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Part One: Day 13 Post Op: Stitches out!

I am 38 years old and the mother of three perfect...

I am 38 years old and the mother of three perfect children ages 8, 5, and 3 (my oldest is a girl.) My husband and I have been married almost 12 years. He is completely supportive of this procedure, because as he puts it, "I am sad every time we have to get dressed up and you feel so bad about yourself." Other than that, he has never said anything. This procedure is completely self-initiated.

Like so many of you that I have seen on here, I am really strong and fit. I run a marathon or a half marathon at least once a year, and I work outside, competitively jump horses, and am constantly moving. I am 5'9" tall and am about 160 right now which is heavy for me. I would look like a crack ho at 140 lbs, so I am actually only about 10 lbs, max 15 lbs, overweight (because I have so much muscle mass.)

I have never really considered a Tummy Tuck because I have always worried that I am sending the wrong message to my daughter. Plus, it just feels so vain. Finally.... there is always the remote possibility that I could DIE. How about everyone saying at my funeral "She died because she wanted to look good in a bikini again" ??? and my babies losing their mommy for that ridiculous reason? And as a final note, I have a very deep and true faith in God, and I have talked about this a LOT with God and again questioning my own vanity etc. I mean, spending $9000 on my belly when millions of kids are dying for lack of clean water???? This is a fierce moral dilemma for me.

So I have never considered it until this year. But this year, I am realizing that I will NEVER EVER get back to who I was. I can starve, I can run 100 miles, I can beat myself literally and figuratively.... but my body has just given up on me. Three kids later, and my belly is saying "Oh HELL no."

And what is hard, is I have not given up. I still think that I am hot :) I pull clothes off the rack, and think "This will look SMOKIN' on me!!!" and am genuinely astounded when I can't squeeze my belly into it. This happens to me over and over -- I feel like I am trapped in someone else's body. And it's a fat ugly body. So every single time I have to go to a wedding or a party or an event, I have clothes strewn across the room because they all look like crap on me. I choose a cute outfit, but it clings around my waist so horrifically that I am ashamed and do not want to go at all :(

So here are a few things that have pushed me over the edge to actually do this thing.

1) I had a consult appointment with a couple of doctors. Yes, I "wasted" the fee at a few, because I wanted to be SURE. I only went to ones recommended by people that I knew that had used them.

2) The one that I have chosen (am I allowed to say his name? I am not sure so I will hold back) made me feel... beautiful.... for the first time in years. It was astounding. There he was, grabbing fistfulls of my belly fat and skin in a way that I would not even let my HUSBAND do, and he was the whole time talking about how beautiful the definition of my collar bone is, and now lovely the muscle of my shoulder, and how we just need to make the front of my abdomen match the trimness of my back. Instead of feeling like a fat deformed freak, I felt like a strong gorgeous woman who just has this little thing that is not her fault and that can be easily helped. He also confirmed that my stomach muscles are totally split apart, and will need to be sewn back together, but again -- it's not a matter of sit ups or crunches, but it's something that I cannot fix on my own. This was such an unbelievable relief for me.

Finally, the more I have thought about it.... think of all the things that we do. I thread my eyebrows. I cut my hair. I get pedicures. Of course I had braces -- I almost consider it child abuse if a kid had bad teeth and their parents do not pay for orthodontics! How is getting a Tummy Tuck vastly different than braces??? For one thing, they cost about the same! Both directly affect your appearance, and thus not only how people view you, but how you view yourself. So my question to God "Lord, am I somehow not accepting the way you made me (post baby) if I get a Tummy Tuck?" -- is that any different than "Lord, you allowed me (or my child) crooked snaggly teeth and I do not want them to go through life like that, and so thank you Jesus for awesome dentists because we are going to fix that!" So you see, the more I have dwelled on this, the more that I draw a comparison in my mind between a post-baby (or three) Tummy Tuck and braces on your teeth.

So here is the plan:

Unfortunately I am committed to do Tough Mudder for the second time in Northern California on Sept 21. I really don't want to do it again, and if you know what it is you know why (a half-marathon with about 22 Special Forces obstacles along the way.) However, I am committed with a whole team so I just can't get out of this thing. SO... that has set me back. I am scheduled for Friday Sept 29th. I am anxious because I really need to be healed up for Halloween, because as a family we always all dress up together, and I want to be ok and healthy for my kids for all of that. That is why I wish that I could do BEFORE Tough Mudder (Sept 19th was open) but obviously that is an impossibility, unless I fake an illness to get out of Tough Mudder -- but I do not want to lie. It's not my style. So, Sept 29th it is.

Which brings me to the final thing. I have read about so many of you who tell everyone what you are doing, but I am not like that with this thing. My husband knows, and my coach. NO ONE ELSE. Not even my kids, not my mom, not my friends. I don't know -- yes, I guess I am still ashamed at some level that I couldn't just fix my fat gut on my own. But also, I want people to see ME as smokin' hot again, not be whispering that I got a Tummy Tuck. So for me.... I don't want anyone to know except husband, coach, and you who are going to read this blog on RealSelf and help me through it :)

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Date change -- moved the procedure a few days...

Date change -- moved the procedure a few days earlier to Sept 26. Now that I am committed to do it I can't wait -- I wish that I could do it tomorrow. I have been walking around all afternoon in shorty shorts and a workout bra and every time I pass by the mirror I look at my belly and think "I CAN'T WAIT!!!!"

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CAN SOME GENIUS PLEASE TELL ME HOW TO ROTATE THESE...

CAN SOME GENIUS PLEASE TELL ME HOW TO ROTATE THESE STINKING PICTURES SO THAT THEY ARE NOT ALL SIDEWAYS!!!!????
I am so frustrated I CANNOT figure it out!

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Why a Maryland doctor? Have you had consultations in the Bay Area?
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Oops sorry wrong post!
You and I have similar thoughts... About our kids, the risks, how clothes fit, keeping this a secret, etc. I'm glad I found your post. My TT is 8/30, I see you are about a month later. Let's keep in touch and encourage each other!!
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Today is Sept 4, which means my TT is now 3 weeks...

Today is Sept 4, which means my TT is now 3 weeks one day away (the date was moved to Sept 26.) Now that I have committed I can't stand waiting -- I want it done tomorrow. This weekend I needed to get dressed up for a few different events (cocktail party, etc) and I just felt so awful with the material clinging around my belly.... I just can't wait until my clothes around my belly fit the same was as the rest of my body.

I have also noticed how much harder it is for me to exercise this year. Has anyone else noticed that? It's a terrible cycle. I feel fat and hopeless, so I don't even want to go and run and exercise and do the things that I know for a fact WILL make me look and feel better (with or without a TT.) I really believe that this TT will break that bad cycle for me -- I will feel hopeful, like it can actually work again, and now I will want to make my legs and arms look even better to match the new stomach. That's what I THINK anyway! Three weeks and one day.... even though I am scared of dying, now I also can't wait to get it over with....

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Yep. My metabolism is really affected when I am not on the move, which is difficult when we are trying to recover (note to self to not get down when you are helping your body heal). Cut back on the sugars and starch. They will just make you more bloated. Unfortunately, I had to follow my dr's advice and eat tons of fruits and veggies and fiber...and alas, I felt great! You will find so much more strength in your core when you're not bothered any more with the middle!
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I'm feeling that way. I worked out and watch what I eat and I lose weight and I'm happy. Then I get in a rut and I eat crap. Don't work out. Now I'm feeling like a fat slob. I do feel hopeless that it's such a fight just to stay thin. :-( I wish there was an easier way. I hate skinny women who don't even try. I have an acquaintance that had to go to the dr because she was losing too much weight without trying. Not fair.
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Thanks for sharing your decision making process! Think positive! Eat clean and drink lots of water to prepare. If you can do Tough Mudder (wow, that sounds like quite something!!) and manage a full, fun life with three kids, you can do this. You go!
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Just has the phone consult today, really the last...

Just has the phone consult today, really the last thing before the pre-op appt Sept 25th. It totally freaked me out. She is telling me the following:

1) Following the surgery I will wear those tube socks for a week and a tight binder for three weeks. Once the binder is taken off then I will wear something better (more like spanks) for another few weeks

2) I can't take a shower for three weeks!!!?? She says not until the binder comes off!!!!!

3) I have to use a WALKER to get around my house for three weeks!!!!

4) I can't drive a car for 2-3 weeks!!!!!

5) No lifting anything or doing anything for 4 weeks

6) No responsibilities whatsoever for about 3 weeks

WHAT THE HECK!? Of course I know about the drains, binders, and all that. But how the heck am I reading about people taking showers by day two? How are people even taking the post-op pictures that I have seen just days after surgery if they are all wrapped up like a mummy for three weeks using a walker??

Someone who has done this PLEASE tell me if my doctor is just being hyper-careful to be on the outside end of predictions. I can understand that they don't want to say you can drive at one week when some people are lying in bed for three. I do understand that everyone heals differently and all that. So just tell me how many days post tummy tuck before YOU personally:
1) Took a shower
2) Could read a book out loud to your kids
3) Could walk without a walker
4) Could stand up straight enough that you could see someone who didn't know about the TT and they didn't think there was something wrong with you?????? (This question is very important to me! I want to know how soon until I can "fake it")
5) Stopped taking pain meds
6) Drove a car
7) Could make dinner for your family

Please let me know so I can wrap my head around this. Now my husband is freaking too because now he is realizing what a MAJOR surgery this is now that they are saying I need a walker for three weeks!!!!

