TT/muscle Repair/lipo for 36yo, Mom of 3 Kids, 5'3 & 127lbs - Arlington Heights, IL

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*Treatment results may vary

I am a 36yo mom of three. I finally realized no...

I am a 36yo mom of three. I finally realized no amount of dieting is going to change my "mommy" shape. I am for the most part happy with my weight, could always loose that last 5 pounds, but my belly is a constant distraction. I have a super strong core, but look constantly bloated & thick. TT time!

Before pictures upright & bent over

So...after looking at all the damage three kids could have caused me, I feel like I got by pretty unscathed. Until I sit, lean over, and lets not even mention the jiggle! Sigh. I have minimal skin damage, but when I sit it's like my belly piles into flabby loose rolls. And a constant bloated barrel look on an already short torso. I work too hard to feel like this is as good as it gets.

It's official! Scheduled for 3/24/15!!!

I am so excited! I found the surgeon I trust enough to do my TT/MR/lipo!!! I am super confident in my decision to stop thinking about it and just jump! I know it's not going to be an easy recovery, but I have faith it will all be worth it 6 months from now. I am so ready to stop getting dressed hiding in the closet (in case my hubby walks in), and...No longer running off to close the blinds when he gets "lovey" ;). I had my first child at age 21, second child at age 23, third child at age 25. Now at age 36....I can't wait to "see" the potential of my body, without this distraction of a flabby, jelly belly! (And CHUNKY flanks :).

After today's consult with Dr. Placik it sounds like I have a 2inch diastis?? And just enough skin to yank down without a vertical incision, and some chunk to lipo off my flanks. I was very disappointed to find he does not use the exparel 72 hour injection, but a pain pump. (especially being I am allergic to most pain killers that most people are able to take after this procedure---gasp!) I just have to trust that he will find the best replacement pain killer possible to help me through this surgery. The thought of pain make me anxious, but the thought of full body hives post op makes me even more anxious. I know the exparel isn't a cure all, I just have been keeping track of every recovery story out there and the exparel seems to get most through the first three days better than a pain pump. the truth is though...I liked Dr. Placik and his staff way too much to let exparel be the deciding factor. His before & afters are spot on! Bedside manner was wonderful, confident yet NOT arrogant, staff was beyond helpful and accommodating, beautiful and clean office. SO...I have to trust the man knows how to handle my unique allergies and will find a way to manage my pain....minus the hives. (Deep breath)

Sorry for the lengthy ramble...I am just so excited and so nervous!!! But mostly excited :).

More before pics SITTING!

It's sad how much worse I look in these sitting shots! Premenstrual bloat doesn't help either. Blech! Period due in 9 days (day BEFORE surgery :(.

If you have ANY history of allergic reaction to meds GET YOUR MEDICAL HISTORY RECORDS checked!!!

So I did a little research and had my medical history records pulled. Turns out what I thought codeine had caused an allergic reaction (horrific full body hives), was actually an IV drip Clindamycin during labor!!! Thank got I found that out, because that was the antibiotic I was prescribed for the surgery! Now I am prescribed an antibiotic I know I am safe with and (drumbroll please...) that also means I am able to try the Norco for a painkiller and see if I am not sensitive to it! Thank you, Dr. Placik!!!! And thank the sweet Lord I have been praying feverishly to these past couple days. I know the tramadol might have been just fine, but I way more relaxed knowing I have the Norco in case it's not (phew). It's like a thousand pound weight lifted off my shoulders. So when in doubt don't hesitate to have your medical history records sent to your primary care doctor! Especially if you had had any other chick reactions in the past to medications at all! Doing this saved me a major disaster of taking an antibiotic that I am highly allergic to!!! (I was too busy in hard labor to know what triggered my allergic reaction).

So I am just going to say it...I REALLY miss my wine!

Seriously...this no drinking wine 2 weeks before or after surgery is going to be what kills me. I am not a lush or anything...I just like to kick back with a glass of wine with my hubby in the evenings. Curse you pre-surgery restriction nazi list!
This is likely my pms talking...wait, no...its me ;)

Last night! Ahhh!

Got all my stuff in order, house is squeaky clean, meals prepped, and just popped some tylenol pm in hopes to sleep a few hours before the alarm shrieks at 3:30am. It was tough kissing my littles goodnight. So tough. I take comfort knowing I am in Gods hands, and so is my family. I think this is the only reason I have been as relaxed as I have been. Say a prayer for me tonight, please. My surgery is scheduled for 7:30am tomorrow. Night-Night! :)

I made it FLAT SIDE!!!!

Well I made it! And happily surprised to say I feel great! I am pretty sure my didn't get the memo that it was just split wide open ;). My surgery was at 7:30 and my sweet husband was driving me home around 3 o'clock. I have been up to pee four times, and even getting out of my zero gravity chair almost by myself. Doing the granny shuffle just to be up and stretch those legs every hour or so.

Dr. Placik was such a pleasant doctor to have! He just chit-chatted away with us as he drew all over me. He answered all my questions with great knowledge of his work. And gently held my hand as I fell asleep. Dr Placik has a wonderful bedside manner, and I felt completely at ease going into this. i can't wait to see his art work! Got a feeling it's going to be beautil! In a "franken-tummy" sort of way ;).

So here's my first day so far:

-zero nausea
- zero pain thus far
( 0/10 at rest)
(3/10 getting out of chair)
(2/10 up walking,peeing)
-actual pain=none
-only one drain (emptied twice already)
-zero breathing restriction
-zero dizziness
-eating fine
-drank lots of water already
-peed three times
-mood is great!
-husband is being so sweet :)
-super happy to be on the flat side

I do realize I am probably I the "honeymoon" phase of this....but it's already better than I prepared myself for on day #1. So I am thrilled about that!

Pictures just before surgery!

I feel so amazing!!! I know there will likely be tough days ahead, but this has been nothing like I dreaded it would be.

