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3 months PO - time to sell you my Compression Garment?

I am a joyful 35 year old mother who has given...

I am a joyful 35 year old mother who has given birth 4 times. My kids are 8, 6, and 1. I am 5' 7" tall and weigh 138 pounds (I know I look like I weigh a lot more - that's why I'm here, people!). I was born a premie and was force fed through my belly button. When it was all said and done I was left with these little scars underneath my nearly non-existent belly button (thus, the dreaded "hood"). I have never in my life shown my stomach to ANYONE (well, of course you know that's not really true, having given birth so many times. Back to my story, when I was growing up, I always called my scars my 3 belly buttons. I have always felt self-conscious about that in general. Add to the fact that I am an apple shaped body and it makes it that much worse. Oh yah, and my appendectomy scar, and my C-section scar.


I do work out 5-6 times a week and generally eat a healthy diet. After my son was born a year and a half ago, I went from 195 before delivery to 138 pounds and have kept the baby weight off for about 6 months. I don't think the tummy will go away on its own unless I weight like 100 pounds, which would make me anorexic. Anyway, after much thought, I am finally at the place where I am going to visit several PS in my area and get a consult. My first one is on Thursday.

I had my first consult a couple of days ago and I...

I had my first consult a couple of days ago and I really liked the PS. I felt comfortable (albeit a little weird standing before a stranger in my bra and underwear) and got excited about the prospect of saying goodbye to my present tummy! I will just have one more consult on 9/11 and then make a decision about what/where/when. No, I think I got the "what" figured out now - tummy tuck with lipo contouring! Yeah!

I did it! I scheduled my surgery for Friday,...

I did it! I scheduled my surgery for Friday, September 28th! After doing 2 consults, I went with the first one. I am so excited and its only 2 1/2 weeks away so I've got a lot to wrap up before the big day!

I am going to be checking in at 11:30 am and the...

I am going to be checking in at 11:30 am and the surgery starts at 12:30. I am feeling okay but I will not enjoy going all morning without any water or food! Oh well, I'm sure that will be the least of my worries by the time the morning comes. Praying for wisdom for my Dr and for grace to endure any pain.

1 day PO - I am actually coherent enough to write...

1 day PO - I am actually coherent enough to write this! I thought it was going to be worse than it really is, actually. I am happy for the following 1) I am alive 2) I am being taken care of by my sweet husband who is a great nurse 3) I have a new belly button and possibly an actual waist 4) The pain is tollerable with vicodin, celebrex, etc etc (my "nurse" is worrying about what I'm getting - I'm not entirely sure!) 5) I had a foley catheter in last night so I didn't have to get up as much to go to the bathroom. Of course, when you're lying in bed (or a recliner) with all your pillows propping you up, you don't feel that bad. Its just when you move, cough, laugh, or pass gas that it hurts. 6) My drain output is minimal - on 25 cc on one side today and only 5 cc on the other! 7) I bought the toilet riser. 8) My binder isn't that uncomfortable - its holding me all together. I did sneak a peek at the new tummy when I opened it up and I was very please. Will post pics soon. 9) I had no nausea! Yippie! Praise God for that because I can't imagine how much that would hurt to throw up. 10) I was able to sleep a little last night - we stayed on top of my pain pills every 4 hours though so my longest stretch of sleep has only been 2 - 3 hours so far. 11) I'm rocking the TED compression stockings 12) My kids have been happy staying at friends houses and I even got to spend time this morning (post op 12 hours) with my 18 month old and it was just fine. I was coherent and able to sing him Old MacDonald several times while looking at books together. This journey might not be so bad!

Well, the weekend passed without anything too...

Well, the weekend passed without anything too exciting to report. My binder feels like its squeezing my guts out but I suppose that's what its supposed to be doing. I have taken a couple of modified showers (washing hair, shaving legs) in my patio chair in my walk-in shower. Thankfully we already had a shower nozzle that detaches from the wall (very handy). I can stand up and do some small chores so that is "good" I guess! My kids are back from their sleepover and I don't even think they noticed anything was wrong with me! My son hugged my drains-binder waist and didn't comment (he's 8) so that was surprising. I am happy to keep it from them so as not to worry them.