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My consultation with my dr went totally different than that. She said i can shower at 2 days, drains out at 10 days max... They are useless after 10....binder for two weeks then wear a department store body shaper until 8 weeks,, drive when I have been without pain meds/muscle relaxer/anti nausea meds for two days and when I feel capable of making quick movements n case of traffic issues/quick stops turns, etc.. No mention of a walker, just not to stand up straight for two weeks to keep tension off the incisions. And no heavy lifting or straining for 6 weeks. I can resume all normal activities at 6 weeks. I play soccer and she said 6 weeks is fine with binder/shaper during workouts and soccer. So maybe your dr is being extra careful.
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Thank you to all who gave me the 2-cents about...

Thank you to all who gave me the 2-cents about what they actually went through, or what THEIR doctor said, about the post-surgery recovery. Not one single person was as bad as my doctor cautioned me! (e.g. a walker for 3 weeks!) so that really made me feel better. Also I went and purposely sought out the 5% negative reviews on TT to see why they said it, and actually from what I saw (and I did not read them all so there may be exceptions) it seems like a lot of them put that right after surgery when they were feeling like crap and then later on said they wanted to revise it to thumbs up! (Not sure why they never made the switch from thumbs down though.) Others had really bad experiences, from what I saw seemed to be with a cheap or inexperienced doctor (one lady used a guy who was only doing his second TT ever! Horrors!) Finally I saw people who asked for a full TT and then in surgery for some reason the doc only did a mini and they were not satisfied with the result. Well, since I feel pretty sure that I am not going cheap, inexperienced, or with a mini, I have decided that things will turn out just fine :) And since everyone seems to love their binders so much and since they apparently keep you from exploding like a just opened can of cheap pillsbury buttermilk biscuits, I am not worried about THAT all all! Or the drains. Or the pain, actually. I just want to stand up straight asap so that no one I know figures out that I got a tummy tuck.... but hey, no way to know until I do it. And even if I don't stand up straight for 5 weeks, I still get to get dressed for parties the rest of my life after that without six changes of clothes!!! :)

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RockinMom! Oh how your story touched me. And I will say that every doc is extremely different.

I did post pics within my first few days of being post opt but it was not easy and I even questioned how some members are posting 16 and 17 pics in different swim suits, lingerie and all while only being 4 days post opt?

Now I did not need a walker although I did consider it but I got myself up after only being about 7 hours post opt and went to the restroom by myself. Being on a walker for 3 weeks seems excessive to me.....but there were times that a walker would have helped. You should take it easy for sure but you want be a total invalid!

I was just recently cleared to shower yesterday at 6 days post opt. And my PS wanted me to take my binder off 48 hours after my surgery but even then I put it back on quick, fast and in a hurry because it hurt without the support and I blew up like someone broke the seal off a can of biscuits. Now remember your doc said "shower" this means that you will still be able to wash off, you will just have to resort to sponge baths or baths in the face sink. So get your husband involved it may make for some interesting moments that may carry on long after you have healed (ahem)

My PS also cleared me to drive yesterday AS LONG AS I WAS NOT ON ANY MEDS such as percocet or valium. And only for short distances. LOL!

I love that you are so concerned about the message you are sending to your daughter. But I am going to overshare for a moment. My mom was and still is a very abusive woman and I have had to cut all ties with her this past year. So trust me love there are much worse things you could be doing to and showing your daughter other than having an operation. She is already one lucky little lady to have a mom that TRULY loves her so much that she would put her before herself. And with this love and mindset that you have I am positive that you will make sure she understands your decision and why it was best for you. Remember she want always be a little girl and may one day be in your living room pouting over her own struggle after blessing you with grandchildren. :)

So rock on Rockinmom!
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Amen. Cherrybabi I love the comparison you made about taking off your binder to removing the seal off a can of biscuits!!
Girl not just any can of biscuits either I'm talking about the Grands Butter Milk Biscuits where they add an additonal biscuit to make you feel like you got a good deal! I keep my binder on at all times unless I am washing it or bathing!

Two weeks two days until my Tummy Tuck. Mailed off...

Two weeks two days until my Tummy Tuck. Mailed off a bunch of checks today -- $4500 to the doctor, $1334 to the anesthesiologist, and about another $3000 still to come for the hospital.

I bought the cough drops that I see are so highly recommended. I ordered an old lady lift chair for a month (only $135 for a month! Bargain!) I bought schmancy scar cream at Whole Foods along with homeopathy for post surgery, pain, and bruising.

I have been nesting like I am having a baby. Cleaned out the entire pantry. Cleaned out half of the garage today. I know that my husband will be a fantastic Mr. Mom but I am still having nesting anxiety. I am packing the three kids lunches all for two weeks with little labels on them like "Now include a stick of cheese" "Add an almond butter and jelly sandwich and be sure to write ALMOND on the baggie because there is a peanut allergy in the school and we don't want the sandwich confiscated!!!"

Understand that I am a CEO of my own company, AND a full time mom (being CEO means that you get to leave in time to get your kids at 3pm!) The prospect of being totally disabled is freaking me out -- will the world still revolve on it's axis without me??
I am also giving my husband as much time away as possible right now because he is going to be full-on for almost a month. So I am trying to get him all rested up by allowing him to have personal retreats (aka fishing) as many days as we can until TT day. I even arranged a sitter to come that night after my surgery so he can come and visit me in the hospital, now how is THAT for thoughtful??? ;)

Meanwhile -- STILL -- no one knows. Again, I stand by my feeling that I want people to whisper how great I look, not whisper that I got a Tummy Tuck. I am going to have a HORRIFIC stomach flu in a about 2 1/2 weeks. Maybe even Salmonilla. My husband actually got Salmonilla when I was pregnant with our first child almost 9 years ago and I genuinely thought he might die and I would be a single mother. Nothing like pressing ice packs to your dying husbands raw butt while you are 7 months pregnant to lend a little reality to the marriage. Yes, the more I think about it, the more I think that I am getting Salmonilla in about 2 1/2 weeks. And YOU (and my husband, and my coach) are the ONLY ones that know.

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Hey Rockinmom and all the other moms too -
lol on the walking like a 90 yr old granny! Even after the first couple weeks, when I really could stand up straight, i would feel so tight in my middle (that's a good thing after the blob that I could never tighten up) after drinking liquid or eating, that I could only walk while hunching. That's when my husband would say while on the sidewalk, "hey, stand up straight. you look like an elderly woman!" And I'd say, go to *&^&. And think, at least I look like a flat-tummied elderly woman!

And re: telling my kids, I was pretty upfront about getting my belly button fixed. And while recovering, I needed to tell all of their friends who came over and played while on summer holiday from school. This all made sense to them since they also had seen my misshapen belly. All the times kids would curiously point at my sad-looking belly button and say (kindly), "Why does your belly button look like that?" And I'd have to start into the speech of "Well, everyone's body is different and well, mine is...." But bottom line, that's how it was, and if I could "get a new one," I did. I think it is empowering for daughters to see positive can-do attitude and action around oneself! And a sense of humor is important, too (as evidenced on the posts from these awesome ladies!)
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Momof3_dc....Well said!
I was VERY active before my surgery like you, I am now 6 months post and still have alot of trouble running and still some minor discomfort after Cross Fit. It will take a while to get back to that. Be prepared to still be really thick for a few months after from swelling. Go the an ALL liquid diet for two weeks pre surgery and keep it for the first few weeks. Using the bathroom is painful as is sneezing. I walked the day after surgery, did not need a walker. Take all your pain meds though and try to be passed out for the first week or so if you can. I went back to work 2 weeks later but it took about a month and a half till I could stand straight. On my 3 month mark I ran 5k. Well, I made 3k running the rest walk/running. I told a few people at work at first but the stigma quickly went away and I don't care who I tell now.
What I would change? I would buy Spanx, several sets now, and when you do start working out again wear two, I wish I had done that from the beginning, because I didn't my things and legs swelled a lot and retained alot of water, the Dr. said it would take up to a year for the swelling to go completely down.
The greatest part? A HUGE weight was lifted off my shoulders I no longer think about should I, could I, isn't it vain etc. Now I just live and enjoy and dont wonder if people are staring at the gym watching my loose skin on my stomach go up and down.
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Today is Sunday night Sept 16th. The big day is...

Today is Sunday night Sept 16th. The big day is Weds Sept 26th, 1:30 pm surgery time. That means in exactly 10 days from now, the full tummy tuck will be done, I will have woken up from the anesthesia, I will not be in pain because I will be happily tucked into my hospital bed to spend the night with round the clock meds, I won't even have to get up to pee because of a catheter, and my husband will be holding my hand gazing adoringly into my eyes and saying how glad he is that I am okay and popping chocolates into my mouth. (Or something like that!)

Ok ladies, let's just hope that I am right!!! Because I am getting anxious about the surgery now. I could not wait for this thing to happen and now I don't have enough days left to get things done! I am nesting like I am having a baby -- I even organized the freaking tupperware drawer!!!! (Because let's face it, my husband can't watch the kids for three weeks without a neat tupperware drawer... ha ha) I have been under general anesthesia SEVEN TIMES and never had a problem, but I am starting to get anxious anyway. All the times before were not options, because this is "elective" I think I am worrying more about it. There was no point worrying other times when I had no choice, the broken hand had to get screwed back together, etc., so I didn't even think about it. This time I am thinking about it.

