I am a 37 year old mother of my seven year old son...

I am a 37 year old mother of my seven year old son. I have been married for almost 15 years to a man who loved me at my largest, 350.8 pounds. I have lost almost 170 pounds and am gearing up for plastic surgery to fix what I did to my body by abusing it with food.

The first surgery I am getting is breast lift and augmentation (extended breast feeding did a number, weight loss did them in) and a tummy tuck (excess skin removed and muscle repair). The second one I am planning is an arm lift, so that for the first time in my adult life I can wear a short sleeved shirt. The last surgery is butt and thigh lift. I am sure I will need this however my body is still showing gradual change in those areas.

I chose Dr. Kyle Wanzel in Toronto for two reasons. His reviews are near perfect, also, my friend went to med school with him briefly and recommended him. I did meet with a surgeon closer to where I live, but didn't like the idea he does his surgeries out of his clinic versus a hospital.

I had my first consult with Dr. Wanzel in March and really liked him. His assistant Helen is wonderful and patient also. I was slightly uncomfortable standing in front of the doctor in such a way I haven't even let my own husband see me, but it wasn't as awkward as I thought because he was so professional about it. He has a calming demeanor and a sense of humor. He was very thorough. A that time we agreed I should lose about 30 more pounds before the surgery. I've done that so I am now going to see him again July 18th to put my deposit in and book the surgery. It's obvious he takes pride in his work and this isn't just about money to him. He wants me to look good and natural.

I am hoping that I can use this site as a way to meet others and get advice and all that fun stuff as I can be a bundle of nerves at times. I have done so much research using this site already, I'm glad I found it. :)

Date secured!

So I saw the surgeon on Thursday and we have a plan and a date.

The breast lift and augmentation: he has decided to go under the muscle for me. He said he was on the fence and I guess after a little bit of back and forth ultimately decided this would be the best route. I am happy about this, even though I was good either way. Reading a lot more now that this will be best for me. I don't recall the exact size, but the odd number of 347cc is standing out. He recommended that for the most natural look. I'm easy. My husband was probably hoping for much larger but I want natural. ;)

The tummy tuck and muscle repair I guess is just going to be typical. I had a c-section seven years ago without complication and have a nice faded scar so he thinks I will do well with this.

My surgery is scheduled for September 25th. I am freaking out about not waking up or having dire consequences of doing this. I guess that's a normal reaction? I'm worried about having a panic attack before too.

We are staying in a hotel the night of my surgery as the hospital will charge me $1200 to stay. Hotels are cheaper and I will have hubby with me. Doing this because we are an hour plus away from the hospital.

I may post pictures this week. I've got lots and I am almost brave enough to take the nudie ones, since the surgeon took his before pictures Thursday. Mortifying! ;)

A few pictures....

These aren't the "skin" pictures, I still have to take those. My surgeon took the before pictures already. Since then I have lost another ten pounds. These are at various stages during my journey. The before picture I use, I was at my heaviest. I was holding a baby that wasn't mine and I was not pregnant. In fact, this was taken around the time we were told we couldn't have kids. Yes, my son is a true miracle. :)

I figured I should start adding pics though...perhaps that will get me on top of updating.

Half of me is gone, and I did it on my own.

Now that I have lost over half of myself, I wanted to share this picture we took to show what five weeks of serious planking (and similar exercises) can do to the love handles. I can't believe I look like this before my surgery, when I weighed over 350 pounds. I'm boggling my own mind....finally. :)

Scary old pictures.

This was just over one year ago. I haven't seen them since they were taken. I have never felt so horrified, but I needed to see them when I did. When I was that big, I didn't "see" it like that. And now that I have lost 177 pounds, I still see myself this way, in my head. I'll add another, taken today, of me and my son. What a difference taking some selfish time to look after me can make. :)

I am having a hard time reaching my surgeons office about my down payment. I think she secured. My date, she gave it to me, without a down payment. She didn't take the payment because she was going to try to get me an earlier date. Now I am panicking that my date isn't really secured because I didn't put a payment down. This is the first time I've had a communication problem with them. I'd drive to the office but it's an hour away. Grr.

A few more weeks....

I hope they fly by, because I am anxious and my back is killing me, I suspect from the stress I am putting on myself. I wish I could just relax. I can easily say that I am looking forward to this and know I will be fine but mentally I am reacting much differently. Blah.

I have been overwhelmed reading about all the little tips to help. I think to help my back a little we are going to rent a walker. I feel like I am 90, I may as well play. The part. :)

I already have the Total Body Pillow from Hammacher Schlemmer (never used it but it feels awesome!) and a binder and bras (pics attached). Apparently they will provide those to me as well, but I know you need at least two for cleaning purposes.

I feel like I should make a list or something because every little detail I am afraid to miss overwhelms me even more. If I put stuff on paper maybe it won't look so bad.

Please, tell me to lighten up. :)

Do I have to drink colon blow the night before? Do I need a pre-op with my family doc? When I secured my date, all I got was general day of surgery "rules" (no earrings, remove nail polish, etc.) and directions for where to go once I arrive at the hospital. I guess I will contact my PS office this week to ask these silly questions.

