Mama Needs a New Belly! My TT/MR Journey. Altamonte Springs, FL

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Hello to all my REAL realself sisters! It's...

Hello to all my REAL realself sisters! It's finally my time! I have been researching this procedure for about a year and a half, once I realized diet and exercise would not fix my wrinkled stretched out skin. I have gained so much insight from the posts on this site. Realself is my plastic surgery Bible!! I am only 5 weeks away from this life changing surgery and by writing this post it's making it real, but I know it's time to pay it forward so I can help someone else.

My Stats: I am a 38 year old mother of 2 boys ages 2 1/2 and 7. I am 5"6 3/4' and 152. I consider myself to be athletic with a booty and thighs! I love Zumba, barre, cardio and weightlifting. I have done cross fit and have run a few 5 and 10 K races over the years. I work out 4-5 days a week and I eat healthy, clean and mostly organic. I do have a sweet tooth that takes over sometimes! I have at least a 2 finger separation diastasis and lots of loose skin on my abs and flanks. I weighed 195 with my first son and that weight did so much damage to my body. I lost the weight then with a trainer and weight watchers. I felt ok but not completely comfortable in a bikini then, but I wore it proudly. I had my second child and now for the last 2 years I have been hitting the gym hard. I have abs somewhere under that flabby skin and I'm ready to see it!

I've gone back and forth as to rather I should get flank lipo or not and right now, I'm deciding against it. I am afraid of how much more down time, swelling, and pain lipo will add to my recovery. I want to be back on my feet and back in the gym as soon as my doctor allows. Well, I'm tired to typing for now. I will keep you guys updated!

Am I over thinking this? Help!?

Should I get flank lipo or not, RS? I don't know why this is so hard for me! I have to make my decision by my pre-op date which is this Friday, December 18th! So what's my problem, you ask? I know that for me my "love handles" lol are due to loose skin in my upper flanks from pregnancy and some fat in my lower flanks. Will the lipo make the area look worse by making the loose skin looser or will it smooth it out and make that "love handle line" go away? My other concern is the down time. How much more pain, swelling, numbness, lumps, time away from getting back to my normal active life will the lipo add? I need opinions from those that had it and/or are going to have or not have it with their TT in the future and why. HELP!

Welp, I just signed my life away!

I had my pre-op appt today with Dr. Fiala's nurse. I received my prescriptions and all pre and post op instructions. I signed 20+ pages of consents and acknowledgments. I knew all the risks before, but putting my signature on the dotted line doesn't make me feel any better! I just keep praying that I'm doing the right thing and I will be ok. I decided to get the flank lipo in the end hoping it will look better and I won't have to think about wearing certain outfits that expose the love handles any more. I attached 2 pics with better lighting so you can really see the wrinkled skin and ab potential lol! Less than 4 weeks to go!!

7 more days & Reminder pics!!

Hello lovely ladies! I will be in surgery at this moment in one week. My emotions have gone from scared, nervous, sadness, impatient and now I'm just ready with still some reservations, but I'M NOT BACKING OUT! I am most nervous about general anesthesia, the pain post op and the long recovery. I have a toddler who still needs to be picked up occasionally and that bothers me. I will have full time help for 2 weeks so I'm grateful for that. I have learned that everybody's recovery is different and you can't predict how yours will be until you experience it. Some women on RS say it's a breeze and some say it's a b%$ch!! I've got all my supplies and meds. When I feel like backing out, I look at the pics on my posts and I'm like no way! I deserve this! I plan on posting some bikini pics this week too. Until next time!

4 days to go, stressing, and bikini pics!

I'm so stressed about this surgery! I'm not sleeping well and losing weight. I started taking vitamedica's bromelain today as recommended by my PS. Nesting is in full effect! Cleaning things I haven't cared about in years! And to make everything WORSE i started to feel SICK yesterday with mild congestion and drainage. I dont have a fever or body aches and i know this is viral, but so annoying. I have been taking emergen-c and zinc. I hope this doesnt affect my surgery!! :'( I know all this is normal, but I'm sooo ready to be on the flat side!!

TT time is here!

I'm on my way to surgery! I'm getting a full tummy tuck, muscle repair and flank lipo. Your thoughts and prayers are greatly needed! See ya on the flat side!

finally flat!

