6 weeks 6 days - I don't recommend shoveling

I will be 37 this month, I am 5'2 140lbs, I...

I will be 37 this month, I am 5'2 140lbs, I wear a size 6 pants and small/med tops. I've had 3 amazing children (15, 12, 10). During my pregnancies, I unfortunately developed Hashimoto's Hypothyroiditis, pre-diabetes and PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrom). Needless to say, I put on a lot of weight which was very difficult to take off - at my heaviest I weighed 187 lbs and wore a size 22!

As I mentioned previously, my journey to where I am today (47 lbs lost) has been long and full of small behavioral changes over time. I probably could stand to lose 10-15 more lbs, but honestly, I'm happy with where I'm at weight and fitness wise, but totally hate my sagging belly skin and boob flaps! I've worked really hard for a long time to get to where I'm at - I want to be proud of my body and for my outside to reflect how healthy and proud I feel on the inside!

My surgery is scheduled for 2/29/12 - I'll be getting breast implants (full C, small D), a full tummy tuck with muscle repair and lipo of my flanks. It's amazing how many emotions I've experienced since making the decision to do it - fear, guilt, elation, guilt, excitement, guilt...did I say guilt? - crazy!

My pre-op appointment is in 7 days (2/8) - the clock is ticking. I'm excited to share my journey with others - it's cathartic, really. Sharing my story and hearing others' helps put this decision into perspective and reassures me that my feelings are "normal" :)

Hey ladies - I'm a little concerned that the Lipo...

Hey ladies - I'm a little concerned that the Lipo and TT (taking fat/skin out) might cause my hormones to go nuts again - mess up my bodies hormonal equalibrium - does anyone have any feedback on wether or not that's a valid concern? I'm sure many of you would agree...if you hormones are out of wack it can cause all kinds of issues: abnormal swelling, insulin resistance, weight gain, etc. It would be horrible to get this done and then gain a bunch of weight over the 6 week recovery period (and after) because my body can't figure out how to regulate hormones again!

Just finished up my pre-op appointment. I have a...

Just finished up my pre-op appointment. I have a book (literally) of information, warnings, suggestions, information, etc. from the surgeon (45 pages) - I had to read and inital every piece of information in it during my visit. Then I sat down and spoke with the patient coordinator who is great by the way - super sweet, but gets down to business! She went over the Vitamins they provide (a morning multi vitamin, an evening multivitamin, Bromelin and something else that starts with an "A", but I can't remember exactly). She also went over the hospital stay afterwards, gave my hubby some instructions, then took another set of pics and tested me for anemia...I was also given a book to read from the implant manufacturer and a pamphlet on my implant warrenty (10 year full replacement - up to $3500.00 value) - I thought that was pretty cool - reminded me of when I purchased our last air conditioning unit ;). Anywho - I have LOTS of reading material to keep me busy between now and the 29th, which is good since I'm practically obsessed over this whole thing, right now.

The doctor is going to do an extended TT - which extends around the sides a little bit further - I'm sure you can tell from my pics that my skin on my thighs is not great - the 45lbs I've lost has caused everything to sag (i was not blessed with great elasticity in my skin), the extended tummy tuck will help pull the thigh skin up a bit on the front and sides...I'm really looking forward to that!

Love this site! I've learned so much in...

Love this site! I've learned so much in preparation for my upcoming surgery. I thought I'd take a minute to post my measurements as well since I've found that when others post their pics/measurements/size, ect. it really helps me envision how my outcome might be, in comparison. I know soon enough I'll have "after pics" and "after sizes" that I will also post as a help to others who are looking into getting similar proceedures done. SO, pre-surgery measurements are:

Bust: 32 inches
Natural Waist: 29 inches
Hips: 40 inches

Hi everyone... Well I'm starting my final...

Hi everyone...
Well I'm starting my final count-down - 5 days to go before the big day. I have been SO busy with work the past two weeks that I've barely been able to think about the surgery. That's a good thing because everytime I do let myself ponder, I really start to doubt my decision and start to recite the million reasons why I should do it! I'm very scared of not being able to be active for 4-6 weeks. I broke my knee cap (fell running bleachers at the local high school) last June and had a really tough time forcing myself to slow down during that recovery - and I was still at least able to go to the gym and do upper body weight training! Not being able to do anything is going to be really tough - especially with all this beautiful weather in AZ right now...

I saw another Mommy Makeover update today with the...

I saw another Mommy Makeover update today with the title: "Tick Tock Tick Tock"...boy does that ever sum up how I feel right now! I had an amazing weekend with my family and put in all of the QT (quality time) I could think of with my hubby and kids - and did one last hurrah happy hour and my last hike up the sumit of Piestawa Peak for the next several weeks...started by Bomelin yesterday and will run my last 5 miles tonight and do my last spin class tomorrow night before surgery Wednesday morning! Last Thursday was my last weight lifting day (did chest and back) still just a titch sore from it - I was going to do legs yesterday but then talked myself out of it - I could just imagine having sore leg muscles while trying to recover from a BA and Extended Tummy Tuck...glad I talked myself out of that ;)

I got my call from the PS office with my surgery...

I got my call from the PS office with my surgery time for tomorrow...I have to arrive at 11:30am - hopefully between my nerves and not having eaten for a while, I won't be sick (i have a tendency to get nauseous if I don't eat frequent small meals). My Dr. is associated with Lincoln Hospital and requires a one night stay in the hospital with any TT - what I found a little interesting is that he still does the actual surgery in his office (across the parking lot from the hospital), then he'll have his nurse and my husband take me across to check in to the hospital - that ought to be fun, huh?!?!? Maybe that means I don't have to have a catheter (oh, I hope so)!! Well ladies, I'll be enjoying my last spin class tonight and look forward to posting updates "on the other side" - wish me luck and a speedy recovery.

