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Wanted This Forever. - New York, NY

I'm 54, 5'1 and 129 lbs. Have 2 teenagers. Was...

I'm 54, 5'1 and 129 lbs. Have 2 teenagers. Was always a good weight until I had my kids in my mid 30s. Gained 35 pounds with my kids and finally got it off last year. Needless to say I have the worst blubber belly. I always fantasized about doing something like this, but was afraid. Thought it was shallow, or that I should spend my money on something else. And then I realized that I'm running out of time, so it's now or never. I made the appointment in January, but wasn't excited about it because I felt it was being selfish or something. Was sort of approaching it with dread -- which is ironic because every time I look at my belly I want to gag and it CUT OFF. lol So I went on Wed and was kind of anxious about the whole thing. Was not smiling at all.
good luck to you!
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Thanks so much. All went well and here I am back at work. Can't believe it's behind me now.
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Day of Surgery, Wed 2-12

Today is the day. I'm not excited at all. I'm thinking morbid thoughts like I'm going to die on the table from plastic surgery. I went to the Gramercy Surgical Center on 22nd and 2nd in Manhattan. What a professional, clean, organized place this is . I love Dr. Karlinsky -- very professional, warm and down to earth. The surgery is over in 2 hours and out I go. I'm very uncomfortable. Hurting really. Can't stand straight and dopey from the anesthesia. I drove myself in, and my brother picked me up with my car. OMG, the pain from coughing and sneezing. I get home and practically crawl up the steps. I have one drain and feel very constricted by my CG. Felt better in the afternoon after a nap, and realized when I got up how stiff I became. I'm determined to walk every hour. I have a ghetto recliner (summer lounge chair) that I rigged up in my bedroom and spend the day on that. Either sitting or leaning back. My belly feels very tight. I'm afraid to touch anything. I have to pee a lot also. No appetite, and when I do start eating, I'm going to make sure to stay away from salt because of all the stories I've read hear about swelling. I have no idea if that has anything to do with salt, but I figure it's a good time to try and cut it out of my diet.

Post Op Day 1

I slept good. Today I'm pretty uncomfortable. I realize I'm using muscles I've never used before. I started my antibiotics. I'm used to the drain and it really isn't such a big deal. I'm just horrified that it's hanging out of my body. Getting a little used to the CG. I don't think I really need my pain medication, but I take it anyway. I'm walking every hour. If I skip and hour, I can tell the difference in my stiffness. I'm also amazed at how I really seem to feel better hour by hour. Still not feeling good and I'm not standing straight. My back is starting to bother me a lot and those unused muscles in my arms and legs are starting to scream in pain. lol Snow storm today, so I'll be going to the doctor tomorrow. I'm really not eating anything other than water and bread. Still peeing like a racehorse. What's with that??

Post Op Day 2

Today I got up nice and early so I could stretch and drive myself to the doctor. It's also the first day that I've removed my CG. I'm shocked at what I see. My belly is tight like a bow. And everything is SO close. It's surreal to look down and not see my old blubber belly. Today I'm finally excited. Although I do sort of feel like a rectangle. I really do feel good today. I'm almost straight, but I have to fight it. Dr. Karlinsky says I'm doing very well. I think getting out was also a good thing. I'm continuing to walk, walk, walk.

Post Op Day 3

Today I'm feeling even better. Sleeping well, still not eating much. Yesterday Dr. Karlinsky told me that the pain medication was binding, so I bought some fiber stuff -- and Metamucil. I haven't "gone" in a week. Today I'm also not taking any pain killers. Not really necessary. My only issue really is that it still takes me a bit to "unwind" and straighten out after I'm sitting for awhile. Just about straight now, but with effort. I can't throw my shoulders back. My drain is getting less and less each day.

Post Op Day 6, Tues 2-18

Ok, I'm going stir crazy now. I need to get out. I go food shopping and feel great. Still stiff and have to unwind after sleeping or sitting for long, but each day gets better and better. Walking is a breeze. Was happy to get out. I'm sure my drain will come out tomorrow. I feel like some of the rectangleness is starting to go away a little. I feel SO much lighter in my belly. Can't believe how much is gone and how light I feel when I get up or sit cross-legged. Can't wait to start trying on clothes.

