I'm 24 years old with one child (he turns 4 in...

I'm 24 years old with one child (he turns 4 in January, two weeks before my 25th birthday). I've generally always weighed between 120-130lbs, but when I got pregnant with my son things got weird. I gained only 7 lbs up until I was 7 months pregnant. Then, due to tremendous stress (my mother was ill and my ex was abusive) I suddenly gained nearly 60lbs. At my heaviest, both during and after pregnancy I was 185 lbs. I was two weeks shy of 21 years old when I gave birth to my son, 21 when my mom died, and two weeks later (at 22) I sued my ex for custody of my son. So basically, I had a couple of years from hell.

I didn't lose the weight through breastfeeding - I had to take pills to breastfeed because the stress stopped milk production. I had to eat MORE to breastfeed. So I gained another few lbs after childbirth and it stuck on for nearly a year. In the final months my mom spent in hospice I lost 40 lbs from stress and stress related stomach illnesses. Bam. A few months later I was down to 120 because all I ever did to keep myself busy was run around outside with my kiddo. I only ate protein bars, small snacks and drank water. I kept myself constantly moving and focusing between school, exercise, my son, reading, etc. I never wanted to sit and think, so I didn't.

I had lost a lot and was in a dire situation financially and emotionally - and was now a single mom to boot - but I felt like I was starting to be more myself again. I wasn't a prisoner amidst a horrible fat body that wouldn't obey me. I was going a bit control-freak about my body, but I desperately needed control then and to me it was better than the quasi-anorexic bouts I had as a teenager.

Now, nearly three years later, I'm a stable, solid 127 lbs and I am in better shape than I have been in .. ever. I run every day, I do power yoga and core fitness and cycling and crunches galore. And I eat healthily (I am a vegetarian/pescatarian) But the reality is that no matter what I do or how well adjusted I feel, I have a love/hate relationship with my body.

I love that I'm strong, and that I can run a long way and have a lot of energy. I love that I have the self-discipline to maintain this.

I hate my boobs, and I hate my tummy. I hate feeling like I don't want to be intimate with my boyfriend with the lights on because of all the damage I did to myself with neglect. It's not only a reminder to me of 'that my body has changed since I had a baby,' but it's a reminder to me of an agonizing years-long emotional implosion where I sort of 'checked out' on myself and let myself rot. Every time I look in the mirror naked, that is what I see. I forgive myself for it, but that is what I see. Old wounds.

I have an umbilical hernia about the size of a loonie and my muscles are at LEAST an inch if not two separated. I could actually tell it was about 4 inches+ during the last part of my pregnancy. I have stretch marks from one side to the other that wrinkle and make a really sexy 'cottage-cheese' effect when I am sitting hunched forward. When I get any thinner than I am now, my belly turns into a sea of wrinkles. I have a belly pooch gut I can NOT get rid of. I have boobs that were always a scant A cup - stretched to a D cup and nursed on for a year and a half - and now basically are a downwards drooping, 'fried egg gone wrong' looking A cup. They do not fit in any bras at all as they are asymmetrical, so all I can ever wear is sports bras. Let me tell you, sports bras don't work in dresses or tank tops or anything at all femmy. JUST T SHIRTS. That gets old. My right breast has been so stretched and abused that I actually feel like the nipple has poorer circulation from being so far away from the rest of my body.. that nipple always gets cold faster! What the heck!

I thought about it a lot over the last few years - whether I could just accept my body and move on or not, but in the last year I've gotten more convinced this is what I want. I'm only 24 years old, and my body looks used up despite being in robust health. I put a lot of work into who I am today - I have a beautiful home with an awesome, funny, charismatic kid, I'm halfway to a degree on the dean's list, I'm fit and happy, a good friend and partner, and I feel like - whatever the world sees or thinks - I want to see that on myself when I look in the mirror. Not the damage and the old wounds, but a fit, radiant, vibrant person who is tackling the world fresh.

So, here I am. I have a doctor I'm keen on but haven't had a consultation with yet. There are a few more around I'm curious about but I like this one's work that I've seen and they have stellar reviews from a great number of women. My consultation is in mid-November and I'm eager to get the ball rolling. I am hoping to have surgery around the Christmas holidays as I will have enough time off to recover without it disrupting my responsibilities too much (except who will make the vinatarta?!?! And the rumballs, dear God!!)

I will post some pictures soon, when I get a little braver, and try to keep up with my progress here including post-op! Wish me luck!

Well, well! It's been a while. I was going to make...

Well, well! It's been a while. I was going to make a new account as I thought I'd deleted this one, but here I am!

Where should I begin?

The first doctor I saw was very nice, but several things turned me off: they didn't have enough before/after pictures (no book in the office, only a few online), the office felt more commercial than medical to me, and the doctor was too insistent about implants in my opinion. I felt that they weren't confident about getting me good results without implants, which didn't inspire much trust as I had expressed I had no interest in implants, and I didn't like the implication that I was 'too flat.' I am flat, but what is too flat when you like being flat?

The second doctor was more experienced and had been in business a lot longer. They didn't try to push implants on me, which I appreciated, but said they couldn't do much for lift without adding volume, so we took the breasts off the table (HAH!) This doctor wanted to do my incisions a little differently than I had anticipated having them done. The staff there was all kind and the environment felt more medical this time than commercial, but everything still wasn't 'perfect.'

Then, the third doctor!

The things that sold me on my doctor (who is the third):
The photo book! This is seriously crucial. I feel like if your doctor doesn't have myriad examples of their work to show you and comparable body types to your own, you should steer clear. This office had a massive binder with what had to be at least a hundred before and afters of tummy tucks alone. I found lots of examples to compare myself to as far as body type, age, skin laxity, and hernia. That made a huge difference for me as far as my confidence in the doctor. I feel like comparing body type is so important. If you are a major weight loss patient you need to look at others who've had comparable weight losses with comparable issues. If you're a mom of 5 with severe muscle separation you need to find photos of people with that (at your body weight/height approximately.) For me I wanted to see younger women with moderate excess skin and umbilical hernias. I am that oddball who wouldn't be a candidate for a mini tuck, but had a high bellybutton and not quite enough lax skin to pull all the way down, so I wanted to find people like that. I was super relieved to look through that book and see that my favourite results were also the ones attained with bodies that looked like mine at the start.

The staff were all very polite and professional and made me feel relaxed and appreciated. I get a bit silly and jokey when I'm nervous and they laughed with me and didn't make me feel like a dolt. Everyone was really sweet.

My doctor was easily the most personable doctor that I saw in any consult. He went through the surgery in a very thorough way, and even though I'd had two consults and done lots of reading, I felt like I'd gained some knowledge coming out.

He addressed the breast lift by saying that yes, he could do it even on someone as small as me, but that I would have the fuller 'anchor lift' to get the lift I wanted, not a lollipop lift. When I said that I love the size of my boobs and I've never wanted to be bigger chested, just 'back to normal height,' he totally understood and seemed approving, granting they're the right size for my frame and suit me. I guess it is pretty rare for someone my size to be happy at my size, haha. But, I also had KNOCKERS when I was nursing and I hated how much they got in the way. I always liked having small boobs.

Ultimately I decided against the breast lift because although I don't mind scars, I realize that with an anchor lift on such small breasts, I'd have quite a large scarred area without much volume to cover it in a fold. I decided, essentially, I can live with my breasts for now. I might change my mind later, but I figured since I wasn't sure, better to minimize OR and recovery time.