Well ladies, I did it! I am officially on the...

Well ladies, I did it! I am officially on the other side. Today is post op day 1. My sugery took 4.5 hours and my Dr. Removed 4 lbs between the lipo and tuck. I got 550 cc implants - but they don't look huge at all. I had a very bad reaction to the anesthesia - which cause me to vomit 5 times last night during my hospital stay (ugh, that hurts so bad). I ha my follow-up appt with the Dr. This morning -that went well...my nausea is nearly gone now that I'm settled in my own bed...I'm very happy to be home with my hubby-nurse :)

Good morning: post op day 2. I am still only...

Good morning: post op day 2. I am still only taking two extra strength Tylenol every 4-5 hours for pain management and doing really well. Trust me that I'd rather have a little constant discomfort over throwing-up ANY DAY!! That was miserable and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I slept 8 hours last night and only woke up for about an hour at 2am to take bromelin, arnica and Tylenol. My boobs are really the most painful - I barely feel my TT at all. With the boobs I feel very short of breath all the time - but they look really good. I'll try to get a pic of the new boobs up today. The tummy will have to wait until Monday, my PS says not to remove anything until I go back to see him on Monday.

Post op morning 3: let me start with a quote from...

Post op morning 3: let me start with a quote from myself about an hour ago to sum up where I'm at today..."who in the world gets cut up twelve ways to Sunday and can't even take a pain pill"!!! ME!!! I was so sick again from about 6 pm last night to now - horribly painful gas and stomach cramps...now I'm not even taking extra strength Tylenol. I had to skip my antibiotic last night and am waiting for my stomach to settle before I attempt anything today. I am able to keep water and applesauce down so far without an increase in my stomach cramps but not sleeping really due to the stomach ache...heck the boobs and tummy are a breeze compared my damn stomach. Help - do you think an anti nausea pill will stop these stomach cramps?

I should post info for my drains...last 24 hours...

I should post info for my drains...last 24 hours I've drained 150cc's on the right and 100cc's on the right...it's still reddish in color. My dr. Was hopeful he could remove both on Monday, but I'm doubtful I'll be able to at this rate.

PO day 4: my tummy issues are finally under...

PO day 4: my tummy issues are finally under control. I spent the day yesterday cutting out all meds only eating applesauce, plain toast, 3 bites of oatmeal and 3 bites of mashed potatoes with lots and lots of water. I burp constantly it seems and need to walk after I eat anything to make sure I get all the gas out before sitting my butt down. I don't miss the pain meds except for my boobs. They hurt and I'd wish they'd just drop already! Got up and made my family Pilsbury cinnamon rolls and coffee/juice and of course a little applesauce for me. I'm sitting on the couch this morning -feels good to be among the living. My drains have finally turned to the yellowish color and slowed down quite a bit overnight which is a good sign I think. All in all, I'm feeling much more positive now that my stomach ache is gone - that would have been bad on it's own...I think I may have caught a 24 hr stomach bug :(. My plan is to stay on the minimal diet and no meds again until I am stomach cramp free for a good 6-8 hrs. I'm hopeful I'm turning the corner on this.

Good morning ladies - post op day 5: i have my...

Good morning ladies - post op day 5: i have my second post op appt this morning with my ps, in a couple of hours...I know I won't get the drains out because I'm still draining about 75 cc's in my left and 68 cc's in my right over a 24 hour period. The drains don't really bother me. My stomach is still an issue, same gas-like pains pretty consistently but i've learned some tricks to managing them: 1) oatmeal (that advice was a god send). I only need about 3 tablespoons (that's about all I can eat at one time) - that settles my stomach for a good hour. 2) Rice Chex cereal - another good/quick solution that's low in sodium. 3) Eating frequently - like every hour. I have NO appetite but force a little something in, every hour to keep the tummy settled. We called my ps last night because I started having panic attacks - being wrapped up like a mummy, with little pain relief and tummy issues started to effect my mental stability a bit...remember, I have yet to remove my binder, bandages and anti- embolism stockings, since surgery - my doctor didn't want me to remove anything until after my examination today. I'm mega compressed and am carrying 6 lbs of swelling so, envision a sausage ready to bust out of the casing! Thankfully he prescribed some valium to take the edge off...mostly for night time, right before bed - that's when the panic sets in. My goal in sharing all of this is not to scare others but to give a realistic account of my journey - I went in to this knowing it wouldn't be a walk in the park, but never in a million years expected what I've had to endure....albeit, I do believe I have had a few abnormal hurdles to overcome, that 99% of Mommy Makeover ladies won't have to endure. Any who - long post this morning...I'll post more details later today after my appointment - can't wait to have this binder released, just a bit!

Yay! I love my Dr. (Dr. Kotoske) - he let me take...

Yay! I love my Dr. (Dr. Kotoske) - he let me take the stockings off! Drains will stay until Wednesday. I had about 40 staples removed - one side was still pretty numb and it didn't hurt, the other side (r) is not numb at all so removing the staples on that side was a little more painfull, but nothing compared to the past few days ; ). I had huge dressing pads under my binder everywhere - I feel so much better having all of that gone. He thinks all the stomach issues are from the muscle tightening and compression. Now I'll be able to loosen my binder slightly, if needed, when my stomach starts acting up...I need to start my antibiotics again and try to stay on them until the drains come out - wish me luck with that! Last but not least my wonderful husband took me for a yummy pineapple smoothy with green tea extract and protein afterwards which is sitting well on my stomach so far and very delicious (in comparison to oatmeal, mashed potatoes and rice Chex cereal). I am officially in a happy place today : )

Post Op Day 6: "oh happy day". I feel like a...

