**Note: I am a military wife living overseas and...
**Note: I am a military wife living overseas and am having this procedure done while visiting my parents next month. Fingers crossed everything goes according to plan!
I'm 33, 5'5", and about 180 lbs. with my clothes/shoes on.
I am in good health, a non-smoker, and do not take any medication. I drink 2 glasses of wine a week on average and I'm not going to lie - the food is amazing over here in Italy, so I take full advantage of the local cuisine. I have not worked out consistently in about four years, mainly due to sleep deprivation. My son was up every 1.5 -3 hours for three years (no exaggeration) and my husband was deployed for more than half of it, so it was just me for a long time, living a sleepless hell.
Anyway, the sleep deprivation led to a weakened immune system and illness (bronchitis, strep - you name it), so I was pretty much always feeling bad until recently. I do, however, average 7k steps a day (fitbit), so I'm not a total slacker.
My son started sleeping through the night (yay!!!) two months ago and he'll start preschool when we return from our trip to the states. I feel pretty darn good now and am so happy to finally be in a position to work on myself.
I was asked by an old Italian lady on the beach if I was pregnant not too long ago and I'm not, nor do I plan on being pregnant ever again (hubby had a vasectomy so we should be good). With that said, I turned to Dr. T for help in hopes of jump starting my goal of reclaiming my body!
Over the weekend, I sent an email to Dr. T's office and was happily surprised when he answered within hours! He seemed very cordial and said that he'd be happy to do my (free) consult over the phone as long as he had pics and my stats to review beforehand. He gave me the office number and asked that I call during business hours to set up a time to chat.
I called yesterday and was given a consult for today. Steph, one of the ladies who works in the office, was super sweet and answered any questions I had during this time. She gave me the email address to send the pics to and we were set for a call with Dr. T for the following day.
I had the consult about an hour ago and am really comfortable with Dr. T's credentials and his staff has been great so far, so I decided to go for it! $1998 for both upper and lower abs is a great deal. He's never had any malpractice suits, has over 20 years experience as a doctor, and is a certified plastic surgeon. He said he's done over 1100 of these procedures in 4 years and no complications or infections. Sooo, I'm pretty stoked. Dr. T did warn me that the lip/extra skin on my tummy will tighten up, but I will need a tummy tuck for it to go away completely. I really like that he set realistic expectations up front. I do not want a TT at this time. I'm willing to try my luck with this and see where it gets me, you know? Oh, and I asked about swimming since I have a three year old and my parents have a pool. He said I should be good to swim in 2-3 days! Awesome! Also, I asked if I could fly since I am flying out 4 days later for a friend's wedding. He said he'd prefer I stay in town for 2 or so days, but I should definitely be good to go by day 4.
I paid today. All I need to do now is get the number for a local pharmacy and buy some spanx!
Procedure is set for September 15th @ 1PM!!!
Tomorrow's the Big Day!
I made the flight to the US with my three year old on the 5th and spent the week with family in VA. We drove down to FL yesterday and tomorrow is the big day!
I picked up my meds today (antibiotics and Tylenol with Codeine) and I have my compression garment ready to go!
Here's the run down for pre/post op instructions (I'm getting upper/lower abs - Smart Lipo Triplex) in case you're wondering;
Avoid Aspirin, Motrin Ibuprofen, Advil, Fish oil, Vitamin E , Omega 3 vitamins at least 1 week prior to surgery.
Pick up Prescriptions given to you (NOTE: do not take antibiotics until the morning of surgery)
Purchase compression garment (spanx.com / slimpressions.com Target-Assets), Bacitracin ointment, Sterile 4x4’s, ice packs or frozen peas.
Make transportation arrangements, if needed.
DAY OF SURGERY:
May eat a light breakfast.
Take prescribed antibiotic before coming to the office.
Bring pressure garment to office.
If you have any piercings in the areas where the surgery will be performed please remove them.
