56 Years and Finally Saying Buh-Bye and Good Riddance! - Banff, AB

First off I want to thank the countless brave...

First off I want to thank the countless brave sistahs who have already gone over to the “flat side” and have posted their stories here for all to witness. I have travelled along with you on your journeys, silently wishing I were you, until, at long last, I am! Without your insight, advice and hilarious stories of recovery, I may not have felt as prepared (nor worthy, for I am Woman). So in honor of “paying it forward” it is my turn to share my own story for the sistahs still wishing…

I have never had children, but I have been bequeathed (along with my mother and sisters) a “pot belly”. Like so many of you, regardless of how my weight may have ballooned (+/- 225) or plummeted (130), my constant companion was my pot. It hampered the purchase of clothes, the degree of nekidness I would allow when being intimate and well, see the note above for feeling worthy? I’ve just never felt “normal”. Never mind having an ultra-flat belly worthy of a Sports Illustrated cover, how about just a belly that didn’t make me look pregnant all.the.time (and believe me, I was asked many times) and wince every time I looked in the mirror. 56 years is a long time to hate the mirror.

During each weight loss, I would imagine seeing a fab surgeon and being sculpted into my dream bod… but then I would gain (emotional eater) and the cycle would repeat. Rather than take you on my weight loss roller coaster (many of you are familiar with that ride), suffice to say that I finally licked my demons and have been able to maintain my current weight of 148 – with no yo-yo-ing for awhile now.

Sure, I’ve had consultations in the past, from eastern to western Canada, but there was always something that stood in the way of me committing to having the TT done. This time, when I decided to obtain consults from my three top choices, I was totally ready (and “Sweetie” was encouraging all the way – he had grown as tired hearing about my belly as I had grown lugging it around). The first consult went wonderfully well, so well that I was “this close” to booking on the spot, but something held me back. “Due diligence” kept coming back to me… he seemed good, but was there better? When I had my second consult, I patted myself on the back for having listened to that little voice because she was phenomenal. You know when people say you’ll “just know”? Well, I did. Despite her fees being significantly higher, I was sold on the absolute thoroughness of the consult, her expertise and the prospect of NO DRAINS.

I should mention here and now that due to all the weight gains and losses and, let’s face it, GRAVITY, I am also having a BR/L at the same time (plus lipo, natch!). So as far as the no drains for the TT went, I was sold. But I was equally sold on the vertical BR technique she uses which eliminates the need for that scar under the breast (as well as supposedly keeping them up and perky longer). Needless to say, I didn’t make it to the third consultation (but I did call to check what sort of techniques he used “just in case”; the standard drains and anchor).
My next step…. don’t laugh… was to consult my astrologer for the most auspicious date for surgery (yes, I’m a bit of a woo-woo chick). Once that was confirmed (there was actually only one day in the list I provided that she could vet). So…. February 24th it was!

I’m excited. I’m scared. I like to say “Scare-cited”. And all manner of emotions in between, not to mention “not worthy” rearing its head every now and again… I should be thinner. I should be younger. And my fave… Do you know how many European vacations we could have gone on for the price of a TT and BR???? But then I go back to the countless posts I have read that encourage, “Do it, you are worth it, you will be so glad you did”. And I relax a bit and smile.

My questions have been endless. I tend to over-prepare for just about everything in life, but then realize over-thinking and fretting won’t help either. The body will ultimately do what bodies do… heal and return to its state of homeostasis (balance, health). I just have to support that process and stay out of my sweet body’s way.

So Belly-Sistahs, I raise a toast to all of you who have gone before, and those who are travelling along with me as we await the arrival of our shiny new tops ‘n bottoms!

3 more sleeps!

Apologies for my wonko posts - sometimes it is meant to be a reply to a comment and then it seems to get posted as a new post. I'm sure by the time I'm healed I'll get the hang of it! *LOL*

I have to be honest. I was "this close" to taking down my original post yesterday... I'm ULTRA private. And then the pics! Woooooooo Nellly! I was even closer to taking those down, certain I would get comments that would be so hurtful that I would just crumple up. So you have no idea just how much each word of encouragement, each tiny gem you share with me means. I look at those pics and think, "I don't FEEL like that... are you SURE I look that bad?!?!" *LOL* Obviously the money I'm spending will be well worth it!

So... last night a fabulous evening spent with friends. Today, I just returned from a marvellous massage (in preparation for too many days spent in bed). Now laundry, making some greens soup and beginning the process of ensuring I have everything I need in my suitcase. (Plus my gemstones picked to enhance healing... told ya I was a bit woo-woo.... I'm leaving nothing to chance! *LOL)

I'm finally allowing myself to get excited. More excited. I told Sweetie earlier today just how scared I was. When he asked me what I was scared about... I almost couldn't think of why. This is something I've wanted FOREVER so how would that be scary? Undergoing any anesthetic could end in something "that will not be spoken", but the likelihood of that is less-than-negligible. For me, it's the loss of control (Private + UBER controlling) and perhaps, lack of trust. Although I love my surgeon, there is a little voice that says, "What if I neglect to tell her something REALLY important and then my result if less than ideal?" I was sharing with him it was kinda like having a haircut with your eyes closed, relying only on your stylist's interpretation of what they think you want. But it's more... hair grows back. Or like a tattoo artist's version of what you tell them you want permanently etched on your body. But it's still more; a tattoo can be removed. This is handing over the reins to the "nth" degree to someone else... without even being able to peek during the process and saying, "No, just a little bit more... oooh, that's a nice bellybutton, but can you make it a tad more round??" *LOL* This is pretty much irreversible. I know it will all BE FINE... omigawd, looking at my photos, how can it not be a buzillion percent better? But I also don't want to have unreasonable expectations either. I was told to bring in photos of breasts that I liked the size of... now I'm fantasizing I'll look like that perfectly-breasted and bellied sweet young thing! *LOL* Okay, maybe not.

Lots going on in this non-stop brain today. Maybe I needed a brain massage. Maybe I'll go meditate.

All the Pros

Time's a' ticking! The last load of laundry is in the dryer... bag packed... final read-through of my info sheets done... last list of questions for the PS compiled. Check, check and check!

Tomorrow I have an appointment with Dr M for a final consult (I believe they think I'm high-strung 'cuz I have SO MANY questions... but I'm just curious!) and markings. Then the next morning... ta da! I still cannot believe it's snuck up on me so quickly from the initial consultation (Dec 11). I've been zooming, trying to get everything done, the last couple of weeks with bits of paper and lists strewn everywhere, not to mention pictures of BOOBS everywhere!

Today I thought of some PROS for having my TT and what it will really mean to my life. I'm sure there are countless others, so feel free to add to the list.

1. I HATE my belly button and always have. It's a "saddy" and I've always longed for a cute little one.
2. I don't know about you, but I always find myself wearing really high-waisted jeans and pants in order to sorta create a waist. My dad would have called them "Zoot Suiter" pants. I cannot wait to wear something low-rise with a cute half-tucked-in shirt and maybe a great belt. A belt?!?! Wow!
3. I want to be able to look down and see my "girl bits"... I've NEVER seen my "girl bits"!!!
4. I feel like I have a "dirty little secret"... like I have to strategically dress to cover up the big ol' belly. I'm sure EVERYONE has something they dislike about their body... but I've always felt there was something wrong with me, that I was somehow misshapen rather than just fat.
5. I'm gonna rock a thong without it seeming just absurd (here's hoping!)

Okay, your turn!

12 Hours to Go Time

Hard to believe that tomorrow one of my most long-held and cherished dreams is coming true. Who will I be afterward? What doors might this open because I'm more confident to walk through? Musings and suppositions abound. Perhaps I shall simply be a more happy me. And that is huge.

Great afternoon consult with my PS to go over yet another page of questions (she probably thinks that's the last of them...ha!) and do the markings. Tomorrow morning I'm off to the hospital and then... and then...

Question: Has anyone who has undergone a BR felt their breasts were made too small? My surgeon keeps wanting to ensure I wouldn't be happy just having mine sculpted and lifted rather than made much smaller. I DUNNO!!

A HUGE SHOUT OUT goes out to all the generous sistahs who have sent along their heartfelt wishes. They mean so very much. I cannot believe that I hesitated for so long before posting my story; sure I could handle everything on my own, that I'd be just fine. All true, but why go it alone when there is such a community of caring, compassionate and curious women who want to hold your hand along the way? If you're thinking of posting, Just Do It. We're all waiting to cheer you on.

And now, after a light dinner, glass of wine and lovely warm shower it is time for me to go zen and dream... See you all on the Happy Side!!

(apologies for the upside down pics...sheesh!)

It's Christmas!!!

I did it!!! It's done!!! It's like Christmas!!! All without a hitch, just lotsa stitches. (Narc humour... still maintaining my every-four-hours loopy pill dosage). In promptly at 8am yesterday and before I heard, "Okay, you're going to sleep now", I was in Recovery; about 7 hours in surgery. Apparently I was Dr M's only case for the day so she said she'd. just take her time. (Did I mention how much I love that woman?). Quite awhile in Recovery and then back to my room. Extremely dry mouth, but not much else to complain about (maybe the crying baby down the hall?). Post care has been excellent on all fronts.

I haven't had taken any full-frontal pics as yet, but when they're checking my dressing and I look down... I see lady bits! I see pubes!! OMG!!!! ????????????

Your comments have played a HUGE-A-CEOUS part in my process. Why am I so private and shy when there are such awesome benefits to being open and vulnerable? Ahhh, lessons abound!

And now, nothing more to do other than nurture myself back to wholeness. Just wanted to post this wee update for those of you following. Promise to get some pics for you asap.

Squishy hugs to you, my Flat 'n Perky Sistahs!!