On the meds front, I am happy to report that I haven't taken any vicodin for the past 14 hours and feel okay. Getting up and down from my bed is definitely the hard part. But, once I'm up, I can walk around pretty good I think. I am surprised by this because I thought at PO day 1, 2, 3 I'd still be a virtual invalid! But, there is still a lot of lounging around...patience, patience, right?

The weird thing is, my right drain has never had anything in it! My left drain has never had more than 20 cc at a time in it (my hubby is emptying those 2 times per day). Could I possibly get my drains out today? I have my first quick PO check up with the nurse this afternoon so I'm not really thinking she'll remove it, but, weirder things have happened.

When do you guys think I'll be able to get this big binder off? Already dreaming of Spanx. : )

Hello there, overdid it on the Milk of Magnesia...

Hello there, overdid it on the Milk of Magnesia and what started out as a great day (good, regular, BM) turning into diarrhea city later this evening. Oh well, I think its over. WORD OF CAUTION - go easy on the doses of MoM! It will work (eventually). Just uploaded my first standing pic without my binder. I was a little scared I was going to topple over, but I did the pic and had my hubby put my "iron maiden" back on. At least I've been able to walk around the house quite a bit with my binder on. It really does keep you stable and keep you all together.

Start of day 6 PO - Hello there, I have been doing...

Start of day 6 PO - Hello there, I have been doing okay, I just hope that I don't go through the post-surgery dissonance like so many have. I am extremely thankful so far for doing this but its the iron maiden and lower back soreness that make me most disgruntled. BUT, all that aside, I am overall pleased with the recovery and highly amazed at the first results. Thanks, rockingMom for your sweet comments below. Anyway, I ventured out to the grocery store (a friend was watching the baby) and since I haven't had any vicodin for a while I thought it would be okay to drive a short distance. I ran into some people I know but they probably didn't notice the hunched over, drains-induced "pooch" sticking out from me. : )

Today I will have my first official visit to my PS (saw his nurse on Monday at PO day 3). I am excited to show him my results and also hopefully to get 1 if not 2 drains out. I spent a half an hour yesterday looking at regular CG online and couldn't decide which one to get. I don't need any on my thighs since I didn't do lipo there but still - so many choices - would LOVE to hear any specific recommendations. Flexees, Bali, Spanx, Dr. Rey, etc. ?? Blessings!

Happy that I made it through a drain removal...

Happy that I made it through a drain removal today! I feel more human with only one "thing" hanging from my abdomen!

Trying to add some 8 day PO pics

Trying to add some 8 day PO pics

Sorry, tried to update pics 5 times but they...

Sorry, tried to update pics 5 times but they weren't coming through!

Well, 2 nights in a row now I've tried to update...

Well, 2 nights in a row now I've tried to update my new pics but they don't appear. I'm just going to doing a regular typed up summary since not much has changed in 4 days. : ) WOW, when you're post-op, everything moves in slow-mo. Its hard to believe its only been 9 days - it seems like I've been wearing Iron Maiden forever. Now, the one change - FOR SURE - is that the pain getting up and down has lessened dramatically AND I also have the stamina now to make it a whole day without needing to lie down much. Today I went back to church, took my kids out on a fun day, make dinner for the 5 in my family plus 3 guests and still feel okay at 9 pm. So, that is a huge improvement. My incision is looking really great for 9 days - lumpy but not too red or scabby or anything. I might be getting my second drain out so then I'll be able to take a proper long shower. So far, I've been showing but in a modified sort of way since water isn't supposed to get in my drain spot, per my PS instructions. I've been trying to follow everything the PS office said to do to maximize healing and recovery. Sometimes it is hard, but JUST DO IT! Its good for you.

While typing the above post, got wind of the fact...

