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Full Tummy Tuck in Monterrey - Texas

I had vertical sleeve surgery at the end of...

I had vertical sleeve surgery at the end of January 2013. I had already lost 50 pounds and at the time of surgery was weighing 276 pounds. I'm going on my 11th month and have lost 80 pounds since. I'm currently 195 pounds. I'm ok with my top half and my legs. I just don't like my stomach. I always had a huge pannus and its gotten smaller but I definitely need some plastics. I never wanted to be normal weight 120-130. I don't mind being chubby. I thought I would like to weigh around 150 pounds. Now that I've gone below 200 pounds, I don't like how my face is looking. Its too small and sickly-like. I thought it was just me until someone made a comment about it. That confirmed my insecurities. If I'm gonna look worse, I don't want to lose more weight.
I started looking for a plastic surgeon(Dr. Filiberto Rodriguez)back in October. I visited a local surgeon and he was happy to do a lower body lift with an anchor cut. He wanted me to be below 200 pounds and I wanted to do this in early 2014, so that wouldn't be a problem. The problem was that he wanted to charge $23,000! I needed to make a deposit of $5,000 and pay the rest up front. I don't even make that in a year! Even if I could get credit with Care Credit, I don't think I would want to pay that much.

In December, I went to the surgeon (Dr. Ashraf Hilmy) that did my vertical sleeve surgery. I was hoping to do at least a panniculectomy first and maybe a tummy tuck later. Insurance will not pay for a panniculectomy, so that was disappointing. He said I should be at a lower weight but if I want this done, he could do a tummy tuck. He suggested a full tummy tuck with lipo. He could do it at the hospital with general anesthesia. The problem is that the billing department wasn't there and couldn't give me an estimate. They said it could start around $15,000. If I could get Care Credit to pay most of that, I could probably go for that.

I've also done some research on another plastic surgeon (Dr. Francisco Sauceda) in Monterrey, Mexico. His lower body lift is $7,200. I need to get a passport and an airplane ticket and some medical exams/labs done first. I think I'm gonna wait to see what Dr. Hilmy's office will tell me first.

Getting Impatient

Its been 9 days since I've seen Dr. Hilmy. His office has still not contacted me about a price. He told me it will take a week. I guess I'm gonna have to call on Monday to follow up.

Now I'm having doubts and want to see another plastic surgeon located in Harlingen, named Dr. Giovanna Ghafoori ( http://www.drghafoori.net/) She's a female and board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. I'm excited to meet her.

Still Frustrated

So I called Dr. Hilmy to see if they had my quote yet. The girl took awhile and said that Dr. Hilmy said I should wait 6-12 months and he was gonna refer me to another plastic surgeon for a panniculectomy. In the office he told me I should wait because I'm gonna continue to lose but he can do a tummy tuck if I want. The girl then kept reading and said that there was going to be a quote but the biller was not there and will be out for the holidays so I should wait for her to call me...grr!

I called Dr. Giovanna Ghafoori's office and wanted to make an appointment. The man tells me they're open Monday-Friday 9-4:30, they're gone for lunch from 12-1. The tummy tucks are $4,800-$7,500 and it includes lipo to waist and mons area and muscle repair. The first visit is watching a video explaining the procedure, the 2nd visit will cost $100 and I'll meet the doctor. If I schedule the surgery within 3 months that $100 will get deducted from my total. It all sounds fantastic so I ask him if I can go ahead and schedule an appointment and he tells me yes, Monday thru Friday 9-4:30pm. I tell him its after 10am? He said yes, so I hang up and call again and he starts going through the info again. I tell him I want to come in today, he says no not til Monday. He should of just told me next week after the holidays!

So I'm feeling frustrated and just want to have a date already. I'm tired of all this waiting and wondering.

I've Decided

Wow! What a day! I sent Dr. Francisco Sauceda an email last night showing him my pictures and asking what he could do for me. He replied this morning and said he would do a tummy tuck at a fee of $6000! If I had any more questions to let him know. I really thought he was going to do a lower body lift but was glad to hear just a tummy tuck. Later on in the day Dr. Ashraf Hilmy's office calls me and tells me his fee is $9,920.63 (doctor's fee) + $8400 (hospital) = $18,320.63 plus there's an anesthesia fee too, which she didn't have at this time. I tried to apply for Care Credit and was instantly denied. So I will proceed with Dr. Sauceda.

My next worry is trying to get a passport so I can get plane tickets so I can schedule my surgery.

I got my date!

Lots of things have been happening this week. I got approved for a March 2nd date in Monterrey, Mexico. Dr. Francisco Sauceda will be doing my tummy tuck. I also asked about a thigh lift and he recommended a long thigh lift which will be an extra $4,300. Its not bad but I just cannot come up with it at this time. So, now I can concentrate on getting all my cash together. I got approved for a $3,000 loan from my bank which was a Godsend. I didn't think I would get it since my credit went from Fair to Poor recently. I also got a second loan for $1,100. I sold my 2nd car for $700 and a company bought my c-pap machine for $200. All of that plus the next 2 months of paychecks should cover everything :)
My next worry is getting my passport. I got it done on Friday and I asked for it to be expedited. I'm just wondering if I'll pass or get denied? Two -three weeks of wondering.

