Hello, friends. I've been lurking on this site for...
Hello, friends. I've been lurking on this site for so long and now I think I'm ready to share my story. Brace, yourselves, I tend to talk a lot.
I'm a 43 (almost) year old mom in Arizona. I've always been overweight and it made it very difficult to get pregnant, but 8 years ago we were blessed with a perfect baby boy. My husband is a saint. Never one to date chubby girls, he saw past my body and loved me for who I was. I know I'm so lucky, but despite his understanding, I can tell he has lost his ability to become excited by me. I can literally count on one hand how many times we've had sex since our son was born. And there will be fingers left over! We're so in love, but I quit letting him touch me and he quit trying. I was determined to do something about it, and I got one of those ninja things and started drinking my veggies, and soon I dropped 70 lbs.
I still have a long way to go, but 70 pounds should be something to celebrate, right? Wrong! My once plump body has become a constantly jiggling mass of ooze. My vagina is completely hidden under my long, dangling belly. WTF? I actually look worse. My body is like a well heated lava lamp. Bluuurp goes my belly as it swings from side to side. Who is this person?
I'll tell you what, ladies, taking these pictures has been a humbling and horrific experience. Not one person has ever seen this part of me in 8 years, and only then because I was pregnant and sort of had an excuse.
So I found a doctor who is highly recommended and when I called for the consult, their first available appointment was on my birthday. I think this is a sign. I think this is the last birthday where I have to tuck my pajama pants up under my belly to stop the stickiness. Did I mention I live in the damn desert? Yeah, baby powder is my homeboy.
I haven't met the doctor yet, but Candace has been an angel. She has taken so much time out of her day to answer my questions and put me at ease when I've called.
I have so much more to get off my chest and ask of this community, but for now I will upload these horrible embarrassing pictures and recommend that you all watch a Disney movie afterward to replace what you are about to see...
This is a great community!
Thanks to all you beautiful sisters who have been supporting and encouraging me. I am glad you could identify with my story, but sorry that you carry a similar burden!
I'm freaking out, y'all. I can't afford this! I mean, I have the money, but it is in our dream house down payment savings, and I feel soooo selfish for dipping in to it.
I mean, can you imagine if I do this and my husband still thinks of me as a really cool room mate? What if I don't look any better and I spent all this money? What if my belly isnt the problem? Shit. Shit. I don't want to feel this way. This body is my own secret shame and I could just continue wearing that one pair of pants I don't look too bad in...
See, this is what happens when we stop loving ourselves. We stop thinking we deserve things. Fuck I wonder how long I've been this way. This is the first time I've dared to want anything just for me. Maybe I should take my own advice and realize I deserve better than this. We all do.
What a difference a good night sleep makes
Maybe I was hormonal, or maybe your amazing responses turned everything around, but I woke up feeling much better. I'm more looking forward than ever to my consultation. Exactly one week and one hour from this moment, you guys!
I'm so glad I found this group, and so thankful to y'all for opening up your vulnerable stuff.
Here's a group of total strangers telling me I'm worth it, it's about time I believe it myself!
Holy crap, it's happening
Oh my gosh, you guys I don't know where to begin but I first want to say a big thank you to those of you who have been so kind to take the time to write to me. Your private messages have been so candid and vulnerable and I know we all admitted to th j ngs that were hard. I feel terrible for not writing y'all back and I promise I will! I really enjoyed sharing our stories and I want to keep it up. But this week, as my consultation grew closer, I found myself slipping into some sort of denial. This is too expensive, this is too frivilous, what the hell am I thinking, yadda yadda.
I have lost more sleep this week to anxiety and self doubt, but today, I turned all that shit around.
Today is my birthday, and my first consultation with Dr. Olson. I took my kid to school, gave myself a silkwood shower, and prepared to expose my shameful body.
I'm not gonna lie, y'all. Being chubby sucks. You think you're losing weight, but just because those size 28 jeans are loose, doesn't mean you fit in this world. I was taken to a room and given a small coffee filter which, to the rest of the world is a robe. On me, it looked like round 2 of 'fat guy in a little coat'. I waited there, all exposed and ooky. The surgical coordinator was kind, and she explained some things and took some pictures. I didn't watch any videos, as others here have mentioned.
