Life Changing-Southlake, TX

I had both a tummy tuck and tumescent liposuction...

I had both a tummy tuck and tumescent liposuction of my love handles, inner, and outer thighs on Feb 27, 2013. The doctor's office is located on the same campus as the hospital, which is fantastic. The surgical team and hospital staff were warm and friendly, as well as professional and squared away. The staff that work in the doctor's office are all super inviting, responsive, and approachable. These factors all contributed to an awesome experience, and I haven't even mentioned anything about the surgery or surgeon yet!

I have lost a significant amount of weight (95 lbs as of the date of this post), and found my body is less than optimal aesthetically, much to my disappointment after such an effort! I'm lighter now than when I was 22 (37 now) and super fit, but I don't look it. I've been heavy for over a decade and its certainly taken a toll on my appearance. My personal ethic includes earning rewards through sweat, hard work, sacrifice and even tears if that's what it takes, so it was terribly difficult to accept that I needed help. But I couldn't continue on this trail alone, if I wanted the results I've been envisioning for myself. I've done what is within my control, now I needed a skilled helping hand. That's when I found my surgeon, Dr. Sacha Obaid.

My goal, simply stated, is to be comfortable in my skin, literally. Improving clothing fit, social image, and confidence to engage in activities that require, well, a little less than an oversized shirt and slacks are goals as well, but more importantly, to look in the mirror and finally see the woman's body I've been working so hard for. Nothing outrageous. Simple, natural, healthy, firm, and vibrant.

This operation was my first ever cosmetic procedure towards this end. My belly was my primary concern. My core is strong. Just couldn't see it. But what I could see, I saw everyday. It needed help. Second, were my inner and outer thighs, and love handles (flanks). I hadn't worn shorts in over 10 years! And so it was to be. A tummy tuck with lipo.

I was nervous. I'd researched extensively. Even flipped through plastic surgery text books and almanacs to understand the procedures through the step-by-step pictures. Observed the blogs, queried common complications, watched countless testimonials on you-tube, and spent hours studying posted pictures. But it boiled down to me being unconscious and completely in the hands of strangers who could, who would, transform my body, and possibly my life, hopefully for the better but... there are always risks.

I'd never been through any major surgery before. How would my body react? Was the surgical team going to be 100% focused or would they get tired/ bored/ preoccupied (it was a ~5 hr surgery!). How much pain would I really have? Was I as strong as I thought I was, or would I moan and whine? Would my wounds heal correctly? Would I maintain my 'happy face' without my morning coffee while I waited in pre-op, at 5:30 a.m.!!!? How bad will the scar be? These, and about 1,000 other questions were racing through my mind.

Immediately post-op, I am told, I was giggling quite a bit. Hm. Well, life IS good, so why not? But I don't remember that. Only thing I remember is hearing Dr. Obaid say "You're really tight", "6 liters", and "really pleased" before I fell back asleep. Who wouldn't be happy to hear those words!? Of course I giggled!

3 weeks post op now, and I'm over the moon! Swelling is ebbing and flowing, but I'm beginning to see the faint outlines of my long lost abs! My hip bones are present and accounted for, and yes, my stomach is nice and tight. The suture line is gorgeous. I can see how, if my body cooperates, the scar will be a hairline mark! There are no words to express my joy. Love handles are gone! And my thighs, though still slightly bruised, tender, and swollen, are improving everyday. My inner thighs aren't tightly rubbing together when I walk anymore. I'll be able to wear shorts in the Texas summer heat! Did I mention I'm still swollen? If it's so good now, what's it going to be in a couple months?

I'm standing up straighter, more confident in public, much more comfortable now that I can get around and exercise again, and overall have a more positive self image. I'm receiving a great amount of positive feedback from my colleagues, and a few associates of mine didn't recognize me at first. This week I wore tops that I would NEVER have dared show the light of day, as they fit snugly around the waist. Now? Oh yeah! I'm rockin' my new look with pride! The risks, the fears, the nerves and apprehension, the pain and fatigue, and the emotional ups and downs of pre and post op were all worth it. A door has been opened. There's a new trail up ahead. Opportunity. Potential. Self-realization. This experience has refreshed my hope in a brighter future for myself. Life changing, due to Dr. Obaid's attitude and skill.