Going Home Day

You've all been so patiently waiting for an update and pics (I know I was) that I wanted to send this out before getting in the car for our 2-hr journey home. Already? Wow!! Well, the second day, yesterday, was tough on a few fronts. Still a little dopey from meds so apologies for grammar... *insert goofy drool face here*

Despite getting up to pee an hour or two after getting back to my room the first day, I stayed pretty much under wraps that day and Day 1 PO. Each time I had to get up, it was a tiny bit easier, but in truth I never allowed my pain to get anywhere near out of hand. It wasn't until Day 2 PO (yesterday) that I started to really walk the halls, have a shower and... take a peek. ????

It's weird. I've seen so many of your beautiful bodies as they transform, but I guess I had no emotional attachment to them whereas I do to my own. So seeing mine made me want to gasp... or go WTF? Yes, I knew I'd be bruised, but I ate pineapple for 10 days prior to surgery (someone had been told to do do by their surgeon for 5 days so I figured 10 days would eliminate any bruising and, well, it was ME! LOL). So there was tons of bruising as she had done TONS of lipo. But also a fair bit of swelling in my midline which had me (already?) a tad disgruntled. I had had a fair bit of skin laxity in the mid section going in, which was why the original surgeon oh-so-long ago, had wanted to do a Fleur-de-Lys. Neither of the current surgeons I had seen felt it would provide me with enough of a benefit (more flatness) to warrant an extra scar. Anyway... I'm a fretter/tweaker and of course if we decided it could use a revision, my surgeon would be on board. But I've also seen pics in this forum that looked as mine do (possibly even worse) and after a year the results were astoundingly awesome. So my challenge is to just let it go. And trust. But thanks for letting me spew just the same.

I know the thing I'll miss the most is the side bar on the hospital bed. It helps so much when getting up. And what I'll need help the most with is putting myself back into the CG. If it weren't for that I'd almost feel independent (but I won't tell Sweetie that just yet!). I would heartily recommend, if at all possible, staying in the hospital the first three days. Day 2 is typically tough and last night, as baby was gone, I actually slept for 6 hours solid. Heaven!

Well, my sistahs far and near, let me take a mo' to send each of you a virtual hug with blessings for your own continued healing... or finding those few extra shekels to put towards your Belly Pots!


(Don't scream when you see the photos).

Things I Have Learned To Be True (for me)

Wow, this back pain everyone talks about is real, but so is the desire to stand up and walk around which almost immediately helps curb it. I can just as easily watch tv standing up plus it gives my back a break and helps with the all-important blood flow in my calves.

It did not hurt to poo the first time. I knew it would be a relief afterwards, but was pretty anxious about getting started. It was fine. The body remembers.

Narcotics make your mouth and throat so dry and your tongue feel like sandpaper so everything that you try and eat feels and tastes odd. Drink non-stop. Water with a bit of lemon juice works for me.

The swelling that made me *gasp* and almost become a howling mess on Day 2 continually decreases and today my body, at the end of Day 5, is starting to show signs of becoming "normal". I can see the contours (and belly button) emerging as the swelling and bruising start to subside. But I've also used the experience of my PS nurse to find out how I compare to what she's seen on other Day 1's and how far one can go. And I know I'll totally allow myself a revision should one be required. There are so many (unknown) variables that go into the result one obtains that with a starting point such as mine, perhaps it was even a lofty expectation to have myself "perfect" in one fell swoop. This is going to be my ultimate lesson in patience. But my body is the perfect teacher, and my Sweetie the best friend ever to hold my hand along the way. (Do narcs make you sappy?! LOL)

I've been drinking a smoothie everyday with pineapple+blackberries+raspberries - my naturopath's super healing blend (I also add coco water, almond milk, hemp hearts and kale). Do you have any nutritional power shakes that have worked for you?

I always feel better after a little cry. This is some rocky surgery and more of a mind body spirit event than I ever anticipated. Learning to relinquish control and accept assistance and care is a(nother) monumental lesson... not to mention feeling worthy to accept these gifts.

Happy Healing Luvvlies!

A Little Bit of "Normal"

Today was my first foray back into the world since returning home from surgery (save a couple of tiny walks around the courtyard). Sweetie and I went to the Market and I was never so giddy for such a mundane errand as I was today. People! Produce! Life! *LOL* We then went to my fave coffee joint for an almond milk latte and a yak... a little bit of heaven. Then home to go horizontal and decrease some of the swelling, but no extreme fatigue that I've heard some have had to contend with. Just a lovely taste of "normal". I do believe I will survive the healing process after all.

One discovery made yesterday that I'd like to share, and that I could somehow never get a straight answer to (maybe it was obvious to everyone but me) was this: I had bought a bunch of cotton granny panties to use post-surgery, but couldn't for the life of me figure out whether they would be best used over or under the CG (that did have a hole in the crotch, though I was too nervous to use it for fear of !!! so lots of up-and-dowining). For the first 8 days, I just wore a really thick dressing over my incision that I got from the hospital with the CG over top (no panties over or under - which maybe wasn't such a bad idea, to let Her air out - *LOL*). But then, yesterday, I thought I'd try a pair on underneath the CG, using unscented Always pantyliners stuck inside my panties in place of dressings (suggested by PS) and it worked great! It's great to feel covered up again and now I don't have to rely on Sweetie's assistance in doing up the CG while I try to hold the dressing in place. One more step towards independence. Yay!

Hope all my Sistahs are trucking along and sincere thanks for allowing me the privilege of following your journeys. I am always amazed at how quickly time seems to pass, but in this case time is seemingly endless, especially true when I think of the MONTHS of recovery still to go. But as the swelling begins to subside (when?!) and the back pain starts to diminish (when?!) and as long as there's a latte or two to keep me going... I know I shall continue towards my new "normal". Happy Healing! :-))

Ramblings & Levity

After yesterday's wee sojourn - and feeling like a stuffed sausage because of the increased activity - thinking today I shall only venture out for a wee walk. But feeling much more mobile and back less achy than yesterday (due to the morning's amazingly awesome BM perhaps?)

Started the day feeling a bit sensitive... still have that belly "cleft/fold" with all the swelling and fretting it'll never go away as I gaze upon all your beautiful immediately-flat bellies, even with drains. (My TT was drainless... could that have something to do with the swelling?). And I've discovered an odor coming from my BB which, if I haven't mentioned already, I HATE (thanks RPMsMom, I'll give your trick a try) so got out the peroxide and antibiotic ointment. (Maybe it's smelly 'cuz I'm not given' it enough love???). So I thought I should walk around in my sexy grannypannies and really let things dry off and air out after my morning's shower before hopping back into the girdle and bra.

So I'm sitting with Sweetie and he asks how come I look so sad and I reply that I think I'm gonna need a little cry today... maybe not right now, but certainly today... And I catch him casting his eyes downwards towards the (new) girls with THAT LOOK... then he catches me and blushes and I could not help but burst out laughing.

These amazingly supportive partners that are coming along on this topsy-turvy ride with us... they are just The Best, aren't they? I mean, for someone who has not lived with a big ol' belly for 50-odd years to even try to begin to understand what an emotional and physical toll it takes is huge... and then to have them hold your hand and tell you repeatedly that surgery IS more important than that trip to Provence or Tuscany... yowzah! But they are our lovers as well and despite zipping you out of and into your girdle time and again, and even with the grannies on, bits of paper tape hanging hither and yon, to still see that desire is giddy-kewl.

And then I went and ate a piece of bacon for breakfast. Gawd, I'm gonna pay for that.

The Good, the Sad, and the Whiny

Hullo Sweet Belly 'n Boob Sistahs! I hope each of your healing journeys is progressing easily and effortlessly. Know how devotedly I am following each of you and how much I applaud your tiny accomplishments and miraculous photos and lament your temporary setbacks. This community buoys my spirits when they are flagging, no more so than yesterday when they seemed to hit an all-time low.

Spoiler alert: Whining ahead.

To recap: On February 24th I underwent a Drainless Extended Tummy Tuck with MR; BBR/L; Lipo to flanks, underarms and mons; Umbilical hernia repair (I think). I will never think of my PS, Susan, as anything but an artiste extraordinaire if you look at my Before pics. To have had such a "canvas" to work with and to have given me anything akin a "normal" body is truly awe-inspiring and a testament to her skills. I really do try to capitalize on the positives... my TT incision is so low and follows the curve along my flanks beautifully despite being so long...thrilled I have had so little pain (stiffness, soreness yes, but no real pain)... that I was walking upright by the end of the first week... that I can now lean over the sink to wash my face without having to hold myself up or think about it. But... however... still...

I'm just tired. On the eve of three weeks PO, I am just tired despite intellectually knowing this wasn't going to be a cake-walk. Tired of having to get up in the middle of the night to pee. Tired of everything being arduous - getting into bed, out of bed, going to the bathroom, showering, tying my shoelaces, sitting, standing, of not being able to sleep flat or roll onto my side to snuggle into Sweetie... the list goes on. Gone is the ease and fluidity of not thinking about every movement and how to best go about it. And there are still months of recovery to go.

I worry. About how swollen I still am. Or whether I was never actually swollen and this is just as good as it gets. About how snug my girdle still is considering I was told it would probably be too big after a couple of weeks. About how much change and improvement I might still see. Or whether this is as good as it gets. About the odd right-sided twinges I get reminiscent of a past hernia repair.

I compare myself to my sistahs. Which is a slippery slope and oh-so-dangerous. 'Cuz I know we are all different with different body types, biology, healing, surgeons, etc, etc, etc.

My belly is still odd. There is a midline fold that hasn't changed - due to redundant skin? excessive swelling? I'm left wondering whether this will eventually resolve or whether it will necessitate additional surgery (and am not surprised at how reticent I am to consider a revision given my current mood even though I still don't feel I look entirely "normal"). I feel rather "barrel-bellied" and solid.

My BB continues to bother me. I had wanted just a nice little divot and I've got all this tissue which I am trusting will be able to be resolved in the office at a future date. The odor continues, though not nearly as badly now that I'm drying it with a blow dryer and ensuring my panties don't come up over it. Interesting how my BB still pulls to the right (she tried to correct this, to no avail) and I wonder whether it has something to do with the previous right-sided hernia repair. I'll attempt to address this with some craniosacral therapy once I'm good and healed.

