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Dr Cardenas Extended Tummy Tuck TJ #TeamCardenas - Tijuana, MX

Okay so I've been following sooooo many great...

Okay so I've been following sooooo many great blogs on here, in preparation for my own surgery which I have FINALLY booked and paid for! WOOOOOOT!! Anyway, I can't thank all these women enough for sharing their experiences and images so bravely and for being so honest and open about everything.

Okay! So today (2/15/2013) I went to TJ and met Dr Cardenas, as I live in North San Diego, California. I've been talking to Fatemah for about a month, my first impression of both her and Dr Cardenas, via email, was extremely positive. I was originally going to go with Dr Campos buttt his assistant, Angie, IN MY OPINION, is the single most disorganized and atrocious assistant. Honestly, the worst. I won't even go into detail because it would take pages. Just know, my personal experience was not good and although I understand Campos to be gifted in body work, it was not worth it for me to deal with such incredible ineptitude and frustration as I experienced with the people he has as his "frontline." Especially considering I am just getting the extended TT and Dr Cardenas is well known for having the best incision for TTs. I even read one blog that said she was "the Queen of the TT" (okay I giggled a little saying/typing that...hahaha). After meeting Cardenas I can confirm that my initial good impression was completely solidified. My mom came and she was nervous and not sold on the idea of surgery in Mexico but even she left with a really good feeling today. My consult today went all the way to making me comfortable and happy with my decision. Even with no lipo and just having the tummy tuck, Dr Cardenas is going to be good and aggressive in getting rid of the grossness I want gone. Love her :)

I also booked with Beauty Care for 5 nights for my recovery. I made the decision again based on blogs I had researched and women I'd spoken to. Again after meeting Ronnie today, I know I made the right decision for me. He is super nice and accommodating. Also staying 5 days will get you the night BEFORE your surgery for free, which means you move your stuff in and get settled prior to being all drugged and in pain.... trying to move in and settle after did not appeal to me once I knew there was another option.

I am really going to try and post lots of pics and keep this updated, in homage to all the other blogs did the same and were indispensable in helping me prepare for and book my own life changing surgery. I'm beyond excited.

jahzara71789 is one of the best blogs I've followed, and she provided a great list of stuff to bring which I used to make my own list of items. But credit goes to her completely because a lot of the stuff I wouldn't have thought of on my own. She also does great about updating and providing pics so if you want to see some Cardenas work from start to about 5 weeks (as of today) then go to hers. She's really nice

Okay so that is about it for now. I will update as I get closer. OH! If you have the option (for example, if you're in SoCal) to get your labs done at the clinic in TJ, not only is it ridiculous cheap (cost me $48 for 5 tests) but the guy who did it was a dream. Seriously. I HATE getting blood drawn and I was sitting there dizzy and sweating while he was prepping my arm. I waited...and waited...waited for that pinch and pull feeling in my veins, sick in my stomach...finally I looked down and dude was ALMOST DONE. He was THAT good I didn't even feel it. Awesome.

Anyway. I'm happy as I said. Confident. I prayed before we went across the border, one of the things I prayed for was to be receptive to any feelings of negativity or danger and when I left that office, my previous fears and nervous were just gone. To me, there was no clearer signal. I'm making the right decision to be rid of my past bad habits and the physical reminder of those habits. I'm starting over and I will take this opportunity of a fresh start with a grateful heart and make the absolute best of it. Enjoy this journey!!

Forgot to add that my surgery date is March 15, 2013

Forgot to add that my surgery date is March 15, 2013

Couple tips: if you're getting a tt, start...

Couple tips: if you're getting a tt, start slathering yourself with lotion now. Your whole trunk area. You want your skin to be as soft and pliable as possible so that when they stretch it your skin won't pull/tear. Also, post-op (PO) stay bent over for 7 days. Some women post that they are able to sit up within a few days, and for me it's good to know that I'll feel well enough to, but I personally think it's important to stay bent over despite that, just to give your veins time to fully heal.

Just decided to add underarm lipo to my tt. For...

