I have been anticipating this time in my life for...
I have been anticipating this time in my life for over 20 years now. I had my first child 23 years ago and my 5th is 11. I haven't seen what I call my "default body" since I was 17. You know the great body that you develop as your body starts to mature after a few years of puberty...I'm now 41 and the time has finally arrived.
I have so many apprehensions, so much anxiety, but so much anticipation for what's to come on July 12th. I will be having a full abdomnioplasty, panniculectomy, breast reduction and lift. My surgeon performed my sleeve revision from a lapband last May (2015) and I've successfully had to work hard to lose over 70 pounds.
*My Apprehensions and Anxiety*
I visited my surgeon today for my pre-op, I got the all clear from my first mammogram yesterday. This was great! I started feeling a little apprehensive because I felt that my surgeon was a little "rushed" with me today. I want to go in feeling like we (my surgeon and I) are on the same page regarding expectations, and I fully understand the realistic results. I don't expect perfection or my "default body" but I do want him to do his best work and patiently answer my concerns. I felt like he was just trying to get on to the next patient. Don't get me wrong, I have had several conversations with him as I was transitioning to the point of being able to get the surgery and the last time I saw him I felt really great about the work that he was going to do. I felt assured and that I was making the best decision because he had been a part of my journey. However I believe that I got a clearer picture of the possibilities from reading all of the success stories here, YouTube and the fact that I saw another surgeon for a consult and he (Dr. Hubbard) was absolutely amazing. He was thorough, patient, listened to all of my concerns, talked about back up plans, scar therapy, and he made me feel confident that he was going to get me as close to my "default body" as possible. The only caveat with Dr. Wonderful is that he is way above my pay scale right now. My surgeon, Dr. Frenzel and his team have worked hard to basically get everything covered by insurance with very little out of pocket.
The light at the end of the tunnel to a flat tummy and perky titties is that I am one step closer (11 days to be exact) to feeling more confident in the fact that this loose skin will be history and my boobs have served their purpose to my kids and I get to have them back to myself. It will be wonderful not to have to spend over $50 on DDD or F bras, being able to actually shop in Victoria's Secret or even buy a bra and panty set from Marshall's or TJ Maxx or wherever. I haven't had a bra and panty set in forever! The possibilities of being able to wear a bikini for the first time in my life, or not have to walk around with a FUPA. I won't have to put my big purse in front my of belly when I sit down with friends and I will actually be able to go to the gym and run, jump, lift, swing, yoga or do whatever and not have to wear 2 sports bras and worry about the girls wanting to show themselves!
So many things to look forward to, maybe I'm just in a funk because I'm PMSing. Better now than while I'm recovering from surgery. I've dropped a few before photos to share with you, I'll keep posting as I go through this journey. This site has been a great tool and resource for information, encouragement and expectations. I appreciate every who shares their story and journey, you have been a God-send.
Counting Down...4 More Days!
So I'm in full nesting mode, counting down until Tuesday! I've gotten all of my recovery meds that my surgeon ordered for me through the mail order pharmacy. I saw my PCP today to get real pain meds (my surgeon in Dallas can't prescribe class II drugs). I braided my hair so that I don't have to worry about it for the next six weeks. And thanks to the Real Self Community, I think that I'm all set with everything I need to heal! The only thing that I haven't gotten is the Arnica gel. I would like to know from you all if it really works? Is it necessary? Do you feel like it was crucial to your recovery?
My nerves are lessening and my excitement is building, I can't wait to have a new body, i.e., a flat tummy and smaller, perkier boobies!
Oh yeah, I also got my Fascia Blaster in the mail today! Have any of you used it before? It's a great product, you should check it out!
On the Flat Side!
12 Jul 2016
Day of treatment
I have been out of surgery now for about 8 hours of so and I must say, I feel surprisingly great (great for all things considered). I'm so glad that they decided to keep me overnight in the hospital, this makes me feel more secure.
I did get up to walk a quarter of the way down the hall and that was really hard. It was intense (pain wise) and I wasn't sure if I was bending over enough, plus I felt a little light-headed. After that I went to pee and it took a while for my bladder to empty once I sat down.
What has also been hard is burping, I want to BELCH and I just keep releasing a little gas at a time, not so relieving. I haven't pooted at all yet, that would probably give me some relief also. I have been really itching so I had the nurse call the doc for a Benedryl request, it helped some, but not really.
I haven't had an appetite, but I've been really dry-mouthed and thirsty. Other than my few complaints, tonight, I feel like this has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. Oh yeah and I don't feel any pain whatsoever in my breasts! I haven't felt this perky since I was 17!