But THIS is what I am worrying about the most -- Tough Mudder, which is the Saturday before my surgery (so I will have 4 days to recover before surgery.) I did it last year so I know -- it's freaking hard, you get really beat up, lots of bruises and scrapes, and super sore all over. My husband is really concerned that this is a STUPID thing to do right before I am going to beat up my body through abdominoplasty. His point is "Your body will have enough healing to do, it should not also be healing from Tough Mudder!" (Tough Mudder is a half-marathon run over a trail course at a ski resort with 22 special forces obstacles to complete)

I don't know what to do because I feel trapped since I am in it with teammates (this was planned a year ago.) I just don't know, and I keep going round and round about it. What do you guys think??? Am I going to seriously jeopardize my chances of healing well from the full tummy tuck if I am going into it already sore and bruised? Or does it not really stinkin' matter because it's just a drop in the bucket of the thrashing my body will endure? And since I will be taking pain meds, antibiotics, etc anyway from surgery those will just wipe out any residue from Tough Mudder?

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Quick question -- what is MR? Is see people...

Quick question -- what is MR? Is see people referring to their "TT" (ok, fine, Tummy Tuck) and "MR"
THANKS

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i just loved ur story it seems mine as regards of kids in my case husband too ,i feel so guilty as in poor thing has to do so much .....he just did all that un my second pregnancy n now again infact he always supported me in every thing i cant ask for more from god trust me my biggest reason for tt is my husband he deserve better me although he loves me soo much but still anyways god bless u my dear dont worry u be fine n u deserve it.i have 7 month old baby boy n 3 yr old girl see still im getting this done ur kids are grown ups ....my guilty meter is too high but i always make my self calm by this that its a matter of 2 months max or 3 than life will be better see its not just look wise important but i also got diastsis recti cuz i had 12 n half pound baby first one n im just 5 2 ' so i wanted to prevent hernia ....so lets be strong n just go for it please be in touch my surgery date is not fixed yet ...will update it wen ever it will be u take care i will pray for u goodluck ....
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Do the Tough Mudder! You'll be recovering from both so why not? Plus how bad A$$ that you can say you did both in the same week? Doooo iiiiiiit! Have you reconciled with yourself about your daughter and God? I hope so. I was gonna say just reread the part of your post where your doc was grabbing your tummy and telling you how he can fix you back up.
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(MR) Muscle Repair! Which I had...........it was a wonderful experience! LOL!
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September 17th, 2012, 8 1/2 days until surgery. I...

September 17th, 2012, 8 1/2 days until surgery. I just had heart palpitations writing that!

Regarding any kind of extreme sport events right before surgery, the answer is NO. I asked my doctor about Tough Mudder, and he clearly restrained himself as a professional from saying "HELL TO THE NO YOU DING BAT!" I guess since they will put off your surgery of you even have a cold, they definately put you off if you have bruises and scrapes all over! Increased risk of infection...lower healing...and so forth.

So here is my main thought today as I read so many blogs: I really, really do not plan on telling ANYONE. I read about so many of you being abused by idiots who offer their unsolicited criticism of you. It makes me angry, and sad. :( Frankly I just don't have the time or energy to defend myself when it's NO ONE'S BUSINESS. And those same people will turn right around and think you look great in a bikini (just as long as you don't tell them you had a TT and Muscle Repair, in which case they will say you are fake like a Barbie.)

Nope -- it is confirmed for me after reading what some of your have experienced. I do NOT want to tell anyone. The hardest part is my best friend -- I really feel like I have to tell her, but she is a personal trainer (and incredibly fit and thin even after 3 kids and no surgeries) and I know that she feels so strongly like working out is the solution to everything. Sometimes --- as you all know -- it's just not. So I am still working on this one because I can't NOT tell her. :( I will let you all know how that one goes.

One final thing -- it is SO hard to plan because you see people looking and feeling pretty good at 10-14 days, and then you see people on here at 9 weeks Post Op who are still having all kind of problems with swelling etc.... I know you all know this because you have gone through it yourself. But there is just no way to know until you DO IT. And then you see. Maybe 9 days, maybe 9 months until you feel like yourself. Hard to plan your life with that much uncertainty following your TT!

tick tock tick tock..only 8 1/2 days to go....tick tock tick tock

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Hey rockinmom,
I'm now 19 days post-op (time flies!) and we have had the same concerns all along. Here's what I can tell you... It's not NEARLY as bad as I was expecting. Yes, there was pain but I found the most pain was in my back because I was stooped over after surgery. I wish I had gotten a walker!!!! I used an umbrella as a walking stick for a couple days but it didn't work well and realized after the fact a cane or walker would have been helpful. I spent the $$ and stayed in an aftercare facility the first night because my procedure was outpatient. It was well worth the money. I didn't want to scare my little girls if I was in tons of pain or sick (nauseous from anesthesia) etc. I also rented an electric recliner from a home health supply store, it seemed a little over the top when I got it but it's been the best!!! I slept in it for almost two weeks and for the first week spent most of my day in it too. I wish I had one of those after my csections! Before surgery I bought a number of different binders and spanx items from target, kohls, etc. so I wouldn't have to get them after surgery. I bought different sizes and styles not knowing what would work best , I'm going to return a few and will keep the 2 or 3 that work now.
I haven't told anyone but my husband and one friend. At work people seem to know not to ask why I had surgery but if they do I usually say (to a guy) oh, just have to take care of things I've been putting off (they leave me alone with that and to women (who ask for details, especially my kids friends moms!!!) I tell them I have fibroids to remove.... Which is actually completely true! I do have fibroids, I'm just not doing something like a hysterectomy. I have made sure NOT to give my kids much info and have phrased it very carefully because I know they will tell everyone on the playground which means every mom at school will know too! ;-) I told them I had to have something inside my tummy fixed and that seems to work. I would not let them see my drains (didn't want them to freak and didn't want them to blab on playground) but those came out day 7 post-op (best day ever!) and I've let them see my scar. Since it looks similar to my csections scar (just bigger), they didn't dwell on it after seeing it. And speaking of scars, it's not as bad as I thought it would be and its still very new so I have high hopes for it looking okay.
I finally figured out the right place to post my updates, let's stay in touch. ;-)
And P.S., the biggest bummer for me is not being able to ride my horse for 8+ weeks (I ride hunter jumpers too! :-) ).
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MR = muscle repair (usually done if your upper abdomen muscles have separated do to multiple pregnancies/twins, etc. (AKA rectus diastasis)
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due

Today is exactly one week from surgery date. In...

Today is exactly one week from surgery date. In fact at exactly this time in a week, it will all be over (although I will be in the hospital for the night.) At today's appointment I pre-registered at the hospital, filled out all the anesthesia questions, paid them a lot of money, gave blood samples, got weighed (165 lbs! Yikes! I have put on about 5 pounds since I knew that I would do this. Most people seem to be smarter and actually lose weight beforehand. I think I am thinking "live it up!"), got to look at the drains and pain pump and learn how to clean them, and got handed a lot of papers to read. My final appointment before The Day is next Tuesday, where I see my actual doctor and he draws all over me with a pen. :)

It was really encouraging because everyone I saw at the hospital gushed about my doctor. The nurse who checked me in confided that he is THE BEST and that he often does the "close" work on other doctor's surgeries, because his work is so incredibly small, patient, and meticulous. The nurse who drew my blood saw my docs name and said "Ah yes! The man with the golden fingers!" All of that made me feel SO MUCH BETTER for my nervousness. My whole extended Tummy Tuck and Muscle Repair is costing me about $8800. I just don't see how people decide to get a "bargain basement" doctor to save a few thousand bucks. This is your LIFE and your BODY (not to mention your scars!) Better to wait and save up more money and get it done right, then get it done cheaply and poorly.

I am really pretty much ready now. Here is what I have lined up:
1) Made 3 weeks of school lunches for 3 kids in advance (minus perishables)
2) Pre-made and froze 14 meals for me and my husband
3) Ordered a lift chair (rental for one month with delivery & pick up is $180)
4) Bought a toilet riser with handles (at first I was looking for a used one on craigslist and then I realized that is gross. A little slow on the uptake! ;) (on Amazon $35)
5) Bought the NewGel+E Advanced Silicone Gel for Scars that was so highly recommended on here (on Amazon $55)
6) Mostly finished the family Halloween Costumes (since I don't want that to fall by the wayside for my kids!!)
7) Stopped taking any kind of pills about 2 weeks ago, even a multi-vitamin. There are so many things to avoid I am just avoiding it all.
8) Bought arnica that I will start taking 2 days before
9) Have been doing 10,000 things at work because no one (except my husband of course, who I own the business with) knows that I will be gone for at least 3 weeks. So I am doing all kinds of things in advance (payroll, etc)

I feel good about my state of preparedness. I just need to buy granny panties. And even that, really, isn't such a big deal. I already have a few pairs anyway which I will never want to wear again once I have a smokin' hot tummy! I am now TOTALLY looking forward to my 3 week "vacation" of letting everyone else run the world without me. That will be GREAT!