Just decided to add underarm lipo to my tt. For only $200 I couldn't turn it down!! So I will be getting some lipo, under my arms and my side boob. Sweet!!!

Also found out my hemoglobin is low, so it's all red meat, lentils/beans and leafy dark greens for me for the next month. Also iron with oj in the morning and at night. Ugh. This is not going to help me lose the 10 lbs I need to before my Sx. Sigh...

Wow. So I got an email from Fatimah about needing...

Wow. So I got an email from Fatimah about needing to be at the office at 6:30am sharp, day of my surgery. Made my tummy flip flop. 17 days and counting, eeeeeep!

I'm finalizing my pre-op/post-op list and I will be posting that soon. Weeeee!!!

Well...I decided to add waist lipo. Again, Dr...

Well...I decided to add waist lipo. Again, Dr Cardenas is giving me a GREAT deal on it and I couldn't pass it up. So the total is: Extended TT, underarm and waist lipo. $5000. Also 5 days at Beauty Care, $800. I think I'll joke with Dr Cardenas that if she wants to stick some of that fat into my butt, I wouldn't be mad at it hahahaha.

Not bad for a complete life change ;) 9 days and counting. I am nervous and excited and very hopeful.

WOOOOOHOOOO! I found an old quote from Fatimeh...

WOOOOOHOOOO! I found an old quote from Fatimeh that said if I got the TT, waist and flank (underarm) lipo, I could also get a minor fat graph, for $5000. So that joke I made previously about throwing some of that spare fat onto my flat butt was actually no joke. Hell.Yes.
So it looks like I'll be getting a bit of a butt after all. Can't argue with that! Now I've just got to find some wish pics.... ;)

GAHHHH!!! Payment made in full today!! Just now....

GAHHHH!!! Payment made in full today!! Just now. Including the compression garment. IT'S REAL! It's really, truly REAL!! I am beside myself with excitement! 8 more days, woot!!!

Sorry. That had to be said :)

Here is my tentative list. I'm sure I will be...

Here is my tentative list. I'm sure I will be adding stuff later:

*loose fitting clothes like tanks, tshirts, yoga pants, jammie pants. Regular bra and sports bra. Grannie panties. Fluffy socks
*toiletries. No makeup, as I don't usually wear that anyway, but I've read plenty of blogs where they bring makeup, so it's up to you
*Lotion!
*baby wipes
*3 new books to read
*portable DVD player and my ten fav movies (I'm gonna be there a week)
*laptop/charger
*iPhone/charger
*boppy pillow
*bacitracin and liquid hand sanitizer
*magnesium sulfate (my favorite laxative)
*ID, Passport, credit card and about $500 cash (everything is pretty much cash there)
*Go Girl funnel...will need to practice with this a few times, standing up but bent over (this device allows you to pee standing up! Great for after surgery. Also for camping hahahah)
*lanyard to attach drains to while in the shower
*epifoam
*wish pic for my butt
*medical information like blood type, allergies, past surgeries, any conditions etc
*emergency contact card
*gauze
*diurex (for water retention)
*Scar Fx Silicone Belt Wrap (6"x48")

Some tips I found from another blog:

Liquid diet 2 days before to prevent constipation
marble trick for belly button shaping
puppy pads so you don't drain on your bed

Woot! Tomorrow I leave for TJ!!! Surgery in Friday...

Woot! Tomorrow I leave for TJ!!! Surgery in Friday. I'm beyond excited, aaaaannd I found a cool chick to room with who is in recovery from Dr Cardenas tummy tuck a few days ago. Awesome. I'm going my laxative tonight and I've mostly been eating soups, salads and chicken. Lots of fruits and veggies. Trying to minimize the constipation as much as possible hahaha. Can't wait!!!

Okay, arrived at Beauty Care a few hours ago. I...

