After years of being overweight I had the gastric...
After years of being overweight I had the gastric sleeve weight loss surger Dec 2011. I lost 120 at my highest but gained back around 20lbs once reality and bad habits creep back in. Generally however I eat well and make it a point to exercise.
However with this extra 20lbs came the highlight of extra abdominal skin. And I have always had thick thighs and saddlebags so if I was going for a tuck I was going for lipo too.
I will say: I've never experienced more pain and discomfort in my life. When I think that they only cut off 1.75lbs of skin for my tuck I question of it was worth it. Not the money... Just the pain and suffering part!
I'm post op going on a full week and just now starting to feel human. Day 5 was extremely difficult for me as I expected to start feeling better but only felt worse.
I will definitely update once drains come out and swelling goes down a little. And with all of this said I think my surgeon is fantastic.
Changed pain strategy
Staying off Percocet is hard. But worth it I think. I was popping 2 every 4 hours and making myself sick in the process... After a hours of observation at my docs and a very kind anasthesiologist, they came up with a new plan for me. Daily Celebrex, my choice of Tylenol extra strength or 1 Percocet every 4-6 hours, and all the rest of antibiotics oh and a new steroid to help me heal. As much as a wimp as I am for pain, it has been worth it today. For one thing my stomach is much happier and I haven't had any nausea. Praise Jesus. Also the anasthesiologist highly encouraged me to be up and around around once an hour and with Percocet making me so sleepy that wasn't happening so today I was. And I just felt so much more in control. With that said: waking up this morning I felt like I had been hit by a truck... No more exparel, no more narcotics, nothing. I hobbled to the kitchen as fast as I could to make a piece of toast and take my Celebrex because that qualified as "take with food".... From that point I was ok. Then again late at night I woke up to pee (which is how I ended up typing this) and again felt like I'd been hit so I took 2 Tylenol extra strength before going potty. Also I'm finding that my body cannot relax enough in this stupid girdle to even empty my bladder completely... I have to unzip the sizes while I go in order to go. I feel like a baboon with everything hanging out. : (
And now I understand the boredom
Well, I'm day 8 or 9, depending on how you look at things and now that I seem to be over the hump I'm just here, home, with my dog. I still have my drains in and that means that I walk around 99% of the time in my girdle and a tank top with everything hanging out. Lovely visual.
However now that I'm over the worst of the recovery I finally have some time to reflect and really think of things I wish I had known. And since I'm here, alone, entertaining myself, I shall make a list! Haha!
1. Nothing can prepare you for the pain and suffering of a tummy tuck. I think the doctor walks a fine line of trying to prepare you but they still have to make their $$$ and you want the results. So how do you tell someone they will feel like death for a week???
2. Research. I found this site AFTER my surgery, go figure. I wish I had seen it before. I was just watching you tube vlogs on recovery where these chicks are in make up 3-4-5 days after. Yes I'm sure some of you may feel better and do so with your own journey, but I described my daily recovery attire above and makeup isn't on the list.
3. Start stocking up supplies. My joke now is that I have my own pharmacy. Probably 6-8 prescriptions, Gauze, aquaphor, colace, milk of mag, Prilosec, bendy straws, band aids, a medical toilet seat, compression socks, that antibiotic body wash, ummmm the list of everything we have purchased for this is astronomical but you know in the heat of the moment, when you're in pain, you have an ailment, you can't poop, you're swollen, etc.... It sure is nice to have walgreens at home.
4. Think of bigger things you might need. I am kind of sad my surgeons office never recommended a handy dady recliner. I'd say for a week it would have really helped. I however, couldn't get up into our bed and have thus moved into my daughters twin bed because I can actually sit on the edge of it unassisted. Ill explain the pluses of this later aside from the bed level.
4. Another "big ticket" item that I found essential was a geriatric raised toilet seat. The thought of the biohazard disgusts me (i keep lysol wipes about a foot away) but our toilets are super low and literally the day of surgery before they put me under I insisted my love go get one and I'm SO thankful I did.
5. Have someone to take care of you for about a week. For me, I needed the full week. Hell who am I kidding, even the doctors office was "babysitting" (observing) me while my love was at work about an hour away on Tuesday.
