35 year old mom of two, lost 80 lbs in 2005 and...

35 year old mom of two, lost 80 lbs in 2005 and have kept it off since. I went from a size 18 to a size 2. I'm very, very happy with my weight (5'3" 113lbs this morning) and my size. I work out 6 days a week, 12-15 hrs a week total. I'm a runner and triathlete. I am 100% happy with how I look in clothes. But I have significant skin on my stomach and sagging breasts from the weight loss.

I've been thinking about this off and on since I lost the weight, but I always decided not to because of the recovery. I don't want to have to take a single day off of working out. The thought alone gives me an anxiety attack. But I am so fed up now. I have done so many things to change my life and take control...the weight loss, also went back to school and am finishing my degree. It feels incomplete when I look in the mirror and see the skin. I really think that investing a few months in the recovery will be worth it in the end. And I WILL get my fitness back eventually. Even if its slow, it will happen.

So I actually had my first consult appointment. It went well, pretty much what I expected. The dr recommended a full TT with muscle repair, and a BA with lift (planning to go from small A's to full B's/small C). He said my health, being at an idea weight and the fact that all my extra skin is located in the center makes me an excellent candidate and thinks I can have amazing results. I have another consult this week to get another opinion, but I really liked the first doctor and his staff.

My main questions at this point involve recovery. I am also a full time college student finishing my senior year in a science degree, so its pretty intense. I put in at least 60 hour weeks with school between commuting, classes, homework and study time. We have a 3 week winter break in December/January and I'd like to do the surgery during that time, other wise I'd have to wait until August 2013. The doctor seemed to think 3 weeks is plenty of time to return to school. I will have a 1.5 hours commute each way that I would have to drive myself, plus sitting through lecture, going up/down stairs, a long walk from the parking garage, lab classes that require moving around. Does 3 weeks sound like enough time?

I'm also trying to get a summer internship next year. My major is geology, so the internships I am looking at require significant field work (hiking in mountains with a heavy back pack for 8hrs a day for weeks...this is a surprisingly ab intensive thing, for those who haven't done it, carrying a heavy pack up/down hill is more abs than legs) Again, dr felt given my current level of fitness I would have no issues doing this 5-6 months post op.

Realistic?

Had consult #2 this morning. Went well. Also liked...

Had consult #2 this morning. Went well. Also liked this doctor. Got basically the same information and recommendations, no real differences as far as the procedure itself or potential outcome. She also agreed that 3 weeks for going back to school was fine and that hiking 6 months out shouldn't be a problem. Potential surgery date exactly the same: 12/26. Three main differences: Price quoted was $1500 more (mostly based on her estimate for 5 hours in surgery vs the first doctor who estimated 4 hours), she does not require an overnight hospital stay after, and I'm not sure I "clicked" as well with their patient coordinator. She was very nice, but I really like the one at the other dr's office. I'm leaning toward the first surgeon right now.

Decided to go with the first surgeon, booked my...

Decided to go with the first surgeon, booked my appointment! He opened up a few surgery dates before Christmas because of demand, so it looks like I will going in 12/20! This gives me an extra week before starting back to school, I feel much better about that. So I guess...let the countdown begin! 57 Days!

So, first, I'm not sure if I should keep reading...

So, first, I'm not sure if I should keep reading reviews prior to my surgery! So many are depressing reading about recovery...then there will be a few great ones here and there. It seems people have such vastly different experiences. One review will talk about still being swollen and exhausted at 4 months out, another one at 4 months will say they feel great and 100% and back to exercising, no swelling, etc. Its horrible not knowing which "side" of recovery I will end up on.

Second, anyone else whose husband is not really supportive? Mine is technically going to act supportive because he knows I'm doing this either way (its my money and my body, so yeah, my decision) and he does feel I deserve it after how hard I worked to lose weight, get my degree, etc. But we've had A LOT of ups and downs, mostly downs lately. Our relationship is definitely not in a good place, but we keep working at it. So he assumes I am doing this to leave him. That's not it, whether or not or relationship makes it will be completely independent of whether or not I have this surgery. But he doesn't see it that way. Which is fair, I get it. Sure, obviously if I am going to end up in my late 30's and single I'd rather it be without all the sagging skin and sagging boobs. Who wouldn't prefer that? But its not like its going to be a determining factor. Anyway...I have a great friend who is going to be on call for recovery if my husband isn't being helpful (honestly, he is HORRIBLE at "taking care" of anyone, even when things were good with us, every time I was sick he just gave me a "suck it up") But still worried there's gonna be lots of fights and tears those first few weeks if I ask him for help.

WIsh I didn't have to wait so long from decision...

WIsh I didn't have to wait so long from decision to surgery date. Too much time to have doubts.

Lots going on personally...I found out that I have one less class for my degree than I thought, so graduation is definitely next May. This is huge for me, its been a 6 year journey to complete a bachelors degree in a highly competitive science program while staying in the top 10% of my class and taking care of my family.

I also decided that since my January marathon I had planned is out because of the TT in December, why not go for a early December marathon? So I am doing a full marathon on 12/9 (that's a 26.2 mile run), 11 days before surgery, so its my last hooray. Hopefully its not my last race ever. I did an 18 mile run over the weekend, felt really good. But it also made me sad to wonder how long before I am back to running 18 miles again? I know a lot of people are back to their "usual" fitness routine fairly soon...but most people's usual routine is not an 18 mile run. Am I looking at 6 months? A full year? I don't think I could stand that.

And the more reviews I read, I hear about how still having numbness, pain, exhaustion, swelling, etc. at 4, 5, and 6 months out is "normal". Some people say a full year? I can't have that. With school, graduation, an intense internship over the summer...I don't have TIME to still be healing that far out. I have too much life to be actually out there living, not sitting on the couch in spanx drinking tea and moaning about swelling!

And finally, I'm down to 111 lbs. Lowest weight ever and I'm loving it. I even bought some size 0 jeans the other day because my 1's and 2's are falling off. And I bought some Lululemon size 2 running shorts (if you know this brand, they run SMALL!) My muscle tone on my arms and legs is just popping like never before. And I can't stop looking at my glutes/butt...the extra running miles are really showing there. I know that after a couple weeks on the couch recovering it will all be jello. Why, oh why would I do something that is going to make me look WORSE to most people?? I get so many compliments on how I look now, a 20-something guy at school told me the other day I had the "best body" of all the girls in our program...and I'm 10 years older than all of them. Why would I mess that up? But of course, he wouldn't say that if he saw me without clothes.

But the flip side, things have been worse than ever with the hubby, everyday it just gets clearer that I need to move on after I am done with school. So I guess that's my main motivation to continue forward with this.

Officially one month out from my surgery date....

Officially one month out from my surgery date. Everyday I get new and more doubts. And everyday my personal life gets more complicated.

I truly feel that I have more to lose by having the procedure than I have to gain. I feel like will be losing my fitness, will be losing my size/shape that I love (because I am SURE I will gain weight during recovery and end up bigger than I am now), possibly losing a huge career opportunity (if I am not 100% recovered in 5 months as my surgeon predicts and cannot take an internship over the summer). The only thing I will gain is that when I do get out of my marriage next year, I will have the confidence to pursue another relationship. That's it. My whole identity, who I am and who I have worked so hard to become, is tied to my fitness, racing and my career. I'm risking every one of those things in order to look good naked. I'm not sure how much logical sense that makes.