And I was so worked up about getting my period since I track them and it was to arrive the day of my surgery (not allowed tampons, ugh) but last month I started early (!!!) so that altered the projected date for this month. Hopefully it will come on time which means it will be done by surgery day. Pleaseohplease.

I'm ridiculous. :)

Skin and Nipples and Undies, Oh My!

It's taken me long enough...and I am so freaked out about posting these here "allllll over the internet" but what the heck. I have little shame left. If my family or friends happen upon these, they don't have to look.

I will post descriptions with the pics.....

As I said, "I feel like I am 90, I may as well play the part"...

Today we rented a walker and a reclining lift chair for the post op period. Now all I need is some Ben Gay and a box of Depends and I will have my senior citizen status. :P

Things are coming together, less than two weeks to go!

Talked to the surgeon this morning. Got the okay for Arnica....for my back pain (since I can't take meds now), said the added bonus is it helps with surgery swelling. I sort of knew that from here. I'm just not sure how much to take. I have a little bottle of tabs. I also have massage oil that my hubby has been putting on my back.

I have to be at the hospital for 9:30 as my surgery is at 11:30. I'm still slightly anxious but feeling more calm as Inge fall in to place. I have my last appointments lined up with my chiro, I'm seeing my family doc next week (she hasn't seen me since I lost this 182 pounds!) to see about some anxiety meds to keep me calm and something to keep me from feeling pukey after, as well as a good muscle relaxant for post surgery, since going in to it my back is already a mess.

I am overly dramatic but I am starting to accept that what will be, will be. I can't change or prevent anything, I can only deal with it and I am fortunate to have resources, tools and people to help me through it all.

I am having a bit of mommy guilt as my surgery isn't until a Wednesday but I'm having my mom and dad take my son for the week starting the Sunday before. That gives me a couple of stress free days before the surgery (he is seven and very stressful to me right now, LOL) without me having to say goodbye to him the night before or the day of. This way I can say my goodbyes but have many more chances to see him before that final one, should I need it. Or I can just call him.

I told you, I'm ridiculous. :)

All is well. All is well. All is well.....

Random blatherings...

Let's start with a TMI for your reading pleasure. I was so worried about my period coming on the 25th, surgery day, because my tracker was predicting that. But I got it this morning, perfect 28 day cycle. I have/had (?) PCOS and now that I have lost weight seemed to have reversed those problems. :) Now I don't have to deal with a gross maxi pad on the day of surgery. Thank goodness!!!

My son has a cold and I have been fighting it off for a couple of weeks, faithfully drinking my organic apple cider vinegar every day (it works), but I am still waking up kind of grungy every morning. Will they still do surgery if I get a cold?

We went to the US today to do some shopping so I picked up a whack of things there (cheaper, better selection) for post op. I'm feeling much more calm and excited about this coming up now that things are coming together. :)

Ten more days....

One more week!

One week from now I will be getting ready to leave for the hospital. I have to be there at 9:30 and my surgery is at 11:30. I am surprisingly calm and excited to just get it over with so I can deal with all my irrational fears.

I went to my family doctor yesterday. I haven't seen her in about nine months. Since then I have had the biggest changes in my body and face from the weight loss, and her reaction was priceless. Definitely the best one I've had thus far. She walked in the room and did a double take and stared at me as if she was trying to process who the heck I was. Of course that all happened in about two seconds. It was funny. She gave me a prescription for Ativan for possible anxiety and Flexeril, a muscle relaxant.

I have a busy week ahead of me, I am very in demand socially right now. I guess all my friends want to see me before I go in....so do I, just in case. ;) I will be fine though. I know this. :)

Good luck to everyone coming up and happy healing to those who have recently been done!

Uh-oh.

Someone please tell me they won't cancel my surgery if I am sick. Three weeks, maybe more, my body has fought off all the germs, my son has been sick, I've been around sick people, I've been trying to be so careful. I think my body got tired of fighting it. I got a sore throat yesterday and I'm icky this morning.

I am drinking my organic apple cider vinegar and will amp up the fruits. I wanted to go in to this strong. My back was finally starting to feel better. I have literally not coughed or sneezed since the morning of February 16th, the day I sneezed and threw my back out, six hours before leaving for Las Vegas. Almost didn't get on the plane. That's how I remember the date. It scared me so much I have been afraid to sneeze since.

What is the universe trying to tell me? Or is it just that I am getting all these bad things out of the way so I can focus on healing next week? Yeah, that's gotta be it....this is a good thing. All is well....right?

What, me worry?

Never in my life have I wanted a cold to stay in my head more than I do now. Email from my surgeon...

"To be honest the hospital will only cancel your surgery if you have a high fever, or chest congestion, and if you have a bad cough. They have to insert the breathing tube....so not good if you're coughing."

Everything will be messed up if they cancel. Please stay in my head, or better yet, GO AWAY!!!!!