Dr. Olson was very professional. He told me I could not get a thigh lift at this time, but suggested that lipo would help. I'm disappointed to hear this. I think lipo will just result in even more jiggly skin but I'm not the doctor. I hope the lipo will be enough. I wasn't expecting a thigh gap but I sure would like to create some air flow.
So I have to go get labs and an ekg this week. My pre op appointment is September 29th and surgery is scheduled for October 14!! This shit is really happening! I started crying right there in his office. I couldn't help myself. I just can't believe what was once a dream is actually coming true.
Danger, this is a looooong post
This is a BIG decision, you guys, and a butt load of money. I talked to my mom yesterday and at first I didn't want to listen to her because mom's are always right, especially when they aren't telling you what you want to hear. But it's like when I was remodeling my son's room and she told me not to buy the cheap paint, because I'd have to apply multiple coats and need to repaint in a couple years vs. getting the Benjamin Moore and doing it right the first time. Long story endless, ME WANT TUMMY NOW and truthfully this is not something to rush into! Certainly not without a second opinion, no?
So my friend, we'll call her R, recently got a tummy tuck with a lift and implants, and she looks amazing! She is actually the reason I had the courage to go through with this. I started looking through our old email thread and saw the doctor she had recommended. Why didn't I call him? I think Dr. O was the first doctor I saw and when he had an appointment on my birthday, I thought it was some cosmic message that this was the guy. I wanted to believe that so much that I didn't want to admit that I had a bad feeling about it.
OK, not a bad feeling, but not a good one either.
Now that the endorphins are wearing off, a few things stand out about my consult. For one thing, it felt like maybe it wasn't as comprehensive because it was Free? If I had paid for the consult, would I not have been left in that room for so long with the coffee filter over me, as countless people kept coming in to get stuff out of the drawers? Where's the aforementioned video? Would the doctor have discussed other treatments? Because mine did NOT, you guys. He asked what I wanted and then said you can do that but not that. He didn't understand my thigh problem and I felt too uncomfortable to get into it with him. Let's just say that the years of thighs being stuck together has resulted in a disgusting brownish chicken skin covered in blackheads, boils, and boil scars. I don't care if they're shapely, I want that skin GONE. He said it wouldn't give me shapely thighs but lipo would help the rubbing. That may be, but the disgusting skin would still be there. Once again, my lack of self worth prevented me from saying something right then and there. But I didn't, and if I dont find a doctor to remove this, I will forever regret it.
Also I'd heard Dr. O had a great sense of humor, but my attempt at a joke truly seemed to irritate him. I ended up apologizing, explaining that standing there naked caused me to use humor as a defense mechanism. Honestly I felt like he didn't like me! I even tried to talk myself out of it, thinking he is a brilliant surgeon, not my bestie. But I dunno, last night this feeling hit and is still with me this morning.
So then I call R to tell her about my consult, and she says, "Didn't you just LOVE Dr. Rowley? Wasn't he the best???" And I thought shit. I didn't even go to him, and no, my doctor was not the best.
Also, R sent me a copy of her receipt and everything from the procedure to the surgical center and anesthesia was considerably cheaper than my quote.
Soooo, today I'm going to get on the horn and see if I can get in for a second or maybe third opinion.
And I need to stop being such a mousey little bitch who doesn't stand up for herself. I'm not a second class citizen because I'm fat. My body deserves to be looked at as a canvas and not a deformity, just like every other patient.
I really want to clarify that my rant was absolutely not directed at this doctor. All people get along differently and in no way reflects a doctor's abilities, professionalism, or talents. I wouldn't even characterize it as a bad bedside manner. He is very kind and professional, I just feel like something that I personally need/want to feel from him isn't there. A vibe, if that makes sense?
I just really do not want to sound like I am bagging on him in any way. His before and afters are amazing, it's just something in my gut.
Now back to your regularly scheduled program...
Whew, I'm talkative today. But I wanted to update the update of my updated update.
I called Dr. O's office and explained that I wanted to slow down a bit and get another opinion. Patty was amazing. She gave me some great advice and gladly refunded my deposit and we agreed to keep the lines of communication open. I'm not saying I still wouldn't have him do my surgery, I just think a second or third opinion is a completely reasonable, self loving thing to do. The way they handled this phone call speaks volumes about what kind of office they are. Now I'm off to schedule some consults!