A few other things I really liked about my doctor: he addressed some issues with my hernia that the doctors at my other consults didn't: that it was possible the opening of the hernia would be just where the umbilical stalk is (from the outside it looked like a knuckle jamming straight through my bellybutton), and if that was the case then blood flow to the bellybutton could be compromised in its repair. He elaborated on this so that I understood the risks as far as necrosis, wound healing, etc. We agreed that once he was 'in there,' he could decide what to do and I would trust his judgment on it.

So, I appreciated him talking to me about that and acknowledging a special risk. He also agreed to make my scar very low in exchange for a vertical bellybutton scar, which was fine with me. I did have loose skin all the way up, but my bellybutton is naturally quite high on an already short torso, so I sort of figured that would be the case and was already ok with it.

All said and done, and, ta-da! Yesterday, I had a tummy tuck.

He did repair my hernia, and said he would just keep an eye on the bellybutton in the coming days and weeks. Apparently the hole was large enough to need to be fixed. Suits me fine! I do have a short vertical scar but I'm not worried about it. He said everything went very well during surgery, and took the time to come and visit me and answer last minute questions before I left.

I'm just being mindful not to overdo it, but I have been up about every 3 hours walking around at home. Flexing my legs a lot, holding my pillow to me and doing the deep breathing and coughs they told me to (oh, the coughs are the most unpleasant thing by far.) I have been able to get up and down without help, which is nice as I was up and down a LOT last night needing to pee every half hour). My dad is staying with me to help me with my son (who is 4 now!) and he's been great about everything.

So far I haven't seen my incision, bellybutton anything. I peek in the top of the binder now and then to look for blood (as instructed) and noticed that a pre-existing scar on my chest wall has migrated down a bit. Also now that I'm more comfortable with my new condition I have noticed the skin in my pubic area is pretty taught. Not swollen at all but I can tell it's being pulled 'up.' (Not that my jangly bits are all on display or anything but... well, the skin just feels like someone is pulling it up a little.)

I'm sore and achey, but in nowhere near as much pain as I thought I would be. I wouldn't even call it pain, really. Just soreness. I feel like I did way too many crunches at the gym, basically. Well, that and I have a corset on. lol. My throat is a bit sore from having a breathing tube and I'm a bit gravelly, but again, it's not a big deal.

So far (day 2 today, but it's only 5am; surgery was over yesterday at 11am) my back doesn't hurt at all. I read that a lot. I think it must be that the pain from the front feels so radial that folks feel it in their back too. I am a weirdo and I practiced walking hunched at home before surgery to test my back strength a bit. I look at it more as 'bad period pains,' because when I'm standing, the soreness is mainly in my lower front and mid back, which is where I hurt on my period. Or, used to, prior to getting an IUD, anyway. I'd wager having pillows under your back in the right places helps. A lot of people seem to sleep in recliners after their surgery, but I've stuck to my bed with lots of pillows. Some people think it makes a huge difference for getting up and down easily to have a recliner or rented hospital bed, but I've been doing fine and like I said, I've been to the bathroom about a million times (again in a few minutes, I think!)

A few things I didn't expect: I hate percocet. They say it is addictive but it makes me so nauseous and itchy and jittery I don't see how people could like the stuff enough to want to take it. I took 2 on my first dose, then threw up a tiny bit (I'd only had like one pear slice since I got home) now I'm taking 1 every 4 hours. That's sitting much better with me. I'm a bit more achey without it, but it's easier for me to rest with a bit of soreness than nausea. And if you're only taking one every four hours and you find you're too sore, you can always take another half of one to tide you over til your next dose time. At least this was my way of thinking about it and what the nurse said I could do. I'm eager to be off them and on the T3s instead (but those make me spacey if I remember right.) I'm on blood thinner injections as well for 10 days and those aren't as scary as I thought they'd be. I bruised myself a bit the first go, but have the hang of it now.

Other things I didn't expect... hmm... I expected to be a lot more loopy from drugs etc. To wake up loopy. I woke up thinking about my son giggling and dancing (they told me to think of happy thoughts while falling asleep.) So I woke up from surgery relaxed and happy. My brother, who picked me up, said he was surprised to see me acting so normal. I have also been in a really good mood, which is nice. They warn you about depression but I am, by nature, a laughter-is-the-best-medicine person. So, when we got home I commented that I felt like Yoda (hunched over) and proceeded to try to force pull stuff like the clicker to me, then reprimand the clicker in a Yoda voice for being in league with the dark side. I think it has helped my brother and dad, too, to see that I'm not in enough pain to lose my sense of humour or fun. As much as they are here to help me, I want them to have the easiest time of it possible, so I'm going to keep a positive attitude :) I get to have a flat belly after all this! No more tucking my skin into my pants! Muahahaha. And I know it will take a long time, and I'll be sore, and there'll be ugly swollen bruised periods, but I'm ok with all that. Heck, I had a baby and watched my body mutate all over the place, I got this ;)

Oh, another thing I didn't expect was swelling in my arms, breasts, and face. Hah, I kept squeezing my boobs all last night whenever I was alone in a room going "whaaaaat!" They're back to normal now :P but, I did look a little chunky in the torso and face last night. I had worried I was getting dehydrated because I wasn't peeing much, but then I saw how much fluid I was retaining and stopped worrying. The pee seal was soon broken anyway and my face is less swollen now. Mostly my eyes. "Hi there, beady" my dad said to me while delivering an ice pack :P

Anywho, enough of this epic crazy long post! My post-op appointment is on Friday so I will be back then to make some updates and post some photos. I have befores to share, but they're on my laptop (very heavy) while I am using my dad's netbook (very light!)

Warm and peaceful thoughts to anyone who passes this way!

Oh, and as a side note - I can't 100% remember what the cost was off the top of my head, so I am basically rounding it up (it was not actually 10k, it was 9-something..) in consideration of things like prescriptions, extra pillows, supplies (ice packs, gauze, some proper sexy tracksuits ;) a cork board to put important info on, etc)

I'll update my doctor info and worth it rating and all a few days down the line when I know more where I'm at in terms of recovery and what to expect!

Happy thoughts to all!

I forgot to add two things: - I did not have any...

I forgot to add two things:
- I did not have any drains put in. My doctor hasn't used them for a while and I haven't had any issues with it.
- I haven't really eaten more than a pear slice since the night before surgery. You feel so tight that you feel 'full' without having eaten. But, I will try today so I don't get weak while I am walking around. I read people often lose 10lbs temporarily in recovery. I wouldn't mind that, haha, but I would be on the very low end of my healthy BMI and losing muscle (no good), so I'm hopeful I will get some appetite back soon.

Also I read a lot about people not being able to sleep or being worried about not being able to sleep - don't worry! I haven't been 'sleeping,' either, really. I seem to be up a few hours then nap a few hours, and my body is doing fine with that. It is probably easier on your back not to be sleeping a full night sitting up, and anyway you have to be up to take pain meds in the night and move your legs so, why not just call it 'napping habits' rather than 'sleeping habits' for a little while :P

DAY 2 POST OP! So, today has been fine. I've...

DAY 2 POST OP!

So, today has been fine. I've had a little more pain than yesterday but at the same time, I'm getting more used to it, hah. As the nurses predicted, I'm starting to regain some sensation around where the incision was, so that is getting a bit sore. Yesterday it was just the muscles, now I can kind of feel my incision on the left side, and there's a bit of swelling 'down there.' (Ok let's just be honest, the skin above my crotch is feeling a bit ... 'taught'!) Heh. But, I can still get up and walk around every few hours. I am taking it very easy, drinking lots of water and tea, lying around with my feet up, shuffling around sometimes to forage for a snack or go pee. My doctor's office sent me some flowers today :) That was nice.