With all the research I had done, I hadn't realized how emotive this process would be. Maybe it was because I was alone, caring for myself during recovery, or maybe it was due to the drugs, anesthesia, and nerves, but on the 4th day post-op I had an odd sense of isolation. Almost like abandonment, but not. I never got depressed, just felt, well, isolated. I could barely move, hadn't had the sun on my face for at least two days, and was 10 pounds heavier than when i went into surgery. Altogether, it as a very strange emotion. Strange for a woman who very much enjoys her alone time! But it's true. So, had I known that may happen, I would have prepped my mind for it. Was a little unsettling, but the great thing is it only lasted a day! :)

One other thing I wish I had known beforehand is how the results would draw attention to other areas that need work. Front view great. Waist is great. Caboose....not-so-much. And, the lipo in the legs, though fabulously freeing for summer wear, has exposed just how lax my skin has gotten. The bulk is lessened, but the skin is crepey. In other words, it appears I've just gotten started on my body/ life transformation journey.

It's been a wild ride, and I'm looking forward to watching the continued changes unfold over the next few months. In the mean time, I've started my research for the next ride...gluteoplasty and augment, with lateral and medial thigh lift. Oh yeah. It's as scary as it sounds. The same fears are showing up. But now...now I have faith. And a trusted surgeon.

Nearly a 100 pounds gone, and yet more pain to endure to fix the damage I've done. Who'd have thought that this pain of correction would lead to so much passion? I'm loving the 'me' that is emerging from under this shell of skin. When done, it will sync with the 'real me', and I will look how I feel. Hard work, pain, sweat, some tears, and worth it.

I'm adding some pics. One is from before I lost...

I'm adding some pics. One is from before I lost my weight. I was at 267, and avoided the camera like the plague. Best I could find was this one, where I'm covered in a bulky jacket, but you can get the idea. There are some from the night before my surgery, 2 weeks out, 20 and 25 days out. I'll keep posting updates as more progress is made.

Note: The 20 days out pics show an orange-ish color on my incisions. That's from Bactine (I'm a fiend for wound care). I use hydrogen peroxide, bactine, bacitracin, and silicon ointment now, 3x's a day. Happy healing all! :)

Today is my tt's 30th day! Added a couple update...

Today is my tt's 30th day! Added a couple update pics, and threw in an oblique view this time, cause my swelling is wonderfully minimal today. Can't wait for the incision line to fade to my skin tone; the red is starting to frustrate me! :( I know I'm healing, yet the red line psychs me out that I'm not. All's good. I'm rollin' with the silicone! Even trying out the sheets in a couple spots to see if they work any better. :-)

I've been upping my protein and drinking Gatorade,...

I've been upping my protein and drinking Gatorade, per doctors orders, and it seems to be helping. I only felt faint once today, and no where as intense as it has been. My swelling has also gone down significantly; 5 lbs worth over 2 days! I'll keep monitoring and update as usual. So far so good.

Even though I'm still journeying through my tt adventure I'm prepping for my butt and thigh lift. I booked extra time with my PS at my next follow up (2 mos check up), in late April to consult about next steps. Yup. Bring it on! :) I'm on a roll, so why slow down now?

Funny how confidence grows through this process. When I took my first step down this surgery road, I was quite resistant to extensive procedures, often lumped together in what's referred to as 'body lifts', of which tt is one. Obviously i overcame some of that reservation. Since then, I've learned so much about the various procedures, people who get them, the physical challenges, and the lease on life these can bring. Wow! What a trip.

So back to my next steps. A butt lift and lateral thigh lift. My tt has illuminated this need. ha! I had no idea my ass was this bad! lol I have always been consumed by my tummy. Never really took notice of my rear view. Until now.