Saying goodbye

My husband and I took our son to Niagara Falls today to spend some time having fun, just the three of us. We live midway between Niagara Falls and Toronto and take the beauty of Niagara for granted since we see it often.

We walked around, went on the Sky Wheel and went to Margaritaville for lunch. Then it was time to take my son to my parents for the week. We visited for a bit and then I had the gut-wrenching task of saying goodbye. I know I will be fine, but he is very scared, just like I am, and it was serious business for both of us. Hubby snapped some pictures....because we are super dramatic that way. I thought I would share.

Not looking good.

You wouldn't know it from the outside, but inside, I am having the meltdown of the century. I have never hated a cough and cold more than I do now. Calling the surgeon's office when they open.

Every surgeon on here in the Q&A say cancel (when someone else asked). I feel like I can't. I want it over with. We have rented medical equipment, taken time off work, my back pain and period worked out, I can't wait months again. We have a trip planned in February. Wednesday was the perfect date. And a cold, a stupid little cold, will ruin it all.

I made my body healthy and now it is letting me down when I need it strong the most. :(

Thank you all....

I called and left a message. Haven't heard back yet. I'm going back and forth between "nothing I can do but roll with it" and "why meeeee?" Heh.

So far, I assume I'm still on for tomorrow.

Instead of replying individually, I thought I'd update here.

I just posted my Facebook status...."Dry toast and Ativan, breakfast of champions". Not hearing from the surgeon yesterday made me feel we may still be on. Of course that can change once I drive all the way into the hospital. But I don't think it will. I'm not coughing. I don't have mucus in my lungs. If there was a chance they would cancel, they would have called me back because they would want to fill that OR time. I talk like I know how it all works. I don't. I'm making stuff up so I can feel more in control. Ugh.

So yes, I will say I am not cancelled. Hence the Ativan. ;)

"Kathy is ready", I learned how to eat properly. I also started making exercise my passionate and priority. It really is a science that is constantly changing. I wanted to never diet again because diets fail. I wanted to learn how to eat everything, even the yummy treats, and still lose because if I just dieted, eventually if would want that brownie. I share a lot more detail on Facebook, if anyone wants to friend me there, feel free: www.facebook.com/forensicsgal

I will update later if I hear anything, otherwise expect to hear from me after my surgery. Good luck to everyone sharing the date, everyone coming up and thanks to all for your support. :)

Heard from the surgeon

We are moving forward!! Now it feels surreal. And I have hit the phase of feeling selfish, putting myself at risk, risking my son losing his mother....and for what? Meh, I will get over it. :)

My medical rentals just arrived. My stunning power lift recliner and a super handy dandy wheeled walker. Has anyone seen my Ben Gay?

Today

The day is here. I'm a bundle of nerves, I feel sick, I didn't sleep well and my back is already killing me. Hopefully I have no regrets. I going to try to turn my thinking around. I need to.

Here is one last shot, from a different angle. I realized I have a cute little freckle on my tummy I won't have anymore. Weird. :)

Day after

I have a high tolerance for pain but this is unreal. I'm having a lot of episodes blacking out. Still trying to get home soon. :(

Can someone tell me how to cough? Ugh

Surgery was five hours, I was in recovery for one, then in the family visiting area. They rushed me around there getting me mobile and peeing and I think that was when I had my first blackout episode. Chaos everywhere, my eyes were spinning weird, i was dry heaving. They were going to make me leave but then after that first episode they put me in the short stay unit where I slept until around 9 and they had to kick me out.

I see Kyle next Thursday and that will be my first reveal. No showers until then. My hair is already a disaster.

I really need to cough. The pillow trick doesn't work, I had some pretty good muscle repair, I feel like I'm going to blow out stitches if I cough too hard. I can't worry abut that, right?

My drains are huge and obtrusive.

Nothing seems to be touching any of my pain. :(

Can we talk poop? And pics...

My tummy is gurgling down low. I'm not sure I can go to the washroom (peeing is fine) and have been told no pushing or straining. Uh, I can't do that on a good day. It doesn't fall out of me. Sheesh. Is it too soon to try? Is it too soon to start my daily dose of Benefibre? I don't want to get any more uncomfortable than I already am.

My drains are huge, not those cute little bulb things everyone else seems to have. Hubby is clearing them for me. He's the best. My upper body pain from the lift and implants is no worse today than after an arm day workout. However I do feel I am being harpooned square in the nipples.

The ab repair was extensive and the pain indescribable. The incision line is no worse than my c-section, just wider. The binder is rolling up on to my drain incision (he has them on my hips) and that is freaking me out.

I cannot take the binder off or the bra off until I see the doc next Thursday. No showers, just sponge baths. I feel I'm going to stink when he removes the binder next week. I hope the drains will come out then. I want to feel normal again.

I'm not as hunched over as I thought I'd be, that's a small blessing. My cooter and thighs sure look different....will that last? ;)

I really thought I'd be tougher than this. The cough is making things really bad though. The mucus is thick like gelatin. Sorry, only brutal honesty from this girl.