Post Op Day 7, Wed 2-19

Dr. Karlinsky took out the drain. OMG. Pure heaven. It barely hurt and was over in a minute. Suddenly I feel whole again. This is the day that I got stuck in the ice outside of her office in Brooklyn. Gabriele, sweetheart that he is (he runs the office) came out and tried to help. I felt so helpless watching everyone. I felt strong enough to help shovel, but of course I was forbidden. I'm on Cloud 9. Going back to work tomorrow. Can't wait to get back in the real world. Oh, I finally "went" to the bathroom yesterday. I can't even begin to say how awful THAT experience was. I guess I was partly constipated and behind was all the fiber and Metamucil. It was not fun. I recommend going easy on the Metamucil. lol

Post Op Day 8, Thur 2-20.

So happy to be out of the house and back to work. Of course I didn't tell a soul at work WHY I was taking off, so ironically, I had to dress to COVER my little flat belly. I lost 6 pounds and a few people mentioned that my face looked thinner, so I went along with it and said I was dieting. Work was a breeze. I'm probably at 95% of my speed I walking and getting up and down. It's really not noticeable.

Post Op Day 9, Friday 2-21

Feeling great. Going out with someone I recently met. He doesn't know my secret and I switch my CG for a Spanx and wear a belly shirt that almost reaches my pants. What fun to get dressed!! I can finally show off my new (covered) belly to someone lol. I felt great. Was walking on air. Had a great time. Tomorrow I'm going to put some baby oil on my tape to start to remove the bandages. I haven't even thought about my belly button. I can see a shape starting to come back. I still haven't had any swelling. So far, so good.

Post Op Day 11, Sunday 2-23

Still feel great. Went out with my friend last night. I switched the CG for a black one piece body suit and wore that under a lacy top. It's the first time I haven't worn it -- and I was only doing for the few hours we were going out. Funny, I missed the security of it and couldn't wait to slip it back on when I got home. Bandages are not coming off that easily and I'm afraid to pull them. Maybe I'll play with them in the shower. No swelling still. Keeping my fingers crossed. I don't know if my eating is helping, but I've been really watching my food -- except the one night that I had pizza. I can't believe that this is behind me. I stand straight, but still can't do military style standing lol. My bedroom looks like it's been ransacked because all I do is try on clothes. I wonder how my scar will heal.
Thank yo for posting the update.  Glad to hear you are doing so well.
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Thanks so much for your help! :-)
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Post Op Day 13

Still feeling great. Finally got bandages off last night. I've lost some weight. I'm at 123. Sneezing is uncomfortable now, but not killing me anymore. No swelling. I lost 2 inches on my waist. Went from 32 to 30. I'm still eating from healthy and mostly salt-free. Avocados, chicken, bananas, vegetables, and had pizza only twice since my TT. I'm very grossed out by the lack of feeling in my belly lol. Also, during the day -- probably since PostOp6 my stomach muscles seem to be contracting like when I was in labor. It's the oddest feeling. It also seems to be that the more active I am, they more they constrict. I was dancing in my room the other night with some ridiculous outfit on, and when I layed down, my belly really went nuts. It doesn't hurt though. So happy that things are going well. Here's some pictures from last night.
You seem to be doing GREAT only 2 weeks post-op, that's awesome! Did you have a full TT, muscle repair?
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Thanks!! Yes, I had a full TT with muscle repair. I work full time and needed to get back to work, and my doctor (Dr. Karlinsky) told me to keep moving. So I did lol. Every hour I got up and walked -- within hours of having the operation. And I swear I could tell that each time it got easier and easier. By day 2, I was able to do 5-8 minutes each hour. And while I was walking, I was concentrating on pulling my back straight. I was back to work 8 days later and probably could have done it on day 6, but I didn't want to go to work with my drain. Have you had a TT?
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Not yet...I've seen two docs, both said I only need skin done, no muscle repair. I scheduled with one doc, but am consulting with one more this Friday. I am trying to get it done ASAP since I have a trip to Disney World planned with my son for end of April -- hoping to have as much recovery time as possible before we go! I've had numerous abdominal surgeries (for endometriosis, cysts, tubes tied and then reversed, etc.), and I've always been a fast healer, so I'm hoping it's the same for the TT. ;) Thanks again for sharing your journey, it helps so much to read other experiences!
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Post Op Day 13 - itching

