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No! You Can't Take Your Tummy Away from Me! I Will Guard Your Fluff! - Scottsdale, AZ

That is what my 6-year-old son, the youngest of my...

That is what my 6-year-old son, the youngest of my four "suns," said before throwing himself over my "fluffy tummy" after overhearing a conversation about my decision to finally get a tuck. I chuckled and assured him that my fluff would be around for awhile longer. I made the decision after considering have the procedure for years, but I had to reach a breaking point before I decided to go ahead.

Like many women, growing up I thought I was morbidly obese as a 5' 8" curvaceous female with hips, booty, and ample breasts. So ample, I was a 38 H, which I jokingly said meant "humongous," when I received my breast reduction in 1999. I was a size 10/12. Boo hoo. Fast forward to my first year of marriage, in which I gained over 100 pounds and was a size 24/26!

I consider gaining that weight to be one of the best things that had ever happened to me. If I had not had the experience of truly being obese, 268 lbs to be exact, I would not have the positive body image I have now after four pregnancies, 90+ lbs of weight loss, several group fitness licenses, and over a decade of falling in love with me, and all of my fabulous-ness! *side note, I think everyone needs to be there own favorite person :)

For a few years, the fact that I was a Group Fitness, Water Aerobics, Group Cycling, and Zumba instructor was enough. Me! The one alway picked last for kickball was teaching at least three fitness classes a week for the last two years. Yet, my stomach was still trying to win some future Halloween contest as "Best Jabba the Hutt." I kept tell myself that it did not matter. Look how far I had come! The flatsie 20 year olds in my Zumba classes can't keep up with me, and I am almost 40! I am fit and healthy! That is what matters.

But every time I looked in the mirror, I look down at my belly, sigh, stick out my bottom lip, and wish the skin was gone. In those moments, as much as I would try to blast my consciousness with positivity and gratitude for my health, sound mind, and able body, my spirit would sink. Just a little. Each and every time.

Reading the stories of you ladies over the past few months gave me the resolve and fortitude to say, "Enough." I had my consult with my highly recommended and researched plastic surgeon and put down a deposit on a date at the end of the appointment. :)

So, as I read through the stories amassing my lists of tips and tricks, oooooo-ing and aaaaaahhhhhh-ing at your transformations, refining my plans for how the five "boys" in my house will care for me, with a misty eye, a wide grin, a fluttering heart, and a lightened spirit, I say truly, madly, and deeply, "Thank you. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your journey with me. Your ups. Your downs. Your struggles. Each of these aspects have been truly inspirational and have made a direct impact on me and my life. Your photos have given me courage, and moreover, a sense of belonging. Blessings of love and light to you."

Okay, so thanks to all of the inspiration found on...

Okay, so thanks to all of the inspiration found on this site, I met with my PS, and added breast augmentation. I actually had a breast reduction in 1999, and apparently, it is quite common with the the old procedure to have the breasts "bottom out" leaving flat, long breasts behind. Mommy makeover here I come! As my husband put it, he remembers saying "goodbye" to the girls, and looks forward to saying "hello" once again! Me too.

Okay, I decided to just get the tummy tuck and...

Okay, I decided to just get the tummy tuck and wait to get my breasts done later in the year. While this decision definitely lightens the stress load, I am a little disappointed that I cannot breasts done now. I am trying to focus on the tummy, since that was my original plan from the start.

Today, I made my final payment for my procedure!...

Today, I made my final payment for my procedure! yikes! I still need to pay the anesthesiologist and the care facility, but those expenses are minor in comparison. I also had my first, "Oh, shit! What the hell am I doing??!!" moment as well! I am officially an amalgamation of nervousness and excitement :)(. I expect this to change about 100 times between now and the surgery.Lol.

PRE-OPERATIVE APPOINTMENT! DONE.

Wow. Thank you so very much my RealSelf TT sisters! I was so well prepared for my pre-op appointment, the informed consent was a breeze because I was familiar with all of the information contained therein. The few questions we had my doctor found remarkable, and even said,"Great questions! You guys are really on top of it."

I was certain I was going to leave the office nervous, but rather, I was excited! When my PS said, "See you in 3 weeks!" I wish I could have done a backflip! She is excited because she thinks I will have great results, and I am excited to be rid of my baby belly once and for all :) Huzzah!

Wow! This is becoming more and more real...

So, I paid the anesthesiologist! The only fee left is my stay in the care facility. My PS requires an overnight stay for her tummy tuck patients. I remember in January setting the date, unsure how we were going to pay over $10,000 out of pocket, and now, we are almost there. Where there is a will, there most certainly is a way! I look at this surgery as my reward for all of my hardwork losing weight, regardless of how much I may have gained back, and as a present to abdomen after bearing four large boys. I can't even fathom the changes that my personality is about to undergo.