One thing I noticed is that (as a defense mechanism?) my muscles in my upper legs and abs get tight when I sit down again from walking around. Like I am in 'mid crunch.' I think that's normal. It's only when I've moved around a bit and it's like a tense, 'prepping for pain' flex, but obviously it's not going to change anything. So I am consciously trying to do some deep breathing to relax things a bit when I notice it.

My binder feels a little tighter today. Probably I'm swelling in the right places now (not my face!) I wonder what kind of a difference drains vs no drains have on swelling?

I'm so curious to see what things look like under there. I can't take my binder off til my post-op visit tomorrow. I'm SOOOO curious what my bellybutton looks like. Can I please have a cute little innie? I did, once upon a time! Haha.

I keep having these little daydreams of myself in cute little cutoff shirts showing off a beautiful flat belly with some ab definition (in 6 months or so when I've been back at the gym working on it!) Lol, I am getting through the soreness by lying here smiling to myself like a nerd imagining myself in some 80's commercial where me and my super curly hair go bouncing around dancing on a beach pier in a cutoff shirt and bikini bottoms. Yeah, yeah!

Posted my before photos, taken about a week before...

Posted my before photos, taken about a week before surgery. I don't get a look at everything until my post-op appointment tomorrow but I will post some photos as soon as I can :)

FEB 8th! (my nurse says today is day 2.. I called...

FEB 8th! (my nurse says today is day 2.. I called yesterday day 2... hehe. oops)

I had my post op today and had a look at my new bellybutton, incision line, etc. I was pretty spaced out on my first T3 at the time (I can't take any more of those, they make me so nauseous and make my head feel spacey and fat) so I was out of it at the appointment. The nurse told me everything went really well, showed me how to adjust my binder, and gave me some tips on the.. err, plumbing ;)

I haven't eaten much (some celery sticks, a pear, a banana, some toast and some eggs) since surgery on Wednesday, so I don't feel SUPER bloated yet, but I would definitely (and painlessly...) like to get things moving.

Now that I have had a chance to look at my incisions at home with a clear head I am SO thrilled. Who is this slim bellied person? I left the gauze over my BB in today's photos because it wasn't time to take it off and clean it yet, but you get to see the skin and the incision line under the paper tape. The incision is awesome. It's very smooth and low; I think it meets my hips at just the right place, and my old bellybutton mark is quite low, too. I'm really pleased! I'm curious to see how it develops later once the tapes are off (3 weeks) too.

Next time I take some photos will probably be after my shower on Sunday, since I can be 'gauzeless' then. How racey! I'm feeling a lot better today too, as I've gotten a lot of rest mixed in with some walking around. My first day I barely slept and had a lot of swelling. Today I'm ok, just a bit of a headache.

FEB 8th! (my nurse says today is day 2.. I called...

FEB 8th! (my nurse says today is day 2.. I called yesterday day 2... hehe. oops)

I had my post op today and had a look at my new bellybutton, incision line, etc. I was pretty spaced out on my first T3 at the time (I can't take any more of those, they make me so nauseous and make my head feel spacey and fat) so I was out of it at the appointment. The nurse told me everything went really well, showed me how to adjust my binder, and gave me some tips on the.. err, plumbing ;)

I haven't eaten much (some celery sticks, a pear, a banana, some toast and some eggs) since surgery on Wednesday, so I don't feel SUPER bloated yet, but I would definitely (and painlessly...) like to get things moving.

Now that I have had a chance to look at my incisions at home with a clear head I am SO thrilled. Who is this slim bellied person? I left the gauze over my BB in today's photos because it wasn't time to take it off and clean it yet, but you get to see the skin and the incision line under the paper tape. The incision is awesome. It's very smooth and low; I think it meets my hips at just the right place, and my old bellybutton mark is quite low, too. I'm really pleased! I'm curious to see how it develops later once the tapes are off (3 weeks) too.

Next time I take some photos will probably be after my shower on Sunday, since I can be 'gauzeless' then. How racey! I'm feeling a lot better today too, as I've gotten a lot of rest mixed in with some walking around. My first day I barely slept and had a lot of swelling. Today I'm ok, just a bit of a headache.

Best day yet! Soreness has been minimal, no...

Best day yet! Soreness has been minimal, no headache, no nausea, my appetite's back, yeah! And I have been getting around more as it's easier to move. I did end up taking some pics of my BB today when I took stuff off to do my cleaning. I get to have a shower tomorrow! Woo hoo!

Today I was allowed to have my first shower - MAN...

Today I was allowed to have my first shower - MAN that felt good. It's not like I can shave my legs or anything but just to get scrubbed up and clean feels really nice. I hung around in my room and air dried for an hour while my son played Mario Kart on the Wii. It was nice to have the binder off for a while. My skin just wants to be scraaatched lol. But, obviously I'm not getting carried away. It's funny not being able to feel your bellybutton or the area below it to the incision. I swear I can still feel the VERY center of my BB in a vague sort of way, but definitely not the surrounding skin about an inch in any direction. Thankfully it looks good. Bruising is really minimal and is turning yellow already. I might start taking some arnica in the next few days (once I call my PS's office next week) to see if it will help clear up the bruising on my legs. My body is not digging the blood thinner injections I guess, but I look like someone's been punching me in the thighs all week. No matter how gentle I try to be with the injections I always get a big bruise. Oh well. At least I'm safe from the scary business of blood clots! Bruises are a small price to pay.

Even while all sore and hunched with tape on me and unshaven legs and a numb bellybutton, being able to lay around in my underwear in the middle of the day with my boyfriend around and NOT be insecure about it is extremely liberating. He's never given me any reason to feel bad about my body, but when your body changes that much it's hard not to feel negatively about it. It's an amazing feeling now to be able to just lay there and be completely unworried. There's no roll hanging anywhere, no wrinkles, nothing. Just a pretty cute little belly. Swollen, yeah. Sore. But still so much better than what I had before. I am still so glad I did this! I haven't had any regrets.

Day 5 today. Every day is better, but the mornings...

Day 5 today. Every day is better, but the mornings are always a little brutal. Not really for pain, more the *worry* about pain. Once I'm up and I get a few minutes to take my binder off, breathe, rub the belly skin I can actually feel, and 'stretch' (don't try to actually stretch for a while. I did it in my sleep - OW.) then I feel a lot better.

My skin feels tighter today with the swelling so I'm taking it easy on trying to straighten out the hunch. I've read about arnica on here a handful of times, and serendipitously, two of my teachers also mentioned it in class lectures before the break. So, I'm going to call my PS today and see if that's something I can try out. I'm really not developing any severe swelling (I put up pics today so you can see). It looks the same, I can just feel it in how tight my skin is. I have been really lucky with minimal bruising and stuff too, I think. I just have a tiny bit of yellow bruising around my BB.

Funny, two of the things I saw on here to help relieve inflammation are arnica and pineapple. The DAY of my surgery I went all crazy craving pineapple juice without ever having thought of it as an anti-inflammatory. Normally I drink a ton of water but that wasn't doing it for me. I've still been putting back 2 cups or so of pineapple juice a day.