My breasts. The right one is magnificent, even at this early date and exactly what I was hoping for. The left, however, not so much. Maybe the "newspaper swelling" under my arm is due to the lipo and will resolve, but at this stage it almost looks as though it had been forgotten. The nipple isn't perky and the shape isn't nearly as nice as her cousin's.

I have some nerve damage at my right anterior thigh. No biggie as I had the exact same thing after my hernia repair and it eventually resolved... but it is kinda weird. Although I'm rather numb all over so it only adds to the festivities.

As mentioned, I awoke yesterday feeling blue and the feeling continued even after the "best" cry I've had since surgery; vestiges still remain today. Perhaps it's due to the weather turning chilly again in my part of the world and with the temperatures, the greyness of the sky returning. My mood thrives on sunshine so my fingers are crossed this dip back into winter won't last long. Perhaps, too, it's the fact that I'm returning to work on Monday. I hate my job at the best of times so with the added anxiety of how I'll maneuver travel to and from, and what to wear, and will I last upright for all those hours... all probably contributes to my bluishness. Although it will be good to take my mind off myself and every.little.thing.

All these questions and countless others will be answered by my imminently patient PS on Friday when I have my first post-op visit. I'll post current pics that day too along with an update to this rather somber one. My fingers are crossed that my next title can be, "Pretty and Pink"!! *LOL*

Sending hugz if you've made it through my whining and snivelling. I think we've all earned a cuppa Detox tea!

1st PO Visit - "Walking on Sunshine"

Well, I had my first PO visit on Friday (Mar 18th) with my most magnificent PS and have lots to report plus pics!

I think the next greatest step in my return to "new" normalcy was having the paper tape removed by the nurse prior to seeing the doc. Suddenly, things don't pull as much as they had, like another layer of the old has been removed; kinda like a snake shedding its skin, like now the healing can really kick into high gear. Overall, everything is healing beautifully and I'm definitely ahead of the game as far as moving, pain (none) and returning to activity goes. I've always been a keener. *lol*

So yes, there is the fold of skin in my midline that may or may not resolve. She was thinking that it could be due to the quilting stitches she uses so I've been advised to commence massaging my belly (along with my incisions) twice a day. This may do the trick, as well as help my belly button go back to the midline (which is where it had been when she first did the surgery, hence thinking that sutures are pulling it over). She removed a bunch of protruding stitches from my TT incision as well.

As far as the belly button goes, there was a stitch that was causing the odor grief I was experiencing so now there is a tiny hole where it was which is healing from the inside out; it's looking better everyday. There was also a bit of a rash around the perimeter which I was to use hydrocortisone on until it cleared (which it almost entirely has). Curious how I was sooooo concerned about the appearance of the BB and the extra tissue that was evident. Well, over the last couple of days it seems to have shrunk or imploded and is now only about 25% evident (I guess if I'd read the post-op instructions, I would have seen that the BB can be swollen out for several weeks. D'oh.)

My breasts are a bit uneven, but there is still a LOT of swelling under my left arm due to the lipo which will come down, rounding out the breast. She is also quite confident that the nipple will perk up (my fingers are crossed). There was a tiny area that wasn't healing under my left breast and after she removed a stitch, it has totally closed up over the last couple of days. I asked her to give me a timeline in order that I can just forget about the girls and simply concentrate on healing and loving rather than the shape they aren't. Three months. And then she topped it off by saying those incredibly perfect words: "I want you to be happy, if there's something that you're not happy with we'll make it right". So I can now relax into simply being and healing. And celebrating the what IS ('cuz we all know where I came from!)

Yesterday was a huge day of marketing, coffee-ing, shopping and erranding. I did need a lay down when we got home, although that was as much due to not sleeping all that well the night before (still can't lay on my side - aaaarghh!) as the busyness of the day. When I awoke we actually went for the longest walk I've been on since surgery. It was grand! With such a lovely day out today, I do believe it demands a repeat performance.

Today I was up early with Sweetie who was heading out for a day of skiing. I made a pot of soup and some biscuits in preparation for my return to work (ugh!) tomorrow. I then decided to shower, wash my girdle and take on the rather anxiety-provoking task of massaging... my belly, my breasts, my incisions. But it was a piece of cake! It actually felt great to gently massage my belly and the incisions. I'm using organic coconut oil on my incisions right now. Dr M did suggest a couple of silicone sheet products, if I wish, but she actually thinks I'll be a "good" scar former and the massage will go a long way to helping the scars as well. I might use the silicone strips in future, but for now think I'll give the coconut oil a chance (there's nothing coconut oil can't do!)

Oh yes, I finally did weight and measurements Friday morning, 23 days PO. I was down nine pounds and a bunch of inches, most noticeably under breasts (2"), waist (3") and belly (3"). Not as much as I'd thought, but then I am still pretty swollen.

Hmmm... what do I know now that I can share with you? What have I learned up until now? It's that you just gotta give these sweet bodies a chance - to heal, to rest, to get "there" in their own good time. I think of myself as possibly the world's greatest fretter, but it didn't do me any good to worry about whether I was too swollen, whether my breast would perk up, whether my belly button would ever be a cute little divot. Two weeks, three weeks, gawd, even two or three months... those are early days when you think of what our bodies have just gone through. Think about it. No, really think about it. Cut from "here to there" and pulled down and stitched up and moved around and upside down.... The fact that we can get up to pee the same day is itself a bit of a miracle. And then we start focussing on the imperfections. Well, I did. It behooves us to really be vigilant about any redness, or signs of infection, and to contract our PS if something seems amiss... but other than that... relax and be happy about the amazing gift you finally gave yourself! Thanks to all the sistahs who reminded me of these facts while I was busy being blue.

So now I can simply let go, continue repeating the mantra that someone so generously offered, "Thank you for the healing" and keep reading those beautiful words on the post-it note beside my Before pics: "3-4 weeks of anguish are worth a lifetime of self-acceptance".

Until next time, big hugz and lotsa love for the "real" selves we are becoming. :-)

(Problem uploading pics.... grrrrrr.... will try a little later. :-(

Photo Op - 24 Days PO

Happy One Month Anniversary to Me!

One month today... has it passed quickly? or agonizingly slowly? Yes and yes. I was walking briskly down all our flights of stairs the other morning (!) and thought back to my first days at home when each step was a mountain and how I made sure I wouldn't have to do all the flights in one go. When I get down on how quickly (or slowly) I seem to be healing, I now cast my mind back to those first days... Although we may not appear to be healing on the OUTSIDE, we can rest assured that healing is continuing at the same pace it always has on the INSIDE and will eventually make itself known. And yes, time has passed agonizingly slowly as well when I think of the months still ahead of healing, scar massage and ugh! swell hell. But in the grand scheme of things, I know this will be but a blink.

I returned to work three days ago and yoiks! By the end of the day I feel like my girdle might split; my breasts and belly so sore and swollen. But after I get home and have a 20-minute laydown, all is well again. I even had a laydown at work one lunch which helped hugely.

Speaking of jeans... I was reading about some sistahs lamenting not wearing jeans yet and others bravely scooching into them and thought, "What the hell". I tried a large-ish (stretchy) pair on at the end of my first day back to work when I knew I'd be good and swollen and they were still roomy. So I wore them to work on Day 2... not bad, not as comfy as sweats, but totally okay. It actually felt great to have "real clothes" on... even the leggings I wore on Day 1 were better than what I had been living in the first weeks although the legs of my girdle showed through. It's at times like this I wish I lived somewhere hot like so many of my sistahs so I could just buy some dresses. *lol*

I do believe the belly massage might be helping my crease woes; this pic was taken first thing this morning. I think my belly button might be moving back to the midline too - sometimes in the morning everything looks totally perpendicular with no pulling to the side at all. And the tissue in my belly button is slowly imploding and shrinking. So keep the faith... the healing really IS continuing!

Being back at work and more engaged in life has made abundantly clear the meaning of "swell hell". OMG. Of course all the swelling might really be due to me going through withdrawal of my daily dose of chick flicks and bad daytime tv that I enjoyed (endured?) those first weeks.

Happy Healing Luvvlies! Wishing you all a chocolate-filled weekend!

Ch-ch-ch-Changes at Week 5 PO

Wow! The moment I entered Week 5, so many happy, healing, "normalizing" things started happening... or maybe I just started making them happen!

I started sleeping on my side, tentatively at first and now, quite fully one side, then the other, then my back (without a pillow under my knees even!)... then back to my side. I'm still a bit tender on the lipo areas, but it's small price to pay to feel like I can actually move. And I actually can move... my movements are a lot more fluid... able to squat and bend, able to get out of bed without thinking about each movement and waiting for my body to catch up. I no longer need a pillow behind my back when I'm sitting on the couch, no longer need a stool to put my feet on when I'm sitting... and best of all... I can sit curled up on the couch now, with my legs tucked over to the side, just like I used to do. I've been walking longer and longer too (when I'm not working so late that I'm too pooped for an evening walk). When I get out of bed, the MR feels like I've only done 50 crunches as opposed to a million.

I do believe massaging my belly (in addition to the scars) has helped, even though the photos don't really support that. I can see the fold becoming less prominent, less folded-in and in the morning, the belly button is actually right in midline until I start moving around. So I think progress is being made... and I'm gonna hold to that.

But the other thing that massaging has done is it has allowed me to get to know my new body. As a big-bellied gal, I would deny the existence of my belly... wouldn't look at it or touch it (or allow my partner to) unless I really had to. Getting acquainted with this "new" part of my anatomy means I am less segmented now, more of a whole person. My belly always deserved love, but now I love loving it (not to mention the perky - and getting perkier - girls). I'm having a bit of a love affair with my belly if you haven't noticed. (And I'm sure you are too!)

I have noticed this week that I am absolutely exhausted by the time 8:30pm comes around and can barely make it up to bed. I wasn't this tired the first week back to work, but this week... yoiks!