This is about half my list.... As I wean off drugs I'm hoping my writing becomes easier to read : ). And I just got a text that I get at least one drain out tomorrow thank god!
Pets and healing
I just wrote a whole thing that got erased : (. Dang technology. But I love my dog and I love how gentle he has been with me.
Today is the first day we have been able to snuggle in bed together (which was a must before surgery)... He had been relegated to "next to mom" which was fine but clearly not his true desire. : )
Night time discomfort
I must say today was by far the best I've had since surgery. Little pains here and there but just the morning Celebrex and a few times where I took extra strength Tylenol. I'd consider that a win: )
However, I thought that since I was on the mend, I might be able to graduate across the room to my son's queen sized mattress (ours is way too high so I've been in my daughter's twin while they've been w their dad or w family friends so I could suffer in peace). I swear I have about 20 pillows in varying shapes, sizes, firmnesses... I have blankets, duvets, throws.... You name it ice got it and for the life of me.... I can't get comfortable!!!!!
It's driving me insane! Seriously. I'm tired. I need sleep. I need comfort.... But if I stretch out I pull the stretch of my abs (which I think is ok now??? But it still feels odd), and my compression garments until healing phase 2 have hook and eye closures on the sides so I can't really get comfy on my side, plus I'm worried about my incision bursting open.
Can you tell I worry a lot?!! My nurse gave me Valium to help me get to bed for the past few nights and I haven't wanted to take them but its looking like a Valium Bon Bon might be headed in this direction soon!
Tomorrow is very exciting: I get at least 1 drain out, and my love is taking me on a "date". I'm not sure how far ill make it or how long I'll last but I'm so excited to get out of this house and be coherent at the same time!
Driving Miss Daisy
I clearly still have my drains in... I can't believe I even posted this photo (hopefully my vag is hidden well).... I put on makeup and a bra for the first time in 10 days, and I'm getting all dolled up,.... To drive my car?!
Yeah I'm kind of nervous because I still have my drains in, and I'm alone, and what if something happens. I'm also trying to figure out wtf pants to wear. Got the big trapeze tank top on but I don't own any baggy pants really other than gross brown sweats I wore after surgery or pajama pants. I am too embarrassed to wear either so I'm praying a sorta big pair of lounge pants will somewhat hide my drains.
I've never emptied my drains. And my love is at work until he comes to pick me up for my doc appt to hopefully get the said drains removed this afternoon.
Kinda kicking myself for not having him help me with this before hand.
But this is a good view of the bottom of my undergarment and drains.... Ten days into it all.
I hope my honey recognizes me with makeup on! Haha
Yay!! I am drain free!! I was thrilled when my surgeon OKed taking them out today, although I guess a solid 10 days with them in is pretty good. It stung for a second, having them taken out, but it was over in a snap. He also removed a couple sutures from the liposuction in different areas.
I am now dealing with MAJOR swelling of my feet and ankles and calves. Hoping I can drink and pee this away by the end of the weekend, but if not, he sent me away with an rx as a precaution. I never really swelled much with either of my pregnancies so this is a new misery to me. And my feet are so COLD, I think because the circulation is bad at this point?? I'm not sure.
All I know is that a) I am DRAIN FREE!!! wooowoooo! And tomorrow I need to drink myself silly with water and gatorade.
I am currently all propped up on the couch and dare I say it "comfortable" at the moment, so my love suggested I sleep out here tonight. After last night's mess, I totally am!
Cannot sleep yet again!
Well.... Went and got a foot massage today to try to combat the horrific swelling going on in my legs. That was heavenly. So heavenly that I may just go back again tomorrow for good measure!
I definitely notice a lack of energy which I'm not sure if its healing, lack of sleep, or a combo.... Most likely a combo. But I just cannot for the life of me get comfy enough to sleep.
I found the forum section of this website (I have solely been doing all of this on my phone so imagine my surprise when I actually got on a computer!) and saw that someone had saved Percocets for bedtime. Genius idea! I have extra Percocets left.... I'm legitimately uncomfy, so why not try? Yeah I got drowsy, closed my eyes and promptly started thinking of all the organizational projects I want to do around here and all of my errands I hope to accomplish tomorrow.