My pre-op appointment is two weeks from Thursday. Both with the doctor and at the hospital to get all my blood work done. (Also going to be sizing again for breast implants...I know that technically means this review belongs in "Mommy Makeover" but I HATE that term so much that I couldn't bear to post this in that section. But still undecided on size and that part of the surgery will be happening no matter what)

I haven't even started to think about supplies or planning since school and life is pretty much all consuming with school and marathon training. I found out that my last day of school is actually 12/14 instead of 12/19, so that gives me 6 days off between my last final and surgery to get stuff done and organized.

I added a before/after weight loss photo, the before is from 2004 at my heaviest weight, 183lbs. The after is from 2007 at about 115. I am now 108. This is just to show that I was not always this weight or size, how hard I worked and what I managed to accomplish with my body all on my own.

Well, 17 days to go. Feeling more sure that I want...

Well, 17 days to go. Feeling more sure that I want to do this. I'm still worried about how much recovery will set back my life and fitness, but I'm more ready to accept that part as just part of the deal and say the end result will be worth those set backs.

I'm kind of getting worried about the pre-op appointment on Thursday. I *think* I am in great health, but there is always a chance of something coming up on blood work that I don't know about. I've been taking iron supplements because low iron is common in endurance athletes (plus I'm almost vegetarian and eat no red meat) But still...what if there is something else wrong I don't know about? I'm also worried about how much blood they will take. I have a marathon on Sunday (3 days after my pre-op) Hopefully they don't take enough to effect my race :( I know you aren't supposed to give blood within 6 weeks of a marathon because it takes you that long to replace it all, but that's a totally different volume.

Its going to a be a busy couple weeks...between today and my surgery I have 4 exams, my pre-op, my marathon, my son's birthday, 2 holiday parties, one end of semester/graduation party, and just general life of course! Right now my mind is still focused almost completely on school and my marathon, I'll shift to actually thinking more about surgery after the 14th I guess...

Had my pre-op yesterday. Went really well. Paid...

Had my pre-op yesterday. Went really well. Paid the balance to the surgeon (will pay hospital the day of surgery). Doctor went through what to expect the day of surgery, in the hospital, etc. Said to bring any underwear or swim suit I want him to try and hide the scar in and that he has his patients very involved in the marking process. So I feel good about that. Signed releases, made the final decision on implants (300cc...should be about a full B/small C) Took before photos. Talked about recovery again. He says his goal is to have patients back to light "normal" activity at 2 weeks, and if no complications cleared to start easing back into full activity at 6 weeks. He said binder for 2 weeks, then spanx for 2-4 more weeks. Post op care is just changing gauze daily on incision for the first week, then after 7 days start applying antibiotic ointment, then transitioning to scar treatment. He had a list of products but kind of leaves that to patients. Got prescriptions, not much...antibiotic, one pain med, and an anti nausea just in case. Seems less than most. First post op appt is 7 days after (he will see me the next morning in hospital before i am discharged) Patient consultant calls to check on me daily though, so that is nice. We again discussed my opposition to lipo and he was 100% okay with it and I didn't even sign consents for lipo. I loved that he was so supportive of my concerns and his priority was my concerns. Went to the hospital to pre-register and have bloodwork done. Only one vial, yay! She trashed my arm though. Got pre-op anesthesia instructions, no food/water after midnight, no herbal supplements for 2 weeks, no aspirin 72 hours prior, but that's it. Not too bad. Gave me soap to wash with that morning. And a cup for a urine pregnancy test the morning of. Funny, haven't had sex in years, it would have to be an immaculate conception LOL, but whatever, I wasn't going to argue based on my crappy marriage, I'll just pee in the cup and bring it! Getting more real now.

Not much new to say...I assume my blood work was...

Not much new to say...I assume my blood work was all good since I haven't hear anything from the doctor. I finished school for the semester, been working on cleaning my house and getting it decorated for Christmas. The next couple days are just going to be cleaning, laundry and cooking meals for after surgery. I'm worried I won't be able to get the house as clean as I want. No one has really cleaned it since August, so its a nightmare. Told my kids about the surgery, they just said "and we should care about this why?" and walked off. I don't really have any "supplies" together, I'll fill my prescriptions tomorrow, but I guess other than that I am winging it. I hope my couch works for sleeping with enough pillows (its huge U-shaped couch, so lots of position options) Every time I mention to my husband that I am worried about not getting all those things other people do (recliner, toilet seat riser, etc.) He just rolls his eyes and snaps at me that I can suck it up and deal without that stuff, don't be a big baby you don't need that junk, etc. Oh boy. Its gonna be fun. I think dealing with his attitude is going to be a much tougher part of my recovery than the physical pain. What does everyone bring to the hospital? I'm staying overnight, husband won't be there - just dropping off and picking up the next morning (I'm not sure if he'll come visit after work that day, I highly doubt it since it would be a whole 15 min drive out of this way - heaven forbid!) So they said NO valuables (ie, my phone) I hate the idea of not having it for that long!! I know I will be totally out of it, but there are a few people I'd like to update/text just that I am alive. I don't own things like a robe or slippers. I guess I just need to bring clothes to go home in? like baggy sweats?

I should be out of surgery 48 hours from now....

I should be out of surgery 48 hours from now. Crazy. Still haven't gotten my prescriptions filled or any supplies, house isn't quite clean yet, meals not cooked yet. I think deep down I feel like something is going to prevent it from happening. Like my husband will some how sabbatoge it, like by spending the rest of the money to pay the hospital. We had a huge fight last night, I couldn't stand being in the house so I spent quite a few hours just sitting at a bar studying for the GRE. I don't know what I am going to do when I can't just get in the car and get away like that. Right now the only things that keep me sane are running and being able to just remove myself when things get bad. When fights start after surgery and I can't even drive, I don't know how I am going to handle it.

I can't even believe this is happening. Sometime...

I can't even believe this is happening. Sometime around noon today, my throat started hurting. Bad. Can barely talk or swallow now.

I have not had a cold or been sick in 18 MONTHS (at least, I can't even remember the last time) I stopped taking a lot of my usual vitamins and supplements because they said to before surgery. I joked with the nurse, "oh great, now I will probably get sick for the first time in forever" She just laughed (probably not believing what I take really works) And sure enough. Sick. 1.5 days before surgery. I'm beside myself. I will have to call tomorrow and see what my options are. My only shot is that I am better by next week and that they can fit me in (I doubt it though, he is REALLY booked this time of year). If they can't do it by like the 28th, then that's it. I won't have enough recovery time before the start of school. And that means abut 3 FULL YEARS before I have another shot at it (after grad school is over).

Just talked to dr's office and they think we can...

Just talked to dr's office and they think we can most likely still go forward tomorrow. My throat still hurts, but no fever or other symptoms so far. Patient consultant is going to talk to my doctor when he comes in later and call me back. She said I might be a lot more sore from anesthesia (intubation, throat, etc.) but other than that since I'll be on IV antibiotics for 24 hrs and then after going home, it should knock out anything. So we'll see.

Went into surgery at 6:30am, was done around 9:30,...

Went into surgery at 6:30am, was done around 9:30, out of recovery around 11:00 and into my room for night. All in all, doing okay. Dr. came buy to see me once and said everything went well and he is really pleased. It's kind of tough to update from my phone, so full details tomorrow afternoon when I am home! Just wanted to let everyone know I made it and say thanks for all the thoughts and prayers!