I am also trying to have my binder off for a total of around an hour a day the last two days. Yesterday when I had my shower I laid around without it for a while and took it off a few times when it got uncomfortable just to sit. I take it off for a few minutes every morning and for a bit at night before I go to sleep too, just to let my skin breathe. I am so looking forward to saying goodbye to this thing. And my body really wants a good stretch. I usually run regularly and I do yoga to keep pain in a funny hip minimal (yoga actually makes it asymptomatic, whereas when I don't do yoga the one hip hurts when I extend it backwards while walking sometimes.) So, my legs are kind of angry with me. I'm looking forward to being able to go for a walk outside. I feel cabin-fevery! Otherwise still in a great mood, still looking good, feeling good, etc. Well taken care of here. I am looking at it as being comparable to times I got injured as a teenager and had to spend a week at home playing video games, and that's helping for some reason. Haha.

Day 5 today. Every day is better, but the mornings...

Day 5 today. Every day is better, but the mornings are always a little brutal. Not really for pain, more the *worry* about pain. Once I'm up and I get a few minutes to take my binder off, breathe, rub the belly skin I can actually feel, and 'stretch' (don't try to actually stretch for a while. I did it in my sleep - OW.) then I feel a lot better.

My skin feels tighter today with the swelling so I'm taking it easy on trying to straighten out the hunch. I've read about arnica on here a handful of times, and serendipitously, two of my teachers also mentioned it in class lectures before the break. So, I'm going to call my PS today and see if that's something I can try out. I'm really not developing any severe swelling (I put up pics today so you can see). It looks the same, I can just feel it in how tight my skin is. I have been really lucky with minimal bruising and stuff too, I think. I just have a tiny bit of yellow bruising around my BB.

Funny, two of the things I saw on here to help relieve inflammation are arnica and pineapple. The DAY of my surgery I went all crazy craving pineapple juice without ever having thought of it as an anti-inflammatory. Normally I drink a ton of water but that wasn't doing it for me. I've still been putting back 2 cups or so of pineapple juice a day.

I am also trying to have my binder off for a total of around an hour a day the last two days. Yesterday when I had my shower I laid around without it for a while and took it off a few times when it got uncomfortable just to sit. I take it off for a few minutes every morning and for a bit at night before I go to sleep too, just to let my skin breathe. I am so looking forward to saying goodbye to this thing. And my body really wants a good stretch. I usually run regularly and I do yoga to keep pain in a funny hip minimal (yoga actually makes it asymptomatic, whereas when I don't do yoga the one hip hurts when I extend it backwards while walking sometimes.) So, my legs are kind of angry with me. I'm looking forward to being able to go for a walk outside. I feel cabin-fevery! Otherwise still in a great mood, still looking good, feeling good, etc. Well taken care of here. I am looking at it as being comparable to times I got injured as a teenager and had to spend a week at home playing video games, and that's helping for some reason. Haha.

I've also lost somewhere between 5 and 8 lbs......

I've also lost somewhere between 5 and 8 lbs... can't get a whole lot of food in me at a time before I'm full and I seem to mostly be wanting salads and eggs.

I noticed today a pattern with my eating. I'm not...

I noticed today a pattern with my eating. I'm not diabetic, but I can tell (I get a little dizzy/lightheaded) that my blood sugar is spiking a bit higher than normal after I eat for about an hour or so. I was spinny from the pain meds before but I'm off them now. Now when I have a meal (usually dinner) I get spinny feeling for an hour or two. Is that happening for anyone else?

Hah, nevermind. Google is my friend!

Hah, nevermind. Google is my friend!

I have to phone my PS tomorrow as my bellybutton...

I have to phone my PS tomorrow as my bellybutton is... shrinking. At first I thought 'oh, no big deal, that's probably just from swelling' but it's looking like the scar is contracting around there and it wants to squeeze 'in' and disappear. I've seen other ladies on here with little plugs in their bellybuttons. So I'm going to phone my doc tomorrow and see if I should have something like that.

All in all things are good. I thought my swelling peaked at day 2, and in a way it did but I think that was muscle swelling, based on how it felt. My binder felt too tight at times then, too. Now I feel like it's 'fluid' swelling, if that makes sense. It makes me WANT my binder tighter, but I can't really get it any tighter than it is. It also rides around weird sometimes. I've been thinking about going and buying spanx just so I don't have to adjust it all the time. It's hard to get it to sit low enough on my hips to actually cover my scar and 'do' anything for compression there.

Been craving protein! Well fish anyway. My dad means well but he is feeding us dinners of hot dog (nope) on hamburger bun and grilled cheese sandwiches with canned soup. lol. He did make a really good salad one time, to be fair. But I sure miss my own cooking :P I'm craving fish and avocado and a-little-bit-of-everything salads and home made savoury soup. Noms. Too bad I sincerely doubt I would make it out grocery shopping and back alone. Going to have to enlist the boyfriend this weekend to come with me. God, I sure miss the touchy feely stuff too. Is that just me? My boyfriend is hot and I want to be able to do stuff, dammit! Haha, my post op instructions say to wait 6 weeks (same for exercise.) I mean, it doesn't have to get all 'sporty' in the bedroom first couple times back to it, but damn I miss a little physical contact. It's only been a week and we're both feeling pretty sad and whiney about it :P Sigh.... only 5 more weeks to go .

... *headdesk*

I can virtually guarantee we are going to cheat on that rule.

Haven't had a change to talk to my PS yet this...

Haven't had a change to talk to my PS yet this morning, but blerg my bellybutton is bothering me. The key thing everywhere is 'patience,' 'patience,' but it's hard when it's your own body doing the weird stuff. I stretched before bed last night and I guess I overstretched (because I can't feel my BB or any tension around it) and some bleeding started at an edge. I cleaned it and popped a bandaid on and am letting it air out without the binder on today to dry it up and help it heal, but I'm ready to talk to someone about this bellybutton :/

I managed to walk to the corner of my street and...

I managed to walk to the corner of my street and back yesterday. HAH. I wanted sushi so bad, so I walked to the sushi place that is basically across the street. Sooo tired when I got back, and people look at you funny when you're hunched. But, whatever. I got my sushi :D

I also managed to do a tiny bit of cleaning with the help of my awesome superhero son who helped me load the dishwasher and get the laundry in the machine. Kiddo is a champ. I sure miss going outside to play with him though! I'm giving myself time but I can't help but feel sort of 'bleh' about poor kiddo being inside so much. My helpers mean well but they must not understand just how much I actually do. The house is cleanish and we're getting meals when I'm too sore to cook, but .... but but but.

I guess you go on autopilot as a single mom and forget how much work it is. I can tell my helpers are tired even when they're only doing half or less of my daily stuff. I want to ask them to take kiddo out to the park and stuff but I feel guilty at already being such a burden. Little dude is gonna get soo many trips to the aquarium and zoo when I'm better, haha. As is I'm just so thankful I have such a sweet kid who's so excited just to help me do the dishes

I can lay on my side! Muahahah. I probably...

I can lay on my side! Muahahah. I probably couldn't sleep like that all night yet but just the hope makes me happy. I had to try this morning before getting out of bed. I'm sleeping almost flat now and standing almost straight. Soooo looking forward to sleeping on my side/tummy again. I have always been a side and tummy sleeper.

My reminder not to overdo it just because I'm...

My reminder not to overdo it just because I'm feeling great: 'swell hell' as a result of taking my kiddo just to the playground outside my apartment (all I did was sit, though there were two flights of stairs involved) and then to the starbucks down the street a little bit. Boooo. Sigh. The long road begins!

Lowest swelling since day 2 this morning (day 10)...

