Four months out, still happy! - New Orleans, LA

I wish I could blame my stomach issues completely...

I wish I could blame my stomach issues completely on my triplets, who were born in 2007 weighing 13.5 pounds total. But alas, I've had this "apron" of flab for far longer than that. As long as I can remember, in fact. I'm fairly tall (5'10") and have a very long torso, so even as stretched out as I was, I don't believe I have any muscle separation.

Over the past year, I've lost between 30-40 lbs, but I'm still about 35 pounds from my goal weight. While my waist and hip measurements have gone down, my "apron" has just gotten droopier and more deflated. I'll never have a flat stomach no matter how much weight I lose.

I run (I love to do half marathons, and in my younger years I completed two full marathons) but the excess flab slows me down and frankly just looks disgusting. I'm tired of thinking I need to lose all this weight before I can get a tummy tuck. I know I probably should, and I'll certainly try to lose more before the procedure, but I want to hear what the doctor says about it.

I haven't done much except start saving some money, but I have my first consult on Thursday. It took all my nerve just to call to set that up! My goal is to have it done this summer, when my kids are out of school and in camp (my husband drives them to/from camp, so it will make childcare much easier.) I work at a desk job full-time, and I shouldn't have any trouble taking time off at that time of year, since it's the slow time there.

So after spending countless hours here reading stories and looking at photos, I think what I want is a tummy tuck and lipo on my inner thighs at the very least. Maybe more. We'll see what the doctor says on Thursday!

So I met with a PS this morning, and I really...

So I met with a PS this morning, and I really loved her. If I could have, I would have booked the surgery right then. But, even after all the research I've done, I'm suffering some sticker shock. The total would be $18,700! That includes the tummy tuck, some lipo, and a thigh lift for those nasty inner thigh fat pockets. That would be $7500 alone! So I think I would have to forego that part of it. Anyone have any experience with a thigh lift? Couldn't lipo take care of that?

Wanted to add some more notes about today's...

Wanted to add some more notes about today's consultation, so I don't forget.
- There would be an overnight stay at a hospital
- She uses the pain pump
- Compression garments for 4 weeks
- Drains (2) for a week. If I did the thigh lift, there would be two for that too, but those would likely come out in the hospital, she said

Hmm, that's all I can remember for now. The cost breakdown was $9200 for the abdominoplasty, $2000 for lipo to my hips (flanks?), and $7500 for the thigh lift. That includes all operation costs, post op visits, one compression garment, hospital stay. Doesn't include labwork, pathology (if needed), medications.

I am going to book at least one more consultation, just to see. But if I could, I'd try to schedule a date tomorrow and put my deposit down!

So I have another consultation booked on Monday. I...

So I have another consultation booked on Monday. I have a feeling he's going to be expensive too, but we'll see.

I have a question...I made an appointment a few weeks ago to get my yearly(ish) physical with my primary care doctor. I assume she'll be doing bloodwork as usual. I'm wondering if it might be smarter to put off that appointment until closer to my surgery date, so maybe the bloodwork results can be used for that? And does anyone know how much the bloodwork costs out of pocket?

Okay, so today I went for my second consult....

Okay, so today I went for my second consult. Another great doctor, and then I was hit with a huge cost estimate. This time, for the tummy tuck and lipo it would be $15,100! About half of the cost is just the operating room and anesthesiologist. I really thought since he does it outpatient, it'd be a little less expensive than the other doctor, but apparently not.

I really did love this doctor, though. He was very thorough. He said I had diastasis recti from my pregnancy and possibly an umblical hernia, but he wouldn't know until he got in there. So I don't know if insurance would help because of that or not. Hmm. Anyway, this time I had to wear the paper undies and completely disrobe. Gaah! He was measuring and poking and prodding and all that good stuff. Poor guy. Ha ha! I guess that's why he makes the big bucks!

So now I have yet another consult set for next week. Thankfully, the next one is free.

Ouch! This morning, when I was about to get in the...

