Historical background, including cardiac & weight loss surgeries.
I am a 46 year old mother of 2, ages 11 & 13. They will be a big help during my recovery. They're pretty self-sufficient and already do things when they're asked (mostly, lol).
October 2011 a peacemaker was implanted after I passed out while driving and a diagnosis of sick sinus syndrome was given. November 2012 my heart went from sinus rhythm into v-fib while at work. I was dead for 10 minutes before the 7th shock from a defibrillator got my heart to beat again. Immediate CPR saved my brain from any significant long term damage. So, the pacemaker was upgraded to an implanted defibrillator in December 2012.
Prior to that I was fit and 40 pounds lighter than now. I had a gastric lapband in 2008 (removed in 2009) with which I had lost about 75 pounds. For about 2 1/2 years, I didn't eat right or do any exercise. I didn't feel good physically and I was depressed emotionally. (And basically a lot of guilt for not being happy for just being alive.)
It was a pretty bleak time for me. But the last 4-5 months I have made positive changes in my diet and started working out. I feel better, now I want to look better! I started looking into 'getting work done' soon after I started working out again. I realize some would say/think lose more weight see what changes will occur. But I know: my belly will still be flabby and my boobs will still be saggy.
After a long discussion about my medical history and current reading and ex exercise routine, my chosen PS said my
muscles are separated about 3 inches and there's an umbilical hernia. Just having those 2 things taken care of will give me a sleeker look. Plus, that belly flap makes some exercises so difficult!
I did have a consult with a PS that was very rude and practically dismissed me at the appointment within the first five minutes. NO discussion, no exploration of my history beyond my bmi being too high.
I know that I will have to continue to work, but I am ready to jumpstart the process. I know how short life can be. There's no reason to wait. Here I come, future me!
Ahhh, man! What size ?
Pre-op visit with surgeon
It was a great visit! I love that he took all the time I wanted to dicuss the procedures and my expectations!
I've been preparing
Having a routine mammogram this week to make sure the girls are not hiding any problems. Expect the cardiologist to send a cardiac release this week. I hope neither of these things halts the surgery plans.
Cardiac clearance, INS to cover the hernia repair
I've been doing really well with my protein shakes and eating the proper foods. The Gladiator meal replacement powder mixes awesomely with so many things. Makes it easy.
15 year anniversary & super excited.
I feel like a donkey's behind.
So, apparently I said something, offhand and flippantly, that really hurt someone I care a lot about. I'm already kind of emotional, but a message I got from her that has me heartbroken. She called my talking about it 'gloating.'
I'm just having a pity party. Self-doubt, insecurity, and sadness is what I feel. Tomorrow is another day...
2 days 'til cocooning
The eggs are left to hatch & grow, eating the food around til they are full grown catepillar (sp). They are constantly on the move until it is time to change. They look for the perfect place to complete their metamorphosis. When they find it they are bound into the cocoon and wait.
In near secret, they change with seemingly little effort. Until it's time to leave the chrysalis, there's struggle, periods of setbacks and inactivity. Then, finally the beautiful butterfly breaks free. The old parts are left behind as the new, magnificent creature takes flight.
So, I've been eating right and exercising diligently. Preparing for my procedures.l, my cocoon will be complete May 30.
Lips to be plumped & botox to the brow area
Tomorrow's the big day!
The lips are fabulous
Yesterday, I was still in the hospital. That was a blessing to have the pain pump.
It's easier go to the bathroom, etc.
My feet & hands are very swollen from all the fluids. The juvaderm is perfect.
In retrospect, post-op day 1
Since I was in the hospital, they brought a liquid diet for breakfast and a regular diet for lunch. I didn't have much appetite, so, I just ate a fee bites to see how my body would react. I kept it all down and then took a short walk down the hall.
I tried to keep doing leg/ankle pumps to prevent blood clots. I also drank plenty of water, and did the inspirometer which makes me cough, but will help prevent fluid build-up. The coughing feels like a stab in the belly but subsides quickly. I do use a pillow to support my belly as I cough.
The doctor came back in and answered our questions, went over my home meds, and went over what to expect and do over the next few days. I was given the option to stay another night or go home. I was ready to go as it was painful getting out of the hospital bed and it was difficult to get solid sleep. However, I had to urinate before I left.