Lowest swelling since day 2 this morning (day 10) and still really loving the results. There is a fatty bit 'sticking out' on my left hip you may be able to see in pictures, but I'm not worried about it. Now that my swelling is down this morning I can see inside my BB more again, which is alleviating the fears of it eating itself ^_^

Speaking of bellybuttons, I noticed mine is about an inch lower on my abdomen than it used to be! I thought that was funny. I sort of laughed when I realized, thinking "oh, he made my bellybutton normal." Maybe it's a scarring thing? It seems like it'd be more likely to develop that little 'hood' of skin that conceals the scars like this. Who knows!

DAY 10 Post Op I woke up weepy and sad today...

DAY 10 Post Op

I woke up weepy and sad today but I told myself to expect random bummer days. I know my body is going through a lot and it's natural for my system to be depressed after something like this.. It does bring up memories of caring for my mom when she was ill. I knew to expect that association too.

I would say if you are someone who has ever been a caretaker for a dying loved one, ***REMIND YOURSELF*** before and after surgery that there will be triggering things about being so immobile/dependent/vulnerable. The 3 year anniversary of my mom's death has come and gone while I've been recovering and that emotional stuff finds a way of sneaking up on you when your sad body is looking for an emotional cue to let loose the tears. I'm not much for crying, but I'm just mentioning this in case there are other people out there going through what I'm going through. I think it's so important to be gentle and forgiving with yourself emotionally through this as well as physically.

That said I am looking forward to getting back to the gym, especially running. God, my sad little heart misses running right now.

I managed to fall asleep on my side last night. It...

I managed to fall asleep on my side last night. It wasn't totally comfortable as you can't toss and turn like normal (or belly sleep which I want to do...) but better than all the flat back stuff.

I dug out some photos of the various shapes I've been in. As a skinny 19 year old with my before belly (God, I was so self conscious as a teen and now I look back and think WHAT THE HELL, you had a gorgeous body! You should've flaunted it more! lol) Then heavy after my son, back in the really hard days. Then 2 years after that (2 years ago now) after starting to run and hit the gym again.

It's so strange to look at all the pictures of the way your body has changed side by side. It is a good motivator though as I'd still like to lose 10lbs once I'm healed up and seeing my before-kiddo pic makes me feel like YEAH, I'M READY, LET'S DO THIS. Hah!

Stuff's getting easier every day and I'm back to...

Stuff's getting easier every day and I'm back to all my regular housework, although laundry isn't exactly the easiest it's ever been and I'm not about to try steam cleaning the carpets for a few months. But, it's nice just to feel more normal.

I keep having itches on parts of my belly that are actually numb. It's weird. I go to lightly rub the spot and then I realize I can't actually scratch my itch because it's a ghost itch. I've had a couple of little nerve pangs (electric shocks?) but not much feeling back yet.

I did admittedly do a little too much yesterday. I needed to do some grocery shopping, but I don't have a car, so I had to haul a rolling shopping bag thing full of groceries (and some bags I ended up carrying) home. I only live two blocks from the store, thankfully, and there weren't any stairs (phew!) But, I decided at that point that I was superwoman so I also opted to pick up my son from daycare myself. I've had my dad doing the drop off and pick up stuff. Again, no car. Daycare is only a few blocks away but it is up a hill that is like a 30 degree slope. I got about halfway there before I was like "oh, crud, maybe this was a bit ambitious." Sigh. Normally I run up that hill. Oh well.

So, I picked up my kiddo and we walked home, and then I spent an hour in the kitchen making dinner, and that was it for me for the day. I've spent most of the day today lounging around, intermittently getting up and cleaning, making us food, entertaining kiddo. But, mostly resting. I'm definitely more swollen than usual, but not excessively so. I look bloated in a way. But, I'm going to take it easy for the rest of the weekend since I want to be back at school next week.

I'm sure grateful for this site! I started to run myself a bath today (god I needed to shave my legs, I was turning into Tarzan and shaving in the shower was still too uncomfortable.) Then before I got in I figured I had better check if I was allowed, but I couldn't immediately find my post-op package so I looked up some Q&A on here and on makemeheal. Apparently when you're allowed to bathe is a bit sketchy and folks have been known to get infections from having baths too early. So, my son got that bath instead. lol. I ended up awkwardly spending an hour today in the bathroom waxing my legs while he laughed at me instead, then showering. Sigh. Well at least my legs don't look like woolly mammoth legs anymore.

I've been testing which parts of my belly I can...

I've been testing which parts of my belly I can actually feel today to figure out what the actual area is that's numb (I want to be able to tell when/if/how sensation returns slowly, what areas it starts in, how quickly it goes, etc.)

So, I am definitely numb in the triangle between my bellybutton to the incision. About the four to five inches at the bottom middle of the incision. I can feel the edges nearer to my hips, and I can feel just below the incision at any point along it. Absolutely nothing in my bellybutton or below to the incision line. I'm also numb on either side of my bb about an inch, and even 2 inches above my bellybutton. How much numbness are other people experiencing? I know this is all normal and I'm not bothered by it, just interested!

I wish I had taken more before pictures now. I was...

I wish I had taken more before pictures now. I was so embarrassed by them and I didn't want to have any of them on my computer since it gets used by other people sometimes. Particularly I was embarrassed about the pooch. I took pictures to show the skin but I don't have anything to show the poochy gut profile, especially once I had eaten at the end of the day.

It was embarrassing, but now that I've been on here for a while I see it's really common. I guess when you're used to being insecure about something like that you figure it's just you, and you kind of blame yourself. Even though I was exercising a lot and consider myself fit, I did secretly blame myself and feel like "if I were fitter / if I could lose the other 10lbs / if I ate better" etc then I "wouldn't look so fat." I did have every PS I saw tell me it wasn't fat, it was the separated muscles letting everything push outwards, but I still blamed myself for it somehow.

Realistically I was working out more than any of my friends and on a stricter diet. People would give me sideways looks at Thanksgiving because I'd only be eating the veggies and never go for seconds. I was running 30km a week or more, lifting weights, doing yoga... There wasn't a whole lot else I could do short of trying to have an athlete's lifestyle, and I'm not an athlete. I'm a regular single mom and a student, so expecting myself to buck up and do better was setting myself up for failure and insecurity. Hindsight's 20/20, but maybe if someone in a similar position happens across this it will help?

I posted more after shots. Admittedly, I looked at way more photos on here than I read profiles when I was considering this surgery. Whenever I decide to stop writing here, I'll cut it down to maybe 6 pics.

Found some more befores...

Found some more befores...

Today is my 3 week post op appointment and I get...

Today is my 3 week post op appointment and I get to have my tapes off! It will be my first real look at my scar. I'm excited about that... despite being drained from only getting 3 hours of sleep (kiddo is sick, I caught it, school projects due... sigh. Life waits for no one.)

I feel like Imogen Heap's "Bad Body Double" has been my internal theme song for all things body-image in the last few years. Not anymore! I'll post pics of my scar after the appointment!

No photos today as I had to put more tapes back on...

No photos today as I had to put more tapes back on when my old ones came off. I'm to start a scar therapy cream this week and then keep up with the tapes for quite a while, but if it means my scar will stay looking as awesome as it is, I am on board!

My scar is SO thin. It looks as if someone took a box cutter and just scratched one thin line across the front of me (and the little vertical 't' part where my old bellybutton was). It is thin like the impression of a wire. No visible stitches, absolutely no pleating (what! I was surprised by that.) Very flat. Even the parts that right after surgery were a bit more bulgy have flattened out almost completely. I'm extremely thrilled and even in such a short time this has made a huge difference in how I see myself. Hell, my boyfriend and I stood in front of a mirror yesterday looking at our bellies with our shirts tucked up, sticking them out and pulling them in and comparing bellybuttons. lol. You'd never have caught me doing that before this. The confidence boost just in the simple silly things is so worth it.