Please arrive on time as you will affect other patients surgery times.
Bring old loose fitting clothes to wear home.
Bring towel or old linen to sit on in car for ride home.
Apply ice every 2-3 hours for 20 minutes.
Adjust garment every 2-3 hours.
Drink plenty of fluids (at least 4 6-8 oz glasses)
Continue with prescriptions as ordered.
Apply bacitracin ointment and sterile gauze to incisions 2-3 x per day until incisions are closed (usually 48 hours) Change dressing as needed.
Drainage should cease within 6-10 hours.
Call answering service @ 727-786-6921 for fever over 101.5 or wound care questions.
I'll post pics as soon as I can tomorrow. The procedure is at 1pm!!!
2 Hours Post Op
15 Sep 2014
Day of treatment
What a great experience so far! I showed up to Dr. T's office a little early to fill out paperwork, was taken back on time and the procedure (Upper/ Lower Abs) took about an hour and twenty minutes from start to finish, including dressing.
It started off with two little shots of local anesthetic followed by pumping numbing fluids in the upper and lower ab areas. None of it hurt. It felt a little weird, but no pain whatsoever.
After that, Dr. T and his assistant, Jan, started with the laser. I was covered during this time so I couldn't see much (thank goodness!) and was relaxed with my hands behind my head. We were laughing and having a great time, so no pain then either!
After the laser (Smart Lipo Triplex), he started sucking out the fat/fluids. He took out 1600cc's and the rest, he said, would be absorbed and passed through my body.
Jan bandaged me up and helped me into my compression garment and I was good to go! My sister drove me to my parent's place where we're staying which is about an hour away.
I changed the bandages immediately upon arrival home because they were soaked. It was a little gross as I had some leakage, but I was able to do it myself without issue. I'm still numb in the ab areas.
I feel super bloated, but great overall! Post Op Follow-Up scheduled for the 29th at 1pm. Dr. T said I should see a difference as soon as tomorrow, once I'm done draining. Very excited.
I will take (bare) pics tomorrow once I'm able to take off the compression garment and shower. For now, it feels so good to have this thing on, sucking me in. Pretty sure it's going to be on for the long haul! Ice to help with the swelling is next on the agenda.
Day 1 - Post Op
I've been taking the Tylenol every 4 hours as I'm not a fan of pain. It's not painful, but really sore if that makes sense. I am up and moving around without issue. I am, however, glad my parents are taking care of my son so I can rest. I can see why they say some people are able to continue business as usual the next day, but I think I'm one of those that falls into the "needs to rest" category.
I feel very bloated still and my tummy was sensitive to touch, so I wasn't able to get off all the marker, but hey - the shower felt great! I am very happy with the results so far!
My stomach is flatter from the side view and the lip on my from section which he said would get better, but wouldn't go away with this procedure, has already improved!
My incisions stopped bleeding this morning and they are super small (2mm), so I'm using a band-aid at this point. I'm really not sure if I'm supposed to wear band aids, but I can't see where it'd hurt. The pads seem like overkill without any bleeding. Anyone know? I should have probably asked when they called to check in on me today.
I have to go dress shopping tomorrow for my friend's wedding this weekend in Pittsburgh, so wish me luck!!!!
Swollen on a Plane...
Well, I had a 2 hour flight today and was already feeling pretty swollen from running errands and playing with the kiddos (my son and 4 nieces and nephews) in preparation for my long weekend away. One of the areas around my incision sites started throbbing during take off, which was weird because I have had virtually no pain this week at all. It felt better once we were fully in the air. I had taken a pain pill beforehand just in case, so I think it would have been pretty intense had I not done that!
I made it to the hotel and immediately laid down for a nap! This is my first time alone in years and I wanted to start it off well rested!
Nothing up to this point has been terrible at all. I think I'm having a great recovery and my incision sites are healing nicely. I am, however, numb sometimes in my belly area. It feels so weird when part of it is numb!
