55-Year-Old Mom of Four, Grandma of Three - Mommy Makeover Has Changed my Life. Towson, MD

I know that we all have our own journey but I'm...

I know that we all have our own journey but I'm supposing that the motivation is much the same for many of us. I absolutely hated my body. Even I didn't realize how much it weighed me down. I just assumed it was something I had to live with, and had to accept from having children and aging. Many times I would simply not go anywhere because I had nothing to wear that I thought looked nice and I was just so uncomfortable! I cringed at the pictures of me because I always had a roll of fat. I put out "feelers" to some friends, work associates and of course, my husband and children. The comments I got were discouraging: "Are you looking for a new husband?" "At your age?" "Think what you could do with that money?" "You look perfectly fine to me." "Are you going to do anything with your face" (I really don't think that last was was meant to be cruel -- I think he meant it as a serious question.)

I made an appointment for mid-February to see a plastic surgeon who was extremely well regarded. They asked me to remove my clothes and put on a little tiny pair of black panties. I stood against a wall, turning this way and that, while they took pictures. I was so ashamed, so vulnerable, that I just started to weep. I realized then all I had given over to my husband(s), my children, to time. I wanted it back. Anyone who has this surgery really knows what I mean when I say it has virtually nothing to do with vanity.

After my consultation, it was time to go see the "financial consultant." Uh oh. She told me that the doctor recommended a full abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), breast left and augmentation, and liposuction of the flanks. The cost: $18,800. The price of a nice car, or an addition to the house, a vacation for ALL of us, etc. I thought about it -- and scheduled my surgery for Apr 8, 2014. I methodically set about collecting the money I would need, pacing myself at work so I could comfortably take off, collecting my supplies and rearranging my house to accommodate a sick person (me!).

I could not imagine that I would have great results. I have never been the person for whom things work out. Not that things ever went too terribly wrong -- but I was the kind of person where it just wouldn't make a big difference one way or the other. I could not have been more wrong. In the interest of time and space, I won't go into it now but will answer ANY questions anyone has for me. The surgery was much more drastic than I had counted on. The pain is excruciating, the scars are significant, the healing time is long and arduous. The results -- are nothing less than stupendous. Much more than the physical results are the emotional ones. All the years, the bad memories, the times I hid my body, or got irritated when my husband touched me, not because I was bitchy but because I was ashamed --it's all GONE. Tossed away in the trash can, literally and figuratively.

I followed every single direction to the absolute letter. I wanted it to work. I wanted to have good results. It has now been 14 weeks and one day since I had my surgery. I will never be the same and my life has changed, forever. In many ways, the clock has been set back, in my mind, at least a decade. Not physically, mind you, but mentally. When someone coined the phrase "new lease on life," this has got to be what they meant. In some ways I wish I had done this a decade (or more) earlier, but the truth is, I would not have had the time off work or the time to spend just indulging myself to heal. I would not have had the money. I would not have had the mindset that I could do this for myself. So, like many things in life, time and opportunity lined up perfectly.

Now, I want to be able to help anyone along on their journey. You can always count on me to be honest. Should you have any questions, please ask me. It's been interesting, to say the least. I have referred back to RealSelf over and over and over in my recovery and it has brought me great comfort. It's time now to pass my own experience on. Good luck to you all. God bless you.

P.S. I'm awfully sorry I don't have "before" photos. I will ask my doctor for a couple -- maybe they will let me share. But, just to let you know, I had the infamous "butt in front" belly button, thick and heavy stretch marks, a "ledge" along the pubis, not from a caesarean but from another abdominal surgery, and my stomach "hung," even when standing straight. My breasts were lax, with the areola and nipple not pointing out, but down. I had to lift them to dry under them. My flanks were simply fat, and created a muffin top in everything I wore. I wasn't terribly overweight but zero muscle tone and quite a lot of excess skin and fat in my middle area. A bajillion sit ups or crunches would do nothing for me.

A Word About Women and Why We Can Be So Unkind

At first I thought it was my imagination. Then, I thought, maybe it's not my imagination but maybe I'm sending out "bad vibes," so I made a conscious effort to be extra kind and thoughtful. But I've come to the conclusion that it's probably not me.

I've written previously about some of the unkind comments I received when I was considering surgery. That was confusing to me because I am hardly ever unkind to anyone. But maybe, I thought, people really did feel that I was being selfish for having the surgery. Then it occurred to me one day that the vast majority of the unkind comments I got were from other women. Ah, I thought, that's only because I mostly share with other women -- so I tried to forget about it.