I made it ladies! I'm so happy it's over. My pain level is about a 2/10 and I feel pretty good. I'm staying overnight in my PS's surgical suite (required). I don't have a vertical incision (woooohooooo!) And he removed almost a liter of fat from my flanks! I didn't even know I had all that lol! I had a nerve block with exparel and so far I think it's helping. I will take some pics soon! Thanks for your prayers!!

I'm doing ok!

I am post op day #2 from full extended TT with diastasis repair and flank lipo. I arrived on friday at the surgical suite an hour early for IV antibiotic infusion. Soon after meeting the anesthesiologist and my ps marking me, i was out like a light. I woke up goggy ofcourse with no memory of anything and was surprised to find out i was in surgery 5 hours (they had anticipated 4-4.5. My PS is very meticulous which is a good thing. He did a nerve block with exparel which is helping. I stayed overnight in the surgical suite (highly recommend) and hubby picked me up yesterday morning. I have TONS of help with my kids (hubby, mom, aunt and sister)! So my focus has been solely on myself. It feels like my abs are ripping out when I cough :/ and using a pillow helps. I don't let my pain level get above a 4 before I take oxycodone. I'm going to try to space them out today. I'm working on my first BM! I I'm going to drink some coffee now, smooth move tea later and miralax twice today. My first post op appt is on Tuesday and hopefully I can see more then. Talk to you all soon and happy healing. :)

post op day 4. 1st follow up appt!

Today was my first follow up appt since surgery 4 days ago. The nurse removed the annoying lipo board off my back and other itchy dressings. She replaced the paper tape on my incisions with new ones. PS said everything looks great and I will have a wonderful shape once the swelling goes down. I am badly bruised and swollen on my buttocks from the flank lipo. My entire abdomen and bb is swollen. I will still have my drains for about another week. But now for good news! I can shower today! Whohooo! I had a BM yesterday! Yipeeee! And I'm off my percocet! Yay! I've been alternating Tylenol and motrin. I'm still taking the arnica and bromelain. I took a flexeril last night and boy was my back better today! I still need the water just not as often. My next appt is in a week. I hope my drains get pulled before then so I can be free! Lol! Till next time ladies. I hope you all are well.

7 days post op! Drains out! Happy girl!

Hey RS sisters! Today has been an awesome day. I woke up being able to walk straighter and haven't used my walker all day. Then I was able to do very light housework with minimal back pain/spasms. I think I stood for 30 min or more without sitting down which is major for me. Then I checked my drain output and it had only put out 15 and 12 cc in 24 hrs (goal is less than 25) so I called my PSs office and got an appt for the same day to see the nurse to get them removed. It felt weird with mild pain but it only lasted a few seconds. It feels good to not have to worry about getting them caught, pulled, stripping and emptying them. And for the grand finale- I am lying in my own bed (with a ton of pillows) but I'm comfortable! I'm still super swollen (aka swell hell) and bruised so I will wait to post pics once the swelling goes down. I am only taking Ibuprofen 800mg and flexeril at night. I pray that everything continues to go well from here. Happy healing to all of you. Until next time.

Tree trunks & Tears! Post op day #11

Hi friends! Today was my 2nd post op visit with my PS and all is well. I definitely had concerns about the swelling in my abdomen and back (aka my tree trunk) so he did an ultrasound right there in the office. It sounds edema in the subcutaneous tissues but no seromas so no needle draining for me! I have to admit that even though I knew the swelling is part of recovery, it's hard when it's happening to you. I got a little teary last night (which I never do) because my belly felt so full and tight. I didn't even eat dinner. I was in bed with an ice pack by 830. I know the blues are normal too and this phase will pass.

On to better news! The nurse removed some sutures from my bb and replaced the paper tape on my incisions. I can wear spanx now!! I totally have a love hate relationship with my cg. I hate when it's too restrictive and tight but I love how it supports me and makes me walk straighter. But the cg is soooo bulky and and spanx are more streamline so I'm excited to switch. I have my first lymphatic massage appt for next week! I am sooo looking forward to it to help ease the swelling. Other than that, I am down to 3 pillows on my bed. I take ibuprofen 800 mg once or twice a day and flexeril at night. The bromelain ran out and the bruising is better so I stopped the arnica. I still have miralax twice daily and smooth move tea as needed. I am walking about 90% straight. If some of the swelling goes down in my abdomen, I feel like I will be able to walk straighter because it won't be so tight. Anyway, I hope you ladies are doing fabulous and we'll chat soon! xoxo

Post op day 18! Dates, driving, doing well!