I sat on the potty and walked around, just couldn't get it to glow. The nurse was about to call the PS, because it had been 6 hours since the catheter had been removed. I had my hubby run water in the sink - that did the trick.
The ride home was uneventful. When we got here, my 2 beautiful daughters were here ready to help! They set up a tray next to my power recliner for my meds & water and made me a smoothie for dinner.
Did I forget to mention that the incision sites burned like they were on fire after the numbing medicine wore off? Well, they did. I regret not getting a pain pill immediately after taking the pump off. It took an hour before it was under control. STAY AHEAD of the pain, it only slows healing and feels terrible!
Retrospective, post-op day 2
On the whole day 2 has been easier than day 1. I stay on track with my meds by using a chart. None of them are on the same schedule. If some meds are scheduled deep in the night, I set an alarm to wake up & take them. I then check them off the list.
It's not too painful to get up. I try to get up and walk around a few minutes. After that I'll try some deep breathing and coughing to keep the lungs clear. I sleep when I'm tired. There is no tough gal in this recovery space!
I do like looking down & seeing a flat belly! It's so different than what I'd known before. I'm still wearing the cg on the bottom and ace wrap on the breasts. Needless to to say, carrying my phone into the bathroom for pics is not high priority. My lips have bruised some from the juvederm, but I expected that.
PO day 3/4 my Sx included full muscle repair & Seri® scaffolding.
Then I further recall that I had the Seri® scaffolding installed. That stuff is attached to the sternum & ribcage. Along with the subpectoral placement of the implants, there was a lot of tissue affected. My husband told me that, from the time they started the breasts until they reported they were done with them was over 4 hours. The PS had told me the Seri® placement would take about 1 1/2 hours.
So, I've decided I'm going to give myself a break and recover well. Tomorrow is my first PO appt. since leaving the hospital. I'm excited to see what he has to say about my results and what he says.
Office visit with nurse
The nurse, Sylvia - a sweetheart, says that every thing is healing well and looks great. She said "it seems you're doing everything right & it's going good."
I got one of the drains removed today! It was the one that was irritating me, bonus! I got my smaller binder today & will put it on when hubby gets home. I hope to get some non-binder pics then.
I've been resting since I got home. My mom took me to the appt. Before that, we went to a local hair salon to get my hair washed and dried. What a luxury! This sponge bath stuff doesn't seem so bad when your hair's clean!
Highlighted objects for ID
MofMag did it's thing.
I had some gas but nothing substantial. So, I pulled out the Philips this morning from the stash of other products recommended by Real Self.
2 hours later, the magic! No pain or strain. And those baby wipes are a great refresher through the days when showers are a 'no go.'
5 day pics
not a good day.
And I'm just an emotional mess. Crying at every little thing....
Tomorrow is another day.
My compression garment and me.
What a difference a week makes.
My lips are no longer bruised and they have a little more fullness. I'm pretty pleased with them.
Getting up and down from the toilet and everywhere else is no longer a problem. I have no burning sensations along my incisions. have slept in the bed with my hubby for the last 2 nights. And my overall swelling is better. I still have one drain. It's output is about 35 ml over 24 hours. Maybe tomorrow will be the magic day for it to go. I sure would like a shower.
I don't have any problems walking or getting around, once I'm 'warmed' up. My belly is fairly tight when I first get up. But I am able to straighten up fairly quickly and remain erect.
On the other hand, my nipples are tender, kind of like the tenderness you get when first breastfeeding and your baby doesn't latch on quite right, yeah that. Oh, the swelling beneath my armpits, it's probably the most uncomfortable thing I have going on. The binder I wear for that squishes everything - including the tender nips - and makes it hard to breath deeply. I'm not sure if it helps that much anyway. So, I've been taking it off some during the day & don't sleep with it. I do wonder if there could be seromas there. I know there's a lot of lymph nodes in the area and wonder if their circulation has been disrupted. A question for the doctor.
No more drains, drove today!
I was told that Dr. Lett likes to leave the silicone glue on the incisions for 21 days as long as there's no leaking or infection. As long as I can still shower, I'm good with that. Just no soap directly on the sites.