I did purchase my plane tickets already. I also bought trip insurance in case I need to cancel my tickets.

My next step is going to see my primary care physician to get some labwork done.

This is all happening so fast and the time will be here before I know it. Its all so exciting for me!

Still Waiting...

Well I have my plane ticket, my hotel reservation and I put in for 7 weeks off of work. I'm just waiting on my passport!

I am so sad

No passport, they want more proof of my citizenship. I'll have to update later.

Passport Trouble

So I said I would update on my situation. I was born along the Tex/Mex border to a midwife. During that time, these midwives would sell birth certificates so everyone born to them during that era are questionable about being a citizen. I was afraid they were going to give me trouble with my application and sure enough, they did. They sent me a letter 2 weeks later saying they need more information on me and my parents around the time of my birth. They wanted addresses from the year before, during and after I was born, how many times did mom go to the clinic, the name of any doctors, their tax records, places of employment, immunization record, baptismal record, school records, list of addresses up until I was 18, employees, schools, etc. Well I sent them a stack of information by express mail and I'm hoping it will be enough to get my passport. I'm on a time crunch now. I've got like a month before I'm suppose to go and now I have to worry that they'll send this to me on time? If they decide to send it to me!
I have also decided, if they're not going to send it to me, I will take the bus to Monterrey and back. I've heard from a few friends that I can go with my birth certificate and driver's license.

Talking with PCP

I visited my primary care physician yesterday. I told him about my surgery and that I needed some labs and ekg done. He gave me paperwork to do my labwork in the morning and they did an EKG in the office. He also suggested I get a chest xray. He said he could not remove any drains and that they should be out by the time I leave. Its no problem, I can remove it myself or get my medical assistant cousin to remove it. He did say he could remove the stitches. I asked about pain medication and he said I could get some when I'm done with surgery...grr! That's almost 2 weeks later! I probably won't need them by then! I did my labwork and chest xray in the morning. Now I have to wait til they get all the results so I can send them to Dr. Sauceda. February is going to fly! I got my tub of protein so I can start chugging it. I want to eat really clean so I can lose a few more pounds before I go. I've also started exercising more. It couldn't hurt. I just need to ask the doctor about compression garments now.

Still waiting on passport

I sent them a huge envelope of report cards, school pictures, baptismal record, immunization record, dad's honorable discharge from the army, both parents social security statement, their marriage certificate, I wrote a page full of schools I attended, another page of all my jobs and another of all the addresses til I turned 18 and finally a letter telling the history of how my parents got together and moved to many places around town, my mother used a midwife and only went to the Planned Parenthood a couple of times after I was born. That Planned Parenthood is no longer around and the one that is in town only keeps records from the past 10 years. I sent off the package with overnight shipping for $33. They should have received it this past Monday so now I have to play the waiting game. Its really stressful. I was thinking of just taking my birth certificate and license and go by bus but they tell me they'll stop me like 10 km in and might give me a hard time. Co-workers say I should go to the Mexican Consulate and get some kind of permit? I just don't know. This is all discouraging me.
Another problem I'm having is with my job. I went to my supervisor's office this past Friday, located in the next town which is 30 miles away to leave her my leave of absence paperwork so she could sign it. Well she was not working. She's off for three days! So I leave it with the department and they said they would give it to her. I call the supervisor on Monday and asked her if she got the paperwork? She said no, maybe it was turned in and signed by the director? So I said ok, that will work. I haven't heard anything so on Wednesday I call the director and asked him if he got the paperwork? He said no, who did I leave it with? So I tell him the story and he says he's going to look for it. Man! Its like everyone is against me with this surgery :( My last problem is that I'm a little short on my surgery fee. That's my fault for spending when I'm not suppose to. I think I can get a car title loan to complete that. I wish I didn't have to but oh well.
I was hoping to get really active at the gym, but its been so cold, I just want to sleep in. I can't even walk on my treadmill because its located in the porch and its too cold. Nothing but bad news here.

Oh one good thing, I ordered 2 compression garments with 2 day air delivery from MarenaGroup. I got those today.

Lab Results

I went to pick up my lab results today. My PTT is high 37.3 (22-35.3) and my MCHC is low 31.3 (32-35.5). PTT checks for bleeding problems and MCHC is the amount of hemoglobin in your red blood cells. The results are close to the normal range, but I still need to see what Dr. Sauceda says about this in the next few days. I still need to get my EKG results. Great, more stuff to worry about.

Tests and Leave of Absence Approved

Yesterday, I emailed Dr. Sauceda my EKG, labwork, consent forms and medical history. He emailed me back that evening and told me everything looks good.
My supervisor also assured me that she received my Leave of Absence forms and that my 7 weeks off were approved.
Still waiting on passport. I don't think they deliver tomorrow and of course not on Sunday. Then Monday is a holiday...grr! Guess I can finally call on Tuesday to see what is up.

Its My Birthday!

I turned 41 today. I worked all night, came home to sleep this morning and was up by 11am. I took a shower and got dressed up. I'm happy that family, friends, alot of online friends and a special man remembered me on this day. I'm back at work at 3pm. Its actually nice that its busy, the time just flew. I did get to indulge in some red velvet cake.