Dr. Placik is so sweet! He called me last night just to check in and see how I was doing. He let me pick his brain on how the surgery went and never seemed rushed to get off the phone. He told me he ended up taking quite a bit of lard off my flanks (muffin top), which I am very grateful for. I have a feeling he did an amazing job on me! I can't wait to see it on Friday!

Day 2 and still okay

So today is day2 and I have yet to be in what I would consider real pain. More just a real tight, contractions feel in the muscles. A little bit like early labor. But not painful. I am taking one norco every 2 hours to stay ahead of things. And one Valium late morning. For bed time I am taking 2 norco + 1 Valium. I have slept like a rock until my alarm says time for another norco. I haven't goven or the chance to wear off. So I doing really great. Definitely more stiff getting around today. But enjoy being up for little walks once I'm up. The only time my discomfort spikes is trying to get back into the recliner. My sweet, well meaning husband tried to help me scoot my bottom back by getting behinds and lifting me up. Oh, my!!! That was pain!!! It totally stretched my abs straight up and wow! I started sobbing and he felt so bad, then my 14yo daughter started crying :(. But I was okay. It was just a moment. And sometimes a little sob feels good for the soul.

I am still so very happy I got the opportunity to do this! I can't wait to see my new tummy tomorrow:)

I am curious what they will have to say about my drains. I barely draining anything since yesterday. 2ml over night, and just barely anything in my drain all day. I hope it's not clogged or anything

Day 3 and feel amazing!

So today is day three post-op, and I had my first check up at dr Placik's office. I got to see my new tummy!!!!! Unfortunately it wasn't so pretty simply because I looked like I was folded in half, lol! But my hubby took a few pics for me. She pulled out the staples and that was uneventful, cleaned the wounds and put some kind of glue then tape on it. She pulled the packing out of my BB and showed my hubby how to change those dressing twice a day. She showed us how milk the drains since they were totally clotted with thick blood. But my poor back and butt are totally black and blue!!! My hubby couldn't stop laughing at how rediculous my swollen butt looks. Kind of pitiful :).

BUT!!!! I got to take a real shower and scrub my hair!!! Pumps in and all! Oh, it was lovely! Thank goodness for shower stools! My hubby just stood behind the curtain like the Great Oz waiting fo me to need him. But I did okay. Now I am snuggled up in my chair and we are going to have a family movie of Narnia :).

I did run my pain pill schedule to the nurse and she said I was on the low end of what I am taking! That kind of surprised me! But because i don't like all the sleepiness of norco all day I have only taken 1 before my hour drive to the doc office, and one before I showered. Around 10:30pm I will take 2 norco+ 1 Valium to sleep.

Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. And just know I am praying for each one of you too. Hugs! :)

Day 4 little more stiff/burning

So I'm on day 4 and had the pain pump removed yesterday AND am taking 1 norco upon breakfast, lunch, and bed. Although at bed I up it to 2 norco and 1 Valium. I love that I am sleeping so well that way. So with that.... I still am only in what I would consider discomfort. No pain or anything along the belly or incision, but holy lipo! Which makes me so happy to see that kind of damage back there, because it means I going to have a great contour when it's all healed up!

So what's new:
-Had a bowel Movement yesterday that required some abs and was happy it didn't hurt, just took longer than usual.
-had another easy BM this morning that took zero effort. ( thank you stool softener 3 times a day, plus loads of buffered vitamin c which always makes me poop ;)
-now putting arnica gel on every chance I get to take off binder.
-very numb
-tired of laying in chair because it puts pressure on my bruised back
-happy I can take full deep breadths! Never felt winded or anything like that.
-my itty-bitty boobies love not having a bra on for the past 4 days
-don't like that I look and feel so folded in half right at the belly button. Even when I stand flat against a wall it looks funny.
-can't wait to take another shower
-wish my compression garment wasn't so scratchy and irritating :(
-Happy to be four days in already!!!

Mons drain uncomfortable

So does anyone know a better way to position their under wear or padding around/over this stupid mons drain? It is seriously the one and only thing driving me nuts! I have tried to position it various angles with panties over it, as well as just not wear undies. But my family is about had it getting flashed every time I'm on the move! Is there a trick to securing this unicorn horn sticking straight out of my pubes? I've abput had it with it :(

Day 5 and so happy!

Just a quick update. Not much has changed really. I have been doing extremely well since day one. My biggest struggle is trying to stay awake to read others reviews and comments! So sleepy! But...for my second shower and got to snap a few more pics. Really loving what I am seeing so far! Swelling or not....I feel so curvy and tiny! My hubby has never seen me so comfortable stripping down to nothing in front of him before. He's a little traumatized by the wounds but that's only because he worries for me. But i feel great! So here are a few pics after my shower today .

Day 6...I got my drain out!!!! Yay!

So I have been having a rough came with my drain since day one.every day draining less and less only about 20 mL per day.this morning I woke up with blood all over my sheets and undies and it was just oozing out of where the tube inserts. Like it was trying to relieve pressure from inside somewhere. Awesome doctor had me come in right away and said he could pull the drain. He gently put his hand on my tummy and said it might hurt for a second and it was done! It didn't hurt one bit! It actually felt kind of good. Like sudden relief! So for those who are worried about getting your drains removed, it really is no big deal. It's amazing how quickly you become more mobile and move easily without those drains. I am so grateful only had them for 6 days! Hallelujah! A quick pic after my shower tonight.

Day 7 & I have yet to have a bad day!

Seriously! This sounds crazy, but I have actually enjoyed every minute of my recovery since the first moment! And that is with a full TT/muscle repair/ and aggressive lipo of hips & flanks. Truly the worst part of it all was the fear I allowed to creep up in my own imagination leading up to the surgery. I knew I should expect the worst and hope for the best. At some point I just had to put it in God's hands. I made the choice to enjoy the process, and that is exactly what I had been doing since! I went into it feeling blessed, and blessed I sure am!