Interestingly, the incisions for those will likely overlap the side incisions from my tt. How's that gonna work? I'm healing well now, but what is that cut going to do to this one? I guess I'll get those answers next month. A new blog will then arise. Dual-pathed journeys.

Getting this tt was the best decision I've made for myself in quite a while.....aside from deciding to move to Texas! (Love it here) Though the best decision, I battle with a little guilt and worry that I'm becoming vain and selfish. It's a lot of money to do these procedures, a lot of time recovering, a lot of mirror time, and a lot of 'me' and 'I' talk. But then I remind myself that it's ok to nurture ourselves. It's a duty really. How the hell can we sustain sacrifice for others if we aren't at our best ourselves? That's why the forums here on RS are also such a great idea. It helps keep grounding, to give to others who can relate. I haven't been on here long, but see the beauty of all the posters. Beauty in daring to share. Beauty in supporting and encouraging one another. Beauty in being human. The beauty of courage.

And so this is where my mind is today. Pensive, introspective, and still exuberantly grateful for the opportunity to improve. Grateful for the truly skilled doctors that spent so much of their time specializing in their field so that we can all tap those specialties when we feel we need them. Driven to continue the momentum of growth and change. Hopeful that my aging will be with grace ....and beauty. Inspired by all the other ladies and gents in this community. My humble thanks.

So I forgot to mention yesterday that I spoke to...

So I forgot to mention yesterday that I spoke to my patient coordinator about getting a new cg, since mine are losing their oooomf. Maybe they are stretching out, or I'm shrinking, or both, but I wanted more support. She said ya know, you can be using spanx now right? Yes, I said, but like Linus and his blanket I NEED my cg! Tried spanx one day and that was it. Nope. I plan to wear these girdles at least another month, so, recommendations?

She gave me the name of a company they trust, so I checked them out and bought 2 new below the knee cgs. Figured I'd be using them for other work I'll have done so it would be a good investment (they were a bit pricey). I attached a pic of one. And they came in a really nice box too! I'm sooooo easy to please. Anyhoo, attached a pic of it right out of the box.

Now, I'm flying out this Sunday on a business trip and was worried about swelling from the plane. Oh, there won't be ANY swelling with this puppy!

I'm feelin' good today! Best I've ever looked in...

I'm feelin' good today! Best I've ever looked in jeans......EVER! Luvin' it!

Wow. Nearly a month has past since since my last...

Wow. Nearly a month has past since since my last post, so I figured it's about time to give an update. Life is beautiful. Are there no bounds to happiness? I'm thinking not! Ok, so am I a Vogue model or going to get a call one day to pose for Maxim? Ha! Not a chance. But do I feel great? Absolutely!

As my body continues to re-balance, and my elation is moderated by day-to-day normalcy, I reflect on where I've been.....and how far I've come. We fill our lives with tasks and to-do lists, burn the wick at both ends hoping to suck the marrow out of everything as we move along. Degrees, jobs, career ladders, children, marriage, houses, cars, retirement, yard work, books, movies, getting the latest techie widget. In this mix, at least for myself, it was easy to forget the need to balance. Silence, meditation, health, joy....contentedness. So easy to forget about those! And that's what I did...and that's how I had ended up drinking a pot of coffe a day, working 16 hrs a day, commuting 3 hrs every blessed day, and losing memory of the richness of simplicity. 100 lbs later and a pack of smokes a day, pale and miserable, I looked in the mirror and thought, 'oh my, what have I done?' True, I have a rewarding career, traveled and expanded my mind, bought a beautiful house and have a promising professional life ahead of me, but without balance they don't mean a thing. So I cleaned my act up. Two cups of coffee a day max, ditched the smokes, re-acquainted myself with organic fruits, grains, and lots of vegetables. I still work hard, but set boundaries now. Lost the weight, re-embraced exercise, and set time aside every day to just sit....no phone, t.v., radio, Internet, I-pad/pod, magazine etc. Just quiet....without distraction. Maybe but for only 5-minutes...but any bit helps. Now....now I can say I'm maintaining. Balance isn't something that is achieved. Like a degree or license or raise. It requires constant effort. It's one piece of a lifestyle. It requires constant attention or it will slip away. Oh, I wish that I had this insight in my twenties!!!

