I am in the military and there's an image we need...
I am in the military and there's an image we need to represent. After having my two children in 2011 & 2012 I gained a total of 70 pounds, topping out at 221 when I gave birth to my second child. It seems like all the weight went to my torso. My boobs were HUGE. I mean really huge. I went from a 34D to a 36fff. They were so large that insurance covered a breast reduction I had last year. I was so happy with my reduction - it gave me my life back. I could run and work out without being uncomfortable or downright in pain. I lost a few more pounds, settling between 175-190 depending on the time of the month ;). I passed my PT test, no waivers but BARELY passed my waist measurement. You see, as a woman I can not have a max 35.5" waist, despite being 5'10" and passing all other fitness components. A man can have up to 39" waist (discrimination in its finest?) no matter his height, and I'm taller than most men I've worked with.
Upon passing my PT test I decided it was time for liposuction of my waist. I was tired of being told "I don't fit the military image" and having this terrible muffin top in all my clothes. I live in Hawaii! I want to go outside with my kids and not feel ashamed!
So I booked a consult with a plastic surgeon on the island who I think is regarded as the best (?). The first PS I spoke to had a wonderful reputation for breast augmentation and told be mine was done terribly by a military doctor at tripler (not true! I think they're beautiful!) he then went on to tell me that wouldn't be happy with lipo. He told me I really needed a tummy tuck. He wrote me a price for a tummy tuck and lipo combo that was over $10k. Umm yeah ok, like I can afford that.
So I left his office and thought about it. 6 months went by and I went back. Same PS, same office. This time he told me: TT, lipo of abs, flanks, back, inner thighs, AND BBL. he said he could just cut me all the way around and do a TT and Lower body lift all at once and use my fat to it in my butt.
Oh my god, I asked for lipo on my stomach.
I walked away and never went back. I wasn't sure what to believe at this point. Did I really need all that work done? Was I so horribly miss figured and didn't even know it? I admit I got a bit depressed at this point.
I asked around and found Dr. Healy. Getting a second opinion was best decision I made!
Dr. Healy consult
So I want to tell you about my consult before I get to my surgery and pictures. I sent Dr Healy's office an email from their website thinking no one really checks it- and got a phone call from one of the ladies in the office within a couple hours. I told her my dilemma with wanting lipo, but a TT was recommended for me but I was not ready to commit to the recovery time and scarring from a TT. I was totally honest about shopping around for a different PS and she was so kind and understanding. She couldn't answer some of my questions but told me she would ask Dr Healy and get back to me. Boy was I surprised when Dr Healy himself called me about an hour later. He answered my questions and I was set up for an in person consult for 4 weeks later. I discussed my PT test with him and how I struggle with my waist measurement and since he's military he totally understood.
So I fast forward- I went to my consult on 28 August. I discussed my realistic expectations after lipo vs TT with Dr Healy. I wasn't looking for perfection while naked (I know I have stretch marks and probably a bit of loose skin) but I wanted to look better in clothes. I wanted to wear shorts without muffin top. I wanted my stomach to stop jiggling when I run. And I was not ready to commit to a TT due to the recovery time. I didn't want to burden my husband with the kids for 12 weeks. My husband was so supportive during my BR last year.
Dr. Healy explained that I might still have a small pooch due to relaxed and stretched stomach muscles, he said my stretch marks may look worse if the skin doesn't tighten back. I am totally ok with that. He squeezed my stomach fat a bunch (that made me feel awful lol but I know he was trying to feel for the fat etc) and agreed to do lipo of the abs and flanks.
So I scheduled my surgery for 5 sept.
So my check in time is at 0700. I show up a bit early and they take me back to the exam room. Jackie takes my vitals and asks me if I have any questions. She is such an asset to that office, she really cares about the people that are under her care! The nurse and anesthetist come in, introduce themselves, ask me if I have questions etc. I was going under general anesthesia (I think?) I was completely asleep during surgery. I had an IV in my right arm and air in my mouth (not down my throat thank god, that hurts!). They leave, Dr. Healy comes in and we take pictures and he marks me up. Again, asks if I have any questions (I didn't) and says he will see me in the OR.
I was in a hospital gown, they told me to bring nothing with my to my surgery except loose fitting clothes to wear after. I bought a maxi dress at Nordstrom the day prior (highly recommended! It was made of rayon and nylon so it didn't absorb any leakage!)
OR room is super clean and well organized. The walls aren't stark white! It really made a difference. The room is a nice room to be operated in. The temp was perfect. I was not cold or hot, just comfortable. I chatted with everyone in the OR while the out in my IV, then I was out.
Next thing I know, I'm in the recovery room with the nurse, laughing at who knows what, with an abdominal binder on, a hospital gown on, and sitting halfway up in bed. It was around 1130. I think my surgery started at 0730 ish? They called my husband to pick me up (there are handicap parking literally right outside the door- hard to find in Hawaii!) and the nurse helped me put on my maxi dress and wheeled me out in a wheelchair to the car.