Ouch! This morning, when I was about to get in the shower, I did what I usually do (lift up the flabby flap of flab and envision what I'll look like after my TT) and noticed a line of blood at the underside crease of my FFoF. The doctor yesterday was kind of rough with me, pulling it up and measuring and poking and prodding that he actually ripped the skin a little! Now I feel a bit protective of my FFoF.

Also, remembered some things for our meeting that I want to keep note of.
- mentioned bowel prep before surgery, because of possible umbilical hernia. ick!
- gives the option of the pain pump or an injection of some long-lasting local anesthetic

Of course, this is all a moot point since there's no way I can pay $15k for this surgery. Have two more consults scheduled - one for next week and one for the week after. Fingers crossed one of those will work out!

Had my third consult today. Liked this guy, it was...

Had my third consult today. Liked this guy, it was in a more hospital setting, and in what I thought was a less expensive area of the city. But no, his quote for TT, MR, and lipo to flanks, hips, and upper thighs was $13,075. Who are these people getting quotes of under $10k for this??? I'm not willing to travel very far for this, and I wouldn't think I'd have to. New Orleans is a low COL city!

Oooh! So excited! I may be trying to do my TT...

Oooh! So excited! I may be trying to do my TT around Easter, rather than this summer. And not just because I'm impatient. I actually have some good reasons for it.

- If I do it in the summer, my kids will have to wait until the end of summer to have swimming lessons. (I get in the water during the lessons to help.) And since my husband doesn't swim, they wouldn't get to go swimming for the six weeks I wouldn't be able to swim. So if I do it at easter, by the time June rolls around, I'd be cleared to get in the pool.

- My kids have a week off after Easter, so I wouldn't have to drive them to school and they could stay with my mom or my in-laws for a few days here and there.

- It wouldn't be as hot! I live in a very hot, humid city, and one of my reservations about doing the procedure in the summertime is the prospect of wearing the CG in the hottest months of the year.

- Okay, THIS is more of a vain reason, but my 20th high school reunion is at the end of May. Enough said. :)

So now I just need to figure out fast WHO I want to do it. I'm leaning towards the first doctor I met, since I really loved her, and she is the least expensive (not counting the thigh lift, which I wouldn't do.)

Fingers crossed!

Just booked my surgery for March 28! My husband's...

Just booked my surgery for March 28! My husband's ankle is healing great, and I talked to the PS's patient coordinator and she confirmed that the lipo involved will get everything on the sides.

So excited!

Put my deposit down today, so it's really...

Put my deposit down today, so it's really officially official! I also found out I have to be available for jury duty from March 4-15, and the only appointment I could get with my primary care doctor (for bloodwork and stuff) is on March 15. So hopefully I don't have to serve on a jury that day!

For my records: need CBC, CMP, EKG and written clearance for anesthesia from my PCP. Pre-op appointment is on the 20th.

Trying to figure out a few details...rent a recliner? We don't really have room for one. And those memory foam wedge systems look so expensive and I don't really have room to store it after I'm done with it. Wonder if just a ton of pillows will suffice. When I was pregnant with my triplets, I just made a nest of pillows every night. Surely it can't be more uncomfortable than the late stages of a triplet pregnancy! Ha ha!

Today marks six weeks til my TT. Feels like...

Today marks six weeks til my TT. Feels like forever, but I'm trying to stay super busy until then to make the time go faster. Not hard with three five year olds!

My best friend is flying in on the Monday after surgery (which is on a Thursday) and will stay for a week. Hopefully between my ILs and my mom, someone will be taking my kids for the first few days so they don't have to see me at my worst.

I've been working on strengthening my back at the gym as much as possible before surgery, hopefully I can avoid or lessen the back pain. I had back surgery two years ago for a massively herniated disc, and I don't want to go through anything like that again anytime soon!

Debating "going public" on my blog, but we'll see. I'm a pretty open book, but I don't want anyone stumbling across my before pics. Bad enough that they're here! Anyone who knows me would have an easy time recognizing me from this. Hmmm.

Thinking this morning about what I will wear to...

Thinking this morning about what I will wear to work after the TT. Office is not formal, but not casual either. I guess pants are out? Should I stick up on skirts, flowy dresses, etc.? I will be returning to work approx two weeks post surgery.