So, now I'm 2 months out post-op. Crazy how time flies! Spring has sprung, work is, as usual, quite busy, and I'm in the throws of my graduate thesis. Oh yes, and I have a flat tummy!!!! :) I had my 2-month check-up yesterday and all is progressing well. I'll post new pics later today. I'm now cleared to work my muscles and any exercise that floats my boat. Yay!!! Time to rock the gym and get this body back in the groove! I use my cg now only at night. Oh, and I booked my next procedure for the end of October. Get this. Lateral thigh and butt lift, with breast lift and augmentation!!! The butt augmentation will be in phase 3, after I heal from the lift. Keeping that wagon wheel rollin', the spirit rockin', and laughter flowin'.

I looked in the mirror this morning and saw a woman who's come a long way, and a woman who has options for the path ahead. Not perfect, not yet sexy, but well on her way to contentedness. Seize the day!! After all, we never know how many we have.

Suffice it to say, God is good!! What a joy to be here, in this world, seeing the goodness of others, the joy of friendship, the love of family, and the hope of community. What a blessing it all is, when we choose to see it.

Just a quick note. I am finally comfortable...

Just a quick note. I am finally comfortable sleeping in any position! Tonight it dawned on me that I was shifting and turning without any pain or pressure, either on incisions or from muscles. Yay!!

9 weeks PO today! My scar is starting to smooth...

9 weeks PO today! My scar is starting to smooth out pretty nicely. I'm using bio oil and silicone, massaging twice daily. Wearing my cg now only at night. Doing abs now in the gym, and I have to say it's soooo nice to do a sit up and not have a skin/ fat role while doing so. Super flat. I'm hoping for a slight six-pack this summer!

I had one little spot directly over my right hip bone that took a little longer to heal. You can probably see it in the pics. It's finally on the mend. I did notice a slight burning/ pulling in that spot last week, when I over did the weights. I looked and there appeared to be a hairline stretch on the incision. Freaked me out. I eased off the weights a bit and being more careful. I'm feeling so good, sometimes I forget I'm not 100% yet. Gotta pace myself! After I massaged it with oil and covered it with silicone patches for a couple days it was good-to-go again. Whew!

All for today. Hope everyone is doing well. :0)

I finally made it to the tanning salon today. My...

I finally made it to the tanning salon today. My Irish blood doesn't make tanning very easy, so I've opted to go with spray. Planet Tan is my new best friend! :) I have to wait 4-6 hrs for the full monte to show, but I have a tad bit of color already. Yay! I've noticed too, that a little color makes my tummy look flatter. Don't know, maybe it's an illusion....but I'll happily go with it!! Some updated pics. 81 days post op today. I'm so ready for summer! Bring on the heat!

Ok. So today, today my 'joy bubble' finally gave...

Ok. So today, today my 'joy bubble' finally gave way. Don't get me wrong, I'm healing well and getting back in the groove of normalcy, but....this hasn't been easy. No one said it would be..true. I'm a little sad today about how far I still have to go. And frustrated with myself that I let myself get as bad as I did, so that now I have to get reconstructive surgery to fix myself! The cost, financially, emotionally, physically, of going through these surgeries aren't to be trifled with. It's no joke. Worth it, yes. But hot damn! This body has a ways to go. The journey...I know. But I'm having a weak moment today. ....sigh.... Scary too, to consider results of phase 2 and 3 may not be as grand as this phase. If exercise, sacrifice, lifestyle changes, and going under the knife don't shape this shell to what I see as my ideal....what then? Accept that it's as good as it gets? ...sigh.... Failure is not an option!!! Ah, shit. Who am I kidding? I have no control over what will be. And that's what scares me. So much is riding on what my ps can do with this canvas. But in the end, he can only do so much as well. No magic pills or spells. Is what it is. Will be what it'll be. Well....it's all good, right? Beautiful day. Sun is out. Cup of coffee. Good career, home, passions. Better physically than I was a few months ago, so no complaints. Just....tired. I'm ready to move on, yet my body isn't. Not quite yet. Exhausted....scared.....more pain and scars to come. And all modesty out the window. It hit me at my last follow up. Standing completely naked in front of ps and assistant. Nothing more can be hidden. It's all out there in its absence of glory and grace. Beautiful imperfections......my friend and nemesis. Success and failure in the same breath. Ah...the makings of courage!! Keep the earth below my feet, my eyes to the sun, and my hands to learn.