Post Op Day 6: "oh happy day". I feel like a million bucks! Now, let me put that into perspective just a little ;0)...I have NO stomach ache at all any more, I was able to sleep semi reclined last night instead of sitting upright, I'm now able to take Motrin and Tylenol every 4-6 hours for pain which is glorious. I'll be taking it very easy today as my goal is to keep my drainage total (between both drains) below 50cc from now until tomorrow morning when I have my next post op appointment, to hopefully remove the drains. I was going to post pics last night, but my poor husband fell asleep at 6:30pm (he's exhausted), and so he couldn't take the pictures...I will see if he can do it when he comes home to check on me at lunch time. The moral of my story is; there's always a light at the end of the tunnel - sometimes it takes a while for it to show up, but there is a light...I'm thankful to finally see the light :o)

Post Op Day 7 (1 full week YAY - I wished for this...

Post Op Day 7 (1 full week YAY - I wished for this day because I knew I would probably be feeling much, much better...and I do)!

So today I went in for a 3rd post op visit and got my drains and all my stitches (even on my BB) removed - he said I'm healing very quickly but very, very swollen (7.5 lbs of fluid as of today) - I've been eating straight lean protein as of yesterday, drinking lots of fluids and now started Ibuprofen for the anti-inflamitory benefits...oh, and not doing anything but sitting, getting up to go to the bathroom and going to PS as needed. I started back to work remotely from home yesterday, so that keeps me sitting and busy in front of my computer for 8-9 hours, which I really like because I feel like I'm being productive yet not overdoing it with my body.

I know I need to post pictures - I tried to take them by myself last night (my husband is a youth football coach and had football practice last night), let's just say, I really suck at taking pictures of myself ;o)!! Hopefully, I can get my hubby's attention enough tonight to get the pics taken. I will forewarn that the TT is not pretty, I'm very distended due to the swelling and mega bruised due to the lipo (in places where I didn't even have lipo), but the boobies are coming along nicely and I would be silly to think I would look awesome by day 7 post op, so I'm not too worried at this point, just need to get the sharing part over with already, so everyone can see that this journey is pretty consistent, regardless of the body involved.

Stay tuned for pics, hopefully coming soon!

Hi Ladies, I finally got some post op pics taken...

Hi Ladies,
I finally got some post op pics taken this morning - 8 DPO. I am very swollen/bruised in my hips where the lipo was done and I litterally look like a pear right now (huge in the hips) - but I know it's just a lot of swelling so I'm not obsessing over it. As of this morning I have lost 3 of 8 lbs of swelling (fluid retention), so I think I'm headed in the right direction,slowly but surely. I'm feeling amazing - love working from home, love that I'm able to stick to a very strict healthy diet with no issues, love that I don't hurt really at all anymore - not even my abs. The negatives at this point are: low energy, not sleeping well at night, having to constantly remind myself not to do certain things that I think I'm capable of, in the best interest of healing quickly (e.g., grocery shopping - totally know I could do it, but shouldn't)...I think I may sneek out for a bikini this weekend though, just so I have one on hand as inspiration for the remainder of my journey!
Hope everyone has a great day and good luck to those of you going in today or tomorrow!

PO Day 10. Hi ladies, figured I'd post an update...

PO Day 10. Hi ladies, figured I'd post an update because I had an interesting day yesterday...a small unexpected turn of events personally led me to have to run about 10 errands (driving and walking) across the city from 9am and 11pm - I literally didn't sit down, just go, go, go. I was SO exhausted and in pain by the end of the day, when I finally laid down, I thought i was going to stop breathing as I was trying to drift off to sleep. I finally took off my breast belt and that helped my breathing enough that I could go to sleep. About 2 and a half hours later I woke up stiff as a board - it felt like I had regressed and entire week - I was in SO much pain...I took an Aleve and 2 xtra strength Tylenol, which really only took the edge off enough that I could go back to sleep. Today I'm laid up in bed, so, so sore and sleeping a lot. I'm not sad or depressed about it, but certainly want to forwarn all of my friends going through this that overdoing it really can set you back. Trust me, if i didn't have to, I wouldn't have done what I did yesterday, but I really had no choice - today I am really paying for it. On a positive note; my swelling was horrid by 11pm last night, it even went to my feet, however by morning it was all gone - I'm thankful for that. Today I will reset to "0" and hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to get out of bed again be up and about (without overdoing it)!

Oh, one more thing...my tape strips towards the...

oh, one more thing...my tape strips towards the ends of my incision are starting to lift from the bottom up - I'm sure it's because of the way the binder is rubbing. Anyway, where they've lifted it's extremely itchy and in two places I have little blisters. I'm trying to find some relief for the itching - any suggestions? I don't want to take any medication, I'm looking for something more topical like may Calamine Lotion?? Or the Benedryl cream? What do you all think?

PO Day 11: Hi everyone. Well my hubby went and...