As for my passport business. I still haven't heard a word. When I look up my status online, they say they don't even have it. I think since I've already sent it once, they won't recognize the 2nd mailing I did? I'll be giving the passport office a call tomorrow. I'm thinking they're either going to tell me that its on the way or I have to go to one of the 3 passport offices in Texas. The one in Houston is closed for remodeling. That leaves El Paso and Dallas. I think I rather go to El Paso since there's less traffic, even though its 12 hours away compared to Dallas's 9 hours. I've also been told by friends and family that I can go to the Mexican Consulate here in town to ask for a permit. That's fine but I'm scared to go in a bus or be driven to Monterrey! I'm not sure if the permit allows me to fly? This will be my 2nd choice.
I have like 11 days left! OMG!!! I'm not even at the weight I want to be. I hope they don't give me a hard time or even deny me. I wouldn't know what to do then???

Latest Staus of My Passport

I couldn't wait anymore, I called the National Passport Information Center to see the status of my passport. The customer service representative was friendly and she asked for my name, social security number, date of birth and address. She found both applications. What's weird is that the dates they were received were wrong. She kept insisting that the 2nd application was received on January 24th, when I sent it off on January 30th. They should have received it on Monday, February 3rd. All she said was it was still being processed but that she would flag it so someone could contact me in the next 3 days about the status. Argh! More waiting! That means I'll have to wait til after Monday to call again! That's gonna leave me with 6 days before I leave. I should be excited and anxious to have my surgery and instead, I'm worrying and scared about what they're going to tell me. Did I take 7 weeks off of work for nothing? The call took about 10 minutes.

Passport Office Called

This morning I got a call from the passport office around 8:30am. The man told me that everything looks good so far. His supervisor has to give the final approval and I should receive it by the middle of next week. If I don't get it by then, I should call back.
I'm happy that they called me back so soon. I thought I wouldn't hear from them til Monday or so.

Passport Hell Continues

Yesterday I was certain I was gonna receive my passport by the post man. I even waited at home all morning....nothing. I called the passport office about 11am to check on the status. The lady told me that its still in processing. I asked her if they could flag it, but she said no, there was already a notification from last week and it would slow down the process. She said my next step is to write them a letter. Is she kidding?! If I were to write a letter, it wouldn't get there til after Monday!

I then called the State Representative, Filemon Vela to see if I could get any help. His secretary told me to come in and fill out some paperwork. I did. I wrote my story since early January and I listed all the documents I sent plus she made copies of my receipts. She gave all that info to the caseworker and will be giving me a call.

About 4:30pm, the caseworker called. She talked with the passport office and they are working to rush my passport. Its good that I had the receipts and she asked if my parents were born here? Yes. She also asked if I was raised in Mexico? I said no. Then she said I might have to pay an overnight fee to rush the passport. I told her that's fine. I just need it soon. She said she'll give me a call as soon as the office calls her again.

I hope to hear from her today.

I'm in Monterrey

I've had a rough past few days. It started with my passport. Fortunately after calling my state representative, his caseworker rushed the passport office and they overnight delivered it. So I got it Friday morning! By 4pm, I started getting abdominal pains. By 6pm, I was vomiting bile, over and over and over. I thought I would be done before I started working the night shift, but no. I had to call in and I took myself to the emergency room. They gave me iv fluids, pain medication, bloodwork, urine test, catscan and they put a tube in my nose. That I didn't like. It was a little rough going down but what was worse for me was that it hurt to swallow or talk. By the first hour I felt fine but they said I had a small bowel obstruction so they took me to a Harlingen hospital because my vertical sleeve surgeon is over there. I was in the ER then admitted to a floor. They continued giving me iv fluids and antibiotics. I ate liquids then a regular meal. They told me it was just a virus and released me with some probiotic prescription and I need to get an h pylori test. I was home by 10pm. I packed and fell asleep so I could get up at 4:45am and take a shower and head to the airport.
Sunday, March 2
Mom and I headed to the airport and took a flight to Dallas, Texas. We got there about 9am. I didn't know it was gonna be super cold there! It was 29 degrees but felt like 7! Even inside the terminal, it was damn cold! There I was with a sundress and sandals and a light jacket. Then the next 2 flights were cancelled because of the weather. I was already gonna give up but waited for the last flight at 9:15 pm. Well we started looking for the entrance at 8:45 and we had to take a train to the entrance. I didn't know it was gonna take like 20 minutes! We finally found it and thought for sure the plane left. We were the last ones on. Then they changed the flight to 9:30, then 10:00, then 10:30, because they had a connection problem in the cockpit. We finally left but when we got there, there was more waiting in the foreign citizen line! I must have gotten out of there close to 2am! Dr. Sauceda's driver, Osvaldo picked us up and gave us a ride to the Hampton Inn and even took our luggage inside and made sure we were ok. Since I got here so late, Dr. Sauceda wasn't going to see me, but we kept each other up to date by email. He was going to pick me up today in the evening to do my markup and some more paperwork.

