Tummy Tuck - North Carolina

44 years old. 2 children and one gallbladder...

44 years old. 2 children and one gallbladder removal. Weight gain and self neglect. As all of you women know, we put everyone (even the dog) before ourselves, especially when our kids are little. My situation was complicated by a husband's health issue; diabetes. But light at the end of the tunnel really does exist. Kids are now 14 and 18. Husband is 5 years out from a kidney/pancreas transplant. So I began my journey two years ago. Lost the weight, got in shape. Spent the last year trying to work off the pooch with no success. Enter .... the tummy tuck. So with that comes a new found excitement for Summer and maybe a bikini minus the muffin top!

Two weeks from today! I can hardly stand it. I was...

Two weeks from today! I can hardly stand it. I was flopping between exhileration and fear. Now, I'm just flat out ready to go. If my PS called tonight and said I could come tomorrow, I'd be even happier.I do wish I could afford the breast lift and implants though. That's my only regret. Cost wise, I can't do it all at the same time. But the girls are a little droopy now with the weight loss. I figure I'm around a B- and would like to be a perky C. Not big, just proportioned. I envy the women who get the Mommy Make-Overs.

10 days away! I'm so excited! I have read...

10 days away! I'm so excited! I have read through alot of blogs and due to my impatience thought I would just ask everyone to answer short and sweet...

How many drains did you have?
What day did the first and second come out?
Who showered before drains removed?

Well, it's bye bye belly day!!!! Keep your...

Well, it's bye bye belly day!!!!
Keep your collective fingers crossed...

Yippee! All over. Surgery took right at 2 hours....

Yippee! All over. Surgery took right at 2 hours. Woke up easy and painless! I love you, Craig (anesthesia)! Lol. Just felt sore where he cinched the midline and where the drains are. No pump! Pills work soooo good! Ate dinner slowly over a long period if time; veggie burger. Best dang veggie burger ever! Lol. Only downside; foley cath, but ps is letting me get it out by bedtime. I've drank alot of water, a little apple juice and one coffee(heaven). Nothing else past 7pm. Try to limit overnight little girls room trip to 1. did I say pain pills are wonderful?! BOL! ;o). Anyway, my drainage output is only 25 cc's right now. Wonder if it'll go up before it goes down... Anybody know? PS let me take a look; she's tight as a drum. Oh boy!!! Now hopefully I'll remember that when I'm walking hunched over for a week! Love the ps and hospital staff! They've been great!!! Go home in am; reality check then.

Day 4. Switched from rx pain med to Tylenol. The...

Day 4. Switched from rx pain med to Tylenol. The other was just too much. I've also reduced the muscle relaxer in half, but the last twenty four hours have been the best. Not as groggy. Walked outside, down the driveway and back. A little bored. Drains still a beast. Total daily output today is 95. Can't believe how quick it's going by, but also ready for normal activity...

Post op day 6. First PS visit... he said it all...

Post op day 6. First PS visit... he said it all looked "wow!"... That's always a good sign. He removed one drain, but sadly the other remains until probably Thursday. But... the horrible tearing feeling I've been having is from the stupid drains! Even with just the one removed, I came home, finally got into a comfortable position and slept for over two hours. Best sleep since before the surgery, last Wednesday! So, now hopeful that once this other drain is removed, I'm home free. I feel a little tight, but not bad now. Belly button is still sore but he said it looked great. Incision is remarkably low and promising. No lipo was done to my surprise, but to be honest, not sure where he would've gotten it from since it was all hanging skin. All in all, managing ok. Husband has a new found sense of what all I DO ON MY OWN AROUND THE HOUSE! So, maybe some of this help will spill over after I heal! I can only hope!

Walking... Ok, after I've been sitting a while, I get stiff so I do use a cane to help disperse some of my upper body weight. But after I'm up a few minutes, I toss it. The weather was nicer yesterday so I was able to walk to our mailbox 3-4 times (about 8 car lengths one way). Today, it was cold and windy so I stayed in. Hoping tomorrow will be nicer and I can get out more.