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Hi, I wanted to say that I am considering a tummy tuck and your story helps me. I have the same situation - a fit, lean body but with a poofy tummy/stretched out abs from pregnancy. No matter what I do, my belly won't get smaller. I feel so discouraged and hate my belly. I look pregnant after I eat! I agree - I'm not going to tell anyone either because of all of the haters - just my family.
You look great and you'll feel so good with a lean, flat tummy to match the rest of your body.
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:) Thank you redbird. 7 days to go!
Hiya hun, I was just reading your review and thought I'd chime in with some answers to your questions;

1) Took a shower
I took a shower 4 Days post op. I was supposed to wait until my drains came out (at day 5) but I just couldn't wait any longer and needed the pep me up.

2) Could read a book out loud to your kids

I could have done this the same day. But only from lying in a bed or from lying on the sofa. Nothing stops you talking although breathing can sometimes be hard so it can be tiring to talk much.

3) Could walk without a walker
I never had a walker, I was able to walk within hours of the surgery to and from the toilet but it was slow, painful and hunched over!

4) Could stand up straight enough that you could see someone who didn't know about the TT and they didn't think there was something wrong with you?????? (This question is very important to me! I want to know how soon until I can "fake it")

I could do this from about 4 days post op for very short periods of time. I flew home yesterday at 5 days post op and was walking straight enough that nobody would have known apart from the fact I was a bit stiff and walked slowly. I think the hunch is noticed more by me, than by anyone else.

5) Stopped taking pain meds
Can't answer this one as I'm now 6 days post op and still on pain meds every 3 hours. But each day the pain gets less and less and I find that occasionally I forget until a couple of hours later for my pain meds, or I sleep through the night and don't need them. I reckon it'll be another 2-3 days before I don't need painkillers at this rate.

6) Drove a car
If I had too I could probably drive now. I probably won't be comfortable driving though for another few days. My surgeon didn't give any guidelines on this...

7) Could make dinner for your family
I'm guessing it's going to be another week before I could comfortably stand for long enough to cook...
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Only 48 hours to go. I just started taking the...

Only 48 hours to go. I just started taking the Arnica. My hospital chair arrived this morning (pretty comfy actually!) I have my final to-do list and am crossing each thing off.

I DID do the Tough Mudder this weekend, but I did not do the obstacles. My surgeon absolutely forbade that. Apparently, a lot of bruises and cuts will make the surgery much more dangerous -- increasing risk of blood clots, lower healing rate, etc. So I hiked the entire course with my teammates and took a lot of pictures.

I confessed to them the night before (that was Friday night) what was going on and why I could not do the course. I was really really nervous to tell anyone (as you know I have kept this 100% secret.) They were, every single one, extremely supportive. As one person pointed out "I can't believe that you have done all these things for years completely unzipped down the front! Your doctor is just going to zip you back up!" I explained to them about how since my 3rd baby 3 years ago, I just have not recovered. My belly is completely spread apart, and I am having knee and lower back pain this past year as I continue my really active lifestyle. I also have a huge risk of a ventral hernia, since I have extreme diastasis and am so active.

Anyway, so unlike the extreme secrecy of before, I am now letting a few close people in on it, but I am still very private about it.

Only 48 hours to go. My surgery is this Weds. I go in at noon, and the surgery starts at 1:30 pm. I am starting to feel very nervous. Kind of sick to my stomach. And as CRAZY as this sounds, I am grabbing on my roll of extra skin and feeling kinda nostalgic. Like "Gee whiz buddy, we've been through a lot, and now I am just cutting you off." It's a weird feeling. Like I will call "WILSON! WILSON!" after they take my stomach away and throw it in the garbage!! What is wrong with me? Did anyone else get a sudden weird attachment to this part of their body they can't wait to get rid of?

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So my surgery is TOMORROW. I need to be there at...

So my surgery is TOMORROW. I need to be there at noon, and the surgery starts at 1:30 pm. As I write this it is 6:09 pm which means that my surgery will be OVER by now (although I may still be sleeping.)

I posted the pictures of my final visit with my surgeon today. He drew all over me (see pix.) I am FREAKED OUT by that big pie slice he will be removing! Holy crap I will look like Pac Man!!!!!! I am seriously starting to freak. I just took half a Xanax (doctor okayed) and will take another half in a little bit if I am not less stressed out. I have never taken one before, so I am going a half at a time. LOOK AT HOW MUCH IS BEING REMOVED!!!! Holy freaking moley.

Before I sign off from my final post before I "see you on the flat side" as they say around here, I do have to share my two favorite parts of the surgical site infections info sheet that the hospital gave me to review.

Runner Up Favorite Part:
"Family and friends who visit you should not touch the surgical wound or dressings"
What the heck??? Who would even do that??? Come at you with their finger poking out???

FAVORITE PART:
"Speak up if someone tries to shave you with a razor before surgery."
WHAT IN THE WORLD is going on that that hospital!? Apparently they have madmen running amok, shaving innocent victims right and left. I just have this image of a hand coming around the corner .... holding a disposable Bic razor out towards me... Psycho music playing in the background....

If I never sign back on again, it is because the mad shaver man got to me.....

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Hi ms rockinmom you'll do well good luck
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Wishing you all the best!
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Good luck on your surgery and enjoy your new body! :)
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I AM LEAVING FOR THE SURGERY IN 45 MINUTES!!!!...

I AM LEAVING FOR THE SURGERY IN 45 MINUTES!!!! CRIED DROPPING OFF MY KIDS AT SCHOOL THIS MORNING!!! SO AFRAID THAT I WILL DIE AND NOT SEE THEM AGAIN!!!! I wish the time would go faster so I can hurry up and get there and get my nice valium or whatever it is that they give us to calm us down :) :) :) I left a little present for each of my kids on the couch for when they come home from school.... there is a load of wash in the dryer luckily I can fold that.... Went to the store this morning and bought cereal that we don;t even need.... And I am also hungry. Ladies, go for the first thing in the morning surgery time if you can!!! This is tragic trying to pass the time until I turn into Ms. Pac Man!! THANK YOU FOR ALL OF YOU GIVING ME LAST MINUTE GOOD WISHES!!!! ONLY 40 MINUTES UNTIL WE CAN LEAVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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All the best you are going to look great!
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Best wishes in your recovery.
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Good luck: hope all is well - sending prayers your way - and looking forward to your update on the other side x
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In my hospital bed. Its midnight. Having trouble...

In my hospital bed. Its midnight. Having trouble sleeping. They gave me an Ambien which nothing for me at all -- too bad I didnt even think of packing Melatonian wich works like a charm if I ever need help sleeping! Oh well, its just one night and Im groggy from other stuff so I expect I will drift off soon....

I have on stockings AND calf compression massager machine (on calves) to prevent blood clots. And they injected me with anti coagulant. Blood pressure and oxygen monitors. Two drains inside the incision drain to the plastic grenade looking thngs that they ermpty. The blue fanny pack continually dispenses local anesthetic to the incision. I have a catheter, and an IV with continual fluid. 
One thng is for sure I will lose 50 pounds. I took few large swallows of water and the presure on my ab muscles hurt a lot!!!!! The incision does not hurt but the vertical mid line of my abs is very very painful.

I will try and post pics. Sorry if they are upside down or anything I cant fix that from my iphone

Finally my husband is so wonderful. Was there when I woke up and held my hand feeding me ice chips and arranging my blankets until they made him leave at 9:30 :) I love him so much and am so blessed. And I am SO GLAD to be alive! That first minute of being alive and knowing its over is the best!

Whoops -- sorry . Looks like no pics at all until Im on a real phone

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Hi everyone. Well, at least Im home (just got home...

Hi everyone. Well, at least Im home (just got home 2 1/2 hrs ago.) I had the worst and most unexpected complication. I never heard of this happening to anyone! I COULD NOT PEE. It was terrible!!! I guess my urethra went into shock or something. Obviously they would not let me discharge until I could pee, but the urine would try to get out and... The door was shut!!! They finally had to put a catheter back in because my bladder was about to explode! I was just crying and crying because I wanted to get home and I felt like I screwed up my body and I would never pee normally again. :(

After that we tried again. I will tell you my gross secret in case you need it. I would spit on my fingers and rub my urethra and it would wake up my pee hole enough that I could dribble out a few drops. Over and over I repeated this, and after about 7 hours I was dribbling well enough that they let me come home. :( Its still not great though -- I still cant just sit and have a nice long pee. :(

I am home and in a lot of pain. Very uncomfortable. My binder is so tight it feels like it is bruising my lungs and I cant get a deep breath. I am just trying to get to tomorrow because you all say every day gets better. I hope thats true because today really sucks.

On a positive note, my surgeon said that I have absolutely beautiful "tissue" (who knew?) and that he expects absolutely gorgeous results. He is adamant about me maintaining 90 degrees for a full two weeks so that I do not stretch the incision and I have an invisible scar. Sounds good in theory, but right now I hurt and pee so badly that future seems a long long long time away.... :(

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I did the exact same thing! I was just so happy when I heard voices, opened my eyes and was alive! It is so worth it. Welcome to the flat side!
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Great to hear your recovering! Wishing u a speedy recovery & get plenty of rest.
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Congratulations on the tummy tuck...I'm scheduled for tomorrow
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Now its about 38 hours post op. I am a tiny bit...