So.... Here I am. Awake. Thank god for this little review blog thing. It's been so wonderful reading others' experiences and tips and seeing transformations.
So, I have to be honest... I'm
Afraid to look at my incision. I cried about it this morning but I feel like my mid section isn't my own and it's a battleground of stretched skin.... And I'm scared. Which in turn makes me sad because I would really love to see the transformation from day to day and week to week. Maybe tomorrow my love can take a picture for me before I get my garment on. He's been surprisingly un-squeamish about everything from emptying my drains to putting polysporin in the holes (I'm too scared to even do that : ().
I knew recovery would take awhile but I don't think I had any idea about the mental healing that has to happen too.
On a bright note, I need to find the head OR nurse at my surgeon's a thank you gift. Wondering if a box of nice chocolates is too generic? I feel like she pretty much saved my "life" or at least my sanity the past couple weeks.
2 weeks post op... 4 months pregnant??
I kid, I kid. But seriously, I look pregnant. My 5 year old son said to me "it looks like there's a baby in there Mommy". And he's right : (
I have been incredibly swollen from about my ribs down to my toes. My feet have finally started deflating a little thank god, but I was so desperate I went twice in 3 days to get hour long foot massages in an attempt to encourage circulation. I'm not sure if it worked but it sure felt good!
My bruising is also starting to get a little better, and I'm starting to get a little feeling back in my back. It's constantly sore but the skin is getting a little less numb.
I go for my check up check in tomorrow. I'm very curious as to what the doc will say regarding my swelling. I am currently taking water pills per his rx but I'm not sure if I'm deflating fast enough. To be honest I'm kind of worried I'm restretching my tummy skin... That's how it feels at least.
Oh and to add insult to injury, Obama is having a fundraiser luncheon at my neighbors house and my fiancé and his friend went to go see how close they could get on foot, but our driveway is so long/steep I couldn't go with them : (. Too strenuous.
15 days out and 18lbs down
When I went in for my tummy tuck I was told "You will gain weight", which I totally understand. They pumped me full of fluid, plus just surgery in general you retain water etc. I have no idea how much water weight I gained total, but the other day I finally decided to get on the scale and see how things were going. 170lbs. WOW. I was 155ish pre-surgery. They sucked out 6lbs of fat, and cut off almost 2lbs of skin.... that would mean 147ish.... WOW. How is that possible?!
Well, this morning (I think it's 3 days later) I weighed 156. WOW. I had managed to pee out almost 15lbs! This afternoon.... 153. Peed out 3lbs today!
I have been drinking as much water/fluids as possible, elevating my feet when possible, and really trying not to eat anything too salty with the hopes that I would start shrinking. It's working!
At my doctor appointment today I did have to have some fluid extracted from my abdomen. I had such a crappy recovery that I had to go in many times and also got to know another surgeon in the center because he saw me on a day my surgeon was IN surgery.... so bless his heart, he checked in on me today and held my hand while my surgeon extracted the fluid. I thought I was going to pass out. It didn't hurt too much, and he didn't get any crazy amount out, but just the thought of that giant needle in there... omg.
He says that I still have a long way to go as far as recovery goes, and that I will have a more realistic vision of my results around 6 weeks... I am still extremely swollen, particularly my abdomen. BUT with that said, I am already happy with the lipo he did on my thighs... and that's even being swollen!!
I go back next week and he said at that point we talk about going down a size in my compression garment. I need to research on if I want the same kind (I have kind of gotten used to it actually), or if I want to covert to spanx.
Oh! And my favorite nurse took my stitches out today :)
What a difference each day makes
Truly, every day of the healing process has meant changes. Thankfully all positive. The pain is more discomfort now and my swelling has pretty much gone away with the exception of my stomach and flanks.
I've lost about 20 lbs of swelling in 4 days. Insane!
And I think I've gone from 4/5omths pregnant to maybe 3. That's a win! Lol
Excited to see what the next week brings. Hopefully by next Friday my bruising will be gone. It's very ugly and halfway down my shins : (
Into my regular pants
I have been living in maxi skirts and anything lycra because I was afraid that a real button waist would hurt my incision.
I am still very swollen on my abdomen, but the swelling is completely gone from my legs and feet...hallelujah!