I really don't have much to add today, I'm just...

I really don't have much to add today, I'm just excited. :) Got my surgery time, it'll be at 9:00 am, and I'll have to be at the hospital at 7am. Gotta figure out how to get the kids to school that day - beforecare doesn't start until 7:15. Ah well, we'll figure something out!

I can't believe my TT is 16 days away! The longest...

I can't believe my TT is 16 days away! The longest 16 days ever, I'm sure, but hopefully it will go fast. This Friday I have a checkup with my PCP, and I'll be getting my bloodwork done at that point. Next Wednesday is my preop appointment, and then 8 days after that is my surgery!

Just found out today that a friend is going to lend me her recliner, so now I don't have to stress out about that anymore. :)

I decided to "out" myself on my blog, but no one seems to be very interested. That's a good thing! I was worried I'd get negative feedback. Here's my blog:

http://www.pyjammy.com

I'm seven days out! Woo hoo! Yesterday I went for...

I'm seven days out! Woo hoo! Yesterday I went for my pre-op appointment. Friday I had all the tests done with my PCP, and those were fine, but when my PS was listening to my heart, she heard a murmur, so today I had to go for an echocardiogram (even though I had an EKG Friday.) Fingers crossed all is well. I've had other surgeries that went fine, so I am not really worried, but still...

I still owe $100 (I got the wrong amount out of the bank) so Monday I'll get all the paperwork from the doctor and meet with the anesthesiologist at the hospital. I wish I hadn't forgotten the shopping list from the PS. Let's see, I think I need to get Hibiclens (already ordered from Amazon), hydrogen peroxide (for blood stains on my clothes, NOT for my body), pads for the drain holes (not exactly sure how this will work), um...hmmm...can't remember what else. Baby shampoo? Can't remember what that was for. Baby powder for getting compression garment back on. Hmmm.... it'll come to me!

Tomorrow's the day! I'm so excited. I'm at work...

Tomorrow's the day! I'm so excited. I'm at work today, but can hardly concentrate. Still a bunch to do at home. Wash sheets, pack bags for the kids (they're staying with the grandparents for a week), pack MY bag, buy a few more supplies, pick up prescriptions.

Got a recliner yesterday. Borrowed it from a friend who had her TT two weeks ago. :)

It's a weird feeling to know that THIS body, the one that has caused me so much grief (but has done so much for me) is going to be gone tomorrow. I feel so defined by my shape, and that's going to change. So weird.

Here I am, on the flat side! The pain yesterday...

Here I am, on the flat side! The pain yesterday was pretty bad, but this morning already seems a bit better. Haven't seen under the binder yet, but seems pretty flat under there!

Got four drains, which seems like a lot, but it's fine. Get that fluid out!

Can't wait to get home, but not looking forward to standing up again. Made me nauseated yesterday.

Post op, day 1. Or is it two? Hmm. I say 1. Man,...

Post op, day 1. Or is it two? Hmm. I say 1. Man, these percosets are strong!

Got home from the hospital a few hours ago. MH helped while I emptied the bulbs. One of them had a big mass of congealed blood. Ick.

Pain still intense, but better than yesterday.

Saw my new tummy this morning. Very surreal. I didn't get nauseated or dizzy from standing or having binder off. May get two drains and pain pump out on Monday. That should make everything more bearable.

Okay, gotta go...the perc is pulling me under...

It's 3:45am and I had to get up to take Percoset....

It's 3:45am and I had to get up to take Percoset. Pain is getting better, but still very much there. As everyone says, the drains are the worst! Having four tubes coming out of my hoo makes peeing tricky. Forget about pooping, how would I even manage that? We shall see.

One of my drains is oozing blood but seems ok. I think one of them has a clot I can't get out. Will see PS Monday so hopefully she can do something about it.

Took measurements yesterday before my shower. Down several inches everywhere, can't wait to see what they end up being when the swelling goes down.

Post op, day 4. Every day, the pain gets more...

Post op, day 4. Every day, the pain gets more manageable. Took no meds overnight and only one Percoset today. Was hoping I'd get a drain or two out today, but alas, she wants to wait another day. Fingers crossed that tomorrow I get a couple out!