Now its about 38 hours post op. I am a tiny bit better today after being home all night instead of the hospital. All I am doing is lying in my chair bundled in pillows. The big excursion is to the potty, which is a nightmare each time, so trust me Id rather just stay in my chair taking pills. My husband is taking wonderful care of me and the kids. I fell asleep listening to him reading Harry Potter to the kids last night and actually slept all night, only waking up for my pill alarms. One day at a time, one day at a time. Today is better than yesterday and tomorrow will be even better.

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I remember reading your story before you had your surgery and just thinking, that sounds JUST like me! The guilt, the worry over something happening, all of it! I just went for my consultation, so I am quite a ways from having my surgery, but reading your story is so comforting to me. Best wishes!!
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Hey. I got my tummy tuck the day before you on the 26th. I've been reading people's posts just to know I'm not crazy and being a wuss. I'm different then most of y'all since I'm a 23 year old male instead of a woman, but I honestly give a woman so much more credit for experiencing this myself. I grew up a big kid and did this because I got into the gym and lost 50 lbs and wanted to be able to go places with my friends and feel comfortable. I have never been able to take my shirt off at the beach or public in general. When I go places with my friends, I used to hit up the bathroom to get dressed because I wasn't comfortable. I definitely get how this could make you feel Better and thank god I have amazing friends and family. I'm on day 4 now and it's starting to get better. I had a horrible day 2. I had a coughing fit and let me just tell you, you do not want that, it feels like every stitch is popping out of you. I called my doctor and they gave me this breathing machine you breathe into and the right afterward have to hack until the mucus comes out, yes it's gross, but it feels so much better when you actually get it out and not coughing. I feel a lot better now that I'm in day 4. I'm still hunchbacked and my incision tends to burn from time to time but my doctor and nurses both told me that is normal. My doctor did what he called the Hercules tummy tuck. He lipoed me for about 6 hours, tightened my muscles that were damaged from being overweight when I was younger and tummy tucked he said he cut about 6 inches of my skin off. I was able to take a shower after day 2. I read on a post to take pain pill about 30-60 mins before and to have a stool to hold on too. Trust me. You will want something to hold on to an possibly sit on. The first shower was horrible and amazing at the same time. I was semi wore out afterward. It was literally no joke. I also would plan to sleep a lot. That seems like all I can do. I try to force myself to stay awake but seems to only make me more tired and I eventually pass out. I finally found a position on the recliner where u can back a bit and pull ur legs toward you an put a bunch of pillows under them where I can sleep mostly through the night and not wake up every 2 hours like The first 3 nights, my poor dad. I don't know who gets less sleep. I feel bad for being so needy and dependent. It's just not in my nature. I'm usually the one taking care of people, so i think that is my biggest challenge, but my sister and parents have been wonderful and make me feel like I'm not a hassle. My doctor told me I should be standing straight up by day 10 and be back to normal by 2 weeks and can do cardio after 4 weeks but no abs for 4 months. I have a check up on Monday so hopefully that is when he takes the drains out of me, to me that is one of the most annoying things. My doctor did send me a paper that outlines how I should feel week to week. It said week one: I would question and be like why did I do this?, week 2: would be nick picking everything. Week 3: oh I like this and week 4 would be I'm glad I did this. Best decision ever. So far he is correct on week 1. I just hope the rest is correct. I set Lil milestones in my head when I get down. Like 3 more days til the doctor. Or 6 more days until I can stand up straight. That helps you get through the tough times. I swear I'm on a roller coaster of emotions. But just wanted to share that. And thank you for making me feel not so strange, since some of the same things are happening to you and some of your posters. I don't think I would have made it this for if I didn't read posts like these.
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Can't wait to see what's under all of that stuff!! I bet it looks great!
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It is Saturday 6:15 am, and my surgery ended...

It is Saturday 6:15 am, and my surgery ended around this time Wednesday. Im getting the new routine down -- alarm sounds at midnight, 6am, noon, and 6pm and I take a Cephlex (antibiotic, and a STINKY one!) At 9pm and 9am we empty my drains ( I keep having 60cc in the right one and 20cc in the left one.) Every four hours I take 2 percosets (no need to set an alarm for those! The returning pain alerts me and sometimes I have a hard time counting off the minutes of the last half hour.)

The first night home after the car ride and our amateur bumbling, I couldnt get on top of the pain -- was about a 7 or 8 even with 2 percosets! Now, though, Ive stayed ahead of it. Usually I hurt for awhile after scrooching around with my walker.

I know I could be standing up more already, but my surgeon has expressly forbidden me to! He wants me hunched over 90 degree hip angle for 2 full weeks so that there is NO stretching of the incision and I have an invisible scar line. Frankly I dont mind -- it doesnt hurt my back (thanks to leaning on the walker) and after going through all this I want the end results as perfect as possible.

I HAD A BAD DREAM LAST NIGHT!!!!! I dreamed that I was at the doctors office smd he wasnt there so they told me to come back in a few days. I said "cant I please look under my binding?" and they said "NO -- not without Dr Wotowic!" but as I was hunchbacking my way out, my binding caught on something and fell off. And I looked down and I was exactly the same as before, just a bunch of stitches across it!!! You know my bikini picture where I look 6 momths pregnant? Well I looked like THAT only with a big line around the middle and stitches. NIGHTMARE!

I dont know when I can actually see -- sometime next week I guess. I am supposed to call them Monday to update, but they wont schedule the follow up appointment to remove all the schrapnel dangling off me until my drain tubes are only 5-10cc each. At this point I assume that is a long way away!

I think the worst part for me are the edges of my binding (just so uncomfortable!) and my BUTT. My butt is so numb and sore from lying on it all day and all night. Last night I massaged it with a hand massager tool amd then rubbed Traumeel all over it! Seriously, the butt hurts worst of all.

I have zero incision pain, but I assume thats from that Ono pain pump thing that is directing local anesthetic directly into the incision line. My ab muscles hurt, particularly when I accidentally use them. Last night my 3 yr old son elbowed me in the side, and I had a total involuntary response of jerking and clenching all my stomach muscles!!! Holy smokes I thought I would die!!! As LsuKid said about coughing, "It felt like every stitch was popping out!" AGONY. I cant even imagine sneezing. Sneezing after this surgery must be hell on wheels.

So Im just doing this thing one day at a time. I personally have not felt any depression or regret like I have read from most of you, I am so lucky to say. I am just glad it is OVER -- for me the anticipation was the worst part. Right up until being wheeled in I was wanting to change my mind and freak out. Once I opened my eyes again I was all good, and once I got through my initial terrifying pee-stipation, I figure each hour is more healing and closer to being at full capacity. But for now I am enjoying the totally unfamilar feeling of helplessness and dependence :) Its good for me! :)

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Well, I had some leaking coming from the front of...

Well, I had some leaking coming from the front of my binding today so my doctor asked me to come in. They removed the Ono pump (the black fanny pack pain medicine dispenser) that was leaking, removed all the soggy wrappings, replaced it all with fresh and wrapped me up tight again. I feel SO MUCH BETTER all freshly and smoothly wrapped with with at least some of the stuff hanging off me gone. ALSO, I am so happy that I got a sneak peek under my wrappings! You can see the drains are still in. I thought I didn't look that different by my husband said that I am CRAZY I look totally different already. Anyway, I am just super happy to be more comfortable, and excited for next week whenever I get the final drains out. But for now you can see what I look like exactly 72 hours after surgery ended! I probably won't get another picture for about 5 more days since they thought I wouldn't get my drains out until Thursday Oct 4.

Oh my I am crazy, I just looked at my before pictures here, I DO look way different already! :)

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Hi again. I can relate to What you are going through! Be sure to take care of you wound. I am now one month post op and the other day I was changing my dressing and discovered that I have an infection down the bottom of the wound. I was soooo careful to avoid this, but somehow it has happened! I am so disappointed as I feel as if I have been set back two weeks. They've taken swabs to check what it is - hopefully not golden staph or something serious. On medication and special dressings now. Will visit doctor again on Tuesday. Take care when getting the wound site wet even if you are using waterproof dressings!!!! Anyway, I won't harp on about me, all the best with your speedy recovery!
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Wow thanks for the warning! I am sure at a month post op I would be getting really careless with cleanliness and wound care. Thank you for the reminder to take good care all the way through until the very very very end
you are going to look great!  i'm 4 month post op. it's a long process but soooo worth it!
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Id say overall Ive had as good a surgery...

Id say overall Ive had as good a surgery experience as possible. My pain has not been bad (although I dont mess around! I take those pain pills every 4 hours round the clock!) and I have not had any of the roller coaster emotions of regret and remorse that I see so many of you suffer with.

But I AM going to bitch about one thing -- the damn binder. What the heck? They csn put a man on the moon, why cant they make that thing more comfortable???

For those who havent done the procedure yet heres how it works: you have this wide band of elastic and velcro that they wrap around you as tight as possible from just under your boobs to your hips. The TIGHT part is annoying because you cant take a really deep breath....but that part I can kinda live with as long as I think about Scarlett OHara a lot.