Hi ladies! No tears this week! Feeling much better. The swelling in my back and belly is going down so I can stand straight now! Yippee! I started driving again a few days ago without any issues. I went out on a date with my hubby for the first time last Saturday and it was awesome. I drank alcohol after a month of abstaining for surgery and that was amazing. I also went to church which felt really good. I am doing everything around the house again. I've been grocery shopping twice with no issues. I wear some sort of spanx type garment at all times. I am back to sleeping on my side with ONE pillow!! My appetite is normal and I'm in no pain. Just sore on my flanks and numb everywhere.

I had my 3rd post op today with my PS. He said I can start scar therapy with the embrace silicone sheets and prosil scar stick (see pics). I also need to massage my scars twice daily (yikes!).

I had my first lymphatic massage today. My abdomen is numb so no pain there, but OMG those flanks!!! I had to bring back the old Lamaze breathing techniques! It's supposed to help with swelling so we'll see. I have another appt next week. Hopefully I won't be so sore.

My BB is not the prettiest. There are hypopigmented areas which I hate but apparently will improve with time. I want it to go in more. My doc said I could use a marble or push it in with my finger. I think the marble will be more effective. Anyway! I still can't say it was worth it until I feel comfortable showing my midriff in public. Until next time! Happy healing to all my TT beauties!

4 weeks post op! Celebrating with bikini pics!

Wow friends! The time has really flown by and I'm finally back to a more normal life. Last week, the last of my extra help left and honestly, it was time. I was ready to cook, shop, clean, and care for my family on my own. I greatly appreciated all the help.

The main updates: taking NO meds (not even ibuprofen), sleeping well throughout the night in ANY position, using embrace scar therapy on entire incision (after one week of only applying it to the center, I could already tell a difference in color and flatness), and swelling continues to go down all around but still there. Flanks still sore and numb. I get weird itches in the area that are deep and unscratchable and "ant bite"/ burning pains out of the blue. I know this is my nerves trying to reconnect. My BB has gotten better in color (not 2 different tones), but my PS said I don't have enough fat around it to make a nice innie (I guess that's a compliment :/) so I started putting an ear plug in there in hopes of pushing it in more so the scars and pigment changes are less visible. Thanks to RPMSMOM for the tips! I'm impatiently waiting to start exercising at my 6 week mark! Even my toddler is asking if we are going to the gym! :o

So what are you ladies doing for valentine's day? I hope I can finally see some action in the bedroom with hubby because it's long overdue! He did say last night that I looked skinny and sexy so fingers crossed! Have a wonderful weekend full of love! Xoxo

sex! scars! swelling! 5 1/2 weeks post op!

Hey girls! I'm 3 days out from 6 weeks post op but will be out of town then so posting now. Here are my updates since my last one:

1) My vday wish came true and hubby and I finally had sex :) after like 5 weeks!! He was very concerned about putting pressure on my abdomen but as long as he didn't touch those flanks, Lol, it was all good! I thought my abs would be sore the next day but they weren't.
2) I was outside running after my boys playfully last week because I felt good. 2 hours later, I started to feel zingers in my flanks and omg they swelled so much that it took 3 days of lbuprofen to get them down. Lesson learned! Take it slow and easy. I've been cleared to exercise now so I went to the gym yesterday. I had to really fight the urge to go into a group fitness class! I walked on the treadmill at 3.0 for 30 min and elliptical for 10 min until I got a zinger in my left flank. I stopped immediately and went home. I didn't swell an unusual amount. I wore spanx and old navy high waisted compression capris. I had a mild glisten of sweat lol, which is not my norm but I will take it. I can't do my fav Zumba or anything involving my abs until 3 months out. Bummer.

3) I had my second lymphatic massage today. It still hurts! We'll see if it helps the swelling that is ever present in my lower belly.

4)EMBRACE DRESSING! I love these so far. This is my 3rd week using it on the middle of my scar and 2nd week on the other areas. I left them on for 12 days this last time to save money. It is possible to do! You have to cleanse all oils off your skin first. Yes, you will get condensation and air bubbles under it but as long as it doesn't peel up, you're good. My skin felt like silk when I removed them yesterday. I had them reapplied by the nurse today. My scars are seriously fading already. If you can spare the extra expense (about $100 per 1-2 weeks), do it!