Tomorrow I'm going to a new doctor, who was recommended by my friend who was a patient of his. She looks absolutely amazing and speaks very highly of the doctor.
I'm not looking for warm fuzzy feelings from my doctor, it's not that. But I troll these boards like a fiend, as I'm sure many of you do, and I see reviews that say "I felt like his canvas." That's what I want. I want to feel like he cares about how I'm going to look. Fingers crossed, y'all! I'll keep ya posted.
I found my fuzzies!
Yesterday I went to my consultation with Dr. Rowley. I have been walking on a cloud ever since. Remember that episode of friends when Rachel tells Monica she looked like she slept with a hanger in her mouth? That's me!
From the moment I walked in his lovely office, I felt comfortable. It was professional but not pretentious. Everyone was very kind and welcoming, and most of all they were down to earth, caring people.
I felt like Dr. Rowley genuinely cared about me, wants what is best for me, and treated me with absolute respect and dignity. It was like night and day from my last consult. He sat with me, looked me in the eye, heard me out and told me that what I wanted was totally doable. I love this man. I'm actually glad that my previous consult did not go as I'd hoped, because I appreciate him even more. I can see now why my friend spoke so highly of him. This man is amazing.
Since my research has led me to the unavoidable conclusion that my thighs are not going to be corrected surgically, I have shifted my focus to a tummy tuck with breast lift and implants. I think this will help Balance me out and give me more if an hourglass figure. Look, I'm always gonna be a big girl but when this is done I'm gonna be curvy and bangin!
I'm going back on November 15 for my preop, and surgery is scheduled for November 28.
He told me to wear a tight tank top under my clothes for the preop so we can try on different implant sizes.
Dr. Rowley wants me to stay overnight in the hospital for my recovery. I'm excited to have extra help on the first night. They said it's a boutique type hospital with only 12 beds and everyone gets very personalized service. I feel so good about this. All my questions were answered and I have no doubts or hesitation. We're back on track! My new goal is a new years eve dress to stop traffic!
I understand now why some of y'all keep your surgery a secret. I'm so excited about mine, and I just couldn't wait to talk about it. So one of the moms from my kids school is over, and I tell her I'm considering a TT, and she goes, "why wouldn't you get a gastric bypass?" And I was so stunned that I became tongue tied, and I struggled to explain myself while my brain was like "eat a dick, lady." Here i am thinking ive lost so much weight, and this lady thinks im bypass worthy? So a couple weeks go by, and I'm with another mom and she says, "are you seriously considering this? Let's try a diet first. We'll go on HCG, I'll do it with you." And even though she was trying to be kind, I felt like shit. Here I am, celebrating my trimmer body like I have some kind of bizarro world, reverse anorexia or something.
November 28th, bitches.
Wish the time would go by faster!
It seems like every day, my body gets even more droopy. I was laying in bed the other night, and I felt some discomfort under my belly flap. Looked in the mirror and my skin is raw. Hot pink and painful. This is so gross! I'm disgusting!!! My pants are falling off me now but I refuse to buy clothes until this is over. In the meantime, it's a great reminder of how much I am losing, since my body gets even more grotesque with every pound lost. Ugh!
Things I look forward to when my belly is gone
The waiting is killing me. Come on, November 28th! In the mean time, I'm sitting here clipping my toenails and doing these weird contortions to get around my belly, and it occurs to me that soon it will be much easier to do this! So here's a mental list I've made (so far) of things I'm looking forward to:
Not running away when someone is taking a picture.
Putting in a tampon without grunting.
Taking a shower with my husband.
Running into someone I haven't seen in a while.
Accidentally having my shirt come up when I lift my arms, and not immediately throwing myself into a fetal position before anything is exposed.
Bitchin new years eve dress
Tattoo cover up! I'm going to have pretty breasts and this thing is sooooo 90's, I can't even tell you.
So please tell me, beautiful ladies who have a belly in the way, what are you looking forward to?
And if you've completed your journey, what else can we look forward to?
marijuana, boobs, oatmeal
I'm a medical marijuana patient, and I love my doctor because he's incredibly laid back and open minded, so I felt comfortable asking a few questions I buy this topical balm for pain, but it's also a miracle for burn victims, or skin conditions like chronic boils, even cold sores. So I asked him about using it on my incision. We decided I'll use the silicone gel he recommends, except for a section on which I'll only use the cannabis balm. It's like we're doing a science project together. And then he adds, "only edibles, too. I don't want you coughing." I mean, is that forethought or what? This guy is amazing.