The WORST part is how your skin gets creased into ridges and bumps under the elastic. Like how if you wear a tight pair of socks all day and you find the elastic has bitten into you and caused indentations? Well my whole torso is one big indentation and it not only HURTS, but it ITCHES!!!!!! I keep pulling it away from my back and hips and scratching like mad. I cant wait for the next phase (apparently some kind of "garment" which sounds mysterious) just get me away from this ELASTIC. Why cant it be made of something soft and silky!?

Oh, and let me also mention that at the front where your crotch is, the two drain tubes also emerge. So its not only totally uncomfortable, but Im personally scared to mess with it too much as long as those sinister tubes are there too.

4 days post op. I know not long until the twin bastards of tubes and binder are gone forever and they will just be a distant memory. But I FREAKING HATE THEM BOTH!!!!!

Any good recommendations of what is comfortable to wear that I can buy on my own if I hate my "garment" just as much???

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I don't have any advice as going in next week; I have a garment to start with I think and you are giving me food for thought - hope someone has some advice. I did see someone post somewhere about getting a foam layer for between garment and skin to help with pressure points.... looking forward to goodbye-drains, I think x
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Your new tummy loooks beautiful, imagine how good it will look in a couple of weeks. Hope your recovery goes well. Have to wait until 21st Jan 2013 for mine. x
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DAY FIVE OF MY INCARCERATION Im sad and lonely...

DAY FIVE OF MY INCARCERATION
Im sad and lonely because Husband and kids are gone. To make matters worse Im running low on Percoset. Husband charged the mini DVD player for me, today is the day I start watching movies to pass the time. The thrill of being incapacitated has worn off. It would be one thing if I could be here alone doing things. But I am here alone not doing things. *sigh*
AND house cleaners are here. Im hiding in my room with a sign on the door saying "NO ENTRAR! Estoy enferma! Gracias!" so they know I am here spying on them and their movements are self-conscious and furtive. *double sigh*. My binder hurts. My drains hurt. My butt hurts from sitting on it. *sigh sigh sigh* No wonder people say they wished they learned how to crochet. I pretty much have never felt the sensation of boredom in my life (as Metallica says, "Boredom sets into the boring mind") but this is a whole different ball of crochet yarn that I dont know how to use. IM FREAKING BORED SO F*** YOU METALLICA!!!!! YOU NEVER HAD TO SIT IN ONE CHAIR FOR A FULL WEEK STRAIGHT YOU SELF RIGHTEOUS BASTARDS!!!!
Maybe hospitals should offer traveling crochet instructors. Is it a sign you are losing your mind when that becomes your most vivid fantasy, and you start cursing out aging rockers???

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Girl you bring back memories and not good ones. LOL The binder is a pain and do is the isolation. I do have a suggestion for shape wear after the binder is gone. I used Dr Rey's shape wear. I found it at Sears but he has a website also. I ordered Spanx and hated it . It did not stay put and rolled down. Waste of $70. Dr. Rey's is soft but gives you firmness you need. Just a tthought. Hang in there!
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Om my gosh you are hilarious. seriously. Thanks for sharing all the details. I'm happy for you that you told a select few because secrets are pretty uncomfortable; it seems like your are always on top of the game so I encourage you allow everyone who is willing to help! You are lucky to have a hubby ;)
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I AM lucky to have a supportive hubby. This is a really good time in my life for me to be appreciating him instead of bossing and nagging all the time. I am hoping and praying that my good lessons learned of appreciating him and allowing him to run things his way carry through to our "real life"!!!

6 Days Post Op. Today was a hard day for feeling...

6 Days Post Op. Today was a hard day for feeling uncomfortable. I was all chafey and weepey by the afternoon. I finally got so mad I just peeled off the binder and lay there on my recliner letting the blood get back into my skin! That was the right choice for me, I felt so much better after 20 minutes of freedom that I even changed into a bra and panties and took some pictures to show all of you. I wish that my scar were lower, but then again I don't care all that much. I am relying on my doctor to give me the "invisible scar" that he thinks we can achieve. And what the heck, even if it still shows and I have to get creative with my bikini shopping, I did this for every single moment of my every single day wearing clothing, not for those few times that I am at the beach. I am SO glad that I did this. I only wish that I did it sooner! Three wasted years of holding napkins and sweaters across my lap at parties and never feeling good about how I look because of things clinging to my belly! THOSE DAYS ARE OVER LADIES!!!!!! :) :) :)

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You are precious. OMG, what a seriously funny set of posts along with very valid feelings and good information. Loved the quote on the pic where you're asking whether its possible to have any more crap dangling from the front. I think a lot of us as women and mothers feel guilty about doing this and spending the $$$ to do it. When I am thinking, yes I am going to do this, I feel like it is the price we pay for having the experience of life growing inside of us. (I was lucky with 2 amazing pregnancies and tried to treasure every minute - I still long for those butterfly feelings when my babies were moving.) On the other hand, bills and family needs never seem to stop, so is this expense and time-out fair to my family? I think so. It'll be peanuts in the grand scheme of things, say amortized over the rest of your life, but help you to no end. It's not just a vanity issue. On top of having your confidence affected, it is uncomfortable having to "tuck" yourself into clothes. Anyway,you sound like a tremendous person and mother and totally deserved to do this for yourself and you look great. Glad to hear that you are happy, keep up the great posts.
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You look great!!! I am taking your prep advise to the T. thanks for sharing all of that. I have 3 young kids too, so i want to be as prepared as possible. Thank you!
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You look great!
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I just got the drains removed. Holy crap it is the...

I just got the drains removed. Holy crap it is the worst weirdest feeling ever. I almost puked. They were SO LONG and wound all around my torso under the skin like flexible french drains!!! The opening was totally sore and hurt as they were being pulled out, but the worst... I cant explain it... This totally horrible creepy sensation of the tubes sliding under my skin like snakes.... It felt like they were being unwound from my intestines!!!! And each tube was about 18"-24" under my skin wrapped around!!! I seriously almost barfed.

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Ok heres my update 4 hours after drains were...

Ok heres my update 4 hours after drains were removed: best freaking thing ever. WHAT. A. RELIEF. So yeah, the snakes-under-the-skin thing is terrible. But it only lasts 20 seconds. And then WHAT RELIEF. I personally had a lot of irritation and soreness at the drain sites, so having that gone is like having 3/4 of my problems gone. Plus, now I can appear in public and I only look like a hunched over feeble old granny, instead of looking like a crazed hunched over zombie about to attack. Nothing like active and visible internal body fluids draining out of you to scream to the world "SEXY!"

Plus, I can try sleeping in bed tonight instead of the recliner! Our 3 year old is always climbing into bed with us and Ive been too scared to sleep in there because Ive been afraid his crawley little monkey toes will rip out my drains in the middle of the night. If you have ever had a 3 year old boy you know this is a very realistic and valid concern.

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Hi rockinmom, you look great, I enjoy reading your blog soo much! Would you recommend your Dr. To me? SandySF
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I love your animated posts but you are freaking me out about the drains...the snake thing!!! You look amazing by the way already!!!
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Well like I said... 20 seconds. Its worth it to be rid of them!

In celebration of having my drains removed I tried...

In celebration of having my drains removed I tried to sleep in bed last night. The attempt was entirely unsuccessful.

First off, my little 3 year old monkey boy was complely insane last night. 10:30pm and rolling all around talking and babbling until I wanted to hold a pillow over his adorable sweet little face to SHUT HIM UP! I dont know what got into him -- his bedtime is 7pm usually! I was trying to give my husband a break and let him go out for some "alone time" but I finally had to cave in and call him to come home and save me from the 3 year old terrorist. So what happened? Of course you know the answer. 27 seconds before my husband arrived back home my baby fell asleep with his head on my pillow.

But that wasnt even the worst problem. The worst problem was I couldnt REACH anything. In my lovely naugahyde recliner (you do realize how many nauga's they have to kill to make one of those, don't you?) I have a side table right next to me with easy reach for my iPhone charger, medication basket, books, pens, papers, thank you cards, candies , homeopathy, and dvd player. I can adjust my angle with the touch of a button, and I dont even have to stand up to go to the bathroom because the thing levatates all the way up until it puts me right on my feet with no effort involved.

In the bed, I just managed to get settled with a body pillow when I realized I wanted to turn over. You remember turning over when you are 9 1/2 months pregnant right? Grunting and straining and inching and heaving and keeping your knees in line with your torso. After 3 gasping minutes I made it. Next I realized I wanted a drink of water, but that involved REACHING which is turn made me feel like my bowels would come pouring out my belly button in a tidal wave of intestines.

So finally I gave up and lay there thirsty and uncomfortble until I realized.... HELLO.... My friendly naugahyde Space Station is just waiting to receive me back. Why did I think I wanted to sleep in the bed again anyway? Between my 1/2 a melatonan and my rented hospital lift chair, Ive slept through every since night since surgery.

If it aint broke, don't fix it.

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Hey I just realized I should tell you all what I...

Hey I just realized I should tell you all what I did yesterday -- went online and spent hundreds of dollars at Classic Shapewear. Since Im not really sure what size I am now (especially since I know it needs to be super tight) and since I dont know what style I will like, I bought a variety planning to send 3/4 of it back.

I HATE my binder way more than most people I think. Its so uncomfortable for me because of the chafing (although a long tank top under helps LOADS), and because it bunches up and gets uneven pressure. And I hate how I cant deal with it myself -- my husband HAS to put it back on me.

