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Tummy tuck w/Lipo to LoveHandles: 6 weeks Post Op- TT good... lipsuction swelling... help?!

I have the most incredibly beautiful children in...

I have the most incredibly beautiful children in the whole world. It would be worth having them, and losing my body and shape, even if I wasn't able to have this surgery. :o) But I am REALLY excited that I DO get to have a tummy tuck, and liposuction to my flanks. I have an incredibly supportive husband... thank you God!

My 2nd baby, was 10.5 lbs, and I'm 5'6' 140. Needless to say, it tore apart my core.... I found my muscles 5" or more apart after he was born. My 3rd baby was 9.5 lbs, and made everything even worse. I feel pregnant a lot of the time, especially after meals. I never had body image issues prior to having children, and now it has taken up way too much of my time and energy. I ran a marathon after my 2nd baby, and have run after my 3rd, and it almost doesn't matter what I do - I just have a big gut that didn't exist before.

Dr Salemy is INCREDIBLE. Personable, educates his patients, amazing. His nurses say he's a perfectionist. My pre-op appt went well.

TIP: I do wish I would've spent a little more time a couple months ago, researching how I can best set up my body for the surgery. I've found some great information on supplements that you can start doing 2 months before surgery. I only have 2 weeks, but I'm trying it anyway. It can't hurt, right?
This is the site I've found most helpful:
http://www.drjoannelopes.com/preparing.php

TIP: Spend a lot of time preparing your life.... get details in order, prep meals and put them in the freezer, take supplements, ask questions, pay bills, clean, etc. The more you do leading up will allow you less stress afterwards. Plan for people to help you... don't be ashamed! Ask for people to help you, especially in the first week afterward.

My surgery is one week from today... nervous and excited! I had a c-section with my last baby, so I KNOW it's going to hurt, and I KNOW I will get through it.

TIP: The healing for this procedure is a LONG process. The effects of anesthesia can last for up to 6 months in your body. Swelling can last for up to a year. Have realistic expectations... you won't see the full results until at least 6 months later, or longer! Allow yourself TIME to be the new you!

3/18/13- Added before pictures. I will have to...

3/18/13- Added before pictures. I will have to have my husband take a couple more pictures... It's hard to do it yourself. :) I need to take ones from behind because I will have lipo to my flanks/love handles... And am really curious to see the difference.

Just added another before picture from a few years...

Just added another before picture from a few years ago, from after my 2nd child. Getting all my loose ends tied up, and trying to have everything ready for a peaceful recovery. Thank goodness for an amazing monther-in-law... she's taking the kids tomorrow, as my surgery is the next day! ahhhh! Nerves setting in...

Well, I'm 5 days post-op and I'm finally thinking...

Well, I'm 5 days post-op and I'm finally thinking about updating this!
So far, the big comment from my family and a few friends who have stopped by, is "You look so small," Fantastic! I better after 10K. :)

I never thought I would make it through the first couple hours after surgery, between feeling nauseas and having a 45 min drive home and needing pain mess. But once we got me home, a little food and drugs, I feel asleep for 1.5hrs and felt like a different person.

Since then, I will spare all the details, but note some of the TIPS I've learned and ask a couple questions!

-Stay focused on the long goals! If I would've been looking at just that day- I would've felt so discouraged and would've felt like nothing was going to change.
-ROTATE YOUR POSITIONS! Half of the pain I was managing was how much my butt and tailbone hurt from not being able to walk around.
-Instead of a recliner or hospital bed, I bought a bed wedge off amazon for about $50. IT WAS WORTH IT. I could lay down, or sit up with it, without having to worry about shifting pillows all night long.
-Use your sleeping pills. My husband finally convinced me... I would take one Vicodin before bed, and All I needed was a half of a sleeping pill. I would sleep until 6am, then get up and go potty, my husband would help me roll onto my side, and I would take 1 ES Tylenol and got back go sleep until 8 or later. I didn't use my sleeping pill until the 4th night, and wish I would've done it sooner.
-The more you can get up and walk- do it! The more I would go potty and take "laps" around the house afterward... Or by day 2.... Trying to do some little things myself to give me an excuse to be on my feet and using my muscles, the more comfortable I would be when I did lay or sit down. The more I would move I could tell my sweeping and tenderness was decreasing.
-Plan out some meals and foods that you can eat that are low sodium. You wouldn't believe how much salt is in stuff once you look. I've been really diligent and its really been helpful.
-START A STOOL SOFTENER ahead of time. I started taking 1 a night 2 nights before my surgery and continued after. On the morning of day 3, I had a BM that practically fell out of me!! So nice!
-I bought flowers ahead of time, put them in a few vases, and had my house all clean... And it was so nice to have everything peaceful while I was resting and recovering.
-Drink lots of WATER!