When I was in the recovery bed, I felt fine. I know I was given pain medicine, something that helps nerve pain before surgery and I'm sure pain meds during. I will find out at my follow up because im not sure. I think I was given an antibiotic too?
Anyway, moving from the bed to the wheelchair made me extremely nauseous. I didn't throw up but I almost wanted to. :( they are prepared for this though because One of the ladies brought me a thick black plastic bag immediately lol.
Please excuse typos- on iPhone! :)
I can't edit out my mistakes and I'm writing this on my phone in bed :)
Day 1 PO - home
Went home, I went to bed immediately. I felt numb all over my torso and I had a terrible metallic taste in my mouth. I sipped on iced chai tea all night - excellent for removing the medicine taste from your mouth. I laid on my back, head elevated, pillow under my knees. I didn't have much pain at all at first, probably due to the medicines during surgery. I was surprised!
Day 1 PO
So I accidentally hit "post" before I was done. Oops! I woke around 540pm and received a call from Sr Healy himself. Again, I was surprised! I didn't realize he would actually be doing the follow up and not a nurse. I was having a lot of leakage (see photo) and ran out of pads and chucks (sp?) that they sent me home with. I didn't realize I should have purchased my own! I laid on towels - lots of towels. Like 5 layers of towels. I eventually used my kid's 16 hour pampers overnights (works better than towels lol). I bled/leaked sooooo much. I was not prepared for how much even with all the other reviews I read. I feel compelled to write this review mostly based on how different my experience was compared to others I've read. I was expecting to be up and walking around the night of my surgery. This was not at all the case. I was in a lot if burning pain around 900pm that night. I took a Tylenol+codeine and it helped. Dr Healy prescribed Vicodin or Percocet (can't remember which) but those both give me horrible horrible headaches so I opted not to fill those. The pain was mostly in my flanks on my top left side, a bit on my right, at the level of my belly button. It was the same feeling you get when your skin rips during labor, if you have a natural birth. It feels like a burning sensation. It was excruciating getting out of bed. The binder they gave me kept sliding up and down on my torso and I think it was pulling my skin which hurt. Not sure if that's really what was happening, but that's what it felt like. I didn't take any photos that night because I was afraid to remove the binder. There was foam on the inside that stuck to my skin and I didn't want to remove it.
Day 2 PO - feeling terrible
I took another Tylenol +codeine when I woke up. I had my first follow up appt at 1120. I was in a lot of pain everyone I moved. Getting out if bed was awful, but I could do it in my own. I slept in the guest room to avoid disturbing my husbands sleep- he needed his sleep too to take care of the kids lol. Out guest bed is really tall- I never before noticed. Not sure if this helped it hurt, but getting into it I had to stand on my tip toes and scoot my butt back. Our regular bed is pretty low and that was much easier to get into.
Anyway, I peed sooo much, kept sipping tea (water made me sick) and the metallic taste was almost gone. I had no appetite, but I ate a banana and some granola anyway.
I arrived at my appointment time early and still only waited a few minutes before being brought back to the exam room. Jackie took my vitals (all great BP122/62, 99% 02, 62bpm). Dr. Healy came in and took off my binder and gently peeled back the foam. There's this silicone (?) layer that naked it adhere to the skin. It didn't hurt at all to remove it. I had read about some people getting faint when the CG was removed but I didn't feel it at first. About 3-5 minutes after it was removed my feet and teeth started feeling numb and I thought I was going to pass out. I sat down and dr Healy leaned the chair back into recline and elevated my legs. I felt better after about a minute. I stood up (slowly lol) and checked myself out in the mirror. I could already see HUGE improvement!!! Yay! But I was uncomfortable without the binder so Dr Healy got me a new one. My original one was completely soaked through with red fluid. I'll post a pic later. I still had a hard time standing completely upright, not sure why.
On my way out Jackie and Lehua set up my follow up appt (18 sept) and before I left she handed he the most beautiful flowers to wish a healthy recovery! It was so nice! And a gift certificate for a $100/200 skin medica facial (I can't remember the exact price right now). I was so impressed and really felt like they appreciated my business. I spied another set if flowers behind the desk so I assume there was another follow up appt today and they do it for everyone, but I m still impressed :)
Day 3 PO- went to work
I was so uncomfortable. I should have taken leave this week but I really thought I would be okay. I would have probably been fine if I could wear a maxi dress, but where ABUs stop, it's right where my pain was most excruciating on my flanks/belly button area. I didn't tell anyone at work what I did so it was a bit weird saying I had "stomach pains". Lol I guess I was really pale too because everyone I saw asked if I was okay and if I needed to go home. I read a review of one lady who said she could pick up her 30 pound toddler the day after lipo of her abs and flanks- that is NOT my experience!! I definitely couldn't do that and I could barely stand up by myself! But then I didn't take any pain pills because I had to drive. When I got home I took off my binder and cleaned my torso. I have 5 incisions. One below my belly button, one on both sides of my front hips, and one on both sides if my back hips/butt area. The incision sites don't really hurt at all. I didn't shower because I was afraid I would pass out. Dry shampoo is must!! I put a Victoria secret stretchy tight tank top on as my first later (suggestion in someone else's review- thank you!) and put a Vedette CG on over it. Then I layered that with my binder for my lower abs/hips. Then I wore a sports bra (because the vedette CG realllllly pushes up your boobs lol!) I purchased the Vedette about 4 years ago in anticipation of support after my first child was born. It is soooooo perfect for after lipo CG garment. I included a picture of the website where I bought it. It's much cheaper now then when I bought it!