I feel so bad

My binder feels like it's cutting off my circulation. Surgeon says I am not to remove it. I saw where one of my drains comes out because the binder is rolling up and pushing. There is just a stitch there, no covering. Will it get all infected? My tailbone is killing me, I have so much gas but can't push it out. The coughing is out.of.control. Burning, searing pain. Gah.

Update, three days post op

Is this supposed to be the worst day?

I had a rough night with back pain, lower and upper, shoulder and neck pain too. Sleeping in a recliner is brutal.

I decided today it's time to get my act together. My son comes home, I don't want to scare him. I need to move more. I need to get this gas out. The coughing is still happening. It feels like my intestines are coming out my incision.

I'm still so tired.

My boobs are starting to burn at the sides too. I've stopped Percocet (hoping to get my bowels moving) and am taking Tylenol back pain, hoping to help my back too. I am not sure if this has been a wise move or not. I'm hurting.

My drains are still producing stuff but less each day.

Hubby loosened my compression garment a little. In the one pic I am sharing, you can see the line the nurse drew on it for where the doctor had it. It's about an inch away now. I feel a little better, but at the same time not so great about it.

The other pic, the drains are in the way but you can kind of see how flat I am. In case you aren't sure what you're looking at, I'm facing left in the picture and have my hand on my belly. My left arm is behind my back.

Still thankful for the help here...

Keeping It Real....The Ugly Truth

I've been hit by the tsunami of pain. Completely unexpected and devastating. I had the one good day after several bad that gave me hope I was improving and have taken a million steps back. No gradual pain increase, just hit suddenly. I am back on the narcotics. The trade offs aren't worth it. I can't care.

I've also been hit by post operative depression. It's common, especially after this surgery. But it is not acknowledged, talked about and worst of all not treated. There is no treatment. The treatment is to not have the surgery at all. Adding extra stress and drama didn't help. I should have told the world before my surgery to just be kind to me after. Or I should have just shut the world out. I can't tell if it's my fault. It probably is. I have to blame someone.

I can't laugh at anything. I want to laugh. It's the best medicine, right? My insides feel they are being ripped apart. The searing pain all through my body just laying still is enough to make me want to die. Even narcotics provide little relief. I have been in this binder since surgery. It is tighter than the grip of an anaconda. I cannot remove it. I don't know what is happening to me underneath it. Is my skin healing? Are my intestines hanging out like I feel they are? My guts are feeling crushed, my ribs feel broken. I am not breathing right. I am itchy everywhere. I will get no relief until at least Thursday. At that point I'm sure I will be ready to rip all my skin off. The binder rolls up at the sides and up my back. It digs in at exactly the spot the drains are stitched in to my hips. Those spots are no longer covered by bandages. It's raw and exposed. Nerve endings. Burning pain. I don't know if I ever had bandages there. I probably should have. I wonder about infection. Yet still, the surgeon says keep the binder on.

It's not like I want to remove it anyway. I feel it's holding everything together inside. Getting up and walking hunched like I have to, I get such a tired burning pain from my boobs to my crotch. I can't stand or walk for long. My flank muscles have completely seized up. I have been on my back since surgery. Always on my back. My tailbone hurts. I have to sleep elevated, on my back. There is no relief until the drains come out. Praying for Thursday.

I am hot. I am cold. I am tense. I am sad. I want to shower. I feel like if I could just clean my hair (dry shampoo does jack shit in case you are wondering) and make my face not feel like leather and put on a little mascara I would be a different person. Not until at least Thursday. Damn you Thursday, where are you?

All of this I chose. And why? I don't know anymore. I'm told some day I will know and I will be so grateful. But right now, I think I am certifiably batshit insane for paying $13,000 to feel like this.

Better day....

Thanks, Hubby. A picture. He washed my hair. What a difference. No makeup but earrings! And satin on my skin. Little things make a day better.

Someone tell me this is okay....please.

Freaking out this morning, my drain fluid has turned green. That is a sign of infection, I've heard. Keeping drains in too long can also cause infection and I feel, based on the output I have been having, they should have come out days ago. My surgeon is in the OR today, I hope I don't end up in a filthy germ infested ER for this. And I hope I don't have an infection. I don't want a set back now. :(((

Drain pics....

Here is what the stuff looks like in the drain tubes....perfectly normal I think. So would it change color once it's been sitting in the actual reservoir after a while? It's so bizarre to me. I should just focus on how it looks in the tubs and once it's in the cup, just the quantity, right? (unless it gets funky) :)

I can't believe this is me.

I am free of the drains. Everything is going great. My nipples weren't dead and black under the tape like I convinced myself. Drama queen extraordinaire.

This is me. Me with swelling. I'm going to get even better, but I'm willing to take THIS. Unreal. Totally.

The boobs will settle as time goes on as well, they are under the muscle and still high up there.

It feels surreal.

I go back the 18th for stitch removal and to talk scar therapy.

My surgeon is amazing.

Hope this doesn't last.