Also, I probably over did it by going to the grocery store. My older daughter went with me and was a big help. I only had a couple of things on the list, but of course, would think of other things we could use. By the time we were checking out, my belly was starting to feel tight. By the time I got home, it was very tight. I couldn't stand straight anymore.
I'm blessed to be able to come home and Have help from my good kids. They put away the groceries and have let me rest from my 'big adventure.'
So, the glue/blood crust is still all in tact and using the hair dryer on cool was a great way to make sure everything is dry.
Got dressed with cg and a support bra.
Feeling very human and accomplished.
But, I will be worn out earlier than usual tonight.
A lot of swelling must be gone!
I feel like my breasts are finally starting to drop & come together. I want them to remain high (the main reason for the scaffolding), but not up to my collar bones. I have used a support bra that has an elastic strap that I've been wearing 6 hours a day. I believe this helps a bunch.
I haven't taken any pics because the glue\scabs looks pretty bad and I feel like it distracts from the results. I guess I'll take some with my garments. I got them. Maybe they'll help someone.
I pretty much always wear a wife beater under stuff. The glue sticks to the bras and my nipples are pretty sensitive & don't like to rub on my clothes. Very much like when I was 1st breastfeeding.
I hope everyone is content, healing great if post-op, and calm/at ease if pre-op.
TWO weeks post-op still crusty.
I don't really mind the nekkid pics. They are what they are. Dying trivializes a lot of things!
The swelling below the armpits is pretty evident, as is the lack of the liposuction, which may or may not ever happen in the future. If I do, I'm putting in my flat butt. :-)
I was up, walking & standing for nearly an hour straight today and my stomach got tight. Day by day my stamina will increase as my healing continues. I took these pics after the activity this afternoon, I think there's some belly swelling too.
Prayers and thoughts of peace to all.
Let me brag on my kids. take 4
Just know I'm proud of them and love them more than life. My recovery wouldn't be possible without them.
My attempts to post pics have never worked.
hair done, nap,& a wedding
I wanted to be able to show of my new front, but. I didn't have the strength to shop. So, I settled for something that wouldn't show the compression garment.
The shirt waist line - it's a tie wraparound - is too big. Thus, not much of my shape could be seen. Donation time for that shirt!. Everyone that I knew from work was happy to see my results & asking questions.
The dinner was good, the cake delicious, and the dancing - I watched - was fun. But now it is past 4 am and I woke up with my breast incisions on fire and tube boobs aching. I got home at 10 & went to bed about midnight. I've taken some tylenol & if it doesn't give relief soon, I'm gettin' the percoset.
Mean mommy lines are gone from my brow lines.
See Dr. Lett on Thurs. Pretty sure the glue will be dissolved and massage will be discussed. Pretty stoked about that.
Stomach still gets tight as I am standing about and the incisions at the lollipop and anchor parts feel pressure by the end of the day. I think it's the tape and glue pulling on the tissues. Can't way to get rid of it.
Seat belts are the debil.
My permanent eyeliner.
Almost 3 weeks, they're finally starting to drop.
Breasts: There's still some residual glue on the anchors and nips. I don't want to irritate my scars and skin too much. I also still have some discoloration. Overall, I think all is healing great.
Stomach: my belly button is coming around. It's going to be cute. I can see a couple of the stitches that the nurse told me she left in. My TT incision looks OK. The glue is flaking off. It didn't have the same plastic gauze tape stuff that the breasts had. So it's not peeling in one big sheet like the anchor glue was. I'm leaving it alone. There is some redness along it, but it's skin irritation, like I said my skin gets red easy.
After the driving around yesterday, my boobies hurt and that area swelled up. Compression helps with that (see yesterday's pic.) I also took some tylenol, but ended up taking a precoset to fully relieve the pain.
I have ordered a cg that has a built in bra to see if it helps with the above issues. The nurse told me that Dr. Lett wants me to wear the cg for 3 months. Good thing I'm not much of a pool person....
Saw the Good Doctor, today.
I'm allowed to oil/lotion up everything. We agree that I probably don't need scar treatment. ;-) I still am to be very careful with myself because of all the muscle work. No working out, etc. I can press the implants down to help them drop. I can wear any kind of bra that supports the girls. After trying on several today, I still prefer wireless because the anchor scars are a bit tender.