My goodness. What a day yesterday was. Much better...

My goodness. What a day yesterday was. Much better today! :-) When I started on this transformation journey I made the conscious decision to be open and honest. With myself, especially. But also with whomever I engaged. This means bearing it all, good/ bad/ indifferent. Life is entirely too short to not embrace ourselves and others, even when there are down days. Especially when there are down days!!!

My tummy tuck adventure is nearing an end (wow how time flies!!). In less than 2 weeks I'll have my 3 mos follow up, and then I'll be focusing on the next phase.

This storyline process has been rather cathartic, surprisingly. It is helpful to read about others journeys too. I've learned alot by observing others interactions as well. It's been worth the risk of bearing all!! I've grown and hope to continue to do so.

I started a 'butt implant' story, and will likely also start a 'body lift' and 'breast lift and augmentation' story as well. At this point, I'm driven to document what I'll call my 're-birth'. Maybe I'll help someone, if i havent already. Likely I'll continue to find strength in myself when witnessing others courage in sharing their stories. Perhaps I'll even encourage someone to accept themselves as they are, without surgery. Who knows. Funny thing about these online posts is that we'll often have no idea who's lives we're touching. All we can do is be ourselves and trust that if someone is meant to connect with us....they will.

Thank you, Real Self, for providing this forum. And thank you to all who have shown compassion and support.

I'll update one last time after my next follow up, and then that will be that...with this chapter. I'm sooooo pleased with the change that's occurred over the last three months. Physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. As my story title says....this tummy tuck process has truly been 'life changing'! Worth every penny, fear, laugh, and tear. Now....time to stand up, heartily laugh at the humor of it all, and take this improved 'self' to the next trail. Best to all ya'll.

3 month Follow Up

Checked in with ps today. He questioned me about the products I've been using to massage on my scar, as there was a tad bit of whitish color spanning the length of the incision, and one spot that seems a little thin. The white, I'm convinced, is a result of taping the incision line while spray tanning, but the thin skin surface over the one spot that I've mentioned before took longer to heal was concerning. When I look real close at it some capillaries can be seen. Doc said some lotions have chemicals in them that thin skin, and to stop putting whatever I've been using, over that one thin spot. So, I picked up some more silicon lotion to use for a while longer. Other than that, and being a little swollen today due to a heavy workout, all is grand. No pain, fully mobile, sit-ups are getting easier, and I've shrunk another size. I'm now a 10! And I even slid into a comfortable 8 business slack today. Wow is all I can say. From once being a 24 to now an 8-10, I'm in heaven.

I'm loving my results. Getting this procedure was absolutely the best decision. Recovery has been exhausting, but also exhilarating. My quality of life, no kidding, has dramatically improved. My confidence and body image has improved tenfold.

This wraps up my story. Perhaps I'll update at the one year mark. For now, adieu. Best of luck to all.

2-Years Post TT and still lovin' it!

Wow, time flies! Back on RS as I prep for my next procedure, so thought I should give a quick update here. Thinking back to when I went through the TT phase of my journey a few things come to mind to mention. Specifically a few lessons learned, and how things change in the years following. Attached a few pics to update this review.