No lumps that I can feel at this point. When would one start to notice them? Also, I can feel my skin tightening, especially on my upper ab area.
A little pity party...
I feel like the swelling is all my fault because I've been feeling so good that I continued business as usual starting Day 2 with being on my feet/up for 10-12 hours a day. I just have such a limited time in the US that I may be pushing my body.
I caught myself sleeping on my stomach last night. Does anyone know if this is a big deal? I am a tummy sleeper and have been trying to sleep on my back, but I guess my efforts failed last night. No issues, just wasn't sure if there was some unknown consequences that came along with that...or if maybe it was contributing to my overall swelling.
Here's a quick visual comparison. First thing in the morning, my belly looks flat, like the Day one post op pic, but I slowly get a little pucker back as the swelling sets in. Also, I have a giant red/black/blue mark under my font lip that appeared today. Is it normal for a bruise to appear a few days later? Sorry the lighting is different on the last pic, I was trying to get the giant bruise to where it looked like the bruise it is and not just a shadow. Overall, I think I am looking slimmer and am very happy with the results! I am seriously considering going back and getting my flanks done.
Okay, so within a day or so after accidentally sleeping on my tummy, a crazy bruise appeared (pictured) on most of my lip/overhang area. It's seriously huge!
Since yesterday, I've developed blue/green bruises over a good bit of the treated area. Those kinds of bruises, I assume, are pretty normal.
Just a heads up to anyone who is following....it may be a coincidence, but I think sleeping on my belly and drinking alcohol at my friend's wedding events possibly made my bruising worse!
I've looked up some other cases and this sort of bruising can make seeing results take longer. I'm adjusting expectations accordingly!
The good news is that it's not permanent. Time to be patient and start taking a little better care of myself!
Post Op Day 13
Bruises are starting to fade, you guys were right! Thank you for the support!!! That second week was brutal for me and I was unnecessarily hard on myself. I called the doctor's office last week and sent in photos so the doctor could review and he said it was all normal, even the crazy big purple one!
I swell up like a large balloon during the day, at least it feels that way, and I'm not ready to wear anything other than yoga pants due to the swelling throughout the day. I have, however, dropped a few pounds without doing anything crazy. The day of the procedure, I weighed 183 with clothes/sneakers on. Yesterday afternoon, I was at 176 with clothes/sneakers on (mid-day).
My goal in all of this was to feel better about myself and jump start a new me. I turned the corner when that big purple bruise started to fade. Definitely feeling good about everything!
I am starting to see a difference in the side view and the fatty area around my lip/overhang is slowly shrinking, yay! That stupid lip is the only area with hard spots and bruises. I'm holding out hope there's more to come of this area over the next few months. I've read they are normal and I'm starting to massage them a couple of times a day.
As you can see, the big bruise is fading, but has moved up with what I can only assume is skin tightening. The other bruises are pretty much gone! I can't wait to get back to Italy and get into a normal workout routine!!!
3 Weeks Post Op
I read a doctor's post on here that said the majority of skin tightening occurs between months 1 & 3 (up to 59%!!). Needless to say, I'm very excited for the next few months.
I like the direction I'm headed in, but I find it hard not to be just a little impatient with things. I have just a few more days of craziness and then I will be able to crack down on my food intake. My sodium intake here is off the charts, but I keep telling myself to indulge while I can because pretty soon I won't have the comforts of home any more....greasy American and/or Soul food is hard to come by back where I'm headed and that's not necessarily bad thing!
So, attached is a before and after pic. The after pic is as of tonight, after being up and about for about 18 hours. A combination of bloated (I ate a ton of boiled peanuts today and washed them down with a coke!!) and swollen. Hard spots are starting to soften up a tiny bit, but are still there and sensitive to touch. I like posting the bloated/swollen pics because it's the "real" result as of right now. I start off the day pretty flat and then it eventually looks like this, which in my opinion, is much better than I started with.