Monday, March 3
Today was suppose to have been my surgery but Dr. Sauceda was gracious enough to accept my late departure and moved my date til tomorrow. I started of the morning by going to the lobby and having some free breakfast. They had a nice spread complete with scrambled eggs, scrambled eggs with potato and tomatoes n onions, refried beans, salsa, toast, croissants, mexican pastry, different kinds of cereal, waffles, bananas, apples, coffee, tea and orange juice. I took a shower and headed out to the mini mall next door and got some groceries at the HEB. We got a taxi back and boy do they drive crazy around here! The only bad thing is the weather. I thought it was gonna be nice and warm and its around 60 degrees and cloudy.

My Surgery

Surgery Day (Tuesday, March 4, 2014)

I got up around 6 something. I went downstairs to get mom some breakfast and coffee. I was not allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight last night. I'm glad I wasn't hungry. I was allowed to take my thyroid pill with a bit of water. I told mom to stay at the hotel so she won't have to wait at the clinic for hours. I go downstairs close to 7:30 and Dr. Sauceda picked me up a few minutes later. Again he walked inside to get me. In the car he was asking me how come I didn't go to a surgeon in Matamoros, closer to home? I told him that its alot more dangerous there and I don't like the surgeons there. I even have a couple of aquaintances that went to 2 different surgeons there and they really didn't do good work. I told him I saw 3 plastic surgeons in my area but I wasn't comfortable with them, they didn't take insurance, I don't have credit and their prices were outrageous! The clinic was alot closer but by car he has to take the back way, making it a little further. He leaves me in a waiting room where I have to sign a consent form. After a few minutes I get taken to another room where I'm given a gown, booties and a cap. I'm to take off everything and put it in a locker. I'm taken to a gurney and told to lay down. I'm given a pill for anxiety and had my vital signs taken, then I get an iv in my left forehand. I get taken to another room that looks like a surgery room with 6 employees in surgical scrubs. I get told to stand over some pads and two girls take off my gown and start bathing me with a sponge and warm betadine, from the neck down. I then get told to get on the bed and they wrap my legs in some gauze from knees to feet. This is for blood clots. I then get turned on my side. I don't remember anything else. Next thing I remember, I wake up in my room at the clinic, by myself. I have a different compression garment on? Its long and beige and a 2x instead of the black 3x I brought. I never felt them put it on me. Shortly thereafter, a nurse comes in, Lupita. I threw up bile a couple of times. I got my gown dirty and part of my compression garment. I did feel dizzy a couple of times. I just wanted to sleep. I looked down at my tummy and noticed it alot flatter than what I had. I know I'm still swollen but the vast difference is awesome! My mother stopped by afterwhile. She said Dr. Sauceda didn't call her when I got out. I told her he must have gotten busy and forgot? She visited for a short while and left back to the hotel. I'm given water and apple juice. Doctor told me that I might not have a belly button. I told him that was fine. I did look under my garment and saw that he did give me a new belly button :) My drain was different from others. I believe its because of the huge mass of skin/fat he took off, 18 1/2 pounds! There's 2 tubes coming out of my mons pubis but instead of two small ball drains, its one big frisbee looking drain. The view out the window was nice. I could see a bunch of buildings with mountains in the background. I must have fallen asleep for 3 hours, but I was not sleepy anymore. I met Paty during the night. She was very sweet and even washed my bile filled compression garment. I would get my vitals taken, drain emptied and pain medication given by iv, once a 12 hour shift.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I was up and watching tv. I didn't like that the volume was all the way up and still very low to hear. They brought me breakfast around 10am. I had a bowl of fruit and some yogurt and a juice. Mom came by to visit most of the day. I felt alot better today and still with no pain. It was still cool outside and you could barely see the mountains since it was cloudy out. Lunch came late, after 1pm. I had 3 thin chicken breast patties, some white rice, sauteed onions, peppers and mushrooms and some juice. Claudia, the nurse wanted me to get a shower. I really didn't feel like it, but I told her I would after lunch. It took awhile for the water to get warm. The shampoo they give u is not that great. They had a shower chair in there but I didn't use it. I was in and out real quick and the air was cold! She had made my bed and dried off my legs. She put some new gauze and tape on me. They really don't use gloves much around here??? Doctor Sauceda stopped by afterwhile to see how I was doing. He showed me a pic of the skin he took off and I asked him to send it to me, he did right away to my email. He apologized to mom for forgetting to call her. I asked him if I could trade my 3x compression garments for another 2x but he said I should be fine with what I had. No need to have it any tighter. Dinner came alot later, after 8pm. I had steak tacos with lots of white cheese and juice. They took out my catheter so I could get up now. My tummy was a little tight but I was able to get to the restroom. I was scared to get my garment wet, but the opening was wide enough. There seems to be more channels in the clinic than at the hotel. Wifi worked well here also. I watched National Lampoons Vacation and fell asleep close to midnight.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