Okay, arrived at Beauty Care a few hours ago. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! Ronnie, Carmalita they are awesome and Dr Cardenas stopped by to check on my roomie and talk to me about my surgery tomorrow. I could not be more at ease or more excited. I have the best roommate and she looks amazing (she also went to Cardenas and got exactly what I'm getting tomorrow) so I am thrilled. Leaving tomorrow at 6am and I will be on my way to a more gorgeous body :) I will update tomorrow, post op

Post op day one.....pain is the word of the day,...

Post op day one.....pain is the word of the day, ladies. It hurts. Buttttt it's manageable, even more so if you stay someplace awesome like Beauty Care. They help manage my pain and don't let me lift a finger. Like my friend jahempress says, the pain is a rite of passage. Ya gotta get through it to get to the body you deserve. Anyway given the choice I would do it again. I cannot stress how amazing Dr Cardenas is. #TeamCardenas

Also I posted some pics. They are gruesome, you've been warned ;)

Oh and Dr Cardenas got 750ccs in mah butt, woot!!!

Got my garment today. Feels really good to wear it...

Got my garment today. Feels really good to wear it but the tightness is taking some getting used to. My pain level is really low today....yesterday was the absolute worst. I am past the hard part and it will only get better :) Carmelita here at Beauty Care took these pics for me in my garment, enjoy :) also started my period damnit...so inconvenient. If you can schedule your sx around your period, do it. Back already hurts like crazy and I've got awful back cramps on top of it. Stupid Mother Nature ;) Hahaha but seriously I'm doing much better. Cannot stress enough that you should walk around often, as soon as you can. Makes a lot of difference in getting you back to normal. Thank you everyone for thinking of me :D
#TeamCardenas
#BeautyCareRecoveryHouse

EMERGENCY UPDATE!!! I spent about 7 hours today...

EMERGENCY UPDATE!!! I spent about 7 hours today hooked up to an IV with loads of meds and fluids being pumped into my arm while I writhed in HORRIBLE abdominal pain....and it's 100% my own fault. Constipation is a fact of this surgery and because I was scared of that, I took that magnesium citrate laxative, along with some pills, in an attempt to avoid it. I had seen on several blogs that this was how other women avoided constipation. I'm telling you now, DON'T DO IT! You're gonna get constipated and you can't avoid it but you CAN give yourself gastro-enteritis by taking laxatives and causing your intestines, which are trapped in a small space because of your tt, to move frantically around which causes pain like a scalding hot knife twisting in your belly. For HOURS. Thank God for Carmalita and Ella here at Beauty Care; if it hasn't been for their SWIFT response I EMERGENCY UPDATE!!! I spent about 7 hours today hooked up to an IV with loads of meds and fluids being pumped into my arm while I writhed in HORRIBLE abdominal pain....and it's 100% my own fault. Constipation is a fact of this surgery and because I was scared of that, I took that magnesium citrate laxative, along with some pills, in an attempt to avoid it. I had seen on several blogs that this was how other women avoided constipation. I'm telling you now, DON'T DO IT! You're gonna get constipated and you can't avoid it but you CAN give yourself gastro-enteritis by taking laxatives and causing your intestines, which are trapped in a small space because of your tt, to move frantically around which causes pain like a scalding hot knife twisting in your belly. For HOURS. Thank God for Carmalita and Ella here at Beauty Care; if it hadn't been for their SWIFT response I may have ended up in the hospital. Carmelita was all over it and so kind to me....I feel like she saved my life. It was so bad and I was so scared at one point that I Skyped my son just in case something happened. I wanted to see his little face and tell him I loved him. This is a perfect example of how a patient can make a huge mistake and put her own health in jeopardy by thinking she knows better than her doctor. Don't do it. Don't touch anything, including pain meds, without contacting or getting approval from your doctor. Trust me. On a lighter note, took some more pictures without the garment so y'all can see the awesome bruises ;)

Happily I still get to go home tomorrow. Been a great stay and I'm glad I did it but I really miss home and my little one in particular

Quick update: 12 days post op. I feel great. CG...