Today I'm one month post op. I'm still happy...

Today I'm one month post op.

I'm still happy to have had this done. Still enjoying the results and looking forward to swelling going down. I'm fine with the patience. It's not like I've got a whole lot of body flaunting on the calendar.

I was told by the nurse at my Dr's office to apply kelo cote when I'm changing my tapes twice a week for a minimum of six months. Wowza! Well, I'm glad I did this in the winter. It will definitely be a monokini summer, which is totally fine with me. It not being a potbellied summer is a bonus in and of itself.

Added some new pics to show my scar. There's not much else to update on lately. I felt a pop yesterday morning rolling over in bed but my nurse assures me that there's hundreds of stitches in there in layers, so one stitch popping through a layer isn't a big deal. That's why they do so many. So, cool. a bit more tender today but oh well.

I do fatigue a little easier, but I'd wager that's because I'm not exercising. When I don't exercise my mood is a little lower anyway, and I sleep a bit less. So it all becomes a bit of a vicious cycle. Less sleep, lower mood, more fatigue, bleh. but, my soreness is minimal. I'm never hunched anymore unless I spend too long sitting down.

I am trying to work up the courage to tell some people I know about the surgery but I'm not convinced yet that I want to. We'll see.

Week 5! Not much new to update still. I have...

Week 5!

Not much new to update still. I have had 3 stitches 'pop' here and there inside that I've felt. No pain just a distinct 'pop' feeling like someone flicking you with a fingertip... but inside your abdomen. Weird, but my doctor's office assures me there's lots of stitches in there and it'll be fine.

I tried to have a bath yesterday - big mistake! Hah. I thought "ooh nice I'll have a relaxing warm bath with some music, that'll be awesome." Yeah right. Little did I realize how much you actually use your abs in the bath. To move, to hold your head up, to dunk your head underwater, to get back up again, to lay against the back of the tub. GOD. It was pretty uncomfortable and I only spent about 5 or 10 minutes in there before needing to turn it into a shower. Oh well, I'll try again in a few months.

Had some trouble getting my tapes to stay on. I felt frustrated because I know the tapes are supposed to relieve tension on the scar to help the scar stay thin. Well, if they don't stick to the skin they're not going to do their job and I had to change mine twice today because they kept falling off. So I figured out that I can warm up a bean bag and lay it over the tapes (making sure it's just warm, not hot) just after I've changed them, and that gets them to stick down to the skin a LOT better.

I would really like my feeling back. It's funny how quickly you forget how you looked, because I have had moments where I've questioned if I did the right thing when I miss sensation in my lower tummy. I think I have disfigured myself when I dwell on it, but then I look at an old photo and go "nope, nevermind, I'm happier now." In appearance and confidence, I'm a thousand times happier now than I was before. I just do really miss being able to feel my WHOLE body, you know? Hopefully all of my feeling comes back and there isn't any permanent numbness. It's not like it's distressing but I like feeling connected to my body and it's still strange for me.

Finally got back to the gym today. I took it...

Finally got back to the gym today. I took it relatively easy and did a gentle 45 mins (5 miles ish) on the elliptical. Thought about doing some weights but there's still too much core work involved in most of it and I knew I wouldn't be able to run comfortably enough to bother yet. So I did a tiny bit of free weights and a bunch of stretching after. I feel SO GREAT being able to exercise. My body is happy and thankful, and I feel better knowing I'm back to working on shedding some of the fat that's accumulated. I didn't wear my binder to the gym (it was off at 3 weeks) but I did put it on afterwards 'just in case' and just took it off after dinner. Feeling great.

7 weeks tomorrow! Not much new to report. I...

7 weeks tomorrow!

Not much new to report. I mistakenly thought it would be ok to very slowly jog for three minutes and my body reacted by swelling angrily last night, sending me to bed with half a percocet in me for the first time since day 3. I won't be trying any jogging again for a few weeks.

My bulge is bothering me - that hard lump just above and to the right of my incision, but I'll wait it out I guess. I've been reading about pseudobursa and of course become a little nervous about that, but I guess if that's the case it can be fixed later on. No sense getting riled up when I'm still 4 months away from my next appt and any little fixes would need to be done after a certain point of healing anyway.

I put up some photos with tape surrounding the areas that are left numb to touch after the TT with MR - for ME, anyway. I think everyone is probably a little different. But I often read that the numb area would be in 'the triangle from the umbilicus to the mid incision line.' Even though it wouldn't change my decision to do this I thought that was a little misleading and I think it's important for people considering this to be well informed. I never saw any photos or visual representation of how large the numb area could be so hopefully this is helpful for those trying to prepare mentally!

It's hard to believe 2 months will have gone by...

It's hard to believe 2 months will have gone by soon!
Still healing up slowly but surely. I get some specific tight spots if I eat too much, sit up too long (mostly sitting...) or work out too eagerly. Mostly in my upper right abs or lower left abs. Still have that rock-hard bulge with no change to it. Oh well, if I need a revision there's no getting around that.

I still feel more tired than usual at the end of a long day and look forward to just sitting the heck down. And I am ALWAYS sore after sex, no matter how gentle or mellow it might be (but then, you always go into it thinking it'll be mellow and then....)

I am back to all of my old activities except proper running or weights heavy enough to engage my core much. So, sticking to 8 and 10 lb dumbbells for now. Looking forward to the future when there is NO end-of-day soreness, no pulling/stretching stuff going on, no bulges. Still very happy with the decision.

Found some more befores showing how weird the...

Found some more befores showing how weird the muscle separation/hernia combo were.

I'm not psyched about this lump thing. To be totally honest I am kind of bummed out as I feel like a fatty lately having gained a little from not being able to exercise at the intensity I used to. I wholeheartedly miss running. The soreness is only just finally abating somewhat when I exercise. I am really really eager to drop 10lbs but worried that my belly will still have a weird bulge even if I do. I know this whole experience can make a crazy person out of anyone but I'm not used to being this affected by stuff so it's annoying.

So I have an appointment with my doctor to check...

So I have an appointment with my doctor to check out my lump next Friday and hopefully get stuff figured out. Of course, SINCE I made the appointment my lump has softened/shrunk a little. Big eyeroll. Well, we'll see what it's like by next Friday. I have been working on losing a bit of weight so maybe that's had an effect as I'm eating smaller meals and healthier.

Back to all my regular gym stuff now and going every day. Still laying off any core stuff, which is fine, and my mileage on the treadmill is nowhere what it used to be but at least it's improving. I have noticed even without core work that my abs look so much better in the mirror now than they did even a few weeks ago, let alone for the last several years. Just from running and elliptical etc and with a bit of extra fat, my abs are getting in decent shape. I bought my first EVER crop top online at modcloth last night and I'm so excited to wear it. I was so self conscious of my body as a teen - even WITH a great body - and I didn't work out back then to have muscle tone to be proud of, so I'm soooo looking forward to this summer, hah!

At 2 months I can honestly say I never have any TT related soreness anymore. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, guys! No tightness (I still look food baby ish if I gorge at a restaurant but not like before) no significant swelling.. I can tell there is a little still clinging only because if I wear tight pants, the area covered by pants will be a smidge skinnier at the end of the day but it's really not very noticeable.