My goal this coming week is to walk straighter. And I don't mean as in the post-surgery, sore back hunch of those first few days. My centre of gravity is all wonko now that there is 10-pounds less belly 'n boobs. I think I used to walk like a "?"... head down, shoulders slumped... well, I say no mo'!! So now it's shoulders back, letting the girls say hello to the world.

Other than all this, I've been musing on perhaps getting a cat... now that there's room for one on my lap! *LOL* Until next time, sistahs... wishing you warm spring days and dreams of low-rise jeans!

Sometimes it's just a day... albeit a glorious one!

Sometimes you just need to think about something other than the belly 'n boobs, scars and lipo tenderness and allow the healing to continue un"frettered". So yesterday I got my hair colored and cut into a new spring "do" and then moved on down to treat myself to a much-needed pedicure to eradicate the hooves that my feet had become since surgery. Hmmm... Victoria's Secret next perhaps??

This morning we went on a looong, lovely walk in the park followed by a drive to one of my fave mountain towns for the afternoon, trolling art galleries and wine tastings. Tonight, a comedy show which should *fingers crossed* test out my new abs pretty well. (I'm sure with all the action I'll sleep like a baby!)

All in all, it's been a glorious return-to-life spring weekend thus far. Happy sunshine to you sweet sistahs! And here's hoping each and every one of you find something squishy-great to enjoy ('cuz it ain't your belly anymore!!!)

Hugz and smoochies... life is gettin' good!!

Flat bellies, Sistahs and Kittens...? 6 weeks PO

Have you ever watched a kitten? You know how they’re just so sweet and little and you're oh-so gentle with them? And then they start to play, all bright-eyed, and go like crazy… climbing curtains, being adorably bad and getting into mischief, batting your nose, jumping straight up into the air… well, you get the picture. And then… they get tired, curl up and nap.

I think we’re a lot like kittens post surgery. We’re gentle with our new selves in the beginning, but then start thinking we’re (still) superhuman (we are women, after all) and do waaaay too much too soon, figuring we’re back to “normal”. Except that when we get tired, rather than allowing ourselves to just curl up and nap like the kittens, we keep on going!

Are you guilty of this behavior? I sure am. I was so giddy-cited last weekend (you saw the post) thinking I had rounded the corner… “Me swell? What swelling? That’s so over! What can we do next?!” Mmmmhhmmmm…. Well, Sunday came and OMG! All I could do was sit on the couch and hold the remote (barely). Monday I was still SOOOO swollen I thought my skin would rip open and it continued on for a couple of days… exhausted by 8:00pm and swollen to smithereens. Ooops! Who me?!?! Yup.

So, I did what I always do when my system is outta whack… I went on a 3-day juice cleanse. I was concerned that it might be a little soon after surgery and my body needed the calories. But frankly, after my weekend of cavorting (margarita anyone?) and guacamole and too much salt, I figured there was only one thing that would bring me back to center. (I lost much of my weight juicing and it’s become a regular way to reboot the system). Anyway, sleep + juice = a happy me again. With a much flatter belly (oh if only it would stay that way!!). ?

Other Week 6 PO notables:

I’ve been sleeping through the night without having to get up to pee! Yippee!

I’ve been able to use the BIG towel after my shower; no longer having to be so careful around my incisions and worried about scraping against a scab. All scabs are gonzo – even the ones from the stitch removal a few weeks back. I’m back to using a facecloth against my whole body too, again, not taking measures to avoid any incisions. Interesting experience learning the new landscape.

I’ve started using BioOil… think it’s helping, but the verdict is still out.

I switched over from my girdle (had legs, ugh!) to my legless garment. I had tried to get it on before, but it was just too tight. Today I tried and gave up, then tried again and succeeded. Have worn it all day… so awesome having my thighs free! And it’s really quite comfortable.

Went to the mall a bit today and couldn’t resist going into Banana Republic to see the new season’s duds. I had to try on a pair of seersucker cropped pants that I’d seen online… started with a size 10 (not being too optimistic)… too big ? then an 8… still TOO BIG… then a 6, which was comfortable! WOW!

Plans for the next week include returning to daily exercise (rather than just fair-weather walks) including getting back on the elliptical. Also, S.E.X. It’s way time (shall I wear a bow???) And gawd, but I miss sleeping nekkid… soon… soon… cannot wait to be rid of this garment and bra 24/7, but determined to do all I can to help contour this bod into my version of perfect. (“Thank you for the healing… Thank you for the healing…”)

My next PS visit is in a couple of weeks at which time I’ll be 8 weeks PO. I’ll address all my first PS visit list of concerns then and let you know how I’m progressing. And post updated pics too.

Well, sistahs, wishing you a marvelously deeelightful weekend wherever you are in your journey. I have to admit that as I write these posts I am amazed at how quickly the time has passed. While I didn’t think it would pass quickly enough when I was counting days rather than weeks (so I know exactly how all of you in the early days are feeling), trust me when I say it does. You will continue to feel better every day… and the challenges you may be facing in your healing will pass too. Bodies heal. That’s what they do. Bodies want to be healthy. Bodies want to support us. So remember to support your body and think like a kitten… suck up the love, play to your limit, and then ZZZZzzzzzzzzz.

Sending hugz your way. xo

"like a virgin..."

it was a Good, GOOD Sunday afternoon. *nudge nudge wink wink*

ode to the girls

although i longed for twins, i was introduced to sisters instead...
and now regard one more cinderella-like, the other a step-sister with imperfections so evident to me
but i am learning to love you both as i regale you and decorate your orbs with pretty laces and silks
vastly different from the behemoth industrial contraptions of days gone by

my sistahs cautioned me to be wary of entering the Secret house
certain I would be, as they, susceptible to its tantalizing offerings
but I did not heed and instead crossed into the vortex of sheer delights...
now, lost forever, i bow to the god visa and shall festoon you often with bright hues, tiny bows, scalloped edging and delicate wisps

so welcome to you, my girls… both!

(and may i mention your new cousin, though also afflicted with imperfections, is nonetheless similarly quite lovely in her bikinis, boy cuts and thongs!)

Yippee versus Meh... 8 weeks PO

This is going to be quite the post so if you’re in for the long haul, go grab a cuppa (or something stronger) and your blankey. It’s time to do a major recap of my Week 4 woes, let you know where I am today and wax poetic on where I go from here.

I had a chat with Sweetie the evening before my latest PS appointment, going over the list of things I wanted to address; hard questions I was going to ask… answers I really needed. As we spoke, I realized I was really sad because of unfulfilled expectations of what I had wanted my body to look like. I had also been comparing myself (again) to those sistahs with (my version of) perfect results. Because of all this (and the mirror), I still felt less-than-“normal”. As always, he listened patiently and was gentle in his counsel, helping me take the emotion out of my list. (I hate confrontations and was worried that my PS - did I mention I adore her? - would think less of me if I questioned her technique or voiced displeasure. But if I can understand the HOW and the WHY, I’m much better with the WHAT.)

I met with my PS, Susan MacLennan, last Wednesday, bang on 8 weeks PO. Do you believe it? Eight weeks ago I was a sliced ‘n diced mess feeling like I’d just gotten the biggest present ever. I still do, but now my lenses aren’t so rosy. If you’ve been following any of my posts you might have gleaned that I’m a bit of a perfectionist/ control “princess” (I could have said “freak”, but why be mean about it?!). I know I’ve suggested to many of my sistahs to loveLoveLOVE their way to accepting their newly perfect-but-not-quite bodies and I’ve tried to take my own advice. Rally ah hayave (said melodramatically with back of hand to forehead). But it’s tough. We see our bodies under the microscope every day – several times a day – applauding our tiny improvements and lamenting the teeniest stuff. Forgetting we are still healing.

Sometimes I look in the mirror… even with my Befores taped to it and think, “If only…” or “Just a little higher…” or “I wonder why it/she…” Like I said, I’m a perfectionist… although I will say that what I’m seeking is NOT to be the babe in the picture whose boobs I coveted and brought to each appointment, “Can I have these puh-lease?!” I’m far too pragmatic (and old!) to expect those beauties. But I do expect MY version of “perfection”…

Well our consultation went fabulously. All questions were answered, some even before they were asked. She did not hedge and explained fully why I had certain results and, as at Week 4, advised that things were still healing, still settling, still changing. And to be patient. Aaaarrrrggghh! Patience-smatience! I admit I may not realize I’m still in the relatively early stages of healing as I had practically no pain and my post-op recovery went so easily and effortlessly. Of course I figure I’m ready for a revision! *LOL* “No, BBB… things are still healing. BE PATIENT.”

Okay, I’ve moaned and preambled long enough. Let’s get to the “Yippee versus Meh” list…

Back at my first PO visit post (25 days PO), I made mention of all the issues that were still bothering me and just reread it so I could compare then and now.

The belly crease, that Dr M initially thought might have been due to quilting sutures, does persist. She still believes that to be the most likely cause of this anomaly (that she has never encountered before – gulp!). Apparently, quilting sutures can leave little divots or puckers in the belly from where the sutures have been used to reattach the fascia. I don’t have any of those. But she did do a row of sutures from the breastbone right to my belly button… exactly the line where the crease runs. She was firm in her opinion this visit that the crease had gotten significantly better than it had been initially. For me, it’s always there so “better” doesn’t mean much. “Gone” is what I’m holding out for. (Okay, NORMAL is what I’m holding out for… who has a crease in their belly?!) She advised to continue with massage and see what transpired at 6+/- months. Typically, quilting sutures dissolve at around that time, so I have no choice but to persevere. It will have been worth it if one day, my crease magikally disappears. Please please please.

Happily, my belly button, that seemed so hideous initially, is looking quite okay. It’s still a bit discolored from the sutures, but all of the redundant tissue has shrunken into itself. It’s not quite a divot, but it is definitely an “inny” and once it’s the same color as my belly I’ll be pretty pleased. (At least it’s not a “saddy” anymore!)