So, other than last drainage tube out by the end of the week, another post op appointment next week.... looking forward to finding out what all I can "get away with"! Lol. I am leaning slightly, but not really hunched over like a granny. Haven't been since two days after surgery. Nurse said it was ok. So I'm hoping that I can start stretching her slowly out starting next Wednesday (two weeks post op) but not sure. Would love to hear other's experiences with timing on straightening out.

Bikini... Bikini... Bikini...

8 days post op...I slept the best last night!...

8 days post op...I slept the best last night! Didn't take anything but antibiotic. Was really nice to not have to pee every two hours last night too. Hoping to get last drain out tomorrow. Swelling? Well, it's there, but not as bad. I'm able to cinch the binder a little tighter with no discomfort. Walked about 1/2 mile outside on this gorgeous day! Slow and steady. And about 95% upright without even trying. Sometimes I scare myself because I don't even realize it. I'm feeling more normal now so quickly.
Rubbed tummy a little this morning. Bbutton still looks odd. Almost a half inny/outy! Lol

Hope everyone is hanging in there whatever their stage. All smiles here ;o)

Last drainage tube out! ;o) Dr says all looks...

Last drainage tube out! ;o) Dr says all looks great and I must admit, the incision just looks like a thin line from a pencil. I was shocked! Belly button stitches out. He said looks great. Next appointment in two weeks, but he's ok'd me to work half days starting next Wednesday.... But to still take it easy. Spanx purchase to be made next week. Any suggestions? Can you wear jeans over them?? I put my size 6 mini skirt on today and she still fits, but size 8 jeans don't... Go figure. He didnt mention massaging so I guess I'll ask about that next time and about Mederma. Well, time to rest after a busy morning.

Ok gals... here they are. if you need confirmation...

ok gals... here they are. if you need confirmation that this procedure works.... here you go. and keep in mind... this is just pre op through day 10. still swollen. still a little uncomfortable sleeping. but no pills. standing 95% straight up. and no exercise yet. i did start walking a little more, but the dr veto'd that. he wants me to limit it still. patience, not my virtue!

15 days po. Feeling pretty good except for a...

15 days po. Feeling pretty good except for a terrible cold. I've been wearing my Spanx type binder for a few days. I sure like it better than the binder. It fits firmer and is cut to fit my body better than the ol' wrap around thing they send you home in. Lol. I really haven't had a whole lot of swelling over the last few days. And I'm starting to feel my tummy skin and it's now sore and tingly. All those nerves and reconnections going on! The dr replaced the paper tape last Friday, but after a couple of showers, it peeled all up. I bought some more, applied some Mederma and applied the new tape. There are places in the incision that I can hardly tell I've even been cut! And there's a couple raised areas and an occasional purplish raised area. But it all looks healed. So maybe the Mederma and new tape will work on the less then perfect areas. ;o)

Anyone with a similar situation, etc??

Correction, typing error on prior post... Day 17

Correction, typing error on prior post... Day 17

Most of the tape is gone except for in the front....

Most of the tape is gone except for in the front. The dr's office said to just leave it off. I will only be 3 weeks 3/2/11. I feel really good. I haven't been taking anything for a while now. I did notice a drop of blood on the incision where a piece of tape came off. Looks like I nicked myself shaving. Teeny, tiny. Nurse said to apply neosporin and a bandaid. She thinks it may be an inside suture poking through and causing irritation. I just don't want there to be any problems since I've been doing SOOO well. I've been walking a little. Probably doing more around the house than I should, but within reason. Nothing hurts. I do get stiff if I sit around for too long. My belly button still has a crusty scab around the "outty" part in the middle. I've been cleaning it out with peroxide and a q-tip like he said. It looks like it might come off soon.

Does any this sound familiar to anyone at 3-4 weeks? I have nothing to compare it to...

23 days post op. PS follow up today. I spit 3...