Now I realize it might just be one of the lucky ones. But I also know the ones who do best recovering from this kind of procedure are the ones that stay the most calm before and after. For anyone who actually knows me… I am not a naturally calm person, LOL! So that is why I am posting this… Because if I can do it, you can too!for all those out there who have yet to have your surgeries my biggest advice would be to bookmark those reviews that tend to stay positive. Really focus on those reviews and read them, and know that you can heal just as well. And for those other reviews where these women are truly having a hard time and suffering… Encourage them. Pray for them. But don't let it scare you!
Feel free to private message me anytime. I would be happy to share my journey with you :). Blessings

Lipo bruising a few days ago

Couple days old. This pic was on day five the lipo bruising actually looks worse now on day 7. But feels better! Much less tender. I am putting on arnica gel, followed by coconut oil (suggested by Dr. Placik). I noticed that my ass is HUGE! Lol! My husband keeps making me laugh about it, which is mean because laughing with stitched abs is interesting. I have noticed new stretch marks on my swollen hip/butt lol! I wish I had gotten some coconut oil on there before those strgetch marks magically appeared. ;) nothing a spray tan can't cover! (Grinning)

Still can't believe it! Before & after just 8 days post op!

I still can't believe it! What a difference just eight days after surgery has made already. Going through this surgery is one of the best decisions I ever made! My old belly absolutely sucked the joy out of my life in so many ways you can possibly imagine. I was crazy obsessed with my weight thinking if I could just lose a little more, maybe I could fix my stomach. It drove me to distraction. To the point I couldn't just have a simple conversation with someone without being insanely distracted by my tummy rolled in some funky way or like I needed to suck it in just a little more, or tuck it in my jeans. You know...the old suck & tuck! lol. But it wasn't funny at the time :(. It pretty much ruined my self confidence and my sex life. It was really hard on my husband to not be able to just touch me. And it's hard to feel in the moment when you are secretly trying to hide your rolled up Jelly belly folding over his hands on my hips or piled on top of his lean tummy.

Right this moment Scars, swelling and all... I...feel...beautiful! I can't wait for that moment my husband gets to really be with me. To look at me. To touch me. And to really see for the first time, in a long time. It will be like the first time all over again. And THAT is something special.

Side view picture

So someone brought to my attention I haven't yet posted a side shot picture. I guess I was just so excited by the drastic front view that I hadn't thought about sharing my side profile. So here it is. Day 10 post op and I am working on good posture. I make sure to pull my shoulder blades together like I am squeezing an orange between them and gently arch my low back to tip my pelvis forward. I also try to stand on both feet , with shoulders back and not shift side to side with a a slump when I have to be on my feet for long periods of time. And I make sure to take lots of nice, gently bit deep belly breaths often. I haven't had any low back issues at all yet. I think working at straightening up sooner rather than later is more beneficial to long term good posture. But then again...I am a massager slumping is a huge pet peeve of mine.

Found my compression garment sweet spot!

Okay, I am 14 days exactly postop, and I have finally found my compression garment sweet spot! For all my fellow short torso friends out there, I am going to share what works for me! I was blessed enough to be sent home from the hospital with the cutest little pink compression garment with foam pads added underneath for swelling. It was so super comfortable! And I later found out from my plastic surgeon, Dr. plastic, that it was actually a breast binder! Well it's absolutely perfect! Just tight enough to give beautiful contour to complement the lipo I had done, soft and pliable so it never bunches or digs into me when I move in Bend, cottony and breaths well so I don't overheat, and most important it stops just above my incision and has never dug in to my incision when I sit or bend!

However, now that I notice two weeks post op my Lipo swelling is going down, it is getting a bit looser. And I just feel ready for a softer smoother barrier between. So here is my perfect solution! I tried jersey cotton tank tops to go underneath it, but they always bunch/crinkle up funny. So I looked by the spanks type products at my local Meijer store, and found the perfect compression tank top!it's called the TummyTank. It has a regular cottony bust area, but smooth silky spanks type mid section! But not overly tight! which is good because I wear my breast binder compression garment over it for the contour compression! Then the TummyTank also has an additional cotton flare out piece we need the spanks midsection so it all stays smooth in length and throughout the day. So between my breasts binder/compression garment over my tummy tank… It's perfect and never painfully digging, creasing,or overly constrictive. I should also note that I shower every morning, followed by Arnica gel, followed by generous amounts of coconut oil all over my skin and hips. It has really eliminated the swelling, bruising, and overly tight skin feel! I will post some pictures so you can see how I put it altogether!

Two weeks post op (2 days ago)

Couple days late, but I took these pictures at exactly 2 days post op. In these pics I re-created some of my original poses when I first started my review before my tummy tuck. Sorry about the belly button… The black stitches were still in at the time of these photos!

Holy exhaustion! Oh, and I got my bellybutton stitches removed, yay!

So for all of you out there who are beginning to wonder… Yes! I am human! What is it after day 14 that I am completely exhausted! Like somebody shot me with an elephant tranquilizer! And no… It's not the medications, since I am pretty much weaned off of them. My plastic surgeon kept warning me it will get rough before gets better. So I know this is totally normal, I think I just need to make more time to put my feet up and force my self to relax! I have been feeling so great, so very early on… That I think I've been doing way too much! So there you have it people! I am human! LOL!

On another note… I did get my bellybutton stitches out just yesterday! That was interesting. Didn't hurt, just odd having our pull long threads from what felt like deep in my bowels, LOL! She really had to work at it too! It seems a healed up all around it pretty quick. So… To put in earplugs in my belly button, or not? My plastic surgeon said I could start doing that in about a week, but it doesn't really change anything. I am so afraid of having an outie, or slightly outie! It's hard to even wait one week to start putting in the ear plug. I love the look of my bellybutton so far, aside from being raw from the stitches just coming out. But if it popped out anymore I would be really upset! Did you ladies start putting the ear plug-in right after the stitches came out? Or wait one week? I am anxious to just start doing it! Thoughts?