It is exactly one week until my surgery. Precisely one week. I find myself going through crazy emotions. Guilt, fear....I'm trying to think of others but I guess that's it. Fear mostly. I'm afraid I won't be prepared enough. I have spent all week teaching my 8 year old how to do things luke make his own oatmeal and do laundry. Should have taught him a long time ago! My husband is super helpful but he works long hours and I don't have any other help. I'm making myself worried and I need to stop.
Soooo I tried on some sizers and chose my implant size, and ever since, I've felt like I made the wrong choice. I feel like I should have gone bigger. Wouldn't it suck to spend all this money and go through the pain and then regret their size? It's a hard decision! We talked about 400-450 cc's and they really didn't look much different than what I have now. I'm a big gal, always will be, and I want to match my hips and ass but I don't want to carry big tits around as I get older. But I want nice big full knockers. I don't know what to do! How do you pick your own breasts? It's crazy!
I've bought everything on my preop list except for a front closing bra which I'll get today. Nothing to do but wait..
A final farewell....
Farewell, you disgusting flappy piece of shit. You will not be missed. I will not miss carrying you around, making my back hurt and my posture shit. I will not miss having to pick you up off my vagina to dry the sweat. And I certainly will not miss the smell that comes out, or the boils, and hot pink, raw skin. I will not miss tucking my pajama pants up under you, to experience a moment of sweet, sweet distance between my skin.
I will not miss sleeping with blankets on even though I'm sweating my ass off, in case I roll over in the night and my shirt comes up and my husband sees my body. I will not miss trying on outfit after outfit, and throwing them all down in disgust of the jiggly bitch attached to the front of me.
Tomorrow you will be in a bucket on the floor.
It's hard to believe that it is finally happening. After waiting for what feels like an excruciating eternity, now that it is finally here it feels like just yesterday. Yesterday that I started my research, met that pretentious doctor who made me feel like a fat fuck, and then found my Angel on Earth, Dr. Rowley, who looks at me like he just cannot wait to dive in and sculpt the goddess who lives beneath this flappy piece of lard.
I've been having crazy dreams lately. Not good ones. I'm always lost, or trapped, in the back of an airport. I go through doors that always lead the kitchen of a restaurant, and when I ask for the way out, I get laughed at. Last night, all that changed and I was talking to some nice ladies and saying how I couldn't believe I'd just had surgery. Then I was in my own house, looking in my bathroom mirror of a flat body wrapped tight in a compression garment and I looked fabulous. I think God is telling me that everything will be OK and I'm going to try my hardest not to be nervous. Although right now, I'm nervous as shit because I just drank the whole bottle of magnesium citrate and I am really scared of what's about to happen....
I'm barely alive... barely
Ouch. That's all the energy I have for now.
I have tried to check in with y'all for days, but either my phone, or this app, hates me.
I have written long, brilliant solliloquies and then lost everything cause my phone rang. It's so frustrating!!! So now that I have a bit more energy and patience, I'm gonna try this again...
Hello from the flat side! I made it!
I'm not going to sugar coat this for you, ladies. I experienced the most horrendous pain of my life. For the first few days, all I did was cry. I wished I had never done it. I was afraid to eat because I never wanted to poop. I sincerely contemplated suicide.
I know I'm usually the trying to find the humor in every situation, but I feel it's my duty to give it to to straight. Be prepared. Get a shit load of ensure and get as much protein as you can. Ask for help. Don't worry that your house is getting messy. Get a recliner if you can. Beds are hard. You want to move around and you absolutely cannot. A recliner will keep your body in the right position.
Now for the good part: IT REALLY DOES GET BETTER. Seriously, you won't believe the pain but it does get better.
At my post op, I learned that I was impeding my own healing by not eating, and that was causing the uncontrollable sobbing. In retrospect, I'm glad my earlier posts didn't go through, cause I was talking like a crazy person.
But today I woke up and it was like someone opened marcellus Wallace's briefcase and a beam of light filled my room. I'm walking around like a freaking boss! I did dishes, I made my own smoothie, I tried on pants! So here are some new pics, face and all cause there's no shame in my game, beyotches!