I've completed a few pics of my vantage point so far. I'll upload more as I see more!
Home Sweet Home
I was discharged from the hospital this evening around 5pm. I survived the bumpy car ride and a flight upstairs to my bedroom and I had to pee really bad (thank God that I purchased the toilet seat riser with the handles - it was worth the $60). I finally had the opportunity to look in the mirror, just to see if I could tell any difference, and surprisingly I could tell a huge difference.
My boobs are pretty swollen and tight, so much so that it looks like I had a BA. I love that they seem high and perky. My tummy looks a lot smaller too, it definitely looks flat and narrow.
Any way, I managed to go slowly and carefully to my bed. It's kinda high so I had to use a step to get up there. I am so glad that I invested in an adjustable base and tempurpedic bed last summer. I don't have to prop a lot of pillows under, over or around because I can position my bed to my comfort level.
As far as my pain goes, I'm hovering around a 7 or 8 when I have to slightly adjust myself or move. As long as I'm completely still, it's not too bad. It does feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest, so I'm trying to cough and use the Airlife breathing thingy. I've been trying to do my best to take deep breaths. Things on my body are definitely trying to wake up now, because the pain is a mother????
I have my post-op visit tomorrow, so I'll try to take a few pics and post them when he removes the garment and change out the dressing.
I'm dozing off of the meds, good night everyone ????????
Home Healing - Getting Better Each Day
Just wanted to share a quick update while I had energy to type. My meds make me so sleepy!
The photos that I'm sharing are from my 2 day post op visit and I'll also share a few that I took last night. My partner was able to remove my pain pump, it didn't hurt as I anticipated, it just felt weird coming out. It was totally worth it, because it's one less thing to worry about while I'm up walking around. It's day 5, counting my surgery day and I feel better each day. I did notice that I have a lot of swelling in both my tummy and boobs (especially the little area between my lower breasts.
Overall, I feel good, some pain, but mostly discomfort. I'm trying to do a little more each day at a slow pace. I do not have any regrets at this point. I'm very pleased.
9 Days Post Op
I can't believe how fast time has flown by. I'm already 9 days post op and starting to feel better day by day. My routine hasn't changed much: meds, bed, meds, bed. I do walk my upstairs hallway at least every couple of hours and I've ventured downstairs a few times.
My partner was able to remove my On-Q pain pump, it didn't hurt, but felt weird coming out. I have an appt. tomorrow with my surgeon and I'm anticipating what they will say. Maybe I'll be able to get at least one of the drain tubes removed. They don't really bother me, it's just more cumbersome than anything.
Itching seems to be one of the biggest Achilles Heel, so I take Benedryl to help calm it. I've noticed for the past couple of days I've been getting sharp pains in my boobs and sometimes in the tummy incisions region. I'm thinking it's the nerves coming back to life.
I still do not have feelings in my nipples and I'm praying that it's not cause for concern. The good news is that they still get erect and I can feel that.
My walker and my toilet seat riser had been a life saver. I still walk hunched over, but as the day progresses I can stand a little straighter. I drink plenty of water and I think that has helped keep the swelling under control. I also ice the areas that tend to swell and that helps too. I use my TENS unit to help with my back pain and my Fascia Blaster to massage my legs to help with the blood flow.
Overall I'm loving my new body and I look forward to seeing the final results minus the swelling, gauze, tape, stitches and pain :-)
Follow up Friday
I had my official one week follow up yesterday (10 days post op). Everything is progressing well. The PA removed the sutures from my pretty newly placed navel and the sutures around my areola. It kinda hurt because they were embedded pretty deeply, but I survived. She also removed the right drain and it didn't hurt it just felt weird and made a funny suction noise. She gave me the okay to wear my binder on top of my compression garment and I was excited about that. I told her about the shooting pains that I'm getting in my breasts and tummy and she confirmed what I thought, the nerves coming back to life.
After I made it back home I realized that I had a prescription in my medicine cabinet for nerve pain (Gabapentin). I decided to take one with my other nightly meds and I was astounded at how great I felt today. Today has been the first day that I didn't have to take my pain meds every 4 hours, it was my first pain-free day. I thought about getting out of the house, but I decided to take it easy and just enjoy a normal day.
I am still on cloud 9 enjoying my pretty, perky boobs and flat tummy, I'm enjoying the journey and embracing each day of progress!