I guess I was catching up on sleep cause it was 8:30 and I was still asleep when Dr. Sauceda walked in. He told me that Osvaldo was gonna take me to the hotel around noon. He gave me a bag with Tradol (http://www.drugs.com/tramadol.html), Ciprofloxacin (http://www.medicinenet.com/ciprofloxacin/article.htm) and a tube of Vitacilina (antibiotic ointment). He was gonna get Osvaldo to give me a box of gauze later. I asked him if he sewed up my muscles and he said no, he didn't need to since I never got pregnant. I decided to get up and playing around with the tv monitor, I figured out how to raise the volume. I raised the blind all the way up and it looked like a warm day and the mountains were clear and beautiful. My nurse, Lupita asked me if I was gonna shower? I told her yeah. She got the shower ready for me and I took a quick shower and brushed my teeth. I laid down and she applied some vitacilina, gauze and tape. She helped me with my compression garment and I was sitting up the rest of the time. I got my iv taken out and I started packing up my stuff. Breakfast was ham and eggs with refried beans, toast and a juice. Dietary asked if I wanted lunch before I left, but I told her no. Osvaldo got there on time. I was discharged by foot, not by wheelchair. Back at the room, I ended up taking a nap til Happy Hour. Happy Hour started at 6pm-8:30pm. They were serving pizza, salad, 4 kinds of chips, soda and beer. The lobby was full of businessmen snacking of beer and chips. The rest of the night was uneventful. I did take my Tradol and Ciprofloxacino. I feel sleepy already. I met a couple of girls that also had surgery with Dr. Sauceda, so that was a nice experience.

Skin Pic

Shopping in Monterrey

This morning we got up around 7ish. We headed to the nearby McDonalds to try their breakfast, plus mom was craving a biscuit. The decor was modern and it was sort of empty. There were lit up menus on the wall of the little bit of breakfast they had. There were no biscuits. The big breakfast consisted of 3 pancakes, hash brown (grease tasted different), sausage patty, 3 links of bacon(very thin), some eggs (overdone) and an English muffin. There is no decaffeinated coffee, they don't take American money and the service is slow. After our disappointing breakfast, we headed back to the room and I called room service because housekeeping took our shower curtain yesterday, I'm not sure why? I was hoping they would bring it before Paty got there but no. Paty arrived around 10:30. She washed my compression garment while I showered. She explained that the big drain that I had was better because I was only gonna feel pain once instead of the 3 lines they usually pull. I laid on a towel on the bed while she put the penicilina, gauze and tape along my incision line. She helped me into my my compression garment and off she went to see her other 5 patients. Mom and I got ready and we got in the shuttle van and Mario took us to Plaza Morelos. It was kind of far getting there but the ride was nice. There were all kinds of stores and restaurants. You could find homemade items, souvenirs, authentic Mexican food and even name brand clothing. We decided to eat some Mexican food in a two story open restaurant. They brought us tortilla chips and some spicy salsa. I got some Enchiladas Suizas which is chicken enchiladas smothered in green salsa and sour cream. They also came with some refried beans sprinkled with white cheese. Mom got a plate of trompo meat which is cubed reddish looking fried pork with fries and refried beans. Our lunch came out to $11. Cheaper than McDonalds. There were pigeons walking up to us looking for scraps while we ate. There was an alley that had some public restrooms but you have to pay 10 pesos (76 cents). In the middle of the plaza there was a security station with a few officers on patrol. My back started to hurt so I called the shuttle van from the payphone 3 pesos (23 cents) to pick us up. Unfortunately, one of my sandals broke, so I had to be careful walking. We went across the street to a park to wait on a bench. We got approached by 3 men trying to sell us cookbooks for 39 pesos ($2.95). They were very nice and even took our picture and they tried their English with us. We crossed back and Mario picked us up. It was quicker getting to the hotel than to the plaza. I started having gas pains so I had my first bowel movement since Monday with no problems. Half an hour later, Dr. Sauceda stopped by to visit. He asked how I was and what I've been doing and what did Paty say about the incision. He said he won't see me tomorrow until Sunday. He did tell me not to walk so much. Guess I'll eat some Doritos and lay it down early tonight. Its suppose to rain tomorrow.

Saturday in Monterrey

Mom was having a hard time falling asleep last night. She felt homesick, etc. I noticed a blood clot in my drain, I tried to move it along but it won't budge. It still drained 50cc overnight. I need to ask Paty about it when she gets here. We got dressed and headed to the lobby to eat some breakfast. Again, my eyes were bigger than my stomach. I had some scrambled eggs, refried beans and some fried taquitos. The weather is a little cooler today. I'm waiting for Paty to get here. She arrived close to 10am. I was already out of my garment and had taken off the gauze and tape. I showered and she patched me up again. We were talking about shopping and how everything is more expensive here than in the States. Name brand clothing can be found 1/2 the price that you can find here and the perfumes are also alot more expensive. She told me the clots are normal and since I have a bigger drain, I'm gonna have bigger clots. She's going to bring a syringe tomorrow to move some of those clots along. She'll be working all night at the clinic tonight.
We got dressed and walked to the mini mall. I bought a Wonder Woman comic book for 24 pesos ($1.82). I also bought a scratch off lottery ticket for 5 pesos (38 cents) and I won 5 pesos. We did some shopping at HEB. I found some flip flops since mine tore yesterday. We headed back to the mini mall to eat some lunch. We decided on a Chinese restaurant. It was weird to me that the Chinese lady only spoke Chinese/Spanish. I'm use to the ones in the States that speak Chinese/English and Spanish. We had General TSO, fried rice and 2 egg rolls for 45 pesos ($3.41). It was more than enough for the both of us and with some left over. It didn't hit my sleeve too well though. Too greasy and processed, I had to vomit some of it out. I felt overheated with the sweater I had on and just wanted to get back to the hotel. We walked back and I turned up the a/c all the way. I stripped down to my garment and took a 3 hour nap. I felt better after my nap and decided to snack on something light. They're showing, "Titanic" in Spanish on cable. I need to take my medication and drink some Isopure. Thank God, I still have no pain. Paty just called. She'll be in a little later tomorrow, about 9:45am