While typing the above post, got wind of the fact that my angelic, beautiful 18 month old just vomited all over his crib, hair, lovey, etc. My husband (who graciously manned this post last night when the same thing happened) has now come down with the same pukey feeling SO its back to reality Mom!

With the bug that rolled through my house this...

With the bug that rolled through my house this week I was super concerned that I would get it and throw up. You know, it is crappy to throw up when you are otherwise normal - but to throw up when you've had a TT is an absolute No-No!! I praise God that I didn't catch it because everyone else in my house did.

Tomorrow I'll have my 2 week check up from Dr. Gervais and I am assuming I'll get my second drain out. Then, who knows, I might just try out my new Bali Compression Garment sometime soon!

Yesterday, I took one giant step for mankind by...

Yesterday, I took one giant step for mankind by becoming more human again - DRAINS are finally gone. Now, my lovely PS nurse did not give me approval to ditch the binder, so I am still enjoying my BFF "Iron Maiden" for another week or so. My PS includes ultrasonic massage to the incision area in the price of the TT so I get to start that next Thursday. My TT journey is now almost complete (well, not the healing, of course) because I purchased a modest bikini from Athleta online today. When I get it, I will try it on for y'all. Who would've imagined ME spending $ on a bikini?? : )

18 Days PO - I am swelling a bit but that's to be...

18 Days PO - I am swelling a bit but that's to be expected, right? One more thing to cross of my "Tummy Tuck Must-Do" list!

23 Days PO - I have no new pictures to post,...

23 Days PO - I have no new pictures to post, although maybe I should so I can post my regression. : ( Okay, so, just like you, I've read ALL the Tummy Tuck reviews for the past 2 months so of course I was expecting the swell hell. I mean, swelling is hand-in-hand with the dread first BM and the dreaded drains, the dreaded compression garment, and all that. So, since I was already 2 weeks PO, I thought that the initial "swelling" I was experiencing was about as bad as I was going to get. I have to admit I was kinda smug like "huh, this isn't too bad, what's all the complaining about??" Okay, fast forward to the past few days and NOW, yes, NOW, at 3 weeks PO, now I can say I've experienced swell hell. Its not bad anywhere except in my lower abdomen. The first 2 weeks I was noticing that my waist had gone from 35" to 29" and my hips from 37" to 35" but now my "hips" (of course, you take that tape measure around your lower abdomen to get that hips measurement) are bigger than before because of the lower abdomen. OH WELL, I just feel like a balloon about to pop down there. I did get my new bikini from Athleta in the mail and my hubby was extremely impressed by how I looked (and since he paid for the surgery, its him I want to please the most!) so that was even with the swelling. I'm trying not to complain here, but, just thought I'd report on the facts. I'm not sure how long this will last but the only time in the past 4 days that I haven't felt all tight, swollen, and gross down there was right after the ultrasonic lymphatic massage that I went to on Thurs at my PS office (6 sessions of that included in cost of the surgery). But, those blissful results only lasted through the end of that day. I know its supposed to help the healing process anyway, though. Hope all you TT are healing up well!

Swell's Bells is my husbands' term for you know...

Swell's Bells is my husbands' term for you know what. I was hoping that I wouldn't turn into one of those complaining Real Self Tummy Tuckers, but, I guess thats what I am turning in to. : ) I haven't updated in a week because there is not much to say considering that nothing except swelling has changed. Also, my incision has an area of bruising and tenderness around it that's about 2" long. So, kinda big. Anyway, I was wondering if any experienced tummy tuckers has any advice for me about the swelling. I feel like I'm regressing. At 1-2 weeks I wasn't that swollen. Now, I am a balloon ready to pop! I measured my new waist size at 29" about 1 week post-op and now, today, at 1 month PO, I am 30" at the same spot (around my new cute BB).