Also, I pooped today. Hurrah!

No new pics, not much change since the last one.

5 lbs down from surgery day, and that's after breakfast, clothed and with drains. And swelling. Woo!

Today is post op day 6. Only on Tylenol today, but...

Today is post op day 6. Only on Tylenol today, but so ready to have some of these drains out! Tomorrow is my first post op visit with my PS, fingers crossed!

Just for shits & giggles, I weighed myself today. Down 11 lbs! And still swollen!

Today marks two weeks since my surgery. It's flown...

Today marks two weeks since my surgery. It's flown by! I am feeling pretty good, but I still have two of my drains. I am SOOO ready for them to come out. I talk to a nurse at the PS office every morning, but I haven't heard back from them today if they're going to pull them. I really hope I hear back soon. This is by far the worst part.

I'm sleeping okay. I can sleep on my sides now, but not all night. I wake up in the middle of the night in pain. I'm off all painkillers, but maybe I should reconsider for nighttime. :)

I've been back at work since Tuesday, and that's going fine. I have a desk job and an understanding boss.

I JUST WANT THESE DRAINS OUT!!!

Still happy, drains are out, but swelling is...

Still happy, drains are out, but swelling is driving me nuts. Not that I didn't expect it, but it really messes with your head. I went to try on clothes at the mall and discovered I'm in the same size pants! How can that be? I need to wait until the swelling is done before I attempt that again!

Otherwise, healing has been fine. Scar looks great (under the tape PS put on it), lipo pain is mostly gone, some sensation is returning, etc.

Added more pics!

I honestly don't have a ton to add, but just...

I honestly don't have a ton to add, but just wanted to update with a pic. Feeling even better, but still swelling a lot. Down only one pants size, but really can't wear pants yet. I did wear some jeans last night for the first time and I look much better than before!

Yesterday, I went for my 6 week post-op visit, and...

Yesterday, I went for my 6 week post-op visit, and my doctor was concerned about my swelling below my belly button. It was firm and not ripply, so I just figured it was good old-fashioned swelling, but she was able to pull out 92ccs of fluid! Four weeks after my drains were removed!

At least my tummy is flatter now, but I'm worried about this seroma coming back and jeopardizing my recovery. Ack! And now I have to keep wearing my spanx. Ah well.

My seroma is gone! 2 months post TT

So I'm now 2 months out and feeling good. My seroma is gone so I'm able to not wear my binder or spanx constantly. I go back for a recheck next week, fingers crossed its really resolved.

I'm still somewhat swollen, but otherwise feel great. Well, except that I've gained a few pounds post-surgery and I need to get back on track. At least I still weigh less than I did on surgery day!

I have been back at the gym, running two miles at a time, and doing some arm and leg exercises.

Wearing scar tape still (will wear for 12 weeks total) so not entirely sure what it looks like. But this morning a length of it on my left side came off and it looks like I have a very tiny dog ear there. Not at all worried about it, my doctor is fabulous and will take care of it if necessary.

3 months post surgery...

Things are going well here....my swelling is going down some. Exercising some, just started WW again to get rid of some of the other fat on my body. ;)

Scar tape has started to come off, scar looks good. Flat and smooth, but pink.

My only regret is not getting lipo on my inner thighs. Oh well. Next time. ;)

4 months (almost) post

So I had my last visit with my PS until DECEMBER! Gaah! I'm healing fine, so no need. I'll take my official "after" pics then.

Had to put back on Spanx due to some swelling, just to see if it helps. If not, time will, I'm sure. Not too worried about it.

Started back doing abs at the gym yesterday. Just light, but I'm not sore today so maybe I'll add a few pounds to the machine next time.

As mentioned before, I'm doing WW to try to lose some of the other fat on my body. Want to look extra good in those after pics! :)
Dr. Cynthia Mizgala

I really clicked with Dr Mizgala. We were chatting like old friends within a few minutes of my consultation. I like that she does her procedures outpatient, and her credentials are exceptional.

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
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
4 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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