add a few pounds. My swelling seems to be minimal compared to many of the blogs I've read on here. I mentioned that to my PS and she said its because of the quilting sutures that are provided with the drain less TT procedure. For anyone looking into getting a TT, I highly recommend finding a PS who specializes in drain less TT. also, ask for Experel for pain control the first 72 hours. It was truly a gift :)

I just added some before and after pics. Before is the day before surgery and after is 16 days post op. also included a pic of a wedge pillow I purchased at Brookstone for $99. It keeps my knees elevated at night and is so comfortable. Well worth the price for those of you having trouble finding a comfortable position at night.

Happy healing to all. For those of you who have not yet had surgery - stop worrying! It's not that bad!!
You look great! I can't say enough good things about my TT and MR. The drainless and pain management seems to have worked out for you. Good for you that you've been able to sleep well. Keep watching your sodium and take only little meals at a time to help with the discomfort in the tight abdomen. For me it was better each day, each week, but there was a huge difference around 3.5 months (no more swell hell, just surface swelling in places) and then 5.5 months when I had healed so much that I could really exhale without it feeling weird. (hard to explain, you will know when this happens) Happy healing!
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Looking great!! Keep it up and thanks for the motivation!
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Marykay - you look fabulous! I love your results!! You have to be so thrilled. Are you back in your bed? Do you sleep flat on your back with knees elevated with pillow? I got stuck like a turtle on its back trying to be back in bed too early! Haven't tried again. Love your pics!!
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Ok, so at 6 weeks post op I can finally say it was...

Ok, so at 6 weeks post op I can finally say it was WORTH IT". "IT" being TT with lipo and muscle repair. I am standing about 95 % upright and still wearing my binder or a shape wear garmet at all times. I started exercising at 5.5 weeks post op. my exercise is simply walking on a TM at a 15 min mile pace for 30 - 60 minutes at a time. I will see my PS IN 2 weeks and hope to be cleared for some light weight lifting and more intense cardio. For now it just feels good to be off the couch!! I'm noticing that clothes fit better even tho I'm still swollen a bit. The bottom line and reason for my official "worth it" rating is that nothing feels better to me right now than having a flat stomach with no love handles. I am very happy and looking forward to summer.
YAY!!!! Great update! I am 4.5 weeks PO and standing upright and just got cleared this week for walking! OMG, that was the best feeling to be able to exercise again, wasn't it?? I too am still swollen, but I am back in my old clothes and a bit smaller in a few others as well! It's nice to start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, eh?? :)
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