So my questions....
-Has anyone else had just weird feelings and sensations when you had your garment off? The first time I had it off was on day 3 at my Pre-op appt. I was already feeling sick from the hr drive, and as soon as the nurse took my garment off... The dr came in, and I got sick and threw up. :( it was awful. It hurt so bad...ripping pains everywhere. The Dr said I could take a shower, but I just did another sponge bath and had my mom was my hair.
Is it real sensations and actual weird feelings, or is it just my mind making everything queasy? I haven't seen my scar or belly button yet... Just nervous still. Any tips or help???

So, call me crazy. But every time I've had my...

So, call me crazy. But every time I've had my compression garment off, I get waves of nausea , break out into a sweat, and feel like I'm going to throw up. So needless to say, I've limited it. I finally made a little bit of progress! And had my husband take a one week post – op picture of me. I can tell my swelling has really increased since day 2 so I was almost in tears when he said, "you have such a great shape!" (I haven't even looked in the mirror yet), so it really was the first time I was looking at myself. I wanted to cry. It's worth it!

So here are my first post pictures!!! I had a follow up at the doctors on Friday, and got my first drain out, and my Laipo stitches out, and my belly button stitches out. He was awesome, because nothing hurt in the least. Tired of the hour-long drive, but really do like my doctor.

I've noticed a huge difference in the pain in the last 2 to 3 days. Have gone completely off the Vicodin, and just using Tylenol. When can I switch to Advil? On night six, got out of bed by myself for the first time. And only need minimal help for laying down on my back or side. Trying to move more throughout the day in small chunks, stretch my legs, things like that, it feels good.

Just trying to be patient with the swelling. I know it will be around for a long time. :-)

Well, for the first time today, when I looked at...

Well, for the first time today, when I looked at myself I thought I could see a difference in the swelling. It seems to have settled to a little tire around my midsection underneath my bellybutton. I was encouraged! So it seems to be isolating itself somewhat. The Liposuction is definitely worse swelling than the TT, and more painful in my opinion.

I do feel a little disappointed about the area underneath my bellybutton. It seems he had to do a little bit of a T- cut, because my skin was so loose. I don't think that part bothers me, but there's a crease in my skin, and my skin feels a little saggy, even with the swelling. I'm trying not to get too discouraged, because I'm not sure what it will look like when all the swelling is down. But when the swelling goes away, it feels like the saggy skin will get worse. Again, I'm trying to keep perspective, but kind of a bummer to spend so much money and not have that look the way you want it. At least right now. Anyone have experience with this?

Another question, what is your experience with switching to Spanx, or something similar? My doctor gave me the okay to do that if I wanted, as long as I was wearing something with constant compression. My CG isn't too uncomfortable anymore, now that my swelling is down a tiny bit. But the spanks are almost the amount of money as my compression garment anyway. Guess I need to find somewhere I ca try them on, before spending the money. I would appreciate any tips! Also, I feel very crooked. The small part of mid-section feels really in a different spot on each side. And that is right where my CG tends to push and sort of increase. I don't know if that's bad, I will even out eventually, or?

Here are my two week post op pictures! Overall, I'm pleased. Just not sure about this spot under my belly button.

3 weeks Post-Op: I am really starting to feel...

3 weeks Post-Op:
I am really starting to feel more like myself, just sower, have to pace myself, still stiff, and I get tired easily. But... huge difference from one week ago.

QUESTION- do I have a small seroma issue? I feel like if you compare my pictures from week 1 to 2 to 3.... My stomach is getting more bulgy above my incision, below my belly button. See the latest picture in black bra, compared to the first post-op pic in the blue bra. Does it just appear that way because the overall swelling of my mid-section is decreasing? Or is the swelling just collecting there because of gravity? But it feels like it's sticking out further than on Week 1. The swelling is like a pouch along my front... and it's pretty firm... not even sure what a seroma looks like...
Anyone have tips? Thoughts? I should call my Drs and see what they say.