PO Day 11: Hi everyone. Well my hubby went and got me a bikini yesterday, just so I could finally see what I looked like in one, post TT/BA. I'm up 3 pounds over night (swelling), which you can actually see in the picture (binder marks), but that's okay - I'm not freaking out yet - I know I way over did it on Friday and need to focus on water and protein - it will come off. Anywho, I've posted my first bikini picture ever! I'm very short and muscular, so I don't have a long, lean body like most women...however, I do have a flat tummy now and some boobies to hold up the top :o)!!

I'm having an allergic reaction to the...

I'm having an allergic reaction to the steri-strips they put on about 7 days ago...oh my, the itch and then when I looked at it today, there were 5 blisters - two are bleeding, two are just open and raw and one is still an actual blister - UGH! I cut off the parts of the strips that seemed to be causing the irritationm, cleaned the sores and put some gauze over them but my concern is they can't breath because of the binder I have tightly wrapped around them. What do you all think? I don't want to get an infection and I can't think of a creative way to get them exposed to air. I will call my PS tomorrow, but wasn't sure if anyone else was having the same issue and had a quick-fix they could suggest.

Post OP Day 12: I FEEL GREAT! I took off all...

Post OP Day 12:

I FEEL GREAT! I took off all my steri-strips this morning, except the one's they put on over the drain sites last Wednesday...I have SO many blisters from an allergic reaction to those things, but it felt oh so good to take them off. My incision looks like a pencil line - it's so thin - a little high on the right side, but I'm hoping once everything relaxes it will come down a little. I have been back to work remotely (i.e,, from my couch) since PO day 6 - I was supposed to start back in the office today but have asked for two more remote days. I want to get to 2 full weeks - then I'll start wearing a stage 2 garment during the day (so I can fit into my work clothes) and my super-duper CG when I'm at home. Other than that - there's not much to post - I'll let you all know how well I deal with all of these blisters, it's hard to treat them with this dang binder and the constant rubbing is less than awesome, but i really do feel great otherwise - I'm on cloud 9 today!
Happy healing to everyone else!

PO Day 13: Two weeks tomorrow!! This morning I...

PO Day 13:

Two weeks tomorrow!! This morning I woke up and put myself into Spanks - the full body type because my thighs really need some compression too (the swelling makes me look like a weeble-wobble)...LOVE IT!! oh my goodness - it was quite the challenge getting into it, but now that I'm in it, I feel so snug and able to move a little better. I'm going to wear this during the day and my military grade binder at night ;o). I'll let you know how my swelling goes with this change in garment - stay tuned.

PO Day 14: OFFICIALLY 2 WEEKS! Today I'm back at...

PO Day 14: OFFICIALLY 2 WEEKS! Today I'm back at work - posting this update from my office sitting behind my desk in my chair (like a rag doll), compressed by a really tight pair of spanx and able to fit into my work clothes - my pants feel really wierd around my waist and my new boobies are incognito due to the hugely padded bra I used to have to wear under my work clothes pre-op. No one knows about my surgery and everyone so far has commented that I'm walking funny. I've been telling them that I got a horrendous stomach virus after I returned from my vacation and that I pulled a muscle in my back (let's see how long I can keep that story going). I'm a bit dizzy/lightheaded today, or have a headache...I can't tell what it is. I also had to take my boss whose visiting from Hopewell, NJ on a tour of some new office space we're thinking about acquiring - that was interesting...I walk SO slow, but he didn't question me too much (he's one of the one's who thinks I wrenched my back during a bout with stomach flu). Any ways, I'm happy to be back around my work peeps - I'm not in any pain what-so-ever, except when I stand after sitting for a while. Then it feels like someone is trying to rip my skin off from my boobs to my VJ, and I have to walk very slowly to loosen up. My goal today is to continue drinking lots of fluids and work until 4pm (that will be a 9 hour day)...it's alllllll gooooooood (at least that's what I keep telling myself). Oh and one more thing: I was super nervous about going back to work today, so last night a took a valium before bed and had THE BEST night's sleep since I started this journey. I really needed that. Also, just for the sake of record keeping, I am officially back down to my pre-surgery weight even with the new 2.5 lbs I'm carrying from my new 550cc boobies - which gives me a net loss of 1 lb so far. I'm still very swollen, so I think there's definitely still room for improvement.

Correction (bad math in my last post): I'm...

correction (bad math in my last post): I'm actually at a net loss of 2.5 lbs (theoretically) - if I discount the new boobies. But even to say I'm back to my pre-op weight at all is a blessing...I was up 9 lbs total after the surgery.

HAHAHA - I just had one of the guys from my work...

HAHAHA - I just had one of the guys from my work ask me if I've lost more weight?!?!? Heh, I was very flustered and said "no", he just stared at me. Weird. Seriously, I'm wearing the same clothes I always wear and they don't appear to fit any differently to me but maybe people CAN tell! I'm weaving a tangled web of stories, hopefully I can keep them all straight.

Hi Ladies, PO Day 16 What a day...started to put...

Hi Ladies, PO Day 16
What a day...started to put myself back together today - got my nails, toes and hair done (I loved the massaging chair during my pedicure - it massaged all the knots out of my back). Then went to the mall and picked up a couple of cute new shirts because my hubby and I were meeting another couple for dinner tonight. Usually when we go out to dinner we can close a place down, not tonight - barely lasted an hour and a half, and by the time it was all said and done i was fully bent over - my skin felt like it was ripping off on the sides and oooooh these boobies, they are my nemesis. I had a glass of red wine...let's just see how much I pay for that in swelling tomorrow! I took some new pictures today - slowly but surely I'm coming along, a lot of the swelling has gone from my thighs...there's a little left and my boobies are dropping into place nicely - the left is still a little higher then the right, but for 16 days out, I think the progress is what is to be expected. I'm tired and sore, so off to bed I go...