4) BB: It is not closed. That is the way it looked inside from day one. It just isn't deep and is hyper pigmented. It has gotten mildly deeper and I honestly think it will deepen more as my swelling improves and it's not stretched so tight, esp at the bottom. I stopped the ear plug treatment for now to see what it will do on it's own. I will either do a light chemical peel or hydroquinone at some point in the next 4-6 weeks to help lighten it.

5) I'm feeling dare I say SKINNY! I wore I crop top on vday to the mall-with a Cami underneath- and I definitely got some looks! I tried on a size 27 in jeans and it was big in the waist!! :o AND I'm still swollen! I have NEVER worn a size 4 not even in high school. This is insane to me. I'm so excited to see my results in the next few months! I know it will get better and better!

6) To those contemplating this surgery... Do it! Life is too short to be uncomfortable in your own skin! For those in the first few days of recovery, you WILL get better! To all my January TT sisters and those who have helped me so far, love you all! I will update you periodically. Xoxo

Crop tops and bikinis! Post op week 8!

Hello friends! I will be 8 weeks tomorrow! I feel great! I'm working out (cardio and weights only, no ab work until 3 months post op). I do swell more after working out. Wearing compression capris and spanx helps. I jogged about 5 minutes (lol) until my flanks started jiggling too much and my abs got too tight so that's a work in progress. I do notice that I sweat less even though my heart rate is high. I am still wearing embrace on my incisions and changing them every 2 weeks. I could probably leave them on for longer because they are still difficult to remove, but I want my skin to breathe a day or 2 before reapplying. I massage my scars, flanks and abdomen twice daily. I had my last synergie lymphatic massage today (3 total). Last time I was swollen for 2 days and then really flat in the morning so I think it helped! I do have burning, nerve pains off and on in my flanks without provocation. My belly gets tight and swollen daily which is uncomfortable, but not painful. I am not wearing spanx on a regular basis any more- only to work out. I am working a 13 hour shift tomorrow for the first time since the surgery and I will definitely wear spanx then. My bb is lightening up a bit. It may be a smidge deeper too. I may resume the earplug trick in another month once more swelling is down. Pretty much, my life is back to my new normal and I'm looking forward to looking hot in a eensy weensy bikini! Lol! I will probably update you gals in another 4 weeks unless something amazing happens. ;)

12 weeks!

Wow! I have made it to a major milestone and I can finally say this was all worth it! It has not been without ups and downs, but mainly ups thank God. At 10 weeks I got super lax on my diet, over ate and was drinking wine and eating chips late at night. BIG MISTAKE. My recovery had been going so well that I forgot I'm still RECOVERING! I had horrible swelling for one week. I even wore my initial post op binder to bed a few nights (it had to be bad to do this because I stopped wearing that at 2 weeks post op gladly). I'm back on track now though! I'm cleared to do ANYTHING I want in the gym. I have been waiting 3 months for this. I did a step dance class which was awesome and a core abs video. I feel great. I also used Embrace strips for 8 weeks as recommended and I'm very happy with my scar. It's flat, thin and low. Dr. Fiala did an awesome job on my TT and flank lipo as well. My butt has never looked so good thanks to my cinched waist! I wore a crop top with high waisted jeans out in public and had so much confidence, just like it was something "normal" for me to wear. I still don't have full sensation on my abdomen, incisions, or flanks but it's improving. I of course, still swell some randomly, but not bad. My bb is a tad deeper and lighter. I'm not 100% satisfied with it yet, but I'm being patient. I think that's it ladies. My next goals are to increase my cardio level back to normal, get my abs strong, fade my scars and dark spots, and get rid of this swelling for good! Xoxo 'til next time!

5 months!

Hi friends! I've taken 2 months off to see if there would be any real changes. There are subtle improvements like less swelling (but it has definitely not gone away), more cardiovascular endurance in the gym, more abdominal strength (crunches, planks), and less flank/lower back tenderness. My entire abdomen is still numb, especially to light touch. My flank numbness is better. I can feel if my kids are standing behind me touching me now! :) My incision changed a bit. I used Embrace for the recommended 2 months and then I started using bio-oil. The right side is more wide now. It's still not bad, but I didn't expect that especially after doing the scar therapy as recommended. I'm not too concerned. It will be fine by next year. I'm using Prosil on it. I'm thinking about a possible revision on the left side of my BB (where it's darker). He would revise the old scar and make it more symmetrical (closer to midline) with the other side which I hope will make it a little deeper and less dark. I'm not going to do anything until after the summer. I'm too busy swimming in my bikini with my kids to deal with stitches right now!