But wait, there's more!
Omg I totally forgot to mention the drains!
FUCK THOSE DRAINS! Those freaking drains were the worst part. They're creepy and they're just coming out of your body and you have to 'strip' the hoses or you get blood clots, and you are certain you will yank it out, then you have to drain this nasty ass shit and measure it. I hated that I needed my husband to help me. I hated that he had to see that and touch it and gahhhh.
On the morning of my post op, I called my mom and asked her to pray with me that they would take out my drains. I don't know if any of you guys are spiritual, but I swear after you go through this, you WILL be talking to Jesus. Anyway, they DID take out my drains! And I tell you, 80% of my misery ended right there. And it did not hurt. I thought for sure they would at the very least give me the willies but i didn't even feel it. Those drains suck. But they're not forever! Do NOT lose hope, you guys. It is soooo worth it and I do not regret it, no matter what I may have said during those first 3 days!!!! XOXO
Let's talk about breasts!
See, I told you I was feeling better today. So much to report, I forgot to talk about the breasts implants.
Picking out your own breast size is a trip! It's a tough choice! What if I wish I'd gone bigger? What if they're too big? And then I saw Amber from teen mom and I was like yeah, I don't want huge knockers. I tried on sizers at my preop and chose something in the 450 cc range.
Then I got home and I was like, this is a big decision to make alone! I don't even buy shoes without asking someone for a second opinion. So I called my doc to ask if I could come back with my husband, and they were like absofreakinloutely, because they are awesome. She's like, we're open till 5, come in any time. And when we get there, as soon as we walk in they're like we have a room all ready for you. And she had her little cart out with the weird bra and all the chicken cutlets, and we tried on everything again and without knowing which size I picked, my husband picked the same one.
I have not had one single issue with my implants. There was no pain in the recovery. None. I wouldn't even know I had one, except they're freaking gorgeous.
Maybe it was because the tummy tuck was so tumultuous, but the entire implant process was a breeze.
I learned a lot about myself through this experience. Particularly, I learned of my own neurosis. Maybe I've always been a basket case and just never noticed cause I was self medicating with marijuana. But certainly, this experience is bound to take a toll on just about anyone, and thats why we're prescribed anxiety meds along with our pain pills. There are aspects of this that I never anticipated. Like, you hear people bitch about drains, but until you have "stripped" your drains tube with one hand, while praying to God you don't accidentally yank it out of your body, you just cannot prepare yourself. I still shudder at the thought, and mine have been out for 2 weeks.
Then there's the garment.... big gals, take note. It is very difficult to find the right garment in a plus size, unless you can go to Lane Bryant and shell out 80 bucks for one. Although, after trying several cheaper styles from Walmart, I could have just bought a good one by now. No matter what kind you get, it is going to be too tight in places and muffin top you in others. Ideally, I should have bought the $80 camisole style but didn't want it to ride up on me. I discovered it does not matter, cause if it doesn't ride up, it rolls down, or cuts off the circulation in your legs, or digs into your breast implants incision. The compression garment is a ninja and it will find your weakness and attack it. You will itch and maybe even feel claustrophobic. It will feel like you ate a big meal and just want to undo the top of your jeans but you can't. And yet, when you take it off, you will feel vulnerable and unprotected, like that garment is the only thing holding your body together. It's bizarre.
I am exactly 3 weeks post op now, and while I'm getting better every day, I must say I'm surprised that I haven't magically bounced back to normal. I'm not sure what I was expecting but I didn't expect everything to still feel so....fresh? Definitely most of my discomfort, immediately after and still, was the internal muscle repair. I am always aware of them and coughing or sneezing still kinda sucks.
Now to focus on some positive stuff! The other day, someone called me the incredible shrinking woman. That was nice. It's weird when people say "look how skinny you are!" and "look how flat your tummy is!" Because I've never had anyone tell ME such a thing!
Another positive, relations with the husband. We had a talk before my surgery, about our intimacy problems, and, well, long story short, I have a terrific husband. He assured me that he'd love me at any size, but he talked to his own doc and found out he has low testosterone. So now he's feeling all testoster-oni (the *other* San Francisco treat. Obscure 'Friends' reference) and I've got these hot knockers, and he's just chasing me all over the place trying to cop a feel or get a look at me. 15 years of marriage and I feel like a newlywed.