Turn your garments like these inside out!!! No seam!'ve all likely seen the combination compression garments I wear day. But I wear something more like the black one above at night for sleeping without a binder over top. However! By morning, the pain I am in from the huge seams having dug into my tender flesh all night is more painful than anything else from this procedure put together!!!! Those seams digging huge indentations in my sides and back are horrible! So last night I had the bright idea of turning it inside out! And what do you know… Perfection! It's so smooth and silky soft afainst my skin inside the tight garment, and the jagged seams of torture are on the outside! (Where they belong). I slept amazingly well! And woke with no gouging lines in my skin for once since this procedure has begun!

Also… If you are having a hard time sleeping, Try the supplement 5HTP. You will sleep like a baby, have happy dreams, and awake refreshed and joyful! I have been taking it for years, but had to stop two weeks before into weeks after my surgery. Finally able to take my 5HTP (50mg) at bedtime again, and sleeping like a baby! Happy healing!

3 weeks today!!!

I made it!!! Three weeks ago I was still in surgery :). I still can't believe all this is real. So, I am going to try to update just once per week along with pictures. I'm finding they are all starting to look the same! even I'm getting tired of looking at myself, LOL!

So what's new… Well as most of you know my first two weeks were a breeze. Days 15 through 21 have been a little more trying. Nothing painful! It's more full body muscle tension and stiffness :(. But that's nothing compared to the exhaustion that has set in! It's hard to explain. It's like hitting a wall! Like every movement and effort I make is the equivalent of doing it through thick mud. I can do it! No pain… But it just takes more time to build up the motivation and accomplish normal day-to-day tasks. My plastic surgeon warned me that it would happen around a week three and it will pass. So I'm just kind of riding the wave right now. And making sure I get most my work done before 2 PM, then give my self permission to put my feet up and relax for a few hours! On days I don't do this… I end up super cranky and easily irritated with my family. Not worth it!

Also… I don't seem to get quite the swelling that some people speak of, but I am definitely more swollen by evening! It would be no big deal without a compression garment. The most uncomfortable part about evening swelling is the spanx digging in to my tender flanks where I had lipo. Still no issues with my incision at all! Or even my muscle repair! It's the freaking Flank lipo areas that are the most tender. But I am so glad I did not skip on the Lipo! I know it's what my body type needed to pull it all together. I would have been disappointed with out it.

Well… I guess that's it for now. Will report back at my four-week milestone. But don't worry… I'm always stalking you! Lol! ;)

Gosh darn it! Pictures didn't show up!

Grrrr! 3 week pics won't load! Dagnamit!!!! Will keep trying.

3 week pics!!!

So here they are! This morning's pictures at three weeks post op. Minimal swelling in the morning of course. ;). By evening I am a bit more bent forward and swollen in the lower abs.

Personal question…about "it". (Grinning)

Okay…so I gotta ask…When did you girls to "it". (evil grin). I am dying to just get some normal back in my relationship with my hubby!!!! When did you feel it would be even worth giving it a go? Unfortunately…my man is still looking at me like a hospital patient, lol! He's not real touchy feely. And even less after I have been sawed in half ;). So when can I go on the attack, and it be worth putting myself out there? Hmmm?

4 weeks today, a bit more swollen

So I am exactly four weeks post op today fom my full TT/MR/lipo. This week there has been a bit more swelling going on (fugly pictures included ). But it's a real hard and tight kind of bloat to the lower abdomen. Not much squishy going on here ;). As things go, my period is a good six days late, just adding to the party. Now that I have officially joined the swell hell belly button's guts are boldly standing out! I texted my doctors nurse with pics and she confirmed its just swelling and that it will go back to an innie with a little more time. I told her I started taping an earplug against it this morning for the first time. I say "against" because there is literally not enough room inside my BB for the earplug to inflate into, lol! As far as the shape of it though...I love my new BB!!!! I think it will look totally natural in a bikini this summer :).

But all that being said...Here are some highlights of week 3-4:
- I still "try" to get my feet up once a day by 2pm'ish, but no longer exhausted! Energy & stamina coming back!
-still dry brushing and slathering coconut oil on after my showers
-loving going for my daily walks, and up to a good speed now (averaging 7,000-10,000steps per day now)
-swell hell stage of healing in lower abdomen. No worries though! Just rolling with it :)
-over all discomfort from lipo significantly better days 21-28. :)
- First week since surgery, that I actually "forget" I just had major surgery :). Like life getting back to normal again
-moving, bending,stretching much more easily...range of motion about 90% back
- standing up nice and straight
-lipo lumpy, sore spots 90% gone
-last night was first night WITHOUT any special garments on for sleeping
-still more comfortable sleeping in zero gravity chair (poor hubby ;)
-today first day I went most the day without compression or spanx garment. Much more comfy without!
-OH! And I finally jumped my hubby (giggling)...oh, yeah!

Yup...I would say hitting week four is a major turning point in finally feeling normal again. Couldn't be happier with recovery this far. Very much looking forward to the swelling to fade away and reveal what's underneath it all :).

Week 4 pictures!

Swell hell not so obvious in these morning pics, but I am definitely more swollen than previous pics. Just part of the journey :).

5 week update!!!

well… I made it to five weeks! Every week gets a little better than the last! Overall I would say things are going extremely well!

This past week has been a process of weaning myself of ANY type of compression garment, and I love it! After a while it started to feel like those compression garments were making me feel more bloated, swollen, sore, yet numb all at the same time! I just wanted to "feel" again! So I have gone a week of sleeping in just a cotton T-shirt and have woke less swollen than ever! Now I am beginning to go el'naked during the day as well! Well, sort of ;). There is something so blissful about just feeling the fabric of my cotton T-shirts brush against my tummy, sides, and back! Like my torso is becoming part of me again! Do I get swelling by evening, yes! But that seems to happen with or without the Spanx! So I figure why try to stuff myself into a bodysuit, when it feels so much better to be free! (Insert braveheart scene "freedom!!"). Now I might slip one on just around 2pm until I plop on the couch to watch survivor or something. So like 2pm-8pm i still wear my maidenform Spanx like garment.