Lessons Learned
1) Though I shaved my mons pre-op, it was also dry shaved in the operating room. Be prepared for razor burn/ insane itching due to the dry shave! (not fun, especially with two drains in the same area)
2) Fat contains hormones; removal of fat results in tremendous levels of emotional shifts during recovery. Add that on top of the emotional changes by way of transformation and whoa! My colleagues thought I was going a little insane. lol
3) Not everyone will understand how personal and soul-touching massive weight loss then plastic surgery can be. Be kind not just to yourself during recovery, but also patient and forgiving of others who may not always say or react in the kindest ways. They simply don't understand. And that's ok.
4) The body will redistribute fat over the next couple of years to find its new balance. Consequently other areas may start to collect fat stores where they didn't pre-op. Arms and calves, for example. Just roll with it. Diet/exercise will need to be adjusted as the body changes.
5) Super tight tummy tuck means a bit of stretching of the mons. This means the pubic hairline will be higher and wider than pre-op. I shave, so it's not an issue, but for those who may go more natural, be aware of the bush!
6) Scars change for about 2 years. I wish I had treated my scars a little longer with silicone. I stopped at about 4-months. Should have done it for a year. A few small areas raised a bit. Could have prevented that.
7) When starting back up with exercises ~6 weeks, go slow. The scars are still week that early on and susceptible to stretching (burns when it happens). My TT scar widened a little due to overstretching/ too heavy of weights too early.
8) Tattoos rock! Knew I would tattoo my scar, but had to wait two years for the scar to reach maturity. Then, once I started getting it, realized some areas on the incision line are still numb while others are hyper sensitive. Still working on mine in sessions. More painful than others due to the hyper sensitive areas. Worth it, but helps to know going into it.
9) Coin slot belly buttons may not round out over time. 2-years on now and my bb still hasn't. Going to get it revised this year with my next procedure. Not a big deal in all, but don't want to advertise "TT here!"
10) Don't start a review until closer to surgery date. I made the mistake of starting a review for a butt lift way too far ahead of time. Decided to delay that surgery, life took over, and now two years later I decided to focus elsewhere for phase 2. The butt will simply have to wait in line.

Last but not least....
11) For those that either don't have a support network of friends/family, or that simply don't want those close to them to know they are going through these surgeries, finding a ride home from the surgery center can be a challenge. I fit that bill. I care for myself. I want to do this alone. It makes me stronger. But finding a ride home hasn't been easy. When I got my TT I was forced to ask a colleague to pick me up and take me home, which of course meant exposing what I was doing to my workmates. It had some fall out; minor, but still. Can't use a Taxi for center liability reasons. So this year I found that non-emergency medical transport companies fill that gap. Not many in my area, so it wasn't easy to find them, but is a lifesaver for my next op. Discreet vehicles, drivers that are medically trained, and they assume the liability of getting a drugged/groggy person home safely. Friends/family/colleagues don't need to know. yay!

Don't regret starting this journey in the least. And now that I am more familiar with the process (TT was my first major surgery ever; had no clue what to expect) I'm going into my next phase more confident. I continue to strive for balance and grace, elusive at times but well worth the effort. Other reviews on RS, and the kindness/support of both members and community managers here always help. The sun shiners, nay sayers, followers, and commenters alike. All bring value and richness to my journey. And I still say 'thank you!'. :0)

So what's next? Finish my tummy tattoo in May. Then go in for a Breast Lift/Implants, a little more lipo, and an Arm Lift on July 3rd. I'm gonna be a hot mess on Independence Day! I'm ready!!!

Scar at 2-years....pre-tatoo

Posting pic of uncovered scar. It was a little uneven but overall quite minimal in size, after 2-years. Will post pic of cover up tattoo on scar line once completed.
Dallas Plastic Surgeon

In the office, Dr. Obaid is super energetic and attentive, answered any question I had, and is honest with the evaluation. If it won't look good, or won't likely turn out on you same as it did for someone else, he'll tell you. And that is awesome. Integrity builds trust. In the OR, Dr. Obaid puts his game face on. Still friendly but über focused. He takes his art seriously, evidenced by the fabulous team he has established and the results of his work. His patient coordinator, Melissa, is also a rock star. She has been my lifeline through this adventure. Responsive, focused, professional, honest, and conscientious. I trust Dr. Obaid and his team, and I hope he's able to help many more folks as much as he's helped me. He's made a positive and lasting impact on my life.

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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