I finally understand that what I’m feeling really is swelling and not just run-of-the-mill fat. (Did you hear the “Phew!?”) I mean, I knew I was swollen… or thought I was swollen… or maybe hoped I was swollen… but because I didn’t seem to get “that much” bigger or smaller, I thought maybe this was as good as it’d get. Nuh-unh. It’ll get better. And better! Swelling is that heavy feeling at the bottom of your abdomen, usually felt at the end of the day. Swelling is also that really firm feeling when you press on your abdomen…. fat is squishy. (I can tell you all the areas I’m still very squishy!) I was wondering why I was feeling “barrel-bellied” and it’s because I’m still really very swollen. I had been concerned too when I looked at the pics of my sistahs and they were uber flat. Well, I may never be uber anything, but my belly will definitely flatten and soften (hopefully not into squishy territory) as the swelling continues to go down. (Say it with me…”I am only 8 weeks… I am only 8 weeks… I am continuing to heal…”)

The muscle repair isn’t giving me nearly as much grief as it did in the earlier days. I did find out that the repair wasn’t terribly extensive (I haven’t had children) although I was tightened from stem to stern. It still feels like I’ve done a bunch of core work when I get out of bed, but it’s now a nice feeling as opposed to one of dread.

As far as sleep goes, I’m pretty much back to my “normal”. We tend to be early- to-bed for a multitude of reasons. I’ve found that if I’m in bed and asleep by 10-bells or so, I sleep through the night. If I’m in bed closer to 11, my insomnia kicks in… weird, huh? Sweetie is up at 5:00am every morning, gym rat that he is, so we like to get to zzzzzz early. Besides, it takes me 35+ minutes to complete all the massaging. That will be a red-letter day… when I no longer have to massage anything! Sleep is delicious, both on my sides and back, but the lipo’d areas continue to be quite tender; on the sides of the breasts as well as the flanks.

Now for the girls…. There is still unevenness right-to-left. It’s the first thing I see and the first thing I look at when I look in a mirror. Yes, they were always different. Yes, I know. But I didn’t BUY the initial versions! I did buy these puppies! *LOL* Dr M had said to wait a full three months before I started getting critical as they were going to continue to change and there was still a lot of lipo swelling under my arms. At two months, the swelling has gone down significantly, especially on my left side, and indeed there has been some rounding-out of my left breast. But to my eye, it still looks rather like a Torpedo Tit pointing downwards… whereas the right one is more a Lovely Orb, although that areola points a bit outward for my liking. And both of the areolae are uneven… the left larger than the right. ?

I was pretty pointed in my questions regarding the disparities and Dr M answered them calmly and fully. It was even in the literature… that exact shapes and sizes cannot be guaranteed. I did begin with “sisters rather than twins” in two different sizes and shapes so it’s difficult to make them exactly the same (even with her expertise). And while the areolae are cookie-cut into the correct and equal diameters, sometimes stretching occurs, or unequal healing. Again, she anticipates a significant amount of change to still take place and said she wouldn’t even contemplate next steps until we knew what we were left with after all was said and done. She did caution me to not purchase too many bras as the size would inevitably change (did she hear about my newest addiction? Wine, Chocolate and Victoria’s Secret!) Oh, I neglected to mention in my “bra ‘n panties” post that I actually purchased three new VS bras. I’ve found the Body by Victoria ones lovely and soft against the incisions (especially their lounge bra) so you may want to give them a try.

So I’ve gained about four pounds over the last month. No doubt due to eating waaay too much – and we’re not talking fruits and veggies. I’m attributing it to inactivity (except on weekends) as well, resulting in a slow return to cravings and giving in. I was cleared to return to full activities (although slowly and carefully with core work). So I guess there is no absolutely no excuse to not get back on the elliptical (sloth maybe?). And then back to the Daily Method (my go-to) in a couple more weeks. I know regular exercise will feel soooo good and will help me view myself in a different (better) light. My measurements increased by ½-1” overall too, no doubt due to the previously mentioned food-without-exercise.

Dr Sue also advised that I can start to wean myself off my garments altogether, although to continue intermittent use when swollen or working out. Yay! I had stopped wearing anything at night at Week 7 (nekkid sleeping!) so this is another big step. I actually went to work without Spanx on Thursday… talk about freedom! Not to mention record-time bathroom breaks with one less layer. But the swelling did increase, so I’m back into my girdle when just hanging out at home… or writing RealSelf posts.

Scars are all healing well. She removed a few spitting stitches and an ingrown hair that had caused inflammation at my TT scar, so now *fingers crossed* I’ll be good to heal. I continue with Bio Oil in the morning and coconut oil in the evening. I might use the silicone sheets that she recommended one day, but at present am rather consumed with all the massaging and really don’t want to add another thing in. (Can’t take away from fretting time either, don’t cha know!)

Just wondering whether everyone been advised to massage your scars twice daily for six months? I haven’t heard a lot of discussion re: same.

Oh yes, I can now sneeze or cough without grabbing a pillow and doubling over… and it’s fine. Sneezing! Who knew it could be so pleasurable?! And I can do a morning stretch in bed again without succumbing to muscle contractions… sweet!

My next visit will probably be at 6-months PO so I’ll try to content myself to play wait-and-see and loveLoveLOVE my new body until then.

I do believe that’s it for my War & Peace post. If you made it through, you’ve earned yourself another cuppa…. naw, go for some chocolate! I don’t expect I’ll have a lot to report prior to my next PO visit although you never know… I do love yakking!

Big hugz Sistahs! What would I have ever done without you? xo

10 Weeks... and a confession

Forgive me, Sistahs, for I have sinned. I have been eating JUNK FOOD for… how long now… a week? two? Yesterday I started the day with my typical smoothie for breakfast, then had a (healthy, homemade) muffin mid morning, some carrots… all good. But, as the day progressed it went downhill. I somehow decided I should have two cookies for lunch (and not just regular-size cookies… coffee shop size COOKIES) and then moved onto raiding my boss’ candy bowl. Rather than a “real” dinner (Sweetie was out of town) it was… in no particular order… Cheezies! Chocolate-covered ice cream bars (they were the minis)! Gluten-free pretzels (‘cause that makes a diff)! A few crackers ‘n cheese! And finally, some leftover Chocolates! I found in the pantry. OMG I felt not only guilty, but sick and FAT… like I was about to explode back into the Before body.

They say sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can haul yourself back up. I’ve always binged… but haven’t been on one for absolutely months now so this one kinda took me by surprise. We’ve been having friends over every weekend since Game of Thrones started back and it’s been snackage and wine every Sunday night. I thought I could snack like a “normal” person. Until suddenly… Eeegads! (Thank gawd I hadn't succumbed to the Cupcake Monster!)

Happily, this morning my belly was still intact after an uncomfortable, sugar-induced sleep. I immediately hopped on Ellie (our term of endearment for the elliptical), with absolutely no whining or snivelling. Being my first time back in the saddle I only did half my old time and at an easy setting, but it felt so good. Ahhhhh, redemption!

It’s not surprising, if I want to find excuses, that with decreased physical activity over soooo many weeks the cravings came back. So I’m glad to have finally gotten back on the elliptical which I’ll follow, in a couple of weeks, with a return to classes. And as far as food consumption goes, I vow to return to Mindful Eating, being aware of everything I put in my mouth (‘cause my bra is snug today and I HATE the feeling!)

Tonight, I have to admit to having had a few nuts and yes, some GF pretzels when I got home, before making a yummy Kale-Quinoa Salad. I'm feeling more in control... *fingers crossed*

So now that I’ve atoned, here’s hoping that foolishness is out of my system for another many months and I can move on with revelling in this new, not-quite-perfect-but-pretty-great bod. Thanks for allowing me to vent and confess.

Here’s hoping that all of you are doing fabulously well… without any dreaded Binges. I love nothing more than hearing from you and, natch, posting these wee snippets (even if they hardly mention my belly, button or boobs). Give yourselves a big ol’ hug… ‘cuz you deserve it, sweet sistahs!

3 months PO - Tunnel Vision

Tunnel Vision: The tendency to focus exclusively on a single or limited goal or point of view.

Felicitations sistahs! Sending everyone a virtual glass of champagne to toast your anniversaries, your successes and your bellies ‘n boobies!! Today, I thought I would drop in to celebrate my own auspicious 3-month mark.

The changes have certainly slowed. I am starting to get used to seeing my “new” self in the mirror, no longer expecting the belly to have somehow grown back overnight *LOL*. More and more frequently, I wake up nice and flat with no swelling at all. And then I smile. Sweetie thinks the fold is lessening… he is very kind. I’m not so sure. But then, as mentioned, the changes are occurring much more slowly now and I see the things that are most concerning all.the.time. I continue with twice-daily massaging of my belly and scars, followed by BioOil.

Sensation has returned to my right nipple and I’ve only a bit of residual numbness in my right thigh (from nerve damage). I’ve found that when I remove my bra, or right when I wake up, my left “torpedo tit” is actually more rounded and the nipple more perky… unfortunately, it does not last. It does, however, make me think (hope) that one day she will remain in that happy position to more evenly match her sister.

The only time I wear my girdle is when I’m on the elliptical; I am almost at my pre-surgery time, 4-5 mornings a week. Next week I shall return to classes and start working my core *gulp*. Only rarely will I put on the Spanx. I am still tender where I was lipo’d (flanks and sides of breasts) and I still feel the MR when I lay down or get out of bed, but it’s minor. And, happily, the out-of-control eating has been reined in… that was a scary little setback. Phew!

I had begun to focus on “what else” needed doing or might command my time to fret over now that the belly was no more. The jiggly arms… the floppy inner thighs… that non-existent butt. And would I decide to have a revision, could I, should I…? What would Dr Sue suggest I do next….? I knew I was starting to wind myself up to Hate.My.Body again; some of you can empathize with that I’m sure. Old habits die hard. I was looking so hard for something to hate, to focus on… reasons to reinforce why I wasn’t “good enough”. Tunnel vision anyone?