Its been about 21 hours now. Catheder came out...

Its been about 21 hours now. Catheder came out after 12 hours, the got up for the first time. It was horrible! Feel like I ripping apart every time I move. I can live with the pain, but I'm worried I am damaging my results already! And the coughing? Ugh. A few of them were bad last nIght and was sure I ripped everything! Pain comes and goes, feels like horrible menstrual cramps but all the way from hops to boob. No real discomfort from the lift/breasts, only if I lift my arm too high.

doctor will be by this morning to check on me, change dressings and then send me home. Nervous about that because I loooove the nurses here so much.

PO day 2...Got home from hospital around 8pm the...

PO day 2...Got home from hospital around 8pm the day after surgery. Kept me longer because of the major pop I felt so dr could come look at me again. He thinks it's fine.

Hard to get comfortable at home. My tailbone hurts BAD if I am in the right position (not much padding back there!) And crazy swollen already! When I look down at my tummy I 5 months pregnant (was flat BEFORE lol), cant even see drain sites its so swollen, but I guess that's temporary. Didn't expect such crazy swelling so soon though. I ate some soup at the hospital that was like pure sodium - ugh, but the rest of the food was gross. Have only eaten crackers, a little soup and jello so far.

Feeling a bit better this morning, still pretty...

Feeling a bit better this morning, still pretty rough to get around. Up and down takes forever and walking is excruciating for my back. Still taking the hard core pain meds, trying to space them out a little.

Got my first peak at my tummy last night when we changed the gauze (we have to do this daily) Its swollen, but I'm pretty happy with my scar and my belly button!

Was cleared to shower yesterday but didn't feel up to it, so going to try and shower later today. That should be interesting.

Going back to surgery day: Feeling up to writing...

Going back to surgery day: Feeling up to writing about the day of surgery now. Was scheduled for 6:30 am, arrived at the hospital at 5 am. Checked in, paid the hospital feel and was sent to the surgery waiting area. A few minutes later a FRANTIC nurse came running out and asking for me. I had no idea they were actually calling me back, he wasn't clear and just "come here for a minute" Anyhow, I was the first surgery of the day so they wanted to get me started. He was very rushed and flustered and it totally stressed me out. He couldn't get the iv in my veins in my hand because they were all too small, so have totally bruised up hands and he still had to go to the elbow. I calmed down a lot when my doctor and anesthesiologist came in. My doctor did markings, showed me where he planned the scar to be and it looked good to me. He was great and really put me at ease. The anesthesiologist was also awesome, it was a woman, about my age and she was joking with me and just great. They brought my husband to get my clothes and get a hug/kiss, then she gave me a "cocktail" in my iv. I was still chatting away so she had to give me more. Then they started wheeling me. I remember going in the operating room, and switching from the bed to the table, but that is the last think I remember until waking up in recovery. When I did wake in recovery I was SUPER nauseous. Really bad. The nurses were awesome, the immediately gave me anti-nausea meds in my IV, that wasn't working enough, so she did a patch, it helped but not completely so he went and got a doctor on duty to prescribe a 3rd med - that finally did the trick. I was so thankful they did so much to help me, I hate being nauseous and I hate throwing up (I didn't actually vomit) So the people in recovery get major points from me for being so proactive! All I remember about pain during recovery was the burning, my stomach area felt completely on fire.
That's when the coughing started though. They said it was from anesthesia. I had a lot of phlegm. It was horrible. Every cough felt like I was ripping open. I was so out of it that I didn't know or think about bracing my stomach yet. Finally at some point the nurse told me I had the pain pump and to start pressing the button (I didn't even know it was there) Once the nausea was gone, they wheeled me a regular room. My husband had left for a meeting, but my doctor was great and called him to give him a full update. My surgery was from 6:30am-9:30am, I was in my room by 11:30. Pain wasn't too bad, except when coughing. They brought me water and ice chips, I had major cotton mouth. My doctor came in a few hours later check on me and told me everything went great. Husband got there around 2pm and stayed the rest of the evening :0) Phlegm and coughing was getting worse, I made the mistake of trying hold back or prevent the coughs. So the phlegm was building up. I had a horrible cough that took me by surprise and I felt a HUGE pop, felt like an explosion in my abs and everything was on fire. I started screaming and shaking, we called the nurse and like 3 people ran in. I guess I was that loud. It was by far the worst pain I've ever experienced. I was just writhing in pain and crying, which was making it all worse. The nurse calmed me down and check my incision, but I knew that if something popped it was INSIDE. She helped me do deep breaths to calm down, I was just shaking. She added a second pain med in addition to what was in the pump, she brought me some pills too and told me to make sure and push the button on the pump every 10 min. She explained that I needed be proactive and take control of the coughing. If I force a cough every 30 min or so with my tummy braced, then I won't get taken by surprise. So from then on I would sit up, have my husband put pressure on a pillow over my tummy and force a cough every 30 min to clear the phlegm. It was painful, but it was a controlled kind of pain rather than unexpected. The nurse also called my doctor and he came back to check on me a little later. He took off my binder and had me do a mini crunch and felt my muscles and didn't think anything popped. He said I have 3 layers of stitches, so its probably okay, but I need to keep an eye on that specific spot. After I got the coughing and pain under control the rest of the day went better. Getting up to the bathroom was still horrible though. I was petrified to move after the popping experience. My doctor said if I wanted to stay a second night in hospital I could, but I decided to go home. Left the hospital about 7:30pm, 36 hours after surgery. I'm amazed at people who leave right away. No way I could have done that. The ride home wasn't bad, but making it into the house from the car was awful. My back was hurting so bad, I just didn't think I could make it that far. Finally got in the house and it took like 30 min just to get comfortable on the couch and figure out how to get up and down.

Took first shower, so this is the first time I saw...

Took first shower, so this is the first time I saw my whole body, standing. The swelling is INSANE! Its in a roll or pooch right above my incision (see new pic added) I never had a roll or pooch before, now I have a huge roll! Not happy. Even my baggiest, baggiest sweat pants (which are a men's size) don't even come close to going over my huge belly. I didn't expect the swelling to be so localized like that. Its so swollen I can feel it straining my incision. I haven't eaten salty foods, been drinking tons of water, and resting completely other than trips to the bathroom. I didn't expect it to be this bad at day 3 or to be in a roll like this. It seems there is no way I am tight enough if I have a big roll! Makes me think I will always have a pooch over my incision! That's worse than what I had before!

I don't know why I thought being in such good...

I don't know why I thought being in such good shape would mean an easier recovery. It's been a nightmare an I am DONE with it. I've never been more sad, scared and depressed in my life. I'm so swollen my binder barely stays shut, it looks like I'm hiding a basketball under there. I can still barely walk to the bathroom, still takes me a good 10 min just to get up. And now I'm dealing with horrid post op BM, I've been on stool signers, MOM and even did an enema this morning but all it caused was 2 hours of screaming and crying and sweating on the toilet, but no BM and still feeling bloated. If I could go back, wearing a bikini is not worth what I've gone through these last 4 days. No even close. And I know I still have a long road ahead. I wish I could make a u-turn and get off it. I'm happy for everyone who is having great recoveries.

Regret gets bigger every day. I just want to put...