MORE TIPS-
-Because of also having lipo on my flanks, sleeping really didn't get back to normal until after 3 weeks. Just be patient.
-I took 1 stool softener the first fews days, had one great poop, and THEN the constipation hit. I wish I would've taken 2 stool softeners a day... the constipation was horrible for about a week, even with eating really healthy.
-Only take the pain pills if you need them. Try to weaning down after a few days, and weaning off a few days after that... it will almost immediately help with constipation.
-Making it to the 2 week mark, was a big deal. Started feeling up and around more... just moving more. Then hitting the 3-week-mark was a big difference from 2 to 3 weeks out.
-I used my wedge pillow I purchased until nearly 3 weeks at night... it wasn't comfortable to lay flat on my back cause it stretched my stomach too much, and it hurt my love handles lipo area.
-I was recommended to do contrast hydro therapy by my naturopath starting at 1 to 2 weeks after surgery on my incision... it feels really good, and seems to be helping with circulation. 3 x a day (but anything helps!). Apply heat for 3 mins, then cold for 30 seconds. Repeat 3x. I do it at night before bed, with a heating pad, and ice pack that has one thin layer over it.

4 Weeks Post-op... (getting caught up..)

Well, I can say that hitting the 4 week mark must have been a big game-changer for me... because I never posted these! (I am now at 12 weeks, but wanted to go back and add these, so people could see the difference.)

Life started getting back to normal here. I was able to do all the usual thing around the home and with my children... EXCEPT for lifting. I had to be very careful with my youngest... he's a chunk! That was the trickiest part.

Although I was DOING most of normal life... my schedule was still kept at bare bones, and I was EXHAUSTED each evening... felt more like pregnancy energy... just tired no matter what. Remember.... it takes your body a lot of energy to heal!

Wore my compression garment FAITHFULLY.... day and night.

6 weeks Post Op- TT good... lipsuction swelling... help?!

My post-op with my PS was pretty uneventful. He thought my stomach looked nice and flat. I have a line going down from my belly button to my incision that I was wondering about that looks strange. It's gotten better with time.... but he said they can do an in-office procedure within the next 6 months + if I want to... they would make a slight slit and just take in that extra skin. So there would be a little scar, but it smooth it out. We will see what it looks like 6 months from now... no biggie reallly.

HOWEVER... when he said, "how are your pants fitting?" and I said... "well, I can't button them..." He said, "What?" And had this surprised look on his face... I said I thought my love handle area still felt pretty large... and he said I had some swelling still... but it bothered me that he acted surprised when I said I couldn't button my pants. So I called back later and talked with a nurse.... they said I could still be swelling, exercise (now that I was cleared) would help... and by 3 months I should see a difference.

But does anyone else think it's weird that I can't fit into the lower rising pants/shorts that have fit me for YEARS... even with slight weight fluctuations with being pregnant, etc? I mean, they are my regular pants that I fit into when I get within 10 lbs of my ideal weight... but now, 6 weeks afterwards... they don't fit.
My PS said I should be done with about 90% of my swelling... which means my shape shouldn't really change that much....

Hmmm... not feeling great about it. At this point, I'm happy with my TT results, but my liposuction love handle areas feel worse looking than they did before...