I’ve heard repeatedly, and counseled so many others, to paste those Befores up on the mirror and look at the huge difference between then and now. Been there, done that. I was also the one who railed against the imperfections that I had bought and paid for – how dare I not be equal to the vision I thought I would become!? Sigh… I’ve been waiting for that moment that so many of you have described upon waking after surgery and seeing your flat bellies… the tears of joy. No tears (of joy) here. All I see is the fold and the remaining redundant skin, the uneven breasts… and now the other things.

And then something rather miraculous happened while I was at the mall the other day. You know how sometimes the “angels” talk to you? You might not call it that. You might describe it as a thought that just suddenly pops into your head. Whatevs. For me, it felt like something “outside of me” dropped that thought into my brain. I had been checking out Victoria’s Secret (of course I was - hardly a secret!) for a sexy little baby doll or something (you gals in the US have so much more selection than your northern sistahs do… apparently VS seems to think we only wear flannel!). Anyway, I was on the down escalator, musing on how even IF I did find a baby doll, it would show the aforementioned defects (!!!) when all of a sudden I heard, “You are the sum of your parts. You may have some parts that you don’t like as much as others… EVERYONE does… but you are the sum of all those parts, the good and the not-so-much. And, put together, you are pretty awesome and cut quite a pretty picture. How long will you try and attain perfection? When will you allow yourself to start appreciating and just live?” Talk about hitting the nail on the head!

Maybe there are stages, not only of healing, but also of acceptance. Maybe I’ve just come to realize (with the help of my angels) that even with countless surgeries, it will never be an 18-year old body again (not that it was a great bod at 18!). I don’t know… and maybe it doesn’t matter whether I do. I’m rambling as so often happens when I’m attempting to figure something out. But where I’ve landed, at the moment, is that this is as good as it gets. Doubtless, changes will continue (and I’m hoping they do), but I think it’s time for me to return to living, loving myself in clothes if not thrilled with myself outta them (yet). What was that song….? “Accentuate the positive….” And rather than “eliminate the negative” (with more surgery) maybe “embrace the negative”. Blah blah blah.

I feel like I sometimes go in circles… love-hate-accept-reject-repeat, settling down after a PS visit and then working myself up again. So I’m stopping. Now. I’m gonna look forward to a fabulous summer in my size 8 shorts, work my flat ‘n floppy ass off on the elliptical and do as much as I can to whittle that waist and fold at class. I’m gonna trust that the slow-mo changes still to come will make me happier and more settled and if not, I’ll figure it out at 6 months PO, at my next PS visit. ‘Cause I’m really growing tired of being constantly unhappy with my results and body. It really is time to listen to the angels, just be my awesome self, and “Accentuate the positive…” And that’s just what I plan on doing.

Sending love to your absolutely perfect selves as you are NOW! xo

4 Month Update - Trundling Along

Just because I’m a stickler for continuity, I thought I’d submit an entry to mark my 4-month mark even though, in all honesty, there is not a lot to report. Healing continues. Massage continues. Bio Oil continues. And although I did purchase some Mepitac tape (as suggested by my PS), I haven’t begun using it as yet. Numbness in the flanks, right thigh and abdomen continues. Tenderness on the sides of my breasts (from lipo) continues as well. The vertical fold persists. Happily, my left breast OCCASIONALLY looks awesome. Yes, awesome! It seems that when I take off my bra, or get up in the morning, she looks almost exactly like her right-handed sister – perky, round and happy with a smaller areola. And then gravity takes over. ? I’m still hopeful that one day she will stay where she belongs. When I get up in the morning, the belly is very often FLAT. And then… I dunno. And then I get rounded and swollen. Sigh… Okay, I know I said I wouldn’t do anything until I hit my six-month mark, but… I did some research yesterday on what options exist for “redundant midline skin laxity post TT” (I was bored at work) and it seems I need to confer with my PS, which was the plan anyway. Verdict is still out as to whether I will opt for a revision or not. Neither the addition of a vertical scar to remove more fat/skin nor a “reverse tummy tuck”, which would create a long scar under my boobs, is terribly appealing. Maybe I just need to learn to looooove the roll I have when I sit down. ‘Cept I don’t. Sigh….. And then I think… Is anything really THAT important with the tragedies our world is facing right now? The most frustrating thing is that I keep expecting that I shall GAIN WEIGHT – I mean, I always have (when I start to look really good). Am I eating more to somehow sabotage myself and make it happen? Dunno, don’t think so, but the scale doesn’t seem to be on my side. I am certainly more active – elliptical, walks, Dailey Method, and have even begun RUNNING. Yes! I’ve always wanted to try it – but was afraid I’d knock myself out if my pannus hit my face *LOL*. I went a little nuts on the first go (thanks “Sweetie”)… do NOT try to run or run-walk 5km your first time out! I was suffering for days! But now I find myself almost craving it (did I jus t say that?!?) Who knew I could say I actually RUN?!? Maybe I just need to R-E-L-A-X into my new “normal”… maybe this body really is my body and not just on loan for awhile. *LOL* Anyway, I don’t think I’ll post photos this month. They look much the same as the last ones, unless you catch me immediately post-bra or upon waking. We’ll see what next month brings. Until then…. What else is there to do but LOVE. XOs to all the sistahs who got me through those first tough days, weeks, months. I hope you are doing better than “well” and that you are more than “okay” with your results. Hug someone today. Someone who doesn’t even expect it. ‘Cause that’s really all there is.

Wabi-Sabi at 5 months PO

I recently learned a new “word”. It took me by surprise to think that such a useful concept – one that so accurately described me – could have eluded me for 50-odd years.

Wabi-sabi. Although there are many variations, the meaning can basically be drilled down to: “The wisdom and beauty of imperfection”. It acknowledges three basic realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect. I guess it’s time to embrace wabi-sabi.

I am bothered hugely by my roll. Yes, a roll. Not my pannus, not the lower belly which is gone. ? But the above-the-belly-button redundant skin/fat that was not removed. I’ve done a LOT of research on this and it appears I am one of those unfortunate few who, because of a large weight gain/loss plus skin laxity, is left with this remaining redundant skin, ie: roll. I still don’t quite get it, but I’m no doctor and yes, I was warned it might occur (in retrospect I should have asked what “skin laxity” would look like as I guess I didn’t expect it to look like this). According to what I’ve read, it seems the only recourse is to have more surgery, leaving me with a vertical scar which most surgeons advise against. Or advise against as the first course of treatment, hence the advice to wait until you’re well healed and then consider a revision if necessary. I dunno. I’m confronted with not only the laxity, but also the frickin’ fold which is still there. Really pretty. (I just did side-by-side comparisons to my 3-month pics and they're exactly the same... trust me on this).

Oh how I yearn to be one of those sistahs who poses on their side, beautifully flat and toned, curvy and lovely. I still have soft squishy pillows, separated by my fold. It’s hardly the “normal” I was seeking.

I think my crankiness, due to the weeks-on-end rain we’ve been suffering in my part of the world, might be coloring my efforts to stay positive about my healing. Daily thunderstorms, endless grey, chilliness to the bone… and I am a person who thrives on sunshine. I know… waaah. *LOL* This too shall pass. Taking a bit of my own advice, perhaps it’s time to have a(nother) good look at my Before pics.

I’ve been alternating between working out hard and eating ultra clean; and working out regularly, but eating carbs (grey days make me feel grey and slothy so I put my head into the sugary treats). In the first scenario, the belly certainly seems more toned, maybe the crease a little less (ya think?!). Which you would think would encourage me to continue working out. But then I allow myself that one treat which somehow turns into six. Weird psychology. Sigh… I know there is no choice but to continue on continuing on. Exercise and smart nutrition are my only allies in this battle against the…. what shall we call it…. The bulge? The pudge? The laxity? Wabi-sabi? *LOL*

I’ve been using Mepitac tapes on my scars for the last three weeks and the scars look the same to me. I’m continuing to massage my scars, as directed, daily. I’m wearing my girdle overnight occasionally (when Sweetie is out of town) to see if it helps the remaining swelling. As mentioned, I’m doing some sort of activity every day (except Mondays!)… elliptical, a class, a run, a hike. And aside from the few days of less-than-stellar eating this past week (and it wasn’t as bad as it had been in the “old days”), I eat really well. Yesterday I was up 13 pounds from post surgery (3 lbs in the last week!). For the entire month prior to that I was up ten pounds that would not move no matter what.

I’ve wondered if months 4-5 are the dark days of healing. I’ve read many posts from these months that are less than happy, less than optimistic, fretting, wondering, and disliking various bits of the new bods. There are also many reports of six-months being the bomb… suddenly everything is rosy. Or more rosy.

Just feeling a little sorry for myself, a little blue, er grey and drizzly and drippy. And obviously not entirely embracing wabi-sabi as yet. Sorry to put this out there… so boring to read. But it is a part of the journey… or my journey. I promise I shall be much more upbeat at my six month check-in (or maybe next week, assuming the weather forecast is correct). Maybe I’ll have great good news from my PS about a revision. Or not. Or just come back to you extolling the virtues of living in wabi-sabi.

Until then, I send HUGZ to you, my sistahs, who listen to my whining and buoy me up, helping me see what I still can’t. I wish you all continued miraculous healing. May flatness, firmness and fitness be yours. And may we all revel in wabi-sabi! xo

Six Month Roller Coaster

It’s been a heckuva ride thus far. I never anticipated it would be as emotional as it has been; up, down, up, down further, up up up. I always thought I’d survive the surgery, go through the discomfort, endure the healing, and voila! emerge as the butterfly I always knew I could be. But then I’ve always been a bit of a fairy-tale princess.