Fast forward 4 months. I am solidly "on the mend." My body is, I think, amazing now and I'm TRULY grateful. I like to think that I would be happy for anyone else who has shed their old skin (and fat and marks and scars...) and I had gotten used to everyone on RS being SO very supportive.

So, I'm going to just say it... "Support" has not been my experience. In fact, it has been quite the opposite and 99.9% of the poor treatment has been from other women. Sure, there are a TON of people who are truly happy for me. But there are many more who simply, oddly enough, won't even look at me anymore. Some, though we work in the same office, have never acknowledged my surgery or even that I was gone for eight weeks. There are some young women who flitted about in front of me for a couple of years who will not even acknowledge or make eye contact with me now.

At first it was really upsetting to me. I could feel the old shame welling up in me -- but then, wait a minute! Not only did I go through weeks and weeks of preparation, excruciating pain, a slow and painful recovery, but I had to pay almost $19,000 of MY OWN money for the opportunity to do so! I'm NOT going to be shamed into feeling uncomfortable about something I wanted so badly!

Jealousy and envy are hard. They are hard to feel it (and I have and so, most likely, have you) and it's really hard to be on the receiving end of it. I thinking I am learning to accept it for what it is and overlook it. It's still uncomfortable for me and I don't like it but it's starting to make me feel more annoyed than sad. I do hope that have learned something from it -- and that is that everyone has a story. The next time I am tempted to feel envious about something someone else has, I hope to be able to take a step back and consider that their road may not have been as easy as all that, as mine has not been.

I suppose my reason for writing this is to let those who are starting their journey know that these attitudes exist, and please prepare yourself. And for those further along on their journey, if you've been tempted to think it's your imagination, it's not. I, for one, will try to be all the kinder.

God bless each and every one of you. We're very fortunate to be on this journey, and all the more so for having each other! I'll post new pictures soon.

Proof of End-of-Day Swelling!

Hi, everyone. Like most of us have heard, there can be swelling many weeks and months after our procedures -- in my case, of course, it was a full TT, liposuction of the flanks, and a breast lift augmentation. We hear about end of day swelling and I've been suspecting that by the end of the day, I'm pretty significantly swollen. Last night and this morning, I got pictures. The first picture (jeans on, boobs out) was taken just before putting on my jammies. Literally end of day, and I was beat! The second picture was the VERY first thing I did this morning. FYI, I DO wear my compression garment at night, along with a support (sports) bra. My CG is quite literally my security blanket. It does not even velcro hardly at all anymore but I don't know what I'll do without it. Also, I usually DO NOT wear Spanx during the day but on this particular day I had, but had taken them off for a couple of hours after returning home from work.

What do you all thing? Swelling?

Pet peeve: typos and no way to fix them

I've noticed on RS that once a post is posted it's posted! Obviously, my last sentence says: What do you all think? Swelling?

I hope every one of you is well tonight -- excited, calm, in no pain. :-)
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