Today I wore a pair of capris, size 10, the size I was pre-surgery. Friends and family have noticed that I have lost weight (without knowing I had my tuck) and yes, I sure have... I was so sick the first week after surgery that I barely ate.... plus the pounds cut off and sucked out. So it is nice to hear that :) However, given the fact that I am still very swollen, I am hoping that in 6 weeks I will at least be down to an 8. I can't work out yet really, but I have been watching what I eat and drinking TONS of fluids (water, gatorade, vitamin water), and drinking NO soda. Before surgery I was a diet pepsi addict! So I am pretty proud to be soda free still.
As far as pain goes, it is really more discomfort, or if I get up after sitting for awhile. I am now sleeping on my back without pillows under my knees. Still can't get comfy on my side... it feels like my insides are gonna fall out, plus my compression garment has side hooks that dig in. So... maybe once I get into regular spanx I will have better luck.
As for activity, I have been a mall walker. I window shop (and sometimes really shop), take breaks, have an iced tea, and just take my time. I want to be active, but not overdo it. Also, after checking with my favorite nurse, I got the ok to be intimate with my honey. She just said take things slowly and don't do anything if it hurts. So.... it was good! But I definitely felt my ab muscles engaging which kind of worried me for a minute, but it wasn't painful so all is good on the home front. The nurse has been so sweet to me and she gave me her personal cell # a couple days out from surgery.... so when I asked her if it was ok to have sex and she said don't get too crazy I told her she was funny and she said "No, I'm just jealous! Get it girl!" LOL!
Life is slooooowly getting back to normal around here. Just a lower key version where I can't over exert myself or stay up late. My energy level is still lower than normal.
3 weeks post op 3 months pregnant still... Maybe more
Well... I'm totally med free at this point. Starting to be able to sleep on my sides. Sometimes I actually prefer to sleep on my back because I feel like it allows me a comfortable way to stretch out my abs without hurting myself.
My energy level is still way down. If I go run errands in the morning, I'm falling asleep on the couch by mid afternoon. We went out for my son's 5th birthday And I was absolutely exhausted afterward. I ended up taking a 2 hour nap IN BED the next day!
The swelling is still ridiculous. Tried on my fat jeans.... Still nowhere near fastening. That sucked. I almost feel like I swelled up more compared to a few days ago. I did finally drink soda so maybe that's why and now I'm going to try going back to just guzzling water and Gatorade. Sucks. However I will say: he did a fab job with the lipo on my saddlebags. I'm clearly still swollen but my silhouette is much better already. My waist is also tiny but I have swelling on my flanks that is preventing me from seeing the final product. The bruising is a LOT better though! Finally.
I have also developed a weird whitehead/rash all over my neck and chest and a little on my cheeks. I have pretty clear skin so it's odd. Wondering if its hormonal or just a change in my body composition due to the stress of surgery and healing. Either way it's annoying!!!
I go back to the doc tomorrow and I have a funny feeling that giant needle is gonna be extracting fluid again. I'm trying to mentally prepare myself. I also found a stitch in my bikini line I think from the lipo and I tried to pull it with tweezers today but I got scared because what if I'm supposed to snip it first so I need to ask the doc about it tomorrow also. I swear my plastic surgeon is like the gyno. I'm never wearing underwear. Awkward!!!
Here are some 3 week progress pics. My scar actually looks better in person than in the photos and is healing beautifully although my belly button is kind of sketch. Gotta ask about that tomorrow too!
Didn't work for some reason
Third time is a charm
They're uploading sideways : (
Just shy of 4 weeks out
Overall things are getting a lot better. I'd say I'm about 75 % back to normal.
I've been able to sleep more on my side which has been wonderful. All but very little bruising is gone although I'm
Stil very render on my saddlebag area. And the no feeling on my back thing still freaks me out.
I'm still swollen which sucks, and am still in my fat clothes. I've moved on to real outfits though which has been nice for my own personal "feel good". I even got hit on today at the grocery store! I got a free yogurt if I "promise to come back and tell me if you liked it". Lmao!
My next doctor appointment isn't for 3 weeks so I called today to ask about when to start scar treatment. My skin is pretty resilient so I'm hoping that proves true with my tummy tuck scar as well.