Everything is fine. Nothing is terribly wrong. But I’m not exactly clicking my heels together in glee. Yet. I still have hopes of coming to the realization that I love my results (‘cause in addition to being a princess, deep down I really and truly am an optimist). I actually, quite often, ask myself what exactly it was that I wanted going into this… and the answer, of course, was to lose the pannus. So it’s gone! And to maybe have the breasts a bit perkier. They are! Then why am I so unhappy?!?!? (Okay, I heard that! And no, I’m not a chronic malcontent! *LOL*)

Despite coming at this from every intellectual angle, the EMOTIONAL angle remains… I have the pudge (or “budge” as someone so aptly named it which I love because it just won’t) remaining above the belly-button which I have tried to love away, exercise away and rationalize away. And you know what? I’m back where I started! Boy, if that isn’t the great irony. When musing over “to revise or not to revise”, for that really is the question, I finally realized that I’m still grabbing hold of the roll like I did for so many years previous, the only difference being that this roll is above my belly-button and the old roll was below. I’m still worried about what clothes I’m wearing so I don’t have too large a muffin-top rolling over my jeans or something is too snug so my roll is too obvious. So it’s not about the scar I’ll be left with anymore (besides, the scar will be exactly where that fold is now… fold versus scar… sheesh!). Maybe I’m just so used to hating my belly that until it’s no longer, I’ll find something about it to hate. I dunno, but I really don’t think so.

My part of Canada has continued to suffer 90-year records of rainfall; all of July and now, the first half of August. Rain DAILY or, more accurately, thunderstorm-o’clock every afternoon, very often with accompanying hail and sometimes funnel clouds. So the wet grey is doing nothing for my frame of mind, which is rather in the gutter (drain pipe?) making every carbohydrate known to mankind pretty appealing. About ten pounds appealing. Maybe 12. Maybe more… I’m afraid to step on the scale. Hallelujah I’m back on Ellie (the elliptical), even though I haven’t continued to run in the rain (don’t forget, I’m a princess! *grin*)

Oh sistahs, you have so patiently read my whines and snivels and buoyed my spirits the past couple of months, so huge-a-ceous thanks for being there. I don’t want to suggest it’s been all boo-hooing, however. Even with the additional poundage, the lower belly stays relatively flat (it was never ultra flat even after surgery, but for me it’s pretty amazing). I still feel like it’s quite swollen at the end of the day; that heavy, hard feeling so maybe there’s still some flatness to come. And although I’m still in many of my old clothes size-wise (sigh), they fit so much differently, there is just no denying. We recently saw some family members who didn’t know I’d had surgery and both commented on how fabulous I was looking, “What have you done?” Ditto with friends who recently came to visit… they commented to Sweetie, “BBB is looking so great, has she lost weight?” So although I’ve got my head in the minutiae and the poundage and the belly roll and the belly fold, those who don’t know my secret do see a difference and are pretty impressed. Maybe it’s time for me to be as well. I will tell you I absolutely ADORE my belly-button. For you sistahs who are bemoaning your belly-button early on, just be patient. I hated mine and was rather repulsed by how it looked initially, but it changed soooooo much and now I have the cutest little inny – at least that turned out “perfect”. (And is one of the reasons I’m worried about having a vertical scar… if only to maintain my belly button!) Even with the extra pounds, Sweetie still thinks I look pretty hot. And I am certainly more apt to “prance” (TMI!) than I ever was in the past. It’s just so much easier to “be”.

I moved my six-month PO appointment to a month out. I was feeling particularly fat the beginning of the week and embarrassed about the weight gain and I didn’t want to have to confess anything to my PS. So I’ll give myself a month to rid myself of these ten (with the help of that elusive sun!) and also hope the dissolving stitches do their dissolving, eradicating my midline fold (fingers and toes crossed).

Not much else to share, sweet sistahs. I forced myself to post pictures this time as motivation to LOSE the ten and because you deserve them. I know I always want to see the progression of those I’m following so figured I should do the same for you.

Sending big smooshy hugs to all my sistahs – those still dreaming of their surgeries, those already booked and starting to get “scare-cited”, those who are in the first delicate days of healing… but especially to that deliciously beautiful circle of goddesses who had their surgeries very close to my own and who I regard as my own incredibly funny, hugely supportive, virtual hug team. You know who you are. I don’t know what I would have ever done without you. Smoochie boochies.

Addendum: I wrote the above a couple days ago, but didn’t post it as I hadn’t had pics taken until today. BUT we have had SUNSHINE and WARMTH the last two days and my spirits have soared. Sweetie and I have gone on loooong walks both days (those are sports bra marks between my boobies) and I am feeling so much more myself. So what have I learned? This entire process really and truly IS a roller coaster and what does go up, comes down and we just need to continue placing one foot in front of the other daily. The ice cream poundage WILL melt away (ha!) and the sun WILL come out tomorrow (or today!) and good ol’ balance WILL be restored. Just keep moving. Just keep the faith. And just remember to be gentle. xo

What?!?!!? Month 7 PO!?!?! (plus a PS visit)

Wow! Where has the time gone?? Can I say I’m back to “normal”? Well, let’s hope not my pre-surgery normal! But my new normal for sure. I know what to expect to see when I look in the mirror now and am not surprised (but inwardly still a little tickled… “I did it!!!”). I feel physically well. I’m back to doing whatever I choose, eating whatever I want (although too much I’m afraid… such a great summer… *hic*). And I’ve repasted my Before pics to the bathroom mirror to help stay positive (which I am happy and relieved to report has been so much easier now that the grey days of “summer” have passed and we’re into the brilliant blue of autumn…. phew!)

I had postponed my Month 6 PS visit because I felt I’d gained too much weight and was embarrassed and also because I was hopeful that the midline sutures might dissolve in another month (which they didn’t). So the Month 7 visit was a couple days ago. Here’s the scoop….

Although I’ve been taking photos at monthly intervals and haven’t really seen much change one month to the next, I hadn’t seen my PS since April and when we looked at her photos from then there really was quite a difference. My breasts are rounder and perkier and the left girl less “torpedo-ey” than she used to be. The left areola, to my eye (and by the PS measurement) is still larger than the right, but not hugely (and occasionally looks perfect, though it doesn’t stay that way). (I’d always felt my areolae were huge when I was, so to have one still very large makes me still feel very large). And the left nipple isn’t placed quite as high as the right one making it still appear a tad droopy. I also have a small “dog ear” under my right breast where the bottom of the lollipop incision is.

All of this can be revised, if I choose, at the one-year mark. She doesn’t do any breast revisions until one year as there continues to be changes right up until that point and many patients decide they don’t want anything revised at all. Quite frankly, if there is as much change from now until one year (five more months) as there was from April until now (six months), I may not need to revise anything either. So I’m content with that for now.

As for the belly. Well, yes, the crease is less than it was in April. But it is unlikely to disappear entirely at this point. The issue, she feels, is the redundant skin due to midline laxity that remains (I knew it would prior to having the TT although I didn’t know what that actually meant… and, d’oh, neglected to ask). When a MR is done, sutures are placed along the midline to bring the two sides together. In people without extra skin there is nothing to pooch on either side of the midline and they have a smooth, flat upper belly. In my case there is significant extra tissue and so it creates a crease. *sigh* Makes total sense. So what are my options….

1) I can do nothing. I still don’t feel I look “normal” with this crease and that was what I had longed for in the first place… to have a normal looking belly. I remember pre TT, when I lay on my side, there was a pool of belly just laying there and I dreamed of being able to lay on my side and just see… nothing. Now I lay on my side and indeed there is nothing at the bottom, where the pannus used to be, but my middle belly looks like two extra breasts, one side and the other, divided by the crease. Nooooooooo! *LOL*

2) This was a new option I hadn't thought of that she proposed: She can loosen the midline stitches (going in through the BB) which will in turn release the crease. Then she would do a bit of lipo to the fat on both sides making it less thick. This would not tighten anything and the only issue might be that the skin would start to “curtain” (I know when I’m on a roll, working out and eating clean and am closer to my ideal weight – than I am now – the skin can start to “curtain” and look kinda weird and loose and saggy.) *ICK*

3) I can take a big breath and opt for the Fleur-de-Lis and end up with a scar running from breastbone to TT incision. (Which is what had been suggested to me several years ago when I'd had a consultation with another PS). This would remove the redundant fat/skin, tighten me in from the sides and create a more hourglass shape. But I would have the scar… although scars do eventually fade. Crease vs curtains vs scar. Such choices!

She did say we could try #2 first and if that didn’t work for me, end up at #3. But not wanting me to have more surgeries (anaesthetic) than needed, if I think I want the tightened skin there is really no use to make it a stepped approach; just go for it. I’m torn. And am thinking I’ll probably do nothing until I’m able to have my breast(s) revised in February/March of 2017 and do the belly at the same time. (Apparently these surgeries are nothing compared to the first ones as we’re mainly dealing with skin and not muscles.) I’ll be diligent about diet and exercise (it was so tough to be back at the gym this week, but felt sooooo good!) and make my call then. Maybe the crease will look better (doubtful) or maybe I’ll have learned to love the crease (doubtful), but hopefully I will have clarity on what exactly I want the next step to be. If anyone out there has decided to get a FDL after an extended TT to make their result “better”, I’d love to hear from you.

She was pleased with the appearance and softness of my scars from my diligent massaging and use of Mepitac tapes and said I could stop if I wanted to. You bet I want to! It frees up an extra 20-minutes in my morning routine so that’s great. I’ve gone back to using the BioOil I had left over and will continue with that until the bottle is gone and then probably just let nature work its magic. Scars fade and so will these; I’m not concerned.

Like I said, I’m quite amazed at how much (fun, too-many-visitors, too-little-sun) weight I’ve gained over the summer… like 10-12lbs. My “old” clothes fit, but still look so much better. My “new” clothes are tight (gaaaahhhh!), but I’m not giving up on myself. And nekkid, it’s kewl, but I still feel like I look smaller and certainly better. Yes, the Befores on the mirror definitely help! There is only a bit of swelling in my lower belly at the end of the day now, but most of the time it is pretty flat (so evident in the April-to-now photos) which was my main goal when I embarked on this entire journey. Seriously, if it weren’t for the crease I’d be over the moon.

Despite the extra poundage I feel way more confident, especially when meeting people or being in social situations. I feel like I’m leading with my self now whereas before I always felt I led with my belly. My belly sistahs will understand that, I’m sure. It’s like there was always a subliminal, “OMG, all they can see is my belly, they must think less of me, I feel like such a cow… blah blah blah” playing in my brain. Now it’s just, “Hi there, I’m BBB, and you are….?” Nice!