23 days post op. PS follow up today. I spit 3 stitches and he removed them. Funny, first was the little drop of blood on the pinhead size hole last weekend. Got me kind of worried. Then, this morning I saw an actual white loop stitch coming out of the incision on the opposite side. I showed the rn and she said that's all it was. As I was laying on the table waiting fir the OS, I found another one! Lol! So he got all 3, said I looked fantastic and cleared me for full time work Monday and walking on the treadmill. He said to start with 15 minutes and work up in time only not intensity. Arms too. And I can sleep on my tummy ! Yeah! My tingling has subsided. My numbness is decreasing. Belly button scab fell off and very minimal swelling. I can't believe how well it's going. Now I am to massage Maderma and/or vitamin E lotion on scar 3 times a day. That I can do.

Photo Update

4 weeks today officially. No swelling, even at...

4 weeks today officially. No swelling, even at night. Walked on the treadmill for the 1st time this past Saturday. Then split between it and the elliptical Sunday. I felt a little uncomfortable on the elliptical. Took Monday off, but did 30 minutes on the elliptical Tuesday and felt great! No issues. No more spitting stitches for the moment. Belly button healed. Incision is getting a darker red. I've been vigorously massaging Mederma 3 times a day since last week. Using vitamin E oil occasionally. Really rubbing good, hoping to smooth out a couple bumpy areas. Feeling great. Sleeping some on my tummy, but still being cautious. Turning over quite a bit through the night. I can't believe it was only 4 weeks ago! Seems like much longer. So far, really good experience! ;o)

Photo Update

Post op day 31 incision line is redder than post...

post op day 31 incision line is redder than post op day 24. worse before better, i guess. Using Mederma, but ordered silicone sheets. Bumpiness may be getting a little better.

Photo Update

38 days post op (5 1/2 weeks). Pretty smooth so...

38 days post op (5 1/2 weeks). Pretty smooth so far. Went to the gym tonight and did thirty minutes on the elliptical. Not running, but pretty content with just being able to do something. I worked out my arms using machines approved by a trainer. Feel pretty good. I had worked out legs last week and weekend on a few machines. Did well with all but one. I could tell the tummy was not gonna be happy. I also overdid it last weekend and so it compiled into a small swell-fest! Lol. But I took it easy for several days and now feel great again. Finally received my silicone tape in the mail. We'll see how well it does to lighten my incision line. The bumpiness seems to be thinning pretty well. I am pretty tired of this corset! I'm sick of it in fact. But at the same time, if I leave it off, I feel like I need it like a security blanket. Return PS visit in two weeks. I'll check with him to see what to expect over the next 6 weeks. I am really pleased with the timing. It's getting warmer, swimsuits are already out and I'm getting pumped up about getting back in to shape and hitting the beach minus the ol' muffin top.

45 days post op. Ran for first time in over 6...

45 days post op. Ran for first time in over 6 weeks today. I warmed up walking for 5 minutes and then ran at a 12 minute mile pace for 20 minutes. No strain, no pain, just simply wonderful. No swelling after either. So.. I guess that's a good thing. I left my "corset" off two nights this week while sleeping. No swelling the next morning. It's starting to feel like a security blanket and I really do not want that. My PS appointment is not for another week so I will ask him about it then. All of the PS's on this website indicate 3-6 weeks. I'll go over a little, but better safe than sorry. Another issue I've come across is tanning. I've seen others post about going on tropical vacations and recommendations... So I'm assuming that the tanning bed would apply as well. After checking out all my options, I did decide to go with Mederma with spf 30 cream. It works great. I do have a little white outline of my incision and bb, but it has protected them which was my utmost concern. Still using the silicone strips and the scar is now lighening and the bumpiness is almost gone. One day closer to back to better than normal!

I am 8 weeks post op. Saw the PS yesterday....

I am 8 weeks post op. Saw the PS yesterday. Thought he might chew on my ear about being in the tanning bed, but he gave me his blessing and said the Mederma spf 30 was doing a fine job at protecting the scar. Said I still needed to wait on any ab exercise, but I could do anything else including sit ups! I was surprised to here that.

My scar looks like it's fading. I still have a couple little "spots" that are redder than other areas on the incision line. It is flat and smooth though.