PO Day 17: Friday's seem to be my days to run...

PO Day 17:
Friday's seem to be my days to run myself into the ground so that Saturday all I can do is halfway sit up in bed for the first several hours of the day! I think this Saturday will be better than last 'cuz i'm not as tired as I as I was last Saturday after my eventful Friday...but I am definitely more sore today than I have been in a while and will likely have to take an Aleve to get through the day today (which I haven't had to do for the past 3 days)...I think it's like anything else, you just have to build your endurance back -each time, do a little more and a little more and hopefully over time we'll be stronger and better. My goal is to get the weekly grocery shopping done (by myself).

Oh one more thing...I broke the rules last night...

Oh one more thing...I broke the rules last night and wore a tube top style shirt to dinner (with NO bra - I'm supposed to wear my surgical bra for the first month 24/7), IT WAS SO CUTE and amazing how it stayed up and my boobies looked perky with NO support - that was a wow moment, regardless of how bad they hurt - that was pretty cool.

PO Day 18: So I'm breakin' all the rules (or...

PO Day 18:
So I'm breakin' all the rules (or maybe not) - I'm going without my binder or CG and surgical bra this morning - needed to get everything washed and then they all have to air dry, so I'll probably be without for a few hours - do you think that's OK? I feel so free - I can sit indian style on the couch which is giving my lower back and hips such a nice stretch - it's the little things that keep me going, ladies! So last night my husband and I went out for a few hours to meet up with a few more of our friends that hadn't seen me in a while - everyone was starting to ask a lot of questions about where I was, etc. and as you've seen from some of my other posts, I've been telling stories...well last night I personally told each of my friends what I did - I wanted to share it face to face and I definitely wanted to wait until after my surgery to tell people. Everything went really well - all of my friends were amazingly supportive and understanding - I told them this was something I promised myself, if I lost the weight...and they've all seen how hard I've worked to lose it, over the past couple of years. It was good - the cat is officially out of the bag! Overall, I feel OK - it's still not a walk in the park, but I personally believe that attitude is half the battle, so I try to stay positive and focus on the little improvements each day. I still cry, probably once a day about silly things - but then quickly remind myself how far I've come in 18 days and that this really is only temporary in the grand scheme of things. 2-3 months is like a fraction of a second, if you consider all of the years ahead where I will feel good about myself and the healthy "me" in the inside will now match a healthly looking "me" on the outside! Stay strong ladies - we got this! Remember, what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger - be proud of yourself for persevering, I know I am!

PO Day 19: Please don't tell me I'm crazy, but...

PO Day 19:
Please don't tell me I'm crazy, but today I'm craving a workout - haven't had the desire one bit, until today. I found a couple of articles online about recommendations for working out after a Tummy Tuck - thought I'd share what I found:



I'm really not crazy :o) - I just want someone to tell me I can get back to doing something soon...I'd love to go to the gym with my hubby and just walk s-l-o-w-l-y on the treadmill. I'll confirm the information in these articles with my Dr., just to be on the safe side - but by the way it sounds, I can start at least a walking routine after this Wednesday (woo hoo)!!

PO Day 19: I can't believe that tomorrow is my 3...

PO Day 19:
I can't believe that tomorrow is my 3 week PO mark and how good I feel this week - it's amazing. Last night I didn't fall asleep until my pre-op usual bed time, it was so nice not to feel like I'd been hit by a bus by 7:00pm!! My only substantial update for today is about DRY SKIN!!! OMG - it's not something I've heard a lot of ladies discussing, so perhaps I was just naive in only putting lotion on after my shower, which by the way IS NOT ENOUGH (serious emphasis there) :o). Holy cow - not sure if it's because I live in a desert or what, but last night i thought I was going to itch my skin off, literally - and this was a couple of hours after my shower, and after I had already put lotion on. My skin was GROSS. So I got out of bed, took everything off and just lathered on layer after layer of lotion for about 20 minutes, then again this morning. I'm going to go to the store and try to find a better lotion for seriously dry skin after work - if any of you ladies has a recommendation on a really good lotion, please let me know. Otherwise, I FEEL AWESOME! I'm sleeping on my sides now, I can get out of bed with minimal stiffness/soreness, I have a lot of my energy back - life is good!

Oops! I'm actually at PO Day 20 today! Silly me.....

Oops! I'm actually at PO Day 20 today! Silly me...I feel so good, I've lost track!

PO Day 21: officially 3 weeks today, and I feel...

PO Day 21: officially 3 weeks today, and I feel like crap today. Seems like I'm one of many MM's who are feeling this way today - perhaps the moon and the stars are aligned in crappy way today. Dunno. Started emotionally breaking down last night when I got home from work and my house was a disaster - I guess my family is expecting me to just get it all done myself (as was the case pre-surgery). So, after working a 10 hour day, I did the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, made dinner, did two loads of laundry and straightened up the house...when my 3 kids and hubby finally made it home after their respective activities, they all recieved a waterfall of tears and a HUGE guilt trip. I slept like crap last night and this morning everything hurts again from top to bottom. AND to top it all off, I went ahead and put the nail in the coffin last night - tried on some of my pre-surgery clothes - and where I thought all of my pants and jeans would fit better (i.e., no "muffin top"), they actually are too big by about an inch and a half, which sucks because everything fits in the thighs....so now what? The only thing that fits correctly is leggings! Sucks because I have to go to a party this weekend and my husband has already commented that I need to find something else to where besides leggings...good grief. That's my pity party for the day.