So in my mind, if a person is willing to spend a little money, why shouldnt there be a more comfortable binder out there? Im assuming I was given standard-grade military issue abdominal surgical binder. Im also assuming that can be improved upon if you are willing to pay extra for it.

I bought only the extra supportive post-surgical garments (because of course I have to talk my surgeon into letting me sub out my Iron Maiden) but I am still banking on them being a massive improvement over the Elastic Death Corset. I will let you know when they arrive. And hey ladies, maybe we can have a little fashion show!!!! ;)

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Oh and a P.S. about the drains.... Ive noticed...

Oh and a P.S. about the drains.... Ive noticed from pix that diff docs do diff drain sites. For example, Cherrybabi had one on her side. I had TWO put right into the top of my pubic hair area. Which is really ironic, because that means someone really DID shave me while I was under general anesthesia!!!! Just the very thing I was warned about!!!!!

Anyway, the point is that my drains were removed yesterday (DID I MENTION MY DRAINS WERE REMOVED YESTERDAY!!!!??? GLORY HALELUJAH!!) So today I decide to take a REAL shower. But when I peeled off my binder, and peeled off the gauze pads and garbage that I have going on underneath there, I think I peeled off the brand new soft baby scab forming on the right drain hole.

Did it hurt? Not at all. But I was greeted with a gush of warm pink fluid that continued to expectorate to the extent that it ran down my leg even after I patted it off a few times. How GROSS is that!!??? I have a body juice geyser coming out of the top of my cooter mound! Disgusting! I would post a picture but you would all probably lobby to toss me out of here, and I cant let that happen since you are the ONLY ones that I can talk to about all these details!!!

After showering the drizzle had abated so I gobbed on Bacitracian and covered back up. I didnt bother to call the doctor.

Speaking of cooter mounds, WTH with the swollen va jay jay??? Seriously. Its creepy. I am NOT getting the satisfaction I want from my husband as I chase him around pointing and saying "LOOK HOW SWOLLEN AND WEIRD IT IS!!" and he barely looks at me and says "Yeah" then scampers away. I think for him it's like the dreaded "Do I look fat in this dress?" question. He feels like he's on tricky ground and he's not sure which is the wrong answer that will get him clobbered, so he freezes like a deer in the headlights hoping me and my Gigantor Cooter will leave him alone.

Anyone else have spurting drain holes?

3 Comments

Hey rockinmom. you are looking great! Love reading your reviews. Between you and Cherrybabi you girls keep me so entertained! One sugestion regarding your binder wear a tanktop underneath it even when you get your cg wear a tanktop it really helps and makes it so much more comfy.
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You are SO RIGHT! Long thin tank top under the binder is a HUGE HELP! Thanks!
Definately 100% yes. Read what I wrote about how he does the "close" work for other surgeons -- he is so painstaking and meticulous. I learned about him because I knew three people who needed breast work who saw him -- one for a double masectomy, the other two to fix other surgeons work! If you are looking for perfection he is your man. And I was so surprised to discover, actually LESS $ than others that I consulted.

In response to Hello_From-Chicago, I am going to...

In response to Hello_From-Chicago, I am going to make a list of what I personally consider Tummy Tuck Essentials. Please note that I am NOT A DOCTOR and you should make your own evaluation, along with your doctor, whether the following items are going to be good for you in your particular situation.

1) Reclining lift chair (rent from a medical supply place for about $150/mo)
2) A walker (so your back doesn't hurt so much)
3) A lifted potty. It's not the end of the world if you don't get one, but it helps. Be sure to get one with handles.
4) I did NOT get a shower chair, I stuck one of our plastic yard chairs in there, but you WILL need something in the shower
5) A wand attachment to your shower head if you do not already have one
6) A side table RIGHT NEXT TO YOUR LIFT CHAIR, and also and easy on/off reading light
7) A water bottle that you like drinking from that is large (like over 20 oz) because ironically the more you drink water, the less water you will actually retain and swell. And you don't want the people helping you to have to fill it up every 5 minutes. I have one with a snap close lid and a little loop I can hook my finger through which helps a lot when you need to take it somewhere else in the house with you and you are on your walker. The one I got is PERFECT. I got it at Target for about $9.99 it is brand "aladdin" and says BPA Free on it, 24 oz.
8) 3 or 4 of those Clif 20g Protein Bars called "Builders." First off, they are as delicious as a candy bar. Second off, you will have no appetite the first 5-6 days which is GOOD (because we all want to lose weight, right?) but it's BAD because your body physiologically needs protein for tissue repair. So if you have a few of those next to your recliner, you can eat half of one for a meal even when you have no appetite (or if you actually DO want to eat but there is no one around to help you, or it's 2 am, or something.)
9) A package of Original Ginger Chews. They help with nausea. Also, I like them because they ARE sweet like a candy which satisfies that craving if you want a little num-num, but pretty much no one is actually going to eat the whole bag (like you would with a bag of chocolates) because they are too strong and gingerey. So one will tide you over for a long time.
10) Homeopathy -- Hypericum Perfortum -- for nerve pain after surgery. These are really helpful in the beginning when it can be hard to wait for the next pain pill.
11) Homeopathy -- Arnica -- for bruising and pain. Start taking these 3x a day starting 2-3 days before surgery.
12) Homeopathy -- Staphysagria -- for surgical wound healing.
(Personally I took all the arnica, then I took all the hypericum, and now I am taking the Staphysagria. You are not going to HURT anything by taking "too much" Homeopathy, but the principle is that you need to let one element work at a time. Oh and by the way, don't touch the pastilles with your hands [the caps dispense in such a way that you don't need to anyway] and take them separately away from any food, drink, or tooth brushing that will affect your body detecting them under your tongue.)
13) Bilberry extract -- for healthy connective tissue formation. Take 3x a day.
14) Hawthorn extract -- to increase circulation and reduce bloating and edema. Take 1x a day
15) Dandylion Leaf tea -- to reduce bloating and edema. Drink 3 cups a day.
16) Traumeel. This is similar to Arnica gel but with extra items in it. I have found it very helpful to rub on all the sore spots that develop (butt, back) that were NOT operated on (do not put on an open wound.) It is not at all like Ben-Gay -- it is NOT a menthol. You can mind it next to arnica gel in either Whole Foods or in a health food store.
17) A few boxes of large sterile surgical dressing pads. These are to tuck under your binder the first 1-2 weeks to alleviate the chafing and pressure points.
18) A little present for your husband or caretaker. I left a surprise 1/2 gallon of Cookie Dough Ice Cream in the freezer along with some raspberry candies that are my husband's favorite. I never pointed them out, but in the course of caring for me and the kids he found them, and it made him really happy.
19) Thank you cards. This might be the first time in your life you actually have time to write them :) And when people do nice things for you (even just the nurse at your doctor's office giving you extra help maybe) you can write a little thank you note. It makes the day go by way easier to have nice things like that to do.
20) A portable DVD player and a few DVD's
21) A little present for your kids who are going to be scared to death of you. My 6 year old son kept crying and crying and saying "What's wrong with mommy?" It's nice to have a happy reason to call them in to see you. I also had them read me books and that seemed to help a lot, they got to "help take care of mommy" and in that close time together they could see that I had not really changed.
22) Some tampax, because you WILL get your period within a week of the surgery. Even if you are lucky it will be within 3 weeks right? So be ready, because that's just one more thing you don't want to have to make someone go buy for you
23) A long (below hips) very thin tank top to go under your binder, and a pair of really loose comfy PJ pants
24) Granny panties. Get a size larger than usual, and get the cheap ones at CVS or Walgreens. Get non-elastic bikini or low rise style.
25) For after care, I got NewGel+E Advanced Silicone Gel for Scars because it was highly recommended on here by other ladies. I have not used it yet or even discussed it with my PS yet. I don't have my stitches out yet, so I will cross that bridge later.
26) Anti-Itch cream. I always use Cortisone cream and have that on hand, but I also got a non-steroid one made by Gold Bond because I thought I probably wouldnt want to be using too many steroids over a big area for a long time, and I understand that once the stitches are out the itching begins.
27) Hydrogen Peroxide and Rubbing Alcohol. Just because.
28) Bacitracian. I have ALWAYS used Neosporin, but apparently in this situation when they KNOW what the bacteria is that they are worried about with surgical openings (specifically, Staph) then you should just use the one antibiotic ointment specifically for Staph (Bacitracian) and not use a triple antibiotic ointment.
29) Go online to Classic Shapewear and at least start to think about what kind of compression garment you might like
30) Two bottles of Knudsen's ReCharge, or Alacer Miracle Water, for electrolyte replenishment the first week.
31) Kefir and/or a high quality probiotic because you need to help your intestines after all the thrashing from antibiotics and painkillers.
32) Metameucil. Take three teaspoons daily stirred into a small cup of water and drink it down. Why not? It makes things light and fluffy. :)

As an overall eating policy, you should try and emphasize a fresh foods as much as possible, leafy greens (for Vitamin K), cucumbers, parsley, celery, and alfalfa sprouts. Also try and emphasize sea vegetables (sea weed) for new cell growth, iodine, and minerals. Miso soup from a nearby japanese restaurant is a great thing to have. If you like it, even better have miso soup, seaweed salad, and a salmon/avocado roll as a healing dinner. Try and put a scoop of greens and reds powder along with a scoop of protein powder (whey protein is good for post surgery) at the very least as your smoothie breakfast each morning. Feel free to add in black strap molasses, wheat germ, organic fruit, psyllum husk, and brewers yeast if you like.