I went to work one day without my corset. I swole up a little, but not much. Just one little area about the size of two quarters. PS said it's common and that I had very little compared to most.
Dr Marks at Wake Forest

Dr and staff were amazing. What a great bedside manner, explaining everything beforehand. Got two calls from staff checking on me. I know it's alot of money and you might say "well, that's the least they could do"... but let's face it, the money is already in their hands... their actions after just speak of how highly they care for their patients!

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
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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Comments (107)

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wow! u look great I want one !!! i live in graham,nc and would like more info on ur dr. if u have time. Your scar is amazing and that is one of my many concerns! Did u put something on it for the scar?
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who did your tummy tuck
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Dr Malcolm Marks at Wake Forest Baptist Health. Great doctor. Did an amazing job. I need to post an updated photo. The scar has faded and is completely flat. I only wish now that I had done the breast augmentation too. Lol
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great results...u look fabulous!
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Thank you. I look better now than I did in my 30's. PS did a wonderful job.
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your newest pictures look fantastic! the scar is so flat and smooth. Is this after the tanning? your bb looks great too. Have a Happy Summer in your teeny bikini!
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Thanks. Yeah, this is after tanning. You can just make out the white outside of the scar left by the Mederma SPF 30. The bumpiness is all but gone. I think the silicone strips are helping with that too. I haven't massaged 3 times a day in a couple of weeks. Just when I put on the Mederma.
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Hey Kristi, I am soooo happy for you! I have wanted to get a tummy tuck for so long! I am 44 years old and have three children ages 23, 21, and 16. Over the years everything has been put in front of me having this done. Now money and bad credit still stand in the way. You would think that someone in this position would be so jealous of anyone else actually getting to have it done instead of them. But when I read about others who have it done and the excitement that they talk about, it makes me so happy that I cry. Only people, that have this problem, truly understand. Being able to wear a bikini seems so insignificant but when you have never been able to wear one without being embarrassed, well to a woman that is major. I am so happy for you and I think you look great. Good luck with your recovery and enjoy your new self!!!! (enjoy for those of us who are still waiting!)
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What's not right is many folks who lost much more weight, got panicylectomies because they had what is considered medically necessary due to yeast infections, etc in the folds of skin. Just because those of us have smaller "flaps" shouldn't mean we should be overlooked by insurance. I was very fortunate to have financial help with mine. We definitely aren't wealthy and this is a huge expense. On the other hand, how much is a woman's self esteem worth after putting her body through pregnancy and neglect due to taking care if everyone else?! I will keep you in my prayers that a solution will come your way.
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ITouch auto corrects spelling... Incorrectly! Paniculectomy...
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Does Wake Forest use the sliding fee scale for tummy tuck/plastic surgery?
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Kristi your tummy looks wonderful!!!  Congratulations:)
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Thank you. It's strange, the more sensation I get, the more swollen I "feel", but I don't look swollen.
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It is all of that pressure from the inside out.  It is a very strange feeling. 
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You look great! I hope my results are as good as yours!
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Thank you! I'm having a hard time with patience.. Lol. I feel great, but too soon to do the things I want to do.
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Wow, you look sooooo hot in a bikini and OMG your scar is so thin, eh?
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OMG I just read your 44 !!!! NOT THAT THIS # IS OLD, but I would've NEVER guessed hehe. Congrad's! You must be enjoying your new bod.
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Thank you ;o)
I've really been happy with the results. This website is awesome for support and info!!
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Wow, you look fabulous. Congrats! Your bikini is adorable too -- do you remember where you got it?

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Thanks! Believe it or not, it's a hand me down from my mom! She bought it last year and decided it was too young looking for her! She's 64 but has always had a nice figure.
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You look fantastic!! The peace suit is really cute! Your belly button looks great and your scars are really nice. I guess I should break out the Mederma and see if helps mine.
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TY. My mom (wth) bought it last year. She determined it was too young looking for her (she's 64!) so she gave it to me (heck, I'm 42!). Lol
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your Mom sounds like a spitfire, I bet she is alot of fun!!
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Your 44 with a 18yr old body.... U look gr8t
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