Wearing the vedette with the binder helps so much I have very little pain now. I still feel the burning when I twist or flex too much, but all the compression really lessons the pain I perceive. I took a Tylenol +codeine at dinner and actually walked around the house, vacuumed, cleaned the kitchen, picked toys up off the floor.
Bathe difference in pain from day 1 to day 3 is incredible. I feel tired, but so much better. Oh, and I stopped leaking morning if day 2 so that hadn't been an issue. Also, I took Colace to help with BM but since I'm not dehydrated and really not taking pain meds, I didn't need it. Good precaution though.
Day 4 PO - feeling better
So today is day 4 PO. I feel SO much better. No pain meds needed! I ate eggs and yogurt for breakfast with coffee. I slept in my vedette and binder and tank top. I could get out of bed with almost no pain (slowly and carefully, no twisting). My kids sat in my lap and I can pick them up from a sitting position to my lap no problem. I didn't go to work today because although I feel much better at home, I am very tired and not sure that I could stay awake all day. I just think it's best for my healing if I take things slower.
I can't say enough good things about this vedette CG. I am so thankful I have it and the binder. Together they support me and I feel skinny again! I'm am very tall with a very long torso so I doubt thus much compression is needed for everyone :) it works for me
Day 4 PO - question
I am getting some pretty gnarly grooves in my skin from the cG and the binder. Is it permanent? May be a stupid question, but will the skin firm up in that position? Or will it go away with the swelling?
Day 5 PO - swelling/uneven sides?
I called the PS clinic last night to ask my question regarding swelling/ firming in that bumpy form and they said once the swelling subsided the creases in skin should go away too.
I took some pictures this morning prior to my shower and noticed my right side is not as smooth as my left. Is that a result of swelling? I know it's probably too early to tell.
Other good news- I slept on my stomach for 3 hours last night! I am a stomach sleeper and haven't been able to sleep comfortably on my back without medication. I woke up with no pain, no medication needed! I feel great today!
Day 5 - incisions and observations
Took pics of all 5 of my incisions. I purchased some silicone strips from bio dermis (? I think that's the company?) to put on them when the dr gives the okay. They should be here next week. I tend to keloid/hypertrophy in scars so it's just a precaution. In my shower I massaged my flanks and the right side is noticeably more uncomfortable than the left, right where the bulging spot is. So I am thinking it's more swollen and healing more slowly. Maybe more was taken from that side? Haha maybe I was uneven before surgery but was too fat to notice? Lol idk. I need to give it a lot more time to heal before I get worried. :)
Day 6 - less pain, less swelling
Went to work today. I have a desk job so I do a lot of sitting. I feel much better today to include much less pain. I slept on my right side for about 1 hour last night and I was very comfortable.
Day 8 po- post surgery blues :(
Not much of a difference to make pictures worth posting.
2 week PO update
Those post operation blues are nothing to scoff at. I was just down for about 3 days. I think being inactive and still feeling and seeing swelling was getting me down. Oh well, I got through it! Had my two week appt yesterday- Dr Healy took out some swelling/fluid from my right side. He confirmed that I'm still swollen all over and it will slowly subside. By the way, if your dr offers to remove some of the swelling with a needle, DO IT! It doesn't hurt at all (he put topical anesthetic lidocaine on it first) and it took about 10 minutes, tops. My side feels SO much better. Pushing on your skin and feeling something move/shift is a strange feeling and I wanted it to go away.
I'm happy with my results so far. I have zero pain, but still much tightness throughout the front of my abs. It's not uncomfortable, just a different, foreign feeling.
My appt was only about 15-20 minutes. He answered all my questions (is there such a thing as too much compression? Answer is yes- if you're reducing blood flow to the skin or inhibiting oxygen intake. Do I still have to wear my garment? Answer is yes until I'm not getting pockets of retained fluid)
Bruising is almost gone completely which is nice.
Worked all this week, no problems at work. Appetite is normal. Clothes are starting to fit much nicer.
Belly button level: 40"
Love handles: 43"
Belly button level: 38.5
Love handles: 41"
Fingers crossed if keeps shrinking! Not being able to run is killing my workout options. I am going to have to suck it up and go to the gym and use the elliptical or some other low impact cardio.