Lastly, the past week has been rough for central Florida (where I live) and for our country. Honestly, posting this today is pretty frivolous compared to the emotions the loved ones of those killed in the Orlando night club 5 days ago are feeling. I'm really sharing this to help someone who was in my shoes and to offer support. I know how important looking at reviews was to me. Please remember to be kind, slow down your pace, enjoy life, and above all else, LOVE one another. Peace.

I see abs! 6 months post op!

Time has been flying by which is always a good thing! 6 months has come and gone and I'm enjoying my new belly! This is the milestone I have been waiting for. Prior to surgery, it seemed like I would never reach this point in recovery. I'm loving seeing ab the definition that I have been working so hard for for years. I have no fear wearing any belly bearing top or a bikini now. My abs are stronger now that the diastasis is fixed. I can plank for days! ;) Some feeling is coming back on my abdomen and mostly all back on my flanks. I wear no compression when working out. Jumping around and jiggling my flanks during zumba feel normal. My scars are healing and I'm using Prosil still but I forget sometimes. The swelling has improved as well. I have no regrets. If you are on the fence about getting a TT, pick the right board certified ps and DO IT!

Quick vacation pics!

We just returned from a beach vacation and I just wanted to post a few pics. I'm very confident in a crop top or bikini now. I'm absolutely loving my belly! God bless TT friends!

8 1/2 months post op!

Hey Ladies! It has been a little while since I updated my review because nothing much has changed. My abs are getting stronger and more visible with core exercises. I am still numb on my abdomen but I think it's improving. I am definitely more flat some days than others. I'm not sure if it's swelling still from the surgery, swelling from core work, or GI bloating.

I have a small revision of my BB scar in November. You can't really tell unless you're really staring, but the scar is irregular and has vertical scars from the sutures. It will be performed under local anesthesia in the office. I will post my next update after that.

Overall, I'm still very happy with the results. I know for a fact, no amount of exercise would give me the results I have now. That skin and diastasis had to go! Talk to you gals soon.

BB revision, 10 months post op!

Happy Thanksgiving Friends!
I went in for my bb revision yesterday. I wanted the the left side (your right) of my bb to look symmetrical, deeper (if possible), and I wanted the scar to be thinner. It was done under local anesthesia for no extra fee. I'm actually still pretty numb apparently on my abdomen because I didn't feel hardly any of the lidocaine injections. He revised the area and stitched me up in about 15 minutes. I was a bit sore last night but today I feel fine. I can't work out for 2 weeks which is hard with the amount of food I'm planning on eating for Thanksgiving :D, but I a cute bb is worth the sacrifice. I attached a pre and post revision pic and pics of my scar. I did do Embrace scar treatment for 2 months. Other than that, all is well. I will post another pic of my bb once the sutures are out in about 10 days. Xoxo

1 year anniversary!

It's crazy to think that last year I was in recovery and not really knowing what to expect. I still have to say, I would definitely do it all again. To recap, I had a full, extended TT with MR repair and flank lipo. Like I thought before hand, the flank lipo would be the most painful of it all, but look at my before and after pics! Amazing. The only issues that remain are the numbess on my abdomen and my BB revision scar that is still healing from 2 months ago. I have no pain or limitations. My lower abs seem puffy sometimes and I'm not sure if they are or if it's my imagination.
I love my ab definition! This would NEVER have been possible without this surgery. I want to thank Dr. Fiala and his wonderful staff for their expertise and kindness, my husband for his infinite love and support, and you ladies on RS for all the advice and encouraging words. I have said this before and I will emphasize it again. If you are undecided about doing this surgery, take some "OMG" before pics, pick a great surgeon, and DO IT! Your OMG after pics will be worth it. Love you all!
Orlando Plastic Surgeon

I had 2 consultations with Dr. Fiala and he and his staff have been excellent. I was never rushed. Every last question has been answered either in person, by phone or email. He is an excellent surgeon with a great bed side manner. He is very meticulous about his craft. He stays current with medical literature and incorporates this knowledge into every aspect of surgery. I know I made the right decision by choosing Dr. Fiala! I will definitely choose him again in the future for all my cosmetic needs.

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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