Such a Slow Day

I threw up my pills last night. I think I was still sick from the Chinese food I ate yesterday for lunch. My stomach was upset for about an hour. I spent the rest of the night laying down watching tv. The time changed in the US. I thought it was gonna change here also but it didn't.
I woke up around 9:30am according to my cellphone. The hotel clock radio said 8:30am. We got dressed real quick and headed to the lobby to eat some breakfast. I had some frosted flakes with a banana. The ceiling above and to the right of us started leaking water. I finished up my food real quick and left before maintenance started working on it. I took a cup of orange juice and headed back to the room. I took off my compression garment and started washing it. I then took a shower a shaved a bit. I laid on the bed and figured out that we're still in Mexico time. Paty arrived close to 10am. She had worked all night and was in a rush to get out of here. Glad I had done everything already. She dressed my incision and forgot about the syringe to flush my blood clot and I also forgot to tell her about it. We watched some tv and had sandwiches and chips for lunch. After 1pm, Dr. Sauceda showed up with his two children. He was upset that I was only taking my medication once a day and he said I should be finishing them already. I told him I will take them twice a day. I asked him about the blood clots and he told me they are normal. Paty was surprised he was coming today since its his family day and usually stays away from patients. Then the housekeeper comes by and she starts making our beds. Mom tries some small talk with her and she seems to be ignoring her. Finally, the housekeeper opens up and is complaining that she has 16 rooms and doesn't usually have time to sit and have coffee and chit chat with the people. She's giving us an example of an older lady that was making her wash her dishes and clean out her purse and luggage, plus she had papers all over her room, etc. She got a bad review from her after doing all that but her aunt is her supervisor. She also said if we didn't want anyone coming in or knocking to hang the do not disturb sign on the outside of the door. We ask if the hotel has room service or delivery, she said yes and had someone bring us some menus. There were 4, one to Applebee's, Papalote (Mexican), some sushi bar and a sandwich shop. I laid down to take a nap for a few hours and woke up hungry again. We tried to call out to one of the restaurants but the call wouldn't go through. The phone says dial "8" first then the number and it kept giving us a busy signal. I tried dialing 9 also. I used skype on my cellphone and the call went through but the lady couldn't hear me, so we settled for tuna salad, potato salad and chicharrones. Its been raining all day. Its kind of a dreary day. The mid thigh compression garment is driving me crazy mostly because the leg part keeps rolling up and cutting off the circulation on my upper thighs. I hope tomorrow will be a warmer day cause I'm ready to go out again.

Being Lazy

Sorry I haven't been updating. The last few days in Monterrey were uneventful. I did get to hang with another patient so that was fun, but I also did alot of resting. The flight home was an all day thing even though we're 3 hours away by car. My drainage continues to be less and less everyday. This morning it was at 100cc. I still haven't had any pain, thank GOD! I started driving the same day I came home, 4 days ago. The only thin is I use a step stool to get into my suv. I'm undecided on what kind of diet to have. I wouldn't mind seeing my weight go lower but my inner thighs, breasts and face suffer. Sometimes I want to gain weight to see if it will go to those areas. I know I want to continue wearing these compression garments for awhile, maybe even start using a corset eventually?
I know I had one problem where the drain was hurting me in the mons pubis area. I didn't realize til 4 hours later that I forgot to unclamp it when I had drained it that morning. I'm already thinking of going back to work. My job is sedentary, the new girl that was doing my shift is no longer with us. FMLA will not approve my leave because they say my doctor is in Mexico and there is a time frame for getting paperwork in to HR. So, since I'm using my vacation time, three weeks is all I can use at this time. So I'm thinking of going back to work next Monday. Dr. Sauceda believes I might be able to take out my drain this week. I can see my upper and lower stomach swollen but its still alot smaller then my previous measurements. I don't like that my upper stomach is the same as my lower. I wanted some curves not to be box shaped. Hopefully when this swelling subsides they'll come out?

My weight

I think I forgot to post, my weight before my tummy tuck was 188 pounds. When I got home, it was 170! I haven't been this weight since I was about 16!!!

Feeling Feverish

Been feeling lazy lately. I should be studying some math but I can't focus. My mother has had a stomach virus for the past 3 days and yesterday my stomach was feeling queasy and I was also running a fever. I took a shower, turned on the fan and it went away. This evening, the same thing, well just the fever. I felt better after the shower.