So yesterday was my follow up appointment. All is healing as planned. I was given instructions on how to massage my implants, and they removed all leftover tape and sutures. He said I can ease off the garment a bit so I've started to remove it when I'm just chillin in my chair. I still feel unprotected without it so the love hate relationship continues a few more weeks. I can handle it.
Another positive, I can almost wipe front to back again!
And my favorite thing yet.....
The first time I went to this doctor, his teeny tiny robe wouldn't close around me. Yesterday, I wrapped it around me and tied the belt and asked them if they'd gotten new robes....
Nope. Same robe. I'm just a tiny delicate little flower now.
I never got my period during the month of November. I think I was due to start on the same day as my surgery and I guess it threw my cycle off because I am a walking ball of pathetic pms. If I'm not yelling at my husband, I'm sobbing on his shoulder.
Also the first week I didn't eat a bite, but by week 2, I had turned into a caveman. All I wanted was MEAT. Particularly chicken tenders or tuna. It's all I have eaten for 2 weeks and I still have dreams about it.
Anyone else developed weird behaviors during recovery?
So, how 'bout them vaginas?
My doctor was very amused when he told me he gave my vagina a haircut. Don't get me wrong, I've always kept it fancy down there. A crew cut, if you will. But I'm sporting a full on shiny bald newborn baby hoo-ha now and for a few days, it was nice. Especially with all the tape and tubes and whatever other trauma I exposed it to....
But now it is growing back, and it's not soft, it's not a crew cut. It's like the not soft side of velcro. I bet I could stick things to it if it weren't so sore.
Nothing like a big, swollen pupa with a scar trying to heal across it, while little shards of glass are growing out of it and the garment either squishes it or rubs against it.
Doc said the swelling needs to go somewhere, so if I wear the compression underwear from Hell, it will help my pupa but then irritate my breasts. So basically, just have to wait it out I guess.
My 2 cents....
I have been stalking this page forever, and found lots of recommendations for things you should buy while preparing for your transformation. There's a ton of shit you can get for this. There's even a company that sells kits for recovery. I've read about people renting hospital beds, some cream to prevent bruising, walkers, etc. and I was concerned that everyone was getting all this stuff and I was horribly unprepared.
As it turned out, I didn't need any of that. Thankfully, I have tile floors and a chair with wheels, so I did scoot around for a couple days. Basically, if you feel better buying all that, then buy it. If you can afford it, and it makes you feel better, get it. But you probably don't need it.
It's like when you have a baby and you buy all the accoutrements and once you get the hang of it, you learn that you don't really need a diaper pail because there's a garbage can in the next room.
Having said that, here's one thing I recommend you have on your checklist- a smoothie maker. I have a ninja. It's not a high end vitamix or anything but it gets the job done.
It's hard to eat after surgery, but you need nutrients and you need food in your belly to take pain meds. Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as good as fresh. They wont go bad and they have just as much nutrition, and you dont have to add ice. We've all talked about pineapple being recommended for swelling, so here's my smoothie recipe, even though you didn't ask... the base is always the same, about 2 cups of frozen pineapple chunks, and a cup of frozen spinach. From there, I throw in whatever is around. Apples, dates, kale, oranges, whatevs. And if you add a banana, all you taste is banana. It masks the veggie taste and it's really good! And let's face it, pooping is no picnic when you're taking pain pills. These smoothies will not only help you poop, but the poop will be easier to get out. I'm sorry to use all these technical terms with you. Poop poop poop.
Omg I have had some major pain med related poop issues in my past. You know that poop where you try new butt cheek spreading techniques, clutch the walls with your hands AND feet, whilst trying to perform an exorcism on the rock hard demon turd birthing from your butthole? I've gotten to the point where I'm praying to Jesus, making deals with him. Once, a couple years ago, I actually passed out from the pain. Woke up on the bathroom floor with a book indented into my head. To this day, people will ask how I got that scar on my forehead, I have to say, "oh, I hurt myself shitting."
Anyway, sorry to go on and on, I'm just all jazzed up from my super nutritious smoothie, and I thought of y'all and wanted to share my recommendation with you. We're all kind of doing our best as we go along, and every bit helps.... Hope you're hanging in there. Hit me up and tell me how you're doing!!! Any tips?