Autumn is my absolute favourite time of the year… crisp mornings, blue skies (and we know how important that is to my well-being), “sweater-weather”! My favourite “high holiday” (Thanksgiving) is soon to come. And I will be especially thankful this year… thankful for having been my “belly self” for so many years who learned so much compassion because she, herself felt such pain… thankful for finally finding the courage and the ability to undergo the surgery I had longed for pretty much my entire life… thankful, of course, for this community that helped me through the darkest days of healing and recuperation. And thankful for all that is yet to come because of my newfound confidence, no longer dragging my belly along.

I’m not sure how much more I’ll post until I’m at the one-year mark. Certainly if there is anything noteworthy, I won’t be able to stay away. Certainly I will continue to read my fave sistahs’ posts. But for me, for now, I think it is time to live my normal until it is time for the next chapter.

May you all embrace wabi-sabi, may you dream of the pumpkin yumminess soon to come and may you live giddy with anticipation as you fly unfettered by your bellies. xo

Weight: The Agony & The Ecstasy

Weight. Many of us seem to struggle with it constantly. If we’re in a “good” phase, we fret that it won’t last (or that we can’t possibly continue on with the denial necessary to maintain it). If we’re in a “bad” phase, we feel as though we’ve failed, we’re less-than and unworthy of the joys of life. And as though we are doomed to live “fat” forever. I know these phases well. They have been my lifelong compass. My moods depended entirely upon what the scale said, whether I could fit into a single-digit pair of jeans or give the illusion of a flat belly enough to feel “normal”. I said no to countless invitations when I wasn’t what I deemed “thin enough” and avoided social situations more often than I engaged in them. And whatever my weight, all I could think about was my weight. It’s hard to believe I accomplished anything with my life at all! *LOL*

I write this because weight has been such a part of my TT journey and what brought me here today. And perhaps it’s been so difficult for me to accept and appreciate my post-surgery results because I have never entirely accepted nor appreciated myself. It’s a day-by-day lesson that I am patiently learning.

Many sistahs have asked how I managed to lose my weight and I know that I am always curious how other women lost theirs. Most of us have tried oodles of diet plans, pills, potions and methods. And still we struggle with the yo-yo. I won’t profess to having kicked my addiction to sugar + wheat = yummy goodness cravings, but I have found something that makes me feel so well mentally and emotionally that it’s become my go-to when I need to shed a few pounds or give my system a reset. I repeat, this is what worked for me. I wrote a bit about my weight in my very first post when I was introducing the BELLY, but I’ll go into a bit more detail now...

I don’t think I was a fat kid so I can’t really remember when the pounds starting attaching, but even as a teenager I was always fretting about my weight and trying to be more and more thin. I always had a pot-belly though; I remember looking down at my little nekkid self in the bathtub (maybe age 6? 7?) and wondering why my tummy looked so funny.

Upon casting my mind back on the major weight gains of my life, it seems that they were all triggered by some significant emotional event; a perceived failure, a move, a loss. I think the first big weight gain was when I was in my early twenties which then began a lifelong up-down-up-down. I’ve ranged from about 230lbs to almost 100lbs less. Not so good for a body. Even less for skin. But perfect breeding ground for a TT and breast lift.

A few years ago I finally reached a relatively stable time in my life and had been on a plateau of about 160-170lbs when we decided to move to another province. Big emotional time. I, very willingly, left and retired from a career I dearly loved, knowing I wouldn’t start another business when I moved and wholeheartedly expecting the new location to bestow all manner of wondrous opportunities upon me. Nope. Instead I tried on about six or seven J.O.B.S. that didn’t fit and in between those attempts, laid upon the couch in a fetal position. Or ate. Or laid on the couch and ate. Usually the aforementioned sugar + wheat (but always seeking balance sometimes threw in some potato chips for good measure). During this time I ballooned to a high of 195lbs. Yoiks! Can we say unhappy?

I’m sure Sweetie was at his wit’s end, trying to be supportive through my many attempts at finding a job that would fit, at least a little, and take me out of my doldrums. No doubt he felt incredibly guilty for taking me away from my career regardless of how willingly I went. And helpless as he watched me flounder and fret in my fetal position. Yet he loved me through it all. Love really is a magikal thing, isn’t it?

Yes, I did find a job. Not one that I loved, but one that I could manage. Then I took on the challenge to try and stay with it, even for awhile. But this isn’t a journal entry on how I found my dream job (‘cause I haven’t) so I won’t go there. What it did do was get me off the couch and out into the world everyday and that was some small feat.

Naturally, being out in the world necessitated purchasing clothes and trying to get at least a tad presentable everyday. There was no a-ha moment, no pivotal occurrence to move me forward to weight loss. Remember, I’ve been a non-stop weight-thinker my entire life so everyday was still filled with either positive or negative self-talk based upon how much I could conceal or what I’d eaten the day before. But I did get really tired of looking frumpy-dumps in the matronly clothes I was relegated to wearing to hide the lumps 'n bumps. And I do confess to sometimes not caring because even when I did lose weight, I still carried my big ol’ belly. But I knew something had to give. I just didn’t know what. Or how. Or how to start. Or what might work. I felt hopeless and helpless.

I honestly do not remember the exact details, but I know I was flipping through the tv stations one cold winter’s night and saw a show called, “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” on the menu. I read the description and something self-defeating went through my head like, “Yeah, whatever. Good for him, some guy’s weight loss journey. Probably wouldn’t work for me. Just another gimmick.” So I continued to flip stations. It was still there the next night… I’m not sure how many times I saw that title before I finally hit the PVR button and recorded it for “maybe sometime”. But I did. And it took me another month or so to actually watch it. And then I got just a little bit jazzed. Some Australian guy lost all that weight from juicing? I’d always been curious about juicing and it appealed to my more holistic nature, but it probably wouldn’t work for me. And I’d have to buy a juicer and actually commit to doing it, trying yet something else. And if I tried and failed, what then? Then I really would feel like I had tried absolutely everything and was a failure. And absolutely doomed forevermore to a life of muumuus.

But I got Sweetie to watch the show and he got jazzed too (he was probably happy I was just sitting upright!). It still took a few weeks to actually research and purchase a juicer. And then five more months (yes, months!) before we both embarked on a juice cleanse. But we did; mine for 30 days, his for 10.

That first cleanse was hard; learning how to juice, what to drink and when, but like anything it’s learned and with a bit of effort it became second nature. I can say it was great to feel engaged, back in control of what I was consuming and finally taking care of myself. I can’t say that I lost all the weight I wanted in 30 days because we all know there is no quick-fix or magic bullet. But I lost 13lbs, going from 187 to 174. And I was hooked.

Since that time, over two years have passed and I’ve done many cleanses, but never 30 days again. That was a one-time deal. I’ve done anywhere from 3 days to 15 days and right before my surgery last February was 149lbs. And yes, I added in exercise too, but will confess to not being hard core (even though I wish I could be) so my exercise level waxes and wanes with the moon.

I gained over the last summer, as you had to read about in many of my depressed summer posts; emotional eater, remember??? And I don’t do well in grey weather either which it was all summer long in my part of the world. So grey plus lots of company and summertime plus wine equalled an extra 15 lbs.

(I just want to say here that I’m kinda confused as to what my new goal weight should be post surgery. I was 149 going in, but she took off about 8lbs or so. I was 140 in March, so should that be my goal? Is my current 150 really 160 because she took off 10lbs of fat? Gaaaaaa!)

Today, I have just completed a 15-day cleanse. And am happy to report that I’ve gone from 158 to 148. There’s typically a couple pound gain afterwards, but then it evens out and continues to dip down, especially with continued activity. My goal is a couple of Dailey Method classes, a couple yoga classes, an elliptical session or two, and a long walk or hike every week. Well, that's the plan!

I expect to “eat clean” at least until the holidays and *fingers crossed* won’t overindulge (too badly) during the festivities. It’s a day-by-day kinda thing. I’ve come to realize that just because I’ve had a tummy tuck that doesn't give me a free pass. Weight does still attach (and in different places than before). Nor has it suddenly changed my lifelong eating habits, patterns and cravings. I still have the responsibility to make good choices and find ways to love myself so I don’t need food to fill my empty spaces.

So that’s my story. Juicing. Lots of yummy juice. Kills the cravings, feeds the hunger and makes you feel oh-so-healthy and energetic. I do think it’ll be part of my life forever. I’d rather catch 10lbs before they become more and now have a way to that works for me. When we’re not juicing, we consume tons of veggies; usually just a bit of organic protein and veggies for dinner. (Most of the time. We do indulge and treat ourselves regularly too.) And my smoothies always contain something green, like kale or spinach.

I’m happy to have finally made a bit of peace with the weight demons in my head although they still, of course, “weigh” in on how good I might feel about myself one day to the next. But with juicing in my back pocket, and my lovely flat belly to keep me motivated, I’m as close to “normal” as I’d ever hoped to be.

If weight has been your albatross I hope you have managed to make peace with your demons as well, in a way that works best for you. xo
Banff Plastic Surgeon

The staff at Banff Plastic Surgery have been wonderful to deal with; the nurses exquisitely patient and everyone lovely and accommodating. These folks, I believe, have the best jobs... helping us turn our dreams into reality. Is there anything more rewarding than to have a part in that? I think not. Dr Susan MacLennan was great from the get-go. She performed the most thorough examination of any of the surgeons I had consulted and I love that she is such a straight-shooter, but with a great sense of humour. It is also great (in my books) that she is from Nova Scotia to boot! The other thing that impressed me hugely was that I did not have to request to see photos of her artistry; she offered up an extensive book of photos and went through them with me. Many other surgeons either did not have any photos to show at all or dug up only a couple. Why would I commission an artist if I had never seen their work, even if they seemed to be nice people? Here is hoping her artistry sculpts a fabulous new body for me!

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