Still no feeling in the skin but a funny thing - I can feel INSIDE my skin in the line between my bellybutton and incision line, straight down, where the MR would have been done most aggressively I guess. It's bizaaaaarro. It's like I can feel the slightly rough texture of a thin line of stitches on my skin - but it's UNDER my skin, on the opposite side. I guess the nerves THERE still work. lol. It's only if I'm sitting twisted in an odd position or press/rub lightly on the skin there but I can definitely feel some texture inside that area. Not with my fingers I mean... with the actual skin of my belly.. but inside. Well, it makes sense to me anyway.

I will take some proper photos soon to update with. I am so immensely happy with this surgery despite my 'eep' moments and I really think it is worth the recovery, the money, and the emotional stuff. I have a midsection I think looks super great, and as I trim down slowly and get back in shape, I am starting to finally feel fit and sexy looking, it's AWESOME.

It's been a while since I've updated! I had an...

It's been a while since I've updated!

I had an appointment with my surgeon regarding the hard lump under my scar and the bulgy part over top. He said it's likely to be some minimal fat necrosis where there was a small area that had inadequate blood supply. So, that part hardened up and it should soften and disappear over time (fingers crossed!) I've been a little less concerned about checking it constantly and have been settling in nicely to accepting all the little changes and accepting my new figure. It's tough in those first few weeks/months when everything's always changing. You feel like the post-op-boogeyman is going to pop out at you every morning, wondering what's around the corner in your healing. But things have stabilized nicely and I'm still very happy with my decision (especially when I get on here and see my old photos!) I do have some hypertrophic scarring on my vertical incision where my old bellybutton was, but it's still a small price to pay and I'll see if it needs any attention after a year or so. As for now, I'm all good, back to ab workouts as of this week, and happy! :)

Good luck to everyone thinking of going through this surgery. I'm not sure I will be back again to update (maybe a photo once my scars are faded) so I just wanted to say I send my best wishes to everyone thinking about doing this surgery.

My advice to surgery newbies would be to RESEARCH your doctors and get multiple consults, even if they're expensive and time consuming to set up. Read the stories - the good AND the bad ones - and try to pay attention to risk factors in the stories with bad outcomes. Notice trends for the people who had great results and no complications. Notice scar placement and what esthetic you prefer. Notice warning signs of sneaky complications. Realize that you're not just looking at permanent scarring (some of which can be ugly and require more dough for revisions), but also possibly permanent numbness. This was one of the harder things for me to adjust to.

What I saw was that people who were still at higher weights, not exercising regularly or doing their best to live a healthy active lifestyle with clean eating, who let the stress of having people care for them get to them, or who pushed themselves too hard too fast, were the ones who had more complications. The VERY BEST thing you can do once you're sure about your surgeon and your choice, is to ensure you are in excellent health, both physically and mentally/emotionally: lots of exercise and good food, NO smoking, following your instructions to a T, a solid support network of people close to you that you can trust to care for you or even listen to you vent, and a really good handle on your emotions, your triggers, and know how to coach yourself out of self-esteem spirals during healing. Also realize that NOTHING is perfect even when you've got an absolute star of a surgeon working on you. Your body has gone through a ton to be in a place where you're considering surgery, and you're going to put it through a ton more. There will be imperfections in your eyes because you're used to looking for and at them constantly. Don't sweat the tiny things and try to relax into your healing and love your body. The positivity will help decrease your stress and make it that much easier on your body to heal.

Thanks so much to everyone who has been so kind and helped me along on my journey, and given me advice and food for thought and even just kept me company while I healed and had nowhere to be but in my own head. This is a wonderful community and I'm grateful to have had access to it. :)

Nearly 10 Months Post-Op

Hey everyone!

I decided it was probably time to do a little updates on my tummy tuck. It's been quite a while now and there have been changes not only to the scar, but areas with/without sensation, muscle tone, etc.

I outlined in my newly uploaded photos how much my areas of numbness have shrunk in the past few months. There are some funny spots (the inch above my bellybutton, and on the left side of my vertical scar that was my old bellybutton) where sensation is returning, but in a confused sort of way. When I touch some spots above my BB, it feels like I'm touching an inch or so to the left and slightly down from where I'm really touching. When I touch the lower spot, to the left of my vertical scar, it feels like I am almost touching the crease between my pelvis and left hip. Funny, hey? I'm very happy to be getting sensation back, though. I had noticed that whenever I ran, I'd get a tingly belly and sometimes a 'heat' feeling in the skin that was numb. And it was weird at first learning to accept that I wouldn't feel my pants rub at my skin there anymore. I was worried about nipping my skin buttoning up my pants or squeezing it by accident through some wardrobe malfunction (or standing too close to the stove and not noticing the heat!) Nothing like that has happened.

One definitely worthwhile update is that I had a diluted kenalog injection done to my vertical scar, because it was becoming quite thick and ropey, and was staying very red compared to the other maturing areas of the scar. Dr. Ward was completely awesome about it, talked about the risks and the 'one hand vs the other' of kenalog vs just letting it be. I still had a hypertrophic scar on my chest from about 2 years ago that hadn't flattened, so I chose the kenalog to get things moving, and Dr. Ward was even kind enough to use some of it to flatten the scar on my chest.

Immediately, the swelling in the scars went down in a few days. Over time, the fat or tissue under the scars has thinned a fair bit and the skin is rather papery there, but this was one of the explained side effects and I've been fine with it. Right now, there is a mild inward sloping between the side of my tummy at my vertical scar, with the skin in the middle quite thin and without fat to fill it in. I expect this to get better over the next few months, but I've also noticed what a difference diet and exercise makes in the overall contour of my belly near my scar.

I had lots of work to do in the summer, final exams in August, changed universities for September and then had to move from my apartment into a new place with my son, so there was a lot to do and not much time, and I fell off the exercise wagon. I didn't gain any weight, but my muscle deteriorated and I plumped up fat-wise a bit. I have since been exercising again and have already noticed that that fitter I am (lower body fat %) and the more I focus on my core, the better that area of my belly is. It also helps to stay hydrated and avoid crappy processed food (which is also giving me adult acne woes right now so I'm being a lot more careful anyway.)

Aesthetics aside, using my core has been easier. I was always worrying about the hernia before and it would get sore and tender. I don't have to worry about that now!

A weird thing I've found is that while I'm trying to tone my core it doesn't hurt unusually (more than just a post-workout ache), but if I'm letting myself go a little, or if I just do one workout in a month or something, my upper abs ache along the vertical line they pulled back together. That said, the entire area of my abdomen that was worked on is always peripherally tender. It never hurts, and it's not sore or achey at all normally, but any minor impact to the belly is sort of terrifying. It's more tender there and any little bump hurts more than it would pre-op. This isn't a problem but it makes certain aspects of regular life a little more intimidating.

My friend's son ran off at a store once and didn't want to come with me when I tracked him down. When I nabbed him by the arm, kiddo threw himself to the ground and gave me a swift boot to the abdomen. This was somewhere around 2 or 3 months post-op, I think, and holy flying sheiƟweasels, did it hurt. I had to sit down for a bit and let her kid run off into a little penned-in arcade area. It subsided quickly and didn't cause any issues, but I'm careful with kids now. My own son has a habit of jumping on me on the couch, and barrelling down hills straight into me, so it's taken some doing just to get him to be careful around my tummy. I've heard myself say "remember dude, mommy has the sore belly" more times than I care to count. He's good with it now (he's 4) but sometimes he just forgets and nudges uncomfortably while cuddling or something.