I will probably be released from restrictions at the next appointment in 3 weeks. Oh, we may touch up the upper lip. I'm in love with the bottom, but would like a little more fullness on top. (I think I used up say that about my boobs).Hmmm, what else? Nothing else comes to mind, but if you have questions, I'll answer as best I can.
I'm a low maintenance woman that wants to look high maintenance.
I wasn't envious. It did get me to thinking: Even though I do all this enhancing stuff, I just still want to be casual. I like to whip my hair up in a scrunchy. I like wearing my T-shirts and sport shorts. But I don't want to look like a slob who doesn't care what she looks like. I want to be attractive, in the easiest way possible. Is this making sense?
I'm oiling my up my incision and peeling off the lifted ones. I'm not picking at the scabs that still stick. That couldn't be good for it. Just like any wound: pick the scab before it's ready, it's likely to scar. When it's all gone. I'll have the hubby take more pics.
Big day, wonder if I over did it.
I went to lunch with a dear friend. We talked and had great girl time. Then I did a couple of errands. Then to some friends' engagement party. It was a nice time. I sang karaoke, played LCR & won, ate and played with a dog & some kids. That may have been the over-doing. I reckon I'll know in the morning.
It was fun day. My friend took the picture outside the restaurant. I tried mykindofwonderful's pose. My boobies look good in a bra and a shirt. Belly looks awesome not being roly poly.
I pray every one is healing well, or peaceful in their hearts as they prepare for their procedures.
Bless you all.
Ready for church
I'm feeling good. Able to do more without it making me swell & hurt too much. I still have some discoloration even though I take bromalein & arnica.
I'm going to try to get update pics very soon.
Laundry is still too much.
Big day yesterday.
I also had taken my older daughter to a pool party and had go into town to get my hubby's phone activated. We needed a mini SIM card and his last only had a regular size one. Then after that I picked her up & finally got to come home. But then I had to make cocktail sauce for my younger daughter, who was eating shrimp. I took pain meds and finally say down. By then my belly muscles had clenched down and I was hunched over to walk.
So, today. I'm not doing anything. But watching trash TV and reading updates.
Dadgummit, a setback - maybe.
I've wiped, rinsed, applied antibiotic cream, and out a bandage on it. If it's not closed by Monday morning, I'm calling the doc to see him. But I'd be lying, if I said I wasn't worried. Any open wound near my implants or scaffolding could lead to catastrophic infection. I'm asking for prayers and healing thoughts, real sisters.
Saw the Good Dr. Lett about my opening.
I told the doc that I was itching and a bit of stitch material came out. (It was about 1\4 inch, no knots attached.) I continued to rub/itch and I heard/felt a little pop. That's when the opening appeared. He, as I, was surprised for this to have happened at 4 weeks with no other problems.
He said I should have called when it happened & I considered it, but it was late on a weekend night, and I was honestly hoping it was nothing & would close up. It didn't & I didn't hesitate to call.
So, today he numbed the area and took a good, hard look. I couldn't see what he was doing, but could feel some tugging and pinching. He pulled out a lot of the Seri scaffolding & cut it out. I could feel pulling at the breastbone & rib where it is attached. He put in a stitch to keep it from opening anymore, but it's still open to allow draining and hopefully not trap any bacteria in there.
I really feel badly for Dr. Lett. He such a perfectionist. I feel he feels responsible for this problem. I really don't feel like he is. I think it's just one of those things that happens, despite everyone's best efforts. We can play the "what if" game, but in the end it's a futile exercise. We can't change the past, only go forward and make the best choices based on the information we currently have.
So, after the stitch, he dressed the area with sterile gauze, gave me 2 antibiotic prescriptions, and told me to come back tomorrow. He doesn't think there's any infection - we're trying to prevent that. Nor does he believe that the implant is involved. If the implant gets infected, it has to be removed. Nobody wants that!
You know the saying "a little knowledge is dangerous?" That's me. I think, because of the drainage, there's been a small seroma that prevented the Seri from incorporating like it is supposed to. (He told me that it normally starts within 3-4 days.) It's just a theory I thought up.