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Hi. I am 55 too, and we are at about the same place in our recovery. I didn't have lipo, but I sure had my fair share of swelling. It seems so crazy to keep hearing "be patient" at 3 months lol! My PS won't even do his own "after" photos and measurement until patients are 6 months po. I agree 100% with your comments about unkind women. You are the first I've seen mentioning it. I first had a facelift, and went thru the unkind experience, then worse, was the total ignorance of my outstanding results.... I felt it was pure jealousy and nothing more simple than that. When I had my TT, I simply never mentioned it to a soul. We don't need their support or encouragement for what we do for ourselves is for us and us alone :-)
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Thanks for you comments, regarding taking steps forward and then a few back. It really meant a lot. I have been struggling with this. I am struggling about my weight, I look in the mirror and wonder if it was enough or I should have done more... or should I have waited, lots of second guessing. I have spent time on this site lots, and see so many other woman who look much better coming out of surgery than I do, I'm really second guessing my decision. Is this normal? I was hoping for weight loss, but i only have lost 5 lbs, 5 lbs from the excess skin. Nothing more and watching my eating but getting really frustrated. Any suggestions????
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Hi 5lbHatchelflax, great to meet you,well kind of. Lol. I'm almost 48 and have finally bitten the bullet and decided to go ahead with my surgery. Like you I put it off and felt guilty whenever I thought about spending the money. But in June the last of my 4 babies turned 18 (the others are 26, 24 and 22) and then I started thinking 'am I too old to bother?' Why is it that we discount our own wants and needs so well, do we teach our girls at birth to do that? Men don't seem to have the same feelings of guilt about what they want. Oh well the outcome of all this tooing and froing is I'm doing it! Full TT with MR donut lift with BA, lipo to flanks and vaginoplasty. I'm going to try and do it all at the same time if my surgeon thinks I can handle it. I'm going in Nov so I'm kind of nervous excited and impatient at the moment. Thanks for your wonderful posts. I'll be reading them avidly as the time draws nearer. As far as the negative opinions go I think the only thing I can think of is to teach our daughters better. It's not a competition ladies, we don't want to get made over and then steal your husbands/ boyfriends, most of us don't know what to do with the ones we have lol. And just because I think your pretty does not lessen my beauty, in fact it enhances it. Why can't they get that. *sigh* oh well the more of us out there teaching by example the better.
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Thanks for sharing your experience. I am so sorry that our own eat each other up sometimes. I was afraid of responses from co workers, and have been very careful who I told. You have confirmed my fears of reactions from women in particular. I am pleased to hear you are handling it well, strong and independent, and firm in your own decisions! RS is such a supportive group, I learn new things everyday and am grateful for everything.
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I am sooo glad I read your story. What you said about envy rings true. All my life I was skinny with big boobs and women treated me like enemy #1. Then with my recent pregnancy I gained 82 lbs and for the first time in my life ladies started being nice to me! However, as the baby fat has melted away (50+ lbs so far) women are being less and less friendly, less communicative, and some are downright hostile. One went so far as to tell me I was a whore and gold digger who only had a baby so I could sit on my ass for the rest of my life and spend my husband's money. Wow. So yeah, enjoy every minute of your new body, and new freedom it has given yoh. You earned it, you deserve it, and I am right behind you, sister!
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I don't really see any swelling in either pic! You look great btw! I hope I have a great result in 6 days!!! Yikes!;)
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Newlook2014, six days... It's so close! I remember when I was closing in -- everything I did, I'd say "This is the last time I'm ever going to (insert chore here) looking like this." "This is the last time I'm ever going to grocery shop looking like this," "This is the last time I'm ever going to pump gas looking like this." I drove everyone crazy! Are you doing that?? Have a terrific week, though I sure hope we'll be hearing from you.
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Oh, I'm sorry! Thank you for the compliment. I definitely see swelling but of course we're much harder on ourselves.
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Haha! Yes, I'm doing the very same thing! That's so funny, even in our differences we are all still very similar, so very human. Thanks for the encouragement, I can't wait!
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I still think you look incredible, swollen or not!
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It saddens me to read your post and I hope that your spirits are continually brightened by just looking at yourself in the mirror each morning! You look AWESOME and if people can't be happy for you, then shame on them! It has nothing to do with age, vanity, or proving your worth to someone else... you did it for you and that's all that matters. Poo poo to them! You have true support here on RS and I hope that each day you heal, you grow more confident and feel justified in your decisions to do something good for YOURSELF -- now go enjoy it!! For all we're going through, we deserve it!! :D
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Very well said my friend! I too am already seeing responses, (or none at all!) of a negative nature. Why is it that we ask just can't support one another? I have two very close friends that I don't see too often (1lives out of state) and the last time I saw either of them, neither one made any comment about my significant weight loss or about my upcoming sx. I was so taken back by their unwillingness to be happy for me! But in spite of that I'm still extremely excited for myself and I pity them for missing out in my joy. Its on them now and I'm ok with that. There will be more women like that in my life and I refuse to let them steal my joy! This is our time!!! Woo hoo!!!!