I started light exercising this week at my Dr's behest - I walked a few miles on my treadmill a couple of times and then this morning when to a workout class called Body Pump. I could not do push-ups or planks without my abdomen hurting bad, so I stopped. As far as muscle tone in my legs and arms, it is definitely down. I guess 1 month of sitting on your bottom will do that to you, huh? I was hoping it wouldn't happen.....but, I am weak now! Grrr, I worked hard to get to the level of physical fitness that I was at before the surgery so please, someone tell me it won't be too hard to get back to that place again. : ) I guess I'm a little discouraged now. I still think my Dr is a genius and I hope that the results I had in the first week will be what I look like eventually. I have to admit I've started eating somewhat normal food again in the past 2 weeks - some salty, some sweet and I'm worried I'm gaining weight.

I just had a 5 week PO check-up (and ultrasonic...

I just had a 5 week PO check-up (and ultrasonic massage) at my PS office today. Unfortunately I am back on a 10 day antibiotic because of this nasty red lump/spot (about 1-2" wide) on the middle of my incision line. It doesn't hurt, really, its just hard.lumpy, and very red. Bad lighting in the pic, sorry. The only thing really new to report is that I've been drinking Traditional Medicinals tea this week - Cranberry Weightless and Dandelion Root (thanks RockinMom for the suggestion) and that is actually helping. They are like $5 a box and not too tasty but I actually believe they are helping my swell hell a bit. I don't feel as much like a balloon ready to pop in my lower abdomen. I am looking back at my 1 -2 week pictures and I like them better than the current. Insert Sad Face. I am learning to be patient - patience is a fruit of the Spirit and is also a virtue!!

I think my husband, who's a physician, would be...

I think my husband, who's a physician, would be appalled at calling it "icky stuff" but whatever the case, my incision has now opened up a bit - 5 1/2 weeks PO and is oozing pus or something yellowish. It doesn't really hurt that bad, but I've had a few melt-downs lately because I am not healing up well. I thought I was doing everything right - eating good, resting in the afternoon, drinking water, using Arnica, drinking that medicinal tea, etc. BUT, I have to say, it is probably the fact that my 19 month old is just so much physical work - lots of lifting and carrying him around (plus, he likes to kick me when its time for diaper changes, or whatever). Sigh, this is not good. I'll keep taking my antibiotics and see the Dr. tomorrow.

6 week PO - Well, I have been back to my wonderful...

6 week PO - Well, I have been back to my wonderful PS twice in the past 2 days and here is what has happened. My incision was looking bad in a 2" spot - red and bumpy, etc. My Dr. took scissors (no pain meds but surprisingly it barely hurt) and snipped it back open since the skin was so thin. I have something called fatty necrosis in that spot and he cleaned it all out. Now I have a gaping whole about 1" wide BUT it is packed with gauze and the oozing has slowed down. Next week it will be re-sewn together if it is healing up nicely inside. This condition was caused by a stitch or two that popped and then didn't heal properly. I believe it was from a time that my 6 year old pressed super hard on my belly when using me to prop himself off the couch while we were reading together. Either way, can't change that now. I now get to re-pack my gauze in my wound 3-4 times per day and of course now I have to scale back my activity levels again. I still get to wear my compression garment 24-7. Yea! I am somewhat discouraged and sad but all I can do is focus on the healing. I should post a pic of the spot but right now am too tired to strip down and do it. Later!

6 1/2 weeks PO and I'm adding a picture of my...

6 1/2 weeks PO and I'm adding a picture of my "hole" in my incision line. I am packing it 3 times a day with gauze strips and keeping it covered under my spanx-type compression garment. I am not enjoying this, but alas, you gotta do what you gotta do! Notice how great the other part of my incision looks now - super super thin and pale pink - its been like that for about a week only. I am going to see my PS tomorrow so I guess I'll find out when I'll be getting my hole sewed up. Its about 2" wide and about 1" deep right now. I am still on antibiotics. But, it doesn't look infected or anything so that is good. I am feeling fine - no pain, so that is good! My energy level is normal AND I HAD started working out and such again, but am back down to regular walking around and household chores as my only activity. I am not super discouraged but I would say that I am excited to no longer be swelling and to have that hole closed up!

Here I am, back in Iron Maiden (although, at...