Binder induced swell hell. I haven't been this hippy....ever. It's like my upper legs are shoulders. Please go away.

Thank you all for your comments.

I apologize for not always responding directly but know that I appreciate the and am thankful for all my friends here.

Drawback Of Major Surgery #8637: Just had my first actual shower and now I need a nap.

The perk: I smell fantastic!!

Ouch!!!

Anyone else getting the Charlie horse type spasms in their abdomen while sleeping? I assume this has something to do both muscle repair, it sucks (when you already have an unstable back) to have your whole torso seize up in the night. It is like my body wants to stretch, but I am still in the recliner position, either in the chair or in the bed, with my knees elevated.

Another thing I wondered about, there is so much said about the binder, "don't wear it too tight", "but don't wear it too loose". How do you know? I can't believe I am 11 days out and feeling so out of the loop.

LLB Inspired, Side By Side

The ab work brought my waist in a lot. I didn't even realize it until I put them side by side. The one side shot isn't accurate, I had to flip the post-op one since I was facing the other way. Oops. :)

Pics at 13 days post op

I started a new review over in the brachioplasty area because I am hoping to get my arms done in March. I took pics of my arms for that so instead of waiting for tomorrow did the pics of my tummy and boobage today. :)

Had a good couple of days. Nights are still rough finding a comfortable way to sleep. My tailbone is begging for mercy, my shoulders and neck are a mess. I saw my chiro tonight and he did a modified adjustment on me. I feel so much better.

Not much else to report, next appointment with Dr. Wanzel is the 18th. Getting wiggy about my belly button. I have not been given any info for care, in the shower I do nothing but let water run over it, get out, pat dry and use the hairdryer on all surgical sites for 2-3 minutes. That's it. I don't know if it's getting gunky or smelly or anything. And I can't touch it. Even though I can't feel it externally, I feel it internally and it makes me all woozy. :)

Sleep, Cramps, Exercise

Hey everyone! I guess I've been really quiet. I don't know why, maybe because this has been a new week of new routines. My husband went back to work, my son was at school, I was doing things totally alone and I did well.

I've been to the chiropractor a few times this week for modified adjustments. Those have been good. In fact I have been able to sleep in my bed since Tuesday (we have a Tempurpedic mattress that I neeeeed), on my side and stay in bed until morning. I'm sleeping better than on the recliner but still not great. I've been using rolled up socks between my boobs and the pain there has lessened. I feel more comfortable with each night.

However......every single night I am still getting these involuntary muscle spasms in my abdomen. Last night was the worst, I think I had six. I can feel them coming on in my sleep and it wakes me up. It's like a Charlie horse or a stretch you can't control. They are very uncomfortable and making me worried I am doing internal damage to the muscle repair (which I understand in the whole cause of these). I'm also concerned because they affect the muscles of my back as well, so I struggle with back discomfort. I've been having these since early days and thought they would subside once I got in the bed and out of that ridiculous position I was stuck in. I see the surgeon on the 18th and will discuss with him. These aren't avoided with muscle relaxants or anything before bed.

On the plus side, I am walking my five miles every day again but it is broken up in to two walks. I am hoping to transition to one walk every day next week. I feel good doing it but I am still listening to my body.

Most of the steri strips came off my tummy. I still have the horizontal ones across the middle. I'm having trouble with the drain site on the left side still being goopy. I also have a strange area that sticks out on the left side. I'm not sure if it's normal swelling, fat, my new shape or ugh, seroma. I don't have the waterbed effect, my stomach is pretty flat and taut. My belly button is also kind of icky. The surgeon suggested I put polysporin on it and my drain site until he sees me but if things change he will call in another script for antibiotics.

I still have all steri strips on my boobs. I'm letting them all come off on their own. Not safe to pull them. :)

The swelling has gone down in my saddlebags since I have started moving. I had been measuring with a tape measure. I had gained almost five inches around that area from pre-surgery. I'm down three, so about two to go to get where I was.

I still have monster crotch.

Busy weekend this weekend. It's thanksgiving here in Canada. Today is also my dads 70th birthday and tomorrow is my birthday. I'm also trying to catch up with some friends I haven't seen.

Hope everyone is doing well. Admittedly I haven't been reading (I suck) but will try to find some time to do that today or this weekend. :)

Couple more pics

Tonight's daily massage of the Frankenbelly. The one pic where I'm angled off sideways you can see this suspicious lump that concerns me. It's not ripply like a waterbed, it's firm, so I think it's normal swelling. It's annoying. You can see it in the front shot too. It's on my left side, your right. :)

No more steri strips!!!

Exhausting week. Still quite swollen. The last steri-strip on the belly came off today. My belly button is improving, it still looks like a little heart. The strips on my boobs are still fully stuck, not letting go. Appointment with the surgeon tomorrow, he will probably yank them. Pics and update to follow. :)

Saw my hero....er, I mean my surgeon

Took a few pics of the appointment, also sharing a pic of my new compression garment for when I don't have to wear the binder. I love it, it is so much more comfortable than the binder is.