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There is nothing worse than women bringing each other down..it's so sad to me. I always show happiness and excitement when someone shares something with me that they are excited about. From surgery to having their kitchen re modeled! I teach my kids to show kindness to everyone and support people. Especially when they see someone NOT being supported. Jealousy is very ugly. I know I've felt it but I just tell myself we all have our own paths to take and I don't care what people show on Facebook or Instagram. ..No one's life is perfect! I'm fortunate that no one that I have told about my upcoming surgery has been anything but happy for me. They think I'm crazy but they don't live in my body. Plus they know that I just don't care what anyone else thinks, I'm finally doing something for ME ME ME! Lol I'm so grateful for this site and the ladies that continue to post about their journey as they go through the healing process. It really helps all of us! Thank you again!
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Wow!! Your story is so inspiring and reflects so much of how I feel! Thank you for sharing! I am scheduled for a TT, BL no augmentation, and lipo to flanks on August 11th and like the rest....am counting down the days! I am reading everything I can get my hands on, ordering supplies like a maniac, and working on getting my body as healthy as possible for a great recovery. One of my indicators about how serious I am about this....the day I booked my surgery - I quit smoking. After 30 years of smoking every single day, I quit. And I am so proud of myself! I am 51 years old. And I want to look like you! Your results are FANTASTIC! I hope I can even get close! Realself is a great site and has already helped me so much....
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Hi, dazzlady. Thank you so much for your note. And congratulations on your surgery on Aug 11. You must be so very excited, ready to get the show on the road. And mostly, congratulations for quitting smoking -- I cannot think of anything much for wonderful to do for yourself. Good job! Thank you for your kind notes about my results. I continually see improvement as healing commences. It's a journey, that's for sure. Our surgeries are almost identical except for the augmentation. I would have liked to have a gone just a tad bigger but my PS was concerned that I would look ridiculous at 55 years old getting breasts much larger. I'm sure he's right in the long run. These are very manageable and I'm happy with them. He's right -- I can see myself being a bit embarrassed had I gone much larger. Please, please stay in touch and let us know how you're doing, especially as your big day gets closer. Let me know if you have ANY questions, regardless how seemingly trivial. I really do care. God bless you!
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Thanks for expressing that. So many times we forget to comment on the mental/psychological aspect of this journey or barely touch on it since we're so focused on the physical.
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Hi msquick1, Thank you for your note. You're so right -- we really do need to take care of ourselves mentally, too. I had read on RealSelf in the weeks leading up to my MM about the "blues" after the surgery. So when they hit, I let them wash over me, knowing they were not a representation of us and they were just a stage. I think, too, some discussion should be made in the "community" about the effects of healing into a body such as we have not had for a very long time, if ever. It can be jarring to be looked at in a particular way, especially at 55 years old! I'm not sure I could have handled it at 30 but it's weird in a different way in my 50s. Plus, I had the surgery as I did because I wanted to be a fit and better me, not sexier. It sounds ridiculous to say this, but that's been a bit hard to handle. (oh, poor me, right?). Take care of yourself, and God bless you.
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Thank you Thank you Thank you!!! You have written what I have felt for years! You have seen the inside of my heart by revealing your own. Your words are honest, painful, insightful and ultimately freeing. Thank you for putting so beautifully into words what I've had a hard time expressing. You look beautiful!
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newlook2014, Thank you very much for your note. I really had not intended for my entry to be so long but I wanted to make sure that someone reading it would understand. I am so glad it helped you. It was so painful and it seemed as if it took forever to heal (and I'm really only just beginning), but it's done and I'm on my way. So many funny things have happened along the way and also I've spent so much time alone that I've gotten to know myself really well. Me and my little dogs, that is. (By the way, it wasn't until after I posted the pictures that I noticed my little Shih-Tzu, Molly, hanging off the bed like a crazy lady. She'd been trying to get my attention but I didn't notice she was acting like a brat until later.) As I told someone else, it's not that we want to let ourselves go, it's just that we don't know what to do! If we could fix it we would. Please, please stay in touch! I want to know how you are as you get closer, and especially when the surgery is done. Do you have plenty of help and support? I remember my husband coming upstairs when I was about three weeks post-op and asked if I was ever getting up. I told him that no, I wasn't getting up. And right now, I'm not sure if I am ever getting up. I worked for my time off. I earned it. And there was nothing anyone could do to make me do anything at all. In fact, I said, only a house fire would get me up. And even then, I might wait to see how bad of a house fire it was, and in what part of the house it was in, because if I felt I could reasonably survive a house fire, I may not even get up for that. He didn't ask me again. Stay in touch. Good luck and God bless!!