Quick update: 12 days post op. I feel great. CG is on the tighest setting, so sometimes if I've been sitting for a while and get up, I'm a little stiff and can't stand perfectly straight, but it goes away after a minute. Sometimes it still feels a bit tight but I hate not having it on...I feel like my middle will just come apart, hahaha. I've been able to stand fully straight for about 2 days. My energy is great, I'm only limited by my level of healing, which I believe is proceeding as it should. The incision looks good, took my right drain out today (not painful, just really weird and gave me the heebies a little. Also my friend jahempress mentioned a clear/white stitch that held it in so I was able to look for that, snip it, and pull the drain out with no problem). Left drain is stubborn and still leaking away. Curses. I want it out by Friday so cross your fingers for me, ladies! Body is looking damn good, waist is pretty tiny. I'll take pics again soon. I want to be very clear, I LOVE my tt, I love my new shape (although the hips and booty are taking some definite getting used to) and I am more than pleased with Dr Cardenas in that respect. However! I paid for arm lipo, and I've got really massive and gross bruises on my arms...but they look exactly the same. Honestly. I can't see at all where she took anything out. Obviously she must have, the bruises are a big clue, but they are still gross! Disappointed is an understatement. I am going to see her in 2 weeks for a follow up and to get my belly button stitches out, and I'm debating whether to even bring it up. The truth is, I spent a lot of money on this makeover, and although she was amazing and I'm mostly happy, I don't know if I want to just let it slide. I feel like I shouldn't be so picky but at the same time, and in equal measure, I feel like I should because I paid for it. I mean, I'm a single mom...this was a major sacrifice for me. So idk. I wanted my arms done and I'm actually a little mad that they aren't. Sigh. Decisions!

So anyhoo....feeling great, healing well, I'm eager to get back to normal but I'm taking super good care of myself, eating clean, and being as patient as I'm able. Hope you all are doing well, and if you're on your journey, enjoy it! Happy healing :D

Ok so a quick post. I saw Dr Cardenas last...

Ok so a quick post. I saw Dr Cardenas last thursday, 3 week check up. All is well, healing very nicely. What she said about my arms: if she had lipo'd any more, there would have been really saggy skin. So she did what she could and I have to lose the rest naturally. I'm fine with it, I guess. I appreciate her doing the best by me. Still had my left drain in, because I'm still draining a little more than 25cc, up until an hour ago. I was putting neosporin on my incision when I noticed the white part of the end of the drain (that is inside your body) sticking out. I then saw that the stitches holding it in were disconnected. So basically my drain was just slowly sliding out on its own. So I just pulled it out. A really horrid experience. Not painful at all, just really squeamishly gross! Eeeeep! What else. Had to take my garment in about an inch on each side. A little tip...you want the garment as tight as possible, always. I mean like, rib crushingly tight. I was wearing it a little loose until I saw Cardenas and she ordered me to take it in. I did a few days ago, it's been insanely tight, BUT I've seen my swelling go down markedly. So I'm happy. Still in SWELL HELL and the itching, on my skin and inside my muscles is giving me a tic in my eye ;) Still....as I see my figure slowly emerge, I feel like I still got the better end of the bargain :) Energy is great, feel almost normal. Still get sore and a little uncomfortable sometimes but very little pain. I'm going back to see Cardenas in 3 weeks. Just because. My incision is healing, bits of scab just flaking away. Need to wait for it to be completely scab free before I can wear my Scar FX belt. Can't wait for that. Anyway, that's about it for new schtuff. Any questions just ask. Happy healing ladies :) xx

So I posted new pics, including belly button...

So I posted new pics, including belly button before and after my nightly cleaning ritual. Gotta keep that little booger clean and dry. I've got the deepest stitch still in. So I clean it with neosporin foaming wash, since I started home care and at Dr Cardenas's suggestion. I use one end of a Q-Tip to clean and the other end to dry. Don't be shy ladies, get that Q-Tip in there good! Then I stuff it with gauze and tape. I also put neosporin cream on the entire incision but not belly button. I've seen a nice bit of healing since I started doing this at week 3. Also put lotion on everything. Clean your incision and belly button daily and wash CG daily also. That's all for now :)

Just realized something super cool. Whereas...