So above are some morning pictures just after my walk today, before the swelling. BUT I realized not one of my photos has ever been taken in the evening "swell hell" hours. So I plan on snapping a few "fugly" pics tonight for you all to see that swelling happens to everyone!

Some highlights of this week:

*I am back in bed sleeping comfortably on my side! Finally!
*My husband still snores :(.
*I danced in front of the mirror in my bra and panties for a full half hour this morning! And not one jiggle!!! Who cares about the bloat, when there's no jiggling!
* Began doing daily full body stretching and some yoga in front of the mirror! IN MY PANTIES ONLY!!! Here is why...I feel by doing this, I am finally reconnecting to my body for the first time since the surgery. This is so important, because for me what is the point of a tummy tuck if I can't see it! To see my bare body in that mirror, to touch my tummy, to really FEEL my tummy, all while moving and stretching makes it more real! Almost an exercise of reuniting the mind, body, spirit. Ya know? ( cranking up some music during this helps!)
*Increasing daily walks and stretches is helping to increase my stamina that was lost during recovery.
*Increased exercise also means a little more sore. I am taking either aspirin or Tylenol once a day again. Just until I get over the post work out soreness stage of healing.
*I got my period! Late, but it felt so darn good to get it over with!
*no longer need midday rest as often. Going strong most days.
*Contemplating booking a few massage clients next week. I am a self employed massage therapist.Hmmm...should probably do a practice session and my hubby first ;).

Well, I guess that all. I pride to post some swelling pics later tonight :). Oh, just you wait!

You got Fugly, I got Fugly, we ALL got the Fugly-Wugly!

So here they swelling pics by time evening has arrived. I got FUGLY moments too! And you know what....I'm okay with it. I think it's because of all the other wonderful ladies here that have gone before me that have openly shared their ups and downs of a tummy tuck recovery. So I was lucky enough to go into this knowing and expecting the "swell hell" phase of recovery. It isn't always easy, and there are some nights I ponder at my tummy with a worried expression wondering if I have developed a Seroma. Followed by lots of tapping on my sore tummy in the middle of the living room, trying to create the infamous water bed ripple effect. My three kids watching in fascination and my hubby piping in "leave your pot belly alone!" ;)

As you can see in comparison of morning lean and svelte last night's, looking Four months pregnant pics. kind of hurts a little. Not like pain, but it can get miserable when it's really stretched tight. Sometimes Tylenol worthy even. Last night before bed I had my hubby feel it and he was shocked how rock hard the swelling is! Insanely rock hard! No wonder it's uncomfortable! And a good thing I am not stretch mark prone. I have never had a stretch mark and don't want to start now! Lots of coconut oil all over is really helping keep my tummy supple. But you never know!

So I just wanted to show everyone that swelling does happen, and it happens to us all. But this is not our end result! It's a good lesson in practicing patience though! And just think, a year from will all be just a memory. We will be the incredible shrinking tummies! And it's going to be awesome when it's done!

Help! My scar is so irritated!

Okay… So I am five weeks and three days post op today. I have been using the flesh colored 3M micropore tape on my incision since day one. and it was going awesome! I change it once per week after a shower. It was all fine and dandy for the first four weeks when I just left it dry taped. I had always applied copious amounts of coconut oil to the rest of my belly and sides and back, but never directly on the taped. Also showering daily and gently soaping up over and around the tape and let it just air dry after, with no issues. However, this past week I started to apply coconut oil on top of my micropore tape daily. Oh my gosh! The tape, and scar, and surrounding areas became a sticky, hot, gooey mess! When I changed the tape on Thursday, I could see my scar was very irritated, Puffy, red, adhesive sticky.....grrr! I seriously can't get the sticky residue off! I have tortured my scar with numerous pads of rubbing alcohol! Wiping it down with coconut oil to try &!loosen it up, shower and gently scrub, But couldn't get it off! Yesterday I texted a picture to my doctor's nurse and she said to leave the ends of my incision uncovered, but keep the center taped still, and just let the adhesive wear off on its own. So i did. Hindsight, one day later, I'm regretting taping it at all again. I am thinking I need to leave it completely untaped. It is so itchy and puffy under that center piece of tape! At almost six weeks postop my scar looks worse than ever! Suggestions? What has worked for you ladies this far out post op? I really should just text my nurse again (on a Friday night;), but I would love to hear what works for you ladies. I'm beginning to wonder if I have developed an allergy to the tape, or if the coconut oil combination just pissed it off. Hmmmm. Thoughts?

Six weeks! Just a drop In the bucket ;)

So there you have it…sometimes a cute little tummy, mostly not though these days. Even my best, lately, doesn't compare to the adorable little belly and contoured waist of weeks three and four. I seem to recall on numerous reviews before me, there being much talk and fretting over a very distinct healing phase of "it gets worse, before it gets better". But the funny part is, just when I think I have already hit that rough patch, I manage to climb to a whole new level of it the following week. I find myself staring at my week three and four pictures, and thinking "what the hell happened!". Even my mornings aren't completely flat anymore. Within hours my upper muscle repair is sore and swollen, lower tummy extremely bloated, and my lipo areas streaked with inflammation, my red and puffy incision rippleled and pleating from the strain. But in the end I always find myself overwhelmed by Grace. There is always that moment that it dawns on me, I am only six weeks into this. Then i feel such a love and compassion for my poor body that is trying so very hard. I mean, six weeks is just a drop in the bucket of a procedure this massive! (Ever seen a YouTube video of a tummy tuck, with muscle repair and aggressive lipo?). When I really stop to think about what was done to my body, I suddenly realize how blessed I am for my little body that just won't give up on me. And then I wait...