Yesterday I noticed I was starting to get itchy. Today it's worse. All around my scar. Have to escape to the bathroom at work for some sweet scratching relief lol. Still feeling good. Tightness is getting less and less. If I'm sitting at work for a couple hours and I get up, I have to stretch my belly so I can stand straight. I've been running up and down the staircase at work, to keep moving.
Ur results are great but I can't believe u drove ur car by urself after surgery ????
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Thank you. I drove the car 2 days after. My surgery was Wednesday and I drove on Friday. I felt great driving. I didn't take any pain killers, so I had a clear head. Sitting of course, is easier than walking around, so I really felt like a had a full range of motion and nothing was bothering me. Have you had your TT?
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Yes I had u can c my profile thr r pictures too well even I had very smooth journey up till now . Good luck with ur recovery n take care will b following ur journry
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Post Op Day 16 - swelling maybe?

I still feel great. Can sneeze and cough. Tiny bit of discomfort in middle of incision, but holding it makes any pain go away. I can get up from lying down without have to rely on my arms. Stiffness can still set in if I sit for a long time, but goes away with a stretch or two. Starting to wonder about my belly button, but my doctor says it looks good. A bit swollen. I was thinking it looked like a line. Two days ago, was the first day that I felt a little uncomfortable with swelling. Nothing major, but I feel like there definitely some water retention and I'm starting to notice a little pouf in the middle of by belly button and boobies. My weight has been between 122 and 124 since the TT. Been eating mostly good -- nothing fried at all -- broiled chicken, salad, veggies -- pizza 3 times -- and Chinese once. Doctor wants to see me today however -- said that if there is swelling to be drained better to do it now than sooner.

Post Op Day 16 - swelling maybe? Part 2

Have more pictures to add to top. I'm a bit concerned about above belly button swelling. Seeing doctor later.

Post Op Day 16 - seroma, scar stuff

I went to see Dr. Karlinsky and the little swelling was in fact a seroma. She stuck a needle in my belly, which I didn't feel since I barely have any feeling back yet -- and out it came -- looking just like the fluid that was in my drain. We then talked about the scar -- she's giving me a prescription for something. I think it's fairly new -- I'll post it when I get it. Still feeling great. Have no desire to remove my CG. I feel safe and secure with it. Sleeping has been great. I think I've been able to sleep on my side for about a week now -- but resist doing so. Somehow I feel that it might be better to lay flat on my back, making sure to keep my belly and stretched out.

Post Op Day 20 - seroma, scar lotion prescription

Can believe it's been 3 weeks. I went back 2 days ago for more seroma draining -- but it's nothing -- I don't even feel it, and really didn't notice it -- and much smaller than last week. I'm waiting for my scar lotion. It's a prescription. Can't wait to get started on that. Other than that, nothing much to report. I still feel great. I only get a little bit of stiffness if I sleep in a fetal position, or if I sit for a few hours at my desk. Also if I lean backwards really far, I feel pulling at the bottom of my belly. Still wearing my CG. Something I don't see people talk much about is how LIGHT they feel afterwards. I have lost about 6 or 7 pounds -- I'm about 122 -- but I think the big difference is that I don't have a WAD of FLESH pulling down in the front anymore -- and I feel so light on my feet. I can pop up and down from a sitting position like a jack-in-the-box. I can tie my boot, standing on one leg -- I feel so BALANCED and supple. It gives me energy. I'm able to cough and laugh and sneeze with MINIMAL pinching in the very middle of my lower belly.
I love your attitude- "keep moving"! I am sure that contributed to your rapid recovery. My TT is scheduled for July 30...I am very very nervous. Keep waking up at night with nightmares. Last night I dreamed it was the end of the world. Can't wait to get this behind me- Your results look so wonderful and it gives me confidence to go through with this!
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Do you regret your surgery due to seromas? How do you feel in all? Was it on office? Or surgical center?
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Not at all. Seromas were so absolutely minor that I forgot I had them. My belly was still numb after surgery so when my doctor removed the fluid with a needle I didn't even feel it. Of everything, that was the easiest thing to deal with.
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Manhattan General Surgeon

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