Just realized something super cool. Whereas before, my waist, back and sides (any place touched by the surgery) were absolutely no-touchy zones (both because the areas were numb and also very bruised feeling inside and painful), these areas now feel delicious to rub. Let me explain: rubbing them slightly, using circular pressure, both in the hard swollen areas and the sides of my waist, feels amazing. Particularly in a super hot shower. Tomorrow I am 4 weeks post op, and I think it's a measure of the healing that I am able to rub those areas and have it feel good, rather than excruciatingly painful. Also it probably helps the swelling. I mean I'm not a doctor and I don't know if I can prove it medically. I'm just saying, I think it makes sense. Stimulate the blood flow, whatever. I can also sleep on my sides, hallelujah! I hated having to sleep on my back. Can't wait until I can sleep on my tummy :D I can start working out tomorrow (starting slow and no abs) and also have sexy time. If only I wasn't so horribly single... ;) Hahahaha. That is all for now!! Happy Healing!! xx

K a few things: I had my follow up today but...

K a few things: I had my follow up today but didn't need to get out my last bb stitch as it had come out on its own, unbeknownst to me. Also! I've been having awful stomach cramps, I may have gastritis. Now, I had a gastric bypass a couple years ago and since then my stomach has been ultra sensitive. Dr C thinks that the reason why I'm having issues (if I don't eat super clean I find myself writing in pain for a few hours until it passes) is that my stomach lining and shorter intestine (because with a bypass, they shorten and re-attach it) now being stuck in a smaller space because of the tuck, I may have irritated it. So she hero-ed up and got me some prescriptions to help protect my stomach. She said I shouldn't be experiencing any pain for the next month while I'm on it, and they should help. If they don't, then I need to get an edoscopy from my dr. I am praying it works! Something else I wanted to highlight: It is REALLY imperative that you don't judge your shape at all until at least 8 weeks post op. My body changes every week. Seriously. I see such amazing changes every week (keep in mind though, that I am eating healthy and exercising, which is key. You can't expect to look great on the surgery alone, particularly if you're in your early 30s like I am) and I remember the first two weeks feeling disappointed that I didn't look the way I wanted. BE PATIENT. Even with the pain and the cost it has been sooooo worth it. So worth it.
Another thing I can't stress enough, is that if you can afford it, please stay at a recovery house. Beauty Care lowered their prices and they are the only one I recommend to my mom and friends (I have a few that want to get a TT from Dr C now) because I know from my own experience that they are AMAZING. But if not them, any good one. Trust me, you do NOT want to try and take care of yourself. I don't know what I would have done without someone taking care of my helpless ass.
Lastly, I get my CG off next friday and I'm excited but also nervous. Gonna by some of those super tight tummy panties so that at least the bottom that is still a little swollen will continue to go down. I only have to wear the garment while I run/workout. Anyway, I'll get some pics up soon. Dr C is a goddess :)

One more thing! Dr C told me that once the scar...

One more thing! Dr C told me that once the scar is pink and there are no more scabs, you need to rub it firmly! Circular motions. She showed me how, you start from one end and, in a circular motion, rub the scar very firmly (almost to where it hurts, but not quite), working your way to the other side. This helps the scar go down. If you're at 7 weeks post op, like me, you'll notice that the scar is raised, kind of ropey on the inside. To keep it from setting like that you must rub it. I didn't see any advice like this on any of the blogs I read, which is crazy because Dr C says it's important for the final appearance of the scar. You don't want the scar to be all raised, you want it to be flat at some point. Anyway, I wanted to pass that little gem along. Happy healing! xx

Quick update!