A Sick Son = A Sick Mama

Sad face! So, my son is finally on the mend, and I woke up with a slight cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, the works! Upping the Vitamin C, and I am going to rest. I keep telling myself that two weeks is more than enough time to beat this. I sure hope so!

Ohmygod, P! I'm scared...y

Yep! I had my first moment of fear and the beginnings of panic yesterday. I suddenly thought, "What the hell am I doing?" and felt the general feeling of anxiety start to creep from my stomach into my chest. Glad to know I am human :) Love to all of you in recovery...I will be joining you shortly.

Tick...tick...tick...tock......

Time is almost up! Yikes! I don't know what it is about making your last payment that suddenly makes everything so real! I paid the care facility for the overnight stay, and BoOM! Pre-surgery jitters came on full force. Followed by my monthly. Followed by a final job interview with the President of my college for a full-time position. I am focusing on being grateful that they are happening before my sx :) eventhough they are adding to that battalion of butterflies in my stomach! Love and light to all of you recovering this week!

The Day after Tomorrow!

Seriously, it does not seem as if four months have passed since I first began this tummy tuck journey. I researched and researched, but this website is what made me determined to make my flatsie dreams a reality. Thank you to all of the TTs of the past, for without you, I would not be embarking on my own journey. I know that there is a long road of recovery ahead of me, but I am almost to the top of the mountain :)

T Minus 24 hours and counting....

Ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygoddess! Deeeeep Breath! Okay, I purposely left setting up my room, packing, arranging supplies, etc. for today because I knew my mind would be consumed with this surgery today. Oh, I was so right! So, packed bags are placed on random counters, my husband is making a list, and checking it twice, and the homemade, low sodium soup I plan on consuming the majority of the week is simmering away on the stove. The last day with my belly. Sigh. It has been a long road, but it is time to say goodbye.

Go time!

Enjoying the last few hours being comfortable and mobile. Wow. I still can't believe the day has arrived :)

Post op day something!

Yay! So, I am not sure if I am on day two or three, but the pain gets better each and everyday. The pain is more uncomfortable, in may case, and I am able to rest comfortably most of the day. Oh, how I itch under this CG though! My Dr. removed 7lbs of abdominal fat and lipo'ed 5 lbs do fat from my flanks. "You should be nice and flat, my dear!" were her last words before checking me out of the hospital :D

Swollen and itchy itchy

But I'll take it! Pain is minimal when I get up to walk around. Other than that I'm quite comfortable.

PO Day 3

Milk of Magnesia is my friend :)

What a beautiful morning! Everything was very easy and effortless with no pain or discomfort whatsoever. Thank goodness! I have been able to keep any coughs at bay with my constant supply of Hall's cough drops, and I have not needed to sneeze. My PS cut me all the way around to the back, and I wasn't expecting that, but no worries. I don't have very much swelling or bruising, thankfully. My husband is already oooooohhhhing and awwwwwwiiiing, but all I see is gauze and bandages. Lol!

I feel like my old self..

except for when I get up, then my back wants to remind me how sore it is! Like many of you, I started to stretch the hydrocodone yesterday and I doing the same with the Valium today. I don't have very much bruising, and I am still enjoying my time in the recliner...for now! I have a lot to keep me busy. My love to those who are not having as easy time as I am. I hope that each day gets better and better. I will post more pictures soon. :)

One week.....

Wow! That went fast! My recovery is thankfully uneventful and comfortable. Just taking a pain pill and muscle relaxer at night. I will have my first pre op, besides the morning after sx, either tomorrow or Wednesday, and should be getting my drains out then. I haven't showered and have pretty much just left everything alone up to this point. I had one laugh that I couldn't control today. It hurt a little, but it wasn't too bad, thankfully. I still feel great :)

Like Ryan SeaCrest...

My drains are out! My PS says I still have a lot of swelling, nothing unusual, and that I will be nice and flat when all is said and done. Hard to imagine when looking at this lumpy, bumpy stomach! Lol. The hard part is over though, pain is minimal, I just have to wait out the swelling....

9 days Post Op

Swell hell? Oh, well :)

Week Two!

Not much has changed. I am just riding out the swelling wave :) Due to the apron, I immediately lost 7 inches from my hips, and due to swelling, I gained 6 in my waist. I can't wait for it to all balance out!

More Pics!

3 weeks!

Everything is about the same, except I am more swollen. We were out and about in the 118 degree weather this weekend, taking our boys to movies, and I wonder how much the heat may have made an impact. Today, I started my monthly! Yikes! Some interesting aches and pains there, and my abdomen is more tender than it has been, but still, no big deal. I sure that influenced my swelling, as well :) In short, since I have blown up like Violet Beauregard from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, despite by avoidance of sodium and carbs, no pics this week, although I do still look absolutely fabulous :D

4 Weeks Post Op!

The light at the end of the Swell Hell tunnel....

