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A BBW and Her Tuck - Palo Alto, CA

I'm a 42-yr-old mother of a 12-yr-old. She is...

I'm a 42-yr-old mother of a 12-yr-old. She is my moon and stars, but my pregnancy (when I'd already hit about 200lbs) came with a 65lb gain and a 5-bra cup size increase over a month-long period. My belly looked like I'd been mauled by a tiger and after a few weeks I began throwing my back out regularly.

Fast forward... After leaving a relationship that left my self-esteem in tatters and starting a new life for myself, I began working out with a trainer and discovered a new eating method that killed my cravings, left me healthier, satisfied, and literally melting away. ("Paleo" is the name, and I kicked it off after reading about the Whole30 method--a 30-day approach that has you eating nothing but fresh, perishable food. Meats, vegetables, fats. Sounded impossible to me, but it was a life changer, and literally altered my decades-long screwed-up relationship with food. Highly recommend it.)

I dropped down to where I was the day before yesterday: a big-bellied, big-breasted 220 lbs., with a nice thick padding over a muscular frame. (I've been working out and am quite strong, except for my core. I'm sure there is nice muscle definition, but you can't see it because it's swaddled in a big down comforter of a fat layer.) ; ) I have been quite worried about moving forward with surgery while still carrying so much weight, but my big hope was that fixing the muscles would help reduce the back injuries I have regularly and make exercise easier. As well as give me an emotional boost.

Since June I'd been interviewing doctors and kicking around the idea of making the big decision before the end of the year. And so, suddenly, two weeks ago, I went back to my first choice surgeon and said, "let's do it." We agreed on abdominoplasty, lipo as far to the back as he could reach without flipping me during surgery, lipo on the neck, and lipo on my front and anterior thighs. And I had a week to wrap my mind around it--holy crap.

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My doctor and anesthesiologist were superb. I felt very safe. Had a call with the anesthesiologist to discuss previous surgeries that left me depressed afterward, and we came up with a course of action. Excellent bedside manner, the both of them. They spent all the time with me that I needed, answered every question, never hurried me, never patronized nor condescended.

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Arrived for surgery at 6:30 and got my markings, was moved into the operating room, and bang, we were off.

Woke after surgery feeling like I had been squashed down by 4 sizes. Stuffed into a smaller shape, like a sausage. The compression garments, yes, but also the stitching and downsizing. I am the proverbial 10lbs of stuff smushed into a 5lb bag. Having not budged out of the compresison garments, I still feel like I'm having slow death by spanx, but what's working for me is not touching anything nor looking down at myself. I'll let my doctor worry about that tomorrow. (Saw him today and he said I'm 'sailing through it.' This is not how it feels.)

I have a pain pump and one drain. I went home with a catheter and omg, what a blessing. Not getting up and down to pee is a godsend.

I'm at about 27 hours post-op and I'm sitting in a chair at my dining room table. Surprised, really, that I've been upright this long. I spent most of the last 24 hours in bed with a wedge pillow under my back and just about every pillow in the house under me. I stay ahead of the pain by taking my two vicodin every 4 hours. I drift in and out of sleep. I've eaten jello and the occasional half english muffin with almond butter. No nausea. Drinking lots of water and staying very hydrated (thank you again, catheter).

I get up to walk around periodically and my biggest effort was two long circuits of the driveway, shuffling along like a little old lady.

Transitions hurt: sitting up, standing up, starting to walk. And then, once I've gotten to the new position or movement, it's fine.

Will post more later. Thanks, all of you, for your stories and experiences. You got me to make the decision and forge ahead, despite my worries about my current size and my ability to handle it as a size 16 and not a 6. Blessings to you all, and I will keep you posted on how things progress.Updated on 21 Dec 2011:Hi all. Some new photos. You know, I knew going into this that I wasn't going to go from supersized to supermodel, but two things really struck me. First, the change in contouring has made a great, great big difference even if it's not a year's worth of dieting in a day. I mean, if nothing else, sitting up in bed--soreness and all--is so much easier without my big ol' belly in the way. And my neck! I really felt that the squishy extra chin (or two) added at least ten years onto my age. I would stand in fitting rooms pulling the skin off to the side and thinking, "wow, if only..." And here I am at the 'if only' part, and damn it if I am unable to wrap my head around it. To me, it looks TONS different, but I'm second-guessing myself like mad. I keep grabbing my family and saying, 'hey, no really, is it just me or does this look, like, completely different???' and I get this unsatisfactory, 'uh.... yes?' response, like they're trying to gauge what the answer is that the crazy person is fishing for. Or worse, 'well, it's really bruised, and that will go away, you know...' like I'm testing to see whether they can tell that my neck is now purple.

So I'm thinking it's time to bring in a neutral third party who will go, 'WOW, you look GREAT!--omg, what a difference!' and then I will be content and will shut up. My best friend's comment was 'well, I never noticed you didn't have a jawline before, you always look fine to me.' She's lovely, isn't she? BUT NOT HELPFUL.
Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon

I did my research, visiting multiple doctors. Dr. Commons was by far the most considerate, accommodating, patient, and forthcoming. His track record is stellar, and he is extremely experienced with large-volume liposuction, which I needed. He was realistic, showed me pictures of women who looked like me and gave me a straightforward impression of what my outcome would be. I cannot say enough positive things about him.

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 (5)

Do u have any updates? Pics?
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Great story, Your results looks great!! I can totally tell in your stomach and chin! You look very smooth now! This is just the beginning, everything will keep improving!
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And yes, you CAN see the difference in your neck and tummy! And you are still really swollen so you aren't close to any final result either.
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I enjoyed reading your story. I laughed several times and could relate to what you said. Feeling like 10 pounds smashed into a 5 pound bag ~ oh I so understand that feeling! I told my husband that I felt like my fat stomach was just pushed inside and then tightly sewn over. It isn't of course but it does feel like that. I had visions of my incision popping open and my stomach coming back. It's hard to get used to the new look. Not hard to look at though just hard to accept that it is truly gone!

Congrats on the weight loss too! You look great so far!!
  • Reply
Keep going....looking good!
  • Reply