PO Evening 21 - NEW PICS: Same bikini as PO Day...

PO Evening 21 - NEW PICS:
Same bikini as PO Day 10, but down the full 9 lbs I had gained right after surgery...starting to see my ab muscles (I think).

Thanks ladies for all of your support yesterday -...

Thanks ladies for all of your support yesterday - I'm feeling better today. I think it really comes down to a good nights rest for sure....which I got last night and woke up feeling a whole lot better all the way around!

PO Day 23: Good morning ladies. I HATE MY BINDER...

PO Day 23: Good morning ladies. I HATE MY BINDER AND COMPRESSION GARMENT therfore I am revolting and going without either today...I'm sure I'll pay for it tonight but what the hell. I'm freeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. I work from home today, so I'm going to massage my belly all day today (well frequently anyway) - I have a couple of hard lumps on my sides from the lipo - the right side is way worse than the left. I've heard that light massage can help break up the hard spots, so that's my mission today. End of day watermelon belly here I come! Oh, and TGIF!!!!!! Happy healing everyone.

PO Day 25: Yesterday (Saturday) was a amazing day!...

PO Day 25: Yesterday (Saturday) was a amazing day! A bunch of my girlfriends and I got a cabana at one of the local resorts and sat out by the pool. Obviously I still have quite a few restrictions like, no swimming and protecting my scars from sunlight BUT, I did wear my new bikini and went without any CG while I was there. To protect by incisions I put SPF50 on my BB and incision scars and then keep and SPF wrap over my mid-section the whole time. I lasted about 2.5 hours then it was home to nap for an hour and get ready for a fundraising event we had to go to. Again, I decided not to wear my CG and wore a strapless top (so no surgical bra either), I felt amazing and had compliments galore from all of my friends - it was crazy, but so nice to go out and not hurt and be proud of the way I looked. I finally got to bed a little after mid-night and up today at 7am (that's more like my usual schedule!). I was EXTREMELY sore during my sleep last night, but now that I'm up, I'm not feeling too bad - I'm sure I'll be a little sore today, but I'm still going to run all of my planned errands...need to continue to build my stamina back.

Thought it would be interesting to see the changes...

Thought it would be interesting to see the changes from pre-op through Day 21, so I created a collage and posted it...crazy to comprehend that's me, and I'm still taking shape - everyday, I can see a little more progress.

PO Day 26 - finally back in the gym tonight. Thank...

PO Day 26 - finally back in the gym tonight. Thank the good lord for a speedy, fairly uneventful recovery!! It felt so amazing and I'm super proud of myself for achieving my goal of getting back into it by 4 weeks. I was determined. I created a non-core engaging weight lifting routine that I'm going to run by my PS tomorrow during my check-up, I'll let you ladies know if it's approved. YAY.

3 Weeks and 6 Days: CLEARED TO BE MYSELF...


YAY!! Just left my PS's office - I'll be 4 weeks tomorrow, but was cleared today to resume whatever workout activites I want to do - no restrictions other than take it easy on the ab workouts. I don't need to wear a CG or binder unless I want to - and for my workouts, if I wear tight spandex leggings (like VS Yoga pants) that's even good enough. He really left it up to me to be the judge based upon how I feel. I took my Spanx off for my PO appointment and said "screw it" when it was time to get dressed to go back to work - I feel so liberated and alive. Tonight I'll be doing my first leg routine in over a month and a little eliptacle - gotta get back into the swing of things!! Happy healing to everyone else - hope your journey is as positive as mine has been!!

Oh - one more thing: my PS gave me NewGel+E for my...

Oh - one more thing: my PS gave me NewGel+E for my scars - it's a silicone gel, so I'm going to give a whirl and I let you know how it goes.

4 Weeks PO: So I'm trying to post as much info...

4 Weeks PO:

So I'm trying to post as much info and advice from my experience as possible so hopefully it is beneficial to others going through this with similar goals as I have...

I am a work out junkie, believe it or not, back when I was a size 22 (on a small 5 '2 frame), all I wanted was to feel good - mentally, I was a disaster and physically I was tired all the time. When I started changing my lifestyle 5 years ago - my goal was not to be thinner, it was to FEEL better physically and mentally - I honestly did not care one bit if I lost any weight, I just wanted to stop crying, eating and sleeping all the time. Well here I am, 5 years later, now 50 lbs lighter with a shape that reflects all of my hard work. Needless to say, even taking 4 weeks off from working out for my MM was extremely difficult for me - not for any other reason then what working out does for my mental and emotional well being...it's also one of the primary ways my husband and I keep our bond as we spend a lot of time together in the gym. I really felt like our relationship was distant during my recovery when we couldn't spend that quality time together as we had been. All of this leads up to my first real/true workout in the gym last night, and my "words of wisdom" for today...I did a full leg workout with my hubby (it's about a 60 min workout in total). I did low weight high reps. About half way through, I felt my abs starting to tighten, and by the end of the workout my hunchback was in full force for the rest of the evening. It didn't really hurt - it was annoying because I couldn't stand fully straight and my back started to ache, but other than that - no pain. I was VERY SORE during the night while sleeping...from shoulders to toes, had to get up and take 3 Motrin for the first time in a loooong time. By the morning all soreness/stiffness was gone and today, I am only sore in my legs from the workout. I was not expecting to be SO sore, everywhere, overnight. My advice to anyone trying to get back into working out as soon as possible would be to lessen the duration. I think 60 minutes of lifting was too much in retrospect (if you don't want to experience any pain afterwards)....and definitely stick to high reps, low weight (or even just body weight) on your lifts, initially. I am only going to walk on the treadmill today, if I still feel good by EOD, but no guarantees and NO guilt trip in my head if I don't make it!!!!