Week 6 highlights:

-weight spiked from 123 to 125.8 pounds in past five days. I may, or may not have kicked my scale a few times for calling me fat names ;).

-More swelling/tenderness in upper muscle repair and lower abdomen. Even in the morning.

-still go without any compression garments from bedtime to 2pm the following day

-untaped ends of incision are healing much better! Center taped area still feels itchy and irritated under there.

-mowed 1/2 lawn on ancient riding lawn mower yesterday. Required lots of abs to steer around. Did fine.

-Power walking almost daily up to normal speed! Keeping up with hubby & dog.

-Six Flags amusement park all day, and even rode the spinning lobster! (Then proceeded to walk around all day not realizing my gel boob inserts gravitated to the center of my chest giving me a uniboob. I was wondering why my teenage daughter's new crush was staring at my chest. Turns out I'm not a M.I.L.F.) :(

-Cut off Jean shorts all week! No more stretchy capris!

-still sneaking back to my zero gravity chair, around midnight, a few nights per week when swelling is really bad.

-food poisoning over a week ago. And ever since lots of nausea & upset tummy daily still :(

-for every great day, there seems to follow a "meh" day. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the wine :D.

My new motto..."Just a drop in the bucket of a tummy tuck" :)

Six week pics

Six week pics. Taken in the morning, and already starting to puff, bloat, pleat, ripple and swell. "Just a drop in the bucket of a tummy where's my wine? " :D

I love emu oil! Thank you skystorm!

I am in love with emu oil right now! Skystorm suggested it, and I couldn't love her anymore right now! My scar has been so irritated, but since usingthe emu oil for the past two nights, and silicone sheets by scar is way better!!!! I don't use them both at the same time, only because the silicone sheets would not stick with oil on. So I use silicone sheets all day to protect my scar from my jeans belt line. But still use Emu oil all over my lipo areas, muscle repair areas, and belly button all day. Then at night I remove the silicone strips and wash them, then put them out to dry, followed by lots of emu oil all over my incision scar! By morning my scar was so happy! The puffy, mad, red irritation is quickly fading! But I am also almost seven weeks. I can't believe that after six weeks of an angry, itchy and red's finally calm :). Oh and I no longer use the micropore tape. silicone sheets and emu oil have been a miracle for me!

7 weeks! "If it doesn't challenge you, It won't change you"

Hey you's! So I made it to seven weeks! Hooya! So here it goes:

*Loving the Tuppler Elevator Abdominal Exercises!!! It's all about sucking in your bellybutton, and no more crunches or planks that make your abs bulge even more! Designed to close a diastase, so it's perfect to counteract the swell hell phase of recovery. Recommended by Skystorm & AmyS33. LOVE YOU LADIES!

*Obsession with Emu oil!!! Seriously. I would almost swear it is making my skin reattach, and calm my scar. I can't be sure, but I KNOW my skin is glowing like I am five years younger. Emu oil…Sheesh! Whodathunk.

*Ditched the paper tape for good, and use scar guard silicone sheets by day, emu oil by night = happy scar! No more itchy, puffy, red irritation. Score!

*Had my first massage client yesterday. This guy is huge too. Hour and a half of deep tissue, trigger point work, and stretching him out. I did cheat, and took a Norco before the session, and doubled my binder. It went great and I seem fine today. So I will keep on booking them from this point on! Momma's gotta make some money for my BA in the fall ;).

*Wake mostly flat, but swelling is insane by 3pm! I don't so much care how it looks…But it kind of hurts! Arnica gel + emu oil definitely seem to temporarily help discomfort, but does not prevent the swelling.

*Extreme Belly button pain this week. I think its from all the afternoon swelling. It feels like my belly button is going to get ripped out by the roots sometimes. If you look at my previous swelling pics (posted April 29th)…my tummy does something strange when I swell. I get a huge bulge in the upper MR, pulled tight at the belly button, then huge bulge in my lower belly. My tight belly button just refuses to allow a full barrel bloat to happen. Ugh! I must have a short BB stalk, or my ps did an awesome job of tacking it down. Probably a good thing in the end, but its really kind of painful now :(. Anyone else have BB pain?

*Lipo areas seem to be in hypersensitive mode. Extremely tender and sensitive to anything brushing against my hip/flanks. However, doing some dry brush massage with my exfoliating shower gloves seems to help desensitize it a little. Followed by arnica and emu oil. Helps, but again…temporary. I'm guessing I'm just at that phase of recovery when nerves are reconnecting. Add the swelling and you got some sore flanks.

My inspirational quote of the week…"If it doesn't challenge you, It won't change you".

I will post some 7 week pics a little later.

7 week pics

So here is me at seven weeks :). All morning shots of course, and even some with my legs in there, lol! Bet you didn't think I even had extremities from all my previous pics. A couple of sitting & standing in various beach worthy poses and...NOT ONE PICTURE AM I SUCKING IN MY GUT! NOT ONE!

My theory on swelling & how I have put a stop to mine the past 3 nights! No joke.

Okay...I have a theory on swelling! I am not a doctor or anything, but I had an "aha" moment when I was posting on a realself friends review regarding her swelling, after watching a ridiculous youtube video about this woman whose boobs grew to record size through a breast augmentation called the "string" implants. I my goodness...swelling makes so much sense!

So the "string" implants require no actual bags or cc's of anything. Simply a purposefully irritating string, the size of a thick noodle, that is placed in the breast to cause so much irritation that your body starts building up fluid retention in the breast tissue!!! They were eventually outlawed, because women's breasts wouldn't stop growing! They got well beyond size O!!! Can you imagine!? what is my connection? WE HAVE IRRITATING STRINGS TOO! Yes! Our muscle repair sutures! How many have us become aware of those irritating knots of suture repair under our skin? Especially when we cough, sneeze, twist, or even just run our fingers over it. Yup. I think it could have a similar affect as the "string" breast implants. Now...our tummies will obviously not keep growing the way those poor woman's boobs did. But it certainly could have a similar connection, I think. Swelling pooling from the initial trauma to the lymphatic system, exacerbated by irritating suture "strings", and an incision acting like a tourniquet, preventing all this swelling to go anywhere until we finally lay down and put our feet up!