Regret gets bigger every day. I just want to put on my size 2 lululemons and go for a 15 mile run. I want to take my dog to the park to play. I want to go for a drive with the top off my jeep and the wind in my hair and the radio blasting. Instead I sit looking 6 months prego, in pain and crying and hating the way my tummy looks. I should have listened to my gut that putting myself through this wasn't going to be worth it, but I read so many positive stories here that I got caught up in the hope that maybe that would be me. It's not. I hate that my husband has to go out and up some clothes today to wear to my post op tomorrow because nothing I have fits me. I don't even know what size to tell him to get. I used to be an xs in everything, now maybe a large?

I'm not sure how to describe it, but when I take...

I'm not sure how to describe it, but when I take my binder off, it's excruciating. I take it off slowly to adjust, but the whole time it's off I am miserable. It feels like I have no strength in my abs, it doesnt feel like they are pulled tight, but it feels the opposite, like they are slack and blah and weak and cant support my body. I can't breath deeply or talk while it's off. I just shake. I had to cut my shower short tonight because I couldn't stand it. It's only my lower and that feel slack when the binder is off, my upper abs still feel tight. But the lower abs is where all the swelling is and also where I've felt all the ripping/popping from the coughing. Worried this feeling is because everything in the lowers got pulled apart.

Had my one week post op appt this morning! Let's...

Had my one week post op appt this morning! Let's see: first off, my drains are out! Wow, I was surprised, thought they were still draining too much but he went ahead and removed them. Didn't feel it at all. We talked about my concerns with damaging the muscle repair with all the coughing and he check me over pretty well and says if all looks good. He did three layers of repair and he said i had very significant seperation, so he thinks that is why i feel so sore and weird when the binder is off. He said I can stop my antibiotic now. I still have the tape over the incision, he said that will stay until it falls off on its own or until he takes it off in two weeks. If it does fall off I can start whatever scar treatment I want. As far as the boobs he said the look perfect and I can start wearing any non-underwire bra in two more days. So hopefully I can do a little bra shopping this weekend! He gave me a message technique to do 3x a day to help them drop/settle. So hopefully I can do a little bra shopping this weekend! He seems to think my ridge of swelling is totally normal, just due to the drainage pathways being interrupted and all that. Just said to keep binder as tight as possible. Next appointment in two weeks from now. I guess I feel better that #1 drains are out, and #2 he doesn't think anything is damaged. I handled the outing better than I expected too, got Starbucks on the way home, that made me feel almost human!

So its not a tummy pic, but my one saving grace in...

So its not a tummy pic, but my one saving grace in all this was doing my boobs too. I've been happy with those since day 1, every time I get frustrated with the tummy I can say to myself "yeah, but at least you've got boobs now!" This is the first time I've seen them in "regular" clothes. They are way bigger than I expected, I went with 300cc and expected a full B to maybe a small C, ha! I haven't measured anything yet, but I think they might be bigger than that, at least a full C. I can't say I am disappointed though! I still look like I am hiding a basketball under my yoga pants, I am HUGE compared to normal (I know I don't look "huge", you just have to understand how teeny tiny I was a week ago!), but those at least are MY xs yoga pants that are stretched onto my body. And my binder is pretty thick and bulky under there, so that is some of it. And I'm on my period, which I know is contributing to the swelling, so maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised in a couple days when that is over and things will go down a bit. On the funny side - I totally took a hydrocodone for my cramps this morning. Damnit if I have the stuff, why not?

I'm thinking I have two more weeks in the binder before switching to something else. I hate how bulky it is under clothes - it totally shows in most of my clothes, how did everyone deal with that? I already look weird enough hunched over, but the binder just looks so odd!

As if things couldn't get better: for the first...

As if things couldn't get better: for the first time in 8 years I have love handles! Woo freaking hoo!!! If the 60 minutes and crying that was involved in trying to take a shower today wasn't enough. And the fact that it still takes like 15 min and lots of help to just stand up. And my husband laughing at me today that its all karma, and how great it is now that if I leave him no one will want me because I am a fat girl again. So, to celebrate how much I screwed up my life with this surgery, tonight I guess I'll see how well hydrocodone and alcohol mix! Yay!

Its ironic that people who are willing to pay over...

Its ironic that people who are willing to pay over 10K and suffer for months over how they look are criticizing me for now being concerned with how I look. How many people here had things they didn't do before surgery because of how they looked? Many. I've read the stories about people here who didn't have confidence before their surgery and after surgery their whole outlook changed. We were ALL on this web site because of our issues with how we look. I just happened to be one who was happier BEFORE my surgery and disappointed now. What I regret is not learning to love myself and my body exactly how it was. What I regret is not having the confidence to own my wrinkled skin as part of my journey and part of me and accepting it and being proud of it. What would I want my daughter to learn? That plastic surgery doesn't fix anything. That you shouldn't try to modify your body with a knife to fit the world's ideal. That you should love yourself for who you are and not go under a knife for vanity. That's what I would want my daughter to learn from all this. Its fine for those who are happy with their surgery, but I'm not. No water in my face, harsh words, etc. is going to change that. I think there is value in my sharing my disappointment because maybe it will prevent someone in my situation from going through the same thing,

19 days PO, so almost 3 weeks and still really...

19 days PO, so almost 3 weeks and still really struggling physically to do even simple things like get up off the couch on my own. I can do it, but I still have to roll, rest, sit up, rest, then stand, rest, etc. More than anything right now I wish just getting off the couch wasn't still a chore. My second dream would be to just walk a little more upright. Still VERY, very hunched over. I don't feel any straighter than day 1 yet. Back still spasms every time I walk. And now I have nasty bed sores around my tail bone. My husband went back to work, so I've been on my own a few days, but my movement is still limited to hobbling to the bathroom and the kitchen. I'm awed and amazed that some people are driving and back to work at 3 weeks. My husband tried to convince me to get out of the house this weekend and tried taking me to a movie and it was a disaster. I made it to the building from the parking lot, but I was so hunched and tight by the time we got inside that I couldn't make it any further, started crying and he basically had to carry me back out to the car. It was quite a scene and I was so embarrassed. No way did I think I'd be this bad off physically at 3 weeks PO. Unsure if I will physically be able to start school next Monday as it will require driving, carrying a very heavy backpack, lots of walking, stairs, etc. Something has to change drastically this week. I have my 3 week post op appt on Thursday, so we'll see what he says.

I am still super swollen, none of my clothes are even close to fitting yet, so still in PJs and yoga pants with the waist band cut so they fit. Really no progress yet on the swelling. Had my husband dig for a pair of "fat" jeans in the garage that are 2 sizes bigger than I wore before surgery, but those won't even go over my thighs/hips either. Not sure what I would even wear to school next week if I could go. I don't have a single shirt that is baggy enough to hide the binder and I'm not up to going shopping (and don't really have the money either) I avoid taking off my binder at all, I still feel like I can't breath or stand or talk or anything when its off. It feels like my whole body is just collapsing even though I'm not moving. I read someone else say it feels like going down on a roller coaster, and that is exactly what it feels like, like the bottom is dropping out and you are falling, my stomach is in my throat. The sensation is horrible. I avoid mirrors, avoid showering (because my bathroom is ALL mirrors and I really, really just don't even want to see my body right now it disgusts me so much). I really, really want to do my hair. I haven't styled it or blow dryed it once since surgery and I wish I could soooo bad. I just want to feel human again. I've avoided this site because I can't stand to see all the amazing photos of people at my same stage who look incredible. Or see people who are driving and back at work. Even if they are struggling, they are doing it. I just couldn't. I'm also STARVING all the time, but very carefully counting my calories. Its pretty easy since its so difficult to get up and get to the kitchen and get food. My lack of mobility keeps me from overeating at least. I did step on the scale the other day and I am the exact same I was pre-surgery. So that's good I guess (I didn't need/want to lose any weight - figured the skin removed + boobs added would even out and I'd be about the same in the end)

Honestly at this point I don't even care that I look worse or that I hate my body now. I just want to be able to FUNCTiON. I don't even care if I am 100%. I don't even care if I can work out or run again. I just want to be able to drive, walk like a normal person, shower like a normal person, cook a meal, see a movie, go out to dinner, etc. I just want a little bit of life back.