Here I am, back in Iron Maiden (although, at least, this new Iron Maiden is smaller than the 1st!) with a new scrip for antibiotics and a new burning feeling in my incision. BUT, the hole is closed now, so that is good. My Dr. does amazing work - I saw the "after" of my incision and it looks perfect! Well, it is what it is, I wish that this didn't happen, but I am thankful that things are on the mend. I am back to limited activity which is sad, because I was just getting back to working out, but oh well. I did notice that when I put on the shorter/smaller Iron Maiden today, I had some back "fat"/skin that rolled up. Not happy about that.

8 weeks post op - Hi, well, its been about 10 days...

8 weeks post op - Hi, well, its been about 10 days since I had my second mini-surgery to close up the hole. Amazingly, now it looks just the same as the other part of my incision. Just a nice pink thin line. Its still swollen and bumpy around my incision but of course I'm expecting this for a while yet. I am still in my mini-elastic binder but maybe next week I'll "graduate" to regular spanx type garments instead. On a note, I got an expensive Leonisa garment with little boyshorts and a gusseted opening between the legs and boy oh boy was it uncomfortable. I will give it another whirl, but so far, I think it was a waste of $60. : (

I am so thankful for my Dr and for the care I've received. I am back to doing some light exercise (walking on treadmill, a little jogging) but so far I'm feeling flabby. (Maybe thats due to Thanksgiving and a lack of exercise...hmmm...doesn't take a genius to figure that out!)

2 months PO - Well, I am happy to report that my...

2 months PO - Well, I am happy to report that my incision is all healed up - I've even posted pics to prove it! My shape hasn't changed much in the past few weeks - so I guess I'm stable. Not too swollen but I hope this isn't my final result either. Would like to be a little flatter in my lower abdomen. My PS said yesterday that I am still a little swollen. I did a round of ultrasonic massage yesterday and that seems to help. I weigh 133 lbs and my waist is 29" and my hips are about 35". This is about 5 lbs weight loss and about 6" waist decrease and a couple inches hip decrease. Yeah!

3 Months Post-op today. I'm done with the...

3 Months Post-op today. I'm done with the compression garments! Yea! I might still wear one if I work out, but I am feeling good throughout the day and night to not generally wear one. So, in honor of this momentous occasion, I decided to list my Leonisa boyshort bodyshaper with zipper on Ebay (size Medium)! If anyone is looking for a stage 2 compression garment, this one will really hold you in! Here is the link (enter - shameless promotion): http://www.ebay.com/itm/200872355117?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

On a different note, I feel like my swelling still happens but not much has changed from post-op month 2 to 3. I think this is a good thing but I am still waiting for a little more definition where I had lipo contouring on my lovehandles. Overall, I love my belly button, love my waist, and love the fact that my incision is healing up nice. I gained a couple of pounds over the holidays, so I am working out hard, now, to get back to 132 (I weigh 135 now - pre-tummy tuck I weighed 138). I ran 3 miles today and yesterday I cross-country skiied for a few miles. For you ladies who feel like you'll never get back to normal, trust me, you will!
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon

I really appreciate the whole office and staff with Dr. Gervais. They are all so helpful and accommodating. Plus, all that withstanding, I think Dr. Gervais is an amazing Dr. Highly skilled, confident, nice, and at the days end, all I really wanted was to be super happy with my results, and you know what? I am. Although the office building that houses the Minneapolis Plastic Surgery office is somewhat outdated, who really cares about that? I wanted a good doctor, a good experience, and good results, and that is exactly what I got. They have some really special, caring, and sincere auxiliary staff as well. Plus, I liked that the whole office didn't feel too fancy or pretentious - if that is what you are looking for, you won't feel out of place here, its just that that isn't the primary focus per se. On a side note - BEST ANESTHESIA EVER - no nausea. Truly - their combo of drugs yields a 1 - 2 % nausea rate - that is so low - unbelievable. I couldn't imagine anything worse post-surgery than throwing up so this is huge. I really admire Dr. Gervais for his amazing skills - you won't be disappointed.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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