So, tonight it's some coconut water and compression for me. Tomorrow includes the appointment, which may entail surgical exploration, possible debridement, or other more drastic measures.
Please, please say a little prayer/send up healing wishes my way. :-) I'm not forgetting about all my R S sisters healing and preparing for their procedures. Extra prayers are going your way from me. Hugs to you all.
I don't think my boob is gonna fall off :-)
Thanks so much for the prayers and good thoughts.
Now, the boob should heal.
We both agreed that he needed to be able to get a better look in there & make sure there's no deep infection that may affect the implant.
So, I went into surgery yesterday. Everything looked good, there was no deep infection and no tunnels to the implant. YAY! Only downside is the incisions under the right boob are now fresh & painful. Boo.
But things are still good. Happy healing to all of us. :-)
Frankenboob, it's ALIVE!
Oddly enough, the chest muscles have never felt better. I've been doing laundry and have had no pain. Yay! We'll see how my chest feels in the morning.
So I included a pic of how it looks now. It will be interesting to compare the 2 breasts scars and how they drop: with and without the Seri.
Healing thoughts and prayers to you all.
Regular under wire bra all day.
Maybe it was the absorbable stitches creating extra irritation. I feel so much better without them.
I stopped pressing my implants down when I got the hole. They've stopped their downward migration. It seems they are still too high and not a part of my breasts.
6 weeks post-op. 10 days after righty clean-up.
Everything looks good on the right, but around the stitches it itches. They're not inflamed looking, so I'm assuming it part of the healing. The left has a weird spot that I've been watching on the lollipop scar. I'm attaching photos to show.
I see the doctor tomorrow. Hoping all the stitches get removed and I get approval to return to work. It's only about 8-10 hours over 2 days. But I feel I need some adult interaction and structure back in my life.
I'm back to pushing my implants down. They are still high enough that I feel like I have long boobs or 2 separate parts: the upper part & lower part. Anyway, I know gravity will eventually get the implants lower. I'm just getting impatient. I see others' pics and get a bit envious. I have got to keep in mind that I started with & kept a lot of my own breast tissue.
Visit with Dr. Lett
My belly button & TT scars look really good. It doesn't have any raw areas. There is some ropey feeling under the skin which is scarring and such. I can massage it, if I want.
I was released to go back to work and exercise. He said I can do as my body allows. He also said I don't have to wear a compression garment all the time, as needed. I took that off as soon as I got home. Well, I had bought groceries on my way home. After putting them away and driving a kid home, my stomach is tight! I don't know if I'm consciously holding it or if it's a reaction of not being compressed. I reckon I'm wearing a supportive garment of some type for work.
Since my implants are high and I'm impatient, I asked for a strap. It's way more effective than the one I had. The one that's in a pic above just didn't sit above the implants. It more or less smashed them down, not push them downward.
I'm going to try working Thursday. I'm excited to have some structure and have bit more adult interaction in my life. The extra $ may just go into a fund for future enhancements. Lol. It barely pays to keep my nails and hair done! If I worked than 8-10 hours a week, it would be different. I'd already have liposuction and a Brazilian butt lift! ;-) A girl can dream.
A Story in Pictures Frontal Assault
A Story continues...Sideways and Angles
I really enjoy seeing others' creative posts that put the pictures in a collage. I'm running short on time because I have a daughter that wants me to make a mermaid tail...I need supplies.
A Story continues some more...My Breasts are Still in Progress
I'm wearing a mostly cotton comfort bra that supports (but gives no shape) - including when I sleep - when I don't have a regular bra (wireless) that really shapes and supports. I still have a lot of breast tissue of my own that will weigh them down. And I am wearing an augmentation strap that pushes the implants down. I've been wearing it for 24 hours. Can you tell? lol. The last 2 kind show the implant levels.
A Story in Pictures....I wear clothes!
Argggh ... Woohoo
I can confidently say that it's easy to return to work after 7 weeks of recovery with little problem:
Today, I returned to work. I did my nearly 5 hours of filing and though tired, I'm not entirely exhausted. I file loan folders and the supporting documents that are required to be in the folders. It's not difficult, it's dull. Soon, my job will be obsolete as they convert to an e-sign system and everything will be electronic.