I'm not sure the pic does it justice, but I can see my ab area looking a LOT flatter now and my lip/overhang area is still shrinking, but is slowly improving. It is definitely not as pronounced AND I'm able to cover it with my panties to hide it completely if I want which is huge for me. It was so big before that if I tried to tuck it into my panty, it would look really weird and the bulge was ridiculously unattractive. Not so much any more!
Probably won't post much for the next few weeks as I find my new normal which includes a trip to the dietician and monitoring of my food intake as soon as I get back. I did this to jump start a new me and that means some lifestyle changes are in order :)
Please keep me in your prayers. Hoping that an old dog can learn new tricks!!
Take Two - 3 Post Op Pic
It didn't post the first time for some reason. Very bloated looking due to being up for an extended period of time and eating crazy amounts of sodium, but still an improvement from before!
Week 4 Post Op
We made it back home to Bella Napoli this past weekend. I think the most progress I've seen so far has been between weeks 3 and 4. Can't wait to see what happens with a few adjustments to my diet which I went all in on today. I now have a plan of attack and dedication to match my ambition. Time to take my body back!!!
Feeling encouraged and hopeful. I know the lip/overhang isn't going away (he warned of that), but it's a heck of a lot better than what I started with AND he said he thought I'd end up pretty flat in the end. Still hard spots and tenderness in the mid section, but my PS assured me they would go away with time.
A few more months of healing...it's really hard not to think this is the final result (I'd be okay as is given what it looked like before), but I can still feel my skin tightening so I think there's more progress to be made....
Back in Business!
I've been trying to redefine my daily schedule lately and it's definitely a work in progress, but I'm inching closer to where I want to be in the end. I've noticed a huge change in my overall self esteem and I'm proud to report that my husband loves the results so far, too. I think I may have been holding back affection before because I didn't feel sexy. Not so much any more! We're back in business!
It's been about 6 weeks since the SL and I have to say that this could totally be my final result and I would be over the moon. I can work with this body!!! Once I get a tan, I'm pretty sure my lip/overhang area will not be visible.
I noticed that working out for the first time in 4 years (3 days a week, starting 2 weeks ago) coupled with the SL is a causing more inflammation than I ever remember having from working out. I took a hot yoga class this week and my ab area turned into one big hard spot and it was HOT to touch for a day afterward, almost like my tummy was running a fever and putting pressure on it via some of the poses made me sick to my stomach. Weird, huh? Anyone else experience something like this after working out?
I had a 4 hands massage which focused a bit on my ab area last week and it felt great! The (Ukrainian) ladies put some special oils and I think maybe some honey?? on me as part of their lipo massage routine. I have another one next week :)
Attached are two pics from today. I've maintained the 7 lbs. loss and I'm down a dress size with minimal effort so far. I had wanted to go all in on my food intake as suggested by the nutritionist, but my husband convinced me to ease into things. Start with meal planning, buy smart to set myself up for success, drink lots of water, work out a few times a week and go from there. I'm definitely a work in progress!!!
No Change and That's a Good Thing!
10 Dec 2014
3 months post
I haven't posted much recently because there hasn't been any change. I am VERY happy with my results. As I said before, my PS did his job, now it's time for me to take over with getting my act together. I've been swimming twice a week and I've also started training for the Rome Marathon in March. I'm not sure I'll run the whole thing, granny-style powerwalking is more my style so maybe a hybrid of running and powerwalking in the end, but it's nice to have a goal and go after it.
In terms of clothing, I'm slowly ditching my yoga pants for my stitchfix outfits that my stylist sends! I love it! For the first time since dealing with all this postpartum stuff, I am feeling more like myself! I actually do my hair and put on makeup some days, lol. It's been a drastic change for me, but mostly positive changes, thank goodness!
Anyway, I really don't see any changes now and still feel my skin tightening sometimes and I have hard spots. Same stuff. I will, however, post more pics as the marathon gets closer!