I still have the little pimply rash but it seems to be getting better thank goodness!
And I have yet to exercise in earnest. Might have to wait until 6 weeks for that.
A little reward
This recovery has been crazy, but I am FINALLY starting to see results. Yesterday I decided to try on some of my dresses that I didn't like the fit of pre-surgery. Pants are still a no-go but dresses were fabulous!!! Stuff that hasn't fit in months fit beautifully. I was thrilled.
I have been mall walking as I mentioned before and all of the after summer sales are going on. So... I splurged! $8 for a bikini! The top is a little big, but I am planning on breast implants around the holidays so by next year (or perhaps a spring break vacay??) I should fill it out better. But for $8, I thought it was adorable! Cheers to healing, and steals!
Back at it
Just shy of 5 weeks and I went to the gym today! It felt so good. I didn't run, just walked on the treadmill until I "glowed" and lifted some free weights but it felt so good to use my body in a positive way. Mall walking has been lovely but I'm ready to take advantage of my new bod!
I was crazy busy tonight with the kids and cooking and cleaning so I'm definitely not 100% at the moment. Buuuuut still proud!
And for fun I made a little before & bikini collage. The change is crazy! I need to take a new pic tomorrow and see if I notice a difference from the side, although I'm still rocking my baby bump. Slightly.
Today makes six weeks since I had my surgery. Kind of crazy because I feel like by now I should be back to normal.... but I am not. I feel a LOT better, and don't really have pain, but I still feel discomfort and if I move wrong I definitely can feel it. And then of course the numbness by my scar and on my back... that is just weird still.
I had my 6 week check up today and I was told that I am looking great. I still have swelling on my abdomen and back and my surgeon told me that at 6 weeks you can really only expect to see 60% of the results. At 12 weeks you see 80% and then I guess the last 20% of perfection comes in time?
He suggested Biocorneum for my scar treatment... not cheap! But he said that my scar looks fantastic (I think it looks WAY worse in pictures than in person btw) and that it's just an added healing factor..... once I finish the bottle I don't need to buy more. He also said that I had some lumpy spots in my back so I needed to massage to try to break those up. I went out and bought a handheld one, manual style for $4.99. I guess I will just do that a couple times a day....idk.
We had a talk about my "baby bump" and he said that it should all go down, but if by december, when I go in for my boob job, there's fat there, he will suck it out free of charge (except the OR time). So that's good although I am hoping he will NOT need to do so.
The bad news: I have to wear spanx for 6 more weeks :( My instructions are a little better... if I want to wear a dress that it cannot accommodate, I can take it off for a special evening, but I need to put it back on for bed. But yeah.... I haven't worn underwear in 6 weeks... and apparently I won't be wearing any for 6 more :( I miss panties. I know that's weird, but I am so over these crotch opening spanx.
Well, that's about it. Life is going on. I am adding photos but they were taken this evening, so I am most likely more swollen than I look in the morning. Might have to take new ones tomorrow.
Just shy of 3 months out
Well.... The road has been long but FINALLY things are getting back to normal. I only have one "swollen" area and in the mornings, my stomach is nice and flat. I'm no longer wearing the compression garments.
Overall I would say the pain and suffering was worth it. I love not having to tuck my sides into my pants, or worry about my saddle bags. My doctor really gave me a brand new lower half. My only complaint (which really is not my doctor's fault) is that now that the fat is sucked out and the swelling has gone down, the loose skin on my thighs is extremely noticeable. And the skin on my lower back is more lax too : (.
From the front however.... A+. My stomach is fabulous. I did however notice that it burns very quickly in the sun so I have to cover it.
4.5 month check in
24 Nov 2014
4 months post
4.5 months out and things are great!
I've recently started doing the Dailey Method exercise classes which focus heavily on core work so I'm working my abs a ton! I can definitely see that I'm firming up!
As for swelling, I still notice it from time to time which is annoying. But nothing like it was.
On Dec 3, I have my pre-op for phase 2 of my mommy makeover.... Boobs! While I'm under, the focus going to Lipo a little more on my left side and straighten out my scar (there's a weird puffy part). He's a perfectionist and I love it!
I would definitely say all of the pain and suffering was worth it after looking at these side by side comparisons.