Also...I have a second part to my swelling theory...

I really started swelling right around the time I stopped really babying myself. If you think about it...all of us likely loaded on the recommended supplements (vitamin C, B12, magnesium, bromelain, arnica orally, arnica gels, etc...), we drank our tons of water, rested lots/put our feet up often, watched our salt intake, wearing our compression garments. Then we started to feel better around week 4, and a lot of that special care we took of ourselves went right out the window! We might have even started working out! No wonder we are so swollen, lol! I have found that these last three days of beginning to load water, put my feet up from 2-3pm, taking my supplements again, and wearing my compression garment on/off all day, using my arnica gel, and emu oil all over...has brought me to minimal swelling in the evening for the first time in 3weeks. Did you hear me...I have had MINIMAL swelling for three nights now, just by changing a few things back to how I was doing it the first 4 weeks!

Now we can't do anything about that irritating muscle repair "strings" we have going on in our tummies. Our bodies just have to learn to like them. However...We might want to consider what might have been working when you weren't so swollen in the beginning. Like water, supplements, resting with feet up, not pushing so hard in workouts, maybe wearing our CG's on and off during day hours to help pump those fluids away (but not at night), etc...and then there is just good old time. I am 7 1/2 weeks...and feel like I have finally hit what feels like, normal! Will I swell more on some days? I'm sure I will. But this is most certainly the least swelling I have ever had, and if its by recreating how I took better care of myself the first 4 weeks? Well, then I am going to keep on doing that, and wanted to share it with all of you! Blessings!

8 weeks

Well, I made it to eight weeks and Tuesday! And I can finally say I pretty much feel back to almost 100%. Weeks 7 to 8 have been my real turnaround point thus far in my recovery. To be honest, I know I have pretty much recovered, because I hardly even think about having had a tummy tuck anymore. At thi to be honest, I know I have pretty much recovered, because I hardly even think about having had a tummy tuck anymore. At this point I am more focused on making plans for my breast augmentation in the fall :). So here are some of my highlights of week eight:

-hit it hard on the waverunners for three days in a row, rough waters, and zero pain or discomfort getting pounded around.

- intimacy with my husband has been absolutely amazing! I feel so uninhibited and beautiful in front of them now. He even commented on the hollow space between us in various positions! He even commented on the hollow space between us in various positions! Not once has my belly got in the way or embarrassed me!

- I can officially cough and sneeze with zero discomfort in my muscle repair. It's like coughing before surgery!

- The impact of jogging still causes a little discomfort in my lipo flank area.

- upon rising my Lipo flank area is still tender. Almost like somebody is giving me an Indian burn on my sides as I get out of bed.

- this weeks swelling has still been at a minimum, in spite of getting my period even!

Here are some before and after side by sides. This surgery has seriously been life changing for me. It has exceeded my expectation completely.

Squat challenge begins!

So I am kind of excited. I have begun a 100 squats (or more) per day challenge in an attempt to tighten up my rear, and maybe shave off a few pounds. Now that I have this tiny little waist, I need my butt and thighs to match!

Now, I did up it to 200 squats per day, along with alternating 100 counter push ups or 100 tricep dips per day. But the minimum is 100 squats Every single day!

I swear after only three days....I feel amazing! Soreness in all the right spots, but not to the point I skip my 100-200 the next day. I'm looking forward to seeing the results of consistency a month from now :).

3 month post surgery VIDEO

Tummy video 3 months post op
So I remember what it was like before I had surgery with so many questions of what they tell me talk looks and feels like. So I am posting this for you ladies to see what a full tummy tuck, muscle repair, Flank lipo looks like 3months post surgery. Please forgive the 8 POUNDS I have gained since my last post,lol. I have been indulging in a bit too much nut butters and wine since fully recovered ;). No worries! I'm still rock'n the awesome tummy!

BEFORE tummy tuck videos

Before tummy tuck video
Two days BEFORE surgery video
So I thought it fitting to share my BEFORE videos. This is just a few days before my full tummy tuck, muscle repair, flank lipo. I encourage everyone to get before videos. Pictures are great, but they don't quite capture the gelatinous movement of a belly after three giant babies, lol! ;)

5 months post op & So HAPPY!

Well…made it to five months post op, and I am doing amazing!

-My tender flanks from the lipo are finally no longer tender.
-scar is still pretty red (but flat). Doesn't bother me other than it peeks up at the center of my bikini bottoms. Being numb there makes it impossible to know if my scar is showing, because I have NO sensory feedback to tell wear my bikini bottoms are sitting. Oh, well…by next summer it will either be faded to white, or tattooed ;).
-sex life is awesome! I feel so confident in my skin & no longer cringe when he touches my belly or sides! I have zero rolls or jiggling!!! :D
-My belly is sexy and firm with great muscle definition, and I don't have to do ANY ab work at all for it.
-I am 6 pounds below my pre-surgery weight, by eating extremely clean low carb lifestyle combined with whatever Dr. Placik sucked out with his lipo-magic-wand. :D.
**(note: Your weight will go up and down for a while post surgery! At least it did for me before it came back down and stabilized just recently. Between the swelling, stress, humidity…I was all over the place for a while.)
-I do still get some tight swelling on some days, but it's minimal at this point. More noticeable around my period.
-Still hate that my "old" belly button piercing scar is there. My doctor chose not to remove it at the time of surgery for better healing. Its like a one inch vertical scar just above my TT scar. My doctor said I can have that removed in a few months in his office.
-I am still so glad my doctor does the lipo sculpting around the flanks along with his tummy tucks. He did an amazing job!
-Would I do this all over again? Heck yeah!