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5lbHatchelFlax, thanks so much fire your encouraging words! I will definitely keep in touch and add fire help, my hubby works nights so for the first few days my sister is taking care of me at her house. Then my daughter, other sister, hubby or friends will help. I think I'm covered there; ) I have a great family and support system and they're all rooting for me. I can't wait to do this thing finally! I hope you have a great day, and thanks again for the your sweet words:)
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Wow you really give me hope. I do love myself but I always felt like it was my duty to put my family first. The truth is I did not even have to put myself last but I chose to do that and in doing so I have cheated myself out of so many wonderful memories and experiences because deep down inside I guess I felt like I was not worthy. I cannot tell you how many flights I have taken over the years and still have not learned that "you put your oxygen mask on first". To look at me one would think that I just don't give a damn about how I look. I really do care it's just that I always felt like I was supposed to sacrifice my body for my children. The eye opener for me was my last pregnancy this year when I asked my husband to get a vasectomy since I have already been through 4 C-sections. His response was he did not want to take any chances with his body. Well I have taken 4 chances going under the knife and now I have to get back what was taken from me or rather what I gave away. I will be in a good place financially to make this investment in myself I just need to get myself there mentally and emotionally so that I can follow through and make the investment in myself. I am still researching PS but will begin getting advice on how much weight I need to lose to have a safe surgery with great results. I also would like to get the BBL so I may need to get my work done in stages since I will need some fat.
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Hi, caterpillar714. Thank you so much for your note. Isn't it amazing how we just go and go and go and then one day, someone says something and it just hits us wrong, and changes everything? You're right, we do give ourselves over to our families and then one day, we are just done with that and ready to take it back.I so hope that you are ready to go through with this. I really don't believe there is a woman on this earth that truly doesn't give a damn about how she looks. We all care -- we just don't know what to do. Nothing works. Then we just find a style of clothes that seem to work, unflattering though they may be. Then the weeks turn into months, months into years, and all of a sudden, we're 55 years old and realize we haven't seen the underside of our breasts in 20 years. What they heck is that all about?! But the truth is, we act like we don't care but the truth is, if we could change it, we surely would, but who has the time/money to commit to the gym when the kids are little and even if we could, we all know it would make no difference. All you have to do is feel your tummy when you're doing a sit-up or a crunch to know that those muscles are separated and that crunch is doing absolutely nothing at all. One thing I've learned is that it really doesn't matter what my husband thinks, for good or for ill. That sounds meaner than I want it to, but it's true. I know I cannot speak for all women, but this has so little to do with him or the kids or any other human. It has to do with ME, because it is me that I spend the most time with. It also has ZERO to do with vanity or "sex appeal." I hope you will find the strength and resolve to reach down within yourself and pull out the will to lose what your PS suggests for you and that you don't look back. Please stay in touch -- I want to know all about it! Good luck and God bless!
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I love reading everything you write. :) You understand the life & body of a mother and wife so well. It's so nice to know that other people feel the same way too. Ps you look awesome!!
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I'm 48 and I would also end up being one of the older gals to want and need a mommy makeover.Although I haven't done it yet I have had consultations and I am thinking of staging it .TT first,then BL and BA.My surgery would be 7 hours if done at once and I think that's just too long.How long was your surgery.Did you have exparel as a painkiller?
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Hi, Weaver3. Thank you for your note. I'm very happy to answer these and any questions because I know what a help it was for me. First, yes, my PS did use Exparel and while it added a several dollars to the overall cost, I really would have done anything he suggested that I do. I trusted him completely and felt that he had good judgment. Who was I to refuse it? Not knowing what it might have been like without it, I can only say that my tummy hurt a LOT more after the time period when they say it wears off, so presumably, it worked. Weaver3, if there was any way on earth that I could convince you to rethink your decision to stage your surgery, I would try. Here's why: My surgery was just over five hours long. I had a full TT, BL/BA, and liposuction. And I won't pretend that I wasn't pretty jacked up. But, I was all jacked up at once, and once it was over, everything was healing at once. The same eight weeks that were healing the belly were healing the breasts. The compression garment that was necessary for the belly was also necessary for the lipo of the flanks. And make no mistake -- it sucks! But I knew once I was back on my feet, it was forward from there! Do you have plenty of support? I don't know about you but I had plenty of leave time at work to make it through comfortably, with time to spare. But had I gone for several weeks for my belly and then back out again for my breasts, I don't know, I think that might have been stressful in and of itself. Please don't get me wrong -- we are all different and this just might work for you. I'm just saying that it hurts -- but it hurts once and then it's on the road to recovery! Then, too, is the added expense of OR charges twice, and anesthesiologists twice. Please let me know how you're doing -- and for Heaven's sake, when you schedule, please let us know! How exciting for you! Feel free to ask anything or let me know your reservations. Good luck and God bless!
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