18 Days PO
I went to my weekly doc's appointment yesterday. Things are progressing right along. The Fellow decided that I should keep my left drain tube in at least another week. I'm still outputting around 25-27 ML per 24 hours and they would like it to be well under 25. I wasn't upset, because I'd rather not have to deal with fluid collection and extraction.
They removed all of the surgical tape from my tummy incision as well as the tape from the anchor lines of my breasts. The right one seems to look more healed than the left. I will say that I feel very vulnerable without the tape, it feels like open wounds. Although it's not open, I just felt more secure with the band-aids (so to speak).
I will say that this is a new level of pain, it's like I'm starting over. I was in a lot of pain late last night. I took pain meds, a muscle relaxer, a Xanax, Benedryl for the excessive itching and I applied the topical pain and NSAID cream/gel. I slept well and woke up very stiff and in more pain. I took another pain pill and a nerve pain pill and now I'm much more comfortable.
My incisions feel pretty thick under my breasts and at my hip lines, but I understand that this is just a part of the healing process. I'm still very pleased with my new body, it feels surreal. I'm living in the moment and going through each phase of the process. I'm grateful, I feel blessed, I've been able to heal with a peace of mind of not having complications. I have an amazing support system and that is more than enough.
Some Pics to Share
I am so pleased with my results! Dr. Frenzel did an amazing job. I'm almost three weeks PO and I have minimal swelling and it is great to have a tummy flat as a board. I'd only wish that I would have gotten a lil lipo to the flanks, but my doc said that I could always get that done in time. Since I'm a gym rat, I look forward to being able to workout again, and I'm gonna try to work the flanks off with some HIIT training and Tabata spin. We'll see...here's some pics of my progress!
Drain-Free in Week Three!
I went to my follow up appointment today and Dr. Ditto (my surgeon's fellow) removed my final drain. I was so relieved that I felt no pain! He said that my healing is going extremely well and that I should have minimal scarring. That was exciting to hear, because I was cautiously optimistic. He said that by the end of the week I can wear my garment part time and after six weeks I can wear it as needed. He also said that I can lightly begin to workout by walking or light jogging, but I can't resume anything more strenuous until about six weeks to two months out. I specifically asked about my favorite workout (spin cycle) and he said I can try that about two months or so. In terms of ab work, crunches i.e., six months for that. He said that the muscles have to be completely healed. The main point that he drove home was to listen to my body and it would immediately tell me what my limitations are. My next follow up is in a month!
I still take my pain meds about once or twice a day. The mornings and nights are the roughest. I think by the evening, I'm just worn out and my body is responding to my being overactive sometimes and in the morning, I'm stiff my tummy muscles spasm and it's still quite painful. Honestly I haven't experienced a ton of swelling during this entire experience. I believe this is attributed to me wearing my garment around the clock (with the exception of when it's in the laundry). I also stay hydrated, drinking water all day. The biggest pain is the itching! The itching will drive you crazy, but it is a sign of healthy healing, so I guess it would be behoove me to complain too much. I do keep my stock of benedryl and xanax to keep me relaxed.
My therapy is connecting with all of you on RealSelf. It's reassuring that you're not going through this alone, and it's also assuring that it's nothing selfish about putting one self first!
I did attempt to go bra shopping yesterday. I went to Victoria's Secret first, I was looking for a front closure wire-free bra, and no luck there! The only version of those are the bralettes. I did try on a few and they did look pretty damn sexy! I also got sized and I am currently at 34D. Nice rack, if I do say so myself. I thought I was a 'c' cup. Doc said that I would be able to transition into underwire three months out (the scars underneath the boobs have to be completely healed). I guess I'll invest in a couple of more sports bras, I found a few on Amazon. I'll get my sexy back in the Fall!
I'll take some more pics and upload, but quite honestly not much has changed with the exception of the drains being gone.
10 Weeks With No Regrets
24 Sep 2016
2 months post
I couldn't be happier with my results 10 weeks post op! I went to see my surgeon last week and HE was even impressed with my results!
If I had to do over again, I think the only thing I would do different would have been to get the lipo of my flanks. I've started going back to being really physical at the gym, incorporating weight training, spin, HIIT, and other cardio, so hopefully this will help to maximize my results.
It's so great having normal sized boobs! I can run, jump rope, exercise and they don't get in the way. The best part is that if I don't feel like wearing a bra, I don't have to! I do notice that my headlights are always on! What's up with that?? Also I haven't gotten the sensation back in my nipples or my lower abs, between my naval and pubic area.
My TT scar is healing nicely, I think, I've started scar therapy with a compounding cream from the pharmacy. I do have raised scars on the side of my BR which you can see in the photos.
I've shared some photos!