That's my long story for the day - happy healing to everyone!

PO 4 Weeks, 4 Days. So last time I posted an...

PO 4 Weeks, 4 Days.
So last time I posted an update, I had been cleared to work out and that same day I did a full leg workout in the gym...that was Tuesday of this week. Since then, I haven't slowed down at all - got right back "in the saddle" and have started back to all of the various cardio and lifting routines (except abs and chest). So far I find the Elipitcal Trainer to be the easiest on my core and abs - I was able to do 45 minutes with no issues at all (I did an incline of 15 and resistence of 5) . Today I cycled 7 miles in 35 minutes, pretty much able to keep the same pace as pre-OP. Lifted arms and shoulders...no problem except pressing overhead - I'm still really tight in my underarms because of my new boobies. Tomorrow I plan to resume my hiking - not sure if I'll do the summit 'cuz that will kick your **s even when you haven't taken 4 weeks off (we'll see). I plan to start back to spin class on Tuesday next week. I honestyl feel amazingly well - and have even dropped an additional 4 lbs from my Pre-OP weight. I have absolutely ZERO complaints about how my recovery has gone. I definitely attribute much of my "recovery success" to a very healthy, high-protein, whole-foods diet that I've followed for nearly 2 years now, and being in very good shape prior to deciding to undergo this surgery...It's truely amazing to have my outside now represent all the long hours I've dedicated to living a healthy lifestyle. If I feel this good now, I can only image what the future holds!! I will get more pics up soon...

PO Day 33: Hike went really well today...I was a...

PO Day 33:
Hike went really well today...I was a LOT slower getting up the mountain than I was before surgery, but it felt so good to be outside doing something I really enjoy. After the hike, hubby and I hit the gym for an hour to lift weights - it was a great morning. Finally made it to Victoria's Secret to be fitted for a new bra. I measured at a 34D. That was exactly what I had asked my PS for - amazing that my 550cc implants = 34D...when he told me what size he put in (he told me at my 1st PO appointment), I thought I was going to be HUGE - lo and behold they are exactly what I asked for! I purchased a very cute bra and panty set - I'll try and takes some pics in the next day or so. PS - I can't believe it's April already - the whole month of March FLEW by!!!!

5 weeks ago today. Geez, I can't believe it. My...

5 weeks ago today. Geez, I can't believe it. My life is 100% back to normal - there's nothing I wasn't able to do before, that I'm not able to do now (except sit ups, pushups and chest press) - other than that, "I am woman hear me roar". It's nice to see all the new Mommy Makeover stories - to read about all of the anticipation and excitement. I still check in frequently on all the ladies who went in around the same time as me and am glad everyone is progressing in a positive direction, even if it's a slow positive direction, in some cases. I will post new 5 week pics tonight or tomorrow morning. My body is taking shape nicely, I don't have any complaints at all (considering where I came from, anything was better than that!) - except 1 or 2 spitting stitches from my TT incision, but those are easy to take care of so I'm not overly concerned. I've tried on a plethora of bikini's at different stores over the past couple of weekends...love that I can try them on, admire myself and move on without hating myself. My last pics were from 21 days PO - I'll get some new 5 week PO pics up by the end of this week. Ladies who are still healing and in pain - keep you chin up and I hope you all feel amazing and get to spend some time with your loved ones over the upcoming Easter holiday.

PO: 6 weeks and 5 days. I haven't posted in a...

PO: 6 weeks and 5 days. I haven't posted in a couple of weeks because I don't feel I have much new information to share. However, I do still login every couple of days to catch up on some of the new blogs and read the updates from the ladies who had their MM around the same time as me. I planted a few new trees this weekend and cleaned up my backyard in preparation for the warm weather and swimming season, which is right around the corner...in fact my 10 year old daughter just couldn't wait and jumped in the pool yesterday (I probably don't need to state that she didn't stay in!!). Anyway, digging large holes for trees definitely engages the core - big time! Oh man, was I ever stiff last night. At this point in my recovery, that would have to be the one thing I'm still dealing with off and on - I get really stiff and am in pain while sleeping, if I really, really over do it. But by the next day, I don't hurt at all. It's weird, that I'm only bothered in my sleep. Other than that though I am back to my normal, I'm still refraining from doing any ab or chest work at the gym - I think I'm a little scared that I might hurt myself, so I'll give it another couple of weeks. My new boobies have softened quite a bit - my husband says they feel and look very natural to him, so that's good. They seem small to me now, but that's just because I've gotten used to them - they are perfect for my stature. My tummy tuck and BB incisions have turned a bright reddish/pink color...I hope that means they're going to start fading soon. I'm wearing jeans again (this past weekend was the first time in over 6 weeks, because I didn't like the way they rubbed on my incision). I've been clothes shopping like a maniac and having lots of fun loving my new shape!! OHH, AND - I just got a letter from my PS, he's given me and a friend a gift of a month of free Botox and 1 hr facials with his esthetician. I tell ya, he sure does know how to treat his patients like queens! Love it! Happy healing ladies.
Phoenix Facial Plastic Surgeon