Stomach Virus

I felt great when I got up. Full of energy, ready to go out on the town. Went to CVS to get the prescription my surgeon prescribed when I went to the ER before I had my surgery. Its basically acid reflux pills. I don't have a problem with my stomach, its my intestines! Mom went to get her nails done and the fumes were getting to me, plus the bench was lumpy and uncomfortable. The green apple splatters started. I'm just glad I didn't have to vomit. That's the worse for me cause its always bile. Still, having diarrhea and wearing this mid thigh compression garment is no fun. We finally got home and I laid it down. I was ok til I woke up again and it started again. I took some Pepto Bismol, my fever was rising again. I had emailed Dr. Sauceda and told him about my fever and he said I can take out my drainage unless there's something else going on? I told him my family has a stomach virus going around and I only run fever for a bit. He told me to keep it in for a few days more. I also sent him pics of my stitches. He said they could come out. Thing is, I wanted to wait til the drain comes out so my cousin can take out both at the same time. I'm kind of scared of getting the stitches out. I feel like I'm gonna pop open or something. I feel bloated everyday. I'm just glad there is no pain.

Feeling Better

Again I woke up in good spirits. Went to a thrift store but didn't feel like looking for clothes because this frisbee drain is in the way. I ate a light lunch then went to HEB. I was getting really tired and agitated. Mostly because my intestines felt like someone is squeezing them to death. I didn't have too much diarrhea today. I bought some Imodium and took almost half the small bottle. Even all the straps from my bra, girdle and lancet were making my shoulders ache. I finally got home and laid it down but I wasn't able to fall asleep. My supervisor called and told me the schedule should be out on Monday. I should be on there next Thursday which is better than Monday. Mom and her boyfriend were barbquing and I had a pork steak taco. I'm surprised it went down well. I did eat alot better today. I also weighed 165 this morning. My water intake has been very poor. Dr. Sauceda also emailed me and told me my drain is ready to come out, yay! I'm thinking of telling my cousin to take that and the stiches out this Sunday.

Frisbee is Gone!

I got the ok from Dr. Sauceda to pull my drain and stitches yesterday. This evening, I went to my cousin's house to see if she would do this for me, she's a medical assistant. She had the supplies and got on it. The frisbee has 2 drains, she pulled one out and I didn't even feel it. She was having trouble with the 2nd one. She started pulling out my stitches and that took awhile. She tried pulling on the tube again and it was still lodged in there good. I started pulling on it, gave it a tug and yanked it out. There was no pain, just felt weird. I do remember one stitch on the side that was a little painful.

What kind of aftercare is everyone doing? I still have some penicilina left and a bunch of gauze. Should I still cover it since I'm still using my compression garment?

Giving Away Clothes

Not much happened today. I still have alot of tummy swelling. It doesn't hurt and most of the bloated feeling is gone. I weighed 165 this morning. Two pounds away from losing 200 pounds! I never ever thought I would see this day. I put on one of my dresses from when I weighed 330 and boy was it huge! I can't believe I use to wear that! I'm glad I kept it.
I washed some clothes and had to give away half of them because they no longer fit :) I wanted to go clothes shopping but it started raining and I was already yearning for my afternoon nap.

Healing

I am able to put on my compression garment by myself now. Guess some of the bloating is going down? I was pretty active all morning but by 3pm, I need my nap. Oh, I'm gonna miss my naps :( My scar line is drying up and healing good. The two holes on my mons along with pubic hair make it look like a demon face, lol! I bought a glittery muscle shirt from the thrift store for $2...in a large. Another thing...I can cross my legs now!

Back at Work

I'm able to sleep on my sides more. That's alot more comfortable for me. I'm glad I never had a problem falling asleep. I did go back to work today at 3pm. In fact, I'm still here. I was unable to log into my computer. The help desk gave me somebody else's id to log in with. I talked to my director and he found out that they deleted my information totally. This worries me a bit because I requested FMLA but before I left, the employee health nurse told me its not going to be approved because this is plastic surgery and my doctor is in Mexico. I said fine, I'll just use my vacation time, which is why I'm back at 3 weeks. Now they can't find me in the system? Oh and I'm already off tomorrow for a day. I hope they get this cleared up soon. I did get a bit sleepy throughout my shift. I'm just ready to go home.

Still Not Cleared

So the day after working my first day I'm suppose to be off for a day. That morning my supervisor calls and says that I need to check in with the employee health nurse so she can release me back to work. I say sure and take my paperwork that Dr. Sauceda signed, just in case. The health nurse takes the papers then talks with Human Resources and they tell me I need another paper signed by Dr. Sauceda so he can release me back to work and to put any restrictions. What a headache! So I say ok. I scanned the papers for him and he promptly signs and emails it back to me. I take it back to the health nurse this morning and she tells me that this paper is not going to work because the doctor needs to be located in the US. So I decide to make an appointment to see my family doctor. Luckily they gave me an appointment for 3pm today. I wait over an hour to see him and I get his assistant. She use to work with a plastic surgeon and was asking about prices. I showed her my scars and she thought I had done this surgery in January. I told her no, just earlier this month. She was impressed with how the scars were looking. She gave the doctor the papers to sign and he only put his signature. I couldn't take it to the health nurse because she was already gone for the day. Tomorrow I have to take it to her before 11:30 and hope she doesn't have any more requests!

A Little Bleeding

I finally started working tonight. Feels good to be back at work. I was getting very lazy being at home. After my shower, I was putting lotion on myself then some Vitacilina on my belly button and scar line. Well on the right side, I noticed there was a little bleeding. I cleaned it up, put more Vitacilina and covered it with medical tape. I'm thinking maybe I rubbed it when I was showering?