HELP?!!
Seattle 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
4 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
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Ohhh sweetie. I feel your frustration....I haven't had my surgery yet..but I think your photos look like you are making some good progress...go back and look at "The Brain"-( very descriptive..)-- do you miss it? You definitely look better now...this reinforces to me the value of taking photos, so that you can see your progress.... :0)
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Thanks! I definitely love the TT results and the Brain being gone! That part I'm very pleased with. :) I went back and looked at before pics and then myself in the mirror, and there is little or no improvement in my love handles. So that is my area of concern. Love the TT! I'm 3 months out... Not sure if this is normal or not. :)
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Really? You STILL see love handles..??? I don't see them at all...your sides look totally smooth to me, and a nice shape is developing too!
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I love your list. Thanks for the info!
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If your swelling is firm, it's not a seroma. Seromas feel like a fluid wave and you can tap one side and see the ripple on the other side. Firm is good because all the healing collagen and stuff are flooding in to heal you up. It's not always even. Its going to take its own sweet time softening up again, but it will! And you will be flat like you were right after surgery. Your looking great!
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That is SO GOOD TO KNOW. Thank you!!! I have never heard it explained that way. That gives me peace of mind! It's definitely firm... So that's a good sign. Thank you! Still lots of swelling then I guess! :)
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You look amazing... Don't worry about swelling or scars. You have to rediscover yourself all over again. You'll love it.
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GO TO BURLINGTON COAT FACOTRY FOR SPANKS THEY HAVE A NICE SELECTION AND ARE REALLY CHEAP. Congratulations!! Their is a burlinton in north Edmonds south lynnwood.
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Hey, thank you for the tip! I really appreciate that! There is one close to me down in Tacoma... THANKS!!!
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TacomaHopeful, you look flat and fabulous! It is so like us girls to start questioning our looks 2 weeks out from a major transforming surgery. There is so much healing left to do, but who has time?! You really do look fabulous. I bet it just gets better and better!
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I know... it's just weird rediscovering your body... you know? It's strange! But things are progressing well I think... thank you!
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Looking good! WOW so flat!
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Thank you! Im going to add my two week post op pictures right now. :-)
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You look fantastic. So flat! I hope you are not wearing the CG any more, or at least not so tight. Glad your feeling better!
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I am still wearing it, per doctor's orders. I have noticed a little bit of decrease in the swelling the last couple days, so that does help. He did say I could switch to Spanx. But they are practically the cost of a CG. Jeesh.
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I actually wore both for at least 2 months after the surgery. My PS had me put on the spanx the next day. What a job that was. My instructions were to cut out the crotch and only take them off to shower. It was a pain, but I'm really happy I did. No lumps or bumps anywhere.
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Thanks for the bio. I am never more than a few minutes without my CG, only long enough to take a shower or put arnica gel on my swelling & bruising. The wierd sensation I have is the skin above my belly button is warm and tender the skin under my belly button is cold and doesn't really have any feeling when I rub it. I sure hope that gets better with time. Especially since it's very bruised looking underneath. I know we all have a long road to the figure we want....but atleast we're taking the 1st few steps.....to the end results we want. Best wishes.
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Thank Happy! I'm going to update my photos today. :) finally made it through the weird feeling of having my compression garment off. But I wear it around the clock still.
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Okay, first - Vicodin always makes me puke - always. I can handle percocet much better, still a little nausea, but better. I won't even try to take Vicodin, I just tell the doc I'm allergic to it. Second, the garment thing - I think you are having panic attacks. Not something massive, but it really sounds like mini panic attacks. Probably some sort of subconscious fear about your tummy being unsupported or something. Your post op pics do look awesome - so look in the mirror girl! Take a shower too. I took one on day two, granted my surgery was drainless. I actually spend most of my time on the floor because my back hurt from standing hunched over, but the shower felt GOOD! Oh, and no Motrin/Advil until you are two weeks out - that's what my doc said. I'm feeling much better already and I'm only a day ahead of you. I've had a couple emotional swings, but my post op nurse Jen told me that was SUPER normal. She said that for the first two weeks the majority of their patients comment about emotional swings. She assured me they'd calm down, but they were very, very normal. Oh, and I noticed too that I swelled more from day 2 to day 5. It's like hey! Isn't this supposed to go down? Not up?!? Guess that's not the case. My nurse told me that it would take months for the final results to fully show. You're doing great - take each day at a time. Today was Easter and I worked two shifts at the welcome desk and then did dinner at the neighbors and still feel great. Just taking Valium and Tylenol occasionally.
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Thanks for the encouragement! Yes I finally took a full shower... Where I washed my hair and shaved at the same time. I finally had some breakthrough on the garment. :) noticing a real big difference these last couple days w pain. Thankfully! Sounds like you're doing great!
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Wow! Great pix. You look awesome!
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Thank you!
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I'm needing a tt with lipo, mr and BA. I'm curios to how well dr salemy performs BA. His photo gallery seems to have very perky hp implants. And would like a mod profile teardrop shaped breast. However, his tt with lipo are fanominal! I plans to consult with dr salemy and two others in the area. The hardest part is fining the right surgeon that fits my post op expectation. Any further input on him would be appreciated. Your tiny waste an flat tummy has me envious! :) was the $10k cost including facity, surgical costs, anesthesia, garments ect...?
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Hey there! Well, I can't really give advice on the BA side of things, obviously. But definitely go in for a consultation. I've really liked him. :) As for the price, it included all surgical, anesthesia, pain pump, day of insurance, everything, EXCEPT the garment. After extensive research on before and after pictures.... I do think his work was better than many! And all his nurses said he was a perfectionist. Love that part.
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Tacoma, Your husband is right on the mark! You have a GREAT shape! Sounds like you are doing so good! Congratulations on your new beautiful body! Happy for you!
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