If you want to know more about this hippy crap, then buy the book Healthy Healing by Linda Recor Page. Good reading during your recovery :)

Finally, I am fortunate to live in the San Francisco Bay Area so all this stuff is really easy to find. Try a Whole Foods or any good health food store. Worst case, you can always order online.

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My Compression Garments arrived today. I was super...

My Compression Garments arrived today. I was super excited. As you know, I can't WAIT to get out of my binder. So here's what happened.

The FIRST one is like a black wetsuit that I can't even get past my knees. It is a size Medium, so I think I should get able to get it on. Not even CLOSE. What the hell is this thing made of? I decide that it's probably just because I am scared to PULL it on (it does have a zipper front, but the point is I can't even get near the point of when I would zip the damn thing) so I go on to the second one.

The SECOND one is beige, and much softer, so I manage to get it up to my hips. Then I wiggle into it really slowly and carefully, afraid of hurting my stitches (because I am totally breaking the law by doing this you know. I am supposed to be in the girdle for WEEKS and them my PS is going to actually give me a Compression Garment, I just didn't want to wait any longer so I am cheating.) I still left one protective pad over my front where the drain holes and belly button are. After much effort, I manage to zip it up. I am squeezed very very tight. Yes it IS putting on as much compression as the binder, maybe even more, and over a bigger area. So I lie down for awhile because I feel so squeezey.

Finally I get up and look in the mirror. WTF!? I invite you to please look at the pictures above so you can see what I mean.
1) Picture One -- this is what SHE looks like in the Compression Garment (that bi*** never had a TT I can tell you that!)
2) Picture Two -- this is what I look like in the Compression Garment. I LOOK LIKE THE LORAX.
3) Picture Three -- VISUAL AID

I think I am too disgruntled to try on the remaining two. I need a time of mourning first.

17 Comments

Hilarious! Seems PS go both ways on the binder vs CG right away. My CG by Veronique was put on right in the operating room and wore it for 5 days before my first post op. I love it, still wear it at night and wore it today to work under a roomy dress. I just love the support and compression it gives. I'm actually kind of getting used to the crotchless feature...is that wrong?
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This is top quality entertainment - keep it coming! My post-op garment goes from under the boobs to above the knee; in a similar range of colours - I have requested white and beige; don't as me why not black and white. And there is a lace panel in ours - a lady makes them to fit you individually... why lace?? Is it to try to make a silk purse out of a pig's ear? It ain't going to look good no matter what you do. I look like a freaky 1970s dept store dummy... had to try it on today to get and idea for size - apparently I am deceptive, look smaller than I am. I noted her look of shock when the big one was the best fit. STill it has zips going up both sides and I have to lay down to put it on and take it off.... this is not going to be good. I have to feel around to make sure it aligns with my bum crack and lady bottom - and it looks like I'm going to smell - there's no way I'll avoid getting pee on there...
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You are hilarious!!
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I have managed to recover emotionally from the...

I have managed to recover emotionally from the disappointment of being The Lorax. However, I then looked at the other two Dr Rey garments I ordered (apparently I was madly optimistic because the final two were a size Small) and I could -- literally -- not even get my two arms into the torso to stretch it out. I guess I assumed the sizing was for us AMERICAN full-blooded women, not for 76-pound Filipino women. And I think I was also living on Fantasy Island thinking that one week after my TT I was going to be auditioning for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and all my problems would be solved. Alas, enter reality. With the post surgical swelling I am JUST as fat as before. Maybe fatter. So the moral of the story is STAY THE COURSE LADIES AND GENTS! This is a six month solution not a six day solution. And I think the people that get all crazy and depressed are the ones that are too bummed that it's not a six day solution. SIX MONTHS PEOPLE! Let's re-define our goals!

So with that in mind, I just re-shopped this morning. Taking the advice of TT_for_twin_mom (who is such a weirdo that she LOVES her CG! What the heck! That is a sado-masochistic fetish if I ever heard of one), I went online and looked at Design Veronique post surgical garments. I do think the Classic Shapewear is a great site because they carry dozens of brands and styles. But they don't carry Veronique so I went directly to their site.

First of all, it is very fun to look at all the different crazy compression garments you COULD be wearing and are not. It's like -- Ha ha! Look at that person! Who would operate on THAT!!!? It's the same kind of small victory that you have when you have to answer those "Health Questionnaires" before donating blood or going to the doctor. You know what I mean, when it's asks a question like "Since 1970, have you ever had unprotected anal sex with a transsexual Ethiopian prostitute while doing intravenous drugs?" And you victoriously proclaim "NO I HAVE NOT!!!!", filled with the smug satisfaction that you are NOT nearly as screwed up as other people out there!

Well, I was having that same kind of smug satisfaction looking at all the body parts that are compressable. Finally I come across item #1052 "Labia Support Girdle" and I was like "Ha ha ha! What the heck!!!?? What is going ON for that person!!? They are a HOT MESS!!! Ha ha ha!" and then I merrily moved along.

And then about 3 minutes later it hit me. Um, HELLO. I am the freakshow posting online for millions of people to see that I am chasing my poor terrified husband around the house waving my Gigantor Cooter in the air. Talk about a plank in my own eye. The Labia Support Girdle is designed for ME!!!!!

So I am now ordering Style #C50 "Abdominal Recovery Kit", which includes one Zippered Abdominal Girdle (sounds good for now when I am all fragile and vulnerable), one Non-Zippered Abdominal Girdle (sounds good for the future when I am ready to be yanking things on again and don't want the zipper ridges) and the LABIA SUPPORT GIRDLE because now that I have recognized my hypocrisy I am ready to fling myself full-bore into a Cooter Reduction Strategy. The whole kit is $219.85, and I look forward to posting successful photos next week. Perhaps this time I will look like Humpty from Puss n' Boots instead.

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Woot woot! Hands in the air people! I had to peel...

Woot woot! Hands in the air people! I had to peel everything off to measure for the new Veronique compression garments and GUESS WHAT!? I AM SMOKIN' HOT! This is a good thing to do first thing in the morning when you are less swollen!! I am just going to sit and admire myself all day today. Look at my new bikini comparison pictures!!!! This is only TEN DAYS POST OP! (Note: yes my scar is rather high. I don't even care. Wotowic says the scar will actually end up being invisible because of how he cuts and sews and I believe him.)

16 Comments

At last - a happy you! You are pretty hot in the pictures - you can see a difference from early even with all the drains etc - have a good time admiring your new form!! Hip hip hooray!! And only 10 days in recovery.
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Oh but Cherrybabi! I got no booty! You could never be happy booty-less like me!! :-D Baby got ZERO back!!!
My hands are in the air girl! You look freaking great! I am 5 weeks post opt and you look better than me! How can that be! LOL! Your results are oh my wow!
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I need to add TWO very important things to my list...

I need to add TWO very important things to my list of "Things I Think You Need." One is Melatonan, to help you sleep in a non-drugged fashion. The second is Emergen-C..... but NOT to keep you from getting sick!

The past two days I have had the most horrible leg aches at night when I am trying to sleep. I could almost use the word cramping. I could not figure out what is going on other than I just suspect that I am so used to being very physically active all day long that my body is not doing so well with the inactivity. The agony subsides the moment I get up and walk around, but that is not very useful when you are trying to sleep is it!!??

So last night I pulled out the Healthy Healing book that I previously recommended. I looked up what to do for Muscle Cramps and Aches. There were some immediate physical practical things such as rubbing Traumeel on my legs (yay! I already had it) and having someone slap the bottoms of my feet really hard (which my husband somehow was perfectly happy to do....hmmmm...) But she also recommended taking an Emergen-C (by Alacer) for almost immediate relief.

Guess what? Almost immediate relief. Did NOT fix it entirely yet, but I am taking two more today and hoping things will be better tonight. Emergen-C many years back was only available at Health Food stores, but now it's totally mainstream and you can get it at Trader Joes and even Safeway.

My working theory is that aside from lack of activity, I am also depleted from drinking so much dang water to try and keep myself from bloating or swelling (sounds counter intuitive but it's absolutely true.) So I think I needed more electrolytes and minerals. I am also going to go and get another Knudsen ReCharge, because I only drank one back around Day 3 and it tasted like nectar it was so incredibly delicious. That should have tipped me off right there that my body was needing more electrolytes!!!

By the way I see my PS tomorrow and I am supposed to get my tape off and stitches out! I can't WAIT to see the real incision, and I will be sure to give you all a photo shoot!! Yippee!!

Continued in Part Two

32 Comments

Girl, I hope to God you are an author in your non-TT world, because you can REALLY write! And I hope you are looking great too, please do us all a favour and update so we can enjoy the next entertaining chapter!
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Ok I know you haven't updated in a while but OMG are you hilarious!!! I'm about 13 days post-op and I totally blame you for my sore ab muscles- I was laughing so hard! I LOOK LIKE THE LORAX lol!! So glad I found your review :-) You're amazing!
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San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

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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