6 Weeks Update

So its about 6 1/2 weeks since my tummy tuck. I felt more myself after 4 months. I don't need afternoon naps anymore. I can stay active all day but by evening, I'm super tired. I've had no pain at all, thank God! I've had no more bleeding incisions either. My scar line has already scabbed over and in some areas looks like its lightening up. I hate seeing my flabby melting thighs but for some reason my batwings bother me more. I'm ready for my next surgery but I have no money, lol. I'm really not happy with my belly button. I feel its too big and just looks ugly. I sometimes think I should have gone with no belly button.
Today, I started using Mederma, so I posted some current pics and see how this stuff works for me.
I've noticed when I wear a girdle, my mons swells and I end up looking like a Ken doll. This doesn't happen when I wear my Marena compression garments. I wish I had more but they are pretty pricey.
My measurements have been going down. I'll have to post them some other time. I would really love my waist to go below 40 inches. I feel I look too boxy and my ribs end really close to my hip bone, so I feel I'm gonna have a hard time getting a waist. From what I remember, my latest measurements are upper waist: 38 waist: 41 and hips: 45.
I remember the first 3 weeks, I felt bloated all the time and my tummy area was always itchy. After the 3rd week, the itching stopped but now I feel like I'm stuffed with straw. I get scared to stretch in the mornings, like I'm gonna cut myself open!

Well I hope everyone has an awesome Resurrection Day this Sunday :)

6 Week Pics

Measurements: Before and at 6 Weeks

My measurements before the surgery were:
upper waist: 39
waist: 49
hips: 53

Currently:
upper waist: 37 1/2
waist: 41
hips: 45

I remember at my highest weight of 363, my waist was about 62"!!! That's more than my height!
Dr. Francisco Sauceda

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So I'm 14 days post op...is there hope that the pubis swelling will go down? You mentioned some swelling there but even with my garment I still have swelling. I kept my belly button but she pulled it way low to connect tissue, I'm with you and think no belly button was prob a better option. Glad your back at work and incision resolving.
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Well from what I've heard, it will go down one day for good. I'm going into my 7th week and still swelling, especially at night. I wear my compression garments 24 hours a day too. You got belly button issues too, huh? Well let's hope it heals nicely for us :)
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You're healing quite nicely....give it time hun, you'll get there! My thighs look awful and wish I could afford to get them fixed but money doesn't grow on trees! If I find that tree, I'll pick you a bunch too :) ((hugs))
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Thanks! Well I hope u find that money tree ;) *HUGS* back
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I also rubbed my incision a little too hard during a shower (it itches!) and it bled a couple drops. I put antibiotic on it and it healed quickly. How are you feeling otherwise?
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Mine closed up pretty quick. In fact, my whole scar line is already lightening up! I'm wondering if I should stick with penicilina or try mederma?
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I'm glad things are going so well, you're healing and getting back to work. It helps lessen my fears, my abdominoplasty is next week and your posts helped in giving me the confidence to follow through.
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Oh wow, how exciting for you! That time is coming up pretty quick. Can't wait to hear how it goes for you.
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Glad everything went well with your surgery. Hopefully you continue healing without any more hurtles. Also hope your HR don't keep giving you a hard time. Well take care sweetie and congrats
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Thank you! I'm finally back to work and I think everything should be ok now.
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Glad to hear you're doing so well, and back to work even...would love to see some pictures of how you are healing...
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Thanks! It was only for a day though :( FMLA problems. I hope to go back this Wednesday. I put a new pic up.
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Wow back to work already! I hope they get the mess cleared up and you're back in the system. You don't need any stress right now. Take care of yourself and don't over do it.
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Yes, and I hope to go back this Wednesday. No, I don't need anymore stress.
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awesome on crossing legs! That is SUCH a milestone for us women. Makes you feel more feminine! ;) Great on being able to put on CG - those suckers are like wrestling alligators.
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Yay! Yes, it is and it sure does. I know! I don't know how some of those women did it by themselves in the beginning???
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Doesn't it feel good to get rid of all those "fat" clothes? I've only lost a fraction of what you lost, but I sure remember how good it felt. I'm still padding my incision under the garment since I have sensitive skin and don't want it to rub. I have to say your thighs look great! Mine are still a wreck! Keep up the healthy healing hun.
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Yes! It sure does feel good. Believe me, my thighs only look passable because that was fresh out of surgery, they filled up with fluid. They are back to looking like they're melting :(
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Congrats on the weight loss! That feels incredible i know! I am doing Silicone scar therapy - a wrap around the mid-section that is an ace bandage type thing with a thick coating of gel silicone.
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Thanks! And yes it does :) Where do u find silicone scar therapy?
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Sounds like the surgery results are great you just need to get through this rough patch with the virus. I keep pushing to keep my protein high so my body has material to mend with. I will be heading back to work soon as well. It does sound like you are able to be more active than I am, but then you are a full week ahead of me.
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Yes. I felt alot better this morning and even woke up hungry. I think it should be alot easier for me now.
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I hope you are feeling better today!
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It took all day but I believe I'm better thanks to some Imodium.
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