The surgeon removed stitches and strips today, checked for seroma (nope) and says I am doing awesome and looking wonderful for three weeks out. I love this man!!!

More pics with close ups of my lollipop scars!

I'm told the puckering will diminish. All puckering, boobs and belly. :)

I'm quite swollen tonight. I didn't get as much walking in today. Grr..

Silicone scar sheets

These babies make everything look so tidy. :)

The Mepiform silicone strips were recommended. That's what I am trying. I'm only using them on part of the belly as you can't out them on scabby or raw sites. I am not using them on the boobs....yet.

I stopped using polysporin (that was recommended by the surgeon for the belly button and drain sites) and they are finally starting to heal. I would never have believed it if someone told me a product I believed in would DELAY my healing.

I posted a pic....

But it didn't show up. Grr.

I give up, RealSelf

It DID show up. LOL.

Four Week Pics

Four weeks post op, I have silicone strips on most of the tummy scar. I have about 8-10 pounds of swelling remaining (at least it's dropping) and the boobs are "settling" nicely. ;) I do have one of those pimply things on the underside of my left breast (I was warned about it) and OMG, it hurts like nothing else!!!! And it looks so innocuous.

Belly button close up and silicone scar strips

My BB is looking less like a heart. I was starting to embrace the heart. Sads. I still really like it though.

I did a full week of scar strips so I thought I'd take a pic before reapplying for this week. I can't wait to see if they make a difference. :)

Hope everyone is doing well.

Strange feelings.... (in the head, not physical)

I have never had a stomach so flat or had success with weight loss (until now). I feel like if I relax my abs too much they will separate again. Or if I eat a piece of chocolate, my stomach will suddenly bulge out again. I know on some level it took a lifetime of being unhealthy to get where I was, but I have this fear. I even have bad dreams it happens to me again. I feel like if I wean off the binder (which I have been working on), I will reverse all the work the surgeon did. When I wake up in the morning I always check to make sure my tummy is still flat. Please tell me I am not the only one with irrational thoughts like this. :)

Boobs!!

I think they are healing pretty good! I still have that sore pimple like bump on the left one, and lots of fluid in the right one (starting to concern me) but I think the scars look really good so far. :). The heat rash I got when I started sleeping in the bed (because I had to roll up socks between my boobs) is still lingering. At least it's not itchy anymore. Some peeling skin, but not a lot.

Six weeks post op today....

I am now six weeks post op. The scar therapy is still going, not noticing a lot of difference. I have a good amount of swelling, especially at the end of the day (when I always take the pics, ugh). My right breast is healing a lot different, I think because I have a huge build up of fluid in that one. The scar is darker than on the left breast. Otherwise, I am doing really well now. I am anxious to get started with core exercises but can't do that for at least another six weeks. My focus has changed from what the scale says and now I am focusing on body fat percentages and fitness goals instead. Anything else I drop while doing that is a bonus. :) I still can't wait to get my arms done at the end of the winter. All that armpit fat, once removed, will also lift the breasts a little more. Or so I am told.

Flatter in the morning...

The ripples under my scar are from swelling and the binder digging in.

I do wear clothes.

Here I am with my little boyfriend. :)

My old jeans

I yanked them out of my bottom drawer last night, and stepped in to ONE leg. Hubs snapped a pic. I still can't believe it. I've lost 185 pounds.

Uh-oh....

Just in time for the weekend, I fear I have a problem. I don't know if this can wait until I see the surgeon next Friday though.

I will post two pictures. The first one was today, post shower. I noticed my pesky left side scar, right at the end, the one I had problems with, gradually turning dark. I could feel a small stitch poking through for about 2-3 weeks now. Bio oil after the shower today eased it out. It was so tiny, like an eyebrow hair.

Fast forward to half an hour ago. I'm standing in the kitchen and I feel something on my leg, like blood running down it. It is blood running down it!!! This spot has pretty much blown open and is draining reddish, clear fluid but looks black, and there is a hole. See second picture.

Freaking. Do I need to call the doc? I don't feel pain, but I am still numb there. :(

Blargh

Office is closed for vacation, November 15th to 25th. I'm asking a nurse friend for her advice. She offered to come check me out when I was having drain problems so if it comes down to it, I know I can count on her. :)

Had my follow-up

I saw Dr. Wanzel today.

It was a good appointment. He looked over everything, snipped a few threads poking out in my tummy, belly button and boobs. He cleared me to do pretty much everything exercise wise, being cautious, obviously. My trainer put together 50.15 hours of training for December, I am so excited to have been cleared to do it.

We also talked about my brachioplasty (I'm reviewing that here: http://www.realself.com/review/toronto-arm-lift-body-wanzel-time-for-the-arms) and I booked my surgery date for that. He also took "befores" of the arms.

Not much else going on here....hope everyone is doing well. :)

That thing that happened in November....

Remember I randomly started bleeding from where my drain was on my left side, even though it had healed over? Yeah.