Blessings :)

5 month pics

Only five months post op, and so very happy with my results!

10 month TT pics! Loving life!!!

Just some updated pics of my tummy 10 months post op. Not much has changed as far as the view! Will update with the details after this .

10 Month TT update not much has changed as far as the view. I tried to give you different angles of my tummy to give you an idea how NOT jiggly my tummy is! The sitting pics hopefully show that pretty well. So how am I... -Weight still stable with clean low carb lifestyle since 2011 -Starting to get some more feeling that triangular numb patch from belly button to scar. Like the nerves are waking up or something. But it's funny, because when I touch the numb patch I actually "feel" my touch about an inch or two lower. Kind of cool. I think I will get back a good amount once my nerves get with the program. -I love the shape of my cute little belly button, but still feel it's a bit too high up. I would have liked to have it about an inch or so lower. Not sure if the surgeon could have made my BB a bit lower or not. It was probably always on the higher side, just not this high. I still love my tummy regardless. Just would have asked him before surgery how low he could take it. -My scar is super low! I have no issues with it showing in a bikini. And even if it did...I seriously wouldn't care. I'm kind of proud of my "franken-scar". -My scar is finally lightening up in color a bit. Especially since I stopped hiding it from the sun, lol! Who-da-thunk...expose it to sunlight and it gets lighter and thinner. -START STRETCHING ONCE YOU ARE HEALED ENOUGH!!!! Why? Well, about 2 months post op I started to develop a side curve of my torso. Like I was curving like a C to my right. And not just a little...It was pretty significant. I think things just started adhering too strong on one side. BUT I FIXED IT!!!! by doing full body stretches every single day since. Torso twists, the cobra, mermaid stretch...among others. Start stretching once you are healed enough. Remember...there is a lot of reattaching going on, don't let it go crazy wonky like I did the first 6months. -Consider doing self scar massage!!! Really helps decrease pulling tension, break up deep adhesions, that will allow the swelling to go down because it can get past the scar again. Look up C-section scar massage, as well as my favorite youtube video on scar massage by Eric Dalton. It makes a difference! -I never did get a breast enlargement as I was hoping to in the fall. I really just wanted to be a B cup, but have made peace with my perky little boobies. At least they don't get in the way ;). I am happy. -I can't stress how happy I am that my doctor did Lipo-sculpting on my flanks along with the TT!!!!! It did add to the recovery, but if your going to do it, do it right! It really gave me a tiny, hour glass shape that I never thought I could have again after three babies! -I have zero longterm discomfort, abnormalities, or regrets for having done this. Getting the full TT, MR, lipo has been life changing in ways I NEVER could have known. I am truly at peace. All those years I felt so fat...and I wasn't. I just had a tummy that couldn't snap back. I never realized what a beautiful body I actually had hiding under that belly. I am so blessed :). Anyhow....I am not good at checking RS that often. But I will this week, and i do see when people PM me. Feel free to say hello!

Best plastic surgeon ever! I was blessed to have stumbled upon Dr. Placik (and his amazing staff) through realself a few months ago, as I was in the "just considering it" stage of getting a tummy tuck. I had a few consults by other plastic surgeons, and my search ended with Dr. Placik! I was very impressed with all the numerous five star reviews (reading their TT journeys), and his before/after tummy tuck photos! He took the time to add descriptive captions to the photos as to what all was done to get the outcome. And he had many examples that were just my body type! His tummy tuck art work is amazing!!!! Just look at my befores and afters! And I am only 4 weeks post op (as 4/20/15), and it is only going to look better, and better as the swelling goes down! The incision line he made is just perfect! Very clean cut, and I never had any issues with it! The lipo he did on my flanks to give my body contour is the BEST I have seen! I have NEVER had a waist like this! This man doesn't just kinda know lipo...He is a master at it! He really has a vision in creating a very feminine figure when he does his tummy tucks! He doesn't just pull you flat and leave you with a boxy shape, as I have seen other doctors do. And my belly button is adorable!!! Very natural and youthful looking bellybutton :). I had only one drain in the mons area for just 6 days, and that was a none issue. And the pain pump he included in his tummy tucks worked amazingly well! (after all the comparison I read of pain pump vs exparel I was pleasantly surprised how great the pain pump worked!). The outcome of my tummy tuck, muscle repair, flank lipo has really exceeded my expectations. Who knew I had such a cute little body hiding under there after having three kids! In person...Dr. Placik is a master surgeon, but without all the ego. He is very approachable and easy to talk to. Regardless of the fact that he has a very busy practice, he really gives you his full attention when he is with you. Even my husband agreed, upon first meeting...he's a great guy. I loved that after my surgery, Dr. Placik went to go sit and chat with my hubby in the waiting room to explain all that was done, and reassure my hubby I was well :). Then he called and talked to me the night I got home from surgery to see how I was doing, and I kept him on the phone for a while! Never once did he seem rushed to get the call over with. His office is just beautiful, extremely clean, warm and inviting. Oh, and...Dr. Placik's staff can't be beat! Especially his nurses! They really take their time with you, are very reassuring, extremely knowledgable, and constantly reminding me to call if I have ANY questions. They even gave me their personal cell phone numbers to call and text after surgery! Which I used often, by sending pictures as things came up and they would call or text right back! Even weeks post op! They still get back to me like I am still a priority. That is worth its weight in gold! Because you can have a great doctor, but if his staff is crummy....meh. If you are considering this doctor or even just wondering about the procedure, read my journey, and feel free to private message me as well! That's exactly what I did before my surgery! I private messaged all Dr. Placik's tummy tuck reviews and got the chance to email, talk on the phone, and even meet one of them before my sugery! I would be happy to do the same for anyone out there that is still on the fence with this procedure! Blessings!

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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