I'm almost 3 months post op. Swelling almost completely gone, except right under the scar and above the pubic bone. Very easy to hide with clothes on and somewhat without clothes. Scar is looking good. Need to get my scar FX belt to help reduce the image. Been trying to remember to rub the scar firmly to break up the tissue but it's painful so I don't do it nearly as often as I should. I'm doing AMAZING. I cannot express how this has changed my life. I have a sort of bf now and he tells me all the time what a great body I have. Dr C gave me my LIFE back and I will never be able to thank her enough. I added some new pics. She gave me this sexy as hell shape. For anyone wavering on the decision, I can't speak for other Dr's, but I can tell you that Dr Cardenas is an angel. I am so beyond grateful. Do it, ladies. Don't overthink it, don't let the negativity of others and especially of yourself, stop you from taking back your body and looking as fabulous and sexy as you want to. That's all. Happy healing and journey to you all
Mexico Plastic Surgeon

I don't see the stars but so far I would give her 5 stars. All.Day.Long

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 tmes
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Comments (108)

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u look really good! why does she like to do these Extended TT though? I've seen them on alot of her patients....
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You look fantastic!!! Congrats on the bf!!!
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Awwww thanks :) xx
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Oh my goodness. You look FANTASTIC! Sexy is right! Whoohooo!
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awwww thanks!!!! I've been eating real clean and running so that helps :D
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Looking awesome awesome!!!!
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Thanks babe!!!
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It's good to hear that everything is going well for you!!
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Thanks!!! I'm ridiculous happy about it :D
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Did yo get fat graphs to your butt? How do you like the outcome?
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I did. I loved it. The butt turned out great, and even after it went down a bit, it's still more than I had and it looks much fuller. She also rounded out my hips which I didn't want, BUT I can see why she did. It made the overall look more natural so I'm good with it. Just know that if you get a butt graph you need to be VERY specific. If you don't want hips you need to say so.
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Hello. Do you have more after pix?
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I'll post a few more in the next day or so :)
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Thanks. Funny i just bought that same black shirt and i cant wait til i look good in it. my belly hangs out of it now.
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Sounds like you had a great experience. Happy for you. You look great. And you are so right. I'm 13 weeks po and my body is still changing.
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Thanks babe, you look amazing also! 13weeks, that must feel so good :)
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Soo happy to read your updates! Officially 6 weeks until my surgery and your posts are keeping me motivated! We neeeeeeed pics! Glad to hear you are doing well! How are your arms looking?
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Oh that's nothing!!! 6 weeeeeeeks!! I'm so excited for you. If you like, I can pm you my number and if you need ANYTHING before, during or after, I would be happy to help. I will get pics up soon :) My tummy is so tiny I love it. You will too. Arms are looking better, I'm just going to have to put in more work to make them a bit more svelte :D
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Eeeee! That is awesome about your waist!! I can't even contain my excitement! YESSS please inbox me your number! I'd love to have a buddy that understands what I'm going through. Are you cleared to exercise now? I want to know when I should plan to get back in the gym after. I've been busting my bum trying to get in the best possible shape before I go under. I'm sure you arms still look amazing. Just work those babies with some tricep dips and push ups! Lol hope to hear from you soon!
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Yeah seriously, I've been following your blog...you are doing awesome :) I'll pm you and I hope I can help. I had a lady from here do the same for me, she was a week ahead of me on her surgery. Made a huge difference, even when she was just cheering me up during the painful times. You're clear to work out at 4 weeks, starting slow. For me, I'd been running almost everyday, anywhere from 2-4 miles. So I started that first week just walking a mile but my energy was so good and after that, I just decided to go for it and I bumped the walk to 3 miles. No problem. Dr C said to just start easy and go with what your body tells you. If you're in shape prior, you'll probably bounce back pretty much around 4 weeks. Test yourself slowly. I'm 7 weeks and I can run a mile. I want to break 2 miles by end of next week. I feel fit enough and my healing is enough that I know I could do more, once I get my endurance back. Hope that helps!
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Omg I was there this morning I didn't know it was you! I hope you feel better good luck!
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Were you the girl I was talking to?!
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Yes it was me u where with ur mom right?
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Lol.... well it was nice to meet you and hope u get better soon! Did you say the prices went down at beauty care????
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totally nice to meet you too! Hahaha, that is hilarious :) Yeah, Fatimeh told me today, the prices went down. They are operating at just above cost to try and encourage people to stay. If you're really getting your boobs redone I would highly recommend it.
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