I am beginning to see it. Although I am still very swollen, it is finally starting to subside. I have a little pocket of swell on my back at the end of the incision, but most of my back swelling has subsided. My PS said that swelling would start to subside around this time, but looking at my tummy last week, I wasn't sure this was going to be the case! I am a professor, so I am off for the summer, so I have been able to kick my heels up this entire recovery. I still find myself getting randomly nauseous and transient pain this week, so I take that as a sign everything is reconnecting :) I also booked our trip to Vegas, just the hubby and I, to celebrate my 40 th in October. I cannot wait to rock a bikini! Whoo hoo!

I woke up from a nap with blood on my shirt...

And I was like, "Oh shizz! What did I do?" I went to the bathroom, and saw that my incision had opened in three or four places along my incision! Everything looked good, as in no redness, fever, pus, etc., so I did not panic. I had an appointment scheduled in a few days, so I debated whether or not to call my PS, and finally did at my husband's insistence. The receptionist suggested we just move up the appointment to that day. The PS was not concerned as the openings are very superficial, and we're most likely the result of the scabs coming off too soon due to the tape. I have to rewind a little bit as a result, as in walk with a bend, etc., and try to stay in the beach chair position until it is closed. I have to wear my CG looser, so this morning, I was back to being a black Violet Beauregard. Swell hellllllllllllllll!

I learned two things from this that I want to pass on. Please, please, take care of your self. Don't overdue it. My husband does not let me do anything, I am off for the summer, I cannot work out until 8 weeks PO, so I literally spend 23.5 hours a day in my recliner or on my wedge system, and this still happened to me at 4 weeks PO. My recovery has been easy, and this is my only minor blip.

Second, please don't hesitate to call your PS even if everything indicates that you are fine. I even hate to ask where something is in a store, and will wander the aisles lost rather than finding an employee, so of course, I am not the first to call the doctor when something occurs. I would rather just handle it myself, and I am usually right. Usually. And that is what made me call. What if I wasn't and I woke up the next morning with a problem that could have been lessened or averted if I had gone in sooner. So please, do not hesitate to call.

It has only been a day, and the openings are entirely closed and my skin looks like a scab was removed rather than an open sore. Whew! My hubs has confined me to the recliner, and I am hopped up on episodes of "Parking Wars" and "Moonshiners." Lol.

5 week PO is just like week 4

I even have on the same pajamas ;) Seriousneven my measurements of the same as last week! Where the tape is missing is where my incision opened up four spots in all, so I have to wait a little bit longer before I put tape that as well. I have had trouble sleeping due to my complete and utter lack of activity, but all in all, life is beautiful. PS: to all my June TTs already getting their freak on, my doc said not until 8 weeks PO. I am so jealous :)

6 weeks post op...

Only 2 weeks until I can exercise again! Both vertically and horizontally (wink, wink). Enough said! I feel normal again, and if this makes any sense whatsoever, I had no idea that I didn't, until I did! Lol! The incision started weeping in a few spots after a shower, but I have nice, thick scabs now. I am not taking any chances though, so sponge baths and I are about to become best friends. I don't resume teaching until August 17th, and I hope by then my swelling will have subsided. I have Kimmers echoing in my head...everything takes time...it will get better. So, whenever I get sad because I look so wide, I just turn sideways. :)

Six weeks photos...

7 weeks post op pictures

7 Weeks.....

One more week until I can exercise! Ugh, I feel sooooooo out of shape, but I am very excited to get back into the swing of things. I have the Zumba Instuctors Convention the following week, 9.5 weeks post op, and I am concerned about being able to complete even half of my workshops. I plan on taking it easy, but I still get nauseous and break into a cold sweat occasionally when I try to help my husband go grocery shopping. I have not had to return to work, and have basically been sitting on my ample a$$ the last two months, so I hope that this doesn't get worse with exercise.

I saw my PS on Saturday, and got the clearance to stop wearing my binder 24/7! WhooHooo! I know, as many ladies have already said, it is both a blessing and a curse. Not wearing it for even a few hours, I noticed I was more sore than I have been the last few weeks with many more zings and zaps of pain here or there. For me, I decided this was a good thing, as I hope increased circulation help increase the healing of my lymphatic system :) I am still swollen, and that is of course, to be expected. I measured myself 1 day post op, and I am currently 5 inches bigger in my waist and 7 in my hips. This is actually down a little bit, thankfully. I am hoping once I get moving, the swelling will continue to subside. My PS reminded me that I had a muscle repair, obliques included, tummy tuck, and lipo of the flanks. Ah yes, the perfect recipe for a swelling souffle :) Love and light until next week, my friends!

8 weeks PO pics

Still swollen...but I'll take it! :D

Sweet swell surrender ...