The last few days, the drain site on the right side started bulging out and turning black. Today it blew out, but a lot slower. It's slowly seeping blood. This one hurts, I can feel it. At least I know it will stop and heal over again, since I now have experience. ;)

But I wonder, is that it now? I wonder if I should be concerned about blood building up and then blowing out.

Boob blowout.

Oh, how fabulous. The hips are done, let's head to the boobage now.

This is on my left breast, which has healed well. The scar above the nipple started turning red two days ago. I had been keeping an eye on it and not doing anything except bio-oil. Today when I checked it, without even touching it, I watched it split open and white stringy stuff came out (with blood and pus), it looked like a can of silly string, the way it was shooting out. I am numb, so I am not sure if it hurts.

Dr. Wanzel is away but Helen suggested a visit to the doc for some meds. She thinks it's infection. Hopefully this won't go on forever. Anyone else have this happening?

I have also sinned over the holidays. I have sodium bloat and feel utterly disgusting. I can't believe in my old 350 pound life I ate like this all the time. Blech!!

12 Week Pics

I totally forgot about sharing my 12 week pics since that day fell on Christmas Day. Hubby took these this morning. Everything is going great, except for the occasional spitting suture which freaks me out before I realize that's all it is. :). Looking forward to my brachioplasty on March 12. Hoping to lose about ten more pounds before then. With hubby's business trip to Vegas in February it could be interesting....he goes to work, I go to play. ;)

Brachioplasty In FIVE Days!

My brachioplasty is on the 12th. I don't feel prepared, probably because aside from paying for the surgery (this one is all paid for already), I haven't been in touch with the surgeons office. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to get some sort of compression garment. I wasn't told to like I was for the TT. Some people have said they will just use tensor bandages and that will do the trick. I have a bunch of random questions that pop in to my head though.

Like when will I be able to drive again? And do I need to wait ten days for a real shower if I don't have drains? In surgery, how do they monitor the BP? And where does the IV go? Please don't say the foot. Pleasedontsaythefoot. ;)

I am the first surgery at 7:30am. I need to be at the hospital at 6:00. In Toronto. An hour away. At least I can sleep during surgery. ;)

I'm looking forward to this one, for sure. That hasn't stopped the anxiety though.

Brachioplasty is done!!

So, it seems as though I took my arms for granted. What a fun lesson.

It was a rough night with limited sleeping positions. Prescribed meds aren't as effective as simple old Motrin.

Dr. Amazeballs did great once again. Good news, I woke up much better from this surgery, but it was half the time of the last one. Also good, he didn't have to take the incision as far as initially thought. It goes from elbow, and into the armpit instead of from elbow, through the armpit.

I'm not vain but I would like to honestly admit that the vain part of me is glad to see my "quadriboobs" also appear to be gone. Those little pockets of fat between the arm and boob on the front.

Aside from that, I had this done for my comfort, not for looks. I'm proud of my choices and my scars. I won't hide them, there's a heck of a good story behind them.

Brachioplasty update

Lots of pain and swelling. But only in the left side. I wonder why that is. IV in the left hand? More lipo on that side? I did have an extra pocket of fat there I wanted gone. Who knows.

I sent a whack of questions to the doctor on Thursday and didn't get a response. Now it's the weekend and I see the surgeon Monday anyway.

Still just taking ibuprofen for pain but my back went in to spasm a couple days ago too so I have taken cyclobenzaprine which makes me a zombie.

Going to the bathroom has been more difficult this time around too, I think because of my back spasms.

I'm feeling the blues too.

I have been getting sharp pinching pain in my armpits, funny tingling feelings that feel like bugs under my bandages, and my bandages are slipping, which naturally upsets the drama queen within me. Oy.

Five Days Post-Op, Unwrapped!!

Everything is going well. No more bandages for me, no compression. I just have to be careful, but I can be normal. No weights for a long time. No problem. My back was in spasm during this visit and I think Dr. Wanzel thought my reactions were to seeing my arms. Not the case at all, I had to email Helen to tell her to tell him I love them so far!!!! Here are some pics....yes, I let my son play with an implant. :)

Brachioplasty update: seven days post op

7 days post-op, lots of bruising and swelling remains. When my arms are down, it feels like I have softballs in my armpits. I am able to do a little more with my arms now, but there is lots of pulling and tugging, especially in the armpit. I think I will be one of the 25% that has an armpit that won't close. I had my first real shower today, it went better than I expected. I am still sleeping all night in one position, on my back, legs and arms elevated. It only helps with the swelling a little. I'm a side sleeper, this is getting annoying too. Patience, Beth. Patience.

Two weeks post-op (brachioplasty)

My Steri-Strips are coming off and I'm starting to get wigged out because I can see the scar now. I am petrified of the armpit ones coming off the most. Open armpits...no thanks. I'm ridiculous. I think everything looks okay so far. My left arm scar is more flat and my right is "ropey"....bulgy. I have pain and tightness down the inside of my forearms. Still sleeping on my back, on the foam wedge. My back is a mess. I want to sleep on my sides again. Seeing Dr. Wanzel tomorrow. Wonder if he's going to yank all the strips. Yikes!!