You know you've met a true professional who is passionate about their craft when you look back and say to yourself: "I didn't even have to ask a single question!" Dr. Kotoske has impressed me beyond words. From my initial appointment through the post op care, he has presented himself as an educated, caring, detail-oriented, body sculpting artist! He took one look at me and knew exactly what was needed to make me feel accepting and proud of my body again. He could see all of my muscle from my focus on fitness, hiding under my sagging skin and did exactly what was needed to make all my hard work in the gym visible on the outside. He is a true craftsman and his passion for his work is magnetic. He explained everything in detail before I could have the chance to ask questions - it was truley amazing how he almost read my mind on every visit!! As far as his staff goes, they all were wonderful. I can't say enough good things about them. They were attentive, gentle, compassionate (when I was hunched over and wobbling in the office on PO Day 1), accomodating when I needed it and overall just great to have on my side throughout this journey. If you're in the greater Phoenix area, or just looking for a great Plastic Surgeon in general, I highly recommend Dr. Kotoske and the Cosmetic Surgery Institue!

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
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Love reading your story!! I was recommended to kotoske by a friend n started reading reviews and came across yours!!! It's been super helpful and although I've seen his work on my friend I was interested to see and hear about someone who had a tummy tuck done by him :)
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Cutie- I saw shoveling and thought snow, and what is she doing with that in AZ< LOL Glad you feel good, love the free facials, my PS did that last year with my arm surgery, this year I got nothing, gotta yell at him, LOL
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HA! snow....I'm not sure I even know what that is?!?!? (just kidding). Yep, over here in AZ we shovel sand and rocks - good times all around!!!
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You look amazing! Thank you for sharing. I've been so on the fence, but after looking around here at stories like yours I am definitely taking the plunge. :)
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Hi Its4Me Jen - I'm so glad our stories helped you in your decision! I can tell you, I'm so amazed at what our bodies can endure and how PS can restore and correct - I still look in the mirror and am amazed at what I see. I knew I had a figure in there somewhere! I definitely recommend it to anyone who is thinking about doing it.
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What an awesome PS!! Digging definitely works that core. The one thing I think PS 's should warn us about is that we should budget lots of $$$ for clothes shopping after surgery!! It's not that my old clothes don't fit, it's that it's so much fun to wear things you couldn't before!!
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Exactly! Funny how the sizes didn't change much, but the fit is SO different - I've been trying on things I wouldn't ever THINK about wearing before and actually liking the way they look! I'm definitely having fun right now :o)
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You look phenomenal!! Congrats on a successful surgery!
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Great to hear you are doing so well...... I am back at the gym and LOVING cardio. Boy....I sure missed that....I did some free weights yesterday, but kept the weight down and reps up....and I am still kinda sore in the arms today. So glad to hear you are doing well.......and you can head over to my place and plant trees anytime you want...... Take care and keep having F U N !!!!
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Thanks for posting I love to hear how you're doing. It gives me something to look forward to. Congratulations. :)
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Thanks Betty! You're right around the corner from getting back to normal yourself - I hope you get there a.s.a.p!!
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Lol at "before I had boobies Tan lines" yeah, I got those too. Summer needs to get here so I can work on them :)

You look great and so glad to hear you are back to your full workout regime, minus a few small things.

Keep up the healing!
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Nice boobies..looks like you didn't get or need lift. Neither did I. So cool to Dr. let you go back to workouts. I have 6 more weeks to wait..funny how every Dr. varies in this.
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Thanks Mia. No, I didn't get a lift - just the BA, which I'm really thankful for. I never would have thought my PS would have given me clearance for all activity at week 4, but he did (yay!). I've been tearin' it up ever since.
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Can't wait til' my first Victoria Secrets run post op. Good for you!
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Glad to hear that you are working out already. Gives the rest of us hope!
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Amazing results. You give me so much hope to be back at the gym at 4wks po. My ps said he was certain I could go back teaching yoga and spin then. I go in Wednesday. Yeah! Thank you for sharing your story. If you notice any modifications you have to make in working out please pass along.
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Hi yogamomx5 - when I first met with my PS and we discussed my desire to get back in the gym a.s.a.p he set my expectations that it probably would be 6 weeks before I could get back in the gym...I was amazed at how good I felt at 4 weeks (and I think my PS was too, actually) - I think it's good that our Dr.'s are open to letting us get back to activity when we feel ready. I assure you, you will know when you are ready - and the healthier you are going into this, the faster your recovery should be. GOOD LUCK!! I'll be keeping an eye on your journey!!
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Yay!!! Hooray for getting back in the game! I did some girl pushups today and they felt different, but no pain. A work I took it way easy at, I feel them the most.

Keep up the great work!
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I can tell you I am really afraid of working my chest. These darn boobies were SO, SO painful. I'm still getting used to them! I don't know when that day will be that I'll say to myself "time to do chest", but I have a feeling it will be a little bit ;o)
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You are an inspiration... I wish I could be as dedicated as you. Before surgery I worked out 5 days a week for 8 weeks straight. It wasn't something I enjoyed doing. It was more of an obligation. It's hard getting motivated to work out sometimes. What is your secret?
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Hi SpecialKay - you are very kind and encouraging, thank you!. I really don't have any secret - it took me a long time to get to this point, learning new behaviors AND sheer fear of going back to being morbidly obese and miserable is motivation enough for me. It takes consistency and not asking too much of yourself (don't set yourself up for failure), small changes over time = new routines and lifestyle. It take patience and perseverence for sure, but once you have those new routines locked in, then it really does become second nature.
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Cutie I am so happy for you and I aspire to be 99% at 4 weeks. Thanks for sharing. You are inspirational!
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