I am cleared to do EVERYTHING! I never thought that I would be excited to do housework, but alas, I am! I also was cleared to stop wearing my binder, except for during exercise, and I am ferociously swollen as a result. I know for many women, leaving it on as long as possible is best, but for me, having to remove my binder accelerated my healing when my incision opened and again when areas started weeping. I still have large pockets of swelling wear my scar ends and the areas of lipo, and I want to see if increased circulation helps :D I have finally surrendered that I am going to be swollen much longer than I expected, and I'll take it. I still remember what I looked like post-surgery, pre-swell hell, and I can relax knowing I will get there soon...and I look pretty fabulous in the meantime :) So will/do all of you! Happy Monday!

10 weeks post op pics

Sorry I missed week 9! I was out of town :)

11 Weeks....still in Swell Hell! Lol.

Sorry I have been away for so long, my lovelies.....

Wow! I think I am actually 13 weeks tomorrow! Where did the time go!? I am back to working out, and feeling normal when I teach my Zumba class, but the first week I did, I went to bed a 9 pm and 8 pm. Lol! I was worn out! I am having problems with swelling of my feet and ankles as well, which I learned is a common problem post-surgery, because of the damaged and still-healing lymphatic system. Everything went well at the Zumba Convention, but I definitely had/have some limitations. As far as aches and pains, I get some twinges here and there in the obliques, but not so much other than that. My husband did accidentally bent me back a little while giving me a hug a few weeks ago, which caused a small pull. So, I have a small spot that is tender and needs to heal, but again, it's minor. This is my fourth week back at work, teaching full time, and other than some swelling and a few aches here or there, everything is lovvvvvveeeeeeelllllllllllly :)

12 Weeks Pics

What you really want...the pictures!

Lucky 13

Granted, I started to swell about 5 minutes later!

Ooopsss...Those are 15 weeks PO pics!

Where did the time go? I was really thinking that I was 13 weeks. Lol
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon

She is truly an artist. Her TTs are like no other :)

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
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Hi Jenn, you look great! I went in and saw Dr. Daiza the other day. She is very happy with my progress. Things are going great. I'm very happy with my results as well. I do have to have some revision done to my sides where my incision ends. She said we can do it right in the office. I go back right after the first of the year. I still have some swelling but nothing major. Great seeing you are doing well.
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My ends are really swollen, but have been getting less so as time progresses. I am hoping that I don't need one, too! Did you post any photos yet? I see Dr. D at the end of October. :-)
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Yes, I posted my before and after pictures. I'm shocked when I look at them side by side. It is definitely a reality check.
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You've done so well, Jenn! I appreciate your posts , they have been very helpful! I'm 3 weeks out today. Getting better daily
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Thanks, Ronny! It seems so long ago now that I was at three weeks, but it definitely starts to get better from here.
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You are still looking good! Swell hell will go away, but takes a long time.
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Thanks again, Vee :)
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I started back to work last week. I didn't wear my binder every day. Talk about swelling!! This week is the first week with kids. We'll see how that goes. Good luck to you with classes starting up again!
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Thanks ray! So far so good :-)
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You look great, Jenn! Have a blast at your Convention :)
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Thanks, obsessed! I did :-)
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Looking good!
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Thank you, Vee!
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You look great! Thanks for sharing your story
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Thanks, June! Have a wonderful day :)
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Jenn, you look amazing! I am 38 days out to mine. You encourage me. Thank you so much for sharing all the pics
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Thanks, Ronnie! I try :)
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I am 3 days post extended TT. So far so good. Moving about slowly and pain under control with meds. Removed 10 lbs of skin! Had muscles tightened. Feel like i did 5 gazillion sit ups in 30 mins. :).
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You look great, Jenn!! And I love your positive attitude. I will remember to turn sideways when I'm feeling sad, too. Happy healing to you :)
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Love and light, Obsessed!
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Wow! What a fabulous writer you are! I am definitely going to be following you from here on out. You are a couple of weeks ahead of me surgery-wise. I will look to you to see what is around the corner. Plus...we looked very similar pre op. Where do you teach?
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Well, thank you very much, Ray! I teach at a community college in Arizona, and I taught at a university in Washington state before that. Happy healing :)
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Thanks for the reminder to take it easy! I am 4 days po and feel like I could go run a few miles! I feel great so I need people like you reminding me that I need to chill!
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Mira Mira, oh I still just love your name! Lol. When I first joined real self, I read stories from lots of women who felt great and started working, exercising, driving, having intimate relations a very early in their recovery. Although they did not relate the two, many of these same women developed complications as late as eight weeks post op or frequently complained that they still had pain. To me, that said this is a slower healing process then most would imagine, so I promised myself that I would be a recliner potato, regardless of how I felt, for the first six,weeks. At that point, 90% should be healed :)
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Thanks for the great advice! I will take it!
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