Six months later....and saw Dr. Wanzel

I have absolutely nothing new to report on my TT/BL/BA. Everything feels normal. I do still feel the presence of my abs, but that lessens every day.

I saw Dr. Amazeballs today. He is pleased with how things are going so far. He removed the steri-strips and stitches and gave me the preparation just in case my armpits don't really like what is going on in them ("the body doesn't like corners") :)

I go back to see him in a month, but in the meantime I get to start the massage of the scars.

I am having crazy pain in my forearms still but for the most part my movement is good. No weights for at least six weeks, the longer the better. I told him I am petrified of these things opening so I will hold off. I also have pinching feelings in my armpit but they aren't constant. It all wigs me out. :)

I also asked about the extra skin in my armpits. Because it is "crepe-y" it has to stay. I'll deal with it. I trust him.

Pics are good

When you're feeling a little critical of what you're seeing in the mirror, questioning just how much was done, a little perspective snaps you back in to reality and makes you thankful. My surgeon is brilliant!!

Brachioplasty: Four weeks later....

Late update, this is last week, four weeks post.

"Four weeks post op. Uncontrollable swelling, and new, non-stop pain all along the scar. Excruciating forearm pain also continues. Was it worth it? Hell yes. Sorry the first pic is blurry."

Brachioplasty: five weeks

No change in pain or swelling, visible bruising again....huh?

Uh oh (brachioplasty)

Figures I have no issues until I see Dr. Wanzel on Monday and he says "see you in four months"

Left armpit, right at the end of my scar, I have a huge, hard, painful lump. I know about the pimple like bumps that resolve themselves, but I never had one this big or painful with the other surgeries. And this is less like a pimple and more like a boil. A big boil. As in it probably has it's own digestive and circulatory system. I think it waved at me.

I've attached pics so you all can laugh at the drama queen within me. Maybe this just seems huge to me because it looks like it's breathing, when in reality (which I am rarely in touch with) it's just a teeny nuisance.

Brachioplasty: 13 weeks post op

Thirteen weeks post op. Overdue update on the arms, requested by many. Sorry. :(

The epic swelling remains in the left arm, which I believe was done by the student doctor. I also have new swelling in both armpits. You can see it in the pictures. Also on the left arm, down near the elbow I continue to have problems with, I think, a stitch. Very sore spot.

No more forearm pain, that went away in both arms a couple of weeks ago, so about ten weeks post op. I do still have pain on touch in both upper arms and along the scar line especially. I also have new pins and needles type pain all along the scar line. It's random and grabs my attention when it happens.

I am still frequently checking for openings, ripping, blood, because the pain I feel sometimes make me think something grody is going on.

I am training (cardio) like crazy for this marathon in November. Also lifting every other day, we are gradually increasing weight as my pain levels allow.

Even with all the fear and discomfort, I'd do this one over and over again if I have to. I just wish my armpit skin wasn't so crepe-like and he could have removed more in that area.

PS: that mother in my armpit started draining and settled down on it's own. It was vile. Lol.

One Year!

Excuse the PJ's. I should go to Walmart or something, but I don't feel like taking my bra off. ;)

It's been one year since my tummy tuck, abdominal muscle repair, and breast lift. I had help doing some updated photos today.

I went in to this surgery at around 177 pounds. I am currently 152. Total weight loss, 198 pounds!!!

The scar has faded quite a bit, I can't even see it in a few places. I still have some numbness, and weird places where if I touch, I feel it somewhere else. I'm told that's nerves. The steroid shots in the belly button that I got a month ago have made my belly button kind of weird, but it's no longer tight and knotted. The boob scars are pretty much invisible.

I also have updated arm pics. I am just six months out of that surgery. I have swelling in my left arm still, and just a little in my right. I am thankful for a skilled surgeon who didn't pull my arms too tight, I wanted a really natural, still jiggly result. He nailed it. As I am cutting fat right now, my abs are starting to show through better, and my arms are slowly progressing as well.

I am finally embracing the stretch marks and still stick to my belief that you have to thrive, not deprive. Curves are good. So is food.

Best decision of my life.

My pics didn't show up!

Trying again....and also adding the official "before and after". :)

Oh well...

That was a fail too. I'll try from my laptop later.

One Year Pics

Alright, this is my last attempt. Then I give up. :)

Another milestone!!

Thought I'd post a few more photos. I've hit the 200 pound loss mark, maybe I've mentioned that, and changed my hair, my wardrobe, almost everything.
Toronto Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Wanzel is an amazing and talented surgeon. He takes pride in his work and does not make promises he isn't sure he can keep. I think it works well that I don't seek perfection (though his work is pretty perfect) and he doesn't want his patients to look unnatural. He explains everything thoroughly, right down to the little things that can be expected. I am so happy I chose him to do my surgeries. Helen is also wonderful. She is very friendly and helpful with returning phone calls and emails.

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
4 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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