My boyfriend has been really good about it, and was there for me through the whole recovery (he did give me a hard time now and then just to get a rise out of me. Twit.) But, he was really helpful during my recovery and has been really gentle and careful with me since. Before surgery, he used to pick me up a lot, throw me over his shoulder, run around being a doofus and doing little swing dance type grabs. Obviously that all stopped post-op, and it's only just lately that he's started trying to pick me up again, but he's been pretty good about being delicate. The reality is that even being picked up in a front hug where he's leaning back can pull at my abdominal muscles enough to be uncomfortable, so we're careful about it now. I do try to stretch out my front after every workout by doing some basic yoga poses I know, but I think it may always be a bit tighter there than before.

My boyfriend also finally admitted that he's quite happy I had this done. Hah! I like how they're all cautiously-supportive at first and say that you're beautiful no matter what (and I truly do believe he thought so, and that it would never have been an issue to him if I had not done this), but it's also kind of nice to hear that he appreciates the improvements like I do. Not as much as I do, but still. I went with my son, boyfriend and some friends out to a cabin this past summer, and I wore a bikini for the first time in five years. THAT was amazing. I actually felt attractive. I was proud of my body and that it showed how much work I had put into it at the gym. I didn't feel like the inferior specimen, which is usually how it goes for me at a pool or the beach. I felt sexy! This summer I wore some semi high-waisted boy shorts to cover things up, so just my bellybutton scar showed, but nobody even noticed. My scar has already faded a lot, so it's possible that by next year I won't even care to cover it up. I'm not very self-conscious about scars and lots of people have already seen it when I've been tippy-toeing for whatever reason with hands up to reach something or stretch. Nobody cares. I don't care. It probably looks a little startling to people who haven't been around surgery before but I guess rules of etiquette prevent people from mentioning it. That's ok with me, because even if they did mention it I wouldn't feel self conscious about it. It's a million times better looking than what was going on before!

Well, that's my whole update for now! I'm still very happy I did this. I haven't looked at my before photos for a long time and seeing them here was a nice validation for me. I hated being trapped in that body. There are still things I don't like about my body now (my boobs), but it's easier for me to accept them somehow.

Good luck to everyone with achieving their goals!

Sensation Changes Image

I put up a picture to show where I have sensation, where I don't, and where sensation has changed. It's pretty self explanatory. The grey area is where I can't feel anything - no touch, scratch, temperature, anything. Only at muscle depth can I tell I'm being touched in the grey areas.

The yellow highlighted areas are spots where my sensation has changed or 'relocated.' Where there is a number, that spot has some sensation but it's abnormal, and the actual 'feeling' response to the touch occurs at another site (where there is a corresponding number with a star *)

For number 1, by my bellybutton, all touch feels kind of nerve twingy. It's not painful, but is not normal 'touch.' It feels like someone is lightly scraping with a nail no matter how soft the touch is. At number 2, I can pick up both light touch and (when I am actually doing it) light nail scraping sensations. Just below my bellybutton I can only feel feather light touch, but no pain and no scraping sensations. If you compare the boundaries of sensitive areas with what they were early on you can see how much the sensation has returned and improved. It's a relatively small area now that is affected.

oops

I derped above and said I was almost 10 months. This is one of those moments that counting on your fingers fails miserably. I am nearly EIGHT months post op.
Surrey Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Ward was one of the first doctors I found just through googling in my area. He and his staff have been absolutely amazing through this whole process, answering all of my questions quickly and courteously and making me feel really cared about. His work is consistently beautiful from what I've seen in his photo albums. Everyone on his team has been wonderful, and Dr. Ward has a very caring, mellow bedside manner that makes him easy to talk to. He listened to me and was honest and realistic with me. I couldn't have asked for a better doctor.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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You look amazing :)
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You look great :D xxx
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I love how detailed your blog is and you look great :-)
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You look fab! How could you be standing so straight so soon? I am a week out and still so swollen, hunched and bruised... You have such a tiny waist and flat belly :)
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Thank you! The first photos are deceiving. I was pretty hunched until about two weeks if I remember correctly. My nurse insisted that I do my best to stand straight as early as I could. It's scary to do, but she said the gentle pull will help stretch the muscles and loosen things up, making it easier to stand straight sooner. Hang in there! The first few weeks are the hardest. Being able to sleep comfortably makes a huge difference and the end results (and the confidence that goes with it all) are so worth it! :)
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You look great and I love how thin and straight your scar is. Its fading so nicely. I also love the picture you posted of your wrinkly skin. I have the same thing, I was told its poor elasticity. I also have the same bulge over incision that I am so trying to get rid of without lipo. I am almost 10 months po. Enjoy, you look really really good!!!
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Thank you! I'm really glad it's turned out as well as it had. I had worries about some bubbly rippled scar all along, but it's flattened and softened nicely over time. The kenalog helped a lot in that one spot, despite the side effects. I'm not really worried about the bulge, because I've seen it go completely flat when I'm in better shape. I guess that's just how my body distributes fat now, but I'm pretty ok with it. Yours looks great too; I can't believe how faint your incision scar is!
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Your results are awesome. I'm glad to find someone who is my age who had the surgery as well...hadn't been able to find anyone! Right now I'm 7 days post op and missing thegym soooo much
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Thanks! Your results are amazing, congrats! It's definitely something most people seem to wait until later to do, but I had such a hard time with my body changing that much so young that it was affecting my relationships, so it is extremely rewarding and comforting to feel 'like myself' again, not just some saggy bodied mom.
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Great result!! I agree with you 100% about they lifestyles of those who get the best results...I see so many on here who are quite severely overweight when they have surgery, who obviously don't work out, and they end up complaining that they're "still fat" after surgery!! Well, I wonder why!!?? Guess they think it's weight-loss surgery, haha. Your doc did a great job...
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Thank you! I think my doctor did a great job, too. Being at a healthy body weight definitely helps and being fit and eating well will obviously make a huge difference for immune system and healing, so it all factored in and made recovery pretty well complication free, which was great. I don't think I would ever have elected to do it if I was still heavy. I would be so depressed if I was heavy, got a bunch of surgery, then two years later got motivated enough to lose the weight and then had to deal with all the extra skin. Aside from health, my most compelling reason to never get heavy again is messing up my skin again!
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Could the bulge be a seroma? Seems kind of strange... I keep looking at your page to check out your scar wondering what mine will look like. 2 more weeks!
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Are you still wearing your binder?
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I do after I work out, but otherwise no. They said I was good after 3 weeks. The bulge is getting harder and weirder shaped so I might try to go in soon and have them check it for me.
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You are still very swollen, give it time. Mine still does the same above incision line after 11 weeks. You look great and your scar is so thin and healing nicely!
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thank you! I'm looking forward to the swelling down. everywhere else when it swells, the skin is taught and it feels 'full' from the swelling but just in that one area it's very squishy. yay for inheriting skin from my dad's side and not my mom's super tight skin! dang! :P
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Will message you back soon! You look great and that scar is perfect. Question: you need to keep tapes on for 6 months?
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Yup, it was a surprise. Lol. They said to change the tapes twice a week with kelocote for six months. Long time!
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Wow your scar looks amazing and practically non-existent in some places! Looking good.
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thanks! it was a pleasant surprise when the tapes came off for sure :)
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looking good :)
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thank you!
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I am only numb right above my BB. I can feel my hips but nothing in the middle. I can feel pressure if I push on it but only internally, I feel nothing on the surface. Like you its a triangle from the BB to my incision of numbess. I am currently just shy of 4 weeks Post Op.
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Yeah, I can feel the pressure part too. No light touches whatsoever, no scratching (not that I have really tried to since I don't want to hurt myself). But, I can feel it if I press lightly over the muscle. I guess I will have to settle in and expect it for quite a while... 6 months to a year, I guess they say? Eeeep.
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