Added 3 week pic to compare with before. Its very...

Added 3 week pic to compare with before. Its very painful to see. No change at all in swelling yet. Its not even lower in the morning. Have my 3 week post op appointment this morning. It happened yesterday, a friend insisted I get out of the house for coffee, and I ran into an old classmate and they asked "Oh my god, WHAT the heck happened to you? Are you okay?" then a big pause and "Oh WAIT, are you pregnant??!" That's never, ever happened to me before, Ironic the first time is after my tummy tuck. So in honor of her, my stomach is now being called my "baby bump". My husband keeps joking if they screwed up my surgery and did some kind of in vitro and impregnated me by mistake. Still not driving or able to shower on my own, still very hunched (as you can see in my 3 week pic, that's as absolutely straight as I can possibly stand)

I'm supposed to start my last semester of school...

I'm supposed to start my last semester of school tomorrow. I'm not doing ANY physically better than about day 5 or so. Still need help getting around. Still hunched horribly. Still can't dress myself, shower myself, drive, nothing. Swelling is still insane. It's never gone "down" at all, been like this since day 1. It's the same in the morning, same after resting, same no matter what I eat, time of day, activity level, etc. it doesn't fluctuate at all. I'm starting to think my surgeon f'ed up bad and did something horrible to me. Still at least 4 sizes BIGGER than before surgery. Was a size 1 or 2 and had a friend bring me some 8's of her's and they barely buttoned. If nothing changes by 6 weeks I am seeking a second opinion. I'm not sure how I am going to be able to handle school tomorrow. Class from 1pm to 10pm. Hour drive each way (and I as of yesterday I couldn't even get my car into gear without crying) carrying a heavy backpack up and down stairs. Today i couldnt even lift my own freaking coffee cup high enough to put it on the table. How am i going to do it? This was supposed to be last semester after 6 years. If I have to drop out I will have to wait a full year to go back due to my programs rules. I've ruined everything I've worked so hard to accomplish. I've ruined my career and ruined my body by doing this. I should have left well enough alone and been happy with my accomplishments and not been greedy for some "perfection" because it definitley back fired.

6 weeks post op today. I've been asked by many not...

6 weeks post op today. I've been asked by many not to post negative reviews or experiences but, I will not be bullied. I will continue to update this so that people can understand that there IS a possibility of a negative outcome. Is it the norm? No. But is is possible? Yes. Its a risk people should understand and I won't apologize for sharing it. So if you must comment to me that "You shouldn't be posting this" - know that its a waste of your time and I won't even read it.


No new pictures because I am still so unhappy with my results that there is just no point in even doing photos. I know I am no where near "final" results, but I have seen NO improvement in swelling at all yet. My doctor still says I have no seroma or anything that can be drained. I see him again at 8 weeks. I can't afford a second opinion right now as the two surgeons I called wanted to charge. I posted a question here and most of the docs immediately said I should be evaluated for a seroma and you could tell they didn't think what I was experiencing was "normal". But I still have no real answers as to exactly what is going on. I am still 3 sizes larger than before surgery. I had to buy all new pants. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I cried and cried while I was checking out. I packed away all my usual clothes so I wouldn't have to look at them every time I get dressed. I'm trying to move on and accept this new body, as much as I hate it. I'm trying to "relearn" how to dress. The young, hip styles I used to wear just don't work on me now. I'm buying baggier shirts, no more belts, no more skinny jeans, etc. Its funny to see how most people here get to do the opposite. Its tough because I am avoiding invitations to go out and do things because I just hate my clothes so much. Driving and carrying my 30+lb backpack all over campus are the worst. Days I don't have to do those things I feel fine. I am about 90% upright. I CAN get upright, but it burns very badly just under my boobs (i guess the top of my muscle repair) if I go all the way, so I still round my shoulders. And after carrying my backpack all day I am fully hunched. My scar is going through a nasty stage. Very thick, purple and dark right now. There is SO much tension on it from all the swelling. It always looks like its going to burst. My public hair line above the waist of my jeans. Going to look into laser hair removal I guess. Focusing on school right now, trying to get through the grief process with with surgery. I'm past denial and anger...I shift between depression and acceptance on any given day. I still wake up every morning and wish I could have MY body back (flaws and all, because they were MY flaws) but I really am trying to learn how to function anyways, as hard as it is. I'm not cleared to exercise yet, hopefully by 8 weeks. Then I will have to go buy all new, larger sized workout clothes. Sigh.

So finally after 8 weeks, some noticeable...

So finally after 8 weeks, some noticeable improvement. It took that long for me to see anything at all that I liked.

So last thursday was my 8 week post op appt. Up until that day, I was still extremely swollen and pretty unhappy. I was all prepared to go in and take out 8 weeks of frustration on my surgeon and complain about everything. I really was going to let him have it lol. Well, I woke up THAT morning looking different. Seriously. Its like when your car is making a noise and you take it to the mechanic and the noise stops? That's exactly what happened. I went into my appt kind of in shock, because honestly, there wasn't much to complain about. I was still swollen, sure, but it was a drastic change from the day before. So he said everything looked good, swelling should continue to come down over the next couple months, took some early "after" pics, made my 6 month post op appt, and sent me on my way (I was still kind of dumbfounded and shocked, don't think I muttered 10 words the whole appt!)

So in the last few days, things have been consistently improving every day. I am almost fitting into my pre-op jeans...which is a HUGE thing for me. I still have a bit of a "muffin" over the sides, but its way better. My scar has also dropped about 1 full inch. My pubic hair line is still way higher than I'd like, but it is NOT above the waist of my jeans anymore. That alone is the best news in all this. No pubic hair poking out of my jeans! And its now low enough to be covered by running shorts too. It also fits under the bikini bottoms that have the higher cut leg openings.

But the BEST news, I decided to try a run yesterday - went pretty well for the first time. Did 4 miles, I'd say about 40-50% jogging. I'd jog until things felt sore in the abs, then walk it out, then jog again. I didn't actually time it, just listened to my body, so not sure exactly how much jogging, but at one point I know I did a full .5 mile before I walked. I felt the most "loose" I have since surgery, and after the run I could finally stand 100% straight. Like really straight. Actually, I was so loose I could even stick my butt out and get an arch/curve in my back for the first time. I did swell up later that night, but this morning my swelling was the lowest its been ever. I can actually see my ribs and hip bones again.

I'm not sure what changed, just time I guess. I stopped wearing ALL compression stuff about 10 days ago and felt soooo much better after that physically. I had tried many brands and types (prob spent at least $1000), all of it pinched and buckled in, gave me burning nerve pain in my back and made me feel more swollen (like it was "trapping" the swelling below my waist, that's where they all buckled and dug in) The first couple days without were weird, getting sensation back to the skin and feeling regular clothes against it, but now it feels fine. Didn't even wear anything at all when I ran and it was fine. I little weird with the vibration of bouncing up and down, but got used to it. So maybe that stuff was hurting me more than helping, who knows.

I will post some new pics this week, I have a huge exam coming up, so I should even be writing this...but I wanted to update for those who have been so supportive and sympathetic over the last few weeks. Honestly, I still don't think this was all "worth it" as the last 8 weeks were physical and emotional hell that I wouldn't wish on anyone, but I do feel that even if the way I looked this morning was my final result, I could live with it.

Got a horrible cold that has been going around....

Got a horrible cold that has been going around. Just like that first 24 hrs after surgery...coughing is killing me! Well, no, it's not as painful as that first day, but it's still tough. I have to keep a small travel pillow in my backpack and when a coughing fit hits I run out of class and kneel down bracing my abs with the pillow. It still feels like ripping, but not the "explosive" ripping I felt those first few days, this is more like just muscle pulling and burning. And dont even get me started on the sneezing. Even worse. And they come in rounds of 4 or 5 sneezes. So it means the swelling is back FULL FORCE! Totally round and huge again. I really think this coughing thing has been the root of a lot of my issues, it caused extra trauma after surgery that took longer to heal, and now it's setting me back again. I can't take any "good" cough meds (like with codeine) since I have class and I have to drive. Hanging in there, the swellIng went down once and I guess it will again, but working out is on hold yet again until I am better. Really starting to worry about putting on weight without working out, and it's tough to eat perfect when you are super busy AND sick.

Main take away point: Coughing is evil!

In some ways its great to be 10 weeks post op, in...

In some ways its great to be 10 weeks post op, in other ways, it makes me sad.

I am still mourning the excitement of pre-op. The hope. The anticipation. The fantasies of what I was going to look like. The expectation of looking in the mirror and being thrilled with what I see. I used to stand in front of the mirror and pull all the skin tight and think "this is what you are going to look like soon". But that's not what I look like. When I pulled the skin tight, I was flat (actually, I was concave) So instead of being a process of joy and discovering the fun of a new body...my process has been learning to accept an unsatisfactory results while still going through the tough physical recovery process.

I've made huge progress on my recovery for sure, but at 10 weeks out I'd say I am physically functioning at about 50-60% of "normal". I am still sore every day, which turns to pain by the end of a 15-17 hour day. Mostly back pain, since while I can technically stand upright, I can't do it for long, by the end of the day I am still back to hunched and the back pain starts. I also have a lot of nerve pain in my abs, it comes and goes, stabbing and burning sensations. And I have very bad mid back nerve pain (like right at the top of my waist line, but circling around the back) I think its all related to posture through, I just can't seem to get my posture back.

Driving is finally a little easier though, I can finally twist my body fully to check my blind spot when I change lanes without wincing or feeling like I am ripping apart! This is huge because I had to do it probably 10x on any given day and it always made me sore. The clutch is getting easier, though my left abs are still sore after 60 min of clutch in, clutch out in traffic. At first I had to sometimes use my arm to literally lift behind my knee to get my foot up on the clutch, but thats tough because then I needed my right arm to shift...which left nothing on the steering wheel! Now I can lift my leg on its own. The vibrations are still tough to deal with, especially on some of the bad pot holed streets on my campus.

I am exhausted all the time still, I generally have time for about 4 hours sleep - which is normal for me for the last few years and I can usually handle, but its a lot harder now than it used to be. I risked it and took a day off because I was sick and slept for almost 18 hours straight. It was the first time I felt close to human since surgery. But that was 4 days ago, and back to my regular schedule now, so I feel like crap again. I really think if I could get 7 or so hours of sleep a night, I'd be a lot further along on my recovery. But that's just not possible.

While the swelling is way, way down, I am no where near "flat". The worst view is looking straight down, the bulge is very apparent. I hate even going to the rest room because I'm kind of forced to look down to get my pants off and on and then I see "it". The round ball. Sometimes I am tempted to get a sharpie and draw a circle around it and put a happy face on it :-) Its still completely numb though - no feeling at all between the belly button and the incision. I guess its still too soon, and while I am happier now than I was 5 weeks ago for sure...I don't know at what point to just give up the hope of ever being as flat as I was before or if I should keep waiting.

My incision actually looks really good, the scar is already starting to fade a bit. I even have one area (about a 1.5 inch strip) that is white.

So over all at this point, the positives are starting to outweigh the negatives a bit more...but this is so NOT where I thought I'd be at 10 weeks post op. I was hoping I'd be much more back to "normal".

Definitely had a big back slide on swelling. It's...

Definitely had a big back slide on swelling. It's back to where I was at 5 weeks. It's frustrating because I had a day that I felt GREAT (last Saturday) I wore pants I love with a tight top and felt "skinny" again for the first time since before surgery. But that's out the window now. I can't even look at my own pics from 2 weeks ago because they make me sad, I don't look like that anymore :( I guess swelling can come back, but now I'm worried this new change is actually weight I'm gaining. It's still painful to workout or run much, I'm trying, but the nerve pain in my back or abs cuts most workouts short. I also have a new issue - a lump/bulge above my belly button. I never had swelling up there before it was always lower. Not sure why it would start now. I dont think i pulled anything, at least i hope not. Its very tender though. Trying to stay positive through this back slide, but the "tease" of feeling really good for just one day is making it frustrating to be back here again.

Hard to believe I am at 3.5 months post op now...

Hard to believe I am at 3.5 months post op now.

Things are still up and down. Its still 2 steps forward, one step back. But every step back isn't has far as the last one...so I guess that means forward progress. Just super, super slow. I was doing really great for about a week, then had a killer weekend (did a long run, then had a 14 hour field trip with hiking and carrying a backpack...was NOT ready for that but had to muscle through) It set me back again on swelling and exhaustion, but only for a couple days.

Overall though, I feel a hundred times better than I did just a few weeks ago. Still not 100% "normal", but much, much closer.

Energy is a lot better for sure. And I have been working out consistently now for 3 weeks. I'm doing 6x a week. I'm doing 3 days a week of 30min strength/30 min treadmill, then 3 days of just running. I'm up to doing 6 miles straight through now. My pace is actually pretty decent even. I have a long way to go, but I am 100% satisfied with fitness progress at this point. I now feel fully confident that I CAN get it back, and feel pretty confident I can do another marathon by the end of the year. I haven't tried to swim or bike yet. Soon though. There are some strength training stuff I can't do...any pull downs or pull up or push ups are too much on the abs. I don't have any issues with soreness in my abs when running though, sometimes they feel "tight" but its not painful. In fact, running seems to be what has loosened me up, and I can now stand fully straight 100% of the time. (It took until 12 weeks before I could say that) I also do not swell more after running...actually, I am my LEAST swollen right after a run. It feels like it really gets that fluid pumping out of there.

Sitting for long periods is actually my enemy when it comes to swelling. Sitting makes me swell more than activity does. Especially sitting and leaning forward (like driving or doing homework at a desk/table)

I'm getting a lot of feeling back, my skin feels burning, prickly, tingly, itchy most of the time. Its just minorly annoying.

I'm mostly back in my pre-op clothes now. Pants and such. Tight dresses, no. I still have too much fullness/pooch sticking out right between my hip bones for that. But we'll see. I can finally see my hip bones again, and my stomach is concave again when lying down on my back. So maybe soon.

The pic I posted is a comparison of 5 weeks and 12 weeks...the 12 week pic is RIGHT after a run when my swelling is at its lowest. You can see the HUGE difference.

So...for those who have read my story, you know...

So...for those who have read my story, you know that my husband and I aren't planning on staying together much longer. We'll separate as soon as I can financially support myself (hopefully by the end of this year).

While things are definitely improving with my body, I am VERY nervous about my scar and explaining things when someday I am able to start dating again. My husband and I have had NO physical relationship for about 2 years (no sex, no cuddling, no kissing...well, we probably haven't kissed in 10 years, he hates it...not even a quick hug here and there) All HIS choice, definitely NOT mine, I could only try to seduce him and get turned down and pushed away and hear "I'm tired" so many times before I just gave up. So, yeah, I admit, I am anxious to date again. But I know I am going to be super self conscious because its 1) its been soooo long and I don't even remember how my girl parts work, 2) I haven't been with anyone else in over 15 years, 3) I now have this giant SCAR to explain. Granted, I would have been self conscious of the sagging skin too...but I feel like that, while it certainly might have turned off a lot of men, it has a more obvious and understandable explanation: I've had kids. The scar, I don't know what to say. I guess the truth, but then I worry about being judged or freaking someone out. I know it will fade considerably, but right now it is SO dark (almost a blackish purple) its hard to imagine it ever being unnoticeable. And the unnaturally high pubic hairline I have now is also kind of odd. I've been shaving from right under my scar down to where my hairline used to be, but unless I shave it everyday, it still just looks like I have pubic hair growing out of my stomach. I know most people here are married, but if there are any single women who have dated after their tummy tuck, how did you handle it? Has it ever been an issue for a guy?

Today is 16 weeks. While yes, I have improved from...

Today is 16 weeks. While yes, I have improved from where I was, I am STILL not on the "flat side" with everyone else. I am starting to face that its not a matter of "having patience" or "waiting it out" anymore. Something HAD to have gone wrong...either he pulled me too tight, something popped or was damaged when I had all that coughing, I did have a deep seroma that was never treated and now have scar tissue causing the bulge...something had to have happened to end up with this pooch.

Photo I posed is a before and 16 weeks, same exact dress. The before is on the LEFT. Again, before is on the LEFT. The one where I am FLAT. The one with the baby bump pooch is the AFTER. You can even see the ridge of my scar through the dress (its the small protrusion that looks like an outtie belly button) I had secretly keep hoping that I could wear that dress by now. Tomorrow is a big day for me in my personal life and I had hoped I could celebrate 4 months post op by being back to rocking that dress tomorrow night, but no dice. I am going to have to go tomorrow and buy something new, a flowy dress that hides the belly.

So here's the deal: People come here and choose to have this surgery because of very similar reason...they feel that their body doesn't represent how hard they have worked with diet and exercise, they have a "pooch" that no matter what they do they can't get rid of, they want to feel sexy and get confidence back, they want to wear certain style clothes with no muffin top (skinny jeans, belts, tuck in their shirts), etc. I had all those things pre-op. All those things that you guys get so excited about AFTER surgery. All those things you all have so much FUN with post op. And don't deny you don't like them. I see how happy people are to LOOK better. I see how much more confidence people here get BASED ON THEIR LOOKS. Everyone here is guilty of putting at least SOME importance on their external appearance. I am currently WHERE YOU ALL WERE PRE OP. I am in the place with my body that you guys disliked enough that you chose to have surgery. Yet, I am getting put down for disliking my situation. My frustrations right now: I have a lower belly pooch that is resistant to any of my diet/exercise efforts, I can't wear the style clothes I like, I have muffin top in all my favorite jeans, and I feel my body doesn't reflect the fact that I work out 6 days a week, eat clean 100% of the time, weight 107 lbs and have 17.2% body fat. Any of those comments sound familiar? Most of you said all those things PRE OP. And NONE OF YOU were happy enough to chose to STAY in that situation. You wanted to change it. So why am I supposed to just accept it? No one here who has had a tt accepted the things I am experiencing now. I'll say it again: no one here learned to accept those things. Why tell me that I should get over it? That makes no more sense than telling people here who are pre-op that they should "get over it" and "focus on the inside" by not having the surgery. But no one says that to them. You encourage them to do it so they can have that FLAT belly which will give them more confidence and fun in their clothes. Why don't I deserve to want that too? Why am I supposed to be content without that?

Tomorrow will be 19 weeks, so almost at 5 months...

Tomorrow will be 19 weeks, so almost at 5 months post op. No real change since my last photos. No real change since about 12 weeks. Still not happy with my results, still have a pooch/roundness between my belly button and incision that I didn't have before surgery. Its about grapefruit size now (it went from watermelon, to basketball, to grapefruit) Its a lot softer and not numb anymore, it used to be hard and tingly. At this point, I feel like the majority of swelling should be gone, so while I know its not "final" final results, I'm resigned that this is (unfortunately) the shape of my body now. I know everyone else thinks I look fine, but bottom line is I don't like it. I want to be flat again like I was before surgery (the same flatness that brings everyone here), but I that won't happen. I'm supposed to have another post-op appt next week, honestly I don't even think I'm going to go. I really don't want to ever see my surgeon again, I'm so mad, frustrated and disappointed. My boobs are pretty bad off too, I developed "window shading" - so they have these weird creases/bulges where my muscle is pulling up over the implant. Its not as bad as some cases I've seen online, but its definitely weird/not natural looking. NO money to deal with that right now, but maybe some day I can at least get those fixed.

On the plus side, my fitness is coming back great. I ran over 100 miles for April. I'm down to 15.5% body fat, lowest I have ever been (so the pooch is NOT weight gain) Its bittersweet though, to be at my lowest weight and still not able to wear the clothes I like. I know many of you can relate to that feeling from pre-op. Working your ass off but still not able to change the shape of your body. That's where I'm at now. I keep trying to lose more weight to compensate for the bulge so maybe I can fit into all my pre-op clothes, but it doesn't help. Whatever happened to my body is out of my control. I can't fix the bulge with hard work (how many people said those same words pre-op? I'm saying them post op, after spending the money and after surviving the pain of recovery). I'd still say I can only fit into about 80% of my pre-op pants and will probably never wear a tight, fitted dress again.

Thanks for all the understanding and supportive...

Thanks for all the understanding and supportive comments. I don't have time to respond to them all now, but I appreciate that some of you "get" what I'm going through.

Added a swelling comparison photo (at 5 months-ish...

Added a swelling comparison photo (at 5 months-ish post op) of first thing when I wake up in the morning at 5am to one when I get home from school at 10pm. Its crazy what the human body does. I don't even feel like the same person by the end of the day (and I don't look like the same person either!)

Added a pic in the same bikini from 8 weeks post...

Added a pic in the same bikini from 8 weeks post op to 19 weeks. Pretty dramatic difference in swelling and a big difference in body shape. I've also lost ~3% body fat between those pictures though. (was ~17% pre-op, got up to ~19% at 8 weeks post op due to not exercising during recovery, down to 16% now)

Went to my 5 month post op appointment today...

Went to my 5 month post op appointment today.

Nothing too exciting. Told him again that I am frustrated with the swelling/roundness. Asked possible causes. He is still 100% sure its just swelling that is being stubborn. He said his skinniest patients NOTICE the swelling the longest. He said I really don't have that much, I am just so, so tiny that any little bit is very noticeable. He said someone even just 10lbs heavier than me probably wouldn't even notice the amount of swelling I have, yet with such low body fat, its very obvious. I don't know. I mean, that makes sense to a certain extent, but I have seen other people here who are also very fit and they don't have a such a round bulge still at 5 months (most of them never have the roundness I have). So,

5 month post op appointment

Just testing...trying to see if it will let me update

Some pics of the BA issues...

Here's some pics of the breasts. One is where I am flexing and that is when you can most dramatically see how the muscle has pulled up. The other one I'm not flexing, you can still see the shadow of the crease along the bottom of the breasts, but its not nearly as dramatic. They definitely also have some asymmetry issues, one is a bit larger and higher. This was kind of expected. I had MAJOR asymmetry issues going into surgery and he told me that it was tough to correct those fully. The last pic is in a bra, they still look pretty good like that ;-) Very torn on how much this issue bothers me. The last thing I want to do is another surgery. And I don't like the idea of putting the implants above the muscle. But then again, I really don't like the crease either. So, just thinking about it.

5.5 months post op (22 weeks today)...feeling the flattest I have been so far

Today is 22 weeks. The last 3-4 days I have felt the flattest that I have felt since before surgery. I definitely don't feel as "swollen" (almost none of that really heavy, tingly feeling left). I still have a slight roundness, but I can finally start to contract my lower ab muscles a bit (I've been working REALLY hard to try and find my ab muscles again, get some control of them and actually tighten them again), and when I do that, I'm almost flat. And I can't post details here, but some pretty good things have been happening in my personal life as well.

Forgot to add and update on workouts

In the last week I also start back to swimming and cycling. I was pretty nervous about the swimming - as swimmers know, form and breathing are everything in swimming, and you use your abs a lot to maintain proper body position and you do a lot of twisting doing freestyle. I was also worried about breathing because I still feel constricted when I take a deep breath. But it went perfectly fine. I was worried about the sitting/bending in half position on my bike, and it did make me swell a bit from the bending at the hip for a long period of time (I rode for an hour) it wasn't painful and I was able to balance, stretch out to get on and off, etc.

6 MONTHS!! Hard to believe!

I'm going to give a "real" update, I have been nervous to post too much because I am so afraid someone will see/read it that knows me. But I am just going to do it, everyone here following me deserves an update and I've decided to just be upfront about my surgery in real life (if/when it comes up)...

The pic I'm posting was about 2 weeks ago at the beach. Felt pretty good. I still have a few stretch marks that are visible, but I don't really care. And the scar around my belly button is pretty obvious (to me) Its basically a dark ring right around it. Not sure what other people think it is, I was self conscious of it for awhile, but I don't really care anymore. I still don't feel 100% "flat", my body has a different shape than I did before and its not what I expected, and I feel like I STILL have some very minor swelling, but a lot of my old clothes are actually TOO BIG now. Its crazy how that all changed really in the last month.

Lets's see, the overview:

1. I graduated with my BS. Magna cum laude, highest GPA in my major. Working on grad school applications now.
2. Running/fitness going great - up to doing 12 mile long runs, about 35 miles/week. My pace is faster than ever. Back to swimming and biking as well. Just barely starting ab work. That's been tough. My abs still feel so weak and they hurt pretty bad if I do any isolated stuff. So taking it REALLY slow.
4. I've been running in my sports bra and running shorts pretty regularly. I only really worry about the belly button scar. At first I felt like everyone was staring at it and "knew". But I'm over worrying about that.
3. The husband and I separated. Nothing final yet, so its been up and down. I've been spending time with someone...we'd been friends for awhile through school (so yes, he's younger than me...not to mention ridiculously hot!) Things have gotten physical and he was NOT scared off by my scars :-) Not sure where or what will happen with it, we're both in these weird transitional stages in our life, so just enjoying his company and having fun right now.
4. Pretty sure I am leaving the boobs like they are. Definitely got that vote from the guy who has seen them ;)

8 Month Update

Since my last update...personal life took a nose dive again. I'm feeling better now, but the "great" guy that I got involved with dumped me for someone else. It was tough. Haven't gone through that since high school. It was especially hard because you all knew how tough it was for me let go, and feel comfortable being intimate with anyone. So I trusted him, a lot, to even consider it. Anyways...it obviously wasn't meant to be.

But in the aftermath, I admit I got a little depressed. Stopped working out for a few weeks, wasn't eating great, put on a few pounds. I've been back on track for about a week, but my weight is not where I want it. No one else notices, but *I* can see the difference. Working on it though.

Tummy tuck stuff...I'd say swelling is 95-99% gone. Some days, after a long day or a harder ab workout, I can feel it come back and get that "full" and tingly feeling. It doesn't hurt to sneeze or cough anymore. It still BURNS when I do, but its not "pain" or a ripping feeling. I can finally do some ab work, a few crunches at a time, but it starts getting that ripping feeling pretty quick. Just doing a little more each time. Planks, push ups, pull ups, etc are still VERY uncomfortable in the abs.

I don't have any new pics, things look about the same except I got a large rib/side piece tattoo since my last pics. It goes from my scar at my hip up to my bra line. I love it, but getting it worked on was interesting because some areas more towards the front and approaching my ab muscles are still numb and it was odd.

The only thing at this point I really hate is my scar. It's VERY dark, it's actually a brown color in some places. If you look close, basically it's white in the middle, surrounded by a brown outline all along the top and bottom. I've never seen one like it and not sure how or why it's got that brown "halo". The scars on my boobs are basically not visible anymore.

Almost one year

Hard to believe its been almost a full year...

On the physical side: I don't feel like I have any swelling anymore. I am still very unhappy with the appearance of my scar, its very dark and I just hate it. I cringe when I look in the mirror at it (yes, I cringed before surgery at the skin..so its just an even trade off there) I still have no actual feeling if I touch my abs or skin around my abdomen. I still have burning pain if I move in certain positions. Still have pain in my abs if I try to lay on my stomach. But otherwise I don't feel limited in any way. I feel like my skin is a bit looser again, it definitely wrinkles and creases when I sit or bend over. Its fine, it feels more like in a "natural" way - like how it would just normally be if I hadn't ever gained so much weight. I actually prefer it, I don't feel so artificially "tight" anymore.

My boobs stil have that weird crease from the muscle issue. But that won't ever go away. I also cringe when I look at those in the mirror. And again, yes I cringed before surgery...but after all the time, money and pain, I would like to feel at least somewhat better about them, and really, I don't. I just traded one issue for another.

I'm separated from my husband completely. I have my own apartment now. I've dated a few guys. Been intimate with a few. The scars and boobs have been an issue for one guy. Not for the other two. So I guess it just depends on the guy. I REALLY hate having to have "the talk" with them right before we are intimate where I have to explain the scars and apologize profusely. Its awkward and it sucks. I still haven't figured out the right time to do it.

I'm still unsure if I would do it again if I had the choice. I just don't know. My body has finally recovered for the most part, even though it took longer than most, but the numbness and discomfort in certain positions makes me feel like I will never actually feel 100% like myself again. Its tolerable though. My results are mostly what I wanted, but the very dark brown/purple scare after a year and the muscle crease in the boobs wasn't what I expected. I feel like I traded one set of issues for another.

I haven't taken pics in forever. There really isn't any noticeable change worth documenting.
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