Anyway, I open & close file drawers all day, shoving files and papers in them. I'm on my feet, except when I'm alphabetizing. I bend at the knees to reach the bottom 2 drawers and stand up for the top 2 drawers. By the end of my day, my chest did not hurt at all. But my stomach muscles started getting tight halfway through and just kept getting tighter. Guess I was using my core the whole time! You know how your belly feels after a long, hard laugh? That's how it felt. But it doesn't subside right away. It's feeling pretty relaxed now (8 hours later), but I can tell my stomach had a workout today.
I did wear a mid-thigh, high waisted girdle that I got from contourMD.com. It's a stage 1 compression for the belly. I'm glad I had it, but I did take it off as soon as I got home. I don't reckon I'm ready for belly support-free work.
Hope all you preparing for surgery or in the recovery process have blessings come your way. :-D
for xBubblesx - I made a mermaid tail
We went to the fabric store for her to pick out the material. I made sure the base was swimsuit material and everything else was stretchy in at least one direction.
I made a pattern using paper grocery bags and my daughter as the guide. The fin is made of plastic craft sheets. I sewed fleece on the edges that come in contact with her feet. That plastic is scratchy.
Bubbles - message me your address if you want the pattern.
8 weeks ago today!
One of the ladies on here posted that she observed that her tummy tuck scar is more pink around the time of her period. Well, I'm observing the same phenomenon. My scar looks darker but no bigger or smaller.
My upgraded breasts aren't that different either, maybe a little lower. But the bottom shape seems to be rounding out. They were kind of flat on the bottom and the vertical scar lifted the middle some. That seems to be decreasing. :-)
I do have a bump on the right side along the anchor scar. It's hard, but almost like a zit. I think it's an undissolved stitch trying to erupt. That's what the bandage is covering. My bra irritates it, so I cover it. I'm not picking at it...last time that lead to a surgery.
This week has been a busy one. My girls are staying with their Nana this week to attend revival services at church. Thus, I've been doing their chores, plus the laundry, all the housecleaning, and all other household stuff myself. Plus, I went to my parents' house twice this week to help my dad list stuff on ebay & try to teach him how to do it himself. Plus, I did work my 2 days. I'm worn out.
Hope all is well with you.
8 week check & more juvederm
Wanted more fullness in my upper lip, so I asked for more. It's way more painful than I remember. Before though, I was post surgical and on pain meds. Way more swelling & bruising than before. There was just a spot of bruising. I got it above the upper lip, on the upper lip, below the lower lip. And so, so sore. But I'm sure they'll be fabulous & worth it.
lips day 3 & body week 9
It's nine weeks since my surgery. I've lost about 10 pounds off my pre-surgery weight, so that's about 20 since the first of May. I'm ready to start real exercise again, too. I think I just have to stop talking about it & do it.
I need to take some photos to track my look. I also feel there's less puffiness and residual swelling. I started wearing underwire bras this week and they don't bother me a bit. :-)
I'm obsessed with my girls dropping
I love my lips. 8 days later.
It's seems the swelling is gone and the fullness is perfect. That Dr. Lett has a touch! The original place he felt would bruise is still discolored, but it's reddish. It looks like I put my lip stain on unevenly.
If I run my tongue along the inside of my lips, I do feel some lumps but they're not visible. I like the full lip look. I recommend dermal fillers for this.
Tummy tuck scar? Where?
What it's about.
10 week update. Mostly breasts. pics
So far, I have found Dr. Lett to be personable and informative. He has nearly 2 decades of experience, from which he has developed a plan to provide me the services that will lead to a great outcome. I'm a few days post-op and am thrilled with Dr. Lett. He always answers our questions and works towards the best result. I feel like he not only wants us to be happy with the surgical outcomes, but he wants to be satisfied with them professionally. His demeanor is very calming. It's really made this a pleasant experience. As I recover, I'm more and more pleased with the work of Dr. Lett. My scars are so thin and flat. Everything positive that he told me that would happen with my body's enhancements has happened. I can't say enough good things! I have followed all of his instructions and rested, rested, rested and eaten very